(1) Devachan: A state intermediate between two earth lives into which the Ego enters after its separation from its lower aspects or sheaths. (Footnote 3 - 737).
(2) There has been a great deal of misunderstanding of this experience (devachan). The general idea has been that, after the process of ridding himself of the astral and mental bodies, the man enters into a sort of dream state wherein he re-experiences and reconsiders past events, in the light of the future, and undergoes a sort of rest period, a kind of digestive process, in preparation for the undertaking of renewed birth. This somewhat erroneous idea has arisen because the concept of time still governs theosophical presentations of truth. If, however, it is realised that time is not known apart from the physical plane experience, the entire concept of devachan clarifies. From the moment of complete separation from the dense physical and etheric bodies, and as the eliminative process is undertaken, the man is aware of past and present; when elimination is complete and the hour of soul contact eventuates and the manasic vehicle is in process of destruction, he becomes immediately aware of the future, for prediction is an asset of the soul consciousness, and in this the man temporarily shares. Therefore, past, present, and future are seen as one; the recognition of the Eternal Now is gradually developed from incarnation to incarnation, and during the continuous process of rebirth. This constitutes a state of consciousness (characteristic of the normal state of the advanced man) which can be called devachanic. (17 - 496/7). See also: (3 - 736/7).
(1) Working as members of that Hierarchy are a great number of beings called angels by the Christian, and devas by the oriental. Many of them have passed through the human stage long ages ago, and work now in the ranks of the great evolution parallel to the human, and which is called the deva evolution. This evolution comprises among other factors, the builders of the objective planet and the forces which produce, through those builders, every form familiar or unfamiliar. The devas who co-operate with the Hierarchical effort, concern themselves, therefore, with the form aspect, whilst the other members of the Hierarchy are occupied with the development of consciousness within the form. (1 - 36).
(2) The devas, with the exception of those greater devas who have in earlier cycles passed through the human kingdom and are now co-operating in the evolution of man, are not yet self-conscious. They grow and develop through feeling and not through the power of conscious thought. . . . The devas seek to feel, whilst man seeks to know. (1 - 97).
(3) There are certain large groups of devas, called the "devas of the shadows", or the violet devas, who are closely allied with the evolutionary development of man's etheric body, and who transmit to him solar and planetary radiation. (3 - 90).
(4) The devas are the qualities and attributes of matter, the active builders, who work consciously or unconsciously upon the plane. Here I would point out that all the devas of the higher levels of the mental plane, for instance, and of the systemic planes from there on to the centre (the divine plane, the plane of the Logos, sometimes called Adi) co-operate consciously, and are of high rank in the system, and of position equal to all the ranks and grades of the Hierarchy, from a first degree initiate up to, but not including, the Lord of the World Himself. (3 - 468).
(5) Much that might be imparted (anent the deva evolution) is perforce withheld owing to the danger arising from superficial knowledge, unaccompanied by wisdom and the inner vision. . . .The devas are the mother of form, but the self-conscious unit, MAN, should realise his independence of the form, and should follow the path of Self-expression. . . . Man, while functioning in material, substantial forms in the three worlds, may not trespass across the separating line between the two evolutions. . . . On the planes of the cosmic dense physical plane (our mental, astral and physical [Page 77] planes) disaster only results from contact. I have dwelt on this point, for the danger is real, and near at hand. (3 - 472/3).
(6) All matter is living matter, or is the vital substance of deva entities. For instance, a plane, and forms built of that particular plane substance, is the material form or sheath of a great deva, who is the essence back of manifestation and the soul of the plane. (3 - 488).
(7) All forms, vibrating to any keynote, are fabricated by the building devas out of the matter of their own bodies. Hence they are called the great Mother aspect, for they produce the form out of their own substance.
. . . All deva essences and builders on the physical plane are peculiarly dangerous to man, for they work on the etheric levels and are - as I have earlier pointed out - the transmitters of prana, or the vital, animating substance, and hence they set loose upon the ignorant and the unwary, fiery essence which burns and destroys. (3 - 489).
