The Masters and the Path

book by Charles Webster Leadbeater

The Masters and the Path is an esoteric and occult book first published in 1925, by Charles W. Leadbeater, about what he called "Perfected Men"

(Full text online)


  • The rapid changes in the world of thought, arising from the nearness of the Coming of the World-Teacher, render useful some information as to a part of the world in which He lives, information which may, perhaps, to some extent prepare the public mind for His teachings.... Be that as it may, I desire to associate myself with the statements made in this book, for the accuracy of nearly all of which I can personally vouch; and also to say on behalf of my colleague as well of myself, that the book is issued as a record of observations carefully made and carefully recorded, but not claiming any authority, nor making any demand for acceptance. It makes no claim to inspiration, but is only an honest account of things seen by the writer.

Ch. I. The Existence of the Masters

  • General Considerations. The Testimony of the Religions. Recent Evidence. Personal Experience. The Evolution of Life. Superhuman Life. The Brotherhood of Adepts. The Powers of Adept.
  • The existence of perfected men... follows logically from the other great Theosophical teachings of karma and evolution by reincarnation. As we look round us we see men obviously at all stages of their evolution—many far below ourselves in development, and others who in one way or another are distinctly in advance of us.... There may well be others who are very much further advanced; indeed, if men are steadily growing better and better through a long series of successive lives, tending towards a definite goal, there should certainly be some who have already reached that goal.
  • Some of us... have already succeeded in unfolding some of those higher senses which are latent in every man... and... are enabled to see the ladder of evolution extending far above us as well as far below us, [with] standing upon every rung of that ladder.
  • There is a considerable amount of direct testimony to the existence of these Perfected Men whom we call Masters, but I think that the first step which each one of us should take is to make certain that there must be such men...
  • The historical records of every nation are full of the doings of men of genius in all the different departments of human activity, men who in their special lines of work and ability have stood far above the rest— indeed, so far that at times... their ideals were utterly beyond the comprehension of the people...
  • It has been said that the history of every nation could be written in the biography of a few individuals, and that it is always the few, towering above the rest, who initiate the great forward steps in art, music, literature, science, philosophy, philanthropy, statecraft, and religion.
  • They stand high sometimes in love of God and their fellow-men, as great saints and philanthropists; sometimes in understanding of man and Nature, as great philosophers, sages and scientists...
  • Is it not logical to say that we cannot see the bounds of human attainment, and that there may well have been, and even now may be, men far further developed even than they, men great in spirituality as well as knowledge or artistic power, men complete as regards human perfections—men precisely such as the Adepts or Supermen whom some of us have had the inestimable privilege to encounter?
  • They flash out as beacons, as veritable light-bearers to show us the path which we must tread if we wish to reach the glory which shall presently be revealed.
  • We have long accepted the doctrine of the evolution of the forms...
  • Behind the evolving form burgeons out ever the Life eternal, the Life Divine. That Life of God permeates the whole of nature, which is but the many-coloured cloak which He has donned; it is He who lives in the beauty of the flower, in the strength of the tree, in the swiftness and grace of the animal, as well as in the heart and soul of man.
  • It is because His will is evolution that all life everywhere is pressing onward and upward; and it is therefore that the existence of Perfected Men at the end of this long line of ever-unfolding power and wisdom and love is the most natural thing in the world.
  • The logical consequence of all this is that there must be Perfected Men, and there are not wanting signs of the existence of such Men in all ages who, instead of leaving the world entirely, to pursue a life of their own in the divine or superhuman kingdoms, have remained in touch with humanity, through love of it, to assist its evolution in beauty and love and truth, to help, as it were, to cultivate the Perfect Man...
  • The records of every great religion show the presence of such Supermen, so full of the Divine Life that again and again they have been taken as the very representatives of God Himself.
  • The Hindus have their great Avataras or divine incarnations, such as Shri Krishna, Shri Shankaracharya, and the Lord Gautama Buddha... a great galaxy of Rishis, of Saints, of Teachers... These Great Ones took interest not only in awakening men' s spiritual natures, but also in all affairs that made for their well-being on earth.
  • There is much direct and recent evidence for the existence of these Great Ones. In my earlier days I never needed any such evidence, because I was fully persuaded as a result of my studies that there must be such people. To believe that there were such glorified Men seemed perfectly natural, and my only desire was to meet Them face to face. Yet there are many among the newer members of the Society who, reasonably enough, want to know what evidence there is.
  • With Madame Blavatsky... I have heard her testify that she lived for some time in a monastery in Nepal, where she saw three of our Masters constantly in Their physical vehicles... Colonel Olcott spoke of having seen two of Them... he had met the Master Morya and also the Master Kuthumi... There is also a vast amount of Indian testimony which has never been collected and sifted, mainly because those to whom these experiences came were so thoroughly persuaded of the existence of Supermen and of the possibility of meeting Them that they did not regard any individual case as worthy of record.
  • I was sitting on the floor, cutting out and arranging for her a quantity of newspaper articles... She (HPB) sat at a table close by... The door of the room was in full sight, and it certainly did not open; but quite suddenly, without any preparation, there was a man standing almost between me and Madame Blavatsky. Within touch of both of us. It gave me great start, and I jumped up in some confusion; Madame Blavatsky was much amused and said: “If you do not know enough not to be startled at such a trifle as that, you will not get far in this occult work.” I was introduced to the visitor, who was not then an Adept, but an Arhat, which is one grade below that state; He has since become the Master Djwal Khul...
  • Some months after that the Master Morya came to us one day... He walked through the room where I was in order to communicate with Madame Blavatsky, Who was in her bedroom... I saw the Master Kuthumi under similar conditions on the roof of our Headquarters at Adyar.... as though He had just materialized from the empty air on the other side of it. I have also many times seen the Master Djwal Khul on that roof in the same way.
  • Those who wish to collect evidence about these matters (and it is quite reasonable that they should wish to do so) should turn to the earlier literature of the Society. If they meet our President, they can hear from her how many of the Great Ones she has seen on different occasions; and there are many of our members who will bear witness without hesitation that they have seen a Master. It may be that in meditation they have seen His face, and later have had definite proof that He is a real being. Much evidence may be found in Colonel Olcott' s Old Diary Leaves, and there is an interesting treatise called Do the Brothers Exist? written by Mr. A. O. Hume, a man who stood high in the Civil Service in India, and worked much with our late Vice-President, Mr. A. P. Sinnett.
  • We have naturally asked Them with all reverence how They have attained to that level. They tell us with one accord that no long time ago They stood where we stand now. They have risen out of the ranks of ordinary humanity, and They have told us that we in time to come shall be as They are now, and that the whole system is a graded evolution of Life extending up and up, further than we can follow it, even unto the Godhead itself.
  • There are definite stages in the earlier evolution-- the vegetable above the mineral, the animal above the vegetable and the human above the animal-- so in the same way the human kingdom has a definite end, a boundary at which it passes into a kingdom distinctly higher than itself, that beyond men there are the Supermen.
  • All the evolution through the lower kingdom is preparatory to the development of this human constitution.
  • The Brotherhood of Adepts... The world is guided and directed to a large extent by a Brotherhood of Adepts to which our Masters belong. Theosophical students make all sorts of mistakes about Them.They often regard Them as a great monastic community, all living together in some secret place. They suppose Them sometimes to be Angels, and many of our students have thought that They were all Indian, or that They all resided in the Himalayas. None of these hypotheses is true. There is a great Brotherhood, and its Members are in constant communication with one another; but Their communication is on higher planes and They do not necessarily live together. As part of Their work, some of these great Brothers whom we call Masters of the Wisdom are willing to take pupil-apprentices and teach them; but They form only a small section of the mighty Body of Perfected Men.
  • Those who have been chelas for a number of years are often employed as deputies, and receive the privilege of helping and advising promising young aspirants. These older pupils are gradually being trained for their future work when they in turn shall become Adepts, and they are learning to take more and more of the routine work off the hands of their Masters, so that the latter may be set free for higher labours which only They can undertake.
  • The outstanding characteristic of the Adept, as compared with ourselves, is that He looks upon everything from an absolutely different point of view; for there is in Him nothing whatever of the thought of self which is so prominent in the majority of men. The Adept has eliminated the lower self, and is living not for self but for all, and yet, in a way that only He can really understand, that all is truly Himself also. He has reached that stage in which there is no flaw in His character, nothing of a thought or feeling for a personal, separated self, and His only motive is that of helping forward evolution, of working in harmony with the Logos who directs it.
  • All of us possess some germ of all the different characteristics, but always they are but partially awakened, and one much more than another. An Adept, however, is an all-round Man, a Man whose devotion and love and sympathy and compassion are perfect, while at the same time His intellect is something far grander than we can as yet realize, and His spirituality is wonderful and divine. He stands out above and beyond all men whom we know, because of the fact that He is fully developed.

