From his Letters to specific Disciples, in Discipleship in the New Age.................... 3
To L. D. O.............................................................................................................................................................................. 3
To R. A. J............................................................................................................................................................................... 8
From “Glamour – a World Problem”................................................................................. 21
THE NATURE OF GLAMOUR.............................................................................................................................................. 21
From The Light of the Soul (commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali)... 29
Sutra 27. The knowledge (or illumination) achieved is sevenfold, and is attained progressively.............. 29
THE EIGHT MEANS TO YOGA (UNION)............................................................................................................................ 31
28. When the means to Yoga have been steadily practised and when impurity has been overcome, enlightenment takes place leading up to full illumination................................................................................................................................................. 31
MICROCOSMIC SENSORY EVOLUTION.............................................................................................................................. 34
37. These powers are obstacles to the highest spiritual realisation, but serve as magical powers in the objective worlds. 35
From TCF........................................................................................................................................................................ 37
V. MOTION AND THE CENTRES...................................................................................................................................... 37
1. The Nature of the Centres...................................................................................................................................... 38
2. The centres in connection with the Rays............................................................................................................. 43
3. The Centres and Kundalini................................................................................................................................... 48
4. The Centres and the Senses, Normal and Supernormal................................................................................... 50
MICROCOSMIC SENSORY EVOLUTION.......................................................................................................................... 52
A. Hearing..................................................................................................................................................................... 53
B. Touch......................................................................................................................................................................... 55
C. Sight.......................................................................................................................................................................... 58
D. Tasting...................................................................................................................................................................... 59
E. Smelling.................................................................................................................................................................... 60
5. The Centres and Initiation.............................................................................................................................. 62
From EP II...................................................................................................................................................................... 66
Diseases of Disciples and Mystics................................................................................................................... 66
b. UNFOLDMENT OF THE PSYCHIC POWERS............................................................................................................... 66
Problem of the Development of the Mystical Vision.............................................................................................. 90
Revelation of Light and Power and Attendant Difficulties.................................................................................. 94
c. DISEASES CONNECTED WITH GROUP CONDITIONS............................................................................................... 99
Diseases and Problems Evoked by Directed Group Thought........................................................................... 100
Respirational Diseases of Mystics.......................................................................................................................... 102
d. PROBLEMS OF MYSTICS CONNECTED WITH PRESENT RAY INFLUENCES........................................................... 102
From TWM.................................................................................................................................................................. 105
Rule Seven..................................................................................................................................................................... 105
THE BATTLEGROUND OF THE ASTRAL PLANE.......................................................................................................... 105
THE TWO PATHS........................................................................................................................................................... 109
[Editor: Curiously, given how important the skill of discernment could be in the life of the aspirant and disciple, it occurs relatively rarely in the Blue Books. However, I do not think that that negates any importance that the Tibetan might be hinting at for us. I have given very fully the contexts in which DK refers to the quality or ‘sense’ of discernment. The paragraphs in which the word occurs have been highlighted in red to make them easier to find, and the word itself made bold and underlined. The reader can then more easily find and skip to the paragraph, and also work forwards and backwards into the larger context in which it has been mentioned. In this way the mind can learn about this theme in the same way that a brain cell make thousands of connections with other cells in the nervous system]
I have included more letters than just the one in which the word discernment occurs to enable the reader to get a taste of how the Tibetan taught some of His disciples over periods of time.
MY BROTHER AND MY FRIEND:
Many factors are responsible for bringing people together into such a group as this. There is, first of all, their mutual karmic relationship which, indicating as it does equality in aspiration and a general ability to make and hold certain spiritual contacts, enables them to work together more easily as a unit or a unity, if you prefer that term. In these cases, there exists [Page 128] a need in the group for a specific and peculiar development in order that the group life may be thereby enriched and deepened. In other cases, there is a definite relationship with myself, dating from past experience, even if that experience is as yet unconsciously registered. There is a proffering of new opportunity for training to those who are upon the Path of Discipleship. All these factors influenced my decision to ask you, a disciple, to work in cooperation with myself and my group of disciples.
In your particular case, the determining causes were the contribution you can make to this group, out of your rich equipment of deep desire and understanding, and also a relation to myself of very old standing. Of this latter cause, I am, of course, more conscious than you can be.
It is necessary for me to explain these points to you as the understanding of causes is one of your strongest mental urges, and such an urge may not be disregarded. Entering this group is not an easy matter for you. You question your ability to conform to the requirements and to submit to the inevitable, even if voluntary, group discipline. I have also questioned it, not because I doubt your sincerity of purpose and of your life intent, for I do not, nor do I query the steadfastness of your determination to tread the Path and to go forward towards your goal. That is for you an unalterable and inflexible decision. You hold to it at all costs and in spite of failure at times to achieve your own standard of spiritual living. My questioning is based upon a tendency on your part towards vagueness and a lack of the sense of orientation in time. This is frequently the case with the pure mystic which you have been. Of this also I feel sure you are yourself conscious. It is not easy for a person of your type to enter upon a course of self-discipline under the suggestion of another, such as myself. To offset this difficulty, I would remind you that your acquiescence in the matter has been quite voluntary and that you have signified your willingness to make the needed effort after debating the matter for more than a year. That is all that I ask of you. I would remind you also that in my attitude towards my groups of disciples (some of which have been working with me for many years) I am simply prompted by a keen desire to aid you [Page 129] all from the angle of my wider experience and to make suggestions. These can be followed or not as the disciple may desire.
It is, however, wise to make the effort and to give me the opportunity by a temporary acquiescence and a voluntary obedience to prove to you that there is a purpose and a planned understanding behind my proposed technique of training. Will you, therefore, be willing to try out my suggestions and to follow my proposals for an adequately long time so as to give proof of their wisdom? It takes time in the spiritual life for adjustments to be made and for needed unfoldments to be brought about. Two or three months do not suffice to offset the tendencies and habits of a lifetime or maybe of several life cycles. But you have courage and a steady will and can achieve much in this life.
Your problem is that of a versatile, advanced second ray type. You have a marked ability to do many things well and a decided aptitude to understand people, their motives and their impulses. You have a genius for contact and are naturally a good psychologist. You are prone also (because of your second ray inclusiveness) to over-estimate people and, subjectively, you have a strong inferiority complex, based largely upon your sense of the divine and not on failure. Ponder on this thought which I here give you. You need to learn to see people as they really are and appreciating, as heretofore, the divine in them to stand aside from them in your endeavour to help them and to work with and for them. You are apt to regard your ability to do well along so many lines as somewhat in the nature of a handicap. You must learn to regard it rather as an indication of the many ways in which you can reach others, and as a definite asset upon the Path.
With you I can and must be entirely frank; your innate honesty recognises the same quality in others and you would have no respect for me if I handled you with gloves, as the saying is. My function with you is not to tell you your faults or to give you many directions. These you know and follow the true direction instinctively even if at times you choose the longer way around towards your objective.
You have two things to do which—if successfully accomplished—would very much increase your output in service and reorganise both your inner and your outer life. You have to work conscientiously with the time factor and you have to make out of life a fuller expression of work well done. You have also to cultivate more definitely than you do the habit of mind, the trained attitude of the Observer of life, of people and of yourself. You must develop the attentiveness of the One who looks on at life and at the life struggle of others. It is necessary for you to learn that when you can avoid identifying yourself so closely with people, refraining from suffering so consciously with them, you can be of greater service to them and a finer friend and helper. Therefore, for you, detachment is an outstanding requirement and a quality to be cultivated. This is not the detachment of self-protection or of self-immunisation or of aloofness, but that soul detachment which works from soul levels and—seeing all life in the light which streams from the soul—regards everything from the standpoint of eternity. You will then see the real values involved and the true perspectives of the picture. You need to apply to people and to circumstances the quality of interrogation and understanding which you endeavour to employ when you follow your art. You must see people truly and as they are—with their faults and their virtues, their divinity and their humanity. Am I not right, my brother?
As time goes on, we can extend and deepen the analysis but at first I only seek to emphasise to you these two points or rather these two requirements—the right use of time and its right adjustment in your life, and the cultivation of an attitude of detachment. I am of no use to you or to any of my disciples if I cannot be specific and direct. The work that I may ask you to do should tend to bring about certain of these needed adjustments.
I am going to ask you to add to your morning meditation an evening review upon detachment.... As far as your meditation is concerned follow your usual procedure, at any rate for the present, only add to it each morning a definite period wherein you take your co-disciples (those you may happen to know) into the light and seek consciously to link up with them, [Page 131] pouring out to them the love and wisdom which may be yours. This tends definitely to group integration....
You are in a position to aid and help many people. See to it, my brother, that you aid with wisdom, discernment and discretion and that you place your effort where the best results can be achieved. Right discrimination in helpfulness is rare, but you can give it. You will, of course, endeavour to conform to group requirements, will you not? But this must be of your own free choice and for the purposes of group integrity.
It will have been clearly indicated to you that you have a definite karmic link both to your fellow disciples and to me. The two are one, however. It is this that has led you in our direction and has enabled you to link up with these initial groups connected with the Masters' Ashrams which are attempting to embody the coming New Age methods of work. Earlier, you have worked with another group. Then the pressure of life and of circumstance and the desire to express yourself in a chosen line of activity, temporarily lifted you out of the group life and your place was filled by another. Now, work is found for you in a group which is to occupy itself with the dissipation of world glamour. I have decided to put you to work in this group because you are relatively free from glamour (I did not say free from faults or from the mental aspects of glamour which we call illusion). This freedom should be of service to the group. You can think with clarity and usually know why you act in a particular manner, for you seldom act without some preparatory thinking or without arriving at some sufficient and adequate reason (not feeling emotion) for so acting. Will you remember this as you work in my group and later—as the group works unitedly to dispel prevailing glamours—will you work with them intelligently and with power as they learn, with you, to master glamour in their own lives? When a man has learned to dominate conditions through the power of his [Page 132] soul, then he can work in the midst of conditions, untouched and constructively. Will you try to remember this?
This group work is either of moment and useful, or else it is nothing but a chimera and a waste of time, having no real purpose and serving no useful end. If the groups of disciples on the outer plane which the Masters are now forming throughout the world can be regarded as among the Seed Groups of the New Age and can likewise be of immediate service in the stage of earlier preparatory work in which we now find ourselves, then it is worth while from many angles to give time and effort (in order to cooperate constructively when the time comes) to the fulfilment of requirements. Coming in, as you have done, several years later than the majority, in order to take the place of D.A.O., there is a good deal of information to be mastered and much earlier instruction to be studied. If you will do this, then you will be able to work with understanding with your co-disciples. Take at least a year going over the earlier teaching re maya, glamour and illusion. You will find much to interest you....
You are a creative worker and have also the ability to work in several creative ways. You are both an artist and a writer. This means that your soul can reach expression and usefulness along two channels. You have, therefore, two definite assets to contribute to world service and two points of expression whereby your soul and your brain are en rapport. Such channels are necessarily media of relation and down them light can flow, irradiating dark places. I would like to point out that creative workers in any field are primarily those who can destroy those glamours to which humanity is prone. These are found in those fields of illusory activity which men have themselves created. You are taking the place of a creative worker who succumbed—sincerely and honestly—to the glamour of a "free and independent soul"—a paradoxical idea and one which shows forgetfulness of the fact that the heresy of separateness, of aloneness and of independence is a part of the world glamour. This brother was thus unable to cooperate and valued his "personal freedom" higher than the planned group activity and thus for two years delayed this group of workers from arriving at [Page 133] the intended activity. Will you, therefore, seek rapid integration in order to hasten the intended accomplishment?
To help you do this, I shall not assign you a great deal of personal work or outline to you much individual activity. I will, however, indicate the three rays of energy which constitute your personality. As you already know, your soul ray is the second and your personality ray is the fourth. A study of these five rays and those of your fellow disciples will show you where points of relation exist, where the lines of least resistance will be found and where you may look for rapid comprehension and understanding cooperation.
Your mental body is on the fourth Ray of Harmony through Conflict and hence your pliability, your sense of relationship and your rapid grasp of mental truth. Illusion will ever be a more ready snare to you than glamour. This Ray of Harmony through Conflict is that bridging ray which will, in your case and through the mind, bring about an increasingly rapid establishment of contact between your soul and your personality.
Your astral body is on the second ray and this will be sufficiently obvious to you, giving you those difficulties and those opportunities which lead eventually to expansions of consciousness and that sensitivity to the psyche in others which has been the basis of much of your most successful work.
Your physical body is on the seventh ray, which gives you a sense of the relationship between spirit and matter, between soul and body and enables you, if so you will, to be a constructive agent in magical work. Your rays are, therefore:
1. The ray of the soul—the second Ray of Love-Wisdom.
2. The ray of the personality—the fourth Ray of Harmony through Conflict.
3. The ray of the mind—the fourth Ray of Harmony through Conflict.
4. The ray of the astral body—the second Ray of Love-Wisdom.
5. The ray of the physical body—the seventh Ray of Ceremonial Order or Magic.
[Page 134] It will be obvious to you that the major line of force in your equipment, relating you to others and facilitating contact, is the second ray with its subsidiary expression, the fourth ray. This is a definite asset and an opportunity but it also makes possible certain liabilities. These should be offset by a stiffening of all first ray tendencies in order to bring about a needed balancing. I would add that
1. Your soul energy seeks expression through the vital body.
2. Your personality force is focussed in the astral body.
Read what I said to I.B.S. in order to understand the significance of the above.
BROTHER OF OLD:
You have now completed a year's work with me and in this group of disciples. You have had this time for clarification of your thoughts and to give you the opportunity to define clearly to yourself the objectives and purposes of the work which this group should soon begin. You start somewhat handicapped as we have waived all the initial work and preliminary training in your case. You are starting in at the stage of organised group work. Will you do this with patient application and an unquestioning but voluntary obedience? Let not world glamour overcome you and see to it that you are not drawn into the vortex of fears and of pessimism which surrounds so many people these days.
As I have earlier told you, you are relatively free from glamour but the forces today are so strong that all disciples must definitely protect themselves. For you, this protection lies in some form of creative work. This is made easier for you by the fact that your personality ray and the ray of your mind are identical and also because your soul, anchored and focussed in your etheric body, can—if you so choose—galvanise your physical body into almost any kind of needed creative activity.
One of the things which all disciples have to learn to do is to avail themselves of the forces and energies which are theirs by right of inherent possession; these are, however, but seldom employed with understanding by the average man or woman. [Page 135] They are usually the victims and not the users of these powers. Few realise how stupendous are the energies upon which they can draw at will. Your problem is predominantly the establishing of a dynamic relation between all the inner and subtler forces which are focussed in your etheric body so that you can occultly "bring through" into outer expression, via the physical brain, the riches of realisation, of understanding and of wisdom which are your possession. This bringing through is not accomplished by you as adequately as it might be, though you do succeed at times in so doing. You should aim at the outer expression of the inner nature with greater frequency and should seek to make the conscious link between the outer and the inner more dynamic and real. Ponder on this. The strength, wisdom and love of every disciple in the world today is earnestly needed. Humanity is demanding help and the Hierarchy is asking for cooperation.
The necessity to do and to be objectively active is a major glamour of yours, brother of mine. You need to learn the lesson that it is relatively of no importance what you do. That which is of major importance is to register consciously and all the time just exactly what you are doing. I would have you remember that right doing is the result of being. If your awareness of being is of a personality nature, so will be your activity. If your consciousness is focussed in spiritual being, your spontaneous, creative and active service will be consequently by radiation. I would have you ponder on this.
For many disciples in training at this time, the present crisis presents a period or an interlude of withdrawing in order to re-focus and to learn again at the source of interior wisdom. So it is with you. Be occupied with the problem of sensitive response and not with the glamour of the work which you must do. Deal with causes and not with effects. The effects are inevitably effective.
NOTE: This disciple is still working actively with the Tibetan.
MY BROTHER AND MY FRIEND:
For you, as for all disciples at this time of world crisis, life has been exceedingly difficult. This is not a platitudinous truism—in spite of A.A.B. remarking sub rosa that it was. She knows me so well that for years her comments have proved a source of amusement to me and sometimes have proved most helpful in aiding me to understand the occidental mind. I am an Oriental of the fourth root race and although I have had two European incarnations I still at times fail to grasp or understand the occidental reaction. But the [Page 474] remark above is not simply fatuous, but contains in it the clue to your future. Your difficulties at this time stem largely from others more than from yourself; they are instructive more than karmic.
You have led a useful and fruitful life; there is still much for you to do which will enable you to lay the finger of love upon the hearts and lives of others; as you do so, you relate them to yourself and bring them under "the eye's direction." The larger, wider work of a disciple has not, however, been yours this life. Your task has been preparatory to this, and—if you will carry this realisation in mind for the remainder of this incarnation—you will pass on into a life cycle which will reveal to you the path which, as an initiate, you are choosing to tread.
In this connection, forget not, brother of mine, that the teaching ray conditions you and that there is a major difference between teaching as a human being, no matter how good, and teaching as an initiate; it is as a pledged disciple that you will learn this basic distinction. It will also have a definite effect upon your life.
This thought gives me the chance to point out to you (and incidentally to your group brothers) that many disciples today—who, like yourself, are not engaged in any spectacular world work—are engaged in establishing those contacts, here, there and everywhere, which will form the nucleus of that group of aspirants and of younger disciples which every senior disciple and initiate automatically gathers around him. He does not, in any particular incarnation, go out into the world and say: "I will gather a group which will form my future ashram." If he does this, he will fail; if, however, he seeks to aid spiritually and to stimulate divinely those whom he meets in his daily round of duty, that tells a different tale. No one is then unimportant. Deliberately, he gathers people to him because he steadily loves and helps. Some of these may be just passing by to other goals, and with them he has no permanent link; others send out to him a responsive thread of understanding and request and—as his intuition develops—he recognises them as his own; he esoterically "intertwines [Page 475] the thread of his life with theirs," thereby assuming responsibility and forming a more permanent link, both in response and in karmic relationship. Both become indissolubly linked.
You have touched many lives in your lifework as teacher, and you know and understand in some measure those who have responded to you—to you as an individual and as someone to whom they can look for some measure of understanding. For the remainder of your life, I would ask you to have these thoughts in mind and begin to lay a planned foundation for the future. This is my definite work instruction for you at this time. It will entail a task of watchful observation, of a determined going out to help wherever that help may be needed. You have, in many ways, what I have referred to in my own mind as I have watched you, as a very well-managed inferiority complex—so well managed that you do not permit it to be a real hindrance; it is one which nevertheless exists and at times presents to you a problem. I would also ask you to ignore it increasingly, and in the decisions which you will have to make during the next twelve months please act with a positive belief in yourself and, without questioning, choose the field of largest opportunity.
1. The note sounds clear for you today, my chela and my friend. It is the hidden note of sacrifice. But sacrifice is not the thing you think it is.
2. The wisdom of the eye is yours. Let the radiation of your heart follow the eye's direction.
3. Live not upon the surface of events; you dwell deep at the centre and the springs of life.
4. The next ten years will hold for you three crises. Make them opportunities for expansive work.
5. The diadem, the robe of rose, the sandals on your feet and staff in hand—these are your proud possession.
6. Draw near to me in closer personal touch, devoid of personality. This paradox is clear.
I wonder if you drew out of the six statements what they were intended to convey to you of direction and instruction? To the fifth statement I seek to draw your attention. Reference is there made to the "diadem, the robe of rose, the sandals on your feet." What did these symbolic words convey to you? I mention them because I want to build your meditation for the next few months around the concepts hidden by these word forms. The first three statements were fairly simple for you to comprehend. The fourth conveyed a prophecy. The fifth contained some Words of Power and were intended to instruct you as to the nature of your life-orientation and the desired quality of your service during the coming ten years. They intimate that which you at this time possess but which needs increasing appreciation by you. Let me give you some idea as to their significances:
1. The Diadem. This is a dual symbol. It signifies accomplishment or the crowning period of your life (and this you now face, if you so choose), and it also conveys the idea of a more definite and steady use of the head centre. You are, of course, a "heart" person. The task ahead of you in your meditation work is to lift the energy of the heart centre into its correspondence in the head and begin to live more in the head than in the heart; you should begin also to fuse and blend the energy of this higher heart centre with that of the ajna centre, thus bringing the "directing eye" into greater service, prominence and usefulness. It is toward this objective that the meditation here suggested by me is planned.
2. The Robe of Rose. The symbolism here, my brother, is obvious. Rose is the colour of devotion, and of that quality you have a full supply. It is however to its magnetic attractive quality, as it affects others rather than yourself, that I seek to draw your attention. People of pledged devotion are those who have reached a point where that devotion is in no way a hindrance; it is seemingly a safeguard, [Page 477] simplifying their lives. Because of that fixed devotion, they can walk undeviatingly upon the Way. But they are apt to forget that—equally because of that devotion—they ray forth a quality which stimulates its correspondence in others. That is why sixth ray people can easily form a group around themselves. But they seldom succeed in holding those thus attracted for very long, because they do not understand the reason for this facility and ascribe it ever to wrong causes. Only your astral body is upon the sixth ray of devotion, but that makes it potent indeed and, in your case, produces that sense of inferiority to which I referred above. I would ask you to change your point of view and to regard your sixth ray astral body as a powerful piece of equipment to be used in service.
In these two symbolic phrases we have related the heart centre to the head centre, and likewise the heart centre to the astral body.
3. The Sandals on the Feet. Here, in other words, you have a simple reminder of the underlying and motivating power of your entire life. This can be summed up in the flat statement of three truths—unalterable and fixed because imposed upon your personality by your soul:
a. You are treading the Path of Discipleship.
b. You have arrived at a certain Ashram or centre of power upon that Path.
c. You are intelligently aware of these facts and they are the major conditioning factors in your life.
You have consequently established a thought rhythm which naught can change and which will be a powerful incentive in deciding the time of your return when this incarnation comes to an end, the type of vehicle which you will, as a soul, construct, and the nature of the race, nation and type of service to which the overshadowing soul will commit the personality. Energy follows thought. A definition of the personality might be expressed as follows: The personality of a disciple is a focal point of energy, established by the soul.
The "eye of direction," therefore, referred to in Statement 2, relates primarily to the long-distance view the soul [Page 478] is taking of you and your preparation for fuller service in the next life. A study of these three phrases will carry you into the realm of quality, and not simply of symbolism; the concept of heart radiation, attractive power, and the responsibility of preparation emerge clearly in the three ideas underlying the meditation suggested below. My proposal to you is that you do this meditation only twice a week—on Sundays and on one day in the middle of the week. On the other days you will simply carry forward the group reflective assignment with your group brothers. In this way the days of your personal orientation in meditation will be gladly anticipated events. Will you try out this plan, my brother?
Stage I. The Diadem.
1. The establishing of relation between:
a. The heart centre and the head centre.
b. The heart centre in the head and the ajna centre.
Thus a lesser triangle of energy or of "lighted, living relation" is established: heart, head and ajna centres.
c. The waiting, dedicated, devoted personality and the soul.
Thus a greater triangle is established: soul, head and heart.
Visualise these triangles as relating and focussing your consciousness as far as may be in the head, midway between the soul and the heart centre up the spine—and therefore using as that midway point the heart centre in the head. Avoid concentrating upon location. Just imagine the point of attainment as that of the Diadem.
2. Then reflect quietly upon the directive power of the soul:
a. Working within the symbolic "diadem of attainment."
b. Using the impelling "eye of the soul" as a directing agent; i.e., the ajna centre, or the centre between the eyebrows.
c. Then say the following words with full intent:
"May that soul of mine whose nature is love and wisdom direct events, impel to action, and guide my every word and deed."
Stage II. The Robe of Rose.
1. The next undertaking is a conscious establishing of relation with others through:
a. The focussing of the power or energy of devotion within yourself so that it becomes:
1. A radiation affecting others.
2. An attractive force relating them to you as their temporary source of spiritual light.
3. A magnetic influence, stimulating a new activity of their soul in connection with their personalities.
b. An act of service, wherein you flood the personalities of those you are seeking to help, with the pure rose colour (most carefully visualised by you) of spiritual devotion. This stream of warm rose and radiating light will esoterically drive them in devotion to their own souls and will not attract them to you—a thing which is never desirable.
2. Then say with all the outpouring love of which you will increasingly find yourself capable:
"Let the love of the soul attract and the light of the soul direct all whom I seek to help. Thus will humanity be saved by me and all affiliated with the Hierarchy."
Stage III. The Sandals on the Feet.
1. Reflect more now in relation to yourself, and ponder upon the Path in three ways:
a. The Path which you have travelled to my Ashram. This will involve the Past.
b. The Path of Service which you seek to travel now, moving freely in and out of my Ashram. This involves the Present.
c. The Path of Initiation for which you are being [Page 480] prepared. This involves the Future—your future and its goal. You begin to realise yourself as a pledged, devoted servant.
2. Then in your own words, and aloud, you will dedicate yourself in a threefold manner to an increased conscious activity as an accepted disciple.
3. Seek now—definitely and quietly and with a spirit of waiting anticipation—to contact me, your Master and your friend. Expect results, though not at the time you anticipate.
4. Sound the OM softly seven times.
May peace and courage abide with you, my brother:
As I give you this personal instruction (one which can suffice you for this life) I ask myself: What is the thing of greatest moment that I can say which will indicate the point of future emphasis, which will convey strength and positive assurance, and which will enable you to prepare for the next great step which immediately confronts you? Disciples seldom realise the responsibility that a Master shoulders as He seeks to prepare a group of people for world service; seldom do they understand the problem with which He is faced, even when dealing with the least advanced or dynamic among His neophytes. What are the factors which He has to consider and which are potent enough to negate much of His effort (as has been the case in this group), and which frequently condition a disciple to such an extent that he takes no definite steps to meet ashramic requirements, even when, technically and theoretically, he admits responsibility? Let me tell you one or two of these for your guidance and the guidance of the group:
1. The karma of the disciple. Of this, the disciple knows little and the Master much; with that karma He may not interfere, because growth and development eventuate as the disciple meets the inevitability of events, [Page 481] accepts his karma and works to offset it, actuated by right motive. Let me illustrate. The Master knows that it is the destiny of, and within the capacity of, a disciple to carry out a certain piece of work and thus to serve humanity in a particular manner. He knows also that it is His duty to bring the disciple to the point of comprehension and to aid him in the accurate performance of this duty. But as He considers the disciple's karma, He finds that mortal disease will, in a few years' time, lay the mechanism of accomplishment low and prevent both effort and accomplishment. He therefore refrains from an educational process which would otherwise be obligatory upon Him.
2. Faulty equipment. Oft a disciple, in a particular incarnation, lacks some needed characteristic, or some desirable quality, either in his emotional nature or in one or other of the bodies. He may, for instance, have a fine physical vehicle, great devotion and a brilliant intellect, but along with these, the quality of persistence is not present; the Master knows, therefore, that a steady cooperation and continuous effort is not yet possible. He dare not, consequently, incorporate the disciple (along with other members of His Ashram) in some designated piece of work and of service, because He knows that he will imperil the success of the joint endeavour. The group has therefore to proceed without the help which the disciple is otherwise competent to give.
3. A blind spot. This is one of the most frequent deterrents which confront a Master as He seeks to lead His disciples along the Way of Service. The disciple has some one great outstanding weakness of which he is entirely oblivious and completely unaware. If told of its existence, he flatly, conscientiously and sincerely denies its presence. He violently affirms the opposite virtue or strength. Yet all the time, this affirmation simply indicates the effort of his soul to build in a quality which, when adequately strong, will result in the expulsion of the deterring fault. As long as this [Page 482] condition exists, it is not possible for the disciple to be fully integrated into the Ashram, nor is it possible to convince him that—in this specific connection—he is totally blind. Vision will eventually and inevitably come, but it will come as a result of the disciple's own effort and his self-initiated awakening; once awakened, never again will blindness be possible.
4. An over-enthusiastic nature. This induces the disciple to rush wildly forward in an effort to accomplish the indicated task, to prove to the Master his staunch determination, and to his fellow members in the Ashram his great usefulness. This enthusiasm can wreck designated projects, shorten the life of the disciple, and thus interfere with his karma and make him a source of amusement and concern to his group.
All these factors, and several others still more subtle, have to be taken into account by a Master, as well as the age, the background and the time cycles of the disciple.
I would point out to you, therefore, that it lies entirely in your own hands to increase your usefulness in the Ashram. If I were asked by you today what phase of your development should receive your attention, I would reply: Seek consciously and strenuously to overcome negativity. For you, a cultivated and conscious negativity has been an escape mechanism from the executive and administrative nature of your life. Your soul has forced you for decades into the position of an executive, superintending and administering agent. Basically, this ran counter to your natural inclination. Yet it was supremely necessary and educational. Once however you had fulfilled the duties and obligations entailed, and had successfully and adequately carried out your task (which you always did), your personality—shrinking and sensitive—took refuge in a negative attitude to people as a whole; you developed an insulation which made it difficult for you to set up any major relation with other people.
Yet, my brother, little as you may realise it, those relationships with others, and a positive interplay with those you contacted, were ever desired by the people you met; people [Page 483] have always wanted to get closer to you; they have longed to know you better and to be of service and of moment to you. As an executive, you were ever available; as a soul, within a personality, you have lived your own life apart from others; you have not been easy to contact or to know; you were never responsive to approach, and your reactions to those who desired contact have been negative, and this at times when you yourself wanted closer rapport. Herein lies your task and your problem for the remaining years of your life. Learn, please, my brother, to be individually outgoing towards the people you meet and with whom life and circumstance bring you into association. Break loose—hard though it may be—from the thoughtforms which so powerfully condition you, based frequently upon an inferiority complex; refuse to permit the factors which so powerfully condition the trained, cultured person and the man who is the product of tradition, of good heritage and generations of civilised forbears to control you.
Your work with children has also tended to set you apart and make you the victim of an enforced loneliness. You could ever be free and magnetic with them but they intruded not upon the entrenched and enforced fortress of your being. You must now fit yourself to teach adults in your next incarnation, and this will necessitate a different approach and one which will invoke and involve every aspect of your being. The disciple teaches principally by what he is and by giving all of himself to all whom he meets. He moves outward spontaneously when someone comes within range of his possibility of contact. This is almost unknown to you. The lesson, therefore, which the trained disciple has to master is one of discernment. He needs to learn discrimination in contact if he is to avoid a useless, if well intentioned, promiscuity.
