Commentary on Rule VI for Applicants

Rule IV: The purificatory fires burn dim and low when the third is sacrificed to the fourth. Therefore, let the disciple refrain from taking life and let him nourish that which is lowest with the produce of the second.

Sentence I

A. “The purificatory fires burn dim and low when the third is sacrificed to the fourth.”

Points to Consider in Relation to the Above Sentence

1. Three keynotes of the energy of Shamballa are purification, destruction and organization.

2. Purification is an act of restoration. When purified, any structure encumbered by impurities, is restored more closely to its archetypally intended design. One cannot easily say that it is entirely restored, because the archetypally intended design is not yet achievable.

3. Naturally, the fires of purification are more subtle and, perhaps, more selective than the fires of destruction.

4. Each lunar vehicle has its own fires of purification which naturally will do their task. The task, however, can be hampered, and the fires ‘burdened’ by an excess of impurities.

5. The solar fire of soul stimulates the strength of the purificatory fires. When these two types of fire are allied for action, the lunar vehicles will be rendered a fit instrument for the expression of the soul.

6. Each of us yearns (consciously or unconsciously) for the “life more abundant”. (Unconscious yearning is yearning that is occurring at a level of the personality system of which the personality consciousness is unaware. For instance, the yearning may be apparent during the hours of sleep but forgotten upon awakening, when the consciousness is subject to the limitations of the brain.)

7. If we are in our “right mind” (which is soul-illumined mind) we will not wish to obstruct the natural purification process.

8. It is clear, however, that humanity has deviated from that which was intended. It is hard to know whether humanity, if it had followed the laws and rules laid down by the ancient God-Kings, could have avoided the eating of animal food. When one thinks of certain cultures in certain inhospitable climes (the Eskimos and Siberians, for instance), it does not seem possible.

9. The intention of our Planetary Logos is, in a way, to become more like the Planetary Logos of Venus. Interestingly, Venus rules what we might call the kingdom of souls (under the influence of the fifth and second rays—two of Venus’ rays, and supervised, initially, by the Fifth Creative Hierarchy, also strongly under Venus) and Mars rules the animal kingdom (the third kingdom, under the third and sixth rays). Humanity is poised between the two having the opportunity to follow either path.

10. In Lemurian days, man was far more like an animal, and perhaps the use of animal food was sanctioned.. Nevertheless, it would seem that we upon the fourth globe of the fourth chain were meant to nourish ourselves with food coming from a kingdom resonant to the number four—namely, from the second kingdom (the vegetable kingdom). It is clear that the number three is not numerologically resonant to the number four. Further, due to causes originating on the Moon-chain (so we are told), there is an unresolved enmity between the members of the third and fourth kingdoms, based, presumably, upon an enmity (or at least a lack of adjustment) between the great entities informing both of these kingdoms.

11. What all this means simply, is that the more we eat animal food, the more we retain our affiliation with the animal kingdom. We fail to purify our animal nature as rapidly as might be possible.

12. The more we eat vegetable food, the more we open the door of sensitivity to the kingdom of souls (and to the Fifth Creative Hierarchy) influenced by Venus—the planet ‘ruling’ both that kingdom and that Hierarchy. (Of course this does not mean that the eating of the produce of the vegetable kingdom is alone sufficient for spiritual development, otherwise, as the old saying goes, “All elephants would be enlightened.”

13. This discussion about food suitable to man is offered largely in numerological terms. The actual rates of vibration of (and the sounds emitted by) animal or vegetable food are presently unknown to average human beings such as ourselves. The Masters know these things and the mathematical reasons why one type of vibration inhibits purification and the other promotes it.

14. It may be many years before we understand the vibrational technicalities which differentiate animal from vegetable food. Some of the chemical differentiations (when they exist) are already understood.

15. We do understand enough to know, however, that the cleansing process is retarded by animal food and is uninhibited by vegetable food. All this is to be taken as a generality. Much depends on specifics and on the preparation of the food as well.

