The following commentaries were written for the Pohjolan Valo Mystery School, by Michael Robbins. (Translations into Finnish are available.)

This begins our discussion of the book Initiation: Human and Solar.  

From the study of this foundational book, we can expect to gather a realistic view of the Great White Brotherhood (also known as “Christ and His Church Triumphant” and the “Society of Organized and Illumined Minds”). It is the goal of every serious aspirant and disciple to equip him/herself for closer affiliation with the Brotherhood, and, thus, for more effective service to humanity, for if we fulfill the requirements for affiliation, we are necessarily empowered in our hearts, minds and wills.

It is our hope that commentary upon the paragraphs found in this book will spark intelligent and searching inquiry into the amazing truth that lies behind the founding of the Spiritual Hierarchy on our planet and the work that it does for planetary redemption. It is hoped that our work together with this amazing little book will prove a source of inspiration to one and all.

Initiation Human and Solar

 The Forward
by Alice A. Bailey

Dedicated with reverence and gratitude to the Master K.H.

Master K.H. (Master Koot-Hoomi, as He is known by one of His names) is the Teacher and Master of Master Djwhal-Khul who has work in collaboration with Alice A. Bailey to give the world the 24 “Blue Books” as they are known. Master K.H. will become the next Bodhisattva (the position presently held by the Christ) when once the Christ has finished His mission in the Aquarian Age. Master K.H. (a Master Who functions upon the second Ray of Love-Wisdom, as does Master D.K.) is Alice Bailey’s Master. Her work with Master Djwhal Khul is in the nature of an intensive cooperation. Both are disciples of the Master K.H.


that we must not believe in a thing said merely because it is said; nor traditions because they have been handed down from antiquity; nor rumors, as such; nor writings by sages, because sages wrote them:  nor fancies that we may suspect to have been inspired in us by a Deva (that is, in presumed spiritual inspiration); nor from inferences drawn from some haphazard assumption we may have made; nor because of what seems an analogical necessity; nor on the mere authority of our teachers or masters.  But we are to believe when the writing, doctrine, or saying is corroborated by our own reason and consciousness.  "For this," says he in concluding, "I taught you not to believe merely because you have heard, but when you believed of your consciousness, then to act accordingly and abundantly." (Secret Doctrine, Vol. III, page 401.)

In this paragraph, emanating we are told from Gautama, the Buddha, we are enjoined to practice self-reliance. Self-reliance was also the theme of the Buddha’s famous “last sermon”. We are not yet “knowers” as are the Masters of the Wisdom. In large measure, we are “believers” on our way to becoming “knowers” — this to be accomplished to a great extent during the Aquarian Age (which begins, we are told, in the year 2117 and lasting for approximately another 2160 years).

Great Teachers, too, should be trusted as far as we can follow Them through the power of our intuition. If we cannot follow Their thought or suggestions, we may respect what They have said, but still reserve judgment concerning the absoluteness of the truth presented.

We do not become knowers by faith alone, but by deep meditation, close and earnest study and by applying what we have learned. The three pillars of the teaching of this and every other true mystery school are meditation, study and service.

The Masters (and the Buddha was a high Master when last He appeared in incarnation {not in emanation} some 2500 years ago as the Head of the Spiritual Hierarchy of the planet as the Christ, the Lord Maitreya is now) teach us to achieve Mastery. They do not teach dependency. Man has within him/herself the means of knowing. But there is very little true knowing among students of spirituality. They believe, and they may think they know, but true, intuitive knowing is another and higher matter.

The Buddha’s advice to us as we begin our study is very sound. We must admit that which we do not know, without inflation and pretense. We must understand how much of our apparent knowledge is based upon inference and reasoning—a great deal, most probably. And how much knowledge is true “straight knowledge” — the testimony of the intuition. When we achieve a balanced point of view with respect to our knowledge, we can proceed sanely upon the Path of Spirituality, and avoid many of the customary pitfalls.

That which is “said” may or may not be true, and often is not. We call it “hearsay”. An old, and somewhat humorous-cynical saying goes, “Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see”. Thus, is emphasized the unreliability of the senses.

Traditions may or may not be true. Probably there is much truth to be found, but much error is also possible, because human beings have been at work elaborating traditions and adding to and taking from the original teaching of some inspired Teaching. Rumors are of course unreliable. The teaching of sages may be correct or incorrect, but it would be foolish to believe simply because sages, per se, wrote or spoke certain teachings. If this were to be the attitude, the discriminating mind of the student would not be engaged and he would fail to grow by subjecting any teaching to analysis and comparison.