The stage of the world is so set at this time that there is full opportunity for you to find a wide sphere of contact, to work in full cooperation with other people and with co-disciples, and thus to force yourself to release the magnetic power of your soul-infused personality. Your inner development is greater by far than your outer expression; you need not, consequently, work with perseverance at interior unfoldment; [Page 484] you need to strain after outer ability to contact, to influence and to evoke response from all and sundry with whom your lot may be cast. Rebuffs, misunderstandings and lack of response will be natural at first until your "technique of contact" is discovered by you and established in action. Each disciple develops his own technique. You have yet to discover yours.
As with some others, I give you three words upon which I would ask you to reflect as time elapses, and from which you can expect definite results if there is any truth in the aphorism that "as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he."
The first word which I would suggest is Contact. Much soul contact and contact also with your group brothers on interior levels is easy for you and presents no difficulties, even if you believe it not. You have a well established contact along these lines, but your physical brain does not yet register it adequately. That is due entirely to conditions of insensitivity, inherent in your brain cells, and is of no great moment. From the standpoint of your daily meditation, I would ask you to go forth to each day's work with the intention of magnetically attracting (in order to help and serve) at least three people—either known to you or unknown. You might find it useful (at least for a time) to keep a diary of contacts; you should enter into it a conversation by means of which you got close to someone, a contact with some stranger which seemed fruitful and interesting, or a joint piece of work which you carried out in full comprehension with someone else. This will develop in you an outgoing spirit and an interest in the whole process of contact. It is through contacts and the development of a resultant mechanism, plus a habit of magnetic rapport, which is the secret of all expansions of relationships, and this is preliminary to initiation. Think on this, for it has its major importance to you.
The second word which I want to give you is Impression. This word gives you much scope for reflection, invoking as it does the entire problem of sensitive response to inner contacts and outer relations. It is the key to the development of a trained psychologist and is a branch of that aspect of the universal mind which we call truth. The power of correctly [Page 485] registered impression, the ability rightly to interpret it and then to draw from it correct deduction, is the secret of all diagnosis where psychology is concerned. When this is taken into consideration by a disciple in relation to people contacted, it is of enormous usefulness; impression—when analysed and the results of analysis are employed—presents a most useful study, particularly to people like you.
Finally, I would ask you to reflect upon the word Relationship. I would have you do this with the specialised objective of understanding how you, as a disciple in training, can set up those relationships which will bring aid and strength to others and thus sustain the work of the Ashram. I do not intend to enlarge upon this as I want you to arrive at your own conclusions and knowledges.
What I am really doing, my brother, is indicating to you the field of your future training—a training which will engross the remainder of your life. This training must be self-initiated and it must ever be undertaken in order to fit you to work in the Ashram, as a branch of the great Ashram of the Hierarchy. You are peculiarly fitted for this work; you need only to release the magnetic quality of your already developed nature and thus break down the barriers which may exist; thus you will find your field of service tremendously extended and your potency brought into the field of a realised inclusiveness.
It is in no way your fault that this group on the physical plane is being disbanded until the next life cycle of the majority of the members has arrived. It is distressing that the work on the physical plane has to end, but a close and honest analysis on the part of the group itself would probably show that the major reaction is a blend of two reactions: first of all, that they could not integrate and, secondly, a sense of loss because my communications with all of you have exoterically ended. Both of these are personality reactions. From the standpoint of a Master Who knows the unimportance of [Page 486] years, both of these reactions are of small importance. Few of you are really young; some of you are quite old, though none of you are as old as I am; in a relatively short time all of you will drop the outer handicap of the physical body and be ready for a fresh spiritual enterprise. Esoterically (if any of you so wish it), the situation remains unaltered, provided you keep it so yourselves. The inner contact is still there, exactly as it was before; the goal ahead for each of you is just the same and the door into my Ashram stands wide open to those who fulfil the requirements.
What, my brother, is basically your goal? Taking into consideration your ray and type, it is to infuse your personality with soul energy. This is in the nature of a platitude and you may well respond that this is true of all aspirants. This is assuredly so, but your particular soul-objective in this life was to bring this soul energy down from the subtler bodies into the three worlds so that they can charge the brain. This charging will result in a hastened development of soul quality as it can be demonstrated upon the physical plane.
As I have told you before, you are well developed on the inner planes, but your exoteric expression of this inner unfoldment is not adequately dynamic; it does not make adequate impress on the outer conditions of living. This you know. You have, I feel sure, pondered and studied the three words—Contact, Impression and Relationship—I gave you in my last instruction. I am equally confident that your approach was along the line of strengthening your contact with me, the Ashram and the group; to render yourself sensitive to spiritual impression, and also to see that your relationship was right in two directions: towards the Ashram and towards your fellowmen. That is all to the good but—for the sake of your own development and increased usefulness—I would have you take those same three words and (for the remainder of your life) direct your thinking towards contact with your fellowmen, towards the type of impression which you can establish—an impression which will enable them to impress others with the desire to discover truth and to persevere until the end. It will also involve your establishing with them an [Page 487] educational relationship evoked by the quality of your approach to them and the "satisfying tincture" of your life, as one of the Masters has expressed it.
Therefore for you, until I see you on the other side of the separating veil, there must be the expression of the three types of work—expressed in two directions: the stabilising of that expression towards the Ashram (and that, with you, is well-nigh a habit and need not, therefore, form a drive), and also an intensified effort to work out the meaning of these words with your fellowmen. That will be very much harder. There is so much dammed up spiritual power in you; if you released it whenever possible and in all directions, you would be surprised at the result. You could then make the last years of your life fruitful and rewarding, far more than they have ever been in the past. Your life has been a life of loveliness, though somewhat dimmed by negativity.
You are in process of stepping over the periphery of the Ashram towards its centre. It needs only a little dynamic effort on your part to give you the unquestioning assurance that you are within the ring-pass-not of the Ashram and are functioning as a conscious disciple. Most of the group are not yet at that stage. The Ashram enfolds you all, but the next move is for each and all of you—without aid or help—to step over the mental barrier which keeps you from conscious knowledge and which (when accomplished) will enable the Ashram to give you "the freedom of the city."
One of the ideas which disciples would find it helpful to grasp is that the process of passing over to the other side involves no discontinuance of the three processes of Contact, Impression and Relationship. These being the three words with which I earlier impressed you and which seem to me today to be of major importance in your life, I would have you grasp, if possible, somewhat the permanence of their importance. With the mass of ordinary humanity, focussed in all their activities and their thinking upon the physical plane, the period after death is one of semi-consciousness, of a failure to recognise location, and of emotional and mental bewilderment. With disciples there is still contact with people (usually those with whom they have been associated) in [Page 488] the hours of sleep; there is still the reception of impression from environment and associates, and there is still the recognition of relation with (as on earth) the assumption of responsibility.
One of the students in this group asked me a question some time ago which I have been long in answering. As it has a bearing on the subject we are considering, I shall answer it here. After a few subsidiary comments the student said: "I can still the outer shells or bodies, but have not dared to let go the connecting cord. Is it safe? Can you see my condition and can you tell me?" My reply is quite simple and I know he will understand:
Were you twenty years younger, my brother, with perfect safety you could break the connecting link, but owing to your age it is not, at this time, right so to do. There are some you have yet to help and one or two threads as yet to gather up. Undue strain upon the physical vehicle—no matter whether one is young or old—is never necessary and often of a harmful nature. Many aspirants in this group, in the Arcane School and elsewhere, are in training for work in the New Age and in the next life cycle, and their realisation is often bigger than the present equipment of brain cells warrants. Therefore, knowledge and registered expansion of consciousness is temporarily withheld until a better physical vehicle is available. I mention this because some suffer from discouragement when, after years of work and the achievement of old age, they find themselves registering a static condition, or what they deem to be static. There is no need for such a feeling, but there is need for care and the progression of the interior work, e'en when the external recording is apparently lacking.
To resume with your own instruction, if you would care to increase the capacity of the three activities—contact, impression, relationship—you might follow a simple exercise when going to sleep at night.
After achieving complete comfort, as far as may be possible, attempt to assume an inner attitude of planned, quiet discarding of the physical body, keeping the whole concept upon the mental plane, yet realising it to be a simple brain [Page 489] activity. The heart is in no way to be involved. Your objective is to preserve consciousness as you withdraw it from the brain and pass out on the subtler levels of awareness. You are not discarding the physical body permanently, therefore the life thread anchored in the heart is not involved. The aim is, for a few hours and whilst clothed in the astral and mental vehicles, to be consciously aware elsewhere. With determination you become a focussed, interested point of consciousness, intent on emerging from the casing of the physical body. That point you hold, refusing to look backward at the physical vehicle, or at the worries, interests and circumstances of daily life, fixedly waiting for the moment when your negative attitude to the physical plane and your positive attitude to the inner planes will bring a moment of release, perhaps a flash of light, the perception of an aperture of escape, or the recognition of your surroundings, plus the elimination of all surprise or the expectation of any phenomena.
You are (as you practice this exercise of withdrawal) only going through an ordinary everyday process. If facility in doing this exercise is achieved, the hour of death will find you automatically and easily—because the physical body is making no resistance but remains quiescent and negative—able to make the Great Transition without concern or fear of the unknown. This is an exercise I would like to see all the group undertake. It involves only the steady preservation of an attitude, a fixed determination to hold on to the point of consciousness which is your persistent Self, plus a live expectancy. I have chosen these words with care and would ask you to study them with equal care.
I would like also to formulate your meditation along these three concepts of Contact, Impression and Relationship. The length of the meditation is entirely dependent upon your own choice or temporary need; it is susceptible of application to all or any circumstances and you could use it for the remainder of your life (many years or few) without exhausting its possibilities or usefulness. The outline is not a rigid form, as are so many which I have given to the group. It is intended simply to be suggestive. You can make your life a rich experience by the use of these suggestions:
1. Poise yourself at the "door of exit" in the head. Realise that that point is one from which you can look outward upon the world of physical living, inward upon the world of the emotions or of mental perception, or upward towards the soul. These three directions form a triangle of projected sensitivity.
Then sound the OM three times, bearing these directions in mind.
2. Take then the word Contact into your consciousness and ponder upon these three fields of contact in which it is possible for you to move—the physical plane, the kama-manasic plane, and the kingdom of the soul. Study these planes of possible and unavoidable contact (for the aspiring disciple) and study them from the angle of things as they are. When you have somewhat exhausted this work of familiarising yourself with the possible contacts, remembering that this particular work will make your life fruitful in all three directions:
Then again sound the OM and attempt to withdraw to a point of silent contemplation upon the mental plane. Again sound the OM.
3. The fact of the possibility of Impression now must engross your attention. You begin to study the general tenor and the outstanding lessons which physical, astral or mental contact makes on you, what they have done for you during this life cycle or during the past week or day; then definitely and with full concentrated interest and attention—you orient yourself to the soul; you stand consciously ready for impression. What that impression will convey, what thought will come to you or what call to service will sound forth, you know not. Your attitude is one of a radiant, silent, poised expectancy, and nothing else is permitted. This you must work to attain. Note (if it comes) the emergence of some clear thought, the clarification of some bewilderment, the expansion of some mental perception into an intuition, with its consequent expansion of [Page 491] consciousness. You can give as long or as short a time to this as you choose, but never less than ten minutes.
Then orient yourself to me, your Master and friend for many years, and again wait. Perchance there may be something I may have to say to you. You will note that I have used the word "orient" in both cases; I have not said "achieve contact." The task of receiving impression is not an easy one, and you may have to work some time on these different levels before you register any definite response from an achieved contact, for that is what it then will be.
Then sound the OM twice.
4. Having reached as high a point of contact as you can, at any given time, you then begin to reorient yourself to the physical plane and the life of daily experience through a systematised process of Relationships. You assume—as a disciple on the physical plane—responsibility for those relationships (to the Ashram and to me) through service planned and rendered; to the soul through fusion, rendered expressive on the mental plane; to the group emotional expression, and to your fellowmen. Grasp these recognitions of relationships, both as they affect your daily life expression and in relation to others with whom you live and work, down on the physical plane. Again, you bring this concept of essential relationships to the effect you have, as a human being on the Path, to all you meet and seek to aid. Couple ever with this thought the idea of responsibility.
Then sound the OM.
5. Next say the Invocation beginning with the stanza
"From the point of Light within the Mind of God
Let Light stream forth into the minds of men.
Let Light descend on Earth,"
and sound the OM three times. Please note that the OM in this meditation is to be sounded inaudibly.
If you will follow these suggestions, my brother, you will make rapid progress into spiritual objectivity, and your light [Page 492] will shine forth more radiantly. I, your Master, know your inner radiance. Permit the world of outer things to know it too. The wishes, coming from my heart for you, surround you.
In the preceding pages we dealt with certain definitions of the words (frequently used interchangeably) dealing with illusion and glamour. We found that:
1. Illusion is primarily of a mental quality and was characteristic of the attitude of mind of those people who are more intellectual than emotional. They have outgrown glamour as usually understood. It is the misunderstanding of ideas and thoughtforms of which they are guilty, and of misinterpretations.
2. Glamour is astral in character, and is far more potent at this time than illusion, owing to the enormous majority of people who function astrally always.
3. Maya is vital in character and is a quality of force. It is essentially the energy of the human being as it swings into activity through the subjective influence of the mental illusion or astral glamour or of both in combination.
4. The Dweller on the Threshold, always present, swings however into activity only on the Path of Discipleship, when the aspirant becomes occultly aware of himself, of the conditions induced within him as a result of his interior illusion, his astral glamour and the maya surrounding his entire life. Being now an integrated personality (and no one is a disciple, my brother, unless he is mental as well as emotional, which is a point the [Page 27] devotee oft forgets) these three conditions (with the preponderance of the effect in one or other of the bodies) are seen as a whole, and to this whole the term the "Dweller on the Threshold" is applied. It is in reality a vitalised thoughtform—embodying mental force, astral force and vital energy.
The problem, therefore, before all of you in this group is to learn first of all:
1. To distinguish between these three inner illusory aspects.
2. To discover what conditions in the environment or in the individual constitution induce these situations of difficulty.
3. To find out what methods are effective in inducing a cessation of the bewildering deceiving conditions.
It must be remembered also that these distorting conditions, found in all of you, are the medium whereby you are tuned in on the world glamour and illusion. The emphasis has been laid in esoteric teaching on the training and liberation of the individual aspirant. This is, of course, necessary, for the mass is made up of the individuals, and in the steady release from the control of these inner delusions will come the eventual clarification of humanity. Therefore each of you in this group must of necessity work separately and apart with himself, and learn to induce those conditions of clarity and truth which will overcome the ancient rhythms and deep-seated habits and thus steadily purify the aura. But this has now to be done as a group, and this group constitutes one of the first of the exoteric groups with which it is intended to work in the new age. Through the activity of such groups, the world glamour will be dissipated, [Page 28] but first of all the aspirant must learn to deal with individual and group glamour. It is necessary to remember the following three things. I am going to be brief and technical in teaching this group, for my time is short and you have an adequate technical knowledge with which to understand that whereof I speak.
First, the united auras of the group members ever determine the group condition, the group activity, usefulness, problem and glamour. Hence emerges individual group responsibility and individual usefulness. Each of you either hinders or aids the group, according to his auric condition, which is either in a state of glamour or illusion or is kept relatively free from these conditions.
Second, that the first job that each of you has to do is to determine his own peculiar problem. In giving you your individual instructions, I will take up with you in this instruction where the particular tendency in this direction of each of you lies, and whether it is glamour, illusion or maya to which you habitually succumb. I will deal with directness, for I have tested your sincerity and believe in your willingness to be told the truth. Once you have each determined the specific nature of your peculiar problem, you can then work with deliberation towards its solution—with deliberation, brother of old, and with no speed, but with due care and caution and with right understanding.
Thirdly, you must remember that as I look at the individual in any of these groups, I can at the same time gauge the quality of the group itself as a whole. The amount of inner light that can shine through and make its presence felt in your auras can be seen by me and indicate to me the strength and the efficiency and also the potency of your individual group influence, for the positive auras subordinate the negative auras. What is required is a combination of positive auras, deliberately subordinated to group work. [Page 29] As you deal with illusion and as you free your minds from its effects, and as you dissipate the astral glamour in which you are all more or less immersed, you will enter into a greater freedom of living and usefulness. As the maya of distorted energy currents ceases to swing you into lines of undesirable activity, the light that is in you will shine forth with greater clarity. Incidentally the Dweller on the Threshold will slowly and surely disintegrate and leave your way, to the door of Initiation, free and unimpeded.
Strongly mental types are subject to illusion. This illusion is in reality a condition wherein the aspirant is being definitely controlled by:
1. A thoughtform of such potency that it does two things:
a. Controls the life activity or output.
b. Tunes the aspirant in on the mass thoughtforms, which are of a similar nature, and which are built by others under the dominance of a similar illusion.
This, in its worst aspect, produces mental insanity or idée fixe, but in its least dangerous and normal result produces the fanatic. The fanatic is usually—even if he realises it not—a bewildered man, who has a potent idea of some kind or another, but who finds it quite impossible to integrate it into the world picture; to make those needed, and often divinely directed, compromises which profoundly help humanity; to find the time or place for the realities which are within his natural grasp.
2. When a man is highly developed, the mental illusion is built around a definite intuition and this intuition is concretised by the mind until its appearance is so real that the man believes he sees so clearly that which should be done or given to the world that he spends his time endeavouring [Page 30] in a fanatical manner to make others see it too. Thus his life slips away on the wings of illusion and his incarnation is a relatively profitless one. In a few rare cases, this combination of intuition and mental activity produces the genius in some field or another; but then there is no illusion, but clear thinking, coupled with a trained equipment in that particular field or enterprise.
3. The weaker and more average mental types of people succumb to the general field of illusion and of mass illusion. The mental plane manifests a different sort of distortion to that of the astral plane or the etheric. The faculty of discrimination which is being developed has produced sharper lines of demarcation, and instead of the dense fogs and mists of the astral plane or the swirling tides and currents of energy of the etheric plane, we have on the mental plane masses of sharply indicated thoughtforms of a particular quality and note and tone, around which are grouped lesser thoughtforms, created by those who respond to these forms, and to their note, quality and tone. Similarities are then seen to exist which constitute channels or avenues for the magnetic drawing power of the more potent thoughtforms. Ancient theologies in modern garb, fixed presentations of half truth, the wild thinking of various world groups, and many similar emanating sources have—down the ages—produced the world of illusion and those mental states which have held humanity prisoner to wrong concepts and thoughts. So many are these thought producing illusions that the effect in the world today has been to cause a general division of the human race into varying schools of thought (philosophy, science, religion, sociology, etc., etc.), into many parties and groups, all of them coloured by an analogous idea, into groups of idealists fighting each other on behalf of their pet concepts, and into tens [Page 31] of thousands of participants in group mental activity. These are today producing the world literature, through which the world platforms are coloured; by their means the world leaders are inspired; and they are responsible at this time for the mass of experiments in the field of government, of education, and of religion which are producing so much of the world unrest, and consequently so much of the world illusion.
What is needed therefore at this time, are thinkers who are training themselves in that mental attitude and one-pointedness which is divorced from the danger of a negative receptivity and is responsive, at the same time, to the higher intuitional inspiration. It is mediating interpreters of ideas that are needed and not mediums.
The emotional types respond with facility to world glamour and to their own individual inherited and self-induced glamour. The bulk of the people are purely emotional with occasional flashes of real mental understanding—very occasional, my brother, and usually entirely absent. Glamour has been likened to a mist or fog in which the aspirant wanders and which distorts all that he sees and contacts, preventing him from ever seeing life truly or clearly or the conditions surrounding him as they essentially are. When he is a somewhat advanced aspirant, he is aware of the glamour and occasionally sees in a flash in what direction truth for him may lie. But then again the glamour settles down upon him and he is rendered powerless to release himself or to do anything constructive. His problem becomes further complicated by his consequent distress and his deep disgust with himself. He walks ever in a fog and sees naught as it truly exists. He is deceived by the appearance and forgets that which the appearance veils. The emanatory astral reactions which each human [Page 32] being initiates ever surround him and through this mist and fog he looks out upon a distorted world. These reactions and the surrounding aura which they constitute blend and merge with the world glamour and fog and form part of the miasmas and unhealthy emanations for which the masses of men, for millions of years, are responsible.
I would point out to you that, in Lemurian days, glamour and illusion were relatively unknown from the human standpoint. There were no mental reactions and but little emotional response to environment. Men were largely instinctual animals. Glamour began to be found in Atlantean days, and since that time has steadily precipitated, until today when the Hierarchy looks at humanity it appears to be walking in a deep and constantly changing density of currents which hide and distort, and which swirl around the sons of men and prevent their seeing the LIGHT as it is. This is all the more obvious when it is remembered that the other kingdoms of nature are relatively free from glamour and illusion. In our race, the Aryan, the world illusion is gathering weight and slowly emerging into recognition in the human consciousness and this is a real point gained, for that which is recognised can then be intelligently handled, if the will to do so exists. Today illusion is so potent, that few people whose minds are in any way developed but are controlled by these vast illusory thoughtforms, which have their roots and draw their life from the lower personality life and desire nature of the masses of men. It is interesting to remember also in connection with our Aryan race that these thoughtforms draw their vitality also from the realm of ideas, but of ideas wrongly intuited and grasped and forced to serve the selfish purposes of men. Their forms have been brought into activity by the steadily growing creative power of mankind, and have been subordinated to the wishes of men, through the [Page 33] use of language with its power to limit and distort. The illusion is also precipitated more potently than would otherwise be the case by the effort of many devoted idealistic men to impose these distorted thoughtforms upon the mental bodies of the masses. This constitutes one of the major problems with which the Hierarchy today has to concern itself; it is also one of the first factors which a Master has to consider in connection with any aspirant and disciple.
Glamour, as we have seen, is of more ancient standing and of earlier emergence than is illusion. It has little in it of the mental quality and is the major factor controlling the majority. The objective of all training given on the Path of Discipleship and up to the third initiation is to induce that clear thinking which will render the disciple free from illusion and give to him that emotional stability and poise which gives no room for the entrance of any of the world glamour. This freedom becomes possible when there is in the aspirant no personal glamour, and no deliberately self-induced response to the determining factors which have produced glamour down the ages. With these factors we will later deal.
Maya is the result of both glamour and illusion. It connotes, when present, an integrated personality and therefore the capacity to tune in on mental illusion and astral glamour. Where this condition is found, the problem of the disciple is one of the greatest in the world. What constitutes the prime difficulty of any disciple is the fact that the battleground of his life involves every aspect of his nature. The whole man is involved. Technically, the word MAYA should only be used in two cases:
1. In reference to the united glamour-illusion to which a man who is an integrated personality responds.
2. In speaking of the limitations of the planetary Logos of our planet.
In the above remarks I have given you much food for thought—not only as regards your own personal problems (for all of you are subject to these conditions), but I have also indicated to you what is the nature of glamour. The word is used in all esoteric books and teaching to cover the conditions which are differentiated under the words maya, illusion and glamour itself. Later I will give you some teaching upon the causes of glamour and the methods of its dissipation. But I have given you here enough for the present, for it is my desire that you ponder upon these ideas during the next few months and learn somewhat of the significance of these words which you so lightly use. Watch yourselves and your daily life with discrimination, so that you learn to distinguish between glamour, illusion and maya. See whether you can discover the form which your individual Dweller upon the Threshold is likely to assume as you come into conflict with it; and if you do the same for your group brothers and the immediate world need, you will lose no time in the work of your astral clarification and mental release.
I would ask you to study these instructions with peculiar care, for I am taking the time and trouble these busy days to meet your need and to bring as much light as I can, without infringing your free will, to meet your need and clear your course to service.
I would suggest also that you find out all that you can anent the much misunderstood subject of the aura: search out what is said in my books and in the writings extant in any good occult library. I seek no copying out of paragraphs but a formulation of your knowledge so that you [Page 35] can answer clearly questions which might be asked. The following three questions are basic:
1. What is the aura and how does it come into existence?
2. How can the aura be made the medium of light, and the light which should shine through it be intensified?
3. Have you noticed what is the effect which your own individual aura is making upon your environment and how can you improve that effect?
This will enable you to make practical application of that which I seek to teach you. Forget not that as you look out upon the world and your immediate environment, that you look out through your aura and have, therefore, to deal with glamour and illusion.
There are three further questions which you might put to yourself, facing the issue in the light of your soul:
1. Do I suffer primarily from glamour or from illusion?
2. Do I know which quality or characteristic in my nature facilitates my tuning in on the world glamour or the world illusion?
3. Have I reached the point where I can recognise my peculiar Dweller on the Threshold, and can I state what form it takes?
That you may indeed as individuals and also as a group learn the meaning of true self- knowledge and so learn to stand in spiritual being, increasingly free from glamour and illusion, is the prayer of your friend and brother who has fought his way through to a greater measure of light...
During the past six months, four members of this group of students have been fighting glamour in their own individual lives, and for the most part successfully. I make reference to this because in an experimental group such as this, it is well to anticipate such a situation; such wrestling will naturally occur, because only that which is experimentally known becomes a true content of the equipment of the disciple. Earlier I referred to the fact that part of the plan of the Hierarchy embraces the starting of small groups such as this one which would have the definite objective of providing the active means whereby the world glamour—today so potent and deep—can be dissipated.
The time has not yet come for dealing with the world illusion on a large scale, for the race is not adequately mental nor has the illusion (which is, as I have stated, pre-eminently the result of the misinterpretation of ideas) reached its height. But the hour has struck for the first steps to be taken in the dissipation of glamour, and the hold of glamour upon the race should be appreciably lessened in the future. Hence the practical training now being given in this group in their own lives; hence also the intended teaching later to be given to the group—if they measure up to the opportunity—which will enable them to aid in the concerted and planned attack upon the world glamour. Wrestle therefore with your personal problems along these lines, my brothers, for in this way you will gain facility in discernment, in clear precise action, and in strengthened understanding.
In the process of dissipating glamour, the way of the greatest potency is to realise the necessity to act purely as a channel for the energy of the soul. If the disciple can make right alignment and consequent contact with his soul, the results show as increased light. This light pours down and irradiates not only the mind, but the brain consciousness [Page 37] as well. He sees the situation more clearly: he realises the facts of the case as against his "vain imaginings"; and so the "light shines upon his way." He is not yet able to see truly in the larger sweeps of consciousness; the group glamour and, of course, the world glamour remain to him as yet a binding and bewildering mystery, but his own immediate way begins to clear, and he stands relatively free from the fog of his ancient and distorting emotional miasmas. Alignment, contact with his soul, and then steadfastness, are the keynotes to success.
It will therefore be apparent to you that small groups such as this, if established in different countries and cities and if successful in their personal activities, could play a most useful part. Such groups would have two aspects to their endeavour. They would have to wrestle with group glamour which creeps inevitably into group life through the instrumentality of the group members. Their united personal glamours provide the open door through which group glamour can enter. An instance of this can be seen in this group, when glamour entered in through the medium of L.T.S-K., and swept I.B.S. into its vortex of force. It was overcome, fortunately, leaving you all the richer and more united on account of the strong stand in love taken by the other group members. May I remind L.T.S-K. and I.B.S. of their deep indebtedness to the love of their brothers. The group love protected them. I.B.S. has gone a long way in freeing herself from certain aspects of glamour. L.T.S-K. is also freer than he was, but still has much to do. It is always difficult for the third ray person to cultivate the intuition. The apparently profound wisdom of the manipulative and devious science of the intelligence inherent in matter prevents oft the entrance of the true wisdom of the illumined mind. Six months ago I felt that it was probably impossible for L.T.S-K. to free himself [Page 38] from the glamour in which he habitually walked. Today a little more light shines upon his way and he may, if he frees himself still further from his self-generated thoughtforms, make the needed grade.
When group glamour has been somewhat dissipated and the group can walk in the "lighted Way" with freedom, then will come the time when the group can be trained in group alignment, group contact and group steadfastness. It can then begin the definite and scientific task of attacking the world glamour. It is of interest in this particular group to be reminded that this is part of the activity now being undertaken by certain people in the New Group of World Servers. Through the emphasis in the world of certain basic ideas such as goodwill and mutual inter-dependence, much is being done to dissipate the glamour in which the people of the world are walking. It is not the function of every server to form part of the massed attack upon the world glamour which is now getting under way. Everyone has to deal with glamour in his own personal life, but functions and activities differ. Yours is the work of the trained observers, and that training takes much time. At present, many of you do not recognise glamour when it meets you, and envelops you. It is only by its effects that you eventually know it for what it is. The time must come when your processes of observation are so keen that you will recognise it in its true nature before it immerses and engulfs you and produces those conditions which enable you to say later: "Why did I allow myself to be glamoured? Why was I so deluded?"
At this point I desire to do two things: I seek to outline a little more carefully this discussion or short treatise on glamour, so that our ideas may be clearly formulated and you will have a textbook for future reference which [Page 39] will serve to guide your group and analogous groups in the way of right activity. Secondly, I wish to recapitulate somewhat those things which I have already stated so as to enrich your understanding of the various phases of the world glamour. This world glamour, the analytical mind has to differentiate into distinctive phases, calling them Illusion, Glamour, Maya and that synthetic thoughtform, found on the Path of Discipleship, which is called by some schools of esotericism the Dweller on the Threshold.
As you will see from this, my brothers, we have set ourselves a large theme, which must be very carefully handled. My task is a difficult one, because I write for those who are still held by the varying aspects of glamour, and usually by the secondary glamour and maya. Illusion does not yet fully play its part and the Dweller is seldom adequately realised. I would here remind you of a stupendous occult fact and will ask you to endeavour to understand that whereof I speak. The Dweller on the Threshold does not emerge out of the fog of illusion and of glamour until the disciple is nearing the Gates of Life. Only when he can catch dim glimpses of the Portal of Initiation and an occasional flash of light from the Angel of the Presence Who stands waiting beside that door, can he come to grips with the principle of duality, which is embodied for him in the Dweller and the Angel. Do you comprehend that whereof I speak? As yet, my words embody for you symbolically a future condition and event. The day will surely come, however, when you will stand in full awareness between these symbols of the pairs of opposites, with the Angel on the right and the Dweller on the left. May strength then be given to you to drive straight forward between these two opponents, who have for long ages waged warfare in the field of your life, and so may you [Page 40] enter into that Presence where the two are seen as one, and naught is known but life and deity.
In summarising some of the information I have given to you concerning the four aspects of glamour, I would offer the following tabulation for your careful consideration.
1. A dawning sense of maya arose in Lemurian days, but there was no real glamour and illusion.
2. Glamour arose in early Atlantean times.
3. Illusion arose among advanced human beings in later Atlantean days and will be a controlling factor in our Aryan race.
4. The Dweller on the Threshold arrives at full potency at the end of this race, the Aryan, and in the lives of all initiates prior to taking the third initiation.
