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THE ARCANE SCHOOL—ITS ESOTERIC ORIGINS AND PURPOSES

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THE ARCANE SCHOOL—ITS ESOTERIC ORIGINS AND PURPOSES

By FOSTER BAILEY

This is an appropriate time for us to consider the relationship of the Arcane School to some of the immediate aspects of the plans of the Hierarchy.  We realise that we have a very limited knowledge of these plans but we also realise that as a result of the 30 years' work of the Tibetan, in collaboration with Alice A. Bailey (increasingly coming to be referred to as A.A.B.) we have had available, particularly during the last eighteen years, information which has never yet reached the majority of the sincere and earnest aspirants and disciples in the world.  Our knowledge carries responsibility.  Our favored position brings us extraordinary opportunity.  At present, the condition of the human family confronts us with a world-wide need more critical than most of us have been quite able to comprehend.

The Arcane School was started by Mrs. Bailey in 1923.  Twenty-eight years have come and gone and we are today a well-organised group of servers carrying forward certain spiritual projects for which we have accepted responsibility.  Our position therefore is ascertainable with some degree of accuracy and the recognition by us all, that we are facing a new cycle in the life of the group, justifies our attempting an appraisal of our esoteric origins and purposes.

We are an Aquarian esoteric group, which is to say that we are a group of disciples and aspirants to discipleship, who are attempting to aid humanity in conscious relationship to the highest that we know about Hierarchical work.  We therefore seek to deal with causes rather than to occupy ourselves with attempting to neutralise unfortunate effects.  We seek to understand the deeper spiritual meanings which lie behind world events and strive to so live as to increasingly exemplify essential spiritual qualities.

The circumstance of our factual relation to the Hierarchy, not only accounts for our very existence as a spiritual group in the world, but is the essential factor in all our future undertakings.  Without this Hierarchical relationship consciously recognised and constantly maintained we will be in the coming days less worthy than the host of world welfare movements and activities that are arising spontaneously [298] on all sides of us, which do not have this spiritual link consciously achieved.

All through her life A.A.B. shunned any statement or action which might be interpreted as claim making, as to her own personal spiritual status.  This we well know.  The powerful and amazingly effective and fruitful work that she did, brought, however, an inevitable recognition that she was in fact a hard-working disciple of the Great Ones with achieved status sufficient to her task and that through her the direct impact of spiritual force as wielded by the Hierarchy became available to us.

Let us go back to a time prior to the existence of our group in outward manifestation on the physical plane, to the early days of Mrs. Bailey's childhood.  As a young girl in her teens, then functioning in a setting of aristocratic culture and very considerable wealth, fulfilling the round of social activities and obligations, as was the lot of such young ladies, her Master came to her.  Her setting was of the most extreme conservative pattern, her understanding of religion and her allegiance to the Church of England was set, rigid and dogmatic.  Her knowledge of the world outside her small circle of experience was startlingly negligible.

This visit of the Master was for the purpose of implanting in her physical brain consciousness the essentials of the pattern of her life as it was to unfold.  She was strong enough to have knowledge of the program of service to which on the inner plane she was already pledged and consecrated and the essentials of which were the chosen program of her own soul.

She was at this time a senior disciple in the ashram of the Master K.H. (An ashram may be thought of as a center of living spiritual energy in the group life of the Hierarchy.) As the years have slipped by and I have learned to profit by the teaching I have personally received from her, I have come to understand better what a senior position in an ashram necessarily involves.  This position is the key to all the work that she did.  There are many factors involved, some of which we can speak of now.  Through the teachings of the Tibetan many have learned much about these things and others share with me the knowledge of certain essentials that constitute our esoteric background as a group.

We know that He whom we are accustomed to refer to as the Tibetan is in fact one of the Masters of the Wisdom known by certain [299] of his associates as the Master Djwhal Khul.  It was D.K., partly because he had specialised in occult philosophy and cosmic law, who was given the task of providing that bridging teaching necessary to the guidance of the hard-pressed disciples of the Great Ones in our present era; more especially also to provide the necessary expanding knowledge of spiritual realities which had to become available to humanity during that critical period of our present world history, when we are transiting out of the Piscean era into the Aquarian Age.  D.K. worked with the great disciple whom we know as H.P.B.  Her writings, and especially The Secret Doctrine, were a courageous pioneering effort which broke through in the earlier days and made all that we now can do far more possible than it otherwise could have been.  The time had come for the next expanded teaching to be given out.  D.K. stood next to K.H. whose disciple he had been for a very long time.  It seems natural that he should have looked for and found the necessary collaborator among that group of disciples who were in the same ashram with him.