Devas may, of course, inspire human thought, but often that which is supposed to come from high sources of inspiration simply comes from subtle, but relatively low, sources. Often as well, the so-called “inspiration” is the product of our own subconscious minds, and is therefore, suspect.

Haphazard assumptions are notoriously unreliable. If the premise is faulty, that which is derived from it will almost certainly be faulty as well. How many of our assumptions are well-reasoned and carefully derived. Some of us believe, perhaps, that if we think something or assume something it is probably true. However, would it not be wiser to submit our assumptions to careful scrutiny?

Analogical necessity is very useful and is a major means of deriving inferential know­ledge. But the reasoning employed in analogy may be incorrect and even useful analogies may be correct in principle but faulty in detail. We have all heard the statement, “the analogy breaks down”. This happens frequently, so analogical necessity alone is not sufficient to confirm truth, though it may prove a valuable indicator.

Finally, we are to believe when both our consciousness and reason indicate truth. By “reason” (as used here) we may imagine that “pure reason” is meant—a kind of reason and reasoning which is imbued with intuition or straight-knowledge. It is a type of reason filled with light and sight. Through meditation, study and service we can work ourselves into a position in which the light of pure reason illuminates our consciousness.

So many have wondered what is really true. Since the days of “jesting Pilot”, the question, “What is truth?” has been constantly, and often cynically, proposed. A great part of truth depends upon our point of view its ‘altitude’ (the spiritual ‘height’ from which we perceive). It cannot be thought that the reading of any book will produce an immediate or even inevitable perception of truth, but little steps can be taken in the enlargement and raising of the point of view. Light can and will pour into the conscious­ness as the veils of ignorance are removed. At last, we can walk in the light and become knowers of Reality.

This highly desirable objective is placed before us as we attempt to follow the Buddha’s advice — not just because He is reported to have said it, but because it makes real sense to us, stimulating a kind of intuitive conviction as to its correctness.


The subject of Initiation is one that has a great fascination for thinkers of all schools of thought, and even those who remain skeptical and critical would like to believe that this ultimate attainment is possible.  To those who do not believe that such a goal is possible this book is offered for what it may be worth as a formulation of an interesting hypo­thesis.  To those who anticipate such a consummation of all their endeavours, this book is tendered in the hope that it may prove an inspiration and a help.

The book begins modestly. Why is initiation so fascinating, even to those who remain skeptical and critical? Probably because it addresses the deepest longings of the human heart—that Man may become more than Man, overcoming his limitations, and may live joyfully in this universe. A hypothesis can be useful; it later be tested to determine its truth or falsity (although, admittedly, to test many of the propositions of this book lies beyond the capability of most readers — for now).

Those for whom the theme of initiation makes real sense will find great inspiration here, for the vistas painted are vast and full of promise for the spirit. Also, there is presented much practical advice which will help any sincere student (no matter at what point upon the Path he/she may stand) to take the next spiritual step forward.

Among occidental thinkers at this time there is a wide diversity of view upon this momentous subject.  There are those who think that it is not of sufficient immediate importance to engross their attention, and that if the average man adheres to the path of duty and high-minded attention to the business in hand, he will duly arrive at his destination.  This is undoubtedly true, yet as capacity for increased service, and the development of powers to be used in the helping of the race are the reward of the man who is willing to make the increased effort and to pay the price which initiation demands, perhaps this book may spur some on to attainment who might otherwise have drifted slowly towards their goal.  They will then become givers, and not the recipients of help.

In this paragraph the two usual modes of spiritual progress are addressed. The first method is slow and sure. No particular attention is paid to initiation and its potentials; live is lived according to a high standard; successful accomplishment of the present task is the goal and there is faith that progress will be the inevitable result. Perhaps many choose to tread to less pressured path of development. It cannot be considered incorrect, and perhaps it is the best path for many to follow.

Another and more arduous path is simultaneously offered. This path has certain risks not found upon the slower path. The “price to pay” is more evident upon the steeper, faster path. That price is felt within the personality, the satisfaction of which may be curtailed or even (at later stages) utterly thwarted. The second path is not the path of personal happiness, per se, though the growth of inner joy (and even bliss) is one of its rewards. Intense effort and sacrifice characterize the Path of Initiation; such things cannot appear attractive to the individual focussed mostly in his/her personality. But as the focus changes, the dissatisfaction with the limitations of personality life grows, and the incentives for making the strenuous effort to attain becomes more convincing.

Finally, there is offered the incentive to become, not just a receiver of help but a giver of help. The Christ has said that “it is better to give than to receive” — a profoundly occult/esoteric idea which would reward pondering. Those who “make the grade” and become initiate, have much more to give in service. They can act out of a sense of abundance as they become increasingly related to the “Abundant Life” of Shamballa (the highest Center on our planet, “The Center where the Will of God is known”. They are filled with the joy of soul-living, and the bliss of “electric life”.