5. The subhuman kingdoms in nature are free from glamour and illusion, but are immersed in the world maya.
6. The Buddha and His 900 arhats struck the first blow at the world glamour when He promulgated His Four Noble Truths. The Christ struck the second blow with His teaching of the nature of individual responsibility and of brotherhood. The next blow will be struck by the New Group of World Servers, acting under the direction of Christ and His disciples, symbolically described as "Christ and His 9000 initiates."
7. The Four Keynotes to the solution of the problem of glamour are:
Intuition . . . Illumination . . . Inspiration . . . The Angel of the Presence.
The Hindu teaching holds that the states of mind-consciousness are seven in number. The [Page 173] sixth sense and its use bring about seven modes of thought, or—to put it more technically—there are seven major modifications of the thinking principle. These are:
1. Desire for knowledge. It is this which drives forth the Prodigal Son, the soul into the three worlds of illusion, or (to carry the metaphor further back still) it is this which sends forth the Monad or Spirit into incarnation. This basic desire is what causes all experience.
2. Desire for freedom. The result of experience and of the investigations which the soul carries on in its manifold life-cycles is to cause a great longing for a different condition and a great desire for liberation and for freedom from the wheel of rebirth.
3. Desire for happiness. This is a basic quality of all human beings, though it shows itself in many different ways. It is based upon an inherent faculty of discrimination and upon a deep seated capacity to contrast the "Father's" home and the Prodigal's present condition. It is this inherent capacity for "bliss" or happiness which produces that restlessness and urge to change which lies back of the evolutionary urge itself. It is the cause of activity and progress. Dissatisfaction with the present condition is based upon a dim memory of a time of satisfaction and of bliss. This has to be regained before peace can be known.
4. Desire to do one's duty. The first three modifications of the thinking principle eventually bring evolving humanity to the state where the [Page 174] motive for life comes to be simply the fulfillment of one's dharma. The longing for knowledge, for freedom, and for happiness has brought the man to a state of utter dissatisfaction. Nothing brings him any true joy or peace. He has exhausted himself in the search for joy for himself. Now he begins to widen his horizon and to search where (in the group and in his environment), what he seeks may lie. He awakens to a sense of responsibility to others and begins to seek for happiness in the fulfillment of his obligations to his dependents, his family, friends and all whom he contacts. This new tendency is the beginning of the life of service which leads eventually to a full realization of the significance of group consciousness. H.P.B. has said that a sense of responsibility is the first indication of the awakening of the ego or the Christ principle.
5. Sorrow. The greater the refinement of the human vehicle, the greater the response of the nervous system to the pairs of opposites, pain and pleasure. As a man progresses and rises on the ladder of evolution in the human family it becomes apparent that his capacity to appreciate sorrow or joy is greatly increased. This becomes terribly true in the case of an aspirant and of a disciple. His sense of values becomes so acute and his physical vehicle so sensitized that he suffers more than the average man. This serves to drive him forward with increasing activity in his search. His response to outer contacts is ever more rapid and his capacity for pain, physical and emotional, becomes greatly increased. [Page 175] This is apparent in the fifth race and particularly in the fifth subrace in the increasing frequency of suicide. The capacity of the race to suffer is due to the development and refinement of the physical vehicle and to the evolution of the body of feeling, the astral.
6. Fear. As the mental body develops and the modifications of the thinking principle become more rapid, fear and that which it produces begin to demonstrate. This is not the instinctual fear of animals and of the savage races, which is based upon the response of the physical body to physical plane conditions, but the fears of the mind, based upon memory, imagination and anticipation, and the power to visualize. These are difficult to overcome and can only be dominated by the ego or soul itself.
7. Doubt. This is one of the most interesting of the modifications for it concerns causes more than effects. The man who doubts can be described perhaps as doubting himself as an arbiter of his fate, his fellowmen as to their nature and reactions, God, or the first cause as witnessed by the controversies built up around religion and its exponents, nature itself, which doubt urges him on to constant scientific investigation and finally, the mind itself. When he begins to question the capacity of the mind to explain, interpret and comprehend, he has practically exhausted the sum total of his resources in the three worlds.
The tendency of these seven states of mind, produced through the experience of the man upon the Wheel of Life is to bring him to the point [Page 176] where he feels that physical plane living, sentiency and mental processes have nothing to give and utterly fail to satisfy him. He reaches the stage which Paul refers to when he says "I count all things but loss that I may win Christ."
The seven stages of illumination have been described by a Hindu teacher as follows:
1. The stage wherein the chela realizes that he has run the whole gamut of life experience in the three worlds and can say "I have known all that was to be known. Nothing further remains to know." His place on the ladder is revealed to him. He knows what he has to do. This relates to the first modification of the thinking principle, desire for knowledge.
2. The stage wherein he frees himself from every known limitation, and can say "I have freed myself from my fetters." This stage is long but results in the attainment of freedom and relates to the second of the modifications dealt with above.
3. The stage wherein the consciousness shifts completely out of the lower personality and becomes the true spiritual consciousness, centered in the real man, the ego or soul. This brings in the consciousness of the Christ nature which is love, peace and truth. He can say now "I have reached my goal. Nothing remains to attract me in the three worlds." Desire for happiness is satisfied. The third modification is transcended.
4. The stage wherein he can say with truth "I have fulfilled my dharma, and accomplished my whole duty." He has worked off karma, and [Page 177] fulfilled the law. Thus he becomes a Master and a wielder of the law. This stage has relation to the fourth modification.
5. The stage wherein complete control of the mind is achieved and the peer can say "My mind is at rest." Then and only then, when complete rest is known can the true contemplation and samadhi of the highest kind be known. Sorrow, the fifth modification, is dispelled by the glory of the illumination received. The pairs of opposites are no longer at war.
6. The stage wherein the chela realises that matter or form have no longer any power over him. He can then say "The gunas or qualities of matter in the three worlds no longer attract me; they call forth no response from me." Fear therefore is eliminated for there is nothing in the disciple which can attract to him evil, death or pain. Thus equally the sixth modification is overcome and realisation of the true nature of divinity and utter bliss takes its place.
7. Full self-realisation is the next and final stage. The initiate can now say, with full conscious knowledge, "I am that I am" and he knows himself as one with the All-Self. Doubt no longer controls. The full light of day or completed illumination takes place and floods the whole being of the seer.
These are the seven stages upon the Path, the seven stations of the cross as the Christian puts it, the seven great initiations and the seven ways to bliss. Now the "Path of the just shineth ever more and more until the perfect day."
We now come to the practical part of the book, wherein instruction is given as to the method to pursue if full yoga, union, or at-one-ment is to be achieved. The work might be described as twofold:
1. The practice of the right means whereby union is brought about,
2. The discipline of the lower threefold man so that impurity in any of the three bodies is eradicated.
This steadfast application to the twofold work produces two corresponding results, each dependent upon its cause:
1. Discrimination becomes possible. The practice of the means, leads the aspirant to a scientific understanding of the distinction existing between the self and the not-self, between spirit and matter. This knowledge is no longer theoretical and that to which the man aspires, but is a fact in the experience of the disciple and one upon which he bases all his subsequent activities.
2. Discernment takes place. As the purificatory process is carried on, the sheaths or bodies which veil the reality become attenuated and no longer act as thick veils, hiding the soul, and the world wherein the soul normally moves. The aspirant becomes aware of a part of himself, [Page 179] hitherto hidden and unknown. He approaches the heart of the mystery of himself and draws closer to the "Angel of the Presence" which can only be truly seen at initiation. He discerns a new factor and a new world and seeks to make them his own in conscious experience upon the physical plane.
It should be noted here that the two causes of revelation, the practice of the eight means to yoga and the purification of the life in the three worlds, deal with the man from the standpoint of the three worlds and bring about (in the man's physical brain) the power to discriminate between the real and the unreal and to discern the things of the spirit. They cause also certain changes of conditions within the head, reorganize the vital airs and act directly upon the pineal gland and the pituitary body. When these four:
are part of the life of the physical plane man, then the spiritual man, the ego or thinker on his own plane attends to his part of the liberating process and the final two stages are brought about from above downwards. This sixfold process is the correspondence upon the Path of Discipleship, of the individualizing process, wherein animal man, the lower quaternary (physical, etheric, astral and lower mental) received that twofold expression of spirit, atma-buddhi, spiritual will and spiritual love, which completed him and made him [Page 180] truly man. The two stages of development which are brought about by the ego within the purified and earnest aspirant, are:
1. Enlightenment. The light in the head, which is at first but a spark, is fanned to a flame which illumines all things and is fed constantly from above. This is progressive (see previous sutra), and is dependent upon steadfast practise, meditation and earnest service.
2. Illumination The gradually increasing downpour of fiery energy increases steadily the "light in the head," or the effulgence found in the brain in the neighborhood of the pineal gland. This is to the little system of the threefold man in physical manifestation what the physical sun is to the solar system. This light becomes eventually a blaze of glory and the man becomes a "son of light" or a "sun of righteousness." Such were the Buddha, the Christ, and all the great Ones who have attained.
.. .. ..
Sutra 36. As the result of this experience and meditation, the higher hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell are developed, producing intuitional knowledge.
Through meditation the aspirant becomes aware of the counterparts of the five senses as they are found in the subtler realms, and through their awakening and conscious use he becomes able to function as freely on the inner planes as he does on the physical. He can then serve intelligently in those realms and cooperate with the great evolutionary scheme.
The senses may be defined as those organs [Page 323] whereby man becomes aware of his surroundings. In the animal these five senses exist, but the thinking correlating faculty is lacking. They demonstrate as group faculty, analogous to a racial instinct in the human kingdom.
Each of these five senses has a definite connection with one or other of the seven planes of manifestation, and has also a correspondence on all the planes.
1. Physical Hearing
2. Astral Touch or feeling
3. Mental Sight
4. Buddhic Taste
5. Atmic Smell
A further tabulation taken from A Treatise on Cosmic Fire will serve to make clear the five different aspects of the five senses on the five planes, and for further information, the student is referred to that Treatise pages 186-202.
1. Hearing 5th gaseous
2. Touch, feeling 4th first etheric
3. Sight 3rd super ethric
4. Taste 2nd sub-atomic
5. Smell 1st atomic
1. Clairaudience 5th
2. Psychometry 4th
3. Clairvoyance 3rd
4. Imagination 2nd
5. Emotional idealism 1st
1. Higher clairaudience 7th |
2. Planetary psychometry 6th |
3. Higher clairvoyance 5th > Form
4. Discrimination 4th |
5. Spiritual discernment 3rd <
6. Response to group vibration 2nd > Formless
7. Spiritual telepathy 1st |
1. Comprehension 7th
2. Healing 6th
3. Divine vision 5th
4. Intuition 4th
5. Idealism 3rd
1. Beatitude 7th
2. Active service 6th
3. Realisation 5th
4. Perfection 4th
5. All knowledge 3rd
In the following table the numbers one, two, three, four and five under each sense refer to the planes of manifestation as given in the first tabulation above.
a. The First Sense............Hearing.
1. Physical hearing.
3. Higher clairaudience.
4. Comprehension (of four sounds)
b. The Second Sense............Touch or feeling.
1. Physical touch.
3. Planetary psychometry.
5. Active service.
c. The Third Sense............Sight.
1. Physical sight.
3. Higher clairvoyance.
4. Divine vision.
d. Fourth Sense............Taste.
1. Physical taste.
e. The Fifth Sense.........Smell.
1. Physical smell.
2. Emotional idealism.
3. Spiritual discernment.
5. All knowledge.
One fact continuously emerges in this text book of spiritual development, and that is, that the psychic powers, higher and lower, are hindrances to the highest spiritual state and must be left behind by the man who can function freed from the three worlds altogether. This is a hard lesson for the aspirant to grasp. He Is apt to think that a tendency towards clairvoyance or clairaudience is indicative of progress and a sign that his practice of meditation is beginning to take effect. It might prove just the opposite and inevitably [Page 326] will, should the aspirant be attracted by, or attached to, any of these forms of psychic faculty. An old Hindu writer says in connection with these powers:
"A mind whose mind stuff is emergent thinks highly of these perfections, just as a man born in misery considers even a small bit of wealth a pile of wealth. But a yogin whose mind-stuff is concentrated must avoid these perfections, even when brought near to him. One who longs for the final goal of life, the absolute assuagement of the threefold anguish, how could he have any affection for those perfections which go counter to the attainment of that goal."
"The occult powers described hitherto and to be described hereafter...serve as obstacles because they become the cause of distracting the mind by the various feelings they excite. But they are not quite useless inasmuch as they are great powers for good in moments when samadhi is suspended." It is of value to the aspirant to know what these powers are, how to control them and not be controlled by them, and how to use them in the service of his brother and of the Hierarchy, but they must be regarded as instruments and be relegated to the form side. It must be realised that they are the qualities or capacities of the sheaths or the form aspect, otherwise they will assume undue importance, engross undue attention and prove stumbling blocks to the progress of soul unfoldment.
We can take up this matter of the centres along three lines. Much has been written and discussed anent the centres, and much mystery exists which has aroused the curiosity of the ignorant, and has tempted many to meddle with that which does not concern them. I seek to elucidate somewhat and to give a new angle of vision to [Page 162] the study of these abstruse matters. I do not in any way intend to take up the subject from such an angle as to convey rules and information that will enable a man to vivify these centres and bring them into play. I sound here a solemn word of warning. Let a man apply himself to a life of high altruism, to a discipline that will refine and bring his lower vehicles into subjection, and to a strenuous endeavor to purify and control his sheaths. When he has done this and has both raised and stabilised his vibration, he will find that the development and functioning of the centres has pursued a parallel course, and that (apart from his active participation) the work has proceeded along the desired lines. Much danger and dire calamity attends the man who arouses these centres by unlawful methods, and who experiments with the fires of his body without the needed technical knowledge. He may, by his efforts, succeed in arousing the fires and in intensifying the action of the centres, but he will pay the price of ignorance in the destruction of matter, in the burning of bodily or brain tissue, in the development of insanity, and in opening the door to currents and forces, undesirable and destructive. It is not the part of a coward, in these matters concerning the subjective life, to move with caution and with care; it is the part of discretion. The aspirant, therefore, has three things to do:
1. Purify, discipline and transmute his threefold lower nature.
2. Develop knowledge of himself, and equip his mental body; build the causal body by good deeds and thoughts,
3. Serve his race in utter self-abnegation.
In doing this he fulfils the law, he puts himself in the right condition for training, fits himself for the ultimate application of the Rod of Initiation, and thus minimises the danger that attends the awakening of the fire.
All that is intended to do in this treatise, is to cast some further light upon these centres, to show their interrelation, and to trace the effects produced by their rightful development. To do this, as before stated, the subject will be divided into the following divisions:
1. The nature of the centres.
2. The centres and the rays.
3. The centres and kundalini.
4. The centres and the senses.
5. The centres and initiation.
As can be seen from the above tabulation, the subject is not only vast but abstruse. This is principally owing to the fact that until the race is normally clairvoyant, it is not in a position to verify what is said, and has to accept the statements of those who profess to know. Later when man can see and prove for himself, it will be possible to check up these statements; the time is not yet, except for the few.
Let us take the first point: I wish to enumerate the centres to be dealt with in this treatise, keeping the enumeration very closely to that laid down earlier, and dealing not with all the centres, but simply with those closely concerned with man's fivefold evolution.
As before stated, man, at the close of his long pilgrimage, will have passed through the five kingdoms of nature on his way back to his source:
1. The mineral kingdom,
2. The vegetable kingdom,
3. The animal kingdom,
4. The human kingdom,
5. The superhuman, or the spiritual kingdom,
and will have developed full consciousness on the five planes:
1. The physical plane,
2. The emotional or astral plane,
3. The mental plane,
4. The intuitional, or the buddhic plane,
5. The spiritual, atmic, or nirvanic plane,
by means of the five senses and their correspondences on all the five planes:
By the time the fifth round is reached, three-fifths of the human family will have attained this point and will have their five senses fully functioning on the three planes in the three worlds, leaving the two other planes to be subjugated during the remaining two rounds. I would here point out a fact that is little realised, that in this fivefold evolution of man and in this solar system, the two remaining rounds in any planetary cycle, and the sixth and seventh root-races in those cycles are always synthetic; their function is to gather up and synthesise that which has been achieved in the earlier five. For instance, in this root-race, the sixth and seventh sub-races will synthesise and blend that which the earlier five have wrought out. The analogy lies in the fact that in this solar system the two higher planes (the logoic-and the monadic) are synthetic. One is the synthesising plane for the Logos from whence He abstracts the essence in manifestation; the other for the Monad, from whence the Monad abstracts and garners the fruits of objectivity.
We will therefore only concern ourselves here with those centres which relate to the evolution of the subtler bodies, the evolution of the psyche, and not with those connected with the evolution and propagation of the dense physical body. These centres are five in number:
1. That at the base of the spine, the only one dealt with that has a physical effect.
2. That situated at the solar plexus, the most important one in the body from the standpoint of the astral plane.
3. That found at the throat, the most important from the standpoint of the mental plane.
4. That in the region of the heart, which has an occult link with the buddhic plane.
5. That above the top of the head, which is the crown, and has relation with the atmic plane.
We do not deal with the lower centres of generation, nor with the spleen which has a direct connection with the etheric, and is the transmitter of prana; they have been dealt with earlier.
The centres in the human being deal fundamentally with the FIRE aspect in man, or with his divine spirit. They are definitely connected with the Monad, with the will aspect, with immortality, with existence, with the will to live, and with the inherent powers of Spirit. They are not connected with objectivity and manifestation, but with force, or the powers of the divine life. The correspondence in the Macrocosm can be found in the force which manipulates the cosmic nebulae and which by its whirling rotary motion eventually builds them into planets or spheroidal bodies. These planets are each of them an expression of the "will to live" of some cosmic entity, and the force that swirled, that rotated, that built, that solidified, and that continues to hold in form coherent, is the force of some cosmic Being.
This force originates on cosmic mental levels, from certain great foci there, descends to the cosmic astral, forming corresponding cosmic focal points, and on the fourth cosmic etheric level (the buddhic plane of our solar system) finds its outlet in certain great centres. These [Page 166] centres are again reflected or reproduced in the three worlds of human endeavor. The Heavenly Men, therefore, have centres on three solar planes, a fact to be remembered.
a. On the monadic plane, the plane of the seven Rays.
b. On the buddhic plane, where the Masters and their disciples form the forty-nine centres in the bodies of the seven Heavenly Men.
c. On the fourth etheric physical plane, where the sacred planets, the dense bodies in etheric matter of the Heavenly Men, are to be found.
Here again we can trace the microcosmic correspondence: In the human being the centres are found on the mental plane from which originates the impulse for physical plane existence, or the will to incarnate; from thence they can be traced to the astral level, and eventually to the etheric levels, to the fourth ether, where they practically go through the same evolution that the planetary centres went through, and are instrumental in bringing about objectivity,—being the force centres.
The centres are formed entirely of streams of force, pouring down from the Ego, who transmits it from the Monad. In this we have the secret of the gradual vibratory quickening of the centres as the Ego first comes into control, or activity, and later (after initiation) the Monad, thus bringing about changes and increased vitality within these spheres of fire or of pure life force.
The centres, therefore, when functioning properly, form the "body of fire" which eventually is all that is left, first to man in the three worlds, and later to the Monad. This body of fire is "the body incorruptible"72 or indestructible, spoken of by St. Paul, and is the product of evolution, of the perfect blending of the three fires, which ultimately destroy the form. When the form is [Page 167] destroyed there is left this intangible spiritual body of fire, one pure flame, distinguished by seven brilliant centres of intenser burning. This electric fire is the result of the bringing together of the two poles and demonstrates at the moment of complete at-one-ment, the occult truth of the words "Our God is a consuming Fire."73
Three of these centres are called major centres, as they embody the three aspects of the threefold Monad—Will, Love and Intelligence:
1. The Head centre.... The Monad. Will or Power.
2. The Heart centre... The Ego. Love and Wisdom.
3. The Throat centre.. The Personality. Activity or Intelligence.
The other two centres have to do primarily with the etheric body and with the astral plane. The throat centre synthesises the entire personality life, and is definitely connected with the mental plane,—the three planes, and the two higher planes, and the three centres with the two other centres, the heart and head. Yet, we must not forget that the centre at the base of the spine is also a synthesiser, as would normally be expected, if it is recognised that the lowest plane of all manifestation is the point of deepest reflection. This lowest centre, by synthesising the fire of kundalini and the pranic fires, eventually blends and merges with the fire of mind, and later with the fire of Spirit, producing thus consummation.
We must disabuse our minds of the idea that these centres are physical things. They are whirlpools of force that swirl etheric, astral and mental matter into activity of some kind. Because the action is rotary, the result produced in matter is a circular effect that can be seen by the clairvoyant as fiery wheels situated:
1. In the region of the spine, the lowest part.
2. Between the ribs, just below the diaphragm.
3. In the region of the left breast.
4. In the centre of the throat.
5. Just above the top of the head.
I would like to describe these centres in greater detail, dealing with them as seen in etheric matter, and basing what I say upon a similar statement by Mr. C. W. Leadbeater in "Inner Life," Vol. 1, page 447-460. We will note the colours and petals:
1. The base of the spine, four petals. These petals are in the shape of a cross, and radiate with orange fire.
2. The solar plexus, ten petals rosy color with admixture of green.
3. The heart centre, twelve petals glowing golden.
4. The throat centre, sixteen petals of a silvery blue, with blue predominating.
5. The head centre in its twofold divisions:
a. Between the eyebrows, consisting of ninety-six petals, one-half of the lotus being rose and yellow, and the other half blue and purple.
b. The very top of the head. A centre consisting of twelve major petals of white and gold, and nine hundred and sixty secondary petals arranged around the central twelve. This makes a total of ten hundred and sixty-eight petals in the two head centres (making the one centre) or three hundred and fifty-six triplicities. All these figures have an occult significance.
Just as the Monad is the sumtotal of all the three aspects, and of the seven principles of man, so is the head centre a replica of this, and has within its sphere of influence seven other centres with itself for synthesis. These seven centres are likewise divided into the three major and the four minor centres, with their union and consummation seen in the gorgeous centre surmounting and enveloping them all. There are also three physical centres, called
a. The alta major centre,
b. The pineal gland,
c. The pituitary body,
with four lesser centres. These four lesser centres are blended in that centre which we call the alta major centre and need not concern us. I would here also point out that there is a close connection:
a. Between the alta major centre and the throat centre.
b. Between the heart centre and the pituitary body.
c. Between the head centre and the pineal gland.
It would repay the student to contemplate the interesting succession of triangles that are to be found and the way in which they must be linked by the progression of the fire before that fire can perfectly vivify them, and thence pass on to other transmutations. We might enumerate some of these triangles, bearing always in mind that according to the ray so will proceed the geometric rising of the fire, and according to the ray so will the points be touched in ordered sequence. Herein lies one of the secrets of initiation, and herein is found some of the dangers entailed in a too quick publication of information concerning the rays.
1. The pranic triangle.
a. The shoulder centre.
b. The centre near the diaphragm.
c. The spleen.
2. Man controlled from the astral plane.
a. The base of the spine.
b. The solar plexus.
c. The heart.
3. Man controlled from the mental plane.
a. The base of the spine.
b. The heart.
c. The throat.
4. Man partially controlled by the Ego, advanced man.
a. The heart.
b. The throat.
c. The head, i.e., the four lesser centres and their synthesis, the alta centre.
5. Spiritual man to the third Initiation.
a. The heart.
b. The throat.
c. The seven head centres.
6. Spiritual man to the fifth Initiation
a. The heart.
b. The seven head centres.
c. The two many-petalled lotuses.
All these different periods show different triangular radiances. We must not infer from this that when the fire is centred in one triangle it is not demonstrating in others. Once the fire has free passage along any triangle it flames continuously, but always there is one triangle more radiant and luminous than the others, and it is from these glowing triangles of light, issuing from wheels and vortices of fire that the clairvoyant and the teachers of the race can appraise a man's position in the scheme of things, and judge of his attainment. At the culmination of life experience, and when man has reached his goal, each triangle is a radiant path of fire, and each centre a wheel of living fiery force rotating at terrific speed; the centre at this stage not only rotates in a specific direction, but literally turns upon itself, forming a living flaming iridescent globe of pure fire, and holding within it a certain geometrical shape, yet withal vibrating so rapidly that the eye can scarcely follow it. Above all, at the top of the head will be seen a fiery display that seems to put all the other centres into insignificance; from the heart of this many-petalled lotus issues a flame of fire with the basic hue of a man's ray. This flame [Page 171] mounts upward and seems to attract downward a sheet of electric light, which is the downflow from the spirit on the highest plane. This marks the blending of the fires and the deliverance of man from the trammels of matter.
We might now note that the evolution of these centres of force can be portrayed, not only in words, but under the same five symbols that have so often a cosmic interpretation.
1. The circle. At this stage the centre is seen simply as a saucer-like depression (as Mr. C. W. Leadbeater expresses it) of dimly glowing fire, a fire diffused throughout but of no real intensity. The wheel rotates slowly, but so slowly as to be almost inappreciable. This corresponds to the little developed stage, and to the early Lemurian root-race, and to that period wherein man was simply animal; all that was being formed was a field for the appearance of the spark of mind.
2. The circle with the point in the centre. The centre is here seen with a point of glowing fire in the middle of the saucer-like depression, and the rotation becomes more rapid. This corresponds to the stage wherein mind is beginning to be felt and thus to later Lemurian days.
3. The divided circle. At this stage the point of light in the centre of the vortex of fire is becoming more active; rotary motion causes it to burn more brightly, and to cast off rays of fire in two directions, which appear to split the vortex into two; the motion is much accelerated, and the dividing flame in the vortex shoots back and forth, stimulating the glow of the centre itself, till a much greater point of radiance is achieved. This corresponds to Atlantean days.
4. The circle divided into four. We come now to the point where the centre is exceedingly active, with the cross within its periphery rotating as well as the wheel itself, and causing an effect of great beauty and activity. The man has reached a stage of very high development [Page 172] mentally, corresponding to the fifth root-race, or to the fifth round in the larger cycle; he is conscious of two activities within himself, symbolised by the rotating wheel and the inner rotating cross. He is sensing the spiritual, though actively functioning in the personal life, and the development has reached a point wherein he is nearing the Probationary Path.
5. The swastika. At this stage the centre becomes fourth-dimensional; the inner rotating cross begins to turn upon its axis, and to drive the flaming periphery to all sides so that the centre is better described as a sphere of fire than as a wheel. It marks the stage of the Path in its two divisions, for the process of producing the effect described covers the whole period of the Path. At the close, the centres are seen as globes of radiant fire with the spokes of the wheel (or the evolution of the cross from the point in the centre) merging and blending into a "fire that burneth up the whole."
A brief sentence has its place here owing to its relation to this subject. Another sentence is also added here, which, if meditated upon, will prove of real value and will have a definite effect upon one of the centres, which centre it is for the student himself to find out.
These two sentences are as follows:
"The secret of the Fire lies hid in the second letter of the Sacred Word. The mystery of life is concealed within the heart. When the lower point vibrates, when the Sacred Triangle glows, when the point, the middle centre, and the apex likewise burn, then the two triangles—the greater and the lesser—merge with one flame which burneth up the whole."
"The fire within the lesser fire findeth its progress much impelled when the circle of the moving and the unmoving, of the lesser wheel within the greater wheel that moveth not in Time, findeth a twofold outlet; it then shineth with the glory of the twofold One and of His sixfold brother. Fohat rusheth through space. He searcheth for his complement. [Page 173] The breath of the unmoving one, and the fire of the One Who seeth the whole from the beginning rush to meet each other, and the unmoving becomes the sphere of activity."
We take up our second point in the consideration of the centres:
This will give us a large range of subject to be dealt with, and much food for thought, surmise and wise conjecture. All that is here stated is given simply as basic or foundation facts, upon which may be erected a structure of conjecture, and of logical reasoning, employing the imagination, and thereby effecting two things:
These are an ability to expand our mental concept and to build the antaskarana, or that bridge which all who seek to function in the buddhic vehicle must build between higher and lower mind; hence the necessity for the use of the imagination (which is the astral equivalent to mental discrimination), and its ultimate transmutation into intuition.
All teachers, who have taken pupils in hand for training, and who seek to use them in world service, follow the method of imparting a fact (oft veiled in words and blinded by symbol) and then of leaving the pupil to follow his own deductions. Discrimination is thereby developed, and discrimination is the main method whereby the Spirit effects its liberation from the trammels of matter, and discerns between illusion and that which is veiled by it.
Not much can be here imparted, as the subject, if dealt with at all fully, would convey too much information to those liable to misuse it. As we know, the evolution of the centres is a slow and gradual thing, and proceeds in ordered cycles varying according to the ray of a man's Monad.
The life of the Pilgrim can be, for purposes of discussion, divided into three main periods:
1. That period wherein he is under the influence of the Personality Ray.
2. That wherein he comes under the Ray of the Ego.
3. That wherein the Monadic Ray holds sway.
The first period is by far the longest, and covers the vast progression of the centuries wherein the activity aspect of the threefold self is being developed. Life after life slips away during which the aspect of manas or mind is being slowly wrought out, and the human being comes more and more under the control of his intellect, operating through his physical brain. This might be looked upon as corresponding to the period of the first solar system, wherein the third aspect logoic, that of Brahma, Mind, or Intelligence, was being brought to the point of achievement.74 Then the second aspect began in [Page 175] this present solar system to be blended with, and wrought out through it. Centuries go by and the man becomes ever more actively intelligent, and the field of his life more suitable for the coming in of this second aspect. The correspondence lies in similitude and not in detail as seen in time and space. It covers the period of the first three triangles dealt with earlier. We must not forget that, for the sake of clarity, we are here differentiating between the different aspects, and considering their separated development, a thing only permissible in time and space or during the evolutionary process, but not permissible from the standpoint of the Eternal Now, and from the Unity of the All-Self. The Vishnu or the Love-Wisdom aspect is latent in the Self, and is part of the monadic content, but the Brahma aspect, the Activity-Intelligence aspect precedes its manifestation in time. The Tabernacle in the Wilderness preceded the building of the Temple of Solomon; the kernel of wheat has to lie in the darkness of mother Earth before the golden perfected ear can be seen, and the Lotus has to cast its roots down into the mud before the beauty of the blossom can be produced.