Ch. II. The Physical Bodies of the Masters

  • Their Appearance. A Ravine in Tibet. The House of the Master Kuthumi. The Master' s Activities. Other Houses. The First Ray Adepts. The Second Ray Adepts. The Others Rays. Perfect Physical Vehicles. Borrowed Vehicles.
  • There is no one physical characteristic by which an Adept can be infallibly distinguished from other men, but he always appears impressive, noble, dignified, holy and serene, and anyone meeting him could hardly fail to recognize that he was in the presence of a remarkable man. He is the strong but silent man, speaking only when he has a definite object in view, to encourage, to help or to warn, yet he is wonderfully benevolent and full of a keen sense of humour— humour always of a kindly order, used never to wound, but always to lighten the troubles of life. The Master Morya once said that it is impossible to make progress on the occult Path without a sense of humour, and certainly all the Adepts whom I have seen have possessed that qualification.
  • Most of Them are distinctly fine-looking men; Their physical bodies are practically perfect, for They live in complete obedience to the laws of health, and above all They never worry about anything. All Their evil karma has long been exhausted... This freedom from karma gives Them, when for any reason They choose to take new bodies, entire liberty to select a birth in any country or race that may be convenient for the work that They have to do, and thus the nationality of the particular bodies which They happen to be wearing at any given time is not of primary importance.
  • To know that a certain man is an Adept it would be necessary to see His causal body, for in that His development would show by its greatly increased size, and by a special arrangement of its colours into concentric spheres, such as is indicated to some extent in the illustration of the causal body of an Arhat (Plate xxvi) in Man, Visible and Invisible.
  • Of the Master's (Kuthumi) family I know but little. There is a lady, evidently a pupil, whom He calls ` sister' . Whether she is actually His sister or not I do not know; she might possibly be a cousin or a niece. She looks much older than He, but that would not make the relationship improbable, as He has appeared of about the same age for a long time. She resembles Him to a certain extent, and once or twice when there have been gatherings she has come and joined the party; though her principal work seems to be to look after the house-keeping...
  • The Master has a large garden of His own. He possesses, too, a quantity of land, and employs labourers to cultivate it. Near the house there are flowering shrubs and masses of flowers growing freely, with ferns among them. Through the garden there flows a streamlet; which forms a little waterfall, and over it a tiny bridge is built. Here He often sits when He is sending out streams of thought and benediction upon His people; it would no doubt appear to the casual observer as though He were sitting idly watching Nature, and listening heedlessly to the song of the birds, and to the splash and tumble of the water. Sometimes, too, He rests in His great armchair, and when His people see Him thus, they know that He must not be disturbed; they do not know exactly what He is doing, but suppose Him to be in samadhi. The fact that people in the East understand this kind of meditation and respect it may be one of the reasons why the Adepts prefer to live there rather than in the West.
  • In this way we get the effect of the Master sitting quietly for a considerable part of the day and, as we should say, meditating; but while He is apparently resting so calmly, He is in reality engaged all the time in most strenuous labour on higher planes, manipulating various natural forces and pouring forth influences of the most diverse character on thousands of souls simultaneously; for the Adepts are the busiest people in the world. The Master, however, does much physical-plane work as well; He has composed some music, and has written notes and papers for various purposes. He is also much interested in the growth of physical science, although this is especially the province of one of the other great Masters of the Wisdom.
  • From time to time the Master Kuthumi rides on a big bay horse, and occasionally, when Their work lies together, He is accompanied by the Master Morya, who always rides a magnificent white horse. Our Master regularly visits some of the monasteries, and sometimes goes up a great pass to a lonely monastery in the hills. Riding in the course of His duties seems to be His principal exercise, but He sometimes walks with the Master Djwal Kul, who lives in a little cabin which He built with His own hands, quite near to the great crag on the way up to the plateau.
  • Sometimes our Master plays on the organ which is in the large room in His house. He had it made in Tibet under His direction, and it is in fact a combined piano and organ, with a keyboard like those which we have in the West, on which He can play all our western music. It is unlike any other instrument with which I am acquainted, for it is in a sense double-fronted, as it can be played either from the sitting-room or the library....
  • Every morning a number of people-- not exactly pupils, but followers-- come to the Master' s house, and sit on the veranda and outside it. Sometimes He gives them a little talk-- a sort of lecturette; but more often He goes on with His work and takes no notice of them beyond a friendly smile, with which they seem equally contented. They evidently come to sit in His aura and venerate Him. Sometimes He takes His food in their presence, sitting on the veranda, with this crowd of Tibetans and others on the ground around Him; but generally He eats by Himself at a table in His room.
  • He generally wears white clothes, but I do not remember ever having seen Him wearing a head-dress of any kind, except on the rare occasions when He assumes the yellow robe of the Gelugpa sect or clan, which includes a hood somewhat of the shape of the Roman helmet. The Master Morya, however, generally wears a turban.