16. So that we do not become fanatical about this issue, it is well to remember that the Tibetan asked Alice Bailey to eat meat (probably as a result of her blood condition). No hard and fast rules can be laid down as applicable to one and all.

17. We are not only talking about which type of food contributes more to physical health, per se There are certainly many very non-vegetarians who are healthy people and many sickly vegetarians. We are talking about the degree of refinement of the three personality vehicles and how the intake of various kinds of food contributes to that refinement or slows its achievement.

18. The idea of sacrifice is involved in this Rule. Somehow, the necessary sacrifice of the animal form possessed by the human being has become associated with the sacrifice of animals themselves!

19. We know that animal sacrifice has been practiced by many groups of people throughout history. It is hard to imagine God or the gods (of the benevolent kind) being pleased by “burnt offerings”, but that lunar god known as Jehovah (associated with the third ray—the same ray ruling the third, or animal, kingdom—may have been). Nevertheless, it seems like a distortion of the ignorant human mind. Humanity is not meant to worship demons.

20. There is no doubt that humanity has developed an appetite for animal food. The more animalistic the quality of human nature, the stronger this appetite.

21. The whole question is really centered around the counterpulls between Venus and Mars. Man stands between these ‘competing magnetisms’.

22. Human beings have to learn to sacrifice their animal nature without sacrificing animals. We are no longer serving Jehovah or our own animalistic appetites. The sacrifice of our animal nature is really its appropriate training so that it can become (within its own scope of possibilities) sacred..

23. The entire issue of vegetarianism is part of humanity’s disentanglement from the tendencies engendered on the Moon-chain. We human beings are poised between the third and fifth kingdoms of nature. Everything about our present behaviors and habits should lead us closer to the Venusian-ruled fifth kingdom. Therefore, certain appetites, appropriate to the “old order” must be subdued and gradually eliminated.

24. An entirely new relation to the animal kingdom must be developed—one altogether more benign and educative. We can only imagine how we self-conscious human beings would feel if the kingdom in nature immediately in advance of our own ‘fed’ upon our bodies and killed our bodies to do so!

25. Venus is a great contributor to harmony and peace, so sorely needed upon our planet. When there is a less predatory relationship between the human and animal kingdoms, there will be far more likelihood of world peace.

26. It is true that, given the Order of Nature, the lower kingdoms are compelled to become sacrifices to the higher kingdoms. Plants absorb minerals and many animals eat plants (or each other). Animals must also be sacrificed to the human kingdom, and our kingdom, the fourth, to the kingdom of souls, but the modes of these two latter sacrifices require special attention; animal and human bodies are not to be sacrificed as food to the immediately superior kingdoms.

27. The service or sacrifice that the animal kingdom is intended to offer the human (especially the animals of greater intelligence such as mammals) must be subject to their growing intelligence. Humanity is meant to speed the education of the educable animals, and such animals are to be given tasks which not only serve humanity, but facilitate their growth towards self consciousness. But there are human beings who eat even the domestic or ‘domesticable’ animals—such horses, dogs, cats, elephants and, of course, pigs!

28. As for the service which uneducable animals can offer humanity, they help to preserve the “balance of nature” (of which humanity is necessarily a part). Humanity will eventually become a conscious guardian of the ecological balance and thus facilitate the proper growth of the animals who are necessarily involved in ecological processes.

29. The ideal can hardly be reached at this time. For the moment it is unavoidable that certain people in certain places will nourish their bodies on animal foods. As the planet and its life form evolve, however, this practice will not persist.

30. It is dangerous for the human being to attempt to determine the usefulness of any life form. Human beings do not yet have the breadth of consciousness to do so. Eventually it will be established that no form of life upon our planet is without its usefulness within the planetary Divine Plan. This does not mean, however, that the present relationships between the various life forms is perfectly balanced and undisturbed. It is well to realize that we live on a planet which is the vehicle of manifestation of one of the “Imperfect Gods”. Our planet is not yet a sacred planet, and thus, the balance between its life forms is not yet perfected.

