Festival of Leo Talk
The text which follows was an address given by a member of the Headquarters staff of Lucis Trust at one of our public meetings. The purpose of these brief talks is to prepare and seed the group mind for the real work to be done--group meditation. This talk can be used by individuals and groups who wish to cooperate with this service.
Good afternoon everyone and Welcome to the Festival of Leo; a warm welcome also to the many friends and co-workers who are listening in on the internet via our website.
The keynote for Leo is: I am That and That am I.
The constellation of Leo is interesting in that it relates to the first initiation. It is probably fair to assume that everyone in this room has already been through this first initiation from the very fact that they are here and have an interest in serving at the full moon. However, we are told that ‘in the future the first initiation will not be the experience of the occasional disciple but the general experience of countless thousands towards the close of the Aquarian Age’1 There will be simultaneously, large masses of people taking the first initiation in group format, and that this initiation will be ritualized within the new world religion. People will then be able to register consciously the “birth of Christ” in the heart, through participation in the ceremony.
The first initiation expresses the energy of the seventh ray; therefore it is the increasing influence of this ray that will enable a large proportion of mankind to pass through this first door and in group formation. We are told that humanity will pass through this "birth" initiation and manifest the Christ life on a large scale for the first time, during a period of economic adjustment and we are also told that this period started in the year 1825. 2 It certainly is the case that we today are continuing to experience this period of economic adjustment and it is likely to continue for a long time yet, so we can assume that many are therefore preparing for this first initiation. Eventually, we are told, the economic environment and all those associated with meeting the material needs of humanity, will be controlled by a vast group of initiates of the first degree, those whose lives are beginning to be regulated by the Christ-consciousness, the consciousness of responsibility and service, and that there will come a time of ‘plenty’ for the majority. 3
The first initiation marks the progress from the integrated human being in Leo, a unity, to the duality of the soul and personality as they battle for supremacy in Scorpio, to return once again to unity, through the consciousness of the group, in Capricorn. The move from the unity experienced by the self-conscious man to the duality of the realization of the true Self and then back to the unity of group consciousness constitutes the ‘burning ground’ across which all disciples have to tread. The Leo aspirant learns to tread this burning ground with will and self-effacement.
So it is in Leo that the disciple discovers the soul, the real Self, and the battle begins between the integrated personality and the soul. The selfish interests of the one who stands alone has to give way to the interests of the group.
Let us re-center our consciousness within the group by sounding the affirmation of the disciple:
I am a point of light within a greater Light.
I am a way by which men may achieve.
And standing thus, revolve
The integrated human being is a force to be reckoned with. It is a human being that has emerged out of mass consciousness as a self-sufficient unit standing at the center of his environment as a selfish and intelligent individual, often with ambitions for power and status. However, it is in Leo that the individual awakens to his true identity. As he learns the lessons and uses of selfishness he comes to realise through experience the futility of self-interest. The integrated human being is symbolized as the lion of Nemea, in The Labours of Hercules, a lion that terrorizes its environment, the lion that Hercules is tasked with slaying. It is this integrated being that must be subjugated to the true Self and it is in Leo that this realization occurs and is the start of the great battle between these two sides of the individual.
It is interesting to note that the many individuals that will pass through the first initiation must currently be, or moving towards being, integrated personalities and it certainly seems that way today with the intense individualism that is prevalent within society. Modern society and culture, certainly in the West, emphasizes the individual through encouraging individual expression, individual desire and the importance of individual wealth and comfort. This together with the Aquarian influence, which is the polar opposite of Leo, has led to the appearance of the many businesses, corporations, organisations, or ‘human movements’ as termed by the Tibetan4, that consist of vast numbers of people which are usually led by some very dominant personalities. This is true of business, education, religion, both traditional and New Age, and nations, and is the cause of the conflict and tension that exists in the world where all these groups are fighting for their own self-interests. The forces
of light are struggling against the powers of self-interest; it is the battle of Arjuna as told in the Bhagavad Gita, on an increasingly large scale.