Ch. III. The Way to the Master

  • The Entrance to the Path. The Magnitude of the Task. The Importance of Work. The Ancient Rules. `At the Feet of the Master.' The Disciple's Attitude. The Three Doors. The Master' s Work. Making the Link. None is Overlooked. The Responsibility of the Teacher. Wrong Ideas. The Effect of Meditation. Common Hindrances. Devotion must be Complete.
  • There has always been a Brotherhood of Adepts, the Great White Brotherhood; there have always been Those who knew, those who possessed this inner wisdom, and our Masters are among the present representatives of that mighty line of Seers and Sages. Part of the knowledge which They have garnered during countless aeons is available to every one on the physical plane under the name of Theosophy. But there is far more behind.
  • The Master Kuthumi Himself once said smilingly, when some one spoke of the enormous change that the Theosophical knowledge had made in our lives, and of the wonderful comprehensiveness of the doctrine of reincarnation: “Yes, but we have lifted only a very small corner of the veil as yet.” When we have thoroughly assimilated the knowledge given us, and are all living up to its teaching, the Brotherhood will be ready to lift the veil further; but only when we have complied with those conditions.
  • For those who wish to know more and to draw nearer, the Path is open. But the man who aspires to approach the Masters can reach Them only by making himself unselfish as They are unselfish, by learning to forget the personal self, and by devoting himself wholly to the service of humanity as They do. In her article on ''Occultism versus the Occult Arts'', Madame Blavatsky has expressed this necessity in characteristically vigorous language... Not for himself but for the world he lives, as soon as he has pledged himself to the work. Much is forgiven during the first years of probation. But no sooner is he accepted than his personality must disappear, and he has to become a mere beneficent force in Nature. . . . It is only when the power of the passions is dead altogether, and when they have been crushed and annihilated in the retort of an unflinching will; when not only all the lusts and longings of the flesh are dead, but also the recognition of the personal self is killed out... The aspirant has to choose absolutely between the life of the world and the life of Occultism. It is useless and vain to endeavour to unite the two, for no man can serve two masters and satisfy both.
  • The point of view of the Masters is so radically different from ours that it is difficult at first for us to grasp it.
  • They consider simply and solely the work which has to be done, the work of evolution, and the value of the man in relation to it; and if we will fit ourselves to take part in that, our progress will be rapid.
  • All who dare to ask to become pupils should try to realize the stupendous character of the forces and the work, and the magnitude of the Beings with whom they propose to come into contact. The least understanding of the greatness of all these things will make it clear why the Adepts will not spend some of Their energy on a pupil unless They have evidence that in a reasonable time he will add to the support of the world a strong current of strength and power in the right direction. They live to do the work of the Logos of the system, and those of us who wish to draw near to Them must learn to do likewise, and live only for the work.
  • Human progress is slow, but it is constant; therefore the number of the Perfected Men is increasing, and the possibility of attaining to Their level is within the reach of all who are willing to make the stupendous effort required. In normal times we should need many births before we could gain Adeptship, but just now it is possible for us to hasten our progress on that Path, to compress into a few lives the evolution which otherwise would take many thousands of years.
  • Anyone who hears about the Masters and Their teaching, if he has any grasp at all of what it means and involves, must instantly be seized with a most intense desire to understand Them and enter Their service...Once he has realized that God has a plan of evolution, he wants to be a fellow-labourer with God, and nothing else can possibly bring satisfaction.
  • When first I had the privilege of coming into somewhat closer touch with the Master, I asked Him in a letter what I should do. He answered to the following effect: “You must find work for yourself; you know what we are doing. Throw yourself into our work in any way you can. If I gave you a definite piece of work to do you would do it, but in that case the karma of what was done would be mine, because I told you to do it. You would have only the karma of willing obedience, which of course is very good, but it is not the karma initiating a fruitful line of action. I want you to initiate work for yourself, because then the karma of the good deed will come to you.”
  • There is a good deal of quite humble work to be done in connection with Theosophy. Often perhaps some of us would prefer the more spectacular part; we should like to stand up and deliver lectures in public to large audiences.
  • The qualifications for admission to the Great White Brotherhood, which have to be acquired in the course of the work in the earlier part of the Path, are of a very definite character, and are always essentially the same, although they have been described in many different terms during the last twenty-five centuries. In the early days of The Theosophical Society, when all its wonderful teaching was new to us, this question of qualifications was naturally one of those about which some of us were most eager to learn; and before Madame Blavatsky wrote down for us that most marvellous manual The Voice of the Silence
  • She (HPB) had already given us two lists of the requirements for chelaship...: A Chela is a person who has offered himself to a master as a pupil to learn practically the hidden mysteries of nature and the psychical powers latent in man. The master... is always an Adept in the Occult Science. A man of profound knowledge, exoteric and esoteric, especially the latter, and one who has brought his carnal nature under the subjection of the will...To offer oneself as a candidate for Chelaship is easy enough; to develop into an Adept is the most difficult task any man could possibly undertake...
  • From Book IV of... “The Laws of Upasanas,” we learn that the qualifications expected in a Chela were: Perfect physical health... Absolute mental and physical purity... Unselfishness of purpose; universal charity; pity for all animate beings... Truthfulness and unswerving faith in the law of Karma...A courage undaunted in every emergency, even by peril of life... An intuitional perception of one' s being the vehicle of the manifested Avalokiteshvara or Divine Atma (Spirit)... Calm indifference for, but a just appreciation of, everything that constitutes the objective and transitory world, in its relation with, and to, the invisible regions. ...With the sole exception of the first, which in rare and exceptional cases might have been modified, each one of these points has been invariably insisted upon, and all must have been more or less developed in the inner nature by the Chela's unhelped exertions, before he could be actually put to the test.
  • The second set of rules which she gives us occurs in her book Practical Occultism. They are twelve in number, but she tells us that they are taken from a list of seventy-three, to enumerate which would be useless, as they would he meaningless in Europe, though she says that every instructor in the East is furnished with them.
  • In writing of the progress of the pupil, Madame Blavatsky advises strongly against marriage, maintaining that he cannot devote himself both to occultism and to a wife. It occurs to one that if the wife shared his devotion to occultism, this rather severe stricture would no longer be applicable. While it is true that the bachelor is in certain ways freer-- as, for example, to throw up his business and start off to take up work in some foreign country, which he could hardly do if he had the responsibility of a wife and family-- it must never be forgotten that the married man has the opportunity of serving the Cause in quite another way, by providing suitable vehicles and favourable surroundings for the many advanced egos who are waiting to descend into incarnation. Both types of work are needed, and there is room among the ranks of the disciples for both married and single. We find no condemnation of the married state in any of the three great guide-books which are given to us to light us on our way. The latest and simplest of these is Mr. J. Krishnamurti' s wonderful little book, At the Feet of the Master.
At the Feet of the Master.
  • Although Mr. Krishnamurti puts this book before the world, the words which it contains are almost entirely those of the Master Kuthumi. “These are not my words,” the author says in his Foreword; “they are the words of the Master who taught me.” When the book was written, Mr. Krishnamurti' s body was thirteen years old, and it was necessary for the Master' s plans that the knowledge requisite for Initiation should be conveyed to him as quickly as possible. The words contained in the book are those in which the Master tried to convey the whole essence of the necessary teaching in the simplest and briefest form.
  • The story of how this little book came to be written is comparatively simple. Every night I had to take this boy in his astral body to the house of the Master, that instruction might be given him. The Master devoted perhaps fifteen minutes each night to talking to him, but at the end of each talk He always gathered up the main points of what He had said into a single sentence, or a few sentences, thus making an easy little summary which was repeated to the boy, so that he learnt it by heart. He remembered that summary in the morning and wrote it down.