The second period, wherein the egoic ray holds sway, is not so long comparatively; it covers the period wherein the fourth and fifth triangles are being vivified, and marks the lives wherein the man throws his forces on the side of evolution, disciplines his life, steps upon the Probationary Path, and continues up to the third Initiation. Under the regime of the Personality Ray, the man proceeds upon the five Rays to work consciously with Mind, the sixth sense, passing first upon the four minor Rays and eventually upon the third. He works [Page 176] upon the third Ray, or that of active Intelligence, and from thence proceeds to one of the subrays of the two other major Rays, if the third is not his egoic Ray.
Enquiry might naturally arise as to whether the egoic ray is necessarily one of the three major rays, and if Initiates and Masters are not to be found upon some of the rays of mind, the minor four.
The answer lies here: The egoic ray can always be one of the seven, but we need to remember that, in this astral-buddhic solar system, wherein love and wisdom are being brought into objectivity, the bulk of the monads are on the love-wisdom ray. The fact, therefore, of its being the synthetic ray has a vast significance. This is the system of the SON, whose name is Love. This is the divine incarnation of Vishnu. The Dragon of Wisdom is in manifestation, and He brings into incarnation those cosmic Entities who are in essence identical with Himself. After the third Initiation all human beings find themselves on their monadic ray, on one of the three major rays, and the fact that Masters and Initiates are found on all the rays is due to the following two factors:
First. Each major ray has its subrays, which correspond to all the seven.
Second. Many of the guides of the race transfer from one ray to another as They are needed, and as the work may require. When one of the Masters or Initiates is transferred it causes a complete re-adjustment.
When a Master likewise leaves the hierarchy of our Planet to take up work elsewhere, it frequently necessitates a complete re-organisation, and a fresh admission of members into the great White Lodge. These facts have been but little realised. We might here also take the opportunity to point out that we are not dealing with earth conditions when we consider the Rays, nor are we only concerned with the evolution of the Monads upon this planet, but are equally concerned with the solar [Page 177] system in which our earth holds a necessary but not supreme place. The earth is an organism within a greater one, and this fact needs wider recognition. The sons of men upon this planet so often view the whole system as if the earth were in the position of the sun, the centre of the solar organism.
Under the regime of the Ego, the ray upon which the ego can be found holds sway. This ray is simply a direct reflection of the monad, and is dependent upon that aspect of the spiritual triad which for the man is at any particular time the line of least resistance. By that we must understand that sometimes the ray will have for its centre of force the atmic aspect, sometimes the buddhic, and at other times the manasic aspect. Though the triad is threefold, yet its egoic outposts (if one may so express it) will be either definitely atmic, or predominantly buddhic or manasic. Here again I would draw attention to the fact that this triple demonstration can be seen under three forms, making in all a ninefold choice of rays for the Ego:
This literally means that the three major rays can each be subdivided (in connection with the Ego) into three divisions. This fact is also little appreciated.
The third period, wherein the monadic ray makes itself felt on the physical plane, is by far the shortest, and covers the period in which the sixth triangle holds sway. It marks the period of achievement, of liberation, and therefore, although it is the shortest period when viewed from below upward, it is the period of comparative permanence when viewed from the plane of the Monad. It covers the totality of time remaining in the one hundred years of Brahma, or the remainder of the process of manifestation.
When we study, therefore, the sets of triangles earlier referred to and the periods of ray dominance, we will find much room for thought. Let me here point out, however, that the six groups of triangles are in all but five if we eliminate the pranic triangle which has to do with matter itself and is not counted any more than the dense physical is counted a principle. Therefore we have:
a. Two triangles brought to vivification by the personality ray.
b. Two triangles brought to vivification by the egoic ray.
c. The synthesising triangle of the Monad.
We must, nevertheless, recollect that the complexity is increased by the fact that the personality triangles will be brought to full activity according to the ray of the Monad or Spirit. Therefore, no hard or fast rule can be laid down about development. The egoic triangles are dependent largely upon the reflection in the personality of the spiritual life force. They are the midway point, just as the causal or egoic body is the transmitting point (when sufficiently equipped and built) between the higher and the lower.
The permanent atoms are enclosed within the periphery of the causal body, yet that relatively permanent body is built and enlarged, expanded and wrought into [Page 179] a central receiving and transmitting station (using inadequate words to convey an occult idea) by the direct action of the centres, and of the centres above all. Just as it was spiritual force, or the will aspect, that built the solar system, so it is the same force in the man that builds the causal body. By the bringing together of spirit and matter (Father-Mother) in the macrocosm, and their union through the action of the will, the objective solar system, or the Son, was produced—that Son of desire, Whose characteristic is love, and Whose nature is buddhi or spiritual wisdom. By the bringing together (in microcosm) of Spirit and matter, and their coherence by means of force (or the spiritual will) that objective system, the causal body, is being produced; it is the product of transmuted desire, whose characteristic (when fully demonstrated) will be love, the expression eventually on the physical plane of buddhi. The causal body is but the sheath of the Ego. The solar system is but the sheath of the Son. In both the greater and the lesser systems, force centres exist which are productive of objectivity. The centres in the human being are reflections in the three worlds of those higher force centres.
Before taking up the subject of kundalini and the centres, it would be well to extend the information given above, from its prime significance for man, as that which concerns himself, to the solar system, the macrocosm, and to the cosmos. What can be predicated of the microcosm is naturally true of the macrocosm and of the cosmos. It will not be possible to give the systemic triangles, for the information would have to be so blinded that, except for those who have occult knowledge and the intuition developed, it would be practically useless intellectually, but certain things may be pointed out in this connection that may be of interest.
The Solar System. We might briefly look at this from [Page 180] the standpoint of the centres of the Heavenly Men and of the Grand Man of the Heavens, the Logos.
a. The Heavenly Men. The Heavenly Men, in Themselves, embody centres just as does a human being, and on Their Own plane these centres of force can be found. Again we need to recollect that these centres of force on cosmic levels, and in manifestation in the objective system, demonstrate as the great force centres of which any particular group of adepts and Their pupils are the exponents. Every group of Masters and all the human beings incarnate or discarnate—who are held within the periphery of Their consciousness—are centres of force of some particular kind or quality. This is a fact generally recognised, but students should be urged to link up this fact with the information imparted on the centres of the human being, and see if much is not thereby learnt. These centres of force will demonstrate on etheric levels and on the subtler planes just as they do in a man, and they will be vivified as are the human centres by planetary kundalini, progressing in the desired triangles.
Two hints can here be given for thoughtful consideration. In connection with one of the Heavenly Men (which one cannot at this juncture be pointed out) we have one triangle of force to be seen in the following three centres:
a. The force centre of which the Manu, and His group, are the expression.
b. The centre of which the Bodhisattva or the Christ and His adherents are the focal point.
c. The centre of which the Mahachohan and his followers are the exponents.
These three groups form the three centres in one great triangle—a triangle which is not yet in complete vivification at this stage of evolutionary development.
Another triangle in connection with our own planetary Logos is that formed by the seven Kumaras—the four exoteric Kumaras corresponding to the four minor head centres, and the three esoteric Kumaras corresponding to the three major head centres.75,76
The second hint I seek to give, lies in the triangle formed by the Earth, Mars and Mercury. In connection with this triangle, the analogy lies in the fact that Mercury and the centre at the base of the spine in the human being are closely allied. Mercury demonstrates kundalini in intelligent activity, while Mars demonstrates kundalini latent. The truth lies hid in their two astrological symbols. In transmutation and planetary geometrising, the secret may be revealed.
b. The Grand Man of the Heavens. The seven Heavenly Men are the seven centres in the body of the Logos, bearing to Him a relationship identical with that borne by the Masters and Their affiliated groups, to some planetary Logos. Systemic kundalini goes forward to the vivification of these centres, and at this stage of development certain centres are more closely allied than others. Just as in connection with our planetary Logos, the three etheric planets of our chain—Earth, Mercury and Mars77—form a triangle of rare importance, so it may be here said that at the present point in evolution of the logoic centres, Venus, Earth and Saturn form one triangle of great interest. It is a triangle that is at this time undergoing vivification [Page 182] through the action of kundalini; it is consequently increasing the vibratory capacity of the centres, which are becoming slowly fourth-dimensional. It is not yet permissible to point out others of the great triangles, but as regards the centres, we may here give two hints:
First. Venus corresponds to the heart centre in the body logoic, and has an inter-relationship therefore with all the other centres in the solar system wherein the heart aspect is the one of greater prominence.
Second. Saturn corresponds to the throat centre, or to the creative activity of the third aspect.
As evolution proceeds, the other centres attain a more pronounced vibration and the fire (circulating triangularly) will bring them into greater prominence; the two above mentioned, however, are of prime importance at this time. These two, with the lesser triangle of our chain, constitute the focal point of energy viewed from our planetary standpoint.
In addition to these some hints in connection with the microcosmic and macrocosmic centres, we might here give the cosmic correspondences at which it is possible to hint.
The Cosmos. Our solar system, with the Pleiades and one of the stars of the Great Bear, form a cosmic triangle, or an aggregation of three centres in the Body of HIM OF WHOM NAUGHT MAY BE SAID. The seven stars in the constellation of the Great Bear are the correspondences to the seven head centres in the body of that Being, greater than our Logos. Again, two other systems, when allied with the solar system and the Pleiades, make a lower quaternary which are eventually synthesised into the seven head centres in much the same way as in the human being after the fourth initiation.
1. The base of the spine.
2. The solar plexus.
3. The heart.
4. The throat.
The sevenfold head centre in its turn finds ultimate expression in the gorgeous twofold centre above the top of the head and surrounding it. Equally so, beyond the above named constellations is still another cosmic centre. The name of this centre is one of the secrets of the final initiation, the seventh. These are the only correspondences that may as yet be imparted. What lies beyond the solar ring-pass-not may be of intellectual interest,78 but, for the purposes of microcosmic evolution it is a matter of no vast import.
As stated, it is not possible to impart much about kundalini, or the serpent fire. It might be of value, however, briefly to enumerate what has been said:
1. Kundalini lies at the base of the spine, and, in the normal average man, its main function is the vitalisation of the body.
2. Kundalini makes three at-one-ments during the period of evolution:
1. With the radiatory fires of the body or prana at a point between the shoulder blades.
2. With the fires of mind at a point at the very top of the spine, in the centre of the back part of the throat.
3. With the fire of Spirit at the point where these two united fires of matter and of mind issue from the top of the head.
c. Each of the three channels within the spinal column have for specific purpose the blending of these threefold fires. We need to bear in mind that the [Page 184] fires circulate, and that, at the moment of achievement, every triangle in the body is vivified, every centre is fully functioning, and a threefold path of fire can be seen extending the entire length of the backbone.
d. When kundalini has blended with the pranic fire, the centres become three-dimensional. When it blends with mind or solar fire and the two fires are perfectly united, the centres become fourth-dimensional. When it blends with the electric fire of pure Spirit after the third Initiation, they take on two more dimensions.
e. Kundalini, as it is aroused, steadily increases the vibratory action, not only of the centres, but of every atom of matter in all the bodies—etheric, astral and mental. This quickening of activity has a dual effect of great interest:
1. It causes the elimination of all matter that is coarse and unsuitable, and casts it off in exactly the same way as a rapidly rotating wheel casts off or rejects from its surface.
2. It sweeps into its sphere of influence matter that is keyed to its own vibration, and builds it into its vibratory content. This is but a reflection of the action of the Logos in sweeping into differentiation the matter of the solar system. Kundalini is likewise the fire or force of matter, and therefore the life of the third Logos.
f. Kundalini has two effects upon the etheric web, as it is called.
1. By its gradually increasing action it purifies that etheric form and cleanses it from "dross," as the Christian expresses it.
2. Eventually, after the two fires of matter and the fire of mind have begun to blend (a slow and gradual process), the web itself is destroyed [Page 185] and by the time the third Initiation is reached, the man should have continuity of consciousness. This is so unless for certain work and for certain specific ends, the man consciously and willingly foregoes the burning of the web, a thing which can be brought about by the conscious action of the will.
Before at all dealing with the centres and their relationship to the senses, it will be necessary first of all to point out certain facts of interest in connection with those senses,79 and so clear the ground for further information.
What are the senses? How many are there? And what is their connection with the indwelling Man, the Thinker, the Divine Manasaputra? These are questions of vital moment, and in their due comprehension comes the ability wisely to follow the path of knowledge.
The senses might be defined as those organs whereby man becomes aware of his surroundings. We should perhaps express them not so much as organs (for after all, an organ is a material form, existent for a purpose) but as media whereby the Thinker comes in contact with his environment. They are the means whereby he makes investigation on the plane of the gross physical, for instance; the means whereby he buys his experience, whereby he discovers that which he requires to know, whereby he becomes aware, and whereby he expands his consciousness. We are dealing here with the five senses as used by the human being. In the animal these five senses exist but, as the thinking correlating faculty is lacking, as the "relation between" the self and the not-self is but little developed, we will not concern ourselves with them at this juncture. The senses in the animal kingdom are group faculty and demonstrate as racial instinct. The senses in man are his individual asset, and demonstrate:
a. As the separate realisation of self-consciousness.
b. As ability to assert that individualism.
c. As a valuable means to self-conscious evolution.
d. As a source of knowledge.
e. As the transmuting faculty towards the close of life in the three worlds.
As we know, the senses are five in number and in order of development are as follows:
Each of these five senses has a definite connection with one or other plane, and has also a correspondence on all planes.
Let us first take up each of these senses, point out some interesting facts in connection with them, and suggest their subplane correspondence.
1. Physical Hearing.
2. Astral Touch or feeling.
3. Mental Sight.
4. Buddhic Taste.
5. Atmic Smell.
In the two lower planes in the three worlds—the astral and the physical—the five subplanes of human endeavour are the five highest. The two lowest subplanes, the sixth and seventh, are what we might express as "below the threshold," and concern forms of life beneath the human altogether. We have a corroborating analogy in the fact that the two earliest root-races in this round are not definitely human, and that it is the third root-race which is really human for the first time. Counting, therefore, from the bottom upwards it is only the third subplane on the physical and the astral planes which mark the commencement of human effort, leaving five subplanes to be subdued. On the mental plane the five lower subplanes have to be subjugated during purely human evolution. When the consciousness is centred on the fifth subplane (counting from below upwards) then the planes of abstraction—from the standpoint of man in the three worlds—supervene the two subplanes of synthesis, demonstrating through the synthesis of the five senses. In the evolution of the Heavenly Man we have exactly the same thing: the five planes of endeavour, the five lower planes of the solar system, and the two higher planes of abstraction, the spiritual or monadic and the divine, or logoic.
1. Hearing 5th gaseous
2. Touch, feeling 4th first etheric
3. Sight 3rd super-etheric
4. Taste 2nd sub-atomic
5. Smell 1st atomic
1. Clairaudience 5th
2. Psychometry 4th
3. Clairvoyance 3rd
4. Imagination 2nd
5. Emotional idealism 1st
1. Higher clairaudience 7th FORM
2. Planetary psychometry 6th FORM
3. Higher clairvoyance 5th FORM
4. Discrimination 4th FORM
5. Spiritual discernment 3rd FORMLESS
Response to group vibration 2nd FORMLESS
Spiritual telepathy 1st FORMLESS
1. Comprehension 7th
2. Healing 6th
3. Divine vision 5th
4. Intuition 4th
5. Idealism 3rd
1. Beatitude 7th
2. Active service 6th
3. Realisation 5th
4. Perfection 4th
5. All knowledge 3rd
It can be noted that we have not summed up the two planes of abstraction on the atmic and the buddhic planes, the reason being that they mark a degree of realisation which is the property of initiates of higher degree [Page 189] than that of the adept, and which is beyond the concept of the evolving human unit, for whom this treatise is written.
We might here, for the sake of clarity, tabulate the five different aspects of the five senses on the five planes, so that their correspondences may be readily visualised, using the above table as the basis:
a. The First Sense......Hearing.
1. Physical hearing.
3. Higher clairaudience.
4. Comprehension (of four sounds)
b. The Second Sense.....Touch or feeling.
1. Physical touch.
3. Planetary psychometry.
5. Active service.
c. The Third Sense......Sight.
1. Physical sight.
3. Higher clairvoyance.
4. Divine vision.
d. The Fourth Sense.....Taste.
1. Physical taste.
e. The Fifth Sense......Smell.
1. Physical smell.
2. Emotional idealism.
3. Spiritual discernment.
5. All knowledge.
Let us now proceed to take up each of these senses in detail:
This, very appropriately, is the first sense to be manifested; the first aspect of manifestation is that of sound, and necessarily therefore we would expect sound to be the first thing noticed by man on the physical plane, the plane of densest manifestation, and of the most marked effects of sound, regarding it as a creating factor. Pre-eminently the physical plane is the plane of hearing and hence the sense ascribed to the lowest plane of evolution, and of each of the five planes. On this seventh or lowest plane man has to come to full cognisance of the effect of the Sacred Word as it is in process of sounding forth. As it reverberates throughout the system, it drives matter into its appointed place, and on the physical plane finds its point of deepest materiality and of most concrete demonstration. The key for man to discover and turn, concerns itself with the revealing of the mystery of:
a. His own sound.
b. His brother's sound.
c. His group sound.
d. The sound of that one of the Heavenly Men with whom he is connected.
e. The sound of the Logos, or the sound of nature; of the solar system, of the Grand Man of the Heavens.
Therefore, we note that on the physical plane a man has to find his own note, finding it in spite of the density of the form.
a. On the physical plane he finds his own note.
b. On the astral plane he finds his brother's note; through identity of emotion he comes to the recognition of his brother's identity.
c. On the mental plane he begins to find his group note.
d. On the buddhic plane, or the plane of wisdom, he begins to find the note of his planetary Logos.
e. On the atmic, or spiritual, plane the note logoic begins to sound within his consciousness.
I am differentiating thus for the sake of clarity. In evolution itself, due to the parallelism of nature, the distinctions are not so sharply made, and a man's ray, point of development, the work earlier accomplished, his temporary limitations, and other causes create a seeming confusion, but in the great scheme as seen from above downwards, the work proceeds as described.
Hearing on the astral plane is commonly called clairaudience, and means the ability to hear the sounds of the astral plane. It is a faculty that demonstrates throughout the entire astral body, and a man hears all over his vehicle and not only through the specialised organs, the ears, the product of physical plane action and reaction. This would necessarily be so, owing to the fluidic nature of the astral body. Man on the physical plane hears at the same time a certain range of sounds, and only a small and particular gamut of vibrations impinges upon his ears. There are many of the lesser sounds of nature which entirely escape him, while the major group sounds are not differentiated at all. As evolution proceeds and the inner sense of hearing becomes acute, these other physical plane sounds will likewise swing into his ken, and he will be acutely conscious of all sounds on the astral, and the physical plane—a thing, which if possible now, would result in the shattering of the body. If the note of nature, for instance, were to strike but once upon the ear of a man (a note made up of the totality of vibrations produced by all dense material forms) his physical body would be completely disrupted. [Page 192] He is not ready yet for such a happening; the inner ear is not duly prepared. Only when the threefold hearing is consummated will completed hearing on the physical plane be likewise permitted.
Hearing on the mental plane is simply an extension of the faculty of differentiating sound. The hearing dealt with on all these planes is the hearing that has to do with the form, that concerns the vibration of matter, and that is occupied with the not-self. It has not to do with the psyche, or the telepathic communication that proceeds from mind to mind, but with the sound of the form or that power whereby one separated unit of consciousness is aware of another unit who is not himself. Bear this carefully in mind. When the extension of hearing becomes such that it concerns the psyche, then we call it telepathy or that wordless communication that is the synthesis of hearing on all the three lower planes and which is known by the Ego in the causal body on the formless levels of the mental plane.
On the buddhic plane, hearing (now of the synthetic quality called telepathy) demonstrates as complete comprehension, for it has involved two things:
1. A knowledge and recognition of individual sound,
2. A similar knowledge of group sound,
and their complete unification. This causes the most perfect comprehension, and is the secret of the Master's power.
On the atmic plane this perfected hearing is seen as beatitude. Sound, the basis of existence; sound, the method of being; sound, the final unifier; sound therefore realised as the raison d'être, as the method of evolution, and therefore as beatitude.80
In taking up the subject of the second sense, that of touch, we must note that this sense is preeminently the sense of very great importance in this, the second, solar system—a system of astral-buddhic consciousness.81 Each of these senses, after having reached a certain point, begins to synthesise with the others in such a way that it is almost impossible to know where one begins and the other ends. Touch is that innate recognition of contact through the exercise of manas or mind in a threefold manner:
Each of the five senses, when coupled with manas, develops within the subject a concept embodying the past, the present and the future. Therefore when a man is very highly evolved, has transcended time (as known in the three worlds), and can therefore look at the three lower planes from the standpoint of the Eternal Now, he has superseded the senses by full active consciousness. He knows, and needs not the senses to guide him any longer to knowledge. But in time, and in the three worlds, each sense on each plane is employed to convey to the Thinker some aspect of the not-self, and by the aid [Page 194] of mind, the Thinker can then adjust his relationship thereto.
Hearing gives him an idea of relative direction, and enables a man to fix his place in the scheme and to locate himself.
Touch gives him an idea of relative quantity and enables him to fix his relative value as regards other bodies, extraneous to himself.
Sight gives him an idea of proportion, and enables him to adjust his movements to the movements of others.
Taste gives him an idea of value, and enables him to fix upon that which to him appears best.
Smell gives him an idea of innate quality, and enables him to find that which appeals to him as of the same quality or essence as himself.
In all these definitions it is necessary to bear in mind that the whole object of the senses is to reveal the not-self, and to enable the Self therefore to differentiate between the real and the unreal.82
In the evolution of the senses, hearing is the first vague something which calls the attention of the apparently blind self
a. To another vibration.
b. To something originating outside of itself.
c. To the concept of externality. When sound is first contacted the consciousness for the first time becomes aware of that which is without.
But all that is grasped by the dormant consciousness (by means of this one sense of hearing) is the fact of something extraneous to itself, and of the direction in which that something lies. This apprehension, in course of time, calls into being another sense, that of touch. The Law of Attraction works, the consciousness moves slowly outwards towards that which is heard; and when contact is made with the not-self it is called touch. This touch conveys other ideas to the groping consciousness, ideas of size, of external texture, and of surface differences; the concept of the Thinker is thus slowly enlarged. He can hear and feel, but as yet knows not enough to correlate nor name. When he succeeds in naming, he has made a big stride forward. We might note here, therefore, that the earliest cosmic symbols are applicable to the senses as well as elsewhere:
The point in the centre—consciousness and the not-self at a stage where sound alone is descriptive.
The divided circle—consciousness aware of the not-self, through a dual recognition.
Sight follows on this, the third sense, and the one definitely marking the correlation of ideas, or the relation between; it parallels the coming of Mind, both in time and function. We have hearing, touch or feeling, and then sight. In connection with the correspondence it is to be noted that sight came in with the third root-race in this round, and that the third race saw also the coming in of Mind. The Self and the not-self were immediately correlated, and co-ordinated. Their close partnership became an accomplished fact, and evolution hastened forward with renewed impetus.
These three major senses (if I might so describe them) are very definitely allied, each with one of the three Logoi:
Hearing—The recognition of the fourfold word, the activity of matter, the third Logos.
Touch—The recognition of the sevenfold Form Builder, the gathering together of forms, their approximation and interrelation, the second Logos. The Law of Attraction between the Self and the not-self begins to work.
Sight—The recognition of totality, the synthesis of all, the realisation of the One in Many, the first Logos. The Law of Synthesis, operating between all forms which the self occupies, and the recognition of the essential unity of all manifestation by the means of sight.
As regards taste and smell, we might call them minor senses, for they are closely allied to the important sense of touch. They are practically subsidiary to that sense. This second sense, and its connection with this second solar system, should be carefully pondered over. It is predominantly the sense most closely connected with the second Logos. This conveys a hint of much value if duly considered. It is of value to study the extensions of physical plane touch on other planes and to see whither we are led. It is the faculty which enables us to arrive [Page 197] at the essence by due recognition of the veiling sheath. It enables the Thinker who fully utilises it to put himself en rapport with the essence of all selves at all stages, and thereby to aid in the due evolution of the sheath and actively to serve. A Lord of Compassion is one who (by means of touch) feels with, fully comprehends, and realises the manner in which to heal and correct the inadequacies of the not-self and thus actively to serve the plan of evolution. We should study likewise in this connection the value of touch as demonstrated by the healers of the race (those on the Bodhisattva line)83 and the effect of the Law of Attraction and Repulsion as thus manipulated by them. Students of etymology will have noted that the origin of the word touch is somewhat obscure, but probably means to 'draw with quick motion.' Herein lies the whole secret of this objective solar system, and herein will be demonstrated the quickening of vibration by means of touch. Inertia, mobility, rhythm, are the qualities manifested by the not-self. Rhythm, balance, and stable vibration are achieved by means of this very faculty of touch or feeling. Let me illustrate briefly so as to make the problem somewhat clearer. What results in meditation? By dint of strenuous effort and due attention to rules laid down, the aspirant succeeds in touching matter of a quality rarer than is his usual custom. He contacts his causal body, in time he contacts the matter of the buddhic plane. By means of this touch his own vibration is temporarily and briefly quickened. Fundamentally we are brought back to the subject that we deal with in this treatise. The latent fire of matter attracts to itself that fire, latent in other forms. They touch, and recognition and awareness ensues. The fire of manas burns continuously and is fed by that which is attracted and repulsed. When the two [Page 198] blend, the stimulation is greatly increased and the ability to touch intensified. The Law of Attraction persists in its work until another fire is attracted and touched, and the threefold merging is completed. Forget not in this connection the mystery of the Rod of Initiation.84 Later when we consider the subject of the centres and Initiation it must be remembered that we are definitely studying one aspect of this mysterious faculty of touch, the faculty of the second Logos, wielding the law of Attraction.
Let us now finish what may be imparted on the remaining three senses—sight, taste, smell—and then briefly sum up their relationship to the centres, and their mutual action and interaction. That will then leave two more points to be dealt with in this first division of the Treatise on Cosmic Fire, and a summing up. We shall then be in a position to take up that portion of the treatise that deals with the fire of manas and with the development of the manasaputras,85 both in their totality and likewise individually. This topic is of the most imperative importance as it deals entirely with man, the Ego, the thinker, and shows the cosmic blending of the fires of matter and of mind, and their utilisation by the indwelling Flame.
This sense, as said before, is the paramount correlating sense of the solar system.
Under the Law of Economy man hears. Sound permeates matter and is the basis of its subsequent heterogeneity.
Under the Law of Attraction, man touches and makes contact with that which is brought to his attention [Page 199] through sound waves of activity. This leads to a condition of mutual repulsion and attraction between the one who apprehends and that which is apprehended.
Having apprehended and then contacted his eyes are opened and he recognises his place in the whole order under the Law of Synthesis.
In these three senses the present is summed up for us. The work of evolution is to recognise, utilise, co-ordinate, and dominate the whole till the Self, by means of these three, becomes actively aware of every form, of every vibration, and of every pulsation of the not-self; then, through the arranging power of mind, the objective of the self will be to find the truth, or that centre in the circle of manifestation which is, for the Self, the centre of equilibrium, and the one point where the co-ordination is perfected; then the Self can dissociate itself from every veil, every contact, and every sense. This leads in every manifestation to three types of separation:
Involution. The separation of matter, or the one becoming the many. The senses are developed, and the apparatus is perfected by the Self for the utilisation of matter. This is under the Law of Economy.
Evolution up to the time of the Probationary Path. The merging of Spirit and matter, and the utilisation of the senses in a progressing identification of the Self with all forms from the lowest to those relatively refined. This is under the Law of Attraction.
Evolution on the Path. Again the separation of spirit from matter, its identification with the One, and the ultimate rejection of form. The senses then are synthesised into acquired faculty, and the Self has no [Page 200] further use for the not-self. It blends with the All-Self. This is under the Law of Synthesis.
If this is borne in mind it leads to a realisation that the separation of the Spirit from the material vehicle involves two aspects of the One great All; herein is seen the work of the Creator, the Preserver and the Destroyer.
In the final perfection of this third sense of sight, the term used is the wholly inadequate one of realisation. Let the student study carefully the lowest and highest demonstration of the senses as laid down in the tabulation earlier imparted, and note the occult significance of the expressions used in the summation.
This is realised through the not-self
The summation of the work of the Self for the not-self
Recognition of the triplicity needed in manifestation, or the reflex action of the Self and the not-self
Evolution completed through the utilisation of the not-self and its realised adequacy
The principle of manas in its discriminating activity, perfecting the inter-relation between the Self and the not-self
This all concerns the perfected, realised Personality.
In all these perfections is seen the awareness of the Self, and the graded process of identification, utilisation, manipulation and final rejection of the not-self by that Self who is now consciously aware. He hears the note of nature and that of his monad; he recognises their identity, utilises their vibration, and passes rapidly through the three stages of Creator, Preserver and Destroyer.
He touches or feels the vibration of the form or not-self in all its various grades, recognises his identity in time and space, and for purposes of existence or being and by means of the three Laws of Economy, Attraction and Synthesis utilises, blends and eventually dissociates himself. He sees the threefold evolutionary process and by means of the development of the inner vision, sees within the heart of the system macrocosmic and microcosmic, the one SELF in many forms, and finally identifies himself with that one Self by the conscious rejection of the not-self after its complete subjugation and utilisation.
He tastes then finally and discriminates, for taste is the great sense that begins to hold sway during the discriminating process that takes place when the illusory nature of matter is in process of realisation. Discrimination is the educatory process to which the Self subjects itself in the process of developing intuition—that faculty whereby the Self recognises its own essence in and under all forms. Discrimination concerns the duality of nature, the Self and the not-self, and is the means of their differentiation in the process of abstraction; the intuition concerns unity and is the capacity of the Self to contact other selves, and is not a faculty whereby the not-self is contacted. Hence, its rarity these days owing to the intense individualisation of the Ego, and its identification with the form—necessary identification at this particular time. As the sense of taste on the higher planes is developed, it leads one to ever finer distinctions till one is finally led through the form, right to the heart of one's nature.
is the faculty of keen perception that eventually brings a man back to the source from whence he came, the archetypal plane, the plane where his true home is to be found. A perception of difference has been cultivated that has caused a divine discontent within the [Page 202] heart of the Pilgrim in the far country; the prodigal son draws comparisons; he has developed the other four senses, and he utilises them. Now comes in the faculty of vibratory recognition of the home vibration, if it might be so expressed. It is the spiritual counterpart of that sense which in the animal, the pigeon and other birds, leads them back unerringly to the familiar spot from whence they originally came. It is the apprehension of the vibration of the Self, and a swift return by means of that instinct to the originating source.
