Occult Reticence

By Alice A. Bailey
Reprinted from The Beacon, March 1926

“To know, to Will, to Dare and to be Silent.”

It might be of value briefly to enumerate some of the reasons why secrecy is enjoined upon all Initiates, and why therefore all disciples have to cultivate the quality of silence, preparatory to learning the nature of “Occult Reticence.”

It is at this time very necessary for the balancing faculty of silence to be emphasized.But to enjoin silence is, in these days of lower manasic development, of little use and but serves to give opportunity for the hearers of the injunction to believe either that the silence veils ignorance or is but the imposition of an arbitrary command.Hence my purpose somewhat to elucidate the problem and to show why it is necessary that those who are affiliated with the Hierarchy,—either as aspirants or pledged initiates—should develop this occult restraint.

1. It is little realised by the unobservant or uninitiated thinker what is the effect of the spoken word, and what the effect of the attractive power of speech.As a man speaks he magnetically attracts substance in his immediate aura and he affects (whether he wills to do so or not) responsive life units in the bodies, subtle or dense, of his fellow men.When therefore he announces to the listening pupils that he is an Initiate or a disciple, doing so with positive assertion and thereby attracting attention to his personality, he inevitably works upon the negative, atomic aspects in his own bodies, and upon the responsive negative lives or aspects in those of his brothers. His words are not in line with the occult “I am THAT” which produces identification with the central group life and therefore with the central spark of positive force in all the group units but the statement, being a Personality claim, has its reaction upon the personalities of all his brothers, working through the negative aspect. It is the imposition (oft unconsciously) of his force or will-power upon theirs and the effects of such imposition cannot fail in achieving dire results. It stimulates that which is undesirable, and develops negative responsive reactions, such as devotion to and willingness to be guided by the speaker or the enunciator of personal hierarchical standing, or else it repulses, thus causing separation, and separation engenders hatred and strife.

It is for this reason amongst others that disciples are taught both to belittle their personality standing whilst exalting the nature of the Inner God which is identical in all men, and to refrain from speech unless it serves group purpose.Group purposes are best served by the stimulating of the highest aspect in every man.

How is it then that the Masters have let it be known that They are Adepts?

Though the Masters have allowed to be known (through Their disciples) Their service, knowledge and power to help and that They have transcended the three worlds of human endeavour, I would have you note that such admissions as They have made through word or letter have been made to Their pledged disciples on whom rests the karma of passing the information to the general public. And on their shoulders lies the responsibility of working out either the good or evil results. It is a fact in occult development that the nearer a disciple is to the Master and to the goal, the more reticent he is and the less he seeks to attract attention to the Master (as an individual) or to himself as an agent for that Master.The work to be done can be more easily accomplished where there are less thought-forms to be transmuted.

Are we then not to pass on information about the Masters to the general public?

It is necessary for the public to be informed as to the nature and work of the Masters, for the time is ripe; but this is a definitely different thing to the problem under consideration, that of personal claim of attachment to a Master or to the Hierarchy.

Therefore disciples and Initiates protect the work through the wall of personality-silence which they maintain.It should be borne in mind also (and this is little realised though of considerable bearing upon the case) that the bodies of manifestation through which the Adepts work upon the physical plane are definitely constructed for specific ends; they are composed of matter of the highest subplane of each of the three planes and the impression is from Their own levels, via the buddhic and manasic permanent atoms, direct to the physical brain; there is for Them no mental unit or permanent atoms in the three worlds.They have passed out of the domination of the Lunar Fathers and e'en of the Solar Angel, and are pure spiritual essences.Therefore They can only influence the spirit aspect in man, though They control the subhuman forces if They so desire.This is the occult fact behind the idea that the Masters can only work with human beings when they have “entered Their world” or have raised themselves to such a state of consciousness that they are in touch with their own spiritual aspect, at first with the middle principle, the Ego and later the Monad.Therefore the injunction goes forth for man to find his own inner God, the Initiator, and to awaken and become responsive to the egoic vibration. Then the Masters can and do work at strengthening that impression until the definite conscious link is made at the First Initiation and the man is on the WAY to “see his God.”When this is so the Initiate cannot speak of it and it should be remembered that after a similar process in the life of his brother there will be no need to speak for the recognition will be mutual though not based on words, and that prior to such a linking up statements such as ‘I am an Initiate’ but lead to mischievous results.

2. Silence is likewise enjoined in the occult life, as is well known, owing to the danger of handing on knowledge to the unwary, the curious, the unscrupulous and the unready.Unless therefore, a disciple shows a wise discrimination in the use of the gradually imparted occult facts, he delays the initiatory process wherein is communicated to him the formulae words and keys.It is not idly therefore that we are taught the occult aphorism that “silence is golden and speech is silver” for gold is the symbol of the transmuted soul who works with the positive electric force whereas speech is silver and concerns the negative lives and the man who uses speech, as it is ordinarily understood, is as yet under the dominance of the involutionary lives.Speech applies to the Gods; sound to God.You have the idea brought out in the Word of the Logos which is succeeded by the “army of the voice.”From the standpoint of the inner God or Ego in this manifesting cycle, speech is a characteristic of the personality, (the Gods in triple manifestation) and sound the nature of the Ego itself on the abstract levels.The Initiate works on the mental plane through the use of universal words; men work on the lower planes through speech or the multitude of words and sounds.The method for the Initiate in training, for the disciple under discipline, as for the Adept in liberated work is ever the same—meditation, realisation, visualisation and sound, and the one who meditates remains ever he who consciously employs these four.The method for man on his own plane is ever the conclusions of lower mind, imagination, desire-forms and inchoate speech and the man identifies himself unconsciously with the forms he creates and with the immature thought-forms which he visualises.Therefore until a man is free or being liberated rapidly upon the Path he cannot be trusted with the knowledge of the energies which direct and manipulate the forces of involution or the substance aspect.He has first to learn the methods of occult silence.

3. Conscious silence is enjoined upon a disciple also for the following reasons:

a. Silence develops in him knowledge of motives through the considerations of the reasons for speech and the need for reticence.
b. Silence develops in him the quality of interior meditation and the capacity to hear its voice.
c. Silence serves to teach him the process of the conservation of energy and the storing up of force for the service of man-kind.
d. Silence engenders in him the ability to preserve equilibrium and enables him to cultivate the realisation of conscious alignment with the Ego, his own Inner Divinity.

4. Another potent reason for the cultivation of silence is that speech engenders karma and the spoken word ever produces results which will need to be worked out if such words concern or are based upon personality.The disciple or Initiate should be in process of diminishing karma and working it off with a view to liberation.At the same time the speaking of the word of Brotherhood and the utilisation of speech in order to help or teach men the WAY engenders no karma.

When a man makes claims and calls attention to himself either as an Initiate or a disciple, he links to him, either favourably or unfavourably, other human units and he must work out with them the effects of his using of such speech and liberate himself in time from their thought-forms of devotion or dislike, of ardent attraction or scornful repudiation, and he will have to “stand by” in the occult sense of the term until he has undone, as far as may be, the bad effects of his illjudged words.This is a potent reason for silence

The Masters work with those who come to Them, having wrestled their way into Their presence and found the entrance into Their world through similarity of vibration.They send not out proclamations to all and sundry for They know the law and Their words are spoken to those who come to Them and who have sought Them out through very need.They speak to Their own people, to those who know through individual recognition, and Their words are for them and to enable them to be their agents on the physical plane for the working out of the Plans.