Chapter IX
The Path of Initiation



After a longer or shorter period of time the disciple stands at the Portal of Initiation.  We must remember that as one approaches this portal and draws nearer to the Master it is, as says "Light on the Path," with the feet bathed in the blood of the heart.  Each step up is ever through the sacrifice of all that the heart holds dear on one plane or another, and always must this sacrifice be voluntary.  He who treads the Probationary Path and the Path of Holiness is he who has counted the cost, whose sense of values has been readjusted, and who therefore judges not as judges the man of the world.  He is the man who is attempting to take the "kingdom by violence," and in the attempt is prepared for the consequent suffering.  He is the man who counts all things but loss if he may but win the goal, and who, in the struggle for the mastery of the lower self by the higher, is willing to sacrifice even unto death.

1.                  One of the factors ever to bear in mind is whether the Tibetan is speaking of the first initiation (the “Birth) or the third initiation (the “Transfiguration”)—the first solar initiation. It is not always easy in every context to determine which of these two might be the subject of discussion. Sometimes it seems as if a certain “blinding process” is deliberately being used. It would seem that DK wants thought around the subject of initiation to remain fluid. There is a danger of ‘doctrinaire categorization’ should any rigid system of thought arise and endure. So many people take great interest in this matter and seek to classify not only themselves but others. Fortunately or unfortunately, they usually lack the insight and expertise to do so. By somewhat “blinding” the subject of the first and third initiations, the Tibetan ensures that assessing disciples do not feel sufficiently sure of themselves to jump to premature conclusions. They are forced to keep questioning themselves which can only lead to greater illumination.

2.                  As initiation is presented in this book, Initiation: Human and Solar, the beginning of the Path of Discipleship seems to occur before the first planetary initiation, the “Birth”.

3.                  The first stage of discipleship is called “Little Chelaship”. It is a stage of aspiration, belonging to the Path of Probation, and, although associated with the first planetary initiation, begins at a time before that initiation can be taken. The duration of “Little Chelaship” is, as the Tibetan describes it, “spread over several lives” (DINA I 716) “Little Chelaship” is referred to as the “period of the Lemurian consciousness.” (DINA I 716)

4.                  The stage of the Path of Discipleship following upon “Little Chelaship” is “Chela in the Light” which is known as the “Atlantean” phase of the discipleship process. The Tibetan tells us that “two lives are sometimes sufficient to cover this period” (DINA I 716) It would seem that a “Chela in the Light” may be an initiate of the first degree, but we are not told that such a chela must be. Since the stage of “Accepted Discipleship” almost invariably occurs sometime after the first initiation, and the stage of “Chela in the Light” immediately precedes “Accepted Discipleship”, it would seem that at some time in the “Chela in the Light” process the disciple is an initiate of the first degree.

5.                  By the time the phrase of “Accepted Discipleship” has been reached, the first initiation has almost definitely been taken.  This is almost invariably the case and I know of only one exception to the rule. However, simply because one has taken the first initiation is no indication that one is, necessarily, an accepted disciple. A number of lives may pass before “acceptance”, technically understood, occurs.

6.                  When considering the various phases of the Path, there are many overlaps. There is no hard and fast rule to determine when the Path of Probation, the Path of Discipleship, Accepted Discipleship, Advanced Discipleship, etc., begin and end. The first and second planetary initiations are will occur at certain points along these various phases of the Path.

7.                  The Portal of Initiation, then, as here discussed, signifies the first planetary initiation.

8.                  DK emphasizes the difficult nature of the approach to that Portal, for the “feet are to be bathed in the blood of the heart”. This means that the feet cannot move forward except through the process of sacrifice. Always the lesser must be relinquished for the greater. There is nothing and no one that forces the aspirant to make the necessary sacrifices; the need for them is internally realized and the aspirant accedes to the requirements voluntarily.

9.                  The average human being (even the average aspirant) holds many things dear. It is this holding or grasping which must be released if his hands are to be able to receive the higher gifts. That to which we cling prevents access to that which is of still higher value. Thus, for the one who would move forward upon the Path, the requirement to “let go” is ever present.

10.              It should be mentioned that “Light on the Path” is said to have been written by Master Hilarion through Mabel Collins. It is a militant little treatise for those who would move forward along the Path with rapidity.

11.              We are reminded that if we would tread the Path of Holiness, we must “count the cost”. No individual with a conventional sense of values would subject himself to the rigors of that Path. Only people with sufficient incarnational experience will have clarified their sense of values and have decided upon a life in which the lesser things (dearly held by most) are voluntarily relinquished.

12.              The Tibetan uses strong words to describe the attitude of an individual who is prepared to tread the Path of Initiation. The attitudes expressed here are reminiscent of St. Paul, who was among those counseling that a man must “take the kingdom of heaven by violence” and who “counted all things as loss” if he could not win the “prize of his high calling in Christ.” (cf. TCF 578)

13.              One can wonder about the necessity for such extremism. Must every disciple who would tread the Path of Initiation be one “who, in the struggle for the mastery of the lower self by the higher, is willing to sacrifice even unto death”? It is well for us to remember that the Tibetan Teacher does not exaggerate. The earliest stages of the Path of Initiation will not be as demanding as the later stages, but one who has set foot upon that Path, and is determined to tread that Path unto its end, will be confronted by the necessity to hold and manifest the extreme attitudes here expressed. There is no other way of release from form, especially during times when planetary initiation is in process, and when force is being applied by Hierarchy and Shamballa to speed aspiring human beings upon the ‘Upward Way”.

14.              When contemplating these probabilities, we must ask ourselves in all earnestness, “What do I really desire?” According to the nature of our answer will be our willingness to assert ourselves (through necessitous sacrifice) upon the Path of Initiation.

The first two initiations.

At the first initiation, the control of the Ego over the physical body must have reached a high degree of attainment.  "The sins of the flesh," as the Christian phraseology has it, must be dominated; gluttony, drink, and licentiousness must no longer hold sway.  The physical elemental will no longer find its demand obeyed; the control must be complete and the lure departed.  A general attitude of obedience to the Ego must have been achieved, and the [Page 83] willingness to obey must be very strong.  The channel between the higher and the lower is widened, and the obedience of the flesh practically automatic.

15.              We note that when initiation takes place, Egoic control is already strong. DK uses the words, “a high degree of attainment” to express the degree of control which the Ego asserts over the physical body by the time the first initiation is possible. What this means is that those early experiences of recognizing the soul dimension, approaching the soul and aligning with the soul all occur before the first initiation is really possible.

16.              It is easy to do one of two things: either overestimate the degree of attainment necessary for the first degree or underestimate it. Some students of the Wisdom speak as if the attainment of the first degree means little if anything; they see it as an entirely preliminary stage. Other may elevate its meaning in their mind, forgetting that the initiation of the “Birth” signals commencement, and that that many lives of spiritual development necessarily intervene between the first and second degrees.

17.              The important thing to realize is that the Path of Aspiration (called by some the “Path of Probation”) must necessarily begin before the first degree can be taken.

18.              When the Path of Discipleship is discussed one must know approximately that phase of that Path which is under discussion. The Path of Discipleship is long, spanning lives which occur before the first degree and including lives just preceding the third degree. In fact, if the term “disciple” is really quite general and applies to many phases of the Great Path of Evolution. The Path of Discipleship surely does not stop at the third degree with the first solar initiation, but continues in such a way as to include Arhats, Master of the Wisdom, Chohans and even such great beings as Sanat Kumara Who is a disciple of the Solar Logos.

19.              For practical purposes, however, when the Path of Discipleship is discussed, the span of lives usually involved normally begins before the first degree and includes the life in which the third degree is taken. After that, one is well and truly on the Path of Initiation, though before that time (after the attainment of the first or second degree), one is to be considered a disciple who is a probationary initiate.

20.              The first initiation is, symbolically, a Lemurian initiation and therefore very much concerns the control of the etheric-physical initiation. In Lemuria, early man sought to achieve the domination of the physical nature by the etheric vehicle, and the first initiation is related to that process but on a much higher turn of the evolutionary spiral. At the first degree the etheric body is to be responsive to the will of the soul. It this is the case, the physical body will automatically respond.

21.              At the first degree a man proves his conquest of the major “Sins of the Flesh” and, importantly, the “lure” of those sins has departed. One can, through force of will, compel oneself not to sin in these grosser ways, but has the “lure” to do so really departed? This will be a defining psychological question, and only once the “lure” no longer captivates the consciousness will one be fit to take the first degree.

22.              We note in relation to this degree, that while obedience to the Ego (the Solar Angel) is not complete, the personality has developed a “general attitude of obedience” to it. There may be failures to obey, but the “willingness” to do so is very strong. This indicates that one values highly the perspective of the Ego and the streams of energy which emanate from it and seeks to adjust the lower self accordingly.

23.              It is interesting to see that the first degree represents a “widening of the channel” between higher and lower—i.e., between soul and personality. The “flesh” is greatly subdued and its compliance to higher intentions is almost automatic.

That all initiates measure not up to this standard may be ascribed to several things, but the note they sound should be on the side of righteousness; the recognition of their own shortcomings which they will evidence will be sincere and public, and their struggle to conform to the highest standard will be known, even though perfection may not be achieved.  Initiates may, and do, fall, and thereby incur the working of the law in punishment.  They may, and do, by this fall injure the group, and thereby incur the karma of readjustment, having to expiate the injury through later prolonged service, wherein the group members themselves, even though unconsciously, apply the law; their progress will be seriously hindered, much time being lost in which they must work out the karma with the injured units.  The very fact that a man is an initiate, and therefore the medium for force of a greatly increased kind, makes his lapses from the straight path to have more powerful effects than is the case with a less advanced man; his retribution and punishment will be equally greater.  Inevitably he must pay the price before he is allowed to proceed further upon the Way.  As for the group he injures, what should their attitude be?  A recognition of the gravity of the error, a wise acceptance of the facts in the case, a refraining from unbrotherly criticism, and a pouring out of love upon the sinning brother:—all this, coupled with such action as will make clear to the onlooking general public that such sins and infringements of the law are not condoned.  To this must be added an attitude of mind within the group concerned which will lead them (whilst taking firm action) to help the mistaken brother to see his error, to work out the retributive karma, and then to reinstate him [Page 84] in their regard and respect when due amends have been made.

24.              DK sounds a note of realism. He is well aware that not all probationary initiates measure up to the standard set, but at least they will acknowledge their shortcomings — publicly if necessary. They will struggle to conform to high standards, and their struggle will be evident. At the first degree perfection is not achieved and not to be expected. Hierarchy places great stock in a disciple’s efforts to attain that which is desirable whether or not complete achievement follows.