The consideration of this subject awakens the realisation of the vastness of the region of thought concerned—the region of the whole evolutionary development of the human being. Yet all that is possible here, as elsewhere, is to indicate lines of thought for careful pondering, and to emphasise certain ideas which may serve as the foundation thoughts for the future mental activity of the immediate generation. The following facts must also be borne in mind when considering the matter:
a. That the senses have been dealt with in this division of our Treatise on Cosmic Fire because they concern the material form. Strictly speaking the five senses, as we know them, are the means of contact built up by the Thinker (polarised in his etheric body) and find their expression in the physical form in those nerve centres, brain cells, ganglia and plexus which exoteric science recognises.
b. That these senses for all purposes of present manifestation, have their focal point on the astral plane and are therefore largely under the stimulating action of the solar plexus—that great focal point in the centre of the body which is the stimulating agent for most of the human family at this time.
c. That as the higher triangle comes into play and the polarisation steps up to the higher centres, the senses begin to make themselves felt on the mental level and [Page 203] man becomes aware on that plane. We have in the human body an interesting reflection of the transference of the polarisation from the Personality to the Ego, or into the causal body, in the division that exists between the higher and the lower mental planes, and the dividing line of the diaphragm between the higher and the lower portions of the body. Below the diaphragm we have the four lower centres:
1. The solar plexus.
2. The spleen.
3. Organs of generation.
4. Base of the spine.
Above are the three higher:
In the microcosm we have the lower quaternary separated from the Triad in a similar manner, and this analogy will bear pondering upon. By careful thought we can therefore work out the reflex action of the centres and the senses from the standpoint of the different planes, remembering that as the centres are awakened the process will be threefold:
First. The awakening on the physical plane, and the gradually increasing activity of the centres, until the Probationary Path is reached. This is paralleled by the increasing use of the senses, and their constant utilisation for the identification of the self and its sheaths.
Second. The awakening on the astral plane, and the gradually increasing activity of the centres, until the first Initiation is reached. This is paralleled by the tremendously keen use of the senses for the purposes of discriminating between the Self and the not-self.
Third. The awakening upon the mental plane, and the gradually increasing activity of the centres and the senses. The effect in both cases tends to identification of the Self with its own essence in all groups and the rejection of the sheaths and the forms.
This development is paralleled on the two higher planes simultaneously as in the lower, and as the astral senses come into perfected activity, the corresponding centres of force on the buddhic plane begin to function until the vibratory interplay between the two is consummated, and the force of the Triad can be felt definitely in the Personality via the astral.
Again the corresponding vortices on the atmic level come into active vibration as the mental centres become fourth dimensional, till we have a wonderful fiery activity demonstrating on all the three planes.
From the point of view of fire,86 leaving the aura and [Page 205] its colors out of temporary consideration, the evolutionary development marks an equally definite process.
1. The vivification of the inner heat of the sheaths, or the tiny point of fire latent in every individual atom of matter. This process proceeds in all three bodies, at first slowly, then more rapidly, and finally simultaneously and synthetically.
2. The bringing into activity from latency of the seven centres on all planes, beginning from the bottom upwards, until the centres (according to ray and type) are interrelated and co-ordinated. There are manifest thirty-five vortices of fire in the perfected adept,—all of radiant activity and all interacting.
3. The vortices or wheels of lambent flame become interlinked by triangles of fire which pass and circulate from one to another, till we have a web of fiery lines, uniting centres of living fire, and giving truth to the statement that the Sons of Mind are FLAMES.
4. These centres reach this condition of perfection as the Spirit or Will aspect takes ever fuller control. The unifying triangles are produced by the action of the fire of mind, while the fire of matter holds the form together in ordered sequence. So the interdependence of matter, mind and Spirit can be seen and demonstrates to the eye of the clairvoyant as the co-ordination of the three fires.
5. In the Heavenly Man and His body, a chain of globes87 likewise can be seen and we need here to remember [Page 206] very carefully that the seven chains of a scheme are the expression of a planetary Logos. The Heavenly Men are expressing Themselves through a scheme of seven chains and the emphasis has been laid unduly, perhaps, upon the dense physical planet in any particular chain. This has caused the fact of the chain importance to be somewhat overlooked. Each of the seven chains might be looked upon as picturing the seven centres of one of the Heavenly Men. The idea of groups of Egos forming centres in the Heavenly Men is nevertheless correct, but in this connection the reference is to the centres of force on buddhic and monadic levels.88
In connection with this there is a fundamental point that must never be forgotten: these seven Heavenly Men might be considered as being in physical incarnation through the medium of a physical planet, and herein lies the mystery of planetary evolution. Herein lies the mystery of our planet, the most mysterious of all the planets. Just as the karma of individuals differs, so differs the karma of the various Logoi, and the karma of our planetary Logos has been a heavy one, and veiled in the mystery of personality at this time.
Again, according as the centres are active or inactive, so the manifestation differs likewise, and the study which opens up is of vast and abstruse interest in connection with the solar system.
We have dealt briefly with the evolution of the centres, with their function, their organisation and their gradually increasing activity from a point of comparative inertia until they are consummated motion. Then they become living wheels of flame, distinguished by a dual motion of the periphery and the inner revolving wheels, and by a fourth-dimensional effect, due primarily to the alignment of the inner subtler vortices with the comparatively exoteric etheric centres. This alignment is brought about eventually at initiation.
At the time that initiation is taken, the centres are all active and the lower four (which correspond to the Personality) are beginning the process of translating the fire into the three higher. The dual revolution in the lower centres is clearly to be seen and the three higher are commencing to be similarly active. By the application of the Rod of Initiation at the time of the initiation ceremony, certain results are achieved in connection with the centres which might be enumerated as follows:
1. The fire at the base of the spine is definitely directed [Page 208] to whichever centre is the object of special attention. This varies according to the Ray, or the specialised work of the initiate.
2. The centre has its activity intensified, its rate of evolution increased, and certain of the central spokes of the wheel brought into more active radiance. These spokes which are also called by some students lotus-petals, have a close connection with the different spirillae in the permanent atoms. Through their stimulation there comes into play one or more of the corresponding spirillae in the permanent atoms on the three lower planes. After the third Initiation, a corresponding stimulation takes place in the permanent atoms of the Triad, leading to the co-ordination of the buddhic vehicle, and the transference of the lower polarisation into the higher.
3. By the application of the Rod of Initiation the downflow of force from the Ego to the personality is tripled, the direction of that force being dependent upon whether the centres receiving attention are the etheric, or the astral at the first and second Initiations, or whether the initiate is standing before the LORD OF THE WORLD. In the latter case, his mental centres or their corresponding force vortices on higher levels, will receive stimulation. When the World Teacher initiates at the first and second Initiations, the direction of the Triadal force is turned to the vivification of the heart, and throat centres, and the ability to synthesise the force of the lower centres is greatly increased. When the One Initiator applies the Rod of His Power, the downflow is from the Monad, and though the throat and heart intensify vibration as a response, the main direction of the force is to the seven head centres, and finally (at liberation) to the radiant head centre above, and synthesising the lesser seven head centres.
4. The centres at initiation receive a fresh access of [Page 209] vibratory capacity and of power, and this results, in the exoteric life, as:
First. A sensitiveness and refinement of the vehicles which may result, at first, in much suffering to the initiate, but which produces a capacity to respond to contacts that far outweighs the incidental pain.
Second. A development of psychic faculty that again may lead to temporary distress, but which eventually causes a recognition of the one Self in all selves, which is the goal of endeavor.
Third. A burning away, through a gradual arousing of kundalini, and its correct geometrical progression through the etheric web. This produces a resultant continuity of consciousness which enables the initiate consciously to utilise time as a factor in the plans of evolution.
Fourth. A gradual grasp of the Law of Vibration as an aspect of the basic law of building; the initiate learns consciously to build, to manipulate thought matter for the perfecting of the plans of the Logos, to work in mental essence, and to apply the law of mental levels and thereby affect the physical plane. Motion originates cosmically on cosmic mental levels, and in the microcosm the same order will be seen. There is an occult hint here that will reveal much if pondered upon. At initiation, at the moment of the application of the Rod, the initiate consciously realises the meaning of the Law of Attraction in form building, and in the synthesis of the three fires. Upon his ability to retain that realisation and himself to apply the law, will depend his power and progress.
5. By the application of the Rod, the fire of kundalini is aroused, and its upward progress directed. The fire at the base of the spine, and the fire of mind are [Page 210] directed along certain routes, or triangles, by the action of the Rod as it moves in a specified manner. There is a definite occult reason, under the Laws of Electricity, behind the known fact that every initiate, presented to the Initiator, is accompanied by two of the Masters, who stand one on either side of him. The three of them together form a triangle which makes the work possible.
The force of the Rod is twofold, and its power terrific. Apart and alone the initiate could not receive the voltage from the Rod without serious hurt, but in triangular formation transmission comes safely. The two Masters Who thus sponsor the initiate, represent two polarities of the electric All; part of Their work is therefore to stand with all applicants for initiation when they come before the Great Lord.
When the Rods of Initiation are held in the hands of the Initiator in His position of power, and at the stated seasons, they act as transmitters of electric force from very high levels,—so high indeed that the "Flaming Diamond" at certain of the final initiations (the sixth and seventh) transmits force, via the Logos, from outside the system altogether. We need to remember that this major Rod is the one used on this planet, but that within the system there are several such Rods of Power, and that they are to be found in three grades, if it may be so expressed.
First. The Rod of Initiation used for the first two initiations and wielded by the Great Lord, the Christ, the World Teacher. It is magnetised by application of the "Flaming Diamond"—the magnetisation being repeated when each new world Teacher takes office. There is a wonderful ceremony performed at the time that a new World Teacher takes up His work. During the ceremony He receives His Rod of Power—the same Rod as used since the foundation of our planetary Hierarchy—and holds it forth to the Lord of the World, Who touches it [Page 211] with His own mighty Rod, causing a fresh re-charging of its electric capacity. This ceremony takes place at Shamballa.89,90
Second. The Rod of Initiation known as the "Flaming Diamond" and used by Sanat Kumara, the One Initiator, called in the Bible, the Ancient of Days. This Rod lies hidden "in the East" and holds the fire latent which irradiates the Wisdom Religion. This Rod was brought by the Lord of the World when He took form and came to our planet eighteen million years ago.
Once in every world period it is subjected to a similar process as that of the lesser Rod, only this time it is recharged by the direct action of the Logos Himself,—the Logos of the solar system. The location of this Rod is known only to the Lord of the World, and to the Chohans of the Rays, and (being the talisman of this evolution) the Chohan of the second Ray is—under the Lord of the World—its main guardian, aided by the deva Lord of the second plane. The Buddhas of activity are responsible for its custody, and under them the Chohan of the Ray. It is produced only at stated times when specific work has to be done. It is used not only at the initiating of men, but at certain planetary functions, of which nothing as yet has been given out. It has its place and function in certain ceremonies connected with the inner round91 and the triangle formed by the Earth, Mars [Page 212] and Mercury. But more about this is not at this time permissible.
Third. The Rod of Initiation, wielded by the Logos of the solar system, is called among other things, the "Sevenfold Flaming Fire." It was confided to our Logos by the Lord of Sirius and sent to our system from that radiant sun. One of its purposes is for use in emergencies. This great talisman has never yet been employed in this particular manner, though twice it was nearly thus used,—once in Atlantean days, and once in the third year of the late war. This Rod of Power is used at the initiation of the seven Heavenly Men on cosmic levels. It is used also in the initiation of groups, a thing almost incomprehensible to us. It is applied to the centres of the seven Heavenly Men in the same general way as the lesser Rods are applied to the human centres, and the effects are the same, only on a vaster scale. This, needless to say, is a vast and abstruse subject, and concerns not the sons of men. It is but touched upon, as an enumeration of the Rods of Initiation would be incomplete without some reference to it, and it serves to show the wondrous synthesis of the whole, and the place of the system within an even greater scheme. In all things cosmic, perfect law and order are found, and the ramifications of the plan can be seen on all planes and all subplanes. This greatest Rod is in the care of the first great group of karmic Lords. It might be described as the Rod which carries a voltage of pure fohatic force from cosmic levels. The two lesser Rods carry differentiated fohatic force. This logoic Rod of Power is kept within the Sun, and is only re-charged at the beginning of every one hundred years of Brahma.
The reason why the Rods of Power are here discussed is that they have definitely to do with the centres which are force vortices in matter and which (though channels [Page 213] for spiritual force, or centres wherein the 'will to be' finds expression) demonstrate as activity in matter. They are the centres of existence, and just as one cannot, in manifestation, dissociate the two poles of Spirit and matter, so one cannot, in initiation apply the Rod without bringing about definite effects between the two. The Rods are charged with Fohat which is fire of matter plus electric fire, hence their effect. The mystery cannot be explained in greater detail as the secrets of initiation are not transmissible. More has been here imparted on this matter than hitherto, though there are those who have heard these things.
The forces which are responsible for the awakening of the centres are many. The primary one is the force of evolution itself, plus the inherent or innate forward-pressing urge towards greater inclusiveness which is always found in every individual being. This secondary aspect of the evolutionary principle needs careful elaborating. We have for too long been occupied with the effort to develop the form side of nature so that it shall become increasingly sensitive to its environment and thus build an ever improving mechanism. But the twofold idea (should I say Fact, for such it is?) of the development of an increasing capacity to include and the fact of the existence of the one interior factor, the Self, which brings about this steady development, needs emphasising. From the standpoint of the occult student, there are three ideas which lie behind this belief:
1. The fact of the Indweller, the Entity within the form who looks on at life as it unfolds, who develops awareness of the environment and who becomes inclusive—eventually to the point of synthesis.
2. The fact of the inherent ability (found in all forms of life [Page 556] in all kingdoms) to progress towards this greater inclusiveness, passing from kingdom to kingdom in this unfolding process.
3. The fact that humanity constitutes a central point from which this inclusiveness can be consciously developed. Hitherto, the development has been natural, normal and part of the evolutionary urge. This it still remains, but the process can be hastened (and frequently is) as man gains control of his mental processes and begins to work (as the conscious Indweller) towards appointed ends.
I wanted to make these points adequately clear because they have a definite bearing on our theme which concerns the psychic difficulties of modern man. These difficulties are rapidly growing and are causing much distress among those who believe that the development of the lower psychic powers is a hindrance to true spiritual development. Certain mystics regard these powers as indications of divine grace, however, and as guarantees of the reality of their endeavour. Others regard them as signifying a definite "fall from grace". It seems to me, therefore, that an analysis of these powers, their correct placing upon the path of development, and a comprehension of the distinction between the higher and the lower powers will be of real value and will enable students in the future to proceed with a greater surety and knowledge. They will thus be more accurately sure of the nature of the contacts of which they become aware and of the means whereby these contacts are approached and gained.
The major idea which I would have you bear in mind is the development of Inclusiveness. This inclusiveness is the outstanding characteristic of the soul, or self, whether it is the soul of man, the sensitive nature of the cosmic Christ, or the anima mundi, the soul of the world. This inclusiveness tends [Page 557] to synthesis. It can already be seen functioning at a definite point of fulfillment in man, because man includes in his nature all the gains of past evolutionary cycles (in other kingdoms in nature and in previous human cycles), plus the potentiality of a greater future inclusiveness. Man is the macrocosm of the microcosm; the gains and peculiar properties of the other kingdoms in nature are his, having been resolved into capacities of consciousness. He is, however, enveloped in and part of a still greater macrocosm, and of this greater whole he must become increasingly aware. Let this word, Inclusiveness, govern your thinking as you read this instruction which I am giving you upon the psychic powers and their effect.
The next idea to which I would call your attention is that the human being has the power to be inclusive in many directions, just as a line can be drawn from the point at the centre of the circle to any point upon the periphery. You must remember that for a large part of his career and for the most important part of his human experience, he remains the dramatic actor, holding the centre of the stage and in his own eyes playing the star part; he is always conscious of his acting and of the reactions to that acting. When man was little more than an animal, when he was in the state which we have earlier called the Lemurian consciousness and the early Atlantean consciousness, he lived unthinkingly; life unrolled like a panorama before his eyes; he identified himself with the episodes depicted and knew no difference between himself and that which he seemed to be in the unfolding picture. He simply looked on, played his little part, ate, reproduced, reacted to pleasure and to pain, and seldom, if ever, thought or reflected.
Then comes the period, familiar to all of us, wherein the man becomes the dramatic center of his universe—living, loving, planning, acting, conscious of his audience and his surroundings, [Page 558] and demonstrating to his fullest capacity the later Atlantean and present Aryan characteristics. He is intelligently aware of his power and of a few of his powers; he is a functioning personality and (because the mind is controlling or beginning to control) the lower animal powers and the Atlantean psychism which have distinguished him begin to fade out. He loses these lower powers and has not yet developed the higher ones. Hence the reaction to be seen on every hand today to such powers as clairvoyance, clairaudience, etc.; hence their wholesale condemnation as fraudulent by the intelligentsia of the world.
Next comes the mystical stage wherein the advanced human being, the aspirant and the disciple becomes steadily aware of another realm of nature to conquer, the realm of the Kingdom of God, with its own life and phenomena; he registers the existence of other powers which he can develop and use if he so desires and is willing to pay the price; he recognises another and wider sphere of being which he can include in his own consciousness if he permits himself to be conquered by it.
The inference then is that there are two sets of powers latent in his human equipment—the lower one being recoverable if he deem it desirable, the other and higher one to be developed. These two sets of powers are:
1. The ancient powers and faculties which humanity developed and possessed in past ages and which he drove into the background of his consciousness and below the threshold of his current awareness in order to develop the mind and thus become himself a conqueror and a personality.
2. The higher powers and faculties which are the prerogative of the conscious soul. These are the greater powers to which the Christ referred when He promised His [Page 559] disciples that some day they would do greater things than He had done.
It should be remembered, however, that all the psychic powers are the powers, faculties and capacities of the One Soul but that, in time and space, some of them are expressions of the animal consciousness or the animal soul, some of the human soul, and some of the divine soul.
The following tabulation of the developing psychic powers as they blend in consciousness three kingdoms in nature may be of service at this point if careful study is made of the inferred relationships:
Animal. Human Divine.
1. The four major instincts The five major instincts The five transmuted instincts.
a. Self preservation Creative self-preservation Immortality.
b. Sex Sex. Human love Attraction.
c. Herd instinct Gregariousness Group consciousness.
d. Curiosity Enquiry. Analysis Evolutionary urge.
2. The Five senses The five senses The five senses.
a. Touch Touch. Contact Understanding.
b. Hearing Hearing. Sound Response to the Word.
c. Sight Seeing, Perspective The mystical vision.
d. Taste (embryonic) Taste. Discrimination..Intuition.
e. Smell (acute) Smell, Emotional idealism Spiritual discernment.
3. Lower psychic powers The human correspondences Higher psychic powers.
a. Clair-voyance Extension through vision The mystical vision.
b. Clair-audience Extension through hearing Telepathy. Inspiration.
c. Mediumship Intercourse. Speech Mediatorship.
d. Materialisation Invention Creativity.
e. Divination Foresight. Planning Prevision.
f. Healing through
animal magnetism Healing through science Healing through spiritual magic.
Extracts from "A Treatise on Cosmic Fire" pp. 188-196
Microcosmic Sensory Evolution
1. Hearing 5th gaseous
2. Touch, feeling 4th first etheric
3. Sight 3rd super-etheric
4. Taste 2nd sub-atomic
5. Smell 1st atomic
1. Clairaudience 5th
2. Psychometry 4th
3. Clairvoyance 3rd
4. Imagination 2nd
5. Emotional idealism 1st
1. Higher clairaudience 7th Form
2. Planetary psychometry 6th Form
3. Higher.clairvoyance 5th Form
4. Discrimination 4th Form
5. Spiritual discernment 3rd Formless
6. Response to group vibration 2nd Formless
7. Spiritual telepathy 1st Formless
1. Comprehension 7th
2. Healing 6th
3. Divine vision 5th
4. Intuition 4th
5. Idealism 3rd
1. Beatitude 7th
2. Active service 6th
3. Realisation 5th
4. Perfection 4th
5. All knowledge 3rd
It can be noted that we have not summed up the two planes of abstraction on the atmic and the buddhic planes, the reason being that they mark a degree of realisation which is the property of initiates of higher degree than that of the adept, and which is beyond the concept of the evolving human unit, for whom this treatise is written.
We might, here, for the sake of clarity, tabulate the five different aspects of the five senses on the five planes, so that their correspondences may be readily visualised, using the above table as the basis:
a. The First Sense Hearing.
1. Physical hearing.
3. Higher clairaudience.
4. Comprehension (of four sounds).
b. The Second Sense Touch or feeling.
1. Physical touch.
3. Planetary psychometry.
5. Active service.
c. The Third Sense Sight.
1. Physical sight.
3. Higher clairvoyance.
4. Divine vision.
d. The Fourth Sense Taste.
1. Physical taste.
e. The Fifth Sense Smell.
1. Physical smell.
2. Emotional idealism.
3. Spiritual discernment.
5. All knowledge.
Hearing gives him an idea of relative direction, and enables a man to fix his place in the scheme, and to locate himself.
Touch gives him an idea of relative quantity and enables him to fix his relative value as regards other bodies, extraneous to himself.
Sight gives him an idea of proportion, and enables him to adjust his movements to the movements of others.
Taste gives him an idea of value, and enables him to fix upon that which to him appears best.
Smell gives him an idea of innate quality, and enables him to find that which appeals to him as of the same quality or essence as himself.
In all these definitions it is necessary to bear in mind that the whole object of the senses is to reveal the not-self, and to enable the Self therefore to differentiate between the real and the unreal.
These three major senses (if I might so describe them) are very definitely allied, each with one of the three Logoi:
Hearing—The recognition of the fourfold word, the activity of matter, the third Logos.
Touch—The recognition of the sevenfold Form Builder, the gathering together of forms, their approximation and interrelation, the second Logos. The Law of Attraction between the Self and the not-self begins to work.
Sight—The recognition of totality, the synthesis of all, the realisation of the One in Many, the first Logos. The Law of Synthesis, operating between all forms which the self occupies, [Page 563] and the recognition of the essential unity of all manifestation by the means of sight.
This is realised through the not-self
The summation of the work of the Self for the not-self
Recognition of the triplicity needed in manifestation, or the reflex action of the Self and the not-self
Evolution completed through the utilisation of the not-self and its realised adequacy
The principle of manas in its discriminating activity, perfecting the inter-relation between the Self and the not-self
A close study of the above will bring to the open-minded student two major points which he would do well to consider:
1. That the instinctual nature, as it develops in the three kingdoms (animal, human and divine) is, in fact, that which develops stage by stage into what we call consciousness; it is in reality, the development of a gradual expansion of capacity to be aware of the environment, whatever that environment may be. The herd instinct of the animal is, for instance, the embryonic unfoldment of what is later recognised by the intellect as group consciousness. These higher developments are brought about by the application of the intellect and a change in the motivating power. The same idea can be traced in connection with all the instincts.
2. That the lower psychic powers, inherent in the animal nature, are in every case embryonic indications of soul capacities.
Once this idea is grasped, the attitude of the sceptic and unbeliever will change and he will see (as he studies these lower powers) that, rightly understood and utilised, they can be direct avenues of approach to certain states of existence, but are incidental to and not substitutes for the higher powers.
I would like to offer two other points to your consideration:
First, that the man or woman who is expressing and interested in these lower powers (which are called the lower siddhis by the oriental philosophy) is demonstrating true powers. They are not however the highest possible powers nor are they the powers which humanity is intended to express unless at the lowest point in evolution and, therefore, allied closely to the animal kingdom; or at the highest point, in which case the greater powers automatically include the lesser. The lower psychic powers are shared with the animal kingdom and with all those human races which are low down in the scale of the human evolution.
This is a fact and a statement which arouses much antagonism among the present day exponents of these powers, both in and out of the spiritualistic and occult movements. Such people are apt to consider these powers as indicative either of an advanced spiritual condition or as a rare and unique possession, setting their owner apart as more gifted, more wise and more able to advise and direct other human beings than is the ordinary man. This attitude is demonstrated by the immense audiences such people can address and gather around themselves, and the willingness of the public to listen to them and to pay money for the privilege and the benefit of the demonstration and the advice.
Secondly, the difficulty of this situation is increased because, as evolution proceeds, certain more or less advanced [Page 565] people recover these ancient animal propensities and capacities as their power to become inclusive goes forward; they begin to expand their consciousness so that the past as well as the future is brought within their range of awareness. Knowing that they are aspiring to the higher things and towards the world of mystical realisation (in contradistinction to that of psychical realisation), they interpret some episode, which they may have clairvoyantly apprehended, as appertaining to them as individuals; they regard some clairaudient injunction or happening as appropriately theirs, and some vision of a thought form of the Christ or of one of the Masters as indicative of a direct and personal interview with these advanced leaders. They thus enter into the world of glamour and of delusion from which they must, finally with great difficulty, extricate themselves.
May I also call your attention to the fact that the lines of demarcation between these animal, human and divine states of consciousness are not clear cut as in our tabulation? A recognition of this will call attention to the complexity of the subject and the difficulty of our theme. This complexity can, I think, be well illustrated by a study of the uses of the word telepathy. As generally used today it indicates two powers:
1. An instinctual registering of some situation, some call and some impression which impinges upon the solar plexus centre. This power of impression is Not controlled; there is no supervised intentional mental perception of a directed message; there is only a tuning in on a state of mind or on a condition and situation connected with the one who is regarded as sending the message. In nine cases out of ten, this message is one of distress and goes forward and produces its effect without any capacity on the part of the recipient to induce the reception of the [Page 566] message. An illustration of this would be the recognition by a mother that a loved child is in danger.
2. A form of clairvoyance which enables the man to see that which is hidden, such as the number of symbols on a playing card which is laying face downwards upon the table.
True telepathy, however, is a direct mental communication from mind to mind and in its more advanced expression is a communication of soul to soul, using the mind later as a formulator of the communication, as in the case of inspiration. It is interesting to note (and instructive also in view of our subject) that in true telepathic registration, the lesser powers may be raised and used at a high level of awareness. It is well known esoterically that
a. Some people simply record telepathically in their minds the information coming from another mind. The registration as well as the communication is wordless and formless. The recipient simply knows and the imparted knowledge takes form in the consciousness without any intermediate stages or steps. This is formless telepathy.
b. Other people instantaneously step down into form the knowledge which has been imparted; they will see the message, word or information appear before their eyes in written or printed form as if it were imposed upon a moving screen, seen within the head.
c. Others will step the information down into form whereby they hear it.
In these two latter cases, the true man is making use of his latent lower powers, raising them to as high a level as possible and subordinating them to mental or soul uses. The difference [Page 567] between this usage of the power of clairvoyant and clairaudient demonstration is that in this case there is full mental control and understanding, and in the other cases the lower powers are automatically employed, are uncontrolled, are occupied with matters of no true importance and are not understood in any way by the one who is employing them.
The one basic sense, as you well know is that of touch. This is the reason why I have not placed psychometry in any particular category in my tabulation of the instincts, senses and powers. Psychometry is essentially the capacity to work with and to get in touch with the soul of the higher grouping to which the unit in the lower grouping aspires, and with the soul that can thus aspire in any form. It concerns, in reality the "measure" of inclusiveness. This measure will govern, for instance, the relation of the dog or other domesticated animal to a human being, of a man to other men, and of an aspirant to his soul, his master and his group. When this psychometrical inclusiveness is turned towards the world of tangible things—minerals, possessions and other material objects, for instance—we tend to make a magical performance out of it, and to charge money for the demonstration of psychometrical power. We then call this the science of psychometry. Yet it is the same power, turned towards the lower kingdoms as is employed in making contact with the higher. There are three groups of people who use the lower psychic powers, either consciously or unconsciously:
1. Those whose evolutionary stage is low enough to permit of their automatic use.
2. Those who have brought over the capacity to see and hear on astral levels or to "work magic" from another life—from Atlantean times. These powers are natural to them, but are usually neither understood nor controlled by [Page 568] knowledge and they usually make their owner a victim or an exploiter of these powers.
3. The mystic upon the path of vision who (through the bringing in of energy from the soul through meditation and aspiration) stimulates the solar plexus or throat centres and thus opens a door on to the astral plane.
In all cases, it is the astral plane which stands revealed. The statement can here be made that where there is colour, form and phenomena analogous to or a replica of that to be found upon the physical plane then there is to be seen the "duplicating phenomena" of the astral plane. Where there is materialisation of forms upon the physical plane you see the joint activity of the astral and etheric planes. You do not have the phenomena of the mental or soul levels. Bear this definitely in mind. The astral plane is—in time and space and to all intents and purposes—a state of real being plus a world of illusory forms, created by man himself and by his imaginative creativity. One of the major lessons to be learnt upon the Path of Discipleship is to learn to distinguish that which is real from that which is illusion.
What then, is to be seen and heard by the medium when in trance or when giving an exhibition of clairvoyance and clairaudience? Several possibilities, which I might list as follows:
1. A revelation of the "wish life" of the person or the group to whom the medium is addressing himself. This wish life takes form in proportion to the power of the unexpressed wish or the mental ability of the person or persons concerned.
2. A recognition by the medium of the thought forms or thought form to be found in the aura of the person in the audience or circle. These thought forms have been [Page 569] built over a space of time and are usually of some one deeply loved or as deeply disliked. They are often so real in appearance that the person can recognise them when described by the medium and the medium can at the same time by a process of telepathy (via the solar plexus centre) become aware of the things which the sitter wishes to hear, which will be in line with the usual mannerisms and methods of speech and thought of the departed or living friend. This accounts for the mediocre calibre of the usual utterance and statement made at a seance. The average person who frequents a seance is not usually of the highest grade of intelligence, unless he is simply there as an investigator.
3. A few rare cases when a soul on the path of return to incarnation or immediately after death is impelled (for good and sufficient purpose) to make a contact with a friend or relative via a medium. Such cases are known and usually presuppose more than average intelligence on the part of the sitter, the communicator and the medium. They constitute however, the exceptional occurrence.
4. The revelation to the clairvoyant and clairaudient worker of much of the phenomena of the astral plane, which parallels that of the physical plane and which is conditioned by the quality and calibre of the circle of people who constitute the audience. This, the medium interprets to them and it usually evokes recognition.
