SECTION ONE - TALKS TO DISCIPLES - Part 5
BROTHERS, AS OF OLD:
The thought constantly enters my mind as to what I can say in order to make the group work, group relationships, group identification and group initiation a sound, active and factual reality in your minds and in the minds of other aspirants and disciples. I seek with profound earnestness to make this theme or subject true and vital, because it is an essentially new esoteric concept and a germ thought which the many aspirants of the world must grasp. At the same time the aspirant must realise that the ideas are of no real importance to him as an individual—to you, therefore, as an individual and pledged disciple. As long as your state of awareness lays emphasis upon the fact of your individuality, the group idea cannot take form as a group ideal. The sense of separativeness is still present. It is a sense which has been laboriously developed—under evolutionary law—from the moment when your soul decided to experiment, to experience, and to express divinity. Separative effort, separative emotional reactions and separative materialistic endeavour have been (if I may so unfortunately express it) the spiritual essentials which must perforce precede group effort and conscious group relations.  The factor entailed, therefore, is a definite "break with the past," and the entering into a new state of awareness—an awareness which is fundamentally inclusive and not exclusive.
This is a primary platitude of which you are well aware. In most of you this platitude remains a mental proposition. You hope some day to arrive at this basic sense of inclusiveness which is characteristic of the Hierarchy. At present you do not feel fused, blended and incorporated into the mental, astral and etheric auras of those who form the group of which you know yourself to be a part. I would ask you to study what I have just said with care. Do you like, for instance, to penetrate into the mental atmosphere of a fellow member, or do you care to have him penetrate into yours and thus find out what is the content of your thought? A major test is here involved, and it is one which you will have some day to face. Do you, again, like to share your emotional reactions with a co-disciple? Are you interested in his? If so, why? Some day this responding interest must prove itself effective, and this must necessarily connote self-sacrifice in both directions. Do you want or deem it appropriate to have a fellow-worker come under the influence of your etheric body and, therefore, of the energies which flow through it? And do you want his energies to flow through you?
These are some of the implications of group work, and for these you must be prepared. The realisation of the inevitability of these necessities will lead you eventually to a careful scrutiny of your thinking, of your emotional reactions and of the energies to which you give entrance all the time because (for the first time in your soul's history) you feel the need to guard your brother from the results of your personality reactions; consequently, scientific service supersedes your hitherto thoughtless and undisciplined activity. I would here point out that at no time do you ever attempt to guard yourself from the personality reactions of a co-disciple; you welcome them and absorb them and—whilst dealing with them—you aid the cause of liberation in his life as well as in your own.
The entire subject of group interplay is far deeper and  more significant than you suspect or appreciate; it can be summed up in the words of St. Paul: "No man liveth unto himself." Feeling, thinking and absorbing the many actuating and incentive energies constitute a vast process of many interrelations and this, most aspirants are apt to forget.
I suggest that during the coming year you go over your individual instructions and then—during the course of the year—answer six questions which I will dictate. The purpose of this task (shall I call it this?) is to clarify your minds as to your problems and opportunity and latent knowledge, gained as the result of years of work under my tuition; the replies will give to your group brothers a sense of relationship with you, a feeling of shared responsibility, a recognition of group assets and group richness (again using a peculiar word) and a realisation of possibility which may greatly strengthen each and all of you. This will close our cycle of instruction. If you avail yourselves of the opportunity for this personal research work, coincident with the post-war period, you may find a sudden spiritual deepening and strengthening of your life, your spiritual contacts and your group relation; you may also find yourselves in closer rapport with the Ashram, its programme and potency, and you may likewise discover yourselves being presented with the opportunity to learn in a new and subjective manner, of which I may not speak, until you have registered it yourselves. You will thus greatly increase your usefulness to humanity, to the Ashram, and to me.
The Science of Impression [vii]* is of major importance to the group. The time for close attention to yourselves and to your individual characters is past; group activity should take its place. By this I mean the activity of this particular group of disciples in relation to my Ashram and in relation to world service.
I would like you to do some further thinking upon the theme of our seventh point, the externalisation of the Masters' Ashrams, so that what I hope to say in the next instruction may mean more to you.
Take your group papers and the book Discipleship in the  New Age (Vol. I) and run quickly through these two sources of information and then write down:
1. Any definitions of an Ashram you may find. There are many.
2. A short, tabulated statement as to the unique work which every Ashram carries on in the outer world through its initiates and disciples and through affiliated disciples, such as the majority of you. Two or three of you are beyond the stage of affiliation.