25.              DK discuss the “fall” of initiates. This is something reasonably common in our troubled times. When the “fall” comes, the “law” cannot be stayed and punishment comes.

26.              A probationary initiate is related to a group and such a “fall” may well injure the group. The injury will have to be expiated and, in this process, the group becomes the instrument of karmic law. This is a most uncomfortable and chastening period for the ‘sinning’ probationary initiate, but the necessary lesson is usually learned.

27.              Upon the Path we learn that we do not live unto ourselves alone. Every attainment elevates our group; every “fall” drags it down. We “know” we travel not alone! (cf. DINA I,584, Rules of the Road VI)

28.              DK speaks in terms of occult energetics. An initiate (even a probationary initiate of the first two degrees) wields energies and forces which are more intense than those utilized by the average individual. When potent forces are misdirected the repercussions are accordingly greater. We can see why it is necessary to ensure a certain standard of self-sacrificial behavior at certain stages along the Path before dowering the disciple with still more potent energies and forces. This is often the role of the testing planet, Saturn—the planet which ensures that we conform to law.

29.              There is nothing permissive about the laws which guard the Path (and simultaneously guard the one who treads that Path). Expiation of sin is required before further progress is allowed. Were this not the case, far greater damage might result. Children cannot be allowed to play with fire.

30.              We see Master DK taking a fair amount of time discussing this issue. Apparently noticeable lapses from the straight Path are encountered often enough that groups must be advised of their proper response in such cases.

31.              Much wisdom is required of the group members and the pouring forth of much love upon the ‘sinning’ brother. Above all, “unbrotherly criticism” must be avoided. Disciples have no idea how much damage they may do to each other through indulgence in criticism. Their minds are strong and, thus, their criticism has greater power to wound and even destroy. In situations such as these, a disciple (in his role of group member) proves the nature of his worthiness.

32.              It is also clear that the group to which the offending disciple belongs must “set an example” and ensure that the onlooking public realizes that the group as whole does not condone the offense. There are big lessons to be learned on the part of both the offender and the offended.

33.              One can see a mixture of second and first rays in the advice which Master DK gives to the group. Group members are to be firm, but they are to help the erring brother see his error, help him work through the retributive karma, and, when all is balanced, they are to reinstate him. According to the “Rules of the Road”, Rule II, there is “no spurning of each other”.

34.              In studying this section, we learn something about how karma is intended to work. Karma is an educative tool. Retribution is for the purpose of education, not for punishment, per se. It is the deep inner love and loyalty between group members which must abide throughout the corrective process. This must never be forgotten, or the group members will fall into the ‘sin’ of separativeness, child of the One Great Heresy—the Heresy of Separativeness.

All people do not develop exactly along the same or parallel lines, and therefore no hard or fast rules can be laid down as to the exact procedure at each initiation, or as to just what centres are to be vivified, or what vision is to he accorded.  So much depends upon the ray of the disciple, or his development in any particular direction (people do not usually develop evenly), upon his individual karma, and also upon the exigencies of any special period.  This much can be suggested, however:  At the first initiation, that of the birth of the Christ, the heart centre is the one usually vivified, with the aim in view of the more effective controlling of the astral vehicle, and the rendering of greater service to humanity.  After this initiation the initiate is taught principally the facts of the astral plane; he has to stabilise his emotional vehicle and learn to work on the astral plane with the same facility and ease as he does on the physical plane; he is brought in contact with the astral devas; he learns to control the astral elementals; he must function with facility on the lower sub-planes, and the value and quality of his work on the physical plane becomes of increased worth.  He passes, at this initiation, out of the Hall of Learning into the Hall of Wisdom.  At this time, emphasis is consistently laid on his astral development, although his mental equipment grows steadily.

35.              The Master is saying something very important here. As students of the Ageless Wisdom we would love to have the formula which would clarify the processes occurring during every stage upon the Path, rendering them identifiable and predictable. This is not to be as the number of variables is too great. There are variations in exact initiatory procedure, in the vivification of the centers and in the accordance of the vision, to name three important areas of consideration. Some generalities may hold, but one must not judge too hastily because so little is truly known by anyone beneath the rank of Master.

36.              We see how important it is to know the “ray” of a candidate for initiation; by “ray” we probably mean all the rays involved in his energy system, but especially the soul and personality rays and probably, at some deep level, the monadic ray for the right progression of the subtle fires is dependent upon that highest ray, and of that ray the Hierophant must surely be aware.

37.              It is also true that, although there is a general sequence in the development of any human being, uneven development is usually the norm, and strictly even development a rarity. That is why we find so many people advanced in certain ways and relatively undeveloped in others. This unevenness also causes much conflict within their own energy systems and in their relationship to others and the environment.

38.              Karma is also a very important factor because a man’s energy system may seem to warrant the application of certain energies and forces which would hasten his progress, but an imbalance still may exist due to the unexpiated ‘sins’ of the past. Ones debts must be paid.

39.              As well the energies and forces prominent during a particular period of history must be considered. Such energies and forces may promote or aggravate balances and imbalances within the energy system of the candidate and cannot be ignored.

40.              We see how much there is to consider and how a certain reticence in judgment about initiates and their processes may be the wisest course.

41.              One generality concerning initiatory process emerges; it is the heart centre which is usually vivified at the first initiation. This allows important work with the astral body to proceed and gives the candidate a stronger orientation towards service.

42.              The astral body is the strongest of the three personality vehicles and the most difficult to subdue. From the outset of the initiatory process, emphasis is places on its understanding and control, even though that control will not be quite fully demonstrated until taking the second degree a number of lives later.

43.              It must be said that elsewhere in the Teaching, the importance of the throat center at the first initiation is also emphasized.

44.              The initiate of the first degree is passing out of the Hall of Learning into the Hall of Wisdom. It is sometimes questioned when this passage takes place. Some suggest that it does not happen until the third degree is taken. Here the statement is unequivocal. Full wisdom is, however, certainly not achieved at this point. One can wonder when full wisdom is ever achieved. Even a Master of the Wisdom has not achieved it fully with regard to the encompassing life of the planet, although in relation to the three lower worlds, He certainly has.

45.              There is a close correspondence between entering the Hall of Wisdom, mounting the Fixed Cross and beginning to utilize the three sacrifice petals of the Egoic Lotus. These inner processes are occurring simultaneously. The first initiation is certainly a dividing point, separating a long life process dedicated to ‘lunar’ living from one that is focussed on the wisdom and love of the soul.

Many lives may intervene between the first initiation and the second.  A long period of many incarnations may elapse before the control of the astral body is perfected, and the initiate is ready for the next step.  The analogy is kept in an interesting way in the New Testament in the life of the initiate Jesus.  Many years elapsed between the Birth and the Baptism, but the remaining three steps were taken in three years.  Once the second initiation is taken [Page 85] the progress will be rapid, the third and fourth following probably in the same life, or the succeeding.

46.              The paragraph above is of great importance. We learn that “many lives” may occur between the first and second initiations. We are not told how many.

47.              The analogy from the life of Master Jesus would tell us of approximately thirty lives, for the Baptism took place in His thirtieth year. His ministry lasted three years, and He was crucified, according to the story we have, in His thirty-third year. If we, for argument’s sake, assume one life between the second and third initiation; one life between the third and fourth; and one life more from the fourth to the fifth (all these are merely convenient assumptions), then there are thirty times as many lives between year one and year thirty as there are during the intervals between initiations two and three, or three and four.

48.              Of course, we are dealing with symbolic, analogical numbers. We have been told there is no hard and fast rule to be followed in the matter of how rapidly initiation may occur. If we are to believe what is given in this paragraph (and at times it can seem shocking) we learn that it is possible to take the second, third and fourth initiation in the same life. The Tibetan as usual, means what He says, so we have to try to understand how this may be possible.

49.              The analogy from the life of the Master Jesus tells us, at the very least, that the duration between the first and second initiation is far longer than the duration between the second and the fourth.

50.              Might the period between initiations one and two be thirty lives or so? It seems a rather lengthy period. The evidence that we can gather indicates that it is possible to be in the stage of “Little Chelaship” for several lives; that perhaps two lives will suffice for the “Chela in the Light”; that “some have been on this Path of Accepted Discipleship (technically understood) for many lives.” (DINA I 12); there are some of DK’s students who have been on the Path of Accepted Discipleship for at least two or three lives. We are also told the following which relativizes the number of incarnations between initiations: “Having garnered the fruit of the experiment above indicated, there follows a certain period wherein experience in the use of the related potencies tales place.  This occupies the interlude between one initiation and another.  This may cover a period of many lives or prove relatively short.” (R&I 337) DK does not suggest that He is talking only of the interval between the first and second initiations.

We can see from the above that, certainly, there would be a minimum of perhaps seven, eight or nine lives between the first and second initiations. We derive these numbers by adding “several” (for “Little Chelaship”—several can mean perhaps four to seven lives), plus two (or probably more for “Chela in the Light”), plus two or three at least for Accepted Discipleship. In fact we have seen that the Path of Accepted Discipleship may last “many lives”.

The mathematics is inexact, and I am sure that Master DK intends for it to remain that way, as the factor of freewill enters in and negates the possibility of an invariable formula.

51.              That the duration of the stage of Accepted Discipleship varies is given in the following: “Suffice it to say, that as the term of ‘accepted disciple’ progresses (and it varies in different cases) the disciple advances ever closer to the heart of the group, and finds his own place and functional activity in that body corporate.”(LOM 271).

52.              A “Chela on the Thread” (the fourth stage of discipleship) must have been an accepted disciple for “more than one life” (DINA I 743). It can be well reasoned that a disciple cannot be “On the Thread” until the antahkarana is built (usually near or just after the second degree) even though the “thread” here mentioned is not exactly the same as the antahkarana.

53.              In gaining some estimate of the time involved between the first initiation and the second, we must remember that the stage of “Little Chelaship” will almost certainly begin before the first initiation has been taken (how many lives, we cannot know for certain), and the stage of “Accepted Discipleship” continues beyond the second degree and only is only discontinued when a man becomes a true initiate at the third degree. However, since the duration between the second and third degrees is not long (perhaps both are taken in the same life or in the next life), the fact that “Accepted Discipleship” continues after the second degree does not add too many lives to the term of this stage. It would seem that the majority of lives spent in the phase of “Accepted Discipleship” occur before the second initiation, unless the accepted disciple takes an uncharacteristically long time between the second and third.

