SECTION THREE - THE SIX STAGES OF DISCIPLESHIP - Part 5
a. The sacrifice petals would transmit energy to the head centre, via the sacrifice petals (three of them) to be found in the ring of petals immediately around the "Jewel in the Lotus"; from thence to the sacrifice petal in the three love petals and in the three knowledge petals. You, therefore, have five transmitting points of will-energy.
b. The love petals similarly transmit love-energy to the heart centre, via the love petals, again five in all.
c. The knowledge petals transmit energy, the energy of intelligent activity, to the throat centre, again in the same manner, via the five knowledge petals.
This process going on in the egoic vehicle and registered by the disciple upon the physical plane, produces eventually what could be called a "potent centre of invocation." This  invoking centre evokes response from the Spiritual Triad so that eventually you have:
I. The Spiritual Triad, the custodian of monadic energy.
The atmic permanent atom.
The sacrifice petals.
The physical permanent atom within the egoic lotus.
The head centre.
II. The Spiritual Triad.
The buddhic permanent atom.
The love petals.
The astral permanent atom within the egoic lotus.
The heart centre.
III. The Spiritual Triad.
The manasic permanent atom.
The knowledge petals.
The mental unit.
The throat centre.
These details, brother of mine, are of technical interest, are purely academic and constitute simply word symbols of an inevitable evolutionary process. They describe the divine inspiration to which all human beings are subjected as an integral part of the life of God Himself and one which is consciously registered when a man reaches the stages of discipleship and initiation. They demonstrate, when rightly understood, the nature of the Science of the Breath. That Breath is all and in the method of invocation and evocation which underlies the entire process, you have a hint as to the structure and activity of the Heart of the Sun, the organ of this second ray solar system, and the diastole and systole system of evolution which is found in the universal life process.
Each time we consider the various stages of discipleship, it becomes more difficult to give the neophyte a true picture of the state of consciousness and the inner situation and relationships.  This is also due to the fact that I am attempting to deal (in these more advanced stages) with awarenesses which have no parallel or correspondence in the experience of even the advanced aspirant. When we are considering the last three stages, we are definitely dealing with that which might be called the initiate-consciousness at a high stage of expansion and with knowledge for which we have no terminology.
Is it not apparent to you that the initiate of high degree lives in a world of reactions and of subtle phenomena which are totally unimaginable to the average disciple? He is, therefore, when functioning on the physical plane or in the three worlds, only bringing the lowest aspect of his consciousness into play and action. I have for years taught you, and your interest has been profound. Many of the technicalities of the occult sciences are yours and you know much theoretically. This is evidenced by the interest shown and in the questions submitted. These dealt with the permanent atoms, their functioning and vitalisation.
From the standpoint of the initiate such questions are of no moment; to be interested in the permanent atoms is on a par with being interested in the nature of the gastric juices which make the process of living on the physical plane a continuous rebuilding. The analogy is closer than you think. Occultly speaking, a constant consideration of the digestive system or of any other of the bodily functions leads to difficulty. Chronic invalids are frequently so (though not in every case) because of their physical preoccupation with the form nature on the outer plane over a long period of years. It is possible (and I say this with deliberation) to have serious physical disability and yet to be so full of vitality and so uninterested in the physical mechanism that chronic invalidism (as usually understood) is not possible. This is not the same thing as the triumph of mind over matter or the theory of perfect health; it is a question of a surmounting energy-emphasis which negates the imposition of force effects upon the consciousness. Ponder on this last sentence because it holds the key to the right handling of the health problem in the future.
In the same way, a constant consideration of the permanent atoms and of the spirillae would lead to an intensification of  the form life and to the tyranny of force as it flows through them. There are undoubtedly analogies and correspondences that could be worked out in connection with the spirillae in the microcosmic life and the planes and subplanes of the macrocosm with a possible subsequent relation of both to the seven centres, microcosmically understood, and the seven planetary schemes, macrocosmically understood. But the goal for the majority of aspirants is not to limit their consciousness by a concentration upon the minutiae, such as the permanent atoms and the details connected with the individual form nature. The objective of each aspirant is to expand his consciousness to include that which lies beyond himself, to attain to the more elevated states of consciousness in the life of the group and of humanity, and to integrate himself consciously into the Hierarchy, eventually into Shamballa, and occultly to "know" God in His many phases of all-inclusive extension and perfection.