I am here casting no doubt on the sincerity of the performance nor on those mediums who are born with these clairvoyant and clairaudient faculties. I am only pointing out that the phenomena which they are contacting is astral in nature and that anyone looking at a circle from the standpoint [Page 570] of the higher psychic powers would note around each sitter a group of astral forms (self-created) of those who have departed physical life through death, of those who are constantly in his thoughts though still alive, and also a kaleidescopic and changing process of appearing and disappearing forms (some quite nebulous and some quite substantial according to the power of thought) which concern the wish life of the sitter, which are concerned with his home affairs, his business or are built up around his health. The sensitive tunes in on these, connects them with the attendant thought forms and hence the production of the usual performance found in the seance room or with the average audience. The medium is truly and accurately relating just what he sees and hears and therefore is sincere and truthful, but because he receives no real training in the art of interpretation and in the technique of distinguishing the illusory from the real, he is, perforce, unable to do more than describe the phenomena seen and the words heard.
When, however, the mystic opens up these same powers as is sometimes the case, the phenomena seen and the words which are heard can be of a very high order. Nevertheless they are still astral, for they concern happenings and phenomena found upon the higher levels of the astral plane. He comes into contact with the spiritual or religious wish life of the race and according to the basic trend of his individual aspiration at the moment so will be his contacts. If he is an earnest and devoted Christian, he will see one of the beautiful and vital thought forms of the Christ there to be found and in the wonder of that revelation, his love and his imagination and all that is best in him will be evoked in adoration and mystery. Hence some of the inspired writings and illumined visions of the mystic. If he is a Hindu, there may come [Page 571] to him a vision of the Lord of Love, Shri Krishna, or, if a Buddhist, he may see the Lord of Light, the Buddha, in all His radiance. If he is an occult student, or a Theosophist or Rosicrucian, he may see a vision of one of the Masters or of the entire Hierarchy of adepts; he may hear words spoken and thus feel assured, past all controversy, that the Great Ones have chosen him for special privilege and for unique service. And yet, his consciousness has never moved from off the astral plane and his contacts have only been a wonderful and inspiring expression of the phenomena of that plane, released to his inner sight and hearing through his aspiration.
All this is brought about through the over-activity of the solar plexus centre, stimulated by the energy pouring in from the heights he has attained in aspirational meditation. The results are very emotional in their nature, and the reactions developed and the subsequent service rendered are on emotional levels. A great deal of this is to be seen among the teachers in the world at this time in many lands. Such teachers have been and are true aspirants. They have awakened in consciousness upon the higher levels of the astral plane. They have there seen the thought forms which humanity has created of the spiritual Hierarchy or the reflections on those levels of that Hierarchy (a still more potent group of thought forms) and have heard repetitions of that which has been said and thought by the world aspirants of all time—all of it most beautiful, good and true. They then proceed to teach and proclaim what they have thus heard, seen and learnt and frequently do much good—on astral levels. They are, all the same, confusing the reflection with the reality, the reproduction with the original, and the humanly constructed with the divinely created.
Forget not, that the astral plane is that whereon man has [Page 572] to learn to distinguish truth from error, and the real from the unreal. Thus those who are deceived are only learning a needed lesson. The fact of the astral plane is being steadily recognised and that is good. The fact of the existence of the spiritual Hierarchy and of Masters is being brought to the attention of the masses even if it is being done by those who are confusing the reflection and the thought form with the reality.
The question could here properly be asked: How can the mystic avoid this error and confusion? How can he distinguish the real from the illusory? This constitutes an individual problem for every mystic and there is no one profound and scientific rule whereby he can guide his reactions. The only rules which I can give you are so simple that those who are occupied at this time with teaching and proclaiming that which they have astrally contacted may not like to follow them. The attitude of mind which will guard the mystic from astral delusion and error is:
1. The cultivation of a spirit of true humility. There is a spiritual arrogance which masks itself behind a cloak of humbleness and which is very prevalent at this time. It leads people to regard themselves as the chosen of the Hierarchy to save the world; it leads them to look upon themselves as the mouthpieces of the Masters or of the Christ; it tends to make them separative in their attitudes to other leaders and teachers, refusing to recognise the many aspects of the one work and the many methods which the Mind of God has devised for reaching the masses.
2. The refusal to accept any contact or message which has personality implications or which sets its recipient apart, thus tending to the development of a Messiah complex. [Page 573] I like that phrase. It is simple and concise and illustrates dramatically the state of mind and describes the assured nature of the consciousness of many of the present teachers of humanity. A true contact with the Hierarchy and the true accolade of service carries with it the conviction of the existence of the many servers in the one Service, of the many messengers carrying the one message, of the many teachers of the many aspects of the one Truth, and of the many and various ways back to the Heart of God. When this all-embracing revelation accompanies the call to service, then the spirit of inclusiveness is developed and the man can be sure that he is truly called to cooperate and convinced of the reality of his vision.
3. The freedom from emotional appeal. The true disciple and mystic is ever mentally polarised. His vision is free from the deluding reactions of the solar plexus centre. His vision awakens the heart centre and evokes the response of his personality energy (focussed in the ajna centre) and produces eventually a "centering in the place of light". This indicates the growing activity of the head centre. He may, later, use controlled emotional appeal in dealing with the masses but he himself seeks to remain free from all emotional control.
We are considering the unfoldment of the psychic powers, producing conditions in the subject which are regarded by the orthodox investigator as pathological in nature or as indicating psychological trouble of a serious kind. However, we are today close to the time when the fact of there being modes of perception other than those of the physical senses will be recognised, and the attitude of medicine and of the psychiatric and neurological sciences will undergo definite [Page 574] changes—much to the assistance and aid of humanity. The development of the psychic powers is basically due at this time (for the whole problem shifts into changing fields as evolution proceeds) to the psychic becoming aware of a field or fields of phenomena which are always present but which remain usually unrecognised because the inner mechanism of perception remains latent or quiescent. In the undeveloped human being or in groups of men who are low down in the racial scale, as also in animals, there is much psychic perception because the sacral centre motivates the physical plane life and the solar plexus centre governs the psychic nature. In these cases, all the higher centres are quiescent and undeveloped. The solar plexus is to the worlds of lower psychic perception what the brain is intended to be in the worlds of higher psychic understanding. In the one case, you have a centre of energy which is so potent that it swings the man into a state of consciousness which is fundamentally astral, thus governing the sex life from the angle of the sentient consciousness; in the other case, you have so close an identification between the head centre in etheric matter and the brain in physical substance that an organ which is definitely physical functions sympathetically, accurately and synchronously with its subjective counterpart, registering impressions from the head centre and the worlds with which that centre puts a man in touch. The two are then as one.
In between these stages of low grade psychic life and the spiritual perception of the initiate there is to be found every possible type of sentient consciousness. These can be divided into three major categories:
1. The unfoldment and use of the psychic powers, both higher and lower.
This is the stage of Psychism.
2. The evolution of the mystical vision.
This is the stage of Mysticism.
3. The revelation of light and power.
This is the stage of Occultism.
All these expressions of divine knowledge are connected with, and dependent upon, the development of the centres. In the low grade human being, the centres are nothing more than slowly revolving, palpitating disks of dim light. In Lemurian days, the sacral centre was the most active and the brightest. In Atlantean days, the solar plexus centre was by far the most significant. Today, as you know, the higher correspondences are coming into functioning activity and humanity is beginning to reap the benefits derived from experience in three races—the Lemurian, the Atlantean and the Aryan.
The throat centre is now the most active in the majority of cases and the most significant. The time is, however, coming when humanity will function on a large scale and as a mass through the ajna centre; this will take place in the next race for, in the next great cycle of racial development, there will be no people with a Lemurian consciousness to be found anywhere and the "pull" or the activity of the sacral centre will be greatly lessened and controlled. This can be seen happening today among the intelligentsia of the race. The Atlantean state of awareness (which functions primarily through the solar plexus) will be also greatly lessened as the heart centre awakens. Humanity will then be wrestling with difficulties and pathological and psychological troubles which will be based on group conditions and influences and not so much on a man's individual unfoldment. The beginnings of this can already be seen in its lowest phase in the emergence today of what is called "mass psychology"—a thing practically unknown (except in urban centres) a few hundred years ago. [Page 576] Now it is well nigh planetary in its radius of influence. Public opinion, with its determining and conditioning influence, is another phase of the same emerging factor.
The Aryan state of consciousness, with its coordinating capacity and its mental emphasis, will control the mass of the people, for in the coming race the Atlantean emotional state of consciousness will be to humanity what the Lemurian or low grade type is to the Aryan at this time. The masses will then all come under the category of the intelligentsia, whilst the intelligentsia of today will be the intuitives of tomorrow. In the language of mysticism, the masses will be on the probationary path and the cream of the race will be on the path of discipleship. The number also of the initiates and adepts, present in incarnation in order to carry forward the externalised work of the Hierarchy will be great. The world will then be full of people who will be completely integrated personalities with all the virtues (and consequently all the vices), the ambitions and problems, incident to that stage of awareness.
It is for this reason that the Hierarchy is working at this time to bring about the fecundation of the race by the cosmic principle of love, so that love and intellect can proceed hand in hand and thus balance each other. It is for this reason that the fact of the existence of the spiritual Hierarchy must be brought to the attention of the masses. This must be done in order to enhance the magnetic power of the love aspect of the hierarchical effort and not in order to awaken fear or awe, for that is of the old order and must disappear.
I might here touch upon the paralleling activity of the forces which are working to prevent the externalisation of the Hierarchy of Light since such a happening as that would mean increased—because proven—power. As you know, on the astral and mental planes centres exist which are [Page 577] called "dark centres" because the emphasis of their activity is upon the material aspect of manifestation and upon the activity of material substance; all energy is subordinated to purely selfish purpose. As I have before stated, the Forces of Light work with the soul, hidden in every form. They are concerned with group purposes and with the founding of the kingdom of God on earth. The dark forces work with the form side of expression and with the founding of a centre of control which will be theirs entirely and which will subdue all the living forms in all kingdoms to their peculiar behests. It is the old story, familiar in Biblical phraseology, of the kingdoms of the world and the kingdom of the Christ, of the power of anti-Christ and the power of Christ. This produced a great climax in Atlantean days and, though the Hierarchy of Light triumphed, it was only by the merest margin. The battle was fought out on the astral plane, though it had its correspondence upon the physical plane, in a great world conflict of which the ancient legend tells us. It ended in the catastrophe of the Flood. The seeds of hate and of separation have been fostered ever since that time and the three modes whereby the forces of darkness seek to control humanity are hatred, aggression and separativeness. The three great spiritual counterparts are love, selfless sharing and synthesis.
However, the hold of the forces which are working against the living principle of love (as embodied in the Hierarchy) is not gaining ground at this time, for the response of humanity to that which is good and synthetic is much more rapid and general than it was a few hundred years ago. There is much reason to hope that there will be a steady waning of the undesired control. The dark forces are ruled on the physical plane by a group of six oriental leaders and six occidental leaders; of these the oriental are the most powerful because [Page 578] they are the oldest racially and therefore the most experienced. They work by the intensification of glamour and by the stimulation of the lower psychic powers. Their particular point of attack at this time is the group of world disciples and initiates, for these latter are responsible for the fostering of love in the world and for the binding of men together in the spirit of unity. If they cannot succeed with this task now, it should be possible to externalise the Hierarchy and thereby greatly lessen the control of the so-called evil forces.
If these evil forces cannot induce the disciples everywhere, in group formation or individually, to succumb in some form to glamour, then they will endeavour to utilise group glamour to negative their efforts and force those with whom the disciples work to believe evil, to impugn motives, and to produce such a convincing story that the struggling disciple will be left to fight almost single-handed. If this cannot be done, they may then attack the physical bodies of the workers and agents for the Hierarchy, and seek, through the distress of the physical body, to control the disciple's output. This does not always prove successful, as the Master can, and often does, protect His disciple. The dark forces work also through the intensification or stimulation of the psychic mechanism, so that the lower psychic powers become abnormally developed and prematurely assume proportions which are almost uncontrollable. This happened on a large scale in Atlantean days and led to the entire astral plane standing revealed, but not understood. Its undesirable potencies were then let loose upon the physical plane and this led to the war between the two great schools of the mysteries the Light and the Dark—which culminated in the destruction of the then known world.
Today these potencies, light and dark, are again struggling for physical plane expression and supremacy but this time [Page 579] the result is vastly different. The effort to produce soul contact or to hinder it is working out in the form of nervous diseases and pathological conditions and this is affecting potently the group activity of man. The effort by the dark forces to stimulate the lower psychic powers seems able to reach no deeper into matter and form than the etheric vehicles and from there to condition the physical body physiologically in the form of diseases, lesions, nervous troubles and brain afflictions and the many other ways in which the human being is rendered helpless and unfitted to cope with daily living and modern world conditions. But the mind nature has reached a stage of protective usefulness and some of the great guarding barriers which are flung up around humanity at this time are the spirit of scepticism, and the refusal to recognise the existence or the usefulness of the psychic powers. This is a point to be remembered.
I have several times used the expression "the premature awakening" of the psychic powers. By that I mean the abnormal unfoldment of the powers of clairvoyance and of clairaudience so that the entire lower levels of the astral plane stand revealed, though the possessor of these powers can neither control the phenomena of subtle sight and hearing, nor interpret correctly what he sees and hears. In the earlier animal or savage stage, these faculties are frequently normal and there is no mental reaction of any kind and, therefore, no undue strain is put upon the nervous system and the brain. There is what I might call a flat or unemotional acquiescence in the condition which is due to the complete lack of the interpretative sense and of the dramatic self-conscious attitude of the man who is beginning to use his mind. The moment the "I-consciousness" becomes uppermost, then the possession of these lower psychic powers becomes a hindrance and a complication. Temporarily, they must be thrust into the background in order that the mind principle may assert its control and the life of the soul can then flow out into matured and considered expression upon the physical plane. This relegation of the psychic powers to a position below the threshold of consciousness is the intent of the development planned for the Aryan race.
I would like here to point out that I use the word "Aryan" in contradistinction to the majority of the races found in Asia. Speaking generally, we can today classify the races into three groups:
1. The many remnants of the Atlantean or fourth root-race people, plus a very small sprinkling of the Lemurian peoples—so small as to be negligible.
2. The Aryan race itself, which includes the civilisation of India and all Latins, Teutons, Nordics, and Anglo-Saxons, and their various offshoots.
3. A group which bridges between the Oriental races and the Aryan race which we call the Semitic. This race is neither purely Oriental nor is it Aryan.
The Jews are a group of people in whom the principle of separation is pronouncedly present. For ages they have, with determination and in obedience to the injunctions in the Old Testament, insisted on regarding themselves as a people set apart. For ages they have held themselves separated off from all other peoples in the world. The result is that they are now evoking from the races among whom they are scattered a corresponding desire to force that very separation upon them. Under the law, we draw forth from others what is actually present within ourselves, and to this law, races and nations are no exception. Through the inter-relation of Jew and Gentile, of Semitic and Aryan, and through the solving of [Page 581] the Jewish problem will the great heresy of separateness eventually be fought out.
It is not intended that the Aryan race should be a psychic race. Their goal is bringing the mind nature into prominence. This could not take place if the "drift" of the forces, flowing into the human mechanism was in the direction of the solar plexus—the major centre, governing all lower psychic unfoldment. Just as certain transferences are going on today between the centres below the diaphragm into those above the diaphragm, so the solar plexus (which is like the controlling brain in the animal and the physical-emotional man) must cease finally to control the activities of the human being and the brain must become the seat of the directing agency in its place. Speaking again generally, there are three major controlling factors in the career of a human being:—
1. The solar plexus, corresponding to that stage wherein the play of the forces is physical-etheric-astral.
This is the stage of psychic development.
2. The ajna centre between the eyebrows, corresponding to the period of integration and of personality control, wherein certain areas of the brain become sensitised and used.
This is the stage of mental development.
3. The head centre, involving the entire brain area around the pineal gland, wherein the spiritual man assumes control.
This is the stage of soul control.
It is in this latter stage that the higher psychic faculties come into play and the lower powers can then again be used, if deemed desirable. The initiate has full control of all faculties and powers, and knows both when and how to use them the most profitably and with the least expenditure of energy. It [Page 582] should be noted, however, that the average modern psychic or medium does not come under this category, for the initiates and Masters use all Their powers quietly and behind the scenes and not for demonstration before the public. The majority of psychics today are solar plexus workers, though a few—a very few—are beginning to shift their forces into the ajna centre and to develop mental faculties. This has an integrating effect and temporarily is marked by a complete and necessary cessation of the lower powers. In this sense "the mind is the slayer of the real", but only of the relatively real. That which has seemed real and of importance or which proved interesting and exciting to the average psychic is eventually forced below the threshold of consciousness by the unfoldment of the mind. It is this needed transition period in the case of many of the modern psychics which lies at the root of a number of their undoubted difficulties. They are faced with issues they cannot resolve and which they do not understand as they have no background of occult practice or understanding. They have been brought to the point of discarding the old ways and yet the new techniques of living and of practice mean nothing to them. A future which must be faced without the phenomena which has made the past so exciting, interesting and frequently remunerative does not attract them. Yet, in reality they are faced with the transition out of the Atlantean state of consciousness into the higher and Aryan state of awareness. They are offered a step forward and need to remember that every step forward in evolution and, therefore, towards the spiritual goal, is always at a cost and through the relinquishing of that which has hitherto been held dear.
The psychical difficulties which eventually are many, fall into three general categories:
1. Those arising from the premature awakening of the centres. In these cases, the psychic has no control whatsoever over his powers. He simply knows that he sees and hears that which cannot be seen and heard by the average man. His problem is to live consciously and simultaneously upon the physical and astral planes. He cannot stop himself seeing and hearing and his life becomes most complex and complicated. Where there is this premature awakening in the case of the intellectual man, it frequently produces great difficulty, nervous tension, brain disturbance and always misunderstanding from those around. There is many times a definite drift into insanity. In the case of the average unintelligent person, there is usually a shift of the life—emphasis on to the astral plane and away from the physical plane where it is intended that men should express all that is in them. The psychic then lives altogether in the world of glamour and of lower psychic phenomena. What he sees and relates is truly and sincerely what he has noted but there is no interpretative ability. It is seldom of a high order because the psychic is not of a high order of mentality or influence himself.
2. Those arising out of a loose connection existing between the physical body and the etheric body. This produces the various stages of mediumship, of control by entities of some kind or another, of trance conditions and of many kinds of obsession, temporary or permanent.
4. I do not include in this list the work of the materialising mediums, for their work is of a totally different kind and though not so dangerous to the personality of the medium is perhaps still more undesirable. So completely is the medium divorced (as an astral-mental-soul individual) from his physical body that it becomes dominant [Page 584] in its own field (the material) and can absorb—through the many etheric orifices—the stuff of which certain of the lower forms are constituted; it can attract the primitive substance of a low grade which can be built into shape (and often is) by the thought, either of a sitter or of a group of sitters in a so-called "materialising seance". With these the medium is en rapport subconsciously. This is not a telepathic rapport but a solar plexus, a psychic rapport. The subject is too abstruse for elaboration here and this form of mediumship must inevitably be discarded as the evolution of the race proceeds.
3. Those which are indicative of an exceeding sensitivity to impressions, to conditions and to atmospheres, surrounding the psychic. This sensitivity is of a somewhat inchoate nature and is difficult to define, but it is analogous to the general sense of Touch. There is no part of the human frame which, if it is touched in a certain manner, will not react. So the sensitive will register psychic awareness of a more general nature than that of the defined powers. We have consequently:
This leads eventually to mental telepathy and finally to spiritual knowledge.
This leads eventually to spiritual vision and finally to spiritual identification.
This leads eventually to spiritual aspiration and finally to spiritual impressibility.
It might here be pointed out that mystical development and aspiration are the way of escape from the highest aspect of the Atlantean consciousness. This is itself astral in nature. [Page 585] Occultism and science are the way of escape from the highest expression of the concrete mind, and from the Aryan consciousness, which is mental in nature. Sensitivity or the psychic sense of touch is etheric in nature, is general in expression and must eventually give place to that spiritual impressibility which enables a man, like the Christ, simply to "know" what is in his fellow man and to be aware of his condition and of the condition of life in all forms. It is the first step towards that universal spiritual key of which psychometry is the lowest expression.
In the above paragraph and differentiations I have given you much food for thought and indicated a sequence of unfoldment which is individual, racial and universal.
If we extend these ideas into their planetary connotations (which is interesting but probably quite useless to you) I would add that:
is the keynote of the evolution proceeding at this time on Venus. It is sensitivity to spiritual impression.
is the keynote of the evolution proceeding at this time on Mars. It is spiritual telepathy and knowledge.
is the keynote of the evolution proceeding at this time on the Earth. It is spiritual vision leading to identification.
Let us now consider how the abuse of the lower psychic powers may be arrested temporarily until such time as the initiate may seek to use them, in full consciousness and with full control.
The prime difficulty of the natural psychic and of the man who is born as a medium is his inability intelligently to control the phenomena evidenced. Lack of control of the physical powers is deemed highly undesirable. Lack of psychic control should also be relegated to the same category. The [Page 586] medium is either in trance or his psychic powers are brought into expression through the stimulation which comes from his contact with the group of sitters in the seance room or from a large audience. In other cases, he is all the time living on the borderland of consciousness between the physical and the psychic or astral planes. How can this be changed, provided the medium wishes for such a change, which is rare indeed. In three ways only:
1. By ceasing to be interested in the display of these powers, by refusing to use them any more and by this means causing them gradually to die out. This leads to the closing of the solar plexus centre (and consequently of the open door to the lower levels of the astral plane) and the atrophying of that part of the inner mechanism which has made these powers available.
2. By the transference of the attention to the mystical life and to the expression of an intense aspiration towards the spiritual realities. This provides the new interest which eventually becomes dynamically expulsive of the old interests and thus tends to shift the life-emphasis away from the lower levels of the astral plane to the higher levels. This also presupposes a tendency to spiritual orientation on the part of the psychic.
3. By a course of intellectual training and of mental development which would, if persisted in for a sufficient length of time, automatically make the use of the lower powers impossible because the shift of the flow of energy will be into the centres above the diaphragm. It is well known in psychic circles that mental training does bring to a close the psychic cycle.
There are three ancient rules which—in the last period of the Atlantean cycle—were given by the Adepts of the time [Page 587] to Their disciples. You must bear in mind that the problem before the Hierarchy at that time was to bring to an end temporarily the then normal psychic emphasis and start the flow of the forces to the upper part of the body. These three rules can be connected in your minds with the three methods touched upon above.
I. Shun the pits of hell, Oh, Chela. Let your feet go hurrying from the lower way and seek the upper reaches of the plane of glamour. Ascend. Choose for your good companions those who live a life of arduous labour upon the plains of earth. Depart. Descend and live the normal life of Earth. Depart.
II. Lift up thine eyes, Oh, Chela, and cleanse thine heart and see the vision of thy soul. Look up, not down; within, not out. Live free and hasten towards the higher goal. Depart and seek the distant secret place where dwells thy soul.
III. Energy follows thought, the ancient rule proclaims. Think, Chela, think and leave behind the realms where thought rules not and where no light revealing can be seen but only self-engendered light and thus deluding. So, therefore, think.
These rules sound simple and familiar but are of profound difficulty to follow, particularly in the ease of the average psychic, and this for two reasons; first, he does not truly desire the loss of the power which the use of the powers confers, and secondly, his mental perception is as a rule so undeveloped that the effort to transfer his consciousness into the higher levels of expression proves too arduous a task. But, where the will is active and the peril entailed by continuing to work on the lowest astral levels is adequately perceived, then in due time the needed effort will be made.
The above rules apply to the psychic who is willing enough and intelligent enough to change his orientation and type of work. But what of the man who has drifted into the dangerous ways of the lower psychism when he is an Aryan in consciousness and not an Atlantean? What can he do if the solar plexus centre is over-active and the door to the astral plane stands wide open? He seeks to shut it and to function normally; he distrusts and fears his psychic powers of sight and hearing. There is no one specific or one rule of conduct for much is dependent upon the originating cause, but I will here suggest various rules and remedial lines of behaviour.
1. If the door to the astral plane has been opened by following certain breathing exercises, plus certain postures, and other methods taught by ignorant teachers at this time, I would suggest certain preliminary and necessary steps, as follows:
a. Let the man drop all such exercises and postures and avoid all contact with the teacher. This is a first and necessary step.
b. Let him live a full life of physical activity, permitting himself no time for the introspective life. If he is materially minded, let him fulfill his commercial, business or social obligations, by physical plane interests and his due responsibilities with every power he has, permitting himself no backward thought.
c. Let him focus his attention upon the things of physical living until such time as evolution carries him to the stage of mental focussing and spiritual orientation. Before this can be done, the lower door must be closed. Let him, therefore, control emotion, for emotion serves to keep the door ajar and facilitates astral experience.
d. Let him "learn to work and think with the spine and head and not with the forefront of the body", as the ancient rule can be translated. The idea is that the average psychic regards the solar plexus and throat centres (the only two about which they seem to know anything) as existing in the front and centre of the torso or the front of the throat. This carries the energy downwards by the involutionary route and not upwards by the evolutionary route of the spinal column. This is of moment.
2. If the door to the astral plane is open because of natural birthright, the activity of previous lives and because the flow of the forces normally focusses in the solar plexus, the problem is much more difficult. It will be necessary to gain:
a. Some understanding of the etheric constitution of man and teaching must be given as to the nature of the centres of force so that the Aryan psychic has some intelligent background upon which to work. The effort must be made to build a healthy body.
b. Higher goals must be emphasised and the necessity for the life of service must be stressed. I would remind you that service is a scientific method whereby the forces which awaken stimulate and control the solar plexus are directed to the heart centre, thus causing the closing of the astral door and a decentralisation of the interests of the psychic. This decentralisation is technically fulfilled when the central plexus is no longer the dominant factor and the thought interests of the man are of a different nature.
c. One other practical hint may be useful here. When the psychic is at the Aryan stage of unfoldment and is not simply at the Atlantean then much good can [Page 590] come from the frequent use of the colour yellow. He should surround himself with that colour, for it serves to keep the inflowing energies in the head or to prevent their descent no lower than the diaphragm. This deprives the solar plexus of a constant inflow of energy and greatly aids in freeing of the psychic from the astral plane. I would point out here that the psychic with the Atlantean consciousness (and they constitute the great majority) is functioning normally when displaying the psychic faculties, though along an arc of retrogression, but the man with the Aryan consciousness who displays these powers is an abnormality.
3. Where the danger is of a serious nature, producing great nervous tension or excessive debility, extreme care must be used. Where there is a violent fight against the psychic activity going on, or where there is a nervous breakdown and loss of mental grip and control, then it is essential that at times the psychic should be forced to take a long rest in bed, with light diet and complete freedom from all contacts. It may be necessary at times to put him under restraint. Today, many such cases fighting hard for mental equilibrium and seeking to close the astral door—are deemed insane or on the border line of insanity. Their plight is greatly enhanced by the lack of understanding of their friends, and of the consulting physicians and psychologists. Their trouble is not mental but is entirely related to the solar plexus. Only when this is recognised will we begin to have a right handling of these problem cases. It is rare indeed to find a psychologist who would be willing to admit the possibility of these premises.
When psychic difficulties arise in the case of the advanced mystic, the disciple or the occult student, the mode of approach has to be more definitely scientific, for the trouble is more deep-seated owing to the fact that the mind is more involved. Definite work with the centres up the spine and in the head is in order but must be carried forward under careful supervision. I cannot here give the exercises which lead to—
1. The closing of the different centres,
2. The opening of the higher centres.
3. The transference of force from one centre to another.
This treatise is intended primarily for the general public and will be widely read during the next generation. Should I give them here, my readers might experiment with them and only succeed in doing real harm to themselves.
The Science of the Breath, which is the science of laya yoga or the science of the centres, is one of profound importance and one of real danger as well. It is, in the last analysis, the Science of Energy and teaches the method whereby energy can be controlled, directed and utilised for the expanding of the consciousness, for the establishing of right relations between the man and his environment and, above all (in the case of those affiliated with the Great White Lodge), for the production of white magic. This pranic energy works through the vital body and courses through the many "nadis" found therein. These "nadis" exist in their millions and are minute channels of force which underlie the entire nervous system of man. Of this they are the counterpart and the animating factor, making sensitivity possible and producing that action and reaction which converts the mechanism of man into an intricate "receiver" of energy and "director" of force. Each [Page 592] of these tiny lines of energy are fivefold in nature and resemble five strands or fibers of force, closely knit together within a covering sheath of a different force. These forces are bound together in a cross-sectional relation.
It is to be noted, also, that these five types of energy form one closely knit unit, and these units form, in their entirety, the etheric sheath itself. Through these five channels flow the fire major pranas—energising, galvanising and controlling the entire human organism. There is no part of the physical body which this network of energies does not underlie or "sub-stand". This is the true form or substance.
Where the lines of force cross and recross, as they repeat in the microcosm the involutionary and evolutionary arcs of the macrocosm, there are formed five areas up the spinal column and two in the head where the energies are more potent than elsewhere, because more concentrated. Thus you have the appearance of the major centres. Throughout the entire body, these crossings and recrossings occur and so the equipment of energy centres is brought into being:
1. Where the lines of force cross 21 times, a major centre is found. Of these there are seven.
2. Where they cross 14 times, you have the appearance of the minor centres, to which I earlier referred.
3. Where they cross 7 times, you have tiny centres and of these minute centres there are many hundreds.
Some day the entire etheric body will be charted and the general direction of the lines of force will then be seen. The great sweep of the energies will be apparent, the point in evolution more easily established and the psychic situation infallibly indicated. The intricacy of the subject is, however, very great, owing to just this difference in the evolutionary development of the vehicles, the stage of the expanding consciousness [Page 593] and the receptivity to stimulation of the human being. The Science of Meditation will eventually absorb the science of laya-yoga but only in the highest form of the latter. The goal of meditation is to bring about the free play of all the incoming forces so that there is no impediment offered at any point to the incoming energy of the soul; so that no obstruction and congestion is permitted and no lack of power—physical, psychic, mental and spiritual—is to be found in any part of the body. This will mean not only good health and the full and free use of all the faculties (higher and lower) but direct contact with the soul. It will produce that constant renewing of the body which is characteristic of the life expression of the initiate and the Master, as well as of the disciple, only in a lesser degree. It will produce rhythmic expression of the divine life in form. To the clairvoyant view of the adept as He looks at the aspirant or disciple, it causes:
1. The rhythm of manifestation. This is the cause of the appearance and the disappearance of the form. The adept, by looking at the body, can tell just how long it has been in incarnation and how long it will still continue to "appear". The state of the pranic channels reveals this accurately, particularly those found below the diaphragm. The centre at the base of the spine, where is found the seat of the will-to-live (governing the seed of the life principle in the heart) reveals this.