This assignment need not take you long.
My brothers, I am spiritually ambitious for you. I have gathered you into my ashramic group and, therefore, into my aura for vitalising, for training and for protection. My love goes ever out to you and my unifying desire. Will you not aid me in my task? Will you stand with me in the hierarchical endeavour to which I am pledged and which I have undertaken in consort with the other Masters? There is much that you can do by speech, by pen and by example. Will you not do it—with a simple heart and a single eye for the helping of a deeply suffering and overburdened humanity.
The six questions are intended to summarise and make deeply personal and significant in your consciousness the instructions, given during the past few years to this group of affiliated disciples. They can be regarded as being put to the disciple by his own soul and will mark—if correctly and creatively used—the closing of a preliminary cycle and the beginning of a new cycle of spiritual usefulness and of fresh growth and development.
These questions should receive most careful consideration and much serious reflection, prior to answering. The answers should convey the truth, as the disciple sees it today and not in the light of his wishful thinking and of his aspiration; the answers should be written down (so as to focus that truth) with no thought or fear of what other members of the group may think. In an Ashram, my brothers, a man is known as he is; for this clear knowledge, the members of this group (affiliated with my Ashram) should prepare themselves.
One suggestion I will make: There are six questions, providing one question, therefore, for consideration each two months during the coming year. Give two months to careful consideration, reflection and interior investigation and then, at the end of the second month, formulate your reply.
Question 1. From a study of the instructions given by me on your five conditioning rays and from a study of yourself in connection with the information given:
a. Which of your five conditioning rays controls you or which is the most dominant?
b. Which ray should control you and how can you strengthen that control?
The answering of this question will require a truthful consideration of your good and bad qualities, of your assets as well as your limitations.
Question 2. Looking back over the years of instruction, do you feel that you have definitely advanced upon the Path? If so, upon what grounds do you base this belief? Could you have made more progress under the circumstances and if you have not, what was the reason or reasons?
Question 3. In what do you personally feel that your work in the future should consist in the following three relations:
a. With your personality, in its particular circumstances and environment, so as to make your daily life more spiritually effective?
b. In order to establish a closer contact with your soul, with the same objective of effective spiritual living?
c. In order to bring about soul and personality at-one-ment and clearly demonstrate the fact. What do you regard as the present  greatest hindrance to this accomplishment?
Question 4. Are you satisfied with the relationship you have established with your group brothers?
a. Do you know them better and love them more than you earlier did? This means all of them, as a group.
b. Along what lines do you feel that you have failed them, if you have, and what do you propose to do to rectify the situation?
c. In what way do you feel that you have been an asset to the group?
These four questions concern largely your ability to live as a soul in your little outer world and have reference primarily to your objective expression. The next two questions concern your subjective relationships.
Question 5. What is your attitude towards your Master, Djwhal Khul, as a result of years of training under His instruction?
a. Can you sense my vibration at any time? How do you know the difference between my vibration, that of your own soul or the group?
b. What effect has the work of the full moon had upon you? Have there been any results of that attempted contact and, if so, what are they?
c. What should now govern your efforts in relation to your work as my disciple during the coming remainder of your life?
Question 6. What part in my plans and in the task assigned to my Ashram are you prepared to take? This question concerns both your outer and your inner work of a practical nature.
a. Have you any definite schedule of work outlined in your mind as your contribution to the activity of my Ashram?
b. If so, what is it and how do you propose to implement it and make it effective?
c. What is the main task of the Ashram at this time? Do you know the type of assistance—subjective or objective or both—that you could give?
This last question goes deeply into your ability to react to impression from me and from the Ashram. I would have you answer it, to the best of your ability, from that angle.
Pass on, my disciples, into a closer relation to the Ashram of which I am the focal point; aim at a closer rapport with your fellow workers and with me. I am the director of your work. That this relationship may prove the signal achievement of the coming year for each and all of you is my earnest wish.
MY BROTHERS OF LONG ASSOCIATION:
In my last instruction to you I gave you only a very little teaching anent group work, though there were several significant hints if you had the intuition to grasp them. I have, however, given you much over the years; yet, when I look back over those years, I am forced to realise how relatively little you have profited by this teaching upon group work, though many of you have profited much by the personal instructions I gave you. Only sixteen of you are left out of an original fifty aspirants to discipleship; I think you yourselves would be the first to admit that there is little group interplay and no group enterprise animating those few of you who remain steadfast.
