Commentary on Rule VIII for Applicants

From Meditative Themes for Rule VIII for Applicants

A.      For the first of the six months we will focus upon Rule VIII for Applicants (from July 22nd to August 19th 2005).

We might choose as theme for our meditation:

1.      Either the full sentence of the Rule for Applicants:

“When the disciple nears the Portal, the greater seven must awaken and bring forth response from the lesser seven upon the double circle.” (IHS, p. 200)

2.      Or, additionally, sub-themes which DK refers to in His commentary to this Rule, such as (IHS, p. 200-202):

a.       “The would-be initiate must develop somewhat the vibration of the seven head centres, and thus sweep into increased vibratory activity the seven centres in the body upon the etheric plane; affecting also, through reciprocal vibration, the seven physical centres which are inevitably stimulated when the etheric centres approach their maximum vibration.” (cf. RI, p. 200)

b.       The inner God has to control the transfer of the energies from the lower centres to the higher if the process is to unfold correctly and safely. (cf. RI, p. 201)

c.        If the applicant bends all his energies towards right thinking, meditation, service, and thus to the development of the spiritual life, his centres will develop normally and safely. (cf. RI, p. 201)


Section I

When the disciple nears the portal, the Greater Seven must awaken and bring forth response from the lesser seven upon the double circle.

1.                  This Rule brings us into very deep mysteries which it will be impossible for us to completely fathom at our stage of evolution.

2.                  The portal is the portal of initiation—whichever of the three initiations to which it is possible to apply the indications of various of the Fourteen Rules for Applicants.

3.                  Even at the first initiation there are seven centers in the head which are part of the focal triangle which animates the individual at that stage of development.

4.                  The following progression from A Treatise on Cosmic Fire should give us food for thought. In the succession of triangles given by the Tibetan on p. 170 of TCF we read:

[Triangle] 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.

[Triangle] 5. Spiritual man to the third Initiation.

a. The heart.

b. The throat.

c. The seven head centres.

[Triangle] 6. Spiritual man to the fifth Initiation

a. The heart.

b. The seven head centres.

c. The two many-petalled lotuses.

5.                  We notice in these three triangles certain centers which are not usually among the ones listed. They are “the seven head centers”.

6.                  Exactly what they are and where they are is a matter for careful research and debate. Not much of a definite nature is given out about the thousand petalled lotus or about the seven head centers (which, we gather, are controlling centers). As we go, we may make a few inferences.

7.                  Because they are controlling centers, we may find that we can associate them with Vulcan. The Sun veiling Vulcan is considered the ‘planet’ associated with the Great Bear and with the 11th Creative Hierarchy (ruled by Taurus). The Great Bear is associated with the seven head centers in the Super-Constellational Logos (the One About Whom Naught May Be Said). On a much lower turn of the spiral, Vulcan may be the representative of the sevenfold Sun and associated with the illumination which appears within the head (perhaps related to the interplay between the seven head centers). All this is speculative, but there is correspondentially adequate reason for associating the Great Bear, Vulcan and the seven head centers.

8.                  We note in the tabulation above the most focal chakric triangle for man at three different stages of development:

        1. “Advanced Man,” who “is partially controlled by the Ego”. We may think of the advanced man as—

                                                              i.      One who is finishing his experience upon the Mutable Cross and is preparing to transfer to the Fixed Cross.

                                                            ii.      He is also concluding his experience under the regime of the personality ray (cf. TCF 176).

                                                          iii.      He probably has not yet taken the first initiation, though the term “advanced man” is somewhat elastic and may, in some references, refer to those who have taken the first initiation. (A compilation on “advanced man” will be included with this Commentary so that you may judge of the various uses of the term.)

        1. “Spiritual man to the third initiation”. We may presume that “spiritual man” is beginning to enter the Kingdom of Souls or the Fifth Kingdom.

                                                              i.      We may presume that “spiritual man” is beginning to enter the Kingdom of Souls or the Fifth Kingdom.

                                                            ii.      If we reference the chart of p. 1238 of TCF or p. 48 of IHS, we will not that initiates, disciples and probationers are all included within the circle of Hierarchy, which is the circle of the fifth kingdom. This and other references, refute the idea that the kingdom of souls is only entered at the third degree. However, it must be realized that only a Master of the Wisdom is a “full member” of the kingdom of souls. (TEV 104-105)

                                                          iii.      This means that “spiritual man” has taken the first initiation.