54.              The duration between the first and second degree may be, shall we say, no less than seven and perhaps twice that many, or even more. So much depends upon the earnestness of the disciple, his karma and the opportunity of the times.

55.              It is sufficient for us to know that a very long time occurs between these two degrees and that most of the disciples one is likely to encounter will be focussed somewhere between these two degrees. This was the case for the DINA Disciples, who, we may reasonably judge, were not all that different from other disciples in the modern world. Perhaps, if anything, they were a little more advanced than the average as DK singled them out for special instruction. The majority of them faced the second initiation, and not necessarily imminently so.

56.              What we may gather from all this reasoning is that very much of the time equation is “in our hands”. There are great differences in the relative ‘evolutionary speed’ of various disciples. The cause of these differences lies very much within themselves. It is important for us to realize that, at the present moment, very rapid progress is possible because the world is so much in need of selfless servers, and the Hierarchy so much needs assistance.

57.              Today many disciples choose to forego their inter-incarnational ‘rest’ in devachan. One can imagine that those who repeatedly return to incarnation rapidly, will make more rapid progress.

58.              With regard to the second, third and fourth initiations, it would seem that the likely duration of their fulfillment is one life or perhaps two. Elsewhere, reasons are given for the possibility (in special circumstances) of a greater number of lives intervening between these initiations.

The second initiation forms the crisis in the control of the astral body.  Just as, at the first initiation, the control of the dense physical has been demonstrated, so here the control of the astral is similarly demonstrated.  The sacrifice and death of desire has been the goal of endeavour.  Desire itself has been dominated by the Ego, and only that is longed for which is for the good of the whole, and in the line of the will of the Ego, and of the Master.  The astral elemental is controlled, the emotional body becomes pure and limpid, and the lower nature is rapidly dying.  At this time the Ego grips afresh the two lower vehicles and bends them to his will.  The aspiration and longing to serve, love, and progress become so strong that rapid development is usually to be seen.  This accounts for the fact that this initiation and the third, frequently (though not invariably) follow each other in one single life.  At this period of the world's history such stimulus has been given to evolution that aspiring souls—sensing the dire and crying need of humanity—are sacrificing all in order to meet that need.

59.              Initiation necessarily involves the themes of crisis and control. Through the initiation process, opportunity is given to face crisis and demonstrate control. One should realize firmly the importance of the Saturnian virtue of control as a necessity for all spiritual progress.

60.              To control the physical or astral elementals means that one cannot be “carried away” by them, overpowered or overcome by them. They are not in control; the disciple is.

61.              The goal of the second initiation is the “sacrifice and death of desire”. Desire, per se, can, in a way, never be overcome, because it is a universal principle, even for the Greatest Lives. But low desire can be sacrificed, dominated and put to death.

62.              For the one successfully passing the second degree, desires are made to serve the higher intentions which are Egoically impulsed.

63.              The normal turbulence of the astral body subsides; the astral elemental is controlled, and the condition of the astral body becomes “pure and limpid”. A great tranquilizing and clarification ensured.

64.              The will is very important at the second degree, and, accordingly, the planet Vulcan is involved, dominating to a significant degree, the tendencies of Mars.

65.              When we are told that the “Ego grips afresh the two lower vehicles and bends them to his will” the language is suggestive of Vulcanian dynamics.

66.              The second degree sees the relative “death of selfishness” (a Marian liability); spiritual will begins to replace personality desire.

67.              It is important to realize that although the astral body becomes “pure and limpid”, there is still very great aspiration and longing in the astral body, but it is the aspiration and longing to “serve, love and progress”. The astral body in such cases is not reactive but can be intensely focussed and can prove a galvanic factor in motivating and driving the disciple who is a probationary initiate of the second degree.

68.              DK offers now a slightly different perspective on the timing of the initiations under discussion. About a paragraph ago, He said that once the second initiation was taken, the third and fourth would “probably” follow in the same life or the succeeding. In the present reference (in the paragraph under commentary) He does not discuss the fourth degree and states that “this initiation [the second] and the third, frequently (though not invariably) follow each other in one single life.” The possibility of the second and third occurring in the same life is not here discussed (nor is the fourth mentioned).

69.              We should analyze the words “frequently” and “probably”. Even though the second and third (along with the fourth) will “probably” be taken in the same life or the succeeding life, the second and the third are “frequently” sequential—one life apart.

70.              We cannot become more exact that this; we realize that the really slow period on the Path of Initiation is between the first and second degrees. Once the second degree is reached, progress is really rapid. The higher degrees (third and fourth) may come in the same life, or in the next, and sometimes it may take a bit longer (or the phrase, “though not invariably” would not have been used). The process of taking the third and fourth degrees (once the second has been taken) is, relatively, a speedy one.

71.              The main determiner of the time equation is the willingness of the disciple to sacrifice the personality for the sake of the soul and its higher purposes. Let each of us assess our “will-to-sacrifice”, for the firmness and intensity of this type of will (the “Will-to-Sacrifice”), will determine for us the duration of the Path of Initiation.

72.              Today’s times are unique. As the Tibetan says: “at this period of the world's history such stimulus has been given to evolution that aspiring souls—sensing the dire and crying need of humanity—are sacrificing all in order to meet that need.” Let us note the word “all”—sacrificing all. The ability to do so truly “separates the sheep from the goats”. The “goats” are the true initiates.

Again, we must not make the mistake of thinking that all this follows in the same invariable consecutive steps and stages.  Much is done in simultaneous unison, for the labour to control is slow and hard, but in the interim between the first three initiations some definite point in the evolution of each of the three lower vehicles has to be attained and held, before the further expansion of the channel can be safely permitted.  Many of us are working on all the three bodies now, as we tread the Probationary Path.

73.              The Tibetan, well understanding the tendency of the concrete mind to look for rigid, invariable formulas, cautions us to remain flexible in our conception of the initiation processes. The concrete mind thinks in terms of sequence (under Saturn) and not so much in relation to “simultaneous unison” (under Uranus).

74.              It is our experience, is it not, that we are working on “all three bodies” simultaneously? As we move into the locus of any particular initiation, the major share of attention may be given to the body which must be subdued at that initiation, but all three bodies continue to require further refining, until at last the time comes when fully one hundred percent of the atoms in each personality vehicle are atoms from the atomic subplane of the plane on which that vehicle is focussed. At the fourth initiation (we are told) this occurs.

75.              We see that the process of stimulation and expansion is definitely regulated by the “powers that be”. Only when “some definite point in the evolution of each of the three lower vehicles has been attained and held” can further expansion of the channel…be safely permitted”. The Masters will not condone the simulation of any vehicle which has not been controlled within certain limits; it would not be safe to do so, and would, in fact, retard rather than hasten the disciple’s progress.

76.              We also note that attainment of a given level of achievement is not sufficient; that level must also be held. Nothing is left to chance. There are, perhaps, certain risks that are considered ‘acceptable’, but beyond these the hierarchical supervisors will not go.

77.              We note the Tibetan’s state of identification with His students. He speaks as if He includes Himself among those who are treading the Probationary Path. Indeed, a Master is, in a way, participating in all our struggles. He ‘feels into’ us and is ‘present’ as if He were we ourselves.

At this initiation, should the ordinary course be followed, (which again is not at all certain) the throat centre is vivified.  This causes a capacity to turn to account in the Master's service, and for the helping of man, the attainments [Page 86] of the lower mind.  It imparts the ability to give forth and utter that which is helpful, possibly in the spoken word, but surely in service of some kind.  A vision is accorded of the world's need, and a further portion of the plan shown.  The work, then, to be done prior to the taking of the third initiation, is the complete submerging of the personal point of view in the need of the whole.  It entails the complete domination of the concrete mind by the Ego.

78.              How cautious the Tibetan is! He speaks of the following of the “ordinary course”, but alerts us to the presence of uncertainty. Each individual is unique and has a measure of free will; there is no telling exactly how the process will proceed.

79.              We learned that the heart center was the primary focus of vivification at the first degree, although stimulation to the throat center should not be overlooked, because the elevation of the sacral energy to the throat is a great theme of the first initiation.

80.              At the second degree, it is the throat center which is ordinarily stimulated, but, again, the heart center should not be overlooked, because important changes in the astral body are to occur as the solar plexus energy is elevated to the heart. We can see, then, that heart and throat stimulation are a feature of both these initiations—the first and the second.

81.              The second initiation is, in a way, a mental initiation, although the emphasis is usually placed upon the control of the astral body. Of course, such astral control, if it is to be successful, requires a degree of mental focus. At the second degree the disciple demonstrates an “illumined mind” and “spiritual intelligence” (cf. DINA II 267). We can see the overlapping in these initiation processes can we not? Even though the first degree focussed much on the achievement of physical disciplines the heart was stimulated so that astral control could be gradually instituted. The second degree has for its major theme emotional control, but the lower mind is also the focus. Illumination and spiritual intelligence are both required in preparation for the third degree, which could occur in the very same life in which the second degree is taken, or the next. Each initiation endows the disciple with a sufficient specific stimulation to begin the curriculum which will lead to the taking of the next initiation.

82.              At the second degree then, the intelligence operating through the throat center is “turned to account in the Master’s service” and “for the helping of man”.

83.              The throat center is related to the ability to speak serviceably, and if not to speak, at least to serve. The activity aspect of divinity is involved, and the disciple can intelligently plan the manner in which he will cooperate with the Great Ones on behalf of humanity. It is significant that the third Law of the Soul is the Law of Service. The third ray is always related to activity, whether through the throat center and in the realm of thought or simply upon the physical plane.

84.              Through the agency of the throat center thoughts are formed. This formation must, of course, be guided by the heart which has been strengthened through meditation and through the processes of initiation. A throat center which serves the Plan is under the influence of the heart center (which is directly connected to the soul).

85.              The numbers three and six are related. Six, related to Sagittarius, is a number of vision. The third ray works through the throat center which is stimulated at this second initiation, at which period the disciple is often under the sway of the sixth ray. Two threes are six. We can see how these two rays (three and six) are related and why they are especially so at the second degree, and (could we but grasp it) again at the sixth.

86.              Vision comes especially through the ajna center; intelligent planning through the throat center. At the second degree an alliance between these two centers begins, which is culminated, relatively, at the third degree with its pointed ajna center focus.

87.              We are given important information on the work to be done between the second and third initiations: “the complete submerging of the personal point of view in the need of the whole”. This is a very great discipline, because much that might come from the causal body and express through the personality (and which can, therefore, be considered “personal” in an elevated sense) is certainly of value. Yet are such tendencies necessarily correlated with the “need of the whole”?