Certain of you (F.C.D., J.W.K-P., R.V.B., P.G.C., R.S.U., and R.S.W.) are actively working in relation to my plans, though those plans are not in reality mine, but simply the required cooperation in hierarchical endeavour. The rest of  you are engulfed in the processes of daily living or else too tired to be more active than you already are, and for that condition of the personality I have no criticism.
It is necessary for you to remember that this group effort which I initiated with the assistance of some of the older and more experienced Masters, is by no means completed; it may be (and probably is) an experiment in this particular life for you, but next life may evoke from you a new attitude and a deeper comprehension of what is subjectively going on. It has been your lack of comprehension and of understood opportunity which has distressed me and bewildered A.A.B. Like all disciples, she had at first to work in the dark; she knew nothing in her physical brain consciousness of the Masters or the Hierarchy when she started to serve, but she continued to serve for many years till discovery rewarded her or (should I perhaps say?) recovery of ancient links and knowledge clarified her vision and her position in regard to truth. Slowly she now withdraws into that service which will (within the Ashram) enable K.H. to do more deeply spiritual work in collaboration with the Christ. It was to train her and thus enable her to do this that she undertook, alone and without my help, to found and organise the Arcane School; it gave her much needed training and experience and enabled her to demonstrate the quality of the teaching and that esoteric psychology which is the major task in each Ashram and particularly in the second ray Ashram.
I would like to say at this point to all of you who have remained steadfast, even if perforce inactive, that I would ask you as life proceeds and you face eventually and inevitably the discarding of the vehicle, to hold increasingly on to your knowledge of the Hierarchy and thus to pass over to the other side with complete dedication to the hierarchical Plan. This is not simply a suggestion on my part; it is an attempt on my part to call to your attention the concept of a spiritual continuity of knowledge and of a rightly oriented attitude. Thus time will not be lost; you can—if you so choose, each and all of you—attain a true continuity of consciousness and it is one of the factors which will serve to hold this group of disciples together.
There are some things which I must say to you as this will be my last instruction on the theme of group work. It is not necessary for me to say much more upon the subject. I would start with some questions. Do you ever think with recognition of those who are no longer working with us? For instance, is D.A.O. ever in your minds? Do you ever think of S.C.P., of W.D.B., of J.A.C., or of that expert worker for the Hierarchy, L.D.N-C? I would guarantee that they seldom enter your mind. Yet they are still an integral part of this group which had the task and the responsibility of being one of the first groups (not by any means the only one, however) to attempt to make the first steps towards the externalisation of the Ashrams of the Hierarchy.
One of the major recognitions which is essential to the spiritual aspirant is that the Hierarchy is completely unable—under the law of the freedom of the human soul—to work in the world of men without those representative groups which can "step down" the hierarchical quality of energy so that the average man (with his average vibration and quality) can find in himself a point of response. It was for this specific reason that I engineered this experiment in group work with all of you in order to test out the human capacity in its higher brackets to respond to this much higher quality. It has not worked out as I had hoped, but owing to the fact that all of you are—from our point of view—of the same spiritual generation and that the difference in age was in no case more than twenty-five years at the outside (and believe me, my brother, I forget physical plane ages!) you will all return together to continue with this inevitable experience.
In the coming cycle of service, however, you will not have the association that you have had during this life with A.A.B. and F.B., who will then be working in the Ashrams of their own Masters, as will also F.C.D. and R.S.U. Do not infer from the above statement that contact and mutual interplay in world service will not then be present; it will. The union of all the Ashrams under the spiritual Plan is complete and the interlocking relationships will be increasingly present. But neither of these four people will be working in my Ashram and for this I would have you prepare. Remember nevertheless  that personal karmas have been established and are based upon many unexpected relationships, and there is much personal karma in this group of over fifty people; this was necessarily so; otherwise little personal relationships would have been possible, which may present a difficult point for you to understand.
I would like to arrest any tendency to consider one Ashram as superior to another. The forty-nine Ashrams which constitute the Hierarchy in this planetary period are some of them fully active; some are in process of formation, and some are, as yet, in a totally embryonic condition, awaiting the "focussing ability" of some initiate who is today preparing for the fifth initiation. Essentially and potentially all the Ashrams are