(8) The Hierarchy works with the soul within the form and produces results that are intelligent, self-induced and permanent. Wherever attention is centred on the form and not on the Spirit, the tendency is to deva worship, deva contact and black magic, for the form is made of deva substance on all planes. (3 - 491).
(9) It can be seen, therefore, how necessary it is that the functions of the devas of all grades be comprehended. It is, however, equally important that man should refrain from the manipulation of these forces of nature until such time as he "knows" himself, and his own powers, and until he has fully unfolded the consciousness of the ego; then, and only then, can he safely, wisely, and intelligently co-operate in the plan. As yet, for the average man or even the advanced man this is dangerous to attempt and impossible to accomplish. (3 - 615).
(10) If man only realised it, the devas of the astral plane at present very largely control what he does and says, and his goal of evolution (his immediate goal) is to liberate himself from their control in order that he, the real Ego or thinker, may be the dominating influence. . . .If the man is controlled by them, he is as yet under deva influence, and must free himself. If the deva life is of a low order, the man will demonstrate low and vicious instincts, and desires of a vile calibre. (3 - 662/3).
(11) The goal of the devas (below the rank of solar Pitris) is individualisation, and their objective is to become men in some future cycle. (3 - 836).
(12) In connection with manifestation on the physical plane the devas may be divided into three groups:
1. The transmitters of the will of God, the originators of activity in deva substance. These are the greater builders in their various groups.
2. The manipulators of the initiated energy. These are the myriads of workers with force who transmit the impulse in their turn to the elemental essence. They are the builders of lesser degree, but are on the evolutionary arc, as are the first group.
3. The recipients of force, the sumtotal of the living substance of a plane. These lives are passive in the hands of the builders of greater degree. (3 - 890).
(13) It is commonly supposed that all the fairies, gnomes, elves, and like nature spirits are to be found solely in etheric matter, but this is not so. They are to be found in bodies of gaseous and liquid substance likewise, but the mistake has arisen for the reason that the basis of all that which can be objectively seen is the etheric structure, and these little busy lives frequently protect their dense physical activities through the agency of glamour, and cast a veil over their objective manifestation. When etheric vision is present then they can be seen, for the glamour, as we understand it, is only a veil over that which is tangible.
. . . All dense physical forms, whether a tree, an animal, a mineral, a drop of water, or a precious stone, are in themselves elemental lives constructed of living substance by the aid of living manipulators, acting under the direction of intelligent architects. . . . A beautiful diamond, a stately tree, or a fish in the water, are but devas after all. (3 - 892).
(14) The bird kingdom is specifically allied to the deva evolution. It is the bridging kingdom between the purely deva evolution and two other manifestations of life (3 - 895).
(15) The devas of water find for themselves the path of service in their great work of nourishing all the vegetable and animal life upon the planet; the goal for them is to enter into that higher group of devas which we call the gaseous or fire devas. (3 - 902).
(16) As conditions of harmony gradually evolve out of the present world chaos, devas and human beings will meet as friends. . . . At the beginning of this period of recognition, men will principally contact the violet devas, for those of the higher ranks amongst them are definitely making the attempt to contact the human . . .
Some of the groups of devas to be contacted on the physical plane are as follows:
Four groups of violet devas, associated with the etheric doubles of all that exists on the physical plane . . .
The green devas of the vegetable kingdom. . . . They are of high development, and will be contacted principally along the lines of magnetisation. The greater devas of this order preside over the magnetic spots of the earth, guard the solitude of the forests, reserve intact spaces on the planet which are required to be kept inviolate. . . . Just as the Masters are endeavouring to prepare humanity for service when the World Teacher comes, so these Raja Lords are working along similar lines in connection with the devas. They are arduous in Their work, intense in Their zeal, but much obstructed by man.
The white devas of the air and water who preside over the atmosphere work with certain aspects of electrical phenomena, and control the seas, rivers and streams. From among them, at a certain stage in their evolution, are gathered the guardian angels of the race when in physical plane incarnation. Each unit of the family has his guardian deva. . . . For the white devas the path of service lies in the guarding of the individuals of the human family. (3 - 912/3).