88.              We can see that impersonality is a great and necessary achievement between the second and third degrees. The antahkarana is the instrument leading to a developing impersonality because the realm of the spiritual triad (to which the antahkarana leads) is impersonal—i.e., the directives emanating from it are not based upon the contents of the causal body.

89.              We have frequently heard that the concrete mind is to be dominated by the Ego at the third degree. What does this really mean? Certainly, at least, that the thoughtforms created by the concrete mind are promotive of Egoic intent. They are lighted thoughtforms which do not obstruct the Plan, but rather serve as vehicles for its fulfillment.

90.              At the level of the third degree, the lower mind does not create desultory thoughtforms, idle thoughtforms. It functions under the impress of purpose. Thought is considered a potency to be dedicated to the “good of all the furtherance of the Plan of God”. The mental ray is subservient to the Egoic ray, which, let us remember, is a kind of ‘higher mental ray’ (for the Egoic Lotus in focussed on the higher mental subplanes). The disciple knows how to hold the mind steady in the light and to created thoughtforms enriched by the Ego and fertilized by the intuition. The major illusion-creating tendencies of the concrete mind are overcome.

The succeeding two initiations.

After the second initiation the teaching shifts up a plane.  The initiate learns to control his mental vehicle; he develops the capacity to manipulate thought matter, and learns the laws of creative thought building.  He functions freely on the four lower sub-planes of the mental plane, and before the third initiation he must,—consciously or unconsciously,— be complete master of the four lower sub-planes in the three planes of the three worlds.  His knowledge of the microcosm becomes profound, and he has mastered theoretically and practically, in great measure, the laws of his own nature, hence his ability experimentally to be master on the four lower sub-planes of the physical, astral, and mental planes.  The last fact is of interest.  The control of the three higher sub-planes is not yet complete, and here is one of the explanations as to the failures and mistakes of initiates.  Their mastery of matter in the three higher sub-planes is not yet perfect; these yet remain to be dominated.

91.              DK describes the technical work which follows the second degree and which anticipates the third. This work following the second degree occurs upon the mental plane rather than focussing prominently upon the astral.

92.              The mental vehicle is to be controlled, thought matter is to be manipulated and certain laws are to be learned—the laws of creative thought-building.

93.              Thought is to be held in focus; the thoughtform making tendency is to be subdued except when willed. Thought matter is to be intelligently arranged and rearranged. (The arrangement and rearrangement of words in the process of writing is part of this process.) And, also, the white magical process is to be applied to the mind.

94.              The mastery of the four lower subplanes of the mental plane (the concrete mental realm) may not be a process of long duration, for perhaps only a life or two lies between the second and third initiation. By the time the third degree is taken there must be mastery of these four lower subplanes. Interestingly, the mastery may be either conscious or unconscious. There are many, it would seem who have mastered these subplanes but do not yet know they have done so. They may not even know that there are such things as subplanes (for the language of technical occultism is not part of every disciple’s vocabulary), but their control of and creativity through the lower mind is considerable.

95.              Before the third degree is achieved, the number four becomes very important. It is a number associated with man as microcosm, and with the personality principle whose number of four—the three lunar vehicles and the personality as the fourth and inclusive lunar vehicle.

96.              The third degree, therefore, signals a kind of ‘microcosmic mastery’. Four subplanes on each of the three planes of the personality are mastered. These are the subplanes most responsive to the personality. The three higher subplanes of the lower three systemic planets (physical, emotional and mental) remain unmastered. They are the subplanes responsive to the Ego/Solar Angel and later, to the spiritual triad. It would seem that the fourth subplane, the central subplane, is pivotal, and that on that subplane (on each of the three planes of personality) a battle between soul/Ego and personality rages.

97.              “Failures and mistakes” of initiates have to do, we are told, with their inadequate mastery of the three higher subplanes. The soul is called the “Triangle” and the spiritual triad is obviously symbolically triangular. The higher vision and impulses are incompletely available to such incompletely developed initiates. We can see how important it must be to build the antahkarana and thus have access to the higher triad. The Divine Plan will then be guiding the initiate’s life, and such failure and mistakes will not occur so frequently.

At the third initiation, termed sometimes the Transfiguration, the entire personality is flooded with light from above.  It is only after this initiation that the Monad is definitely guiding the Ego, pouring His divine life ever more into the prepared and cleansed channel, just as in the third, or Moon Chain, the Ego individualised the personality [Page 87] through direct contact, a method different to the individualisation as shown in this fourth chain.  The law of correspondences, if applied here, might prove very revealing, and might demonstrate an interesting analogy between the methods of individualising in the various chains, and the expansions of consciousness that occur at the different initiations.

98.              The light conferred at the third initiation is relatively intense. Venus, the planet of light, and the brightest planet visible (from Earth) with the naked eye, is strongly involved at this initiation, ruling as it does the ajna center.

99.              The term “Transfiguration” suggests a moving beyond form and figure. It suggests the entering of the arupa or formless levels of reality.

100.          It is interesting and important to consider that the monad guides the Ego only after the third initiation. What may this guidance confer? Surely a sense of planetary Purpose and a realization of the fact of being.

101.          We are told that in the Moon-chain the Ego individualized the personality through “direct contact”. What, in this context, is the meaning of “Ego”? It probably does not mean the “Solar Angel” or “Agnishvatta”, as on that chain the Solar Angels did not intervene in the individualization process (through in various areas of the Teaching to indicate that they may not have been entirely absent, at last as observers). In this context of the paragraph under discussion, it is likely that Ego means “spiritual triad” or “higher triad”, which as a representative of the monad, carried forward the individualization process. There was also a reciprocal ‘upward reaching’ of the animal mental nature towards that point of self-reflectivity which is characteristic of the individualized consciousness.

102.          The expansion of consciousness which occurs at the third initiation seems to be monadically impulsed. The Solar Angel is involved, but is beginning to ‘give way’ to the Presence which it has been ‘hiding’. Expansions of consciousness prior to that point are ‘Egoically-impulsed’. The monad in such cases is a but a latent Presence, well “behind the scenes”.

103.          In various parts of the Teaching, there are discussions of the placement (during the actual ceremony of initiation) of the particular participants in the initiation process. The Solar Angel is a participant in such processes and according to its ‘position’, much about the nature and purpose of its participation can be understood. The ‘position’ of the Christ also varies, especially once the third initiation is reached. The book The Rays and the Initiations should be researched for this information.

“In the earlier two initiations, the Angel of the Presence stood between the disciple-candidate and the Presence.  At the later initiations, the Angel of the Presence is the Christ Himself, one with the soul of the candidate (the individual Angel of the Presence).  Through the heart of Christ passes the dynamic power of the One Initiator, as a stream of light, stepped down or toned down by the Christ in order that the candidate can appropriate its potency without risk or danger.” (R&I 176)

A close contemplation of these words will suggest the presence of deep mysteries.

104.          A hint seems to be given—that individualization can occur on various chains. In relation to the Earth Scheme, we have been taught that individualization occurred in both the third and fourth chains (the Moon-chain and the Earth-chain). It may be that it can occur in other chains of the same scheme. The number of the chain may conceal the method of individualization. Within the fourth chain, we know that the Solar Angels have been intimately involved, but apparently not within the third chain, and perhaps not within the fifth chain which awaits Logoic emphasis. The speculations necessary would take us into the world of the macrocosm.

105.          We do understand this, however—that monadically-induced expansions of consciousness begin at the third degree. At that time, the man becomes more Self-reliant. After the fourth initiation, expansions must be entirely impulsed by the monad (as the One Initiator works through that monad), because the Solar Angel has returned to one of its sources (the “Heart of the Sun”, we are told).

106.          Perhaps, even-numbered chains require a bridging presence to bring about individualization. Perhaps odd-numbered chains do not. In occultism (and especially Pythagorean occultism) there is a significant difference between odd and even numbers. Odd numbers relate more to the Self, per se, and even numbers to the not Self and, thus, to the possible intervention of beings (like Solar Angels) who are not the human, monadic Self (though the Angels, too, ‘have’ a monad).

Again, a vision is accorded of what lies ahead; the initiate is in a position at all times to recognise the other members of the Great White Lodge, and his psychic faculties are stimulated by the vivification of the head centres.  It is not necessary nor advisable to develop the synthetic faculties, or clairaudience and clairvoyance, until after this initiation.  The aim of all development is the awakening of the spiritual intuition; when this has been done, when the physical body is pure, the astral stable and steady, and the mental body controlled, then the initiate can safely wield and wisely use the psychic faculties for the helping of the race.  Not only can he use these faculties, but he is able now to create and vivify thoughtforms that are clear and well-defined, pulsating with the spirit of service and not controlled by lower mind or desire.  These thoughtforms will not be (as is the case with those created by the mass of men) disjointed, unconnected, and uncorrelated, but will attain a fair measure of synthesis.  Hard and ceaseless must the work be before this can be done, but when the desire nature has been stabilised and purified, then the control of the mind-body comes more easily.  Hence the path of the devotee is easier in some ways than that of the intellectual man, for he has learnt the measures of purified desire, and progresses by the requisite stages.

107.          At each initiation a vision is accorded. We are now speaking of the vision accorded at the third degree. At this degree one has, in a significant sense, entered the ranks of Hierarchy and so “is in a position at all times to recognise the other members of the Great While Lodge”. We remember the old saying, “It takes on to know one.”

108.          This is the time for true psychism to arise—a psychism dependent upon the stimulation of the head centers and not upon the activation of lower centers.

109.          Three types of faculties are mentioned: “synthetic faculties” and “clairaudience and clairvoyance”. What are the “synthetic faculties”? While not being entirely specific, we might say that synthetic faculties confer unitive perception and allow wholes to register upon conscious as realities. Before that time, consciousness is most often confined to a perception of parts.

110.          As for clairaudience and clairvoyance, they are of the higher kind and not those commonly found in the animal kingdom, though Masters must be capable of using ever lower faculties.

111.          The third degree sees the onset of “intuitive instinct” and, further, as here described, of “spiritual intuition”. This development suggests the involvement of the buddhic plane.

112.          Before psychic faculties can be safely wielded and wisely employed for the helping of the race, all three aspects of the personality must be transformed—the etheric physical body rendered pure, the emotional body stabilized, and the mental body controlled. We can see why it is neither advisable nor necessary to awaken the psychic faculties before the third degree—because the necessary transformation will not have taken place before that point, and the greater light which renders these psychic faculties accurate will not yet have been sufficiently accessed. Without the necessary transmutation, transformation and transfiguration of the lunar vehicles, the testimony of the psychic senses is subject to distortion.