It is the world Arjuna who is today sitting in bewilderment between the two opposing forces or camps. He recognises his relationship both to form and to the soul but is unsure where his duty lies’. 5 And of course there are many today who are impacted by the light of the soul but through the lack of integration in their vehicles of expression are interpreting that light incorrectly. The fundamentalists in all religions are an example of this. In the Bhagavad Gita the disciple Arjuna stands faced with this very issue, a great battle between two branches of the same family which symbolises the battle between the higher and the lower self. Shall he go ahead with the battle and the test, and so triumph as the soul? Shall he assert his divinity and defeat the lower and the non-divine? Arjuna stands for the personal self who is beginning to grow conscious of the Higher Self and is inspired by the spiritual light of that higher self, yet at the same time, is full of dismay and terror from the realisation of what obedience to the Higher Self must mean. It is only through determined courage, faith and aspiration that this contest becomes possible, and even then there will be shrinking and dismay. 6
The Hindu poem the Bhagavad Gita was a major inspiration to Gandhi and it greatly influenced his life and teachings. His interpretation corresponds closely to that of the Tibetan’s teachings and is therefore worth exploring. As we know, Gandhi was an internationally recognised spiritual figure who was mostly identified by his later life as an ascetic, living a life of prayer, meditation and fasting, refusing all material possessions, and adopting the loincloth and shawl of the lowest caste Indian. He had though, throughout his life, always adhered to a strict Hindu lifestyle. He was during his life and after, revered as a saint and referred to as, ‘Mahatma’ which means ‘great souled’, an honour reserved for the greatest of sages. He was born in 1869 in India and educated in law at University College, London. He lived in South Africa for 20 years during which time he suffered significant racial abuse and numerous imprisonments. His response to this injustice was to preach a policy of passive resistance and non-cooperation against the South African Government. He encouraged these same principles when he returned to India and was a leader in India’s campaign for self-rule, advocating resistance to Great Britain through non-violent means.
However, it was during his time in London that Gandhi was first introduced to the Bhagavad-gita. He writes in his autobiography that “Towards the end of my second year in England I came across two Theosophists, brothers, and both unmarried. They talked to me about the [Bhagavad] Gita. They were reading Sir Edwin Arnold’s translation - The Song Celestial - and they invited me to read the original with them. I felt ashamed, as I had read the divine poem neither in Sanskrit nor in Gujarati…..I began reading the Gita with them. The verses in the second chapter ….. made a deep impression in my mind, and they still ring in my ears. The book struck me as one of priceless worth. The impression has ever
since been growing on me with the result that I regard it as the book par excellence for the knowledge of truth.7 He went on to read it in many different translations and through his study of Sanskrit he was eventually able to read the original version. Gandhi understood the battle facing Arjuna as the internal duel between good and evil that constantly battles within the human mind. He also recognised that man could only achieve peace through the endeavour of becoming God-like, or in other words, subjugating the lower to the higher, and it was this, he believed, would lead the man to liberation.
Gandhi also believed that one of the key messages of the Gita was that God-like behaviour requires the renunciation of all the fruits of labour. The Gita tells us that labour is the responsibility of all who are embodied, that there must be always action when there is body, and that no individual is exempt from this labour. However to ensure that every action is untainted by sin, all labour should be, in the words of the Gita, ‘desireless action; by renouncing fruits of action; by dedicating all activities to God, that is, by surrendering oneself to Him body and soul’.8
Krishna advises Arjuna that it is the desire for results from an action that creates impatience, anger and possibly the use of unscrupulous behaviour that can then lead to violence. This is an argument that resonated deeply with Gandhi who further expanded it by adding that ‘When there is no desire for fruit, there is no temptation for untruth or himsa’ or in other words violence. This understanding of the Gita was the basis for Gandhi’s stance on non-violent action that he upheld in his dealings with the South African authorities and in his stand against the British Government when working for Indian independence. 9 Gandhi felt that the key teaching of the Gita was that action was essential to life but the results of action should only be acknowledged, and that any reward from that action should be renounced. He concluded that ‘perfect renunciation is impossible without perfect observance of ahimsa (non-violence) in every shape and form’.10 Or, in other words, harmlessness in all thought and deed. It was the concept of selfless action that resonated deeply with Gandhi and this seems to have influenced him throughout his life. The parallels with service and selflessness are clear.