Not only had D.K. to find some consecrated and daring disciple, available on the physical plane, to do this work but he, of course, had other activities and responsibilities that we know little about.  Also the time had come when in the planned expansion and the reorganisation of the Hierarchy, additional ashrams should be formed and the personnel for them found and trained.  This arduous undertaking in many ways is as difficult a task as one might well imagine and for this the Arcane School has helped to provide usable material.  The Tibetan, therefore, has been occupied, in part, by the founding of his own ashram which is now rapidly consolidating and expanding, in the giving out of the teachings which are now contained in some eighteen volumes, and in inaugurating certain spiritual activities in the world which conform to the plan of operations of the Hierarchy, as worked out by them in their effort to hasten the reappearance of the Christ.  It is only in these later years that we have come to understand how this return of the Christ has, in fact, been the keynote and climaxing objective of all that has been done.

It is characteristic of truly spiritual and constructive forces that their active expression always results in several definite benefits.  Such is the potency of spiritual force.  The work which the Tibetan has done in the last thirty years already shows this tremendously [300] significant and encouraging quality.  The same thing holds true in the life of every disciple in proportion to the importance of his status and the amount of spiritual force therefore carried.

It is the privilege, and the inevitable program of every senior disciple, to initiate some activity in each incarnation which serves the Hierarchical Plan and which more especially aids in that part of the Plan for which his own ashram has accepted responsibility.  It was for this reason that at the appropriate time, before her last physical incarnation, A.A.B. proposed the project of establishing an esoteric school.  When a disciple presents a proposed line of action it is approved if it actually does aid in the ashramic work and if the circumstances make it seem possible of reasonable fulfillment.  But in any event the disciple is free to try and so long as it is constructive and useful and truly aids the Plan it has available for its purpose all of the ashramic energy that the individual disciple is able to carry.  Should it fall away from its spiritual destiny these forces become unavailable.  The attempt in this event withers away and dies in most cases before the disciple departs but inevitably not very long thereafter.  Those movements in the world of spiritual nature that survive the rigours and confusions of the second generation are rare and that survival is a true hallmark of their genuine spiritual origin.

We today are confronted with the opportunity of so utilising the spiritual forces available in the Arcane School, as a result of the past thirty years' work, that the fruitage already achieved, which is greater than we know, will be only the smaller part of the ultimate beneficial results.  This rich prize has been given to us by A.A.B. and has been carried forward by those of us who have been so fortunate as to be able to join with her through the years in bringing it into living usefulness and keeping it true to the vision.  Indeed her success in creating group consciousness and group action produced in the end a sense of joint responsibility and an established and recognised interdependence which has made the group achievement ours as well as hers.  This achieved group consciousness is our greatest guarantee of successful operation in the days to come.

The Arcane School was projected by A.A.B. as an effort to help fulfil certain definite needs in the esoteric field.  First, there was a real need for an increased number of working disciples in the world who would be available to carry forward the Hierarchical plans.  An esoteric school could find the people and give the preliminary training which would help in this problem of ashramic personnel.  Secondly, [301] there was a need for an esoteric experiment along second ray teaching lines, which could attempt to carry a little of the increasing Aquarian quality.  This required a new emphasis on group responsibility and world service as the essential of all true discipleship in the days to come.  A.A.B. has succeeded to a marked degree in impregnating her School with the needed qualities and, therefore, in meeting this requirement.  It is this factor that has given to our organised work in the world its pioneering aspect and has made us ever conscious that to a considerable degree the whole thing was in the nature of an experiment.

Another real need in the esoteric field was a type of discipleship teaching and action which would help to offset the crystalisations of the esoteric schools that had been produced in the Piscean era, which is now closing.  These errors and unfortunate aspects were in a certain sense inevitable and do not justify criticism of any other esoteric group or work.  They nevertheless existed and were proving a stumbling block and were shutting off the reception of the newer forms of spiritual expression.  A.A.B. saw this clearly and has always persistently worked with this in mind.  Among other things this effort is exemplified by her insistence on the achieving of a relationship of co-operation with the work of the Hierarchy as compared to the position of the devotee who operates on the principle of obedience, in a more childlike way.  She insisted that a life of selfless service was the most important factor and that physical plane disciplines particularly as to diet and the often fanatical allegiance given to the tidbits of Hatha and Laya Yoga that had found their way into the Western world, and are so prevalent among esotericists, were largely outmoded and were, therefore, generally limiting sidetracks.

She insisted on mental freedom, mental polarisation and the acquiring of a trained mind well equipped to deal intelligently and in a common-sense manner with world conditions.  This she knew must succeed the mystical, and all too often impractical idealism of the earlier stages of spiritual training which was basically more emotional and often leads to separativeness and spiritual selfishness.  This position is well known to us all and in the case of our own group life, originated in the wisdom of A.A.B.  in her efforts to meet this third need.