2. The rhythm of psychic life. This is, in reality, the revelation of where the man stands in relation to consciousness and its contacts. The adept, when seeking information upon this point, looks first of all at the solar plexus centre and then at the heart and head, for in these three centres and in their relative "light and radiant brightness", the whole story of the individual stands revealed. [Page 594] The head centre, looked at for the average or below average man, is the centre between the eyebrows. In the case of the aspirant, mystic and disciple, it is the highest head centre.
As evolution proceeds and the life forces flow ever more freely along the "nadis" and through the centres—major, minor, and minute—the rapidity of the distribution and of the flow, and the consequent radiance of the body steadily increases. The separating walls within the enclosing sheath of the tiny channels of force eventually dissolve (under the impact of soul force) and so disappear and thus the "nadis" of the advanced disciple take a new form indicating that he is now essentially and consequently dual and is therefore an integrated personality. He is soul and personality. Soul force can now flow unimpeded through the central channel of the "nadi" and all the other forces can flow unimpeded around it. It is whilst this process is going on and the forces within the "nadis" are being blended and thus forming one energy that most of the diseases of the mystics make their appearance, particularly those connected with the heart.
Simultaneously with this appearance of duality in the "nadis", the disciple finds himself able to use the two channels—ida and pingala—which are found up the spinal column, one on each side of the central channel. There can now be the free flow of force up and down these two "pathways of the forces" and thus out into the "nadis", utilising the area around any of the major centres as distributing areas and thus galvanising, at will, any part of the mechanism into activity, or the whole mechanism into coordinated action. The disciple has now reached the point in his development where the etheric web, which separates all the centres up the spine from each other, has been burned away by the fires of life. The [Page 595] "sushumna" or central channel can be slowly utilised. This parallels the period wherein there is the free flow of soul force through the central channel in the "nadis". Eventually this central channel comes into full activity. All this can be seen by the clairvoyant eye of the Master.
I have dealt with this in detail as the practice of breathing exercises definitely moves the forces flowing through the "nadis" and reorganises them—usually prematurely. It hastens the process of breaking down the walls separating four forces from the fifth energy, and hastens the burning of the protecting etheric webs up the spinal column. If this is done whilst the emphasis of the life is below the diaphragm and the man is not even an aspirant or intelligent, then it will cause the over-stimulation of the sex life, and also the opening up of the astral plane and hence much physical difficulty and disease. It occultly "releases the lower fires and the man will be destroyed by fire"; he will not be then (as is intended) the "burning bush which burns forever and cannot be destroyed". If this burning takes place by a forced process and is not under right direction, there must inevitably be difficulty. When the man is on the Path of Purification or Probation or is in the early stages of discipleship, with the emphasis of his intention above the diaphragm, then there is much danger of over-development of the sense of egotism, over-stimulation of the heart centre (with the consequent appearance of various forms of heart disease and of emotionalism, evoked over group conditions) and of troubles related to the thyroid gland and the brain, as well as difficulties connected principally with the pituitary body.
I could give you here certain forms of breathing exercises which might prove helpful to some people in the work of re-organising the vital body and consequently the etheric body, but the dangers involved in the case of the majority of [Page 596] my readers negate any such action. The old rule that aspirants must find their way into an esoteric or mystery school still holds good. All I can do—as I have done—is to give certain directions and teach certain safe and generally well-known rules which will lay the foundation for the more advanced work which must be carried forward under careful personal supervision. For this reason, once this present world crisis is duly ended, there must be laid a foundation of true esoteric schools. Such do Not as yet exist. Today, aspirants and disciples are working in the modern esoteric schools (such as the Arcane School and the Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society—to mention two of the most important) and there they learn some of the foundational truths of esotericism; they begin to gain control of the emotional nature and the mind; they learn to purify the body and to apprehend the basic postulates of the Ageless Wisdom. They are then under the direction subjectively of some senior disciple who knows the needed next truth and has unfolded in himself the "sense of contact" and the power of intuitive perception. A few persons, here and there, are definitely working under the direction of one of the Masters. Only where there is direction, a knowledge of a man's governing rays and a grasp of the astrological indications as to a man's "path of life" can the true, but dangerous, rules be given, which will lead to:
1. A right distribution of energy.
2. The focussing of the forces in the centres.
3. The burning of the separating walls and of the dividing etheric webs.
4. The lifting of the energies ever higher in the body by the power of the directed will.
Many of the difficulties of mystics and occultists today are due to the fact that they are literally "playing with fire" and are [Page 597] not aware of it; that they are not preserving the right or ordered sequence of development, as outlined above; that they are following practices for which they are not ready, which have not been modified to suit the occidental type of body, and which they blindly follow without any understanding of the process or results. Unless the basic rule is grasped that "energy follows thought", it is inevitable that dire results must eventuate. The mystic, for instance whose thought is focussed on the Christ, regarding Him as somewhere in Heaven, but as outside himself, and whose aspiration makes Him the objective of all his desire, is frequently debilitated and physically ill. Why is this the case? Because the energy which is seeking to enter him and permeate his whole organism only reaches as far as the heart centre and is from there constantly turned back and driven out of the physical body by the directing power of the mystic's thought. Christ, for him, is elsewhere. Outside himself lies his thought and the energy consequently streams out of his body. It is a much discussed problem among initiates today as to whether the generally debilitated condition of the human race is not due in part to the fact that the aspiration and thought of mankind, having been constantly directed to some outside goal and not (as should have been the case) to the centre of life and love within each human being, has drained man of much needed energy. In spite of the fact that he has been taught for centuries that the kingdom of God is within, the peoples in the occident have not accepted the statement or worked on the premise presented, but have sought for reality without and have turned their attention to the Personality of the One who taught them a major truth. At no time did He desire or seek their devotion. The price of this distortion of the truth has been paid again and again by a devitalised body and by the [Page 598] inability of the average mystic to live a concrete, and yet divine, life upon earth.
There is little more that I can say here in connection with the problems and the difficulties of the psychic powers as they unfold in humanity and on a higher turn of the spiral than in the past. As evolution proceeds, the human and animal psychic faculties become available to the disciple. Humanity has chosen to proceed by means of the "trial and error" method and it is in many ways a sound choice, but it is slow and leads to points of crisis and moments of almost intolerable difficulty in the history of the race. In the case of the mystic and the disciple who is endeavouring to gain control of these inherent instincts, the problem is today enhanced by the fact that the physical vitality of the race is so lowered and also so little understood and the proper care of the body is consequently so poorly rendered that the unhealthy condition of that body releases the lower powers more easily than would otherwise be the case. They therefore unfold prematurely and before their nature and function is understood or the laws of their control grasped. The acceptance of this statement would be found enlightening and much progress would be made if the various premises I have made were accepted as valid hypotheses and acted upon. The result would open the door to a new understanding of the psychic faculties. Psychology and medicine would be thereby enriched.
We come now to two more problems which are related to the higher psychic powers but are of a more advanced kind and dependent upon the development of the mind nature more than upon the solar plexus consciousness.
This process of sensing the goal, of contacting the ideal and of visioning the many symbols that veil the soul, which [Page 599] portray pictorially the ultimate destination and the final purpose, are the recognised prerogative of the mystical aspirant. The mystical literature of all the world religions is, as you know, full of these visions, ranging all the way from the more sexual approach of the Song of Solomon or the writings of many of the feminine mystics of the Church to the amazing revelations given in the ancient Puranas or in the Apocalypse. These cover all the ground from the formulation of the highgrade "wish-life" of the mystics to the true prevision as to the future of the race as found in the writings of the prophetical Scriptures. With the detail I do not intend to deal. It has been considered by the modern psychologist and the religious instructor and Church writers and dealt with by them at great length. I want only to touch upon the effects that these experiences have upon the mystic himself. I would ask you also to remember that I am generalising and not being specific.
The difficulties to which such mystics are prone are four:
1. Devitalisation. The mystic is drawn so constantly "upwards" (as he regards and terms it) to the land of his dreams, to the person of his idealism or to the spiritual ideal (personified or non-personified) of his aspiration that he reverses the normal and wholesome process of "the Way of the constant materialising of the Real". He lives entirely in the world of his aspiration and thus neglects life on the physical plane, becoming not only impractical but negative to the physical plane. He draws all his life forces upward so that the physical body and life on the physical plane suffers. Technically, the forces of the solar plexus are not drawn upward into the heart centre, as they should be, nor is the energy of the heart poured out in selfless love of humanity; they are all focussed, and distributed in the highest level of the astral consciousness and sent to feed the forces of the astral body. They reverse, [Page 600] therefore, the normal process and the physical body suffers grievously through this.
A study of the lives of the saints and mystics will reveal much of this difficulty, and even in the relatively rare cases where there has been some definite service to humanity, the motives were frequently (I might say, usually) the meeting of a sensed requirement or obligation which would serve the mystic, bringing him emotional satisfaction and reward. This devitalisation was often so excessive that it led not only to nervous debility, trance conditions and other pathological developments, but sometimes to death itself.
2. Delusion. The drama life of the mystic and the constant cultivation of the vision (whatever that might be) led also in many cases to serious if unrecognised psychological trouble. The vision absorbed the mystic's whole attention and instead of indicating to him a goal to which he might some day attain, or existing in his consciousness as the symbol of an inner reality which he would some day know, as it in truth was, he lived always within his own thoughtform of this goal. This powerful dream, this defined thoughtform (built year by year through aspiration, worship and longing) ended by obsessing him to such an extent that he finally ended by mistaking the symbol for the reality. Sometimes he died of the ecstasy induced by his identification with his vision. Nevertheless, I would point out here that the true attainment of the mystical goal, so that it is no longer seen but is realised as fact, has never yet killed anyone. It is delusion which kills. It is only when the focus of the life is in the astral body, when the downflow of soul force is there also and when the heart centre is over-energised that the mystic dies as a result of his aspiration. Where death does not take place (and this is somewhat unusual) serious psychological difficulties are apt to be found. These have brought much concern to Churchmen at [Page 601] all times and to the modern psychologist and have brought the whole subject of the mystical unfoldment into disrepute, particularly in this modern scientific age.
It is the materialising of the vision in astral matter, its development through the power of emotion (masquerading as devotion) and the failure of the mystic either to enter into the realm of mental perception or to bring his idealistic dream down into physical expression which lies at the root of the trouble. The man becomes deluded by the best that is in him; he is the victim of an hallucination which embodies the highest he knows; he is overcome by the glamour of the spiritual life; he fails to distinguish between the vision and the Plan, between the manufactured unreal of the ages of mystical activity and the Real which stands ever in the background of the life of the integrated human being.
Forget not that the vision (of Heaven, of God, of Christ, of any spiritual leader or of any millennium) is based in the majority of cases upon the dreams and aspirations of the mystics down the ages who have blazed the mystical trail, who have used the same terminology and employed the same symbols to express that which they sense, and to which they aspire and for which they long so yearningly. They all sense the same Reality, lying behind the glamour of the world aspiration; they all couch their desire and longing in the same symbolic forms—marriage with the Beloved, life in the Holy City, participation in some ecstatic vision of God, adoration of some deified and loved Individuality, such as the Christ, the Buddha, or Shri Krishna, walking with God in the garden of life, the garden of the Lord, the attainment of the mountain top where God is to be found, and all stands revealed. Such are a few of the forms in which their aspiration clothes itself and their sense of duality finds satisfaction. These ideas exist as powerful thought forms on the astral plane and they [Page 602] attract—like magnets—the aspiration of the devotee which follows century after century the same path of yearning search, imaginative expression of a deep-seated spiritual "wishlife" and an emotional surging outward towards divinity, described sometimes as "the lifting of the heart to God."
Devitalisation and delusion are the frequent case history of the purely emotional mystic. When this astral cycle is over and he later (and probably in another life) swings into a frankly agnostic state of mind, there comes a restoration of balance and a more wholesome unfoldment becomes possible. The true and valuable fruits of the mystical experience of the past are never lost. The inner spiritual realisation remains latent in the content of the life, later to be resurrected to its true expression but the vagueness and the sense of duality must eventually be transformed into a realised mental clarity; dualism must give place to the experience of the at-one-ment and the mists must roll away. The mystic sees through a glass darkly but some day must Know, even as he is known.
When, in these modern times, the mystically oriented person comes under the care of a wise psychologist, the latter would be well advised gently and gradually to develop in him a cycle of doubt, leading even to a temporary agnosticism. The result would be a rapid establishing of the desired equilibrium. I would call your attention to the words "gently and gradually". The encouraging of a normal physical life, with its ordinary interests, the fulfilling of its obligations and responsibilities and the usual physical functioning of the nature should bring about much wholesome and needed orientation.
3. Delirium. I use this powerful word with deliberation when dealing with the dangerous and difficult stages of the mystical life. When the delusions of the mystic and his devitalisation have gone beyond a certain point, he arrives at a stage where he has no real inner control, he develops the [Page 603] mystical sense to the point where he has no sense of proportion, where the conventions (right or wrong), social training, economic responsibility, human obligations and all the aspects of daily life which integrate the human part into the whole of humanity fail to police the lower nature. His outer expression becomes abnormal and he (from the highest and best sense of values) anti-social. Such an anti-social attitude will range all the way from a relatively usual fanaticism which forces its possessor to see only one point of view out of the many possible, to certain pronounced and recognisable forms of insanity. The mystic is then obsessed by his own peculiar thoughtform of truth and of reality. He has only one idea in his head. His mind is not active, for his brain has become the instrument of his astral nature and registers only his fanatical devotion and his emotional obsession. The ajna centre swings into activity before there is any true integration of the whole man, and any true useful purpose to its activity.
A period ensues wherein the man expresses himself in many undesirable ways which include a too strenuous one-pointedness, real fanaticism, sadistic effort with a supposed spiritual motive, (such as was seen in the Inquisition) and certain forms of mental breakdown. Occultly speaking, "the fiery vision proceeds to burn its victim and thus destroys the thread which holds his mind and brain in friendship close". This burning astral fever necessarily produces an effect upon the physical body as well as on the personality expression, and the trouble can then be recognised by others as real and serious in consequences and effects. Frequently, there is little that can be done; sometimes no attempts to help prove availing. The mystic has, for this one life, done himself irreparable damage. The healing influence of death, and the interlude of the life beyond the physical plane must do their beneficent work before the man can again achieve normality and begin [Page 604] to transmute his Vision of the Good, the Beautiful and the True into working expression upon the plane of daily living; he will then bring his mind to bear upon the problem; he will then discover that the vision is but the reflection of the Plan of God. He will know that the power to personalise aspiration must be transformed into the power to depersonalise oneself, prior to world service and cooperation with the Hierarchy.
4. Detachment. This is one of the major psychological difficulties which leads to the common phenomenon of cleavage. It is one of the hardest to handle. The mystic who can see naught but his vision, who registers that vision in terms only of symbolic forms, of sexual longing, of agonising aspirations and an intense "wish-life" of dream and desire may eventually succeed in severing all right relations both within himself (with his physical body in one place, his emotional life directed to another and his mind preoccupied elsewhere) and with his surroundings and environing responsibilities, so that he lives entirely in a world of his own manufacturing—detached, unmoved, and untouched by normal affairs or human calls. This is sometimes also brought about by an unrecognised desire to escape from responsibility, from the pain and irksomeness of daily living or from the clinging hands of those who love him; it can be brought over from another life of mystical experience which should, in this life, be permanently transcended and outgrown, having served its useful purpose and done a needed work. This is a detachment of the wrong kind.
I realise as I give you this teaching upon the difficulties of the mystical life—devitalisation, delusion, delirium and detachment—that those who have gained much from the mystics or those who are at this time mystically inclined will violently disagree. I would seek to make myself clear on these [Page 605] points. The mystical way is the right way for people at a certain stage of evolution, the Atlantean stage, provided it is not carried to the point of insanity, hallucination, furious fanaticism and psychopathic complications. It is, rightly expressed, a useful and needed process whereby the astral body is re-oriented and spiritual aspiration begins to take the place of desire. It is necessary to have vision for "where there is no vision, the people perish". True vision is, in reality, the astral reflection of the divine Plan, reflected into the higher levels of the astral consciousness of the planet and there contacted and sensed by those human beings whose focus in life is of a very high grade nature whose "intention is towards God and righteousness" but who are introverted at this time, who lack much technical knowledge either of divine law or of the constitution of man or of the planetary life, and whose minds are quiescent and non-questioning except in an emotional sense and for the relief of the mystic's own spiritual distress and desire for peace and satisfaction. There is, for instance, little in the writings of the mystics of the middle ages, (either in the East or in the West) which gives any indication of a sense of world need or of humanity's demand for enlightenment.
The astral reflection of the Plan—such is the vision. There the life forces of the mystical physical nature, of his astral body and of his soul (two forces and one energy) unite and there they produce a powerful expression of focussed desire, deep inchoate longing, vivid imagination and the construction of a thought form, expressing all that the mystic desires to contact or to see expressed.
There will be, as time goes on, less and less of this mystical approach. The work of realising beauty and the instinct to reach out towards divinity are now so deeply rooted in the racial consciousness that the balancing work of the mind and the presentation of the Plan in the place of the Vision can [Page 606] safely proceed. The children of the race who are still Atlantean in consciousness will continue with the mystical approach and the beauty of that contribution will still be the heritage of the race. But the cycle of the mystical effort and experience will be considerably shortened and scientifically controlled because its purpose, its place in racial unfoldment and its contribution to the "doctrine of Reality" will be better understood.
This mystical cycle is the correspondence to the "adolescent" cycle in the life of the young, valuable, visionary and life-giving, spurring on to right orientation and stabilising certain standards and values. Such a cycle will, however, be recognised as undesirable when the time has come that a new and higher set of values and a more spiritual and controlled technique should take its place. A life purpose, a recognised plan and a correctly directed activity must eventually supersede all adolescent yearnings, dreams, imaginative longings and aspiration in the life of the individual and of the race.
Mistake Me Not. The vision is a vision of reality. The eternal Dreamer dreams and the greatest of all Mystics is the divine Logos Himself. But His dream must be registered in our consciousness as God's Plan and the mystical vision is the necessary though passing development in the human being of the "dreaming" aspect of God's Nature. Ponder on this, for it holds revelation to those who ponder rightly.
The problems with which we must now deal belong in a totally different category. They have no relation at all to emotion or to the astral plane but constitute the specific difficulty of the aspirant or the advanced man or disciple who has learnt to focus himself in the mental nature. They are problems connected with achieved contact with the soul, [Page 607] which results in the illumination of the mind and a definite influx of power.
These difficulties only come to the man in whom the throat centre and the ajna centre are awakening. The moment that any difficulty is sensed in relation to the phenomena of light, the psychologist or the physician can know that the pituitary body is involved and that consequently the centre between the eyebrows is beginning to be active and awake.
The problem of power, sensed by the aspirant and seeking expression in his life, falls into two categories:—
1. The sense of power which comes through the effort to do definite creative work. This necessarily involves the activity of the throat centre. Where there is this inflow of creative force and where there is no real use made of the inflowing energy in the production of creative work, then there is very apt to be difficulty with the thyroid gland.
2. The sense of power which takes the form of ambition, and of an integration which is brought about by the force of that ambition. This frequently succeeds in subordinating the various aspects of the lower nature to that ambition. When this takes place the ajna centre is active and is synchronising its vibration with that of the throat centre. This leads to real difficulty and is one of the commonest forms of ambition to which the aspirant and the disciple succumb.
One can also divide the problem of light into two groups of difficulties if one so desires—one related to the physical registering of the light in the head and the other to the acquiring of knowledge.
This registering of light within the periphery of the skull is connected with the relation to be found between the head [Page 608] centre and the centre between the eyebrows; that is, between the area (localised around the pituitary body) and that localised around the pineal gland. The vibratory effect, you know, of those two centres can become so strong that the two vibrations or their "pulsating rhythmic activity" can swing into each other's field of action and a unified magnetic field can be set up which can become so powerful, so brilliant and so pronounced that the disciple—when closing his eyes—can see it plainly. It can be visually sensed and known. Eventually, and in some cases, it can definitely affect the optic nerve, not to its detriment but to the extent of evoking the subtler side of the sense of sight. A man can then see etherically and can see the etheric counterpart of all tangible forms. This is physiological and not a psychic power and is quite different to clairvoyance. There can be no etheric vision apart from the usual organ of vision, the eye. The sensing and the registering of this light in the head can lead to its own peculiar problems when the process is not correctly understood or controlled, just as the registering of the energy of power (coming from the mind in its will aspect or from the soul through the will petals) can prove definitely detrimental to the personality, when not consecrated or refined.
Again, this registering of the light falls into certain definite stages and takes place at certain definite points in the unfoldment of the human being, but is more likely to occur in the earlier stages than the later. These are:—
1. The sensing of a diffused light outside the head, either before the eyes or over the right shoulder.
2. The sensing of this diffused misty light within the head, permeating, apparently, the entire head.
3. The concentrating of this diffused light until it has the appearance of a radiant sun.
4. The intensifying of the light of this inner sun. This is in reality the recognition of the radiance of the magnetic field, established between the pituitary body and the pineal gland (as expressions of the head and the ajna centres). This radiance can at times seem almost too bright to be borne.
5. The extension of the rays of this inner sun first to the eyes, and then finally beyond the radius of the head so that (to the vision of the clairvoyant seer) the halo makes its appearance around the head of the disciple or aspirant.
6. The discovery that there is, at the very heart of this, a point of dark blue electric light, which gradually grows into a circle of some size. This occurs when the light in the head irradiates the central opening at the top of the head. Through this opening the various energies of the soul and the forces of the personality can be synthesised and thus flow into the physical body, via the major centres. It is also the esoteric "door of departure" through which the soul withdraws the consciousness aspect in the hours of sleep and the consciousness aspect plus the life thread at the moment of death.
The registering of this inner light often causes serious concern and difficulty to the inexperienced person and the intensity of their concern and fear leads them to think so much of the problem that they become what we occultly call "obsessed with the light and so fail to see the Lord of Light and that which the Light reveals". I would point out here that all aspirants and occult students do not see this light. Seeing it is dependent upon several factors—temperament, the quality of the physical cells of the brain, the nature of the work which has been done or of the particular task, and the extent of the magnetic field. There never need be any difficulty if the [Page 610] aspirant will use the light which is in him for the helping of his fellowmen. It is the self-centred mystic who gets into difficulty, as does the occultist who uses the light which he discovers within himself for selfish purposes, and personal ends.
An incidental difficulty is sometimes found when the "doorway out into the other worlds" is discovered and becomes, not a door for rightful and proper use, but a way of escape from the difficulties of life and a short cut out of conscious physical experience. The connection then between the mystic and his physical vehicle becomes less and less firmly established and the link gets looser and looser until the man spends most of his time out of his body in a condition of semi-trance or a deep sleep condition.
Students should make no effort to see the light in the head, but when it is sensed and seen—then there should be a careful regulation and registration of it. Second ray types will respond to this phenomenon more easily and more frequently than first or third ray types. First ray people will register the inflow of force and power with facility and will discover that their problem lies in the control and the right direction of such energies.
Much of the present impasse to be found in the personalities of the aspirants of the world is due to the fact that the light that is in them remains undirected and the power that is flowing through them remains unused or misapplied. Much of the physical blindness and the poor sight to be found in the world today (unless the result of accident) is due to the presence of the light of the head—unrecognised and unused—and thus producing or exciting a definite effect upon the eyes and upon the optic nerve. Technically speaking, the light of the soul—localised in the region of the pineal gland—works through and would be directed through the right eye which is (as you have been told) the organ of the buddhi, [Page 611] whilst the light of the personality—localised in the region of the pituitary body—functions through the left eye. The time has not yet come when this statement means much except to very advanced students, but it should be on record for the future use of disciples and aspirants.
I would also like to point out that one of the difficulties today is that the light of the personality is more active within the head than is the light of the soul and that it has far more of the quality of burning than has soul light. The effect of the soul light is stimulating and occultly cool. It brings the brain cells into functioning activity, evoking response from cells at present quiescent and unawakened. It is as these cells are brought into activity by the inflow of the light of the soul that genius appears, accompanied often by some lack of balance or control in certain directions.
This whole subject of light and power is of so vast a nature and is relatively so little understood in its true significance as an expression (in dual form) of energy which flows upward from the personality and downward from the soul that it is only as more and more people tread the Path that the problem will emerge in its true light and thus eventually be handled rightly. I will refer here briefly to some of the problems so as to provide the germ or seed of thought from which future study can grow and the future investigation arise. They might be summarised as follows:—
1. The theme of light and energy is closely connected with the problem (for such it is at this time) of the entire glandular system; it is, therefore, of basic importance that there should be understanding of this relation for it is one of the fundamental things upon which the health of the entire body and its right functioning rests.
2. When there is a correct grasp of this subject, it will be [Page 612] found that the brain and the two head centres (actuating the pituitary body and the pineal gland) are the directing agents for all the activities of the man upon the physical plane. Today, he is largely directed by his animal instincts, by his sexual life and by his emotional reactions or else by his creative activities as they express themselves through the throat centre. A few—very few—of his activities are directed from the heart, but eventually men must control their life expression from the head via the dual organs of the soul and the personality—the ajna centre, working through the pituitary body and expressing the personality life at its highest, and the head centre, working through the pineal gland, responsive to soul impulse. There will then be balance and right direction of all the life forces and a right development (following ray indications) of all the centres in the body.
3. Through this right re-arrangement of the life forces in the body and their consequent "enlightenment and energising", men will be enabled to do two things, speaking symbolically:—
a. They will "see God" and be in touch with the soul.
b. They will "know what is in man" and can then act wisely and work constructively.
4. They will be able to "pierce the glamour of the astral plane" and proceed to function without error and can thus bring about the unimpeded illumination of the brain and the dissemination of knowledge in the brain.
You will note from the above how many of the hallucinations, the glamours, the ambitions and the errors of the modern mystic can all be traced to the early stages and the embryonic beginnings of these developments. They are indicative [Page 613] therefore, of unfoldment. But unfortunately they are not understood for what they are and the available light and energy are misapplied or turned to selfish and personal ends. This cannot as yet be avoided by any but the more advanced and experienced disciples and occultists; and many aspirants must continue for some time destroying themselves (from the personality angle and in this life) in what has been called the "fiery light of their misunderstanding and the burning fire of their personality ambition" until they learn that humility and scientific technique which will make them wise directors of the light and the power which is pouring into and through them all the time.
A study, therefore, of the three types of difficulties, emerging out of the development and the unfoldment of the psychic powers brings me to a wide generalisation, to which you must remember there will be many exceptions:—
1. The appearance of the lower psychic powers usually indicates that the man who is their victim (for we are here only dealing with the abnormalities of the psychic science) is on the third ray or that the third ray is dominant in his personality or a controlling factor in his personality equipment. Frequently an astral body, controlled by the third ray, will be found.
2. The registering of the mystical vision with its attendant difficulties is facilitated when the second ray is controlling and powerful, because the second ray is connected peculiarly with vision and with light.
3. It will be apparent to you that the revelation of power is obviously part of the expression of the first ray type.
In this way, though all experiences come eventually to the disciple, the three major difficulties with which we have been dealing,—the psychic powers, the problems incident to the [Page 614] mystical vision and the revelation of light and power—have a relation to and a connection with the ray expression. This should be borne in mind by the psychologist, the investigator and the physician. Psychic sensitivity, mystical duality, and dominating power—these are the three major problems of the aspirant and should be studied and understood. They affect the three major centres—the head, the heart and the centre between the eyebrows—in the disciple, for psychic sensitivity is related to the heart, mystical duality to the ajna centre and the problem of power to the highest head centre.
In the aspirant or advanced human being, they affect the throat, the solar plexus and the sacral centre, but as they are definitely due to an expansion of consciousness, they have little registered or noticeable effect upon the unevolved man or upon the average man who is preoccupied with physical plane life and emotional reactions. He is not passing through the stimulating but disrupting processes of re-orientation, of recognising duality and of fusion of the personality. As we have earlier seen, the processes of integration bring their own problems.
As time goes on, the stages of difficulty will be more carefully investigated from the angle of the occult hypotheses and then much progress will take place. This will be peculiarly so, if the problems of adolescence are studied, for they are the problems of the Atlantean consciousness and of the mystical unfoldment.
I would like here to point out that just as the embryo in the womb recapitulates the various stages of animal unfoldment, so the human being, during the years of infancy, adolescence and youth up to the age of 35, recapitulates the various racial stages of consciousness. At 35 years old he should then affirm in himself the stage of the intelligent disciple. Much will be gained by a recognition of this recapitulatory process which [Page 615] —in the New Age which is upon us—will do much to control and to determine the processes of unfoldment to which the child and youth will be subjected by the wise educator.
We can only briefly touch upon this theme, owing to the fact that group work (esoterically understood) is relatively new, and because the individual, working at this time in a group, is scarcely affected at all by these factors, owing to his relatively partial integration. I refer here to his integration in the group. People are still so insulated in their personalities that they are shut off, in many cases, from group stimulation, group effects and group impulses. It is only as they become decentralised and, therefore, more easily responsive to the group ideas, the group idealism, and to the group aura (with its outbreathing and its inbreathing and its group livingness) that they can and do succumb to those difficulties which group life imposes. Today it is the central figure in the group life, the dominant personality or soul, who is the one to whom the group life and the group thought turns, with all the consequences of such turning. It is this person, upon whom the group life pivots (if I may use such a term), who is the group victim and it is he who pays the price of any group weakness. The expression of the group attitude finds its outlet in him and he is, at times, practically "killed" by the group. No group today is a perfect group. They are in the experimental stage and are largely composed of a few Aquarians, many Pisceans and a number of people who are in a transition stage between these two. The leader or leaders of the new groups are usually of as pure a type of the new age or Aquarian character as is possible or available at this time. This accounts for the failure of the group, as a rule, either to understand the [Page 616] leader or to cooperate with the new ideals as is desired. The leader is a pioneer in a new field of thought and of intention and, therefore, suffers the penalties of his daring and of his spirit of enterprise.
It is not my intention to deal here with group difficulties, for that is not my theme. I am considering the difficulties (amounting often to physical disease) and the problems of the individual who is sensitive to group pressures and group life—a very different thing to the usual problems of the mystics of the past. These can only be studied and investigated today by a consideration of the lives, physical condition, problems, difficulties and deaths of group leaders. I would call this definitely to your attention. The group members—little as they may like to recognise this fact—are not as yet prone to suffer much from the group life, the group emanation and the group energy for they are not yet sufficiently integrated into the group.