        1.  “Spiritual man to the fifth initiation”:

                                                              i.      This phrase refers to those who have taken the third initiation and are progressing through the fourth to the fifth.

                                                            ii.      The term “spiritual man” is used in both the above categories because both types of men are members of the Kingdom of Souls.

9.                  With regard to the head centers under discussion (the seven), we note that the “advanced man” utilizes four of the seven head centers. These are synthesized in the alta center (about which little is said in detail and much ambiguity exists).

10.             The fact that the four are synthesized into the alta, gives us the number five—a number related to Brahma, to the first solar system and to the manasic aspect. Advanced man is certainly intelligent if not yet spiritual because not yet responding consciously and aspirationally to the soul.

11.             The following quotation demonstrates that there are times when the Tibetan refers to one who is an “advanced man” as one not yet on the Path.

It is essential, for their right understanding that the astrologer knows whether the subject is relatively unevolved, whether he is an advanced man or whether he is upon one or other stages of the Path.” (EA 334)

It may be presumed that the Path begins really at the first initiation—the Birth. “Literally, therefore, a man who has taken the first initiation is one who has taken the first step into the spiritual kingdom, having passed out of the definitely human kingdom into the superhuman.”(IHS 10)

12.             The number five is suitably related to advanced man because it is during the development of the fifth petal of the egoic lotus that the human being begins to become advanced man.

13.             The fifth petal may reasonably be associated with the astrological sign Leo, the fifth—the sign in which knowledge is justified through experiment and experience. This petal may also be associated with the sign Scorpio which is strongly related to Mercury its hierarchical ruler. Mercury is one of the leading planets of intelligence, and in Scorpio the mind is strongly developed in two ways—as an organ of emotional control and an organ of illumination.

14.             By the time the developing human being becomes “spiritual man”, we note that all of the “seven head centers” have begun to function in a significant manner (though their full power may not be reached until the third degree).

15.             If five is a number to be associated with manas, Brahma and the first solar system, then seven is to be associated with buddhi, Vishnu and the second solar system.

16.             At the first initiation, the focus of unfoldment in the egoic lotus is the seventh petal, which, significantly, is a member of the sacrifice tier of petals.

17.             It is the sacrifice tier that opens during the initiatory process involving the first through third initiations.

“Thus in the life of the probationer two aspects of the divine life are making themselves apparent, and though as yet much remains to be done, nevertheless when the inner circle of petals is awakened—through the instrumentality of the curious and abnormal process of initiation—the remaining aspect will be brought into similar prominence, and produce the perfected man in the three [Page 829] worlds.  Thus is the work of the Solar Pitris consummated. (TCF 828-829)

18.             We can infer that all seven head centers (or control centers) would necessarily be activated if the seventh petal is to be fully unfolded. The numerical resonance tells the story.

19.             When we consider the triangle-focus of the man who is a third degree initiate, it includes the seven head centers which continue in importance until the fifth initiation (with which the intensively illuminative process impulsed by Vulcan may be associated—as that initiation is the “Revelation”), but it also includes the two many petalled lotuses—presumably the ajna center of 96 petals plus 2, and the crown chakra of 960 petals plus 12.

20.             I am including a compilation on the seven centers and other references which seem to include the seven head centers.

Section II

…and bring forth response from the lesser seven upon the double circle.

21.             The “double circle” can have a number of meanings. One meaning is the circulatory relationship between two sets of centers—the seven centers with which we are normally familiar, and the seven head centers.

22.             One possible problem remains in relation to this set up. While from some references it seems that the “lesser seven” are probably the major chakras of the normal chakric system, it may be that the ajna center and crown center (thousand petalled lotus) should be excluded, as it is difficult to conceive that any of the seven head centers within the head could be considered control centers or master centers with respect to them (i.e. with respect to the two many petalled lotuses).

23.             When we study the sequence of major chakric triangles, the “two many petalled lotuses” are definitely in a position superior to the seven head centers.