A close concentration upon and study of the spirillae and atoms would be scientifically and technically interesting and possible, but would not lead to increased spiritual development but to personality emphasis and, therefore, to increased difficulty in the treading of the Path. The more advanced a disciple, the more dangerous such emphasis and preoccupation would be, whereas the scientist or the aspirant upon the Probationary Path could study such matters with relative impunity because he would not bring in the energy which could galvanise these "points of force" into dangerous activity.
For this reason I am not dealing with the permanent atoms as there is no need for you to give time and consideration to them. If you are living as desired and if you are seeking to profit by my instructions, the training of the lower nature and the development of the forces which function as form "divinely consecrated," will proceed normally and safely. I mentioned the permanent atoms to show the lines of energy distribution but not in order to indicate any need for a mental interest in these aspects of form life.
Stage VI. The Chela within the Master's Heart.
We arrive now at a consideration of the last of the six stages of discipleship. This was described by me in the following terms:
"The stage where the disciple is in close touch always; he is being definitely prepared for immediate initiation or having taken initiation—is given specialised work. At this stage he is described as a Chela within his Master's Heart."
One thing I would here emphasise as I seek to give some light upon this subject. Being within the Master's Heart in no way indicates a love-relationship between Master and disciple. The normal reaction is that at last the disciple has merited the right to be truly loved and, therefore, to be truly close to the Master. His life or lives of service have brought him at last the reward; he has now free access to the Master in the closest possible and mutual relationship of loving understanding. This stage of discipleship has absolutely no reference to this at all.
For another thing, brother of mine, when the disciple reaches this stage he is no longer what you understand by an accepted disciple. He is an initiate of high standing and of elevated degree and has passed out of the supervision and the safeguarding of a Master into a direct relation with the Master of all the Masters, the Christ, who is the central point in the Hierarchy, just as the Master is the central point in an ashram. The Master is the heart of His group and the Christ is the heart of the Hierarchy. The closer one gets to realisation, the clearer becomes the concept that the point at the centre and the periphery are one.
The significance of the word "heart" is the significance of life itself, as it beats eternally at the very heart of the universe. Within that life, the initiate now consciously stands, realising himself not so much as being a recipient of life, but as a distributor of life. This is a very different thing and holds the key to this stage of discipleship.
The "Master's Heart" is a technical term, indicating the sources of life and many analogous interpretations. There is at this stage and after a certain major initiation, a direct line of energy or of life—sensed, recognised, active and utilised—between the conscious disciple and
1. The disciple's heart centre.
2. The heart centre in the head.
3. The egoic lotus, which (until the fourth initiation) is the heart centre of the monadic life.
4. The Master at the centre of His group.
5. The Christ, the heart centre of the Hierarchy.
6. The life of the Monad which begins to make itself felt at the third initiation.
7. The Lord of Life Himself, the heart centre of Shamballa.
The line of relationship then extends from these onward and outward, and upward (spherically considered) to the Life at the very centre of our Earth's "alter ego," the planet Venus, to Jupiter and thence to the solar Lord Himself and on to a point in the Sun, Sirius. You can see, therefore, how different this stage is from what might be imagined. It is one which marks a new departure or beginning and a great transition. It is a stage which one enters through the open door of Nirvana, the beginning of the Path of the Higher Evolution. It is a stage which marks a specific location (if such an inappropriate word can be used) of the disciple upon that upward Way which is revealed by the lighted Way; it is the attainment of the innermost point of realisation, called esoterically "within the heart."