(17) The lowest types of devas or builders on the evolutionary Path are violet devas; next come the green, and, last of all, the white devas. These are all dominated by a fourth and special group. These control the exoteric processes of physical plane existence. (4 - 389).
(1) No set diet could be entirely correct for a group of people on different rays, of different temperaments and equipment, and at various ages. Individuals are every one of them unlike on some points; they require to find out what it is that they, as individuals, need, in what manner their bodily requirements can best be met, and what type of substances can enable them best to serve. Each person must find this out for himself. There is no group diet. No enforced elimination of meat is required, or strict vegetarian diet compulsory. There are phases of life and sometimes entire incarnations, wherein an aspirant subjects himself to a discipline of food, just as there may be other phases, or an entire life, wherein a strict celibacy is temporarily enforced. But there are other life cycles and incarnations wherein the disciple's interest and his service lie in other directions. There are later incarnations where there is no constant thought about the physical body, and a man works free of the diet complex, and lives without concentration upon the form life, eating that food which is available, and upon which he can best sustain his life efficiency. In preparation for certain initiations, a [Page 80]vegetable diet has in the past been deemed essential. But this may not always be the case, and many disciples prematurely regard themselves as in preparation for initiation. (17 - 334).
(2) The use of animal food (and the use of minerals as medicine in a lesser degree) has produced a commingling of deva substance, and of vibrations which are not attuned to each other. The vegetable kingdom is in a totally different situation, and part of its karma has lain in the providing of food for man; this has resulted in needed transmutation of the life of that kingdom into the higher stage (the animal) which is its goal. The transmutation of vegetable life takes place necessarily on the physical plane. Hence its availability as food. The transmutation of the life of the animal into the human kingdom takes place on kama-manasic levels. Hence the non-availability, esoterically understood, of the animal as food for the human. This is an argument for vegetarian living which needs due consideration. (3 - 645/6).
(3) The development of the physical eye is a thing which is proceeding under the Law, and inevitably the whole race of men will at length attain that dual focus which will enable man to see both the dense and the etheric forms. At this stage his inability to do so is largely due to lack of pranic vitality. This is mainly the result of wrong conditions of living, and the misuse of food. The present general trend towards juster and purer conditions of life, the return of man to simpler and saner ways, the widespread feeling for bathing, fresh air, and sunlight, and the greater desire for vegetable and nut foods, will result inevitably in a more ready assimilation of the pranic fluids. This will produce certain changes, and improvements, in the physical organs, and in the vitality of the etheric body. (3 - 651).
(4) Each disciple (should) be strictly vegetarian. The lower nature becomes clogged and heavy, and the inner blaze cannot shine forth when meat is included in the diet. This is a drastic rule for applicants, and may not be violated. Aspirants can choose to eat meat or not as they prefer, but at a certain stage upon the path it is essential that all meat eating of every kind be stopped, and the strictest attention must be paid to diet. A disciple must confine himself to vegetables, grains, fruits and nuts. Only thus can he build the type of physical body which can stand the entry of the real man who has stood in his subtler bodies before the Initiator.
It must, of course, here be recognised that no hard or fast rules can ever be laid down, except the initial one that for all applicants for initiation meat, fish, and fermented liquors of all kinds, as well as the use of tobacco, are [Page 81] absolutely forbidden. For those who can stand it, eggs and cheese are sometimes better eliminated from the diet, but this is not in any way compulsory. It is advisable always that those who are in process of developing psychic faculties of any kind should not permit themselves to eat eggs and very little cheese. Milk and butter come under a different category, and most initiates and applicants find it necessary to retain them in diet. A few exceptional people can subsist and retain their full physical energies on the diet mentioned in the preceding paragraph, but there the ideal is embodied, and, we all know, the ideal is seldom attainable in the present transitional period.