Ch. IV. Probation

  • The Living Image. Younger Probationers. Effect of Cruelty to Children. The Master of Children. Entering upon Probation. Advice from the Master. Become as little Children. Effects of Irritability. Selfishness. Worry. Laughter. Idle Words. Forms Made by Speech. Fuss. The Value of Association.
  • Out of the ranks of earnest students and workers of the kind I have already described, the Master has on many occasions selected His pupils. But before He definitely accepts them He takes special precautions to assure Himself that they are really the kind of people whom He can draw into intimate contact with Himself; and that is the object of the stage called Probation. When He thinks of a man as a possible pupil, He usually asks one who is already closely linked with Him to bring the candidate to Him astrally. There is not generally much ceremony connected with this step; the Master gives a few words of advice, tells the new pupil what will be expected of him, and often, in His gracious way, He may find some reason to congratulate him on the work that he has already accomplished.
  • He moulds out of mental, astral and etheric matter an exact counterpart of the causal, mental, astral and etheric bodies of the neophyte, and keeps that image at hand, so that He may look at it periodically. Each image is magnetically attached to the person whom it represents, so that every variation of thought and feeling in him is accurately reproduced in it by sympathetic vibration, and thus by a single glance at the image the Master can see at once whether during the period since He last looked at it there has been any sort of disturbance in the bodies which it represents-- whether the man has been losing his temper, or allowing himself to be a prey to impure feelings, worry, depression, or anything of the kind. It is only after He has seen that for a considerable time no serious excitement has taken place in the vehicles represented by the image, that He will admit the pupil into near relation with Himself.
  • We must not think of the living image as recording only defects or disturbances. It mirrors the whole condition of the pupil' s astral and mental consciousness, so it should record much of benevolence and joyousness, and should radiate forth peace on earth and goodwill to men. Never forget that not only a passive but also an active goodness is always a prerequisite for advancement. To do no harm is already much; but remember that it is written of our Great-Exemplar that He went about doing good. And when the Lord Buddha was asked to epitomize the whole of His teaching in one verse, He began: “Cease to do evil,” but immediately He continued: “Learn to do good.”
  • If a pupil on probation does something unusually good, for the moment the Master flashes a little more attention on him, and if He sees fit He may send a wave of encouragement of some sort, or He may put some work in the pupil's way and see how he does it. Generally, however, he delegates that task to some of His senior pupils.. We are supposed to offer opportunities to the candidate, but to do so is a serious responsibility. If the person takes the opportunity, all is well; but if he does not, it counts as a bad mark against him. We should often like to give opportunities to people, but we hesitate, because although if they take them it will do them much good, if they do not take them it will be a little harder to do so next time.
  • It is not the custom of the Adepts to employ special or sensational tests, and in general, when an adult is put on probation, he is left to follow the ordinary course of his life, and the way in which the living image reproduces his response to the trials and problems of the day gives quite sufficient indication of his character and progress. When from this the Master concludes that the person will make a satisfactory disciple, He will draw him nearer and accept him. Sometimes a few weeks is sufficient to determine this; sometimes the period stretches into years.
  • Because the time is exceptional many young people have been put on probation in recent years, and their parents and the older members of The Society have sometimes wondered how it is that, notwithstanding their own sincere sacrifices and labours, often extending over twenty, thirty or even forty years, they are passed over and the young people are chosen. The explanation is simple.... If a boy or a girl suddenly enters into close relations with a Master-- such relations as you have hardly ventured to think of for yourself, even after many years of meditation and hard work-- do not be astonished. Your child may be capable of soaring far beyond you... you should rejoice with exceeding great joy that you have been found worthy to train the physical footsteps of one who shall be among the Saviours of the world.
  • Many of those who are coming into incarnation just now are highly evolved souls; it is precisely of such advanced egos that the great group of disciples who will stand around the World-Teacher must be constituted. Those who become pupils early in this life may well have been pupils for many years in a previous life, and the greatest privilege that we elder people can have is that we find ourselves associated with these young ones, for through them we can further the Lord' s work on earth by training them to do it more perfectly.
  • Because the time is exceptional many young people have been put on probation in recent years, and their parents and the older members of The Society have sometimes wondered how it is that, notwithstanding their own sincere sacrifices and labours, often extending over twenty, thirty or even forty years, they are passed over and the young people are chosen. The explanation is simple.
  • It has been your karma to work all this time preparing yourself and preparing the way for the coming of the World-Teacher; and just because you are good old members you have attracted some of the souls who have been working up to a high level of development in previous incarnations, so that they have been born to you as children; and you must not be surprised if you sometimes find that those who in the physical body are your children are in other and higher worlds far older in development than you are. If a boy or a girl suddenly enters into close relations with a Master-- such relations as you have hardly ventured to think of for yourself, even after many years of meditation and hard work-- do not be astonished... you should rejoice with exceeding great joy that you have been found worthy to train the physical footsteps of one who shall be among the Saviours of the world.
  • The Lord Maitreya has frequently been called the Teacher of Gods and Men, and that fact is sometimes expressed in a different way by saying that in the great kingdom of the spiritual work He is the Minister for Religion and Education. It is not only that at certain intervals, when He sees it to be desirable, He either incarnates Himself, or sends a pupil, to state the eternal truth in some new way... We know little of the methods of world-wide instruction which He adopts; there are many ways of teaching apart from the spoken word; and it is certain that it is His constant and daily endeavour to raise the intellectual conceptions of millions of Angels and of men.
  • His right-hand man in all this marvellous work is His assistant and destined successor, the Master Kuthumi,... it is to Him that we have to bring those who are to be put on probation or accepted at an early age... It has been part of my task for many years to endeavour to train along the right lines any young person whom the Master regards as hopeful; He brings them in contact with me on the physical plane and usually gives brief directions as to what qualities He wants developing in them, and what instruction should be given to them.
  • Let me quote from an account of the putting on probation some ten years ago of three of our young people:... We found the Master Kuthumi seated on the veranda of His house, and as I led the young ones forward to Him, He held out His hands to them. The first boy dropped gracefully on one knee and kissed His hand, and thenceforward remained kneeling, pressing against the Master' s knee. All of them kept their eyes upon His, and their whole souls seemed to be pouring out through their eyes. He smiled on them most beautifully and said: “I welcome you with peculiar pleasure; you have all worked with me in the past, and I hope you will do so again this time. I want you to be of us before the Lord comes, so I am beginning with you very early. Remember, this that you wish to undertake is the most glorious of all tasks, but it is not an easy one, because you must gain perfect control over these little bodies; you must forget yourselves entirely and live only to be a blessing to others, and to do the work which is given us to do.... Can you do that?” And they all replied that they would try... “Then I take you as my pupil on probation, and I hope that you will soon come into closer relationship with me, and therefore I give you my blessing, in order that you may pass it on to others.”
  • In the case of elder people put upon probation, they are left to a large extent to find the most suitable work for themselves; but with the younger people he sometimes quite definitely puts a piece of work in the way of one of them and watches to see how he does it.
  • Advice from the Master. I know that your one object in life is to serve the Brotherhood; yet do not forget that there are higher steps before you, and that progress on the Path means sleepless vigilance. You must not only be always ready to serve; you must be ever watching for opportunities—nay, making opportunities to be helpful in small things, in order that when the greater work comes you may not fail to see it.
  • Do not rest on your oars. There are still higher peaks to conquer. The need of intellectual development must not be forgotten; and we must unfold within ourselves sympathy, affection, tolerance. Each must realize that there are other points of view than his own, and that they may be just as worthy of attention.
  • Never speak without first thinking whether what you are going to say is both kind and sensible.
  • He who tries to develop love within himself will be saved from many mistakes. Love is the supreme virtue of all, without which all other qualifications water but the sand.
  • Thoughts and feelings of an undesirable kind must be rigorously excluded; you must work at them until they are impossible to you.
  • Touches of irritability ruffle the calm sea of the consciousness of the Brotherhood. Pride must be eliminated, for it is a serious bar to progress. Exquisite delicacy of thought and speech is needed—the rare aroma of perfect tact which can never jar or offend. That is hard to win, yet you may reach it if you will.
  • Definite service, and not mere amusement, should be your aim; think, not what you want to do, but what you can do that will help someone else; forget about yourself, and consider others.
  • When you see certain evils in yourself, take them in hand manfully and effectively. Persevere, and you will succeed. It is a question of willpower. Watch for opportunities and hints; be efficient. I am always ready to help you, but I cannot do the work for you; the effort must come from your side. Try to deepen yourself all round and to live a life of utter devotion to service.
  • ...the disciple’s speech should be refined and evolved. Remember how it is said in The Light of Asia that the King, the Self, is within you, and that whatever comes out of your mouth in his presence should be a golden thought expressed in golden words:
    Govern the lips
    As they were palace doors, the King within;
    Tranquil and fair and courteous be all words Which from that presence win.
  • Especially is it necessary for the aspirant to avoid all fidgetiness or fussiness. Many an energetic and earnest worker spoils most of his efforts and makes them of no effect by yielding to these failings; for he sets up around him such an aura of tremulous vibrations that no thought or feeling can pass in or out without distortion, and the very good that he sends out takes with it a shiver that practically neutralizes it. Be absolutely accurate; but attain your accuracy by perfect calmness, never by hurry or fuss.
  • Another point that it is necessary to impress upon our students is that in occultism we always mean exactly what we say, neither more or less. When a rule is laid down that nothing unkind or critical must be said about another, just that is exactly what is meant—not that when we happen to think of it we should slightly diminish the number of unkind or critical things that we say every day, but that they must definitely altogether cease.