24.             If, however, we include the spleen and alta center (admittedly two centers having more to do with the third aspect than the second) we would have our seven centers which could be controlled by seven master centers in the head. At least this is one way of doing it, and I will suggest another.

25.             From studying the sequence of triangles given on TCF p. 170, we do understand that the ajna and crown centers are not the seven head centers.

26.             The passage below from TCF demonstrates the “seven other centres” (presumably the seven head centers on which we are focussing) are not the crown center which is their synthesis.

“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.” (TCF 168)

27.             There is a diagram, Chart VI, from TCF, which demonstrates a macrocosmic correspondence to the seven head centers, the ajna and alta major, and the crown center as the synthesis of the seven plus the two. This diagram reinforces the idea that for every seven, there is a superior three hovering above.

28.             While the analogy to the head and its centers is not perfect and has some possible discrepancies, the main idea can be gathered.

Paragraph I

This rule is a very difficult one, and one which holds in it the elements of danger for the man who undertakes too early to tread the final path.

29.             While those who pursue the system of initiatory development are engaged in a “forcing process” to which the majority of human beings may not be subjected, indiscretion and undue haste will almost certainly lead to disaster.

  Literally it can be interpreted thus:  The would-be initiate must develop somewhat the vibration of the seven head centres, and thus sweep into increased vibratory activity the seven centres in the body upon the etheric plane; affecting also, through reciprocal vibration, the seven physical centres which are inevitably stimulated when the etheric centres approach their maximum vibration.

30.             The seven physical centers are the seven endocrine glands which correlate with the seven major centers:

        1. Head center—pineal gland (or even the brain as a whole, for the brain is often considered a gland)

        2. Ajna center—pituitary gland

        3. Throat center—thyroid gland

        4. Heart center—thymus gland

        5. Solar plexus center—pancreas

        6. Sacral center—sex glands (gonads and ovaries)

        7. Base of spine center—adrenal glands

31.             The implication is that if the seven head centers are developed, the seven centers in the body and upon the etheric plane will be swept into increased vibratory activity.

32.             This leaves no doubt that the seven head centers are master or controlling centers.

 It is not necessary to enlarge upon this point beyond pointing out that as the seven centres within the head become responsive to the Ego the following seven centres,

1. The head, considered as a unit,

2. The heart,

3. The throat,

4. The solar plexus,

5. The base of the spine,

[Page 201]

6. The spleen,

7. The organs of generation,

are also affected, but affected along the line of purification and control.

33.             Much earlier in the process of evolution, various of these centers have been affected but not “along the line of purification and control”.

34.             The listing must be studied carefully. We note that the ajna center is omitted and the spleen (a lesser center) included. Yet the ajna center is of definite importance in responsiveness to the Ego in a number of ways.

35.             Should the ajna be considered one of the seven head centers? This could account for the reason that it was not considered one of the seven. There are, however, strong indications that it should not be thus considered, for the ajna is, indeed, a many-petalled lotus, and the two many petalled lotuses are listed separately from the seven head centers. (TCF 170)

36.             The alta major center is also excluded, and it, too, is of definite importance in completing the triangle within the head.

37.             In the tabulation, the Tibetan appears (for the most part) to be speaking of physical organs, but really, He is speaking of chakras.

38.             The continuing problem with this enumeration can be put colloquially as, “How can the tail wag the dog?” In other words, how can one of the seven head centers be considered more powerful than the “head considered as a unit”, especially if that unit includes the many petalled ajna center and the “thousand petalled lotus”?

39.             In my estimation, there is some occult blinding going on. Perhaps that one of the seven head centers which is particularly related to the head should be considered the master center of the seven, controlling them as a unit of seven, and especially controlling the other six centers in the head.

40.             If this were to be the case, it would leave the two many petalled lotuses (ajna and crown) as controllers rather than centers which are controlled.

41.             It would seem that the ajna center should be controlled only by the thousand petalled lotus, and the thousand petalled lotus only by the Jewel in the Lotus and the monad.

42.             Since the crown, ajna and alta form an important triangle, it may be that the crown controls both the ajna and the alta, but that the seven head centers do not control either the ajna or the alta.