In this connection two things should be emphasised: First, the need that all applicants have for common sense; this factor is very often lacking, and students do well to remember that unbalanced fanatics are not desirable members of the Hierarchy. Equilibrium, a just sense of proportion, a due regard for environing conditions, and a sane common sense are the marks of the true occultist. When a real sense of humour exists likewise, many dangers will be avoided. Secondly, a recognition of time, and an ability to move slowly when effecting changes in the diet and in the habits of a lifetime. Everything in nature progresses slowly, and applicants must learn the occult truth of the words: "Make haste slowly". A process of gradual elimination is usually the path of wisdom, (1 - 196/8).
(5) As the disciple lives a regulated life, avoids meat, nicotine and alcohol, and practices continence, the pineal gland becomes no longer atrophied, but resumes its earlier activity. (3 - 1012).
(6) A hindrance (on the occult path) is found in the physical body, which has been built up by the aid of meat and fermented foods and drinks, and nurtured in an environment in which fresh air and sunlight are not paramount factors. . . For long centuries food that has been decomposing, and hence in a condition of fermentation, has been the basic food of the occidental races; and the result can be seen in bodies unfitted for any strain such as occultism imposes, and which form a barrier to the clear shining forth of the life within. When fresh fruit and vegetables, clear water, nuts and grains, cooked and uncooked, form the sole diet of the evolving sons of men, then will be built bodies fitted to be vehicles for highly evolved Egos. (4 - 84).
(7) Those who seek to read the akashic records, or who endeavour to work upon the astral plane with impunity, and there to study the reflection of events in the astral light correctly, have perforce and without exception to be strict vegetarians. . . . Only those who have been for ten years strict vegetarians, can work thus in what might be called the "record aspect of [Page 82] the astral light". When they add to their purified astral and physical bodies the light of reason, and illumination of the focussed mind (which is very rarely found), then they become accurate interpreters of astral phenomena. . . . But unless the goal of a vegetarian diet is this field of service, the arguments for its following, and for that form of diet, are usually futile and of no real moment. (14 - 241).
DISCIPLES: ACCEPTANCE OF-
(1) There is much misapprehension in people's minds as to how a Master lets an accepted disciple become aware that he is accepted. An impression is abroad that he is told so, and that an interview is accorded wherein the Master accepts him and starts him to work. Such is not the case. The occult law holds good in discipleship as in initiation, and the man goes forward blindly. He hopes but he does not know; he expects that it may be so, but no tangible assurance is given; from a study of himself and of the requirements, he arrives at the conclusion that perhaps he has reached the status of accepted disciple. He therefore acts on that assumption, and with care he watches his acts, guards his words, and controls his thoughts so that no overt act, unnecessary word or unkind thought will break the rhythm which he believes has been set up. He proceeds with his work, but intensifies his meditation; he searches his motives; he seeks to equip his mental body; he sets before himself the ideal of service and seeks ever to serve; and then (when he is so engrossed in the work on hand that he has forgotten himself), suddenly one day he sees the One Who has for so long seen him.
This may come in two ways; in full waking consciousness, or by the registering of the interview on the physical brain as it has been participated in during the hours of sleep.
But accompanying this recognition of the event by the disciple, will come certain other recognitions:
1. The event is recognised as fact past all controversy. No doubt remains in the disciple's mind.
2. There is recognised an inhibition on the disciple's part to mention the happening to any one. Months or years may slip away before the disciple will mention it, and then only to those who are also recognised as disciples, or to some fellow worker, also under the same group influence, whose right it is to know and whose right is sanctioned by the Master of the group.
3. Certain factors, governing the Master's relation to the disciple, are [Page 83] gradually recognised and begin increasingly to govern the disciple's life.
a. He recognises that his points of contact with his Master are governed by group emergency and need, and deal with his group service. It gradually dawns on him that his Master is only interested in him insofar as his ego can be used in service, through the personality on the physical plane. He begins to realise that his Master works with his soul and that it is his ego, therefore, which is en rapport with the Master and not the personal self. His problem, therefore, becomes increasingly clear, and this is the problem of all disciples. It is to keep the channel of communication open between the soul and the brain, via the mind, so that when the Master seeks to communicate, He can do so at once and easily. Sometimes a Master has to wait weeks before He can get His disciple's ear, for the channel upward is closed and the soul is not en rapport with the brain. This is especially true of the early stages of discipleship.
b. He finds that one of the first things he has to do is to learn to discriminate between:
His own soul's vibration.