113.          The third degree signals the point of development at which service through thoughtform building can begin in earnest. Before that point disciples may build useful thoughtforms and render them into word, but the power to work with thoughtforms on the mental plane itself is not sufficiently advanced to render this type of service really effective.

114.          Can we create thoughtforms that are “clear, well-defined”, and which pulsate “with the spirit of service”? The task is harder than it seems. We can rather easily demonstrate to ourselves whether we have sufficient control over the lower mind to do so. It should prove a humbling experiment.

115.          The control of the mind is directly related to achieving success in the earlier stage of stabilizing and purifying the astral body. The astral body is the most powerful of our three lunar vehicles, and the one most likely, we are told (and often experience), to be out of alignment with soul presence and intention.

116.          DK does not underestimate the kind of work which must go into the purification and stabilization of the astral body. Hard and ceaseless work is required. No mere aspirant will expend the necessary energy because, to do so, one must often go against the feelings—and aspirants are most often ruled by their feelings.

117.          Then, something very interesting is said—that the devotee often has an easier time progressing than the intellectual man because the devotee has learned to purify his desire nature. This should give us pause. Many of us are no longer devotees, per se, and may, in fact, be of a somewhat intellectual persuasion. Have we purified our desire nature sufficiently to enlist its help in the control of the mind-body? The mind, per se, may be a great trap and lead to no rapid progress unless preliminary stages have been properly handled. In asking the pertinent questions about purification, much will come up for examination.

The personality has now reached a point where its vibrations are of a very high order, the matter in all three bodies relatively pure, and its apprehension of the work to be done in the microcosm, and the share to be taken in the [Page 88] work of the macrocosm is very advanced.  It is apparent, therefore, why it is only at the third initiation that the great Hierophant, the Lord of the World, Himself officiates.  It is the first at which He contacts the initiate.  Earlier it would not be possible.  For the first two initiations the Hierophant is the Christ, the World-Teacher, the Firstborn among many brethren, one of the earliest of our humanity to take initiation.

118.          The personality of the third degree initiate is advanced. It is a purified, empowered and useful instrument.

119.          We learn that for the third degree initiate the matter of the three bodies is “relatively pure”—though not completely so. Only seventy-five percent of the matter of the vehicles is atomic subplane matter.

120.          Nevertheless, the progress is considerable. There is at this point a great understanding of the work to be done in the microcosm (the individual energy system) and also a considerable understanding of the share to be taken in the work for the macrocosm (in this case, the larger planetary whole).

121.          A certain amount of macrocosmic understanding is required of the initiate before the Lord of the World can become the Hierophant. Consciousness has been sufficiently “planetarized” for the initiate to approach world problems in a relatively selfless way. If the ‘Lord of the Planet, i.e., the World’ is to officiate at initiation, the candidate must be thinking and acting practically in terms of Planetary Plan and Purpose.

122.          We are told that before the third degree the Lord of the World could not contact the prospective initiate. Why not? Probably for a number of reasons. The intensity of vibration in the face of relative impurity is one reason. Such contact would surely bring unnecessary destruction.

123.          Also, the Lord of the World, as a direct disciple of the Solar Logos, is a solar being. The third initiation is the first solar initiation and so the correspondence is fitting. The solar factor within man is not sufficiently awakened before the third degree to benefit from contact with the Lord of the World.

124.          And, of course, there is the question of will. Sanat Kumara represents Shamballa, the “Centre where the Will of God is known”. At the third degree the candidate has his first really conscious contact with the monad, and Sanat Kumara can avail Himself of this contact and promote it. At the first two initiations, the initiations of the threshold, the love aspect, in general, was under stimulation. For this stimulation the Christ is the appropriate Hierophant. When it comes time to stimulated the will and align it with Planetary Purpose, the Hierophant must be Sanat Kumara, Who, for our planet, as ‘Head of Shamballa’ is the ‘Lord of Will’.

125.          The Christ belongs to “our humanity” which means the humanity of the Earth-chain. He is called the “Firstborn among many brethren” which means that He was born into higher consciousness before any/most? Earth-chain humanity were so born, and well before the ‘birth’ of many members of Moon-chain humanity who had been ‘exported’ to the Earth-chain.

126.          The Christ is said to be “one of the earliest of our humanity to take initiation”. What does the Tibetan mean by “our humanity”?  Probably, He means the humanity of the Earth-chain, the fourth chain of the fourth scheme. Were there other members of Earth-chain humanity who took initiation at more or less the same period as the Christ? Perhaps there were, but even if there were, the Christ’s progress totally outstripped all other members of Earth-chain humanity.

127.          The Christ’s progress was so rapid that He has left even the majority of the much older Moon-chain humanity behind as well. The Buddha, we are told, is slightly ahead of Him on the Path, but only slightly, having effectively achieved the status of the third degree on the Moon-chain (though not receiving that initiation in that earlier system of worlds, as it could not be conferred under ‘lunar circumstances’).

128.          The Christ is an amazing being. The very familiarity of His name often prevents us from realizing the mystery and power which surround Him. If all members of our Planetary Hierarchy bend the knee to the Christ, it must be for good reason!

Browning brings out this thought most beautifully in the words found in his poem "Saul":—
..........  It shall be
A face like my face that receives thee; a Man like to me,
Thou shalt love and be loved by, forever;
A Hand like this hand
Shall throw open the gates of new life to thee!
See the Christ stand!

129.          A wonderful fragment of a wonderful poem is here presented. The poet Robert Browning has earned the reputation of an initiate, and one significant spiritual teacher refers to him as the “Master, Robert Browning”.

130.          The poem, “Saul” deals with the transformation of “Saul of Tarsus” into St. Paul.

131.          The words are so beautiful, that I would suggest we memorize them and repeat them to ourselves, in order better to attune with the Christ and His extraordinary energy.

132.          The humanity of the Christ is emphasized in this fragment, but His divinity as well. The Christ as the bestower of “abundant life” is also presented.

133.          The last line, “See the Christ stand!” suggests a blending of will and love, and the fact that the Christ (standing in spiritual being) is a member of Shamballa.

But when the initiate has made still further progress, and has taken two initiations, a change comes.  The Lord of the World, the Ancient of Days, the ineffable Ruler Himself administers the third initiation.  Why has this become possible?  Because now the fully consecrated physical body can safely bear the vibrations of the two other bodies when they return to its shelter from the Presence of the KING; because now the purified astral and controlled mental can safely stand before that KING.  When purified and controlled they stand and for the first time consciously vibrate to the Ray of the Monad, then with prepared bodies can the ability to see and hear on all the planes be granted and achieved, and the faculty of reading and comprehending the records be safely employed, for with fuller knowledge comes added power.  The heart is now sufficiently pure and loving, and the intellect sufficiently stable to stand the strain of knowing.

134.          DK continues with His elaboration of the third initiation.

135.          Great and beautiful names are given for the Lord of the World. He is the “Ancient of Days”, having presided over the development of Earth-humanity almost since its inception (and, in fact, He was probably very aware of its inception, occurring some three million years before Shamballa and Hierarchy were established on our globe).

136.          He is also called “the Ineffable Ruler”. Ineffability is inexpressibility. His being is so extraordinary that it lies beyond the power of both human understanding and human expression. The effable is the inexpressible.

137.          The power wielded by the Lord of the World (though necessarily vastly reduced as it is directed towards the candidate for the third initiation via the “Flaming Diamond” Rod of Power) is tremendous beyond our possibility of conception. All our work at purification of any of the three personality vehicles is intended to help us stand the strain of the greatly intensified energies we must carry as a result of passing through the initiation process which involves Sanat Kumara as the Hierophant.

138.          The etheric-physical body would be shattered with by the intensified vibrations of the returning astral and mental bodies should it be insufficiently pure.

139.          We are told that the astral and mental bodies are to “stand before the KING”. This is true to some extent, but as the first three initiations are taken within the causal body, we need a special way of understanding that the astral and mental bodies (which are ‘external’ to the causal body) stand before the KING.

140.          We might say that due to the initiatory process (deeply subjective, and occurring often at night while the candidate is ‘asleep’) the astral and mental bodies become vibratorily charged in a most intense manner—regardless of whether these bodies, per se, have stood before the KING or whether the candidate has stood before the KING in his causal body in such a manner that the causal body directly communicated the stimulation it receives to the astral and mental bodies.

141.          Suffice it to say that at the hour of awakening, the ‘returning’ astral and mental bodies (returning to the physical body) would be so charged with spiritual energies, that the physical body could not stand the strain unless it had attained a necessary degree of purity.

142.          It is interesting to see that through this process of the third degree, the astral and mental bodies vibrate to the ray of the monad for the first time. The monad is the source, for microcosmic purpose, of the “Greatest Light”. Thus the faculties of consciousness are greatly augmented by this contact. The psychic faculties are directly stimulated by the monad (considered as the “All-seeing Eye”).

143.          It is suggested that the faculty of reading the records (presumably the akashic records) is conferred at this degree. The number three of the third initiation corresponds to the quality of the third ray which makes its exponents great historians. The historical record of the past, correspondingly, stands clear—at least the microcosmic past, and perhaps some of the planetary past.

144.          It is interesting that it is not safe to read this record before the third degree has been attained. It can be assumed that there are many errors, distortions and imaginings in the apparent ‘readings’ of those who have not attained this degree.

145.          DK suggest us why it is a danger to attempt to read prematurely by telling us why such reading is possible and permissible at the third degree: “The heart is now sufficiently pure and loving, and the intellect sufficiently stable to stand the strain of knowing.”

146.          We are popularly told that “ignorance is bliss”. There are many things in the microcosmic record which would cause shock, distress and perhaps paralysis, unless the consciousness contemplating them were sufficiently mature—mature in love and in intellectual capacity. Knowing the horrors of the past would impose a tremendous strain upon the unprepared consciousness. This is why the  “River of Forgetfulness—“Lethe” exists—to keep the premature registration of the past from the destroying the possibilities of the present.

147.          When the Hierarchy views humanity’s progress (or lack of it) it is said to be for Them an “exquisite agony”. This agony relates to the “strain of knowing”. The ignorance or blindness imposed by the soul upon the forward-straining consciousness of its personality is a great protective mechanism. But by the time the initiate is ready to stand before the monad and the One Initiator, much of this protection can be relinquished in favor of access to greater light. With the onset of monadically-induced revelation, new responsibilities will dawn and new realizations concerning why things are as they are.