43.             The head (considered as a unit) may refer to the centers that are within the head, and not to the three centers (ajna, in front of the brow), crown (above the head) and alta (behind the head)

44.             Close examination of that which is given by the Tibetan raises questions that are not easily answered, nor should we attempt to force a solution.

45.             In summary, it would seem that the major control center in the region of the head should be the thousand petalled lotus, with the ajna center (directly involved in stimulating and guiding the rising of kundalini) as a secondary control. These should, it would seem, be out of the range of control of the seven head centers. Certainly the thousand petalled lotus should not be controlled by one of the centers in the head, since the seven head centers are obviously of lesser power than that thousand petalled lotus.

46.             One of the seven head centers within the head could control the other six head centers, while these six other centers, could then easily be seen as controlling the throat, heart, solar plexus, sacral and base of the spine. centers should certainly be found. The spleen can be added to make the necessary six.

47.             Does one of the seven head centers correspond to the ajna? Does another of them correspond to the alta major center? These questions will have to be researched and meditation undertaken to discover the answer—sooner or later.

48.             For the time being, I am proposing that the ajna and alta should be considered more in relation to the thousand petalled lotus than to the seven head centers.

 This will produce results in the definitely physical organs through which man functions on the physical plane.

49.             There are obviously various physical organs associated with the some of the chakras: the brain with the head center, the heart with the heart center, the stomach and various digestive organs with the solar plexus; the sex organs with the sacral center; the appendix and large intestine with the base of the spine.

50.             As stated above, various glands that are not organs, per se, are also associated with various of the chakras.

  In illustration:—man can then transfer consciously the creative fire and energy from the organs of generation to the throat, or, through the conscious control of the heart, produce suspended animation of the physical body.

51.             The principle to be gathered is that changes in the etheric centers (and corresponding centers on the astral and mental planes) can and do produce noticeable changes in the physical organs.

52.             We receive a hint about the mystery of suspended animation, an ability which some advanced yogis and meditators have mastered. It would seem an important ability for those who, achieving samadhi, leave their physical body for prolonged periods.

  This is not achieved through what is called Hatha Yoga practices, or concentrating the attention upon the physical organs, but through the development of the control by the inner God, Who works through the head centre and thus dominates all else.

53.             The probability that we are talking about the state of samadhi is reinforced by the fact that the workings of the head centre are here referenced. In the state of samadhi (which can lead to a lengthy absentation of the Indweller), all energies and forces are gathered into the head center.

54.             Note the factor of domination associated with the head center—the center of will. The head is the “dome” of “domination”.

Paragraph II

The applicant, therefore, will bend all his energies towards the development of the spiritual life, which development will be the outcome of right thinking, meditation, and service.

55.             Attention is not to be focussed on the centers (unless there is expert guidance), but on meditation, right thinking (correlated to study) and service—the triangle which supports and sustains progress in all occult work.

  Through deep study of all there is to be known concerning energy and its focal points, he will co-ordinate his life so that the life of the spirit may flow through it.

56.             In fact, we are asked to study the various centers of force. A tremendous opportunity to do so exists because of the quantity of information related to the contained in the books of Master DK.

57.             While the sincere student may study and correlate this information for his own use and those who may be trusted to benefit from it, it should not be released to the general, curious and unprepared public.

 This study can only be safely undertaken at present in group work and under guidance from a teacher;

58.             Can it be said that we have this necessary type of guidance from Master DK—in the form of the books which He has written and the wise counsel He constantly imparts through this writings?

59.             Undertaking such a study in group formation aids in the problem of energy distribution. It prevents an undue concentration of evoked energy in the energy system of any one individual.

60.             Group study can also correct biases and mistaken points of view.

 the pupils will pledge themselves to permit no experimentation in their lives, and no careless trifling with the fires of the body.  They will simply apply themselves to a theoretical comprehension and a life of service.

61.             It is clear that Master DK seeks to promote a wide, theoretical comprehension of these matters, but not immediate application of what is learned. Immediate application would necessarily be incompletely informed, for the necessary hierarchical guide (wise, learned and clairvoyant) would not be available to monitor the process.

62.             Some say that we have had enough theory and now need practice. This is certainly the case with respect to service, but we simply do not know enough of the abstruse and dangerous science of the centers to be trusted to be our own guides in the process of awakening them.