Each one of us can ask himself/herself: “Am I such a person?” “Do I prefer the direct way, or the slower, winding way up the symbolic ‘mountain of initiation’?” The manner in which we approach the study of this book will depend upon the way we answer such important questions. Pain (physical, psychological and spiritual) is everywhere to be found. It will persist as long as there is lack of adjustment between Man and his more subtle spiritual nature. Would it not be valuable to end the reign of pain sooner rather than later?

There are those again who consider that the teaching hitherto given out in various books concerning initiation, [Page viii] is erroneous.  Initiation has been made out to be fairly easy of attainment, and to call for no such rectitude of character as might have been anticipated.  The following chapters may serve to show that the criticism is not unmerited.  Initiation is profoundly difficult of attainment, and calls for a strenuous discipline of the entire lower nature, and a life of self-effacing and self-abnegating devotion.  At the same time, it must be remembered that the earlier teaching is right in essence, though belittled in interpretation.

Some straight talk is here put forward. Laziness and the love of comfort are frequently to be found. So many of us would prefer an easier and less strenuous way. The wish becomes the “father to the thought”, and thus there are teachers who emphasize the benefits of initiation (rather than its demands); they are eagerly followed because their teaching places no great stress upon the personality, which is ever looking out for the preservation of its comfort.

Alice Bailey tells us that “initiation is profoundly difficult of attainment” (even the first initiation). Who wants to hear that? Few perhaps, though they are the ones who will rise to the occasion. Discipline, self-abnegation, devotion — these are required. What, then, happens to the little ego (in which so much of our sense of identity is customarily invested)? It suffers, does it not? As long as a man/woman believes that he/she is that ego, there will not be a ready willingness to “pay the price”.

Thus, when we hear of initiatory processes which do not disturb our comfort or the status-quo, we may suspect that they are spurious, unreal, false — as attractive as they may be to the personality.

Probably many of our number have studied various forms of spirituality. Let us all ask — have the methods we have studied emphasized ease of attainment and the exaltation of the ego (even if subtle) or have they called for true self-sacrifice? This question is one of the touchstones by which the authenticity of initiatory approaches may be gauged.

Again, there are some who are interested, yet who feel the possibilities involved are too far advanced for them, and that they need not occupy themselves with them at this stage of their evolution.  This book seeks to make it apparent that here and now the average man may begin to build that character and to lay those foundations of knowledge which are necessary before even the Path of Discipleship can be trodden.  Due preparation may now be made, and men and women everywhere may—if they choose—fit themselves for the condition of discipleship and tread the Probationary Path.

In this paragraph, Alice Bailey takes up a very plausible method of avoiding or evading responsibility — the statement that the possibility of initiation is, for them, incapable of achievement. The little personality is relieved when such a proposal is made. The pressure is off. But the book demonstrates how a necessary beginning may be made, and a true foundation built, by anyone who cares enough. The spiritual Paths preceding the Path of Initiation are the Probationary Path and the Path of Discipleship, proper. For these Paths, preparation may be made by all intelligent men and women reasonably animated by goodwill. One must surely start somewhere.

It may be that the possibility of initiation lies ahead in future incarnations, and perhaps many incarnations must pass before the higher initiations can be taken. But even the taking of those initiations will be greatly deferred unless the would be candidate addresses himself/herself to the more immediate and humble prospects of preparation which are within his/her range of accomplishment. That we can all be better people conforming to a higher standard of thought, feeling and behavior is certain. The attempt thus to conform is preparation for eventual initiation.

Hundreds in the East and in the West are pressing onwards towards this goal, and in the unity of the one ideal, in their common aspiration and endeavour, they will meet before the one Portal.  They will then recognise themselves as brothers, severed by tongue and apparent diversity of belief, but fundamentally holding to the same one truth and serving the same God.

Alice A. Bailey

New York, 1922

Here the incentive is offered and the reality of a great spiritual movement is brought to our attention. Those who are “on their way” are headed for the symbolical “Portal of Initiate”, which, passed, gives entry into a higher dimension of living.

The essential Brotherhood of all those who thus strive is presented. Outer separation (due to language, culture, diversity of belief) means little when the great inner truths are appreciated. The Path of Initiation is the Path of Unification. The Oneness of God and Man are realized by the true initiate; with this realization comes a profound joy.

Treading the Path of Initiation, together, a great diversity of human beings will know (not just “know about”) the One Life which they and every being share. They will be animated and inspired by this Great Life, and will learn to be conscious representatives of it. This is one of the greatest rewards of becoming initiate.

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