The problem we are considering falls into two major categories and as I seek to deal with them I realise that there is relatively little that I can say. The next century will see the problems more defined and the difficulties more clearly delineated. They are:
a. Those arising as a result of the directed thought of the group. On this I can say something.
b. Diseases, connected with the respiratory tract. On these I can say but little.
Let us, therefore, look at these problems. We shall have to study the first from the angle of the one most affected by them—the leader or focal point of the group. These same problems may also affect the three or four people who, with the group leader and in collaboration with him, direct the group policies.
It will be obvious to you that the first and most important of these difficulties will be those arising from group criticism, either voiced or strongly felt. This criticism can be based on many things, but is usually rooted in jealousy, thwarted ambition, or pride of individual intellect. Each member of any group, particularly those in the immediate circle of the leader or leaders, is prone to sit in judgment. The responsibility is not theirs; they know not the problems as they truly exist and criticism is, therefore, easy. It should here be remembered that criticism is a virulent poison. It damages in every case eventually the one who criticises—owing to the fact of voiced direction—it hurts still more the one who is criticised. Where there is purity of motive, true love and a large measure of detachment, the subtler bodies of the one who is under attack may remain immune but the physical effects will be definite and where there is any physical weakness or limitation there will be found the localisation of the projected poison
Unvoiced criticism is very dangerous for it is powerfully focussed and strongly, though not individually directed; it issues continuously and as a steady stream, sent forth on the wings of jealousy, ambition, pride in a personal grasp of a supposed situation and a belief that the one who criticises is in a position to understand correctly and could—given right opportunity—take right action. Where the criticism is voiced and expressed in words, it is consequently strengthened by the cooperation of those influenced by the criticism and the consequences of this group-directed thought may result in the physical undoing, and disruption of the physical body of the leader or leaders. This may be a new thought to some and should cause many in the New Age groups to arrest their [Page 618] thoughts and so release their leaders from the disastrous impact of their criticism.
I refer not here to hate, though that is often present, either consciously or unconsciously, but simply to the "sitting in judgment" and to the idle critical gossip which seems necessary to the average group member. It is like the very breath of death and it can not only kill the leader through accumulated poison and distress but it can also kill the group life and render abortive the efforts which could, if given cooperation and time to develop, prove constructive agencies through which the Hierarchy might work.
From every side and in every group there streams in on the group leader directed criticism, poisonous thoughts, untrue formulated ideas, idle gossip of a destructive kind, the imputation of motives, the unspoken jealousies and hates, the frustrated ambitions of group members, their resentments and their unsatisfied desires for prominence or for recognition by the leader or leaders, their desires to see the leader superseded by themselves or by someone else and many other forms of selfishness and mental pride. These produce results in the physical bodies of the leader or leaders and often in the emotional bodies. The responsibility of the group member is, therefore, great and it is one which they seldom recognise or shoulder. It is hard for them to appreciate the dire effects when one person is the target for group criticism and when the directed thought of a number of persons is focussed on one or two individuals.
The more highly evolved the group leader, the greater the pain and suffering. First ray people who have naturally a "technique of isolation" suffer less than many for they know how to shut off these directed streams of force and how to deflect them and—when they are not deeply spiritual people—they can return them to their originators and thus wreak [Page 619] havoc in their lives. Second ray persons do not and cannot work this way. They are naturally absorbers and magnetically attract all that is in their environment which is directed towards them. That is why Christ paid the penalty of death. He was killed, not only by His enemies, but also by His so-called friends.
You might here ask: What can a leader or a group of leaders do in these unfortunately normal and usual circumstances? Nothing, but continue in the work; retreat within themselves; speak the truth with love when occasion occurs; refuse to become bitter over the pain which the group occasions and wait until the group members learn the lessons of cooperation, of silence, of loving appreciation and a wise realisation and understanding of the problems with which all group leaders are faced in these difficult and individualistic days. That time will come.
Then there is the reverse of this problem and one that must be faced by many group leaders. In this reverse situation, the leader is overcome and (if I might use such a phrase) is "smothered" by the devotion of certain of the group members. Group leaders can be almost annihilated by the personality love of people. But this is not of such a poisonous nature as the difficulties above referred to, for—though it is handicapping and leads to many forms of difficulty, misunderstanding and group reaction—it is along the line of love and not of separation and hate. It produces what is esoterically called "the crippling of the one who seeks to serve and the binding of his hands and feet."
One other difficulty I will touch upon for it is important in so far that it is a group activity, carried forward as a whole and is not the act of one individual or a small handful of individuals within the group. I refer to the way in which at this time a group drains the life of its leader or leaders. The [Page 620] umbilical cord (speaking symbolically) is seldom cut between the leader and the group. That was the major mistake of the groups in the Piscean age. Always they remained attached to the leader or—when aroused to hate or dislike—they violently disrupted the tie and severed the relationship, causing much distress and unnecessary suffering to the group as well as to the leader. In the New Age the cord will be cut early in the life of the group but the leader or group of leaders will remain for a long time (as does the mother of a child) the guiding inspiration, the loving protecting force and the source of instruction and of teaching. When this is the case, the group can proceed upon its way and live its life as a self-directing agent even when the leader passes over to the other side or there is a change in leadership for some good reason or other.
According to the general flow of group life and activity so will be the effect—emotional and physical—upon any sensitive group member; the more frequent the physical contact between the group members the more definite will be the group problems and difficulties, however. Groups in the New Age will be held together by a subjective link and not so much by the emotional reaction induced by outer contact. I would ask you to ponder carefully upon this last paragraph for it holds the clue to the successful working of the new groups. It is from group life and group atmosphere that much infection arises, leading to difficulties of a physical nature. Disease is largely of group origin and the mystics and sensitives of the world most easily succumb. In these early stages of true group work, the difficulties which arise from group contacts are frequently of a purely physiological nature and are not so deep seated as those with which we have earlier been dealing. This is a point to be remembered. Physical trouble and disease is not of so serious a nature as psychological.
There is little to say about this. It will constitute a major difficulty as the groups grow in strength and power. Just in so far as they are objective and not subjective so will this trouble increase. I refer to those diseases affecting the breathing apparatus which arise from group contact; I do not refer to the same difficulties which are brought by the individual to the group. Esoterically the reason for this should be obvious. Mistakes in speech, idle talk and gossip, the effects of, the leaders' words—all these will have a subjective result little grasped or realised by the average student and all these work out as physical effects—either good or bad. Owing to the newness of this theme and the lack of evidence to substantiate my statements, I can only call your attention to the latent possibilities and leave time to demonstrate the accuracy of my position. Curiously enough this whole subject of breathing—individual and group breathing—is evoking its own paralleling solution in the emphasis that is being laid in many esoteric groups upon breathing exercises, upon the sounding of the Aum (which is the breath of the soul when correctly sounded) and on the practice (under different formulas) of rhythm. These are all the unrecognised effort on the part of the group—instinctual in nature more than intelligently planned—to offset certain definitely sensed group dangers.
These practices can be beneficial if carefully carried out, but often induce their own peculiar problems. The sounding of the Aum, for instance, by the unprepared or by groups who are intrigued by the activity but who have no faintest idea of what they are doing, carries with it definite difficulties. However, the special difficulties of group work in the New Age can be offset by certain esoteric exercises and practices connected with the respiratory tract. More than this I [Page 622] can not say for the new groups are in their infancy and group difficulties have not yet developed on a large scale nor are the future problems (incident to the occult and pronounced mystical nature of these groups) of so defined a nature that they can evoke understanding formulation.
Today we are watching the passing out of the sixth ray energy and the growing power and activity of the seventh ray. The energy which is withdrawing itself from our planet in one of the cyclic crises has for centuries expressed itself through the planetary solar plexus and also, as might be inferred, through the solar plexus centre of the average aspirant. This has led to much of the digestive difficulties, plus the emotional problems (and are they not closely related) from which the majority of people have suffered in this age and generation. The intense one-pointed attitude, the fanatical state of mind, the sacrifice of the personal life to the sensed ideal have all brought about a dangerous condition in those organs of the body which lie below the diaphragm. This should be remembered.
The seventh ray, working as it does through the centre at the base of the spine, will in time have a peculiar effect upon the entire circulatory system, for this basic centre is connected with the life-force and, as you know, the "blood is the life". It works with the highest centre in the body and is therefore related to the entire problem of the polarities. It is consequently one of the factors which will increase the difficulties connected with the various psychological "cleavages" with which we have earlier dealt. It concerns the human triplicity of spirit-soul-body, the duality of soul and personality and [Page 623] the major aspects of Deity, spirit and matter, as well as the many groupings of the pairs of opposites with which the mystic is so constantly concerned and which he has eventually to resolve into a unity. The recognition of this will make clear how complex are the problems and the possibilities arising out of the stimulation which will be felt as the "will to circulate, the will to relate and the will to express" makes its presence felt with the manifestation of the seventh ray. This force, as far as the individual is concerned, will play upon the centre at the base of the spine, arousing it into a hitherto unknown activity. These aspects of the will life are fortunately for humanity far from full development, but much of the present world confusion and the swing between the expressed extremes, are to be attributed to the play of these new forces. Much of the untimely and over-emphasised expression of the Will aspect of certain nations and individuals is connected with the coming into manifestation of this seventh ray and the passing out of the old. The problem is greatly increased by the fact that there is apparently a pronounced affinity between the fanatical idealistic will of the sixth ray—which is crystallised, directed, unwavering. emotional emphasis—and the will force of the untrained magical worker who is influenced by seventh ray energy, working through the centre at the base of the spine.
The distinction between these two forces and their expression at this time is subtle in the extreme and most difficult for the neophyte to distinguish. Each one leads to its own difficulties. I only mention them here as they constitute a problem of a mystical nature with which the Hierarchy has to deal but with which the average aspirant need not attempt to cope as yet.
As I conclude this discussion of the problems and diseases of the mystics, I realise far more than you can that I have been [Page 624] able to say little about the last few points, particularly about those connected with group or ray problems. This was unavoidable and inevitable. The new age groups are, as yet, seldom found, though many new age people are coming into manifestation. Only in the middle of the next century will the really new type of group emerge. Tentative beginnings of such groups are to be found today but their success or their failure is an unstable matter and both so ephemeral that it is not easy yet to bring them under law. One ambitious, disloyal person, for instance, can wreck a group; one selfless, noncritical, consecrated person can swing the group into successful work. This will indicate to you the potency of the individual and the fact that he can temporarily and at any given moment prove stronger than the group because the group has yet no true understanding of group activity, group coherency and group vitality. The mystic therefore suffers as a result of this condition, producing diseases and psychological difficulties which are not only personal but are often the result of the fluidity of the conditions in which he has to live.
One of the reasons guaranteeing the power of the Hierarchy and its freedom from any psychological problems inherent in group work and from any mystical or occult disturbances is its stability, its coherency and the surety of its touch on life. The mystic and the occultist are frequently passing through a cycle of insecurity and of transition from doubt as to the future's possible revelations, into a faith that the testimony of the ages is based on incontrovertible fact. The average mystic and occult student therefore lacks stability in his environing conditions and faith in his group affiliations. The greatest contribution to world thought at this time is the emerging recognition everywhere to be found of [Page 625] the finiteness of man's knowledge, of the insufficiency of his accumulated wisdom to cope with the world situation, and of his inability as yet to produce that workable plan which will lead the race out of its present difficulties and impasse. Human beings are neither sure of themselves nor of each other, and the greater their sensitivity the more complex their reaction and the more complicated and disastrous the physiological and psychological effects. Humanity as a whole is becoming mystical in its orientation and consciousness. The intelligentsia of the race are adding to that mystical awareness (which is always there, even if unrecognised or repudiated) a rapidly developing sense of occult understanding.
The Atlantean consciousness of adolescent humanity is giving way to the more developed consciousness of the mature human being. The problems, difficulties, diseases and disturbances of the man who is mystically oriented, introspective and enquiring, will, during the next few centuries, give place to the problems and complexities of the man who is becoming group conscious and who is working with an extraverted awareness in a group of some kind or another. I would remind you here that—as a result of the Piscean influence during the past two thousand years—such groups are predominantly idealistic.
This brings us to one of the most interesting parts of our treatise, which is the influence of the rays today and in the Aquarian age which is now upon us. This should prove of practical value. Let us bring to the work of the new cycle which is opening before us a renewed aspiration, a deepened love and a livelier faith, remembering, as we study the future, that Faith, is one of our major needs, being "the Substance of things hoped for, the Evidence of things not seen".
The dual forces on the plane (whereon the vital power must be sought) are seen; the two paths face the solar Angel; the poles vibrate. A choice confronts the one who meditates.
The Battleground of the Astral Plane.
The two Paths.
We must start our study and consideration of the seventh Rule for Magic. We have completed the first six Rules which deal specifically with work on the mental plane, and hence have a practical value only for those who are beginning to utilize the power of the mind in the magical work of creation.
It is interesting to note in this connection that, as humanity enters into its heritage of mind, there appears simultaneously a growing tendency towards magical work. Schools of affirmation are cropping up on all sides, whose announced intent is to create those natural conditions wherein a man may have what he deems to be admirable and advisable. Books on the subject of the creative mind are flooding the markets, and discussions on the force back of the creative arts are deemed of vital interest. Psychologists are giving the entire matter much consideration, and though at present the ideal is viewed almost entirely in terms of the physical plane, yet the sum total indicates a vibratory activity in the world soul, as it expresses itself through humanity, and issues forth from the mental realm. The pioneers of the race, and the foremost thinkers and creative workers of humanity are but the sensitives who respond most readily to the mental impulses. They are in the minority as yet, and most people respond to the forces and vibrations emanating from the plane of the emotions and of desire. More and more however are awakening, and the significance of the six first Rules of Magic will become increasingly apparent.
These fifteen rules are divided into:
Six rules on the mental plane.
Five rules on the desire or astral plane.
Four rules on the physical plane.
The main thought to be held clearly in the mind is that they confine themselves to the use of energy in the three worlds, and that this energy is either consciously manipulated by the governing soul or is swept into activity by the force inherent in the matter of the three worlds, independently of the soul. When this is the case, the man is a victim of his own form energies and the matter aspect of all manifestation. In the other case, he is the intelligent ruler, controller of his own destinies, and swings the lower energies into forms and activities through the power of his mind impulses, and the focussed attention of his own soul. In the six rules already considered one or two thoughts most clearly emerge and might be summed up in the following terms:
Rule 1—Recollection, resulting in concentration.
Rule 2—Response, resulting in an interaction between higher and lower.
Rule 3—Radiation, resulting in a sounding forth.
Rule 4—Respiration, resulting in creative work.
Rule 5—Re-union, resulting in the at-one-ment.
Rule 6—Re-orientation, resulting in a clear vision of the Plan.
Students would do well to consider these relationships, and to work out the underlying synthesis.
In the words of this rule the astral plane, with its function and problem, is ably synthesized. Note the terms used in the description given in a few short phrases:
1. The plane of dual forces.
2. The plane of the two paths.
3. The plane whereon the vital power is sought.
4. The plane of the vibrating poles.
5. The plane whereon a choice is made.
One of the most vital things every aspirant has to do is to learn to understand the astral plane, to comprehend its nature and to learn both to stand free from it and then to work on it. In this instruction, I seek to give some clear teaching on this plane, for the moment a man can "see" on the astral plane, and can achieve equilibrium and hold steady in the midst of its vibrating forces, that moment he is ready for initiation.
First, let us gather together some of the terms which are used to describe this sphere of divine Being wherewith a man has first to identify himself, penetrate to the centre, pierce through its veiled illusion, and eventually stand poised, untouched, detached, uninfluenced and free.
The term "astral" so often used is in reality a misnomer. H. P. B. was basically right when she used the term in connection with the etheric or vital planes of the physical plane. When contact is made with the etheric world, the first impression given is always of a starry light, of brilliance, of scintillation. Gradually, however, the word became identified with Kama or desire, and so was used for the plane of emotional reaction.
It is interesting to note this for it is in itself an instance of the effect of the astral plane upon the human brain, which in its uninformed condition reverses the reality and sees things in an upside down state. The appearance of the astral plane when first definitely seen by the "opened eye" of the aspirant is one of dense fog, confusion, changing forms, interpenetrating and intermingling colours, and is of such a kaleidoscopic appearance that the hopelessness of the enterprise seems overwhelming. It is not light, or starry or clear. It is apparently impenetrable disorder, for it is the meeting ground of forces. Because the forces in the aspirant's [Page 222] own body are equally in disorder, he blends in with the surrounding chaos to such an extent that it is at first almost impossible for the onlooking soul to dissociate its own astral mechanism from the astral mechanism of humanity as a whole, and from the astral mechanism of the world.
One of the first things then that the aspirant has to learn is to dissociate his own aura in the emotional sense from that of his surroundings and much time is expended in learning to do this. It is for this reason that one of the first qualifications of discipleship is discrimination, for it is through the use of the mind, as analyzer and separator, that the astral body is brought under control.
Secondly, the astral plane is the plane of illusion, of glamour, and of a distorted presentation of reality. The reason for this is that every individual in the world is busy working in astral matter, and the potency of human desire and of world desire produces that constant "out-picturing" and form building which leads to the most concrete effects of astral matter. Individual desire, national desire, racial desire, the desire of humanity as a whole, plus the instinctual desire of all subhuman lives causes a constant changing and shifting of the substance of the plane; there is a building of the temporary forms, some of rare beauty, some of no beauty, and a vitalising by the astral energy of its creator. Add to these forms that persistent and steadily growing scenario we call the "akashic records" which concern the emotional history of the past, add the activities of the discarnate lives which are passing through the astral plane, either out of or towards incarnation, add the potent desire, purified and intelligent, of all superhuman Lives, including those of the occult planetary Hierarchy, and the sum total of forces present is stupendous. All play upon, around and through every human being, and according to the calibre of his physical body, and the condition of his centres [Page 223] will be his response. Through this illusory panorama, the aspirant has to make his way, finding the clue or thread which will lead him out of the maze, and holding fast to each tiny fragment of reality as it presents itself to him, learning to distinguish truth from glamour, the permanent from the impermanent and the certainty from the unreal. As the Old Commentary puts it:
"Let the disciple seize hold of the tail of the serpent of wisdom, and having with firmness grasped it, let him follow it into the deepest centre of the Hall of Wisdom. Let him not be betrayed into the trap set for him by the serpent of illusion, but let him shut his eyes to the colourful tracery upon its back, and his ears to the melody of its voice. Let him discern the jewel, set in the forehead of the serpent whose tail he holds, and by its radiance traverse the miry halls of maya."
No glamour, no illusion can long hold the man who has set himself the task of treading the razor-edged Path which leads through the wilderness, through the thick-set forest, through the deep waters of sorrow and distress, through the valley of sacrifice and over the mountains of vision to the gate of Deliverance. He may travel sometimes in the dark (and the illusion of darkness is very real); he may travel sometimes in a light so dazzling and bewildering that he can scarcely see the way ahead; he may know what it is to falter on the Path, and to drop under the fatigue of service and of strife; he may be temporarily sidetracked and wander down the by-paths of ambition, of self-interest and of material enchantment, but the lapse will be but brief. Nothing in heaven or hell, on earth or elsewhere can prevent the progress of the man who has awakened to the illusion, who has glimpsed the reality beyond the glamour of the astral plane, and who has heard, even if only once, the clarion call of his own soul.
The astral plane is also the Kurukshetra, both of humanity [Page 224] as a whole and of the individual human unit. It is the battle-ground whereon must be found the Waterloo of every aspirant. In some one life, there comes an emotional crisis in which decisive action is taken, and the disciple proves his control of his emotional nature. This may take the form of some great and vital test, covering a brief time but calling forth every resource of wisdom and of purity that the disciple possesses, or it may be a long and protracted emotional strain, carried over many years of living. But in the attaining of success and in the achievement of clear vision and right discernment (through right discrimination) the disciple testifies to his fitness for the second initiation.
I would like to point out that it is this test and crisis through which humanity is now passing, and which began in those conditions which culminated in the world war and the present world strain. The first initiation of humanity, as an entity, took place when individualization became possible, and the soul was born in the body of humanity. This was preceded by a period of fearful stress and strain, dimly sensed by the pioneers into the human kingdom from the ranks of the animal-men. Should this crisis be successfully passed, the second initiation of humanity will be the result—the passing through the baptism and the entering of the stream. So the world war and its resulting effects constitute the Kurukshetra of the world Arjuna, and the outcome is still in the balance. Let this not be forgotten. There is however no cause for pessimism. The outcome of good is inevitable. It is however a question of a slow or a rapid realization and liberation from the great world illusion, and to this end every aspirant is begged to work strenuously and to lend his aid. Every man who liberates himself, who sees clearly, and who releases himself from the glamour of illusion aids in the Great Work.
Again, the astral plane is that whereon the pairs of opposites act and interact, and whereon the pull of the great dualities is most potently felt. Primarily, the interaction is between the soul and its vehicle, matter, but there are many lesser dualities which play their part and are more easily recognized by the average man.
Light and darkness interact, as do pleasure and pain; good and evil meet and form the playground of the Gods, and poverty and riches are offset one against the other. The entire modern economic situation is of an astral nature; it is the outcome of desire and the result of a certain selfish use of the forces of matter. Heat and cold, as we understand the term, in a most peculiar manner are the result of the interplay of the pairs of opposites, and an interesting line of occult study concerns itself with the effects of racial emotions on climatic conditions. We most truly make our climate in one significant sense. When desire has burnt itself out, planetary life comes to an end, as climatic conditions will negate form-life as we understand it.
In relation to the human unit, the secret of liberation lies in the balancing of the forces and the equilibrising of the pairs of opposites. The Path is the narrow line between these pairs which the aspirant finds and treads, turning neither to the right nor to the left.
It must be remembered always that when the pairs of opposites are discerned, when a man balances the forces of his own nature, when he has found the Path and become the Path, then he can work with the world forces, can preserve the balance and the equilibrium of the energies of the three worlds and so become a co-worker with the Masters of the Wisdom. Let us pray and hope that this may be the practical outcome of our understanding of the nature of the battleground of the astral plane.
Passing from our consideration of the nature of the astral plane we will deal with its functions and the relation of the disciple to its activities. Let us remember certain things about it. First, it is pre-eminently the battle-ground, and on it is fought the warfare which eventuates in the final release of the imprisoned soul. It is useful to have in mind the outstanding characteristics of the three planes and the three bodies which function on them.
The physical plane is the plane of active experience in and through matter. It is the plane of externalisation and, according to the condition and point of development of the inner man, so will be the outer form and its activities.
The astral plane is the plane whereon the man passes through three stages of consciousness:
a. He gains, through his sensory apparatus, consciousness in the world of forms, and develops ability to re-act to those forms with wisdom and intelligence. This consciousness he shares with the animal world, though he goes far beyond them in some respects, owing to his possession of a correlating and co-ordinating mind.
b. Sensitivity, or awareness of moods, emotions and feelings, desires and aspirations which have their roots within him in the principle of self-consciousness, or in the ahamkara principle, as the occultist (who loves difficult phrases) is apt to call it. This he shares in common with his fellow-men.
c. Spiritual awareness or sensitiveness to the spiritual world, and the feeling aspect of the higher consciousness. This has its roots in the soul, presupposes the dominance of the mental nature, and is that faculty [Page 227] which constitutes him a mystic. This awareness he shares in common with all disciples and it is the reward of the gained victories of his astral plane experience.
The mental plane comes next. In it the right use of the intellect is the outstanding achievement. This is also characterised by three stages:
a. The stage wherein the mind is the receiver of impressions from the outer world, via the five senses and the brain. This is a negative condition, and, in it, the "modifications of the thinking principle" are brought about through the impacts of the external world, and the re-actions of the astral world.
b. The stage wherein the mind initiates its own activities, and wherein the intellect is a dominating factor. Though thrown into activity by the factors enumerated above, it is responsive also to the thought currents of the mental plane as well, and becomes exceedingly active as the result of these two contacts. Out of these a third activity supervenes wherein the reasoning principle acts upon the information gained in these two ways, sets its own streams of thoughts, and formulates its own thought forms, as well as registering those of others.
c. The stage wherein the soul, through concentration and meditation succeeds in imposing its ideas and impressions upon the mind held "steady in the light" and so enables the mental body to respond to impressions and contacts emanating from the subjective and spiritual worlds.
Yet the battle, par excellence, is fought out in the astral body, and only reaches its most intense point and its potent fierceness when there is a good physical instrument and a well-equipped mentality. The greater the sensitivity of the astral body, the greater its reactions to [Page 228] the physical world and to the mental condition and hence the fact emerges that disciples and the more highly evolved people in the world have a more potent astral body and work under greater emotional strain than the less highly evolved and the liberated sons of God.
Students are therefore begged to deal drastically and potently with their emotional natures, remembering that victory descends from above and cannot be worked up to from below. The soul must govern and its instrument in the warfare is the consecrated mind.
It is interesting to note the occult sequence in the description given of this plane in the rule under consideration.
It is first of all the plane of dual forces. The first thing the aspirant becomes aware of is duality. The little evolved man is aware of synthesis, but it is the synthesis of his material nature. The highly spiritual man is aware also of synthesis but it is that in his soul, whose consciousness is that of unity. But in between is the wretched aspirant, conscious of duality above all else and pulled hither and thither between the two. His first step has, for its objective, to make him aware of the pairs of opposites and of the necessity to choose between them. Through the light, which he has discovered in himself, he becomes aware of the dark. Through the good which attracts him, he sees the evil which is for him the line of least resistance. Through the activity of pain, he can visualize and become aware of pleasure, and heaven and hell become to him realities. Through the activity of the attractive life of his soul, he realizes the attraction of matter and of form, and is forced to recognize the urge and pull of both of them. He learns to feel himself as "pendant 'twixt the two great forces", and, once the dualities are grasped, it dawns on him slowly and surely that the deciding factor in the struggle is his divine will, in contradistinction to his selfish will. [Page 229] Thus the dual forces play their part until they are seen as two great streams of divine energy, pulling in opposite directions, and he becomes then aware of the two paths, mentioned in our rule. One path leads back into the dreary land of rebirth, and the other leads through the golden gate to the city of free souls. One is therefore involutionary and involves him in deepest matter; the other leads him out of the body nature, and makes him eventually aware of his spiritual body, through which he can function in the kingdom of the soul. One path, later on (when he is a true and pledged chela) is known to him as the left hand path and the other the path of right activity. On one path, he becomes proficient in black magic, which is only the developed powers of the personality, subordinated to the selfish purposes of a man whose motives are those of self interest and worldly ambition. These confine him to the three worlds and shut the door which opens on to life. On the other path, he subordinates his personality and exercises the magic of the White Brotherhood, working always in the light of the soul with the soul in all forms, and laying no emphasis upon the ambitions of the personal self. Clear discrimination of these two paths reveals what is called in some occult books that "narrow razor-edged Path" which lies between the two. This is the "noble middle Path" of the Buddha and marks the fine line of demarcation between the pairs of opposites, and between the two streams which he has learnt to recognize—one going up unto the gates of heaven, and the other passing down into the nethermost hell.
By the exercise of the two main weapons of the aspirant, discrimination and dispassion, he gains that quality which is called in this rule "the vital power". Just as the eye is the instrument of choice in choosing the way of travel on the physical plane and has besides a potency all its own whereby it attracts and develops its [Page 230] own sign language, so a vital power is felt in the aspirant. This eventually brings the third eye into activity, and so there is gained a potency and a clear vision which make right choice and quick progress upon the way a steady progression. We are told that power is grown or developed in silence, and only he who can find a centre of peace within his head, where the paths of the bodily forces and the spiritual inflowing tides meet, can rightly practice true discrimination and that dispassion which bring the controlled astral and mental bodies under the guidance of the soul.
Then he can understand the significance of "the vibrating poles", and achieve that point of equilibrium which is the result of their interaction and vibration.
The sensing of the dual forces and the clear discrimination of the two paths leads to the development of the vital power. This vital power demonstrates its first activity in enabling the aspirant to achieve a point of balance and so stand on that pinnacle of achievement whereon "a choice is made".
What is that choice? For the aspirant, it is that between rapid and slow progress. For the disciple, accepted and loyal, it is the choice between methods of service. For the initiate it oft lies betwixt spiritual advancement and the arduous work of staying with the group and working out the plan. For the Master it is the choice between the seven Paths, and it will therefore be apparent how much more strenuous and difficult is his problem.
All however prepares the aspirant for right choice through right discrimination leading to right action, and made possible through practiced dispassion. In this sentence is summed up the technique of the warrior upon the battle-field of the desire plane.
It should here be noted that in the steadily developing power of choice, and the loyally fought battle of the astral [Page 231] plane, the consciousness in the man shifts stage by stage. First, it is the battered earth-weary aspirant who has to struggle with desire, with glamour, with ambition and with his sensitive emotional body. He thinks the battle is stupendous but from the wider angle it is relatively small—yet all that he can stand.
Later, it is the experienced probationary disciple who wrestles in the vale of illusion, and deals not alone with his own nature but with the forces of that vale also, recognising its dual nature. Then, the disciple comes forth to battle and faces with courage (and often with clear vision) the forces arrayed against him. They involve not only those in his own nature and in those aspects of the astral plane to which he naturally re-acts, but also involve the forces of illusion arrayed against the group of disciples to which he belongs. Let all disciples take note of this and have it in mind in these difficult and strenuous days. Such disciples are in conscious contact at times with their soul forces and for them there is no defeat nor turning back. They are the tried warriors, scarred and tired, yet knowing that triumphant victory lies ahead, for the soul is omnipotent. Accepted disciples, who battle all the above enumerated factors, plus the black forces arrayed against the Elder Brothers, can call upon the spiritual energies of their group and at rare and indicated moments upon the Master under whom they work. Thus the work and labour expands; thus the responsibility and struggle steadily increases; yet at the same time there is also a steadily growing reception of potencies which can be contacted and utilized and which when correctly contacted insure victory at the end.
The phrase "the one who meditates" relates to the soul. Arjuna, the aspiring disciple, resigns the struggle and hands the weapons and the reins of government to Krishna, the soul, and is rewarded at last by understanding [Page 232] and by a vision of the divine form which veils the Son of God Who is Himself.
When this battle has been fought and won the disciple steps into the ranks of the white magicians of our planet and can wield forces, cooperate with the plan, command the elementals, and bring order out of chaos. He is no longer immersed in the world illusion but has risen above it. He can no longer be held down by the chains of his own past habits and his karma. He has gained the vital power and stands forth an Elder Brother.
Such is the path ahead of each and all who dare to tread it. Such is the opportunity offered to all students who have made their choice with dispassion and are prompted by love and the desire to serve.