148.          It seems that we all must prepare diligently for the knowing which is conferred at the Transfiguration.

149.          When one is identified with and as the spirit/monad, one knows that all that is witnessed as having occurred in the three lower worlds is, essentially, phantasmagoria. It is unreal. It may be beautiful or distressing in the extreme, but it is fundamentally unreal.  One sees that all are on their way to fulfillment and that the soul of things is good. This stability in spirit allows one to witness the past with loving objectivity, assured of the coming Good. One does not take the scenes revealed personally, but sees them all as part of a great, impersonal evolutionary process. Only from such a spiritual vantage point is the revelation of the past (brought by monadic contact) bearable.

Before the fourth initiation can be taken, the work of [Page 89] training is intensified, and the hastening and accumulation of knowledge has to be unbelievably rapid.  The initiate has frequent access to the library of occult books, and after this initiation he can contact not only the Master with Whom he is linked and with Whom he has worked consciously for a long time, but he can contact and assist (in measure) the Chohans, the Bodhisattva, and the Manu.

150.          The Tibetan is now speaking of the interval between the third and fourth initiations. The occult training is greatly intensified. There is an unbelievably rapid hastening and accumulation of knowledge. This is the period in which the three synthesis petals, the three most inward petals of the Egoic Lotus, are rapidly unfolding. Accordingly, the initiate experiences a synthesis of knowledge (here discussed), a synthesis of love, and a synthesis of will (which may mean a profound acquiescence of the initiate to the Planetary Purpose of Santa Kumara—to the degree that he can conceive this Purpose).

151.          The road, we are told, “winds uphill all the way”; probably few of us can conceive the degree of intensity and required speed to which the third degree initiate is subjected as he approaches the possibility of the fourth degree. We can see why Mercury is involved in the process, for Mercury is the ‘God of Speed’. The speed of all internal processes is greatly increased. Saturn, too, is involved (cf. EA 71), for the disciplining must be formidable.

152.          The description above seems to be written from the perspective of the second ray type, or perhaps the third or fifth. If one is a scholar by bent, the possibility of having “frequent access to the library of occult books” will seem irresistible. One could wonder if first, fourth and sixth ray types would find themselves so often in such libraries.

153.          After ‘taking’ the third degree, the initiate is surely a “Chela within the Aura” and can contact his Master directly and at will. His contacts can even extend to far greater lives Whom he is now able to somewhat assist—Chohans, the Bodhisattva and the Manu.

154.          We can see how extraordinarily the life widens after the third degree. This degree introduces us to an entirely different scope of experience.

155.          If one has read “Light in the Sanctuary”—the journal of Geoffrey Hodson, perhaps one will recognize an initiate of the third degree along the second and first ray lines. The kinds of contacts here mentioned are alluded to by Hodson—an honest man not given to exaggeration.

156.          So, two of the major watchwords for this stage of initiatory development are intensification and speed.

He has also to grasp the laws of the three lower planes intellectually, and likewise wield them for the aiding of the scheme of evolution.  He studies the cosmic plans and has to master the charts; he becomes versed in occult technicalities and develops fourth dimensional vision, if he has not already done so.  He learns to direct the activities of the building devas, and at the same time, he works continually at the development of his spiritual nature.  He begins rapidly to co-ordinate the buddhic vehicle, and in its co-ordination he develops the power of synthesis, at first in small measure, and gradually in fuller detail.

157.          The third initiation naturally correlates to the number, three, and so, correspondentially, the laws of the three lower planes are grasped by the third degree initiate.

158.          We can see that the third degree initiate is beginning to be capable of aiding the process of evolution. His usefulness is becoming more macrocosmic; he is relating to the Planetary Divine Plan in new ways.

159.          His studies expand greatly, including cosmic plans revealed by charts and filled with occult technicalities. That he develops “fourth dimensional vision” is appropriate given his approaching application to the fourth degree.

160.          It is interesting and important that, although the way of initiation is the way of simplification, a mastery of many occult technicalities is expected even as simplification and synthesis occur. The higher the initiate, the greater his ability to ‘contain the opposites’.

161.          The third degree initiate is a builder. The constructive solar factor is awakened within him and he can direct the building devas according to his understanding of the Plan.

162.          The necessary coordination of the buddhic vehicle relates to the curriculum of the fourth degree, for the fourth plane (correlated with the fourth degree) is the buddhic plane. The heart, stimulated in a new way at the fourth degree (cf. R&I 340), is the fourth chakra and is especially related to the expression of buddhic energy.

163.          One of the planets involved here as the initiate prepares for the fourth degree is Neptune, ruler of the buddhic plane, related to the heart as the planet of the “solar flames”, and associated with sacrifice and relinquishment so needed as the fourth degree becomes a possibility.

164.          Buddhi is also related to synthesis—synthesis in love, i.e., synthesis in its second aspect. The second synthesis petal of the Egoic Lotus is tremendously emphasized as the fourth degree is approached. The heart and mind that are “in Christ” begin to flourish in the initiate as he prepares to undertake his own tiny version of the Great Sacrifice. We remember that Pisces is the sign associated with Sanat Kumara in His role as “The Great Sacrifice”, and Neptune is, in a way, the deepest planetary ruler of Pisces (thought it is not listed as the exoteric, esoteric or hierarchical ruler).

165.          All this derives from the statement that “No man begins to coordinate the buddhic vehicle until he comes under the influence of Neptune.... When this happens, his personality horoscope will show this influence as dominant.” (TCF 899). When this reference is put together with the present one, that between the third and fourth initiation the initiate “begins rapidly to coordinate the buddhic vehicle”, we have an important indication of the role of Neptune at this advanced stage of evolution.

166.          Synthesis suggests homogeneity, but also the assemblage of great detail. The three “synthesizing planets” (Saturn, Neptune and Uranus) are all necessary if the three aspects of synthesis are to be achieved. These three planets can reasonably be conceived as ruling the three synthesizing petals of the Egoic Lotus which unfold so rapidly during the period intervening between the third and fourth initiations.

By the time the fourth initiation is taken the initiate has mastered perfectly the fifth sub-plane, and is therefore adept,—to use a technical phrase,—on the five lower subplanes of the physical, astral, and mental planes, and is well on the way to master the sixth.  His buddhic vehicle can function on the two lower sub-planes of the buddhic plane.

167.          Is the fourth degree initiate an “Arhat” or an “Adept”? The use in this paragraph of the word “adept” might lead us to call such an initiate a true Adept, but this is not, I think, the correct interpretation.

168.          The initiation concerned (i.e., the fourth) is numerically one step below the number of subplanes mastered. We are told here that the fourth initiation correlates with the mastery of five subplanes. Does this mean that the third initiation correlates with the mastery of four subplanes (IHS 86) and the second (as an initiation of the threshold) with the mastery of three?

169.          The super-etheric plane (i.e., the third subplane of the etheric physical plane, counting downwards) is still considered an exoteric ether. The number five correlates with the Brahma aspect, but the number six relates to Vishnu. It seems that the fourth degree initiate is poised between these two aspects, and that the Master of the Wisdom, as complete Master of the microcosmic Brahmic aspect, is quite thoroughly established in the Vishnu aspect, though not entirely released from supervision of the Brahmic aspect.

170.          Again, we see that it is dangerous to proceed solely on the basis of ‘numerological certainty’ as the facts of the case seem to be other that those which would be expected through a strict numerological interpretation of the Law of Correspondences.

171.          We have noted that the fourth initiation has much to do with access to the sixth principle known as buddhi. Not all subplanes of the buddhic plane are yet open to the initiate of the fourth degree; the lower two are. These two subplanes support psychic faculties relating to the “Comprehension of the Four Sounds” and to “Healing”. We should pause here to realize that many people who say they have confirmed buddhic contact, but who are not yet initiates of even the third degree, are in all likelihood the victims of their own misinterpretation. It seems to take a fourth degree initiate to function in relation to even the lowest of the buddhic subplanes.

172.          We see why a close study of the occult technicalities is so important. Such study brings about a certain humility and right sense of proportion in relation to oneself and the Path.

The life of the man who takes the fourth initiation, or the Crucifixion, is usually one of great sacrifice and suffering.  It is the life of the man who makes the Great Renunciation, and even exoterically it is seen to be strenuous, hard, and painful.  He has laid all, even his perfected personality, upon the altar of sacrifice, and stands bereft of all.  All is renounced, friends, money, reputation, character, standing in the world, family, and even life itself.

173.          DK for a moment switches the emphasis of His discussion from occult technicalities to a general assessment of the nature of the incarnation experienced by one who is in the process of taking the fourth initiation. We are told that such a life is “usually one of great sacrifice and suffering”—not a pleasant prospect to the average disciple who will read these words.

174.          DK is suggesting that much of the pain is subjective but that, even objectively, the life is seen to be “strenuous, hard and painful”.

175.          In the West the fourth initiation is generally called the “Crucifixion”; in the East, the “Great Renunciation”. In the East there is perhaps somewhat less emphasis upon physical suffering and death, but the inner detachments required are just as rigorous, maybe moreso.

176.          The Tibetan becomes very specific about the demands of this degree. By the time the fourth degree is reached, the personality (resonating as it does to the number four) is perfected. This perfected personality does not live for and unto itself, but must be sacrificed for a greater purpose, and is thus voluntarily laid upon the “altar of sacrifice”.

177.          The man “stands bereft of all” which is another way of saying that all has been ‘taken’ from him—all that is found within the three lower worlds at least (including the world of the causal body,  the higher mind). The ‘taking’ however is really a sacrificing ‘offering-up’.

178.          Let us pause to see if we could withstand the relinquishment of “friends, money, reputation, character, standing in the world, family and even life itself”. All must be relinquished so that nothing will remain to hold the man (through the chains of desire) as a prisoner to lower experience.

179.          If we think about what Master Jesus passed through, or more recently an initiate like Father Damien, or, on another ray line, Sir Francis Bacon, or perhaps, Joan of Arc, we shall get some idea of the process of relinquishment—at least in the Western World. Perhaps the study of the life of Ramakrishna, of Vivekananda, or, more anciently, of Milarepa (who, it seems, went beyond the fourth degree) would reveal something of the approach favored in the East.

180.          A number of lives remain before the average reader of this book will be faced with the need for such a drastic renunciation, but it is well to get used to the idea, as a faithful conception of what lies head will guide the life in the proper direction, and will usefully relate all the little renunciations to the impending Great Renunciation.