Ch. V. Acceptance

  • “Have you finally decided that you will work under me and devote yourself to the service of humanity?” The boy replied very earnestly that he meant to do so, and our Master continued: “I have been much pleased with the efforts that you have made, and I hope that you will not relax them. Do not forget under the new conditions what I told you a few months ago. Your work and your determination have enabled me to shorten the period of your Probation, and I am pleased that you have chosen the shortest of all roads to progress, that of bringing others with you along the Path. Absolutely unselfish love is the strongest power in the world, but few are they who can keep it pure from exaction or jealousy, even if it be for one object alone. Your advancement is due to your success in keeping that flame burning ardently for several objects simultaneously. You have done much to develop strength, but you need still more of it. You must acquire discrimination and alertness, so that you see what is wanted at the right moment, instead of ten minutes afterwards. Before you speak or act, think carefully what the consequences will be. But you have done remarkably well, and I am much pleased with you.” p. 96
  • The Attitude of the Disciple. No one is likely to become an accepted pupil unless he has acquired the habit of turning his forces outwards and concentrating his attention and strength upon others, to pour out helpful thoughts and good wishes upon his fellow-men. Opportunities for doing this are constantly offering themselves, not only among those with whom we are brought into close contact, but even among the strangers whom we pass in the street. Sometimes we notice a man who is obviously depressed or suffering; in a flash we can send a strengthening and encouraging thought into his aura.
  • Let me quote once again a passage which I saw a quarter of a century ago in one of the New-Thought books: Knead love into the bread you bake; wrap strength and courage in the parcel you tie for the woman with the weary face; hand trust and candour with the coin you pay to the man with the suspicious eyes. p. 100
  • In the earlier stages of the pupil’s relation with his Master, he will often feel that a vast amount of force is poured through him, without his knowing where it is going; he feels only that a great volume of living fire is rushing through him and flooding his neighbourhood. With a little careful attention he can soon learn to tell in which direction it is going, and a little later he becomes able to follow with his consciousness that rush of the Master’s power, and can actually trace it down to the very people who are being affected and helped by it. He himself, however, cannot direct it; he is being used simply as a channel, yet is at the same time being taught to co-operate in the distribution of the force. p. 102-3
  • I remember one lady who was an exceedingly good clairvoyant, capable of looking back into the past, and describing historical events with great accuracy and wealth of detail. She was a very devout Christian, and I think she was never quite able to feel that any other religion could be as full an exposition of the truth as her own. She might be said (using the word in no invidious sense) to have a strong prejudice in favour of Christianity. The result of that upon her clairvoyance was very striking—in fact, almost amusing sometimes. She might be describing, let us say, a scene in ancient Rome; so long as nothing directly connected with religion came into her purview, the description would be quite accurate, but the moment that it appeared that one of the characters in the scene was a Christian she immediately displayed a remarkable strong bias in his favour. Nothing that he did or said could be wrong, whereas anything whatever that was said or done against him was always indicative of the greatest wickedness. When this factor was introduced her clairvoyance became absolutely unreliable. p. 110
  • But you must remember that the great Adepts themselves work under universal law, and that They cannot alter its provisions for our convenience. p.112
  • The lethargic mass of unilluminated matter has a certain life and tendencies of its own, which assert themselves when the more active part of the personality is somewhat in abeyance, and that happens more especially when the man himself is not actively using those bodies. These qualities naturally vary with different people, but an intense egotism is almost always prominent. The thoughts and impressions generated by this sluggish kernel are often those of conceit and selfglorification, and also of instinctive self-preservation in the presence of any danger, whether real or imaginary. p. 115
  • Our minds, like bowstrings, cannot be kept always taut; reasonable relaxation and change of thought is one of the necessities of mental health. But the pupil should be exceedingly careful that there is no slightest tinge of impurity or unkindness about his relaxation; no thought should ever be permitted, even for a moment, which the pupil would be ashamed that his Master should see.
  • There is no harm whatever in reading a good novel for the sake of diversion; the thought-forms engendered by it would not in any way interfere with the current of the Master’s thought; but there are many novels full of evil insinuation, novels which bring impure thought-forms before the mind, novels which glorify crime, and others which concentrate the thought of their readers on the most unsavoury problems of life, or vividly depict scenes of hatred and cruelty; all such should be rigorously avoided. In the same way, there is no harm in taking part in or watching all ordinary games which are fairly played; but any which are rough and boisterous, any in which any sort of cruelty is involved, any in which there is likelihood of injury to man or beast—all these are absolutely barred. p. 119
  • I have heard our great President say: “What I have not time to do is not my work.” Yet no one labours more strenuously and unceasingly than she. If we use our forces reasonably for the task of to-day, we ought to be stronger to face the duties which tomorrow brings; to overstrain ourselves today so that we shall be useless tomorrow is not really intelligent service, for we spoil our power for future work in order to gratify to-day’s unbalanced enthusiasm. Of course emergencies occasionally arise in which prudence must be cast aside in order that some piece of work may be finished in time, but the wise craftsman will try to look ahead sufficiently to avoid unnecessary crises of that sort. p. 121
  • The more advanced we can become, the better prey we should be for these Brothers of the Shadow if they could get hold of us. But they cannot get hold of us, they cannot touch us, as long as we can keep ourselves in full community of thought with our Masters; as long as we can keep ourselves steadfastly along the line of unselfishness, of the constant outpouring of love.
  • The Adepts are the busiest people in the world; they deal with egos in blocks; they deal with souls by the million, not with personalities one by one.
  • The pupil must make up his mind that with regard to his efforts towards self-improvement he will never allow himself to be discouraged by failure, even though it be often repeated. However many times he may have failed in his effort, however many falls he may have on the path which he sets before himself, there is exactly the same reason for getting up and going on after the thousandth fall that there was after the first. p. 126

Ch. VI Other Presentations

  • The Masters and the Brotherhood. All this while, the Adept, besides using his pupil as an apprentice, has been preparing him for presentation to the Great White Brotherhood for Initiation. The whole object of the existence of that Brotherhood is to promote the work of evolution, and the Master knows that when the pupil is ready for the stupendous honour of being received as a member of it, he will be of very much more use in the world than before. Therefore it is His wish to raise his pupil to that level as soon as possible.
  • In the Oriental books on the subject, written thousands of years ago, are to be found many accounts of this preparatory period of instruction; and when reference has been made to it in the earlier Theosophical literature it has been called the Probationary Path—the term referring not to being put upon probation by any individual Adept, but to a course of general training preparatory to Initiation. I myself used the term in Invisible Helpers, but have lately avoided it on account of the confusion caused by the employment of the same word in two distinct senses.
  • The method really adopted is readily comprehensible, and is in fact much like that of some of our older Universities. If a student wishes to take a degree at one of those, he must first pass the entrance examination of the University and then be admitted to one of the Colleges.The Head of that College is technically responsible for his progress, and may be regarded as his tutor-in-chief. The man will have to work to a large extent by himself, but the Head of his College is expected to see that he is properly prepared before he is presented to take his Degree. The Head does not give the Degree; it is conferred by that abstraction called the University—usually at the hands of its Vice- Chancellor. It is the University, not the Head of the College, that arranges the examination and confers the various Degrees; the work of the Head of the College is to see that the candidate is duly prepared, and generally to be to some extent responsible for him. In the process of such preparation he may, as a private gentleman, enter into whatever social or other relations with his pupil he may think proper; but all that is not the business of the University. p. 129
  • Four Ways to the Path. In the books we are told that there are four ways, any one of which may bring a man to the commencement of the Path of development. First, by being in the presence of, and getting to know, those who are already interested along that line. Some of us, for example, may have been monks or nuns in the Middle Ages. We may have come into contact in that life with an abbot or abbess who had deep experience of the inner world—a person like St. Theresa...
  • It happens that, in lands which have the European culture, almost the only way in which we can get the inner teaching put clearly before us is by coming into The Theosophical Society, or by reading Theosophical works. There have been mystical or spiritualistic works which have given some information, which have gone a long way, but there are none, so far as I know, which state the case so clearly, so scientifically, as the Theosophical literature has done. I know of no other book which contains such a wealth of information as The Secret Doctrine. p. 130
  • Blessings. Under this heading should come the various types of blessings such as are given in the Church, in Freemasonry, and by the pupils of our Masters. Blessings may be arranged in two sections—those which a man gives from himself, and those which are given through him as an official by a higher power. The first kind of blessing is merely an expression of an earnest good wish... this will depend upon the earnestness of the good wish and the amount of spiritual force put into it... If the words were uttered... without much feeling or intention behind them, the effect would be slight and transient; on the other hand, if they came from a full heart and were uttered with definite determination, their effect would be deep and lasting. The second type of blessing is that which is uttered by an official appointed for the purpose, through whom power flows from some higher source... the power of giving a definite blessing is one of those conferred upon the Priest at his ordination... he is simply a channel for the power from on high, and if it should unfortunately happen that he speaks it merely as a matter of course and as part of his ritual, that would make no difference to the spiritual power outpoured. The blessing flows equally over all, but the amount of the influences which any individual can obtain from it depends upon his receptivity. p. 142-143
  • Madame Blavatsky told us, I remember, that a mantra might be recited not for oneself at all, but with a special view to someone whom it was thought it might help. In this way we might recite the Sacred Word [Om] or the Gayatri, or any of those beautiful Buddhist mantras which flow so sweetly, thinking strongly of a special person and projecting towards him the force of the mantra. But she advised us to use these things with care. Again, she gave a caution that no one should attempt to use a mantra which is too high for him. None such will be given to us by our teachers; but I would say this, as a caution to neophytes, that if the reciting even of the Sacred Word in any particular way should produce headache or a feeling of nausea or faintness, it should be stopped at once. We should go on working at the development of our characters, and try it again in a few months. In using the Word, we are invoking great forces, and if we are not yet quite up to their level they may not be harmonious, and the result may be not invariably good. p. 149
  • The Gayatri is perhaps the greatest and most beautiful of all the ancient mantras. It has been chanted all over India from time immemorial... in an antiquity so remote that the very memory of it has been forgotten, the altruistic use of such mantras was fully comprehended and practiced. It begins always with the sacred word [Om], and with the enumeration of the planes upon which its action is desired—the three worlds in which man lives, the physical, the astral and the mental. p. 149
  • This wonderful mantra is an invocation to the Sun—of course really to the Solar Logos, who stands behind that grandest of all symbols; and the great shaft of light which immediately pours down upon and into the reciter comes as though from the physical Sun, in whatever direction that Sun may happen to be. This shaft of light is white tinged with gold, and shot with that electric blue which is so often seen in connection with any manifestation of the power of the first Ray; but when it has filled the very soul of the reciter it promptly shoots from him again in seven great rays or cones having the colours of the spectrum. It is as though the singer acts as a prism; yet the colour rays which dart forth are of a shape the reverse of what we usually find in such cases. Commonly when we send out rays of spiritual force they spring forth from a point in the body—the heart, the brain, or some other centre; and as they shoot out they steadily broaden fanwise, as do those shining from a lighthouse. But these rays start from a basis wider than the man himself—a basis which is the circumference of his aura; and instead of widening out they decrease to a point, just as do the rays of a conventional star except that they are of course cones of light instead of mere triangles. p. 150