The above suggests only some of the useful factors in the project as she originally conceived it.  One other consideration, which has affected the whole operation, has been the rule that the life work [302] of every senior disciple must not only be useful objectively to the Hierarchy and to the ashram, and be practical in its effect in the world, but must also have in it adequate opportunity for the gaining of that experience, which the individual disciple must have if he is to play his proper part in the planned teamwork of the incarnation next succeeding the present one.  The founding and perfecting and carrying forward of the Arcane School was in fact a part of the training of A.A.B. for the job for which she has just now been liberated.  This fact carries no implication of any lessening interest in, or support of, the work which she inaugurated in this life and which she is as deeply concerned with now as she ever has been.

There is no doubt that Mrs. Bailey is subjectively and telepathically in rapport, at the present time, with a great many of her friends and students.  Those who are sensitive sometimes register impressions.  She is not, however, occupying herself with running around to individuals, telling them what they ought to do or what she wants them to do about anything.  Both A.A.B. and the Tibetan have definitely stated that after she died He would not continue to function through any other channel as he did with her, and she is not attempting to control the Arcane School or direct its affairs, nor any of the service activities by means of any messages of any sort or kind.

Humanity is passing through the greatest spiritual crisis of its long history on this planet.  The implications are too deep for our understanding.  The choices that humanity has been making in recent years and still has to make in the short years just ahead, are of more profound significance than our imagination can picture.  We have been taught and indeed of necessity it must be true that the Hierarchy of Masters is not all powerful, else there would be little left of human freedom, and we would all be destined to become spiritual robots.  What they can do depends on how we respond to spiritual stimuli in the hour of crisis.  It is abundantly clear that God's Plan for man is for humanity to achieve its own destiny in the light of its own soul, by the power of its own developing intellectual capacity, and by its deepening awareness and consecration to the fulfilling of its divine destiny.

It is in this light that we can understand how it is that from the position of greater knowledge and wisdom of the Hierarchy certain things are known to be inevitable for the human family and certain other things are subject to our responses to developing events.  What we call the second world war was not in fact karmically necessary [303] and military warfare on the physical plane might have been avoided had certain achievements been attained.  The working out of the Plan by the Hierarchy during the past twelve years had to include action which became impossible when humanity chose to precipitate the second phase of the great world conflict on to the physical plane in actual military warfare.

This explains many things.  It meant that the effective work of many members of the New Group of World Servers was greatly delayed.  The possibility of effective work in the field of Goodwill was for a cycle almost completely destroyed.  At least until the outer physical plane fighting was stopped, the reaching of the disciples, who were in contact with the Arcane School and of the students scattered throughout the world who might otherwise have joined our ranks, was stopped.  The pushing forward of the program of solving the problem of the right relation of money to Hierarchical work ceased altogether.  The building of the Network of Light and Goodwill by establishing the Triangle movement was almost completely frustrated.  The possibility of carrying the Great Invocation to the entire world, as we are now doing, could not take place.

In the dark days of 1939, when it seemed that so much was crumbling and that the heroic efforts of many disciples to do everything that they could do, that might help to avert war, were useless, it was hard to see how the work could be picked up again and reorganised and refinanced and again be effectively set into motion.  At that time out of the kindness of his heart and for my encouragement the Tibetan gave me the assurance that when the holocaust was over I would discover that the foundations, which had been so well and truly laid for all our work, would be not only intact but entirely adequate for the building of the structure thereon which is necessary for the future work.  This, at the time, I found hard to believe, for I was too deeply aware of the appalling consequences of the second war, but the statement then made has been proved abundantly true and we today are in a stronger position and are actually more efficiently working and serving than the ordinary finite mind could at that time have possibly reasonably expected.

Today our group is filled with light and love and power.  Today this group, the Arcane School, of which we are a part, is functioning as a great station of light in the body of the New Group of World Servers.  We are a magnetic focal point in that body bringing potency to it and aiding in making its work successful.  This is our achieved [304] position and for us the most significant fact of the present hour.  We do not stand alone.  Our efforts are justified by our relationship to all working disciples everywhere who, consciously and unconsciously, are a part of that world-wide group of servers brought into existence by the Hierarchy itself as a part of the great adventure of the new Aquarian techniques.  The New Group of World Servers is in fact a synthesising project of combined field operations in the plans of the Hierarchy, involving a new type of world discipleship in group action.  Our true place in the scheme of things can only be understood in terms of our participating in this larger group life.

(Talk to the Students at the Annual Conference Banquet of the Arcane School, New York, May 1950.)

 

 

{i} *: NOTE: It was later decided by the Tibetan and A.A.B. to publish these Rules as a separate volume.  They will therefore shortly appear as Volume V of the Treatise on the Seven Rays.—Foster Bailey.

[ii] *: Issued in 1932 under the title, The New Group of World Servers.

[iii] *: These instructions are now available in a book entitled "Discipleship in the New Age." Volume II of this book will be published shortly—Foster Bailey.

[iv] *: By 1951 this number had increased to forty-two known languages plus a great number of little known dialects.