181.          For those who are astrologically inclined, we might look at the horoscope, house by house, to see what has to be relinquished. Each house is related to certain material factors, and from all such factors the initiate must prove his ultimate detachment.

182.          All that remains once is ‘possessions’ have been given away or taken away, are the “empty nail-marked hands” which can now open to the higher gifts, which then he can bestow on those in need. As a little self he no longer possesses anything. In fact, he no longer exists as a “little self”, for his entire sense of identity has changed.

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The final initiations.

After the fourth initiation not much remains to be done.  The domination of the sixth sub-plane goes forward with rapidity, and the matter of the higher sub-planes of the buddhic is co-ordinated.  The initiate is admitted into closer fellowship in the Lodge, and his contact with the devas is more complete.  He is rapidly exhausting the resources of the Hall of Wisdom, and is mastering the most intricate plans and charts.  He becomes adept in the significance of colour and sound, can wield the law in the three worlds, and can contact his Monad with more freedom than the majority of the human race can contact their Egos.  He is in charge, also, of large work, teaching many pupils, aiding in many schemes, and is gathering under him those who are to assist him in future times.  This refers only to those who stay to help humanity on this globe; we will deal later with some of the lines of work that stretch before the Adept if He passes away from earth service.

183.          We see that the Tibetan is giving us the general picture of states of advancement which lie far beyond our immediate possibility of attainment. Thus, our theoretical understanding is advanced, and we begin to develop a necessary sense of proportion.

184.          DK returns to some technicalities. The sixth plane was the object of control for the fourth degree initiate (he had mastered five), and following that initiation is subject to domination. This fits well correspondentially, as the fourth or buddhic plane is home to the sixth principle, buddhi.

185.          The higher subplanes of the buddhic plane are “coordinated” but we note that the Tibetan has not said that the fourth degree initiate can necessarily function on any or all of those subplanes.

186.          The fourth degree initiate achieves greater “ashramic intimacy” and comes in more complete contact with the devas who, as builders of the form, are closely related to the number six. (They are often related to the sacral of sixth chakra, counting from above.) The initiate’s domination of the sixth subplane of the lower worlds and contact with a group of lives resonating to the number six is correspondentially correct.

187.          When does tenure within the Hall of Wisdom terminate? A Master of the Wisdom, an initiate of the fifth degree, has mastered the wisdom. Thus, an established fourth degree initiate on his way to achieving the fifth degree, is rapidly mastering what the Hall of Wisdom can offer.

188.          Such an initiate has an increasingly great grasp of law; he makes the creative potencies of “color and sound” his own, becoming adept in their significance (an occult phrase). “Significance” relates to will and purpose. He is preparing to become a truly creative factor in the wielding of the Divine Plan, and for this a profound knowledge of color and sound is required.

189.          It is significant to realize that the initiate in training for the fifth degree can contact his Monad with greater ease than the majority of the human race can contact their Ego. This means that his consciousness is rapidly becoming universal—i.e., extending to solar-systemic experiences (for our solar system is to be considered our local universe).

190.          Even the fifth degree initiate (the Master of Wisdom) is not yet the liberated monad, but his contact with monadic life is certain. It takes a sixth degree initiate to cut from the lower five worlds of human and superhuman evolution, and live the life of the monad on its own plane.

191.          At this transitional stage, the initiate’s responsibilities increase dramatically; he is aiding many pupils and consciously gathering his future Ashram—a process in which he has been somewhat unconsciously involved for many lives. So the scope of his work is rapidly increasing.

192.          Master DK is speaking here largely of those who are to tread the Path of Earth Service, remaining in the service of this globe (our little Earth) until released by Sanat Kumara for other systemic and cosmic adventures. The Path of Earth Service cannot be trodden simply at will. One must be, as it were, ‘invited’ to do so by Sanat Kumara.

193.          Cosmically, the Path of Earth service requires great humility, for many immediate cosmic developmental possibilities are relinquished by the sacrifice to remain with our globe. DK promises to speak of the other Paths—a subject which He has developed to a profound extent in this and other books.

After the fifth initiation the man is perfected as far as this scheme goes, though he may, if he will, take two further initiations.

194.          At the fifth initiation, the man reaches a relative perfection. From the perspective of the planetary scheme, His life has reached perfection. But He may subsequently begin to incorporate certain solar aspects into His consciousness through taking the sixth and seventh initiations—as have the Christ (an initiate who has almost completed the seventh degree) and His Chohans (initiates of the sixth degree)

195.          Even four more initiations may be possible in relation to our planetary scheme, but the Tibetan does not choose to discuss them at this early stage in His exposition of the initiatory process.

196.          The eighth and ninth initiations are said to present peculiar difficulties for any advanced initiate Who wish to take these initiations in relation to our planet. Why this should be the case, we can only speculatively imagine.

To achieve the sixth initiation the Adept has to take a very intensive course in planetary occultism.  A Master wields the law in the three worlds, whilst a Chohan of the sixth initiation wields the law in the chain on all levels; a Chohan of the seventh initiation wields the law in the solar system.

197.          Some profound ideas are presented here. A sixth degree initiate is a Planetary Spirit, and so it is reasonable to think that such an initiate would have to “take a very intensive course in planetary occultism”. Of course, what is “planetary occultism”? At our stage of evolution we cannot possibly know. Let us just suppose, however, that it relates to the technical manner in which the Will of Shamballa is manifested through the various levels and kingdoms of nature.

198.          An important comparison is given regarding the relative scope of power of such beings as a Master, a Chohan, and a Chohan of the seventh initiation such as the Christ.

199.          A Master’s scope of power seems relatively confined as He wields the law only in the three worlds. We must ask: does DK mean the three worlds only on this globe or the three worlds throughout our chain?

200.          A Chohan wields the law in the chain on all levels. Does this mean on all subplanes of the cosmic physical plane within our chain? We see that these statements, though apparently simple, are not utterly transparent.

201.          A Chohan of the seventh degree is truly a solar being and has transcended in His power to wield the law, both the planetary chain and, presumably, the planetary scheme (although when considering the entirety of the planetary scheme, it could be argued that we are dealing with a structural aspect of the solar system. Thus a Chohan of the seventh degree wielding the law in a planetary scheme would, in fact, we wielding the law in the solar system).

202.          The seventh initiation concerns the nature of our Solar Logos (Love-Wisdom) and seems to bring the initiate into a new and more intimate relation to this great Logos. If the Christ and Buddha are, in some respects, initiates of the seventh degree, are They in some way also disciples of the Solar Logos?

203.          In any case, we are not told to what extent a Chohan of the seventh degree wields the law in the solar system. We would reasonably suppose, not to any full extent, as it would seem too great a jump in relation to the capacities of a Chohan of the sixth degree.

204.          As listed here, the differences between the capacities of the Master, the Chohan of the sixth degree, and the Chohan of the seventh degree, seem differentiated by a geometrical progression instead of by a sequential, arithmetic one.

It will be apparent that, should he search these subjects with application, the student will find much that concerns him personally, even though the ceremony itself may be far ahead.  By the study of the process and the purpose he may become aware of the great fundamental fact that the method of initiation is the method of:—

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a. Force realisation.

b. Force application.

c. Force utilisation.

205.          DK is well aware that He is giving us information which is far beyond our capacity to assimilate. However, He seems to envision profit for us should we apply ourselves diligently to a consideration of these subjects. Apparently, useful generalizations can be made.

206.          We can easily relate to the general principles of “force realisation’, “force application” and “force utilisation”.

207.          What is the difference between “application” and “utilisation”? Shall we say that “utilisation” is a further degree of “application”? First must come consciousness—i.e., “realisation”. Then force must be applied, and finally skillfully utilized.

208.          We are being asked to understand initiation in terms of force. This takes the glamor out of such considerations. One approaches somewhat as a scientist would, accurately measuring all requirements and one’s capacities vis-à-vis those requirements.

The initiate of every degree, from the humble initiate of the first degree, making for the first time his contact with a certain type of specialised force, up to the emancipated buddha of the seventh degree, is dealing with energy of some kind or other.

209.          DK begins to generalize about the factors which all initiates face. He ranges across the entire span of initiations usually associated with our planet.

210.          One really important statement occurs in this paragraph. DK calls a “Chohan of the Seventh Initiation”, “the emancipated buddha of the seventh degree”. This is a most interesting appellation. That type of emancipation is emancipation from the limitations of the monadic vehicle!

211.          We must remember that not only is the Buddha (Gautama) the Buddha, but the Lord Maitreya is “Maitreya Buddha”.

212.          When we think of the One Whom we normally call the Buddha, we can theorize that His Buddhahood began as He reached the sixth degree (occurring at the time of His great Enlightenment). It would seem that, at that time, He received a touch from the cosmic mental plane, which could be accessed, so it would seem, because of His third ray monadic nature.

213.          He was enlightened, and that Enlightenment seems reasonably to have been an accessing of the “Greatest Light” of Shamballa, which only the sixth initiation could confer, since at the sixth degree, one enters the full awareness of the monad (the monad being a ‘resident’ of Shamballa). As a third ray monad He would be resonantly linked to the cosmic mental plane which added its ‘luminous power’ to that world-changing experience.

214.          Soon both He and the Christ will be “emancipated buddhas of the seventh degree”, for They have not yet completed their seventh initiation. Such buddhas can focus on the systemic logoic plane, the first subplane of the cosmic physical plane. Their emancipation is from present monadic constraints (as the monad expresses itself on the cosmic physical plane), but They are not yet emancipated from the cosmic physical plane in its entirety. That is an attainment of the ninth initiation.

 The stages of development of the aspirant might be expressed as follows:—

1. He has to become aware, through discrimination, of the energy or force of his own lower self.

215.          A sequential series of attainments is now listed.

216.          The aspirant, above all, must “Know Thyself”. This is microcosmic knowledge and requires a discriminating, observant, detached mind.

2. He has to impose upon that energetic rhythm one that is higher, until that lower rhythm is superseded by the higher, and the old method of expressing energy dies out entirely.

217.          The method of progress at all levels is here given. We are told about the dynamics of ‘energy imposition’. The rhythm of one type of energy (a higher) must supersede the rhythm of a lower energy. Energies and forces are distinguished by their rhythms. When we consider the nature of vibratory frequency, we can easily relate it to the principle of rhythm.

218.          When a higher rhythm replaces a lower, a higher energy effectively supplants a lower.

219.          This second step moves beyond mere discriminative recognition. It is a form of applied occultism, not just theoretical occultism.