Ch. VII. The First Initiation

  • The One Initiator. Most people when they think of Initiation have in mind a step to be gained for themselves. They think of the Initiate as a man who has developed himself very highly, and has become a great and glorious figure, as compared with the man of the outer world. That is true; but the whole question will be better understood if we try to look down on it from a higher point of view. The importance of Initiation does not lie in the exaltation of an individual, but in the fact that he has now become definitely one with a great Order, the Communion of Saints, as it is very beautifully put in the Christian Church, though few ever pay attention to the real meaning of those words. p. 156
  • The stupendous reality that lies behind Initiation into the Brotherhood will be better understood after we have considered the organization of the Occult Hierarchy and the work of the Masters, to be dealt with in later chapters.
  • Now that you have attained the immediate goal of your aspiration, I would exhort you at once to turn your attention to the far greater requirements of the next step. That for which you have now to prepare, the ‘entering upon the stream’ which the Christians call salvation, will be the salient point in the long line of your earthly existences, the culmination of seven hundred lives. Ages ago, by individualization, you entered the human kingdom; in a future which I trust is not remote, you will quit it by the door of Adeptship, and become a Superman; between these two extremes is no point of greater importance than that Initiation towards which you should now turn your thoughts. Not only will it make you safe for ever, but it will admit you to that Brotherhood which exists from eternity unto eternity—the Brotherhood which helps the world. p.156
  • We can quite understand that those who have nothing to do with the training of individuals might say: “Our work is eing disturbed, and it is better that those who have such immature personalities should stay outside.” They would say that nothing was lost, that progress can be made just as well outside, and that pupils could go on making themselves better and stronger and wiser before gaining Initiation.
  • So wonderful is the expansion of the Initiate’s consciousness that it is most apt to speak of the change as a new birth. He begins to lead a new life “as a little child,” the life of the Christ; and the Christ, the intuitional or buddhic consciousness, is born within his heart. p. 158
  • If he feels the least hesitation, or is weighed down by the responsibility of letting such a tremendous power flow through him, he will not be able to use this wonderful gift to the full; but if he has that qualification of Shraddha—perfect trust in his Master and in the Brotherhood, and the utter certainty that because he is one with them all things are possible to him—he may go through the world as a veritable angel of light, shedding joy and benediction around his path.
  • The consciousness of the Great White Brotherhood is an indescribably wonderful thing. It is like a great calm shining ocean, so strangely one that the least thrill of consciousness flashes from end to end of it instantaneously, and yet to each member it seems to be absolutely his own individual consciousness, though with a weight and a power and a wisdom behind it that no single human consciousness could ever have. This magnificent sea of “cosmic consciousness” of the Brotherhood is something so great, so wonderful, that there is nothing else in the world like it: even those who belong to it by virtue of having passed the First Great Initiation can catch only glimpses of it, can remember only a little of it here and there. It can be felt fully only on the nirvanic plane, on which the Brotherhood primarily exists, though it has its manifestation on the lower planes, even down to the physical world. p. 159
  • We have now entered upon a period in the world’s history in which progress at all levels of evolution can be very rapid, because the near Coming of the World-Teacher has set up so strong a tide of thought and feeling about spiritual things, all in the direction of progress, that anyone who now makes an effort along that line finds himself swimming with the current and advancing swiftly. p. 175
  • The Initiate Brother to All... It is his duty to stream forth love and benediction, so that every place in which he happens to be is happier because of his presence. He must therefore steadily turn outwards.
  • Henceforth it does not matter to him what judgment the world gives on his actions, but only what judgment the Brotherhood gives. Whether he is popular or unpopular with the world matters not at all, if through all his conduct he has been loyal to the ideals placed before him.
  • Some senior members of the Brotherhood may desire to use him at any moment, wherever he happens to be, and sometimes without his knowing it in the brain consciousness, but he cannot be used if, at the moment when he is needed, he is found brooding over his own affairs and turned inwards, not outwards to the world. The supreme need for him is the building of character, so that, when his Master looks at him he will find him thinking of the world’s welfare, and not whether that world is giving him happiness or misery. p. 179

Chapter VIII. The Ego

  • At its lowest level of materiality that Life ensouls the mineral kingdom, and as it evolves it gradually becomes definite enough to ensoul the vegetable kingdom, and still later the animal. When it has risen to the highest level of the animal kingdom a very remarkable change takes place, and an entirely new factor is introduced... the new force... seizes upon what has heretofore been the soul of the animal, and actually makes it into a body for itself... so exceedingly fine as to be utterly inappreciable to our physical senses. Thus is born the ego [divine self] in his causal body, and he at once draws into himself the result of all the experience that has been gained by that animal soul in all the aeons of its previous development, so that nothing of the qualities which have been acquired in the course of its evolution is lost. p. 181-2
  • Just as it is evolution for the personality to learn to express the ego more fully, so is it evolution for the ego to learn to express the Monad more fully. An undeveloped personality forgets all about this connection with the ego and feels himself quite independent. It can hardly be possible for an ego at his much higher level to be unaware of his link with the Monad; certainly some egos are far more awake to the necessities of their evolution than others—which is only another way of saying that there are older and younger egos, and that the older are striving more earnestly than the younger to unfold their latent possibilities. p. 184
  • As I have explained at length in Man Visible and Invisible, the causal body of a savage is almost colourless. As in the process of his evolution he develops good qualities which can find corresponding vibrations in the matter of the causal body, the colours expressive of these qualities begin to show themselves; and presently the causal body, instead of being empty, is full of active pulsating life.
  • As in the process of his evolution he develops good qualities which can find corresponding vibrations in the matter of the causal body, the colours expressive of these qualities begin to show themselves; and presently the causal body, instead of being empty, is full of active pulsating life. So much more of the ego can now manifest through it that it has to increase enormously in size; it extends further and further from its physical centre until the man is able to enfold hundreds and even thousands of persons within himself, and so to exercise a vast influence for good... and gives us... some idea of what God means man to be.
  • It is not easy to explain in physical words the differences which exist between egos, since all of them are in many ways much greater than anything to which we are accustomed down here. Analogies are notoriously misleading if pressed too far or taken too literally; but I may perhaps convey some faint reflection of the impression produced upon me by intercourse with them, if I say that an advanced ego reminds me of a dignified, stately and most courteous ambassador, full of wisdom and kindliness... radiates spiritual influences of prodigious power.
  • Children differ so widely that it is not surprising to find that the relation between the egos and the personalities involved differs widely also. Some child-personalities are quick and responsive, some are a dull or wayward... p. 188
  • We are hardly in a position to judge, since our knowledge of the problem is so imperfect, and we can see nothing of the higher business to which he [the ego/divine self] is devoting himself. From this it will be seen how impossible it is to judge with any precision the position in evolution of anyone whom we see only on the physical plane. In one case karmic causes may have produced a very fair personality, having an ego of only moderate advancement behind it; while in another case those causes may have given rise to an inferior or defective personality, belonging to a comparatively advanced ego.
  • A good illustration of this appears among the stories of the life of the Lord Buddha. A man came to him one day, as people in trouble were wont to do, and told him that he had great difficulty with his meditation, which he could scarcely succeed in doing at all. Then the Buddha told him that there was a very simple reason for it—that in a previous life he had foolishly been in the habit of annoying certain holy men and disturbing their meditations. Yet that man may have been more advanced as an ego than some of his companions whose meditations were well done.
  • Realization of Unity. All that lives is really one, and it is the duty of those who enter the Brotherhood to know that as a fact. We are taught that the Self is one, and we try to understand what that means; but it is quite a different thing when we see it for ourselves, as the candidate does when he enters the buddhic plane.
  • It is as if in physical life we were each living at the bottom of a well, from which we may look up at the sunlight in the world above; and just as the light shines down into the depth of many wells, and yet ever remains the one light, so does the Light of the One illumine the darkness of our hearts. The Initiate has climbed out of the well of the personality, and sees that the light which he thought to be himself is in very truth the Infinite Light of all... p. 190