I spoke to you elsewhere about world disciples being "close to the Master's heart." This is not the same thing as being "within the Master's heart." One refers to the Master upon the disciple's ray; the other refers to the Christ, the Synthesis within the Hierarchy of all the rays. The world today offers opportunity to all disciples to become world disciples, close to the Master's heart, and to pass rapidly through the earlier stages of discipleship. It offers opportunity to world disciples to begin their approach to the Heart of the Hierarchy, to Christ. It is with this first possibility that you should be concerned, for—as you come closer to your group—you can begin to get that training which will develop in you world usefulness. Are the majority of you too old to achieve this? That is for you to say. The soul knows no age and can use its instrument if it makes itself into a suitable and available instrument. Are you too set and too preoccupied with yourselves to achieve the detachment needed for world service? That is for you to find out and to prove to yourselves. This group has had much opportunity  offered to it and much teaching. The output in devotion and service, demonstrated by this group, should be quite unusual and it should be a group demonstration. I would ask if this is so? Are you too depressed (which is a synonym for selfishness) and too sensitive to render service to humanity in a larger way than hitherto? That can be overcome if you care enough. Is your awareness a constant group-awareness? Or is it a constant self-awareness which comes consistently between you and your fellowmen? That is for you to discover. Have you the deep humility—based on a realisation of the Plan and the glory of the goal—and not a sense of self-depreciation over which you gloat and regard as an indication of spiritual humility? You need to re-interpret this theme of humility, as well as all your terms, in the light of the esoteric and spiritual values. Can you do this?
Earlier, I used a phrase in which I referred to "disciples assembling, in this cycle, at the call of the Hierarchy." This has a definite relation at this time to our theme of discipleship and its various stages. "The call of the Hierarchy" goes out to humanity as a whole; it is sent out through the medium of the groups and Ashrams which are presided over by many of the Masters. It is caught and heard by many different types of people and in their response much distortion of that call creeps in; only the advanced disciple either brings it through correctly or responds adequately. The others respond to partial aspects of the call and their consequent activity is spasmodic, based upon erroneous interpretations, coloured by personality faults, delayed by inertia and often selfishly based. By the response of the disciples in His group or Ashram, the Master gauges the place and status of the disciple, though there are, of course, many other indicatory evidences.
Let us look at some of the types of people who respond to the call. Most of them do so unconsciously but react sympathetically, because something in them synchronises with the call, or because they are sensitive to certain vibratory influences.
1. There are the true lovers of humanity, who, though they may have absolutely no knowledge of esotericism, yet care enough to do what they can to help. Unconsciously, they can be used by the Hierarchy to do good and efficiently  selfless work. They are frequently more constructive than pledged or accepted disciples, because they are unconscious of status, of any responsibility in an Ashram and of their individual importance.
2. Psychics everywhere throughout the world and of all kinds. They respond to those upon the astral plane who are catching the higher impression or who telepathically get some aspect of the projected idea. In such cases there is always glamour, distortion and misrepresentation. This causes much trouble but is a force with which the leaders and teachers of humanity must reckon. It affects the least intelligent of the masses of men and does give them some general, even if distorted, idea of the Plan, but is apt to revolt the intellectual, and complicate the work of the trained disciple.
3. Probationary disciples who receive and respond to the impression more promptly and clearly than the above group. They usually receive it through the vision and teaching of a senior disciple. Their service to the Plan is frequently spoiled by their ignorance, their self-centredness and their misrepresentation of the imparted teaching. Their approach both to the truth and to the teacher is too personal.
4. Accepted disciples who get the Master's idea and plans in far greater completeness, but fail often to work them out as they should be in the world of daily living and of service because they are so preoccupied with their own problems as disciples, with their own character training, and with their status in a Master's Ashram and His interest in them. If they would forget themselves, their difficulties and their individual interpretations of truth, and just love their fellowmen and each other, and if they would simply obey to the point of crucifixion the "order of Service," they would pass more rapidly through the various stages of discipleship.