Paragraph III

The centres will then develop normally, whilst the applicant bends his attention to loving his brother perfectly in truth and in deed, to serving wholeheartedly, to thinking intelligently, and to keeping a close watch upon himself.

63.             Let us tabulate these requirements so that we may focus on them more easily:

        1. Loving our brother perfectly in truth and in deed

        2. Serving wholeheartedly

        3. Thinking intelligently

        4. Keeping a close watch upon ourselves.

64.             Love, service, intelligent thought, vigilance—these are the methods, and not an unwise and necessarily ignorant tampering with fires we do not know how to control.

  He will also record all that seems to him in his inner life to be concerned with the evolution of the centres.

65.             The observant fifth ray method is needed. We factually and truthfully record what is happening, regardless of what we may wish to happen.

  This record can be surveyed by the teacher, comment made, deduction [Page 202] sought, and the quota of information thus gained filed for group reference.  In this way much knowledge can be stored up for use.

66.             This type of studious observation has group advantages, we see. We learn from each other’s experience.

67.             The teacher’s comments are meant to promote our power to deduce truth from what we have experienced. That which we have experienced and the meaning of such experience must be related.

 Paragraph IV

The applicant who misuses knowledge, who indulges in such practices as "breathing for development," or concentrating upon the centres, will inevitably fail in his endeavor to reach the portal,

68.             The attempt to reach the portal of initiation in this manner is, we learn, doomed to failure.

69.             The wrong method is being pursued. Material response follows developments in consciousness. On this we can depend. The present emphasis on our planet and within our solar system is upon consciousness, and it is in the realm of consciousness that students such as ourselves must work—give our present stage of spiritual unfoldment.

70.             Such a method may seem slower than direct manipulation of the centers and their fires, but, in fact, for us, it is faster and attended by far fewer dangers of a dire kind.

 and will pay the price in his body by the appearance of insanity, of neurasthenic conditions, and various physical ills.

71.             In various references DK tells us what may befall the unwise experimenter with the material fires.

72.             Here are some further words of warning from TCF 162

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.

73.             It is clear that the mechanism to be used by consciousness can be destroyed, inflamed, punctured and, in general, made unusable.

74.             Here is another reference which should be considered:

It will be apparent from this elucidation that the exceeding importance of the etheric vehicle as the separator of the fires has been brought forward, and consequently we have brought to our notice the dangers that must ensue should man tamper injudiciously, ignorantly or wilfully with these fires.

Should a man, by the power of will or through an over-development of the mental side of his character, acquire the power to blend these fires of matter and to drive them forward, he stands in danger of obsession, insanity, physical death, or of dire disease in some part of his body, and he also runs the risk of an over-development of the sex impulse through the driving of the force in an uneven manner upwards, or in forcing its radiation to undesirable centres.  The reason of this is that the matter of his body is not pure enough to stand the uniting of the flames, that the channel up the spine is still clogged and blocked, and therefore acts as a barrier, turning the flame backwards and downwards, and that the flame (being united by the power of mind and not being accompanied by a simultaneous downflow from the plane of spirit), permits the entrance, through the burning etheric, of undesirable and extraneous forces, currents, and even entities.  These wreck and tear and ruin what is left of the etheric vehicle, of the brain tissue and even of the dense physical body itself.

The unwary man, being unaware of his Ray and therefore of the proper geometrical form of triangle that is [Page 127] the correct method of circulation from centre to centre, will drive the fire in unlawful progression and thus burn up tissue; this will result then (if in nothing worse), in a setting back for several lives of the clock of his progress, for he will have to spend much time in rebuilding where he destroyed, and with recapitulating on right lines all the work to be done. (TCF 126-127)

75.             It is the part of wisdom to take these warnings to heart. Probably we have seen those who have damaged themselves either in the past or in this life. Probably we have recognized that nothing can be done for them in their present condition and that only multiple rebirths will mend what has been so sadly damaged or destroyed.

76.             We are discussing a subject of great importance and our approach must be wise and measured. We cannot and should not avoid the subject, but, at the same time, we must demonstrate humility.

77.             The Master seeks for our rapid progress so that we may be more rapidly fit for service in the Great Cause. When He advises, “Make haste slowly”, He is giving us the best advice available.