Many believe that the Gita offers a path to salvation through devotion to Krishna. However Gandhi’s view differed on this with him saying that it is not devotion to Krishna that brings salvation but that salvation comes from the emulation of Krishna. This is very much in line with the Tibetan’s teachings on how the mystic must become the occultist, but the work is only done when the occultist is merged with the mystic. The Tibetan tells us that ‘the devotee has to tread the Path of Raja Yoga, and combine intellectual knowledge, mental control and discipline before the revelation can be truly made’. The mystic must, therefore, become the occultist; ‘the head qualities and the heart qualities must be equally developed, for both are equally divine’.11
Much of the inspiration for Gandhi’s way of life came from his understanding of the last 20 verses of chapter 2 where Krishna describes to Arjuna a person he calls a sthitaprajna, who is described as someone who has achieved mental stability, who has complete control over the senses and will therefore be at peace with themselves; composed, serene and indifferent to the world. The sthitaprajna is prepared, therefore, for a life of selfless action and devotion to Krishna. Gandhi saw the control of the senses and the adoption of non-attachment as ‘the very essence of religion, and consequently the very essence of the message of the Gita’.12 It is clear to see how the teachings of the Gita inspired Gandhi’s life as an ascetic who toiled constantly for humanity and who aspired to God-like behaviour.
It is this path to God-like behavior that the disciple treads, beginning in Leo where the individual self-assertive personality has to be subjugated to the needs of the soul. Leo is a fire sign and we are told that Leo is the ‘The pre-eminent fire sign at this time’ – the self-conscious sons of God are above everything else the Sons of Fire ‘for our “God is a consuming Fire”.13 The Leo personality has a particular quality that will burn and destroy and so eradicate all that hinders their essentially divine expression. They are therefore the Sons of Will, they have the will-to-illumine, which is the driving urge towards self-knowledge, self-perception and intellectual understanding, and it is this that drives them on to experiment in life and so to gain knowledge. There is also the will-to-rule and to dominate which leads them eventually to achieve self-mastery and the control of the personality. It is only at this point that the true significance of the will emerges, it is no longer the forceful expression of intention or a fixed determination to achieve, it is the realization that will is an expression of the Law of Sacrifice, and it is therefore the power to renounce. It is the power to put aside all personality concerns and comforts in order to meet the needs of the soul. The power to meet the needs of an ever expanding range of contacts, and this has to be achieved with humility, harmlessness and selflessness, or as Gandhi would say with no desire for fruit.
Let us now work with the Leo energy so that we can play our part in stimulating the will of humanity in conquering the group personality. The seed thought for reflection is:
I Am That and That Am I.
Thank you for your participation in this afternoon’s group meditation. Just a quick reminder, for those of you who are able to attend, that we will be holding a New Moon meeting and meditation in Virgo on Tuesday 26th August at 6.30 pm . The Full Moon Festival meeting for Virgo is on Monday 8th September at 6.30 pm. Both of these events will take place here at the Lucis Trust library in London. The Virgo Full Moon meeting will be broadcast on the internet via our website for the benefit of those who are unable to attend in person. All of the recent Full Moon Festival talks can be accessed from the archives through the Trust’s website at www.lucistrust.org
The actual time of the Full Moon in Leo will be 18:10 this evening.
Thank you and have a safe journey home.
Full Moon Festival in Leo –
1 The Reappearance of the Christ pg. 60-101
2 The Rays and the Initiations pg. 571
3 The Rays and the Initiations pg. 571
4 Esoteric Psychology Vol 2
5 The Destiny of Nations pg. 108
6 From Bethlehem to Calvary pg. 107-133
7 “An Autobiography - or The Story of My Experiments with Truth”, M. K. Gandhi, Penguin Books, London, pp. 76-77.
8 ‘The Gospel of Selfless Action; or, The Gita according to Gandhi’ Desai,M.(1946) cited in Hinduism Study Guide, Milton Keynes, The Open University, 119
9 ‘The Gospel of Selfless Action; or, The Gita according to Gandhi’ 9 Desai,M.(1946) cited in Hinduism Study Guide, Milton Keynes, The Open University, 121
10 ‘The Gospel of Selfless Action; or, The Gita according to Gandhi’ Desai,M.(1946) cited in Hinduism Study Guide, Milton Keynes, The Open University, 122
11 The Light of the Soul pg. 113
12 ‘Gandhi and the Bhagavadgita’ Jordens,J.T.F. (1986) cited in Hinduism Study Guide, Milton Keynes, The Open University 125