5. Disciples close to the Master's heart, world disciples and those who are consciously in His aura, know His plan, which is the Plan of the Hierarchy as a whole, though emphasising some appropriate aspect. They usually play  their part successfully, and their success is largely due to their constant group awareness and to a deep humility and, naturally, to a well-developed intellect and controlled astral body.
There is little more that I can say to you all at this time anent the group work and relationships. There is an esoteric loyalty which is different to the ordinary world loyalty which I seek to see developed in the group. Some of you, particularly those who take quick refuge in self-defense, need to learn this silent loyalty which serves to integrate the group, as one. It is easy in self-defense to sacrifice one's brothers and one's fellow workers. It is not easy to heal the subjective rift thus made.
Clear thinking is needed along many lines as this group begins to cohere and work together. An acute discrimination is also required. These are days when the lines of demarcation between the Forces of Materialism and the Forces of Light must be clearly defined. When the contrast between the way of love and goodwill and the way of cruelty and hate is being clearly defined on earth, disciples must exercise an unprejudiced attitude. To this group comes the difficult task of standing firmly on the physical plane against that which is destructive and hateful (in the true sense of the word), doing all that can be done to bring the destructive agencies to an end and to final powerlessness and, at the same time, preserving an inner attitude of complete harmlessness and loving understanding. For, my brothers, there are principles and ideals in the world at this time worth struggling for, but whilst the struggle is on it is necessary consciously to preserve and create that field of living, loving energy which will eventually bridge the gap between the two opposing factions and groups and so enable later contact to be made. Some of you are not thinking with sufficient clarity about the issues involved, being unduly engrossed with the outer signs of the struggle and so losing the long range picture. The dual life of active world participation in opposing that which is seeking to hold back and to destroy humanity and its highest ideals and—at the same time—to preserve a steady attitude of love, is not an easy one, particularly for some of you. Such is human integration today that it is not possible for any person or groups of people to isolate themselves away from  human activities and human welfare. Nor is a negative attitude adequate to the solution of the present world crisis. Those who refuse to share in the world karma and pain will find their entire progress inevitably slowed down, for they will have put themselves outside the great tide of spiritual force now sweeping in regenerating streams throughout the world of men. The present world conflict is analogous to the stern conflict which is going on within the hearts and lives of all the world aspirants and disciples and is inevitably a sign that they are setting their feet upon the Path of Conscious Discipleship. The higher Self and the personality meet face to face for the determination of that decision for which the soul (the Self) upon its own plane is waiting. This is what is also happening with the world aspirant, Humanity, at this time. Ponder with care upon this idea. It is not possible for members of the New Group of World Servers to divorce themselves from the acute situation now to be seen and felt. They cannot and must not escape into a cul-de-sac of personal training and individual interests. If that is your attitude, then there is little that I can do for you, for this would indicate to me an inability to differentiate in values, a desire to retreat in thought from the unhappy and the unpleasant and to shift responsibility on to the shoulders of others, plus a failure to identify yourselves with humanity.
The call to world salvage has gone out and today disciples are assembling all over the world. It is not an assembling upon the physical plane but a profound subjective happening. Each of the Masters is sending out the call and many probationary disciples, even though placed upon the furthest point in the periphery of the Master's influence, are responding with eagerness; their motives are normally mixed and their response is frequently galvanised by a desire for personality progress and aggrandisement. They are, at this particular time, greatly complicating the call to service but their distortions are bringing about the fulfilment of the New Testament prophecy that (at the time of the end) there will be much distortion of the truth concerning the spread of the Christ consciousness and the return of the Christ, or the "Second Coming."
And so, from stage to stage the disciple passes, going from light to light, from perception to perception, from force to  energy, from personality focus to soul integration and, then, from soul to spirit, from form to life. He has explored all the avenues of knowledge; he has descended into the depths, into hell and into the valleys; he has climbed the mountain top of initiation and from there has swung out beyond space and time; he has lost all self-interest and is a focussed point of thought in the mind of God. Can I say more than this? I think not, my brothers. And so I bring to an end this series of instructions and my responsibility in this connection is ended. Yours now begins.