Ch. IX. The Second and Third Initiations

  • People who have been trained in European habits of thought are, unhappily, so familiar with the idea that a blind, unreasoning adhesion to certain dogmas may be claimed from a disciple of any religion, school or sect, that on hearing that in Occultism doubt is considered to be an obstacle to progress, they are likely to suppose that this Path also requires from its followers the same unquestioning faith as do many modern superstitions. No idea could be more entirely false. p. 194
  • It is true that doubt (or rather uncertainty) on some questions is a bar to spiritual progress, but the antidote to that doubt is not blind faith (which is itself considered a fetter, as will presently be seen), but the certainty of conviction founded on individual experiment or mathematical reasoning. While a child doubts the accuracy of the multiplication table, he can hardly acquire proficiency in the higher mathematics; but his doubts can be satisfactorily cleared up only by his attaining a comprehension, founded on reasoning or experiment, that the statements contained in the table are true. He believes that twice two are four, not merely because he has been told so, but because it has become to him a self-evident fact. And this is exactly the method, and the only method, of resolving doubt known to Occultism. p. 194

Ch. XII. The Chohans and the Rays

  • The Chohans. The Master Djwal Kul' s Table. The Sevenfold Division. The Seven Spirits. The Seven Types of Beings. Magic and Healing Powers. The Chohans of the Rays. The Qualities to be Developed. Cyclic Changes. The Reign of Devotion. The Advent of Ceremonial.
  • There is a sevenfold division running through all things, as I must explain more fully presently, and this appears also in the Great White Brotherhood. In the Hierarchy the seven Rays are clearly distinguished. The First or ruling Ray is governed by the Lord of the World; at the head of the Second Ray stands the Lord Buddha, and under These come respectively the Manu and the Bodhisattva of the root race which is predominant in the world at any given time. Parallel in rank with These is the Mahachohan, who supervises all the other five Rays, each of which nevertheless has also its own Head. In my next chapter I will explain what I can about the loftier ranks of the Hierarchy, attempting in this to render some account of the work of the Heads of Rays Three to Seven, and of the Masters Morya and Kuthumi, who stand at Their level on the First and Second Rays.
  • Mr. Cooper-Oakley and I and a Hindu brother were sitting talking on the roof at Adyar in the very early days... and there came to us suddenly the Master Djwal Kul, who was at that time the chief pupil of the Master Kuthumi. He gave us a great deal of teaching in those days, and was always very kind and patient, and while He sat and talked to us that day this question of the Rays came up. Mr. Cooper-Oakley in his characteristic way said: “Oh, please, Master, will you tell us all about the Rays?” There was a twinkle in our Teacher's eye as He said: “Well, I cannot tell you all about them until you have reached a very high Initiation. Will you have what I can tell you, which will be partial and inevitably misleading, or will you wait until you can be told the whole thing?” Not unnaturally we thought that half a loaf was better than no bread, so we said we would take what we could get. We noted down the very interesting information that He gave, but much of it was incomprehensible to us, as He had foretold. He said: “I cannot tell you any more than that, for I am bound by certain pledges; but if your intuition can make out more I will tell you whether you are right.” Even that little fragmentary information was of very great value to us.
  • The essential thing to understand is that there is a certain sevenfold division of everything that exists in the manifested world, whether of life or matter. All life which exists in our chain of worlds passes through and belongs to one or other of Seven Rays, each having seven subdivisions. In the universe there are forty-nine such Rays, making, in sets of seven, the Seven Great Cosmic Rays, flowing from or through the Seven Great Logoi. In our chain of worlds, however, and perhaps in our solar system, only one of these Great Cosmic Rays is operating, and its subdivisions are our seven Rays. It must not of course be supposed that our solar system is the only manifestation of that particular Logos, since each of the Seven Great Logoi may have millions of systems dependent on it.

Ch. XIII. The Trinity and the Triangles

  • The Divine Trinity. The Triangle of Agents. The World-Mother Limits of the Rays. Change of Ray. Perfect Unity.
  • In the Christian system we have the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost; and it is interesting in this connection to note that in some of the old books the Holy Ghost is definitely mentioned as being feminine. Apart from this, the instinctive need of man to recognize the Divine Motherhood has in Christianity found expression in the cult of the Blessed Virgin, who, though not a Person of the Holy Trinity, is nevertheless the Universal Mother, the Queen of the Angels, the Star of the Sea.
  • Students should understand that a great department of Motherhood exists, and has an important place in the Inner Government of the world. Just as the Manu is the head of a great department which looks after the physical development of races and sub-races, just as the Bodhisattva is the head of another which attends to religion and education, so is the great Official who is called the Jagat-Amba or World-Mother the head of a department of Motherhood. Just as the Lord Vaivasvata is at present filling the office of the Manu, and the Lord Maitreya that of the World-Teacher, so is the great Angel who was once the mother of the body of Jesus filling the post of World-Mother.
  • It is the work of this department to look especially after the mothers of the world. From the occult standpoint the greatest glory of woman is not to become a leader in society, nor is it to take a high university degree and live in a flat in scornful isolation, but to provide vehicles for the egos that are to come into incarnation. And that is regarded not as something to hide and to put away, something of which one should be half-ashamed; it is the greatest glory of the feminine incarnation, the grand opportunity which women have and men have not. Men have other opportunities, but that really wonderful privilege of motherhood is not theirs. It is the women who do this great work for the helping of the world, for the continuance of the race; and they do it at a cost of suffering of which we who are men can have no idea.
  • Because this is so-- because of the great work done and the terrible suffering which it entails-- there is this special department of the government of the world, and the duty of its officials is to look after every woman in the time of her suffering, and give her such help and strength as her karma allows. As we have said, the World-Mother has at her command vast hosts of angelic beings, and at the birth of every child one of these is always present as her representative. To every celebration of the Holy Eucharist comes an Angel of the Presence, who is in effect a thought-form of the Christ Himself-- the form through which He endorses and ratifies the Priest' s act of consecration; and so it is absolutely true that, though the Christ is one and indivisible, He is nevertheless simultaneously present upon many thousands of altars. In something the same way... the World-Mother herself is present in and through her representative at the bedside of every suffering mother. Many women have seen her under such conditions, and many who have not been privileged to see have yet felt the help and the strength which she outpours.
  • It would indeed be well that women in all countries should band themselves together in an endeavour to spread abroad among their sisters accurate information on this most important subject; every women should fully realize the magnificent opportunities which the feminine incarnation gives her; every woman should be taught the absolute necessity for proper conditions before, during and after her pregnancy. Not only the most perfect cleanliness and the most careful attention should surround the baby body, but also it should be encompassed by perfect astral and mental conditions, by love and trust, by happiness and holiness. In this way the work of the World-Mother would be immensely facilitated and the future of the race would be assured.
  • It has often been asked whether there are any Adepts living in feminine bodies. The existence of the World-Mother is an answer to that question. Because of her wonderful quality of intense purity and because of her development in other ways, she was chosen to be the mother of the body of the disciple Jesus long ago in Palestine; and because of the wonderful patience and nobility of soul with which she bore all the terrible suffering which came to her as the consequence of that position, she attained in that same life the level of Adeptship... That is the truth which lies behind the Roman Catholic doctrine of her Assumption; not that she was carried up into heaven among the Angels in her physical body, but that when she left that body she took her place among the Angels, and being presently appointed to the office of World-Mother she became very truly a queen among them, as the Church so poetically says. A great Deva needs no physical body; but while she holds her present office she will always appear to us in feminine form, as will those Adepts who have chosen to help her in her work.
  • We must not think of this knowledge about the World-Mother as exclusively the possession of Christianity; she is clearly recognized in India as the Jagat-Amba, and in China as Kwan-Yin, the Mother of Mercy and Knowledge. She is essentially the representative, the very type and essence of love, devotion and purity; the heavenly wisdom indeed, but most of all Consolatrix Afflictorum, the Consoler, Comforter, Helper of all who are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness or any other adversity.
  • As the Logos is a Trinity, so the Occult Government of the world is in three great departments, ruled by three mighty Officials, who are not merely reflections of the Three Aspects of the Logos, but are in a very real way actual manifestations of Them. They are the Lord of the World, the Lord Buddha and the Mahachohan, who have reached grades of Initiation which give them waking consciousness on the planes of nature beyond the field of evolution of humanity, where dwells the manifested Logos.