The vibration of the group of disciples with whom he is associated.
The vibration of the Master.
All three are different and it is easy to confuse them, especially at first. It is a safe rule for aspirants to assume when they contact a high vibration and stimulus, that it is their own soul contacting them, the Master in the heart, and not run off with the idea (so flattering to their pride and personality) that the Master is endeavouring to reach them.
c. He finds also that it is not the habit of the Masters to flatter or to make promises to Their disciples. They are too busy and too wise, nor do They trouble Themselves to tell Their disciples that they are destined for high office, or that they are Their intermediaries and that the Hierarchy is depending on them. Ambition, love of power, and the self-sufficiency which characterises many mental types, test out the struggling aspirant, and he gets from his personality all he needs in that line. These qualities delude him and lead him astray, forcing him onto a pedestal from which eventually he must descend. The Masters say nothing to feed pride in Their disciples, nor do They speak words to them which could foster in Their chelas the spirit of separateness.
d. The disciple soon finds also that the Masters are not easily accessible. They are busy men, ill able to spare even a few moments in which to communicate with the disciple, and only in emergencies, in the case of [Page 84] a beginner on the Path of Discipleship, do the Masters expend the necessary energy with which to get en rapport. With old and tried disciples, the contacts are more frequent, being more easily achieved and bearing more rapid results. It should be remembered, however, that the newer the disciple the more he demands attention and considers he should have it. The old and more experienced servers seek to fulfil their obligations and carry forward their work with as little contact with the Masters as possible. They seek to save the Master's time and frequently consider an interview with the Master as demonstrating failure on their part, and producing, therefore, regret that they have had to take the Master's precious time, and force Him to use His energy in order to safeguard the work from error, and the disciple perhaps from harm. The aim of every high disciple is to carry out his work and be en rapport with the spiritual force centre which is his group, and thus in steady touch with the Master, without interviews and phenomenal contacts. Many only expect to contact their Master once a year, usually at the time of the full moon in May.
e. He finds also that the relationship between Master and disciple is governed by law, and that there are definite stages of contact and grades in the desired rapport. (4 - 169/72).
(2) Once he is an accepted disciple, and has definitely undertaken the work in preparation for initiation, there is for him no turning back. He could not if he would, and the Ashram protects him. (18 - 60).
(3) An accepted disciple is one who:
1. Has accepted the fact of the Hierarchy with the implications of loyalty and co-operation which that acceptance involves.
2. Has accepted the fact that all souls are one and who has, therefore, pledged himself to seek expression as a soul. The service to be rendered is the awakening and stimulation of all souls contacted.
3. Has accepted the occult technique of service. His service to humanity determines all his activities, and subordinates his personality to the need of the time. Note that phrase. Cultivate insight and a fluid response to the immediate need and not a sensitive reaction to a distant goal.
4. Has accepted the Plan, as indicated by the Teachers of the race. He seeks to understand the nature of that Plan and to facilitate its manifestation. (5 - 83).
(4) When the fluctuations of contact are ended and the pupil is stabilised and becomes a "steadily approaching point of energy", then he becomes an accepted disciple. (5 - 98).
(5) The first initiation ever precedes the stage of accepted discipleship. No Master accepts a disciple and takes him into His ashram, in whom the birth of Christ has not taken place. (5 - 717).
(6) The term, Accepted Disciple, covers the stages of the first and second initiations. (5 - 728).
(7) Initiated disciples have no interest in anything but the vision, the Plan, and its direction and materialising upon earth. Accepted disciples are learning this. (5 - 731).
(8) There are only about four hundred accepted disciples in the world at this time (1934) - that is men and women who really know they are disciples and know what their work is, and are doing it. There are nevertheless many hundreds (out of the present generation of young people) who stand on the verge of acceptance, and thousands are upon the probationary path. (4 - 164).
See also: "The six Stages of Discipleship". (5 - 673/773).