31. Returning to the subject immediately at hand, our attitudes to the animal kingdom, and especially to those members of it closer in intelligence to our own, must change, or the fear and terror which stalk the lower psyche of our planet will not be transformed.

32. The entire issue is larger than we may suspect. Certainly, no sincere disciple, once informed, will continue to follow the dictates of an unwholesome appetite. The term ‘unwholesome’ is significant because it relates to the inter-kingdom strife caused by the human habit of using animal food.

33. The Planetary Plan is vast. Our relationship to the various kingdoms of nature is a significant part of that Plan.

34. If humanity is the microcosm to the three lower kingdoms, our task is to cultivate those kingdoms. Many more advanced and humane human beings are already doing this. It is time that conscious disciples assure themselves that they are part of such a Plan-impelled orientation.

Sentence II

B. Therefore, let the disciple refrain from taking life and let him nourish that which is lowest with the produce of the second.

Points to Consider in Relation to the Above Sentence

1. We know that it is not possible to “take” life itself. When any form of life is killed, it is the livingness of a temporary body which is destroyed. Still, when the killing is needless, the Plan for that being (however confined in scope that plan may be) is thwarted.

2. It is interesting that the disciple is told to refrain from taking life because of the effect upon the purificatory fires. The moral issue of taking life is not addressed. Indeed, much of the killing for which humanity is responsible in relation to the animal kingdom is, we are told, a karmic adjustment due to the untold slaughter of human beings by the animal kingdom in the early days of human evolution.

3. Still, as the human being advances, he most usually becomes more humane, which means that he not only treats his fellow human beings better, but the members of the animal kingdom as well. His improved treatment of the vegetable and mineral kingdoms should not be excluded.

4. That each kingdom must be nourished is clear. That nourishment comes from both ‘above’ and ‘below’. But, at any given time, and for specific types of lives, there are planetary rules concerning correct nourishment. One of these rules is here being enunciated. Its special application concerns applicants for initiation. Eventually, when the majority of members of the human kingdom have reached the technical stage of “applicant”, these rules will concern this majority. It can also be said that if more human beings followed the Rule here given, they would more quickly reach the stage of applicant.

5. We now have to consider the degree of responsibility attributable to the disciple if he “takes” the “life” of members of the animal kingdom for his food.

6. It might be said that the disciple does not do the actual killing (really very few people do) and is therefore not responsible. This argument, however, will not stand. The killing goes on because there is a demand for such killing. If the disciple adds his voiced or unvoiced desire and demand to the general desire and demand for animal food, he has swelled the strength of that desire and demand. Should the desire and demand cease, the killing would cease.

7. Responsibility, therefore, falls upon the disciple not because of any physical act, but because of desire and thought. As disciples, we know that we are responsible in relation to all three levels of our personality mechanism.

8. If we are to “refrain” from taking life, what will be our motive for doing so? One motive could simply be related to spiritual training (and possible spiritual ambition). The disciple knows that meat-eating retards the purification which promotes his spiritual life. This may be, most often, a worthy motive, but let us remember that Adolph Hitler was a vegetarian, referring to beef broth as “corpse tea”. Purification was important to him, but for many wrong reasons—entirely selfish reasons.

9. Another motive for refraining from “taking life” could be a moral imperative based upon empathy with and sympathy for the animal kingdom. This motive can hardly be considered insignificant. A paragraph which is most interesting in this regard is the following:

“A great factor and one that it is hard to explain so that the average thinker can understand it is the cyclic coming in of egos who are at a point in evolution where they are ready for their first radioactive life. In one great department of hierarchical endeavour all egos are divided into two groups, according to their cycle and according to their type of energy. These grades are in turn subdivided according to the quality and the vibratory effect to be induced upon any one kingdom of nature by their united, or single, incarnation. This might be illustrated by pointing out that by the gradual coming in of human beings who are vegetarians by natural inclination and by the appearance of egos who are interested specifically in the welfare and nurture of the animals (as is the case so noticeably now) we have the cyclic appearance of a whole group of human units who have a definite karmic relation to the third kingdom. This relation is of a kind differing in specific detail from the meat-eating, and oft inhuman, groups of the past five hundred years.”(TCF 1080)

10. We see, therefore, that the Tibetan presents the issue of vegetarianism from at least two perspectives—that of practical occultism and that of morality. (We can consider morality as a standard of behavior which is meant to regulate the behavioral quality of any unit of life within the context of the whole of which it is a part, and also in relation to the other units who are embraced in that same context.)