3. He then is permitted, by gradually expanding realisations, to contact and—under guidance—to employ certain forms of group energy, until the time comes when he is in a position scientifically to wield planetary force.  The length of time taken over his final stage is entirely dependent upon the progress he makes in the service of his race and in the development of those powers of the soul which are the natural sequence of spiritual unfoldment.

220.          As the initiate advances, his power to contact and wield group energy increases.

221.          His access to groups of increasing scope and power continues until, at last, that group which is the planetary whole can be accessed and certain of its energies (planetary forces) wielded.

222.          The progressive movement is from microcosmic consciousness, to consciousness and application of the energies of soul, to consciousness and application of the energies of greater and greater groups until planetary energies and forces are contacted and wielded.  There is continuous expansion and increased skill-in-action.

223.          Even for the high initiate, the speed of his attainment will relate to the quality and intensity of the service he renders, and to the degree to which he can unfold and apply soul powers (in this case, the powers of the spiritual triad). As with initiates of earlier degrees, no hard and fast rules can be laid down specifying rates of progress.

The application of the Rod of Initiation at the first two initiations by the Bodhisattva enables the initiate to control and utilise the force of the lower self, the true sanctified energy of the personality in service; at the third initiation the application of the Rod by the One Initiator makes available in a vastly more extensive manner the force of the higher self or Ego, and brings into play on the physical plane the entire energy stored up during numerous incarnations [Page 92] in the causal vehicle.  At the fourth initiation the energy of his egoic group becomes his to use for the good of planetary evolution, and at the fifth initiation the force or energy of the planet (esoterically understood, and not merely the force or energy of the material globe) is at his disposal.  During these five initiations those two great beings, the Bodhisattva first, and then the One Initiator, the Lord of the World, Sanat Kumara, are the administrators or hierophants.  After these ceremonies, should the initiate choose to take the two final initiations which it is possible to take in this solar system, a still higher type of energy in expression of the One Self comes into play, and can only be hinted at.  At the seventh initiation that One of Whom Sanat Kumara is the manifestation, the Logos of our scheme on His own plane, becomes the Hierophant.  At the sixth initiation the expression of this Existence on an intermediate plane, a Being Who must at present remain nameless, wields the Rod and administers the oath and secret.  In these three expressions of hierarchical government—Sanat Kumara on the periphery of the three worlds, the Nameless One on the confines of the high planes of human evolution, and the planetary Spirit himself at the final stage—we have the three great manifestations of the Planetary Logos Himself.  Through the Planetary Logos at the final great initiation flows the power of the Solar Logos, and He it is Who reveals to the initiate that the Absolute is consciousness in its fullest expression, though at the stage of human existence the Absolute must be regarded as unconsciousness.

224.          This paragraph contains an extraordinary amount of occultism. The results of the wielding of various the Rods of Power are hinted.

225.          When the Bodhisattva wields His Rod, the forces of the lower self are put in the initiate’s control and can be utilized. The important phrase here is, “the true sanctified energy of the personality in service”. We can see that initiations one and two release personality potencies for correct utilization, but do not fully release the powers of the Ego to be expressed through the personality.

226.          The Rod, as wielded by the Lord of the World, taps the higher Ego is a still more extensive way, which suggests that the Rod of the Bodhisattva made it possible for at least some Egoic force to flow through the personality.

227.          When the Lord of the World wields the “Flaming Diamond”, the forces of the causal body are brought down and through into expression on the physical plane. All that a man has accumulated over many, many incarnations is liberated for utilization on the physical plane. We can see why such an initiate is called a “rich young man”.

228.          The Rod wielded by Sanat Kumara at the fourth initiation liberates the energy of the initiate’s “egoic group”. Far more than the content of his own causal body is made accessible to him. Perhaps the content of the causal bodies of many is at his disposal. Perhaps, it is the forces of the spiritual triad which are, to a degree, released. The important thing to consider is that impersonality is constantly increasing, and it is group energy that is now available in far greater quantity and quality than heretofore.

229.          The Master of the Wisdom has accessible to Him the energy of the planet esoterically understood. This access reaches dimensions far higher than those simply which relate to the material globe. There is, therefore, a great move beyond the egoic group, to far greater groupings of energies. The Master is operating as a conscious, planetary factor and is wielding with great intelligence and power, the Divine Plan (for this globe, and to a degree for this chain, the Earth-chain).

230.          DK lists the various Hierophants. We are familiar with the idea that the Christ and the Lord of the World are Hierophants for initiations numbering from the first to through the fifth—the Christ officiating at the first two initiations and Sanat Kumara officiating at the last three.

231.          But DK moves beyond the five usual initiations to consider the Hierophants at the sixth and seventh initiations. At the seventh initiation, it is the Planetary Logos, called the “Planetary Spirit”, Who presides.

232.          At the sixth initiation, a “Nameless One” Whose nature can only be hinted is the presiding Hierophant. This is a mysterious being. Perhaps too much would be revealed about planetary structure or about the process of ‘planetary logoic emanation’ were the name and status of this Nameless One to be revealed.

233.          There are three manifestations of the Planetary Logos. As a monad He manifests as the “Planetary Spirit”—the Planetary Logos per se, focusing in some way upon the systemic logoic plane.

234.          As a soul, He manifests as the Nameless One focussing just above the five worlds of human and superhuman evolution. This Nameless One seems closely related to the human monad, the number of which is six (according to the plane on which it is found), because the Nameless One presides at the sixth initiation.

235.          As a personality, the Planetary Logos manifests as Sanat Kumara, hovering, we are told, on the periphery of the three worlds. And yet, elsewhere, we find Sanat Kumara focussing His Presence upon the systemic logoic plane.

236.          Elsewhere, as well, Sanat Kumara is said to represent the soul aspect of the Planetary Logos. Here, that role seems to fall to the “Nameless One”.

237.          We have hinted before that the Solar Logos has His part to play at the seventh initiation of the members of the Fourth Creative Hierarchy (the Hierarchy of Human Monads). We learn here that it is the Planetary Logos as “Planetary Spirit” Who presides at this seventh degree, but that through Him is expressed the energy of the Solar Logos. The seventh degree is, from one perspective, what could be called ‘Solar Mastership’ and also represents the Transfiguration Initiation in relation to the star, Sirius.

238.          At this seventh degree is revealed what is called “the Absolute in consciousness”. This, of course, is a very relative Absolute, but, from the perspective of the human being, is absoluteness, indeed. DK tells us that such consciousness is to the average human being, unconsciousness

239.          A careful study of what has been said reveals that the initiatory process is taking all initiates sunwards. As monads, our home is within the Sun (cf. IHS 196). We are on our way to re-becoming, consciously, the solar lives we are.

Each of the great initiations is but the synthesis of the smaller ones, and only as man seeks ever to expand his consciousness in the affairs of daily life can he expect to achieve those later stages which are but culminations of the many earlier.  Students must get rid of the idea that if they are "very good and altruistic" suddenly some day [Page 93] they will stand before the Great Lord.  They are putting effect before cause.  Goodness and altruism grow out of realisation and service, and holiness of character is the outcome of those expansions of consciousness which a man brings about within himself through strenuous effort and endeavour. 

240.          Master DK relates the later to the earlier initiations, seeing the later ones as syntheses of the former. Thus, even as we prepare for lesser initiations we are, in unsuspected ways, preparing for the greater.

241.          We find DK relating initiation to the “affairs of daily life”. There is a continuity here. Only by mastering these practical affairs is it possible to take those steps which lead to more difficult challenges. Another way of saying all this is that an initiate is a practical realist.

242.          Morality and good conduct are necessary if one is to become an initiate, but they are, by themselves, totally insufficient. Being “very good and altruistic” alone will not take the candidate to the feet of the One Initiator.

243.          DK tracks the origin or goodness and altruism. They arise from realisation and service, and holiness of character arises from expansions of consciousness strenuously derived. It is as if the moral qualities are results of qualities of consciousness and of the many labors which are required to establish those qualities of consciousness. Thus, it is strenuous skillful work which will take us to the feet of the Initiator. Great labor opens the door. The good, the altruistic, the holy will arise because the necessary work has been done.

Therefore it is here and now that man can prepare himself for initiation, and this he does, not by dwelling upon the ceremonial aspect, as so many do in excited anticipation, but by working systematically and enduringly at the steady development of the mental body, by the strenuous and arduous process of controlling the astral body so that it becomes responsive to three vibrations:—

a. That from the Ego.

b. That from the Master.

c. Those from his brothers everywhere around him.  He becomes sensitive to the voice of his higher self, thus working off karma under the intelligent guidance of his own Ego.  He becomes conscious, via the Ego, of the vibration emanating from his Master; he learns to feel it ever more and more, and to respond to it ever more fully; finally, he becomes increasingly sensitive to the joys and pains and sorrows of those he daily contacts; he feels them to be his joys and pains and sorrows, and yet he is not incapacitated thereby.

244.          Master DK brings us forcefully to the “here and now”. Initiation is not to be considered some remote process for which one must wait expectantly. Rather, through systematic labor, preparation may begin now. The would-be candidate is to work systematically, thus under Saturn and Mercury. He is also to work “enduringly” (a powerful and unusual word), thus, under Vulcan.

245.          One by one and simultaneously, the vehicles have to be developed—the mental and astral bodies especially. Both are to be purified and controlled. The physical body, too, cannot be ignored, but its major cultivation occurs at an earlier period than that at which many disciples now find themselves.

246.          The astral body has to become sensitive in three directions to three vibrations.

a.       Vibrations from the Ego—considering this Ego either as the Solar Angel or the spiritual triad.

b.      Vibrations from the Master and His Ashram.

c.       Vibrations from all brothers.

247.          The candidate’s immediate relationship is to be with his Ego—considered as the Solar Angel. (There are various ways to consider the identity of the “Ego”. Via that Ego, the Master’s vibrations can reach him.

248.          The Tibetan ends this section on a note of empathy. As the Ego is truly contacted, and as its behests are followed (contributing to the working off of karma), a great sensitivity to the joys, pains and sorrows of humanity arises.

249.          A true initiate is one who naturally identifies with humanity, as if the spiritual, psychological and physical states of all human beings were his own. The Hierarchy is intent on saving humanity (as one part of its work in the Divine Planetary Plan). If an initiate seeks to join the ranks of Hierarchy, he must come into a new a spiritually intimate relationship to humanity.

250.          In the last analysis, the Planetary Hierarchy is the “Hierarchy of Love” and only those who love their fellowmen can be true initiates of the Great White Lodge and, ultimately, full members of that Lodge, as either Lords of Compassion or Masters of the Wisdom.

To Commentary X