Ch. XIV. The Wisdom in the Triangles

  • The Buddha. The Supplementary Acts. The Wesak Festival. The Valley. The Ceremony. The Greatest Blessing. The Predecessors of the Buddha. The Bodhisattva Maitreya. The Asala Festival. The Four Noble Truths. The Noble Eightfold Path.
  • The Wesak Festival. The occasion selected for this wonderful outpouring is the full moon day of the Indian month of Vaisakh (called in Ceylon Wesak, and usually corresponding to the English May), the anniversary of all the momentous occurrences of His last earthly life, His birth, His attainment of Buddhahood, and His departure from the physical body.
    In connection with this visit of His... an exoteric ceremony is performed on the physical plane... Whether He shows himself to pilgrims I am not certain; they all prostrate themselves at the moment when He appears, but that may be only in imitation of the prostration of the Adepts and their pupils, who do see the Lord Gautama. It seems probable that some at least of the pilgrims have seen Him for themselves, for the existence of the ceremony is widely known among the Buddhists of central Asia, and it is spoken of as the appearance of the Shadow or Reflection of the Buddha, the description given of it in such traditional accounts being as a rule fairly accurate. So far as we can see there appears to be no reason why any person whatever who happens to be in the neighborhood at the time may not be present at the ceremony; no apparent effort is made to restrict the number of spectators; though it is true that one hears stories of parties of pilgrims who have wandered for years without being able to find the spot. P. 285
  • What is the greatest blessing?
Not to serve the foolish,
But to serve the wise;
To honour those worthy of honour;
This is the greatest blessing...
To have a soul filled with right desire...
Pleasant words that are well spoken...
To support father and mother,
To cherish wife and child,
To follow a peaceful calling...
To abhor and cease from sin,
To abstain from strong drink,
Not to be weary in well-doing...
Reverence and lowliness...
To be long-suffering and meek...
Self-restraint and purity,
The knowledge of the Four Great Truths...
Invincible on every side
Is he who acteth thus;
On every side he walks in safety;
And his is the greatest blessing.
  • Guatama Buddha, translated thus by Professor Rhys Davids with slight modifications introduced from other sources, when they seemed decided improvements (by CWL). Quoted in The Masters and the Path (1925) by C.W. Leadbeater , (1925) p. 291

The Bodhisattva Maitreya
  • Now at this time in the remote past to which we have referred, humanity should have begun to provide its own Teachers; but we are told that no one had quite reached the level required for the incurring of so tremendous a responsibility. The first-fruits of Humanity at this period were two Brothers who stood equal in occult development; one being he whom we now call the Lord Gautama Buddha, and the other our present World-Teacher, the Lord Maitreya. In what way they fell short of the required qualifications we do not know; but, out of his great love for humanity the Lord Gautama instantly offered to make himself ready to undertake whatever additional effort might be necessary to attain the required development. We learn from tradition that life after life he practised special virtues, each life showing out some great quality achieved.
  • That great sacrifice of the Buddha is spoken of in all the sacred books of the Buddhists; but they have not understood the nature of the sacrifice, for many believe it to have been the descent of the Lord Buddha from Nirvanic levels after his Illumination to teach his Law. It is true that he did so descend, but that would not be anything in the nature of a sacrifice; it would only be an ordinary, but not very pleasant piece of work. The great sacrifice that he made was this spending of thousands of years in order to qualify himself to be the first of mankind who should help his brother-men by teaching to them the Wisdom which is life eternal. That work was done, and nobly done. We know something of the various incarnations that he took after that, as Bodhisattva of his time, though there may be many more of which we know nothing. He
  • The Bodhisattva Maitreya. The Lord Maitreya, whose name means kindliness or compassion, took up the office of Bodhisattva when the Lord Gautama laid it down, and since then He has made many efforts for the promotion of Religion. One of His first steps on assuming office was to take advantage of the tremendous magnetism generated in the world by the presence of the Buddha, to arrange that great Teachers should simultaneously appear in many different parts of the earth; so that within a comparatively short space of time we find not only the Buddha Himself, Shri Shankaracharya and Mahavira in India, but also Mithra in Persia, Laotse and Confucius in China, and Pythagoras in ancient Greece.
  • What is now called Christianity was undoubtedly a magnificent conception as He originally taught it, sadly as it has fallen away from that high level in the hands of ignorant exponents since. It must not be assumed, of course, that the teaching of brotherly and neighbourly love was new in the world.
  • The identical thing that we now call the Christian religion existed among the ancients, and has not been lacking from the beginnings of the human race until the coming of Christ in the flesh, from which moment on the true religion, which already existed, began to be called Christian.
  • The Bodhisattva also occupied occasionally the body of Tsong-ka-pa, the great Tibetan religious reformer, and throughout the centuries He has sent forth a stream of His pupils, including Nagarjuna, Aryasanga, Ramanujacharya, Madhavacharya, and many others, who founded new sects or threw new light upon the mysteries of religion, and among these was one of His pupils who was sent to found the Muhammadan faith.
  • He is thus the Head of all the faiths at present existing, and of many others which have died out in the course of time, though He is of course responsible for them only in their original form, and not for the corruption which man has naturally and inevitably introduced into all of them as the ages have rolled by.
  • He will attain the great Initiation of the Buddha, and thus gain perfect enlightenment; at that time these pupils of His, without physically knowing or remembering Him, will all be strongly attracted towards Him, and under His influence great numbers of them will enter the Path, and many will advance to the higher stages, having already in previous incarnations made considerable progress.
The Four Noble Truths
  • The sermon begins with a proclamation that the Middle Path is the safest, and indeed the only true Path. To plunge on the one hand into the sensual excesses and pleasures of the ordinary worldly life is mean and degrading, and leads a man nowhither. On the other hand, extravagant asceticism is also evil and useless. There may be a few to whom the high ascetic and solitary life appeals, and they may be capable of leading it rightly, though even then it must not be carried to excess; but for all ordinary people the Middle Way of a good life lived in the world is in every way best and safest. The first step towards the leading of such a life is to understand its conditions; and the Lord Buddha lays these down for us in what he has called the Four Noble Truths.These are:

1. Sorrow or Suffering.

2. The Cause of Sorrow.
3. The Ceasing of Sorrow (or the Escape from Sorrow).
4. The Way which leads to the Escape from Sorrow.
  • 1. The First Truth is an assertion that all manifested life is sorrow, unless man knows how to live it. In commenting upon this, the Bodhisattva said that there are two senses in which manifested life is sorrowful. One of these is to some extent inevitable, but the other is an entire mistake and is very easily to be avoided...Even though we may be only a tiny fragment—indeed, a fragment of a fragment—we are nevertheless a part of a magnificent reality. There is nothing to be proud of in being only a fragment, but there is a certainty that because we are therefore part of the higher, we can eventually rise into the higher and become one therewith. That is the end and aim of our evolution. And even when we attain that, remember that it is not for the sake of our delight in the advancement, but that we may be able to help in the scheme. All these sacrifices and limitations may rightly be described as involving suffering; but they are undertaken gladly as soon as the ego [soul/God within] fully understands. An ego has not the perfection of the Monad, and so he does not fully understand at first; he has to learn like everybody else. ..
  • The Way which leads to the Escape from Sorrow. This is given to us in what is called the Noble Eightfold Path-- another of the Lord Buddha' s wonderful tabulations or categories. It is a very beautiful statement, because it can be taken at all levels. The man in the world, even the uneducated man, can take it in its lowest aspects and find a way to peace and comfort through it. And yet the highest philosopher may also take it and interpret it at his level and learn very much from it.
  • We should always bear in mind that our thought, our speech and our action are not merely qualities, but powers-- powers given to us to use, for the use of which we are directly responsible. All are meant to be used for service, and to use them otherwise is to fail in our duty.
  • When in the far future the time shall come for the advent of another Buddha, and the present Bodhisattva takes that final incarnation in which the great step will be achieved, He will preach the Divine Law to the world in whatever form may seem to Him most suited to the requirements of the era, and then will follow Him in His high office the Master Kuthumi, who has transferred Himself to the Second Ray to take the responsibility of becoming the Bodhisattva of the sixth root race.

Ch. XV. The Power in the Triangles

  • The Lord of the World. The Highest Initiations. The Goal for All.
  • Far above us as is all the splendour of these great heights at present, it is worth our while to lift our thought towards them and try to realize them a little. They show the goal before every one of us, and the clearer our sight of it the swifter and steadier will be our progress towards it, though we may not all hope to fulfil the ancient ideal in this, and fly as an arrow to the mark.
  • In the course of this great progress every man will some day reach full consciousness on the highest of our planes, the Divine plane, and be conscious simultaneously at all levels... so that having in Himself the power of the highest, He shall yet be able to comprehend and function on the very lowest, and help where help is needed.
  • “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into heart of man to conceive the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him,” for the love of God, the wisdom of God, the power of God, and the glory of God pass all understanding, even as does His peace.

See also

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