11. When we “refrain” what is it that we do? We may be aware of the desire to eat meat (and thus take the bodies of animals for our food), but we simply do not indulge that desire. It is something we do not do.

12. We refrain because we are now operating under a larger perspective which reveals the truly undesirable nature of an act which we desire.

13. We also are able to refrain because we have learned to control our desires.

Paragraph I

C. This rule might be summed up in the trite instruction to each disciple that he be strictly vegetarian. The lower nature becomes clogged and heavy, and the inner blaze cannot shine forth when meat is included in the diet. This is a drastic rule for applicants, and may not be violated. Aspirants can choose to eat meat or not as they prefer, but at a certain stage upon the path it is essential that all meat eating of every kind be stopped, and the strictest attention must be paid to diet. A disciple must confine himself to vegetables, grains, fruits and nuts. Only thus can he build the [Page 197] type of physical body which can stand the entry of the real man who has stood in his subtler bodies before the Initiator. Should he not do this, and should it be possible for him to take initiation without having thus prepared himself, the physical body would be shattered by the energy pouring through the newly stimulated centres, and dire danger to the brain, the spine, or the heart would eventuate.

Points to Consider in Relation to the Above Paragraph

1. We note that the Tibetan calls the instruction given by this Rule “trite”. Because an instruction or injunction is trite does not necessarily mean it is without value. Its triteness comes from mindless or insincere repetition. Triteness also comes from familiarity, for the injunction to be a vegetarian is often repeated in spiritual circles.

2. We note the use of the word “strictly” in relation to the word “vegetarian”. Apparently, there is no latitude in this matter.

3. The language used is graphic. The lower nature becomes “clogged and heavy” when meat is included in the diet. The clogging prevents the free flow of vitalizing energy (including the energy of the soul); the heaviness is an indication of lowered vibration and, therefore, unresponsiveness to the finer energies which are, essentially, man’s salvation.

4. We note that the rule is “drastic” in relation to applicants. What does DK mean by an “applicant”? We could imagine He means an applicant to any of the first three initiations. We might think that the Rules relates especially to those who are applicants to the first initiation, since that is the initiation most concerned with physical purification. However, a close reading of these “Rules for Applicants” will reveal them to be far more advanced than that. To fulfill them fully, one would have to be an applicant to the third degree, which the Masters consider the first real initiation.

5. Looked at in this way, it can be understood that the injunction to be vegetarian is not necessary an injunction suitable only to those applying to the earliest degree. Perhaps the demand becomes even more drastic as one approaches the third degree.

6. A study of history, however, will reveal that many of those approaching advanced degrees (depending partly on their culture) were not vegetarians. So although this is a “drastic” rule, it is not one which has had universal application throughout recent history.

7. It is clear from DK’s words that an “aspirant” is not yet an “applicant”. The terms “aspirant” may refer to those who have not yet taken the first initiation, but it can also refer to those who have. The Tibetan has seemed to reference the group of disciples under His training as aspirants.

“Certain of the Masters (usually Masters like myself who have only lately passed through the fifth initiation) have been chosen to train and instruct aspirants on all the rays until after the third Initiation of Transfiguration.”(DINA II 383).

We remember that all but one of these disciples under DK’s training had taken the first initiation. Further DK’s task is to train “aspirants for initiation”(R&I 586). In any case, an “applicant” has reached a very definite and, it would seem from this context, advanced stage of development—with certain responsibilities that cannot be evaded.

8. Therefore, if one it consider himself an “applicant for initiation”, meat-eating of every kind must be stopped and not only strict attention must be paid to diet, but the “strictest” attention.

9. We come to understand that the “disciple” is not the “aspirant”; as here used, the term, “disciple”, is equivalent to the term “applicant”.

10. DK outlines the simple diet which the disciple must follow: “vegetables, grains, fruit and nuts”. This is simplicity itself. The Path of Initiation is the ‘Path of Simplification’; the true disciple is learning to simplify his life in preparation for eventual or imminent initiation.

11. We learn one of the most important purposes for vegetarianism; it is to build a body strong enough to “the entry of the real man who has stood in his subtler bodies before the Initiator”. This is a thought of some importance. Who is it that stands before the initiator, and which subtler bodies are here referenced? While one could think that the astral and mental bodies are concerned, we have learned elsewhere that initiation is taken in the causal body, which may be one of the reasons why it is so seldom remembered.

12. Initiation stimulates the centers. The parts of the body which the Tibetan has indicated should be studied closely; they indicate areas especially involved in the initiation process in general—the brain, the spine and the heart. We recall the centrality of the head and the heart. The spinal channel is the means for conducting energy.

13. We can see the seriousness of the injunction toward vegetarianism, and why it must be strictly obeyed by those who are really applicants for initiation. Of course, there are many aspirants who merely think they are applicants. Such will not be in danger.

14. If Master DK warns of “dire danger” He surely means it. Those who are serious about their “application” must carefully need what is said. Let us ask ourselves, then: “Am I really an applicant for initiation?”

Paragraph II

D. It must, of course, here be recognised that no hard or fast rules can ever be laid down, except the initial one that for all applicants for initiation meat, fish, and fermented liquors of all kinds, as well as the use of tobacco, are absolutely forbidden. For those who can stand it, eggs and cheese are sometimes better eliminated from the diet, but this is not in any way compulsory. It is advisable always that those who are in process of developing psychic faculties of any kind should not permit themselves to eat eggs and very little cheese. Milk and butter come under a different category, and most initiates and applicants find it necessary to retain them in the diet. A few exceptional people can subsist and retain their full physical energies on the diet mentioned in the preceding paragraph, but there the ideal is embodied, and, as we all know, the ideal is seldom attainable in the present transitional period.

Points to Consider in Relation to the Above Paragraph

1. The Master counsels a degree of moderation, as there are many kinds of people who may have special requirements and sensitivities which cannot be ignored.

2. At the same time, He addresses all applicants in strong terms, telling them that “fermented liquor of all kinds, as well as the use of tobacco, are absolutely forbidden”. There is no room around the words “absolutely forbidden”. We know the Master does not exaggerate, so when words like “dire danger” and “absolutely forbidden” come forth, we have no choice but to attend to them.

3. Eggs and cheese are animal products, but are not produced by killing animals. They carry the animal vibration, and may contribute somewhat to the clogging, densifying effect, but it is not compulsory that they be eliminated. The elimination of meat, liquor and tobacco is compulsory.

4. An important hint concerning the development of the psychic faculties is given. Eggs must be eliminated and very little cheese taken. The astral plane correlates with the number two and, thus, with the second kingdom of nature—the vegetable. The psychic faculties available through the cultivation of the ajna center (which produce the true seer) are related to Venus, which planet, again, is, in a way, the sponsor of the vegetable kingdom. We note that, from another perspective, the ajna center is the second center.

5. With milk and butter there is no aging process and, if correctly produced, no hint of fermentation, such as may be found in the production of cheese. Most must retain the use of milk and butter, but DK seems to say that if they do so, they are not fulfilling the ideal diet, which consists, as stated, of vegetables, grains, fruits and nuts.

6. To keep a sense of balance and proportion, the Tibetan advises us that the ideal is rarely attainable.

7. Yet, we are given to know exactly what the ideal is, and that the Tibetan strongly supports the achieving the ideal.

8. A hint is given concerning the desirability of maintaining one’s full strength, no matter diet may be pursued. We realize that we are not meant to incapacitate ourselves in the pursuit of a presently unattainable ideal (if it is unattainable).

9. When we read words of this nature, what exactly shall we do? Some of us have experimented with vegetarianism, perhaps for many years. Some of us, having read the more advanced Rule VI, have lapsed from our earlier disciplines and now eat meat perhaps regularly. Do we know for certain that we have passed beyond the need to obey the Master’s advice for “applicants”? Are we in no further need of such purification? Do we have the strength of will to return to earlier disciplines at a time when the body may be rather set in its ways?

10. These and other important questions arise for pondering when we consider the strong terms used by the Master in this paragraph. Each will, of course, have to make his/her own decision in the matter. We should not disguise from ourselves, however, that much may depend upon that decision.

Paragraph III

E. In this connection two things should be emphasised: First, the need that all applicants have for common sense; this factor is very often lacking, and students do well to remember that unbalanced fanatics are not desirable members of the Hierarchy. Equilibrium, a just sense of proportion, a due regard for environing conditions, and a sane common sense are the marks of the true occultist. When a real sense of humour exists likewise, many dangers will be avoided. Secondly, a recognition of time, and an ability to move slowly when effecting changes in the diet and in the habits of a lifetime. Everything in nature progresses [Page 198] slowly, and applicants must learn the occult truth of the words:—"Make haste slowly." A process of gradual elimination is usually the path of wisdom, and this eliminating period should—under ideal conditions which so seldom exist—cover the stage which we call that of the aspirant, so that when a man becomes an applicant for initiation he will have done the necessary preparatory purification of the diet.

Points to Consider in Relation to the Above Paragraph

1. After speaking in very strong terms of the desirable and undesirable, the Tibetan invokes the need for “common sense”, which He finds very often to be lacking. Perhaps if we look around ourselves carefully, we shall agree with Him.

2. The ideal has been named, but in the manner of achieving that ideal, the Tibetan counsels moderation, telling us that moderation is far more the way of the occultist than unbalanced fanaticism.

3. Not just a sense of humour but a “real” sense of humour is also very useful. No doubt on our way to the ideal, we will fail many times, and need to see all this failure with perspective. It is easy to become overly earnest in these matters and lose protective perspective.

4. We find the Master invoking the method of the second ray, which is anything but drastic. “Make haste slowly” is a typical second ray approach—the wise use of slow action.

5. We may wonder why evolution has not proceeded more rapidly when so much concerning the ideal is known. Of course, matter has an inherent resistance to change. The third aspect of divinity does not easily give way to the second.

6. When attempting to change the habits of a lifetime, we must understand the factor of tamas, inertia, the non-responsiveness of matter, conditioned as it is by the third solar system and the Moon-chain.

7. Again the ideal is stated. There must be a process of elimination which should occur during those lives and years when a man is an aspirant. By the time he/she is a candidate for initiation, the elimination process will have been quite completed.

8. This is interesting, because it invalidates the standard of behaviour of some who feel that, because they are initiates (so they believe) or close to the “taking” initiation, they need no longer abide by the earlier Rules. In fact, DK seems to suggest that the earlier disciplines are already built into the true applicant for initiation and that, therefore, he/she needs no longer concern himself/herself with attending to those disciples—not because they are not important, but because they have become automatic. We see, then, that it is not that such disciplines are no longer necessary, but rather that they have become an established way of life for the true applicant.

9. We find that what Master DK has imparted in this Rule is practical indeed, as one would expect in relation to the number six and its correlated astrological sign, Virgo.

10. While abstract considerations can conceivably be related to the substance of this Rule and DK’s explanation of it, the Rule and its implications could hardly be more concrete. It is quite impossible to read it from a merely theoretical perspective. Some kind of action is required of us. What shall that action be?

With Love and Many Blessings to all,

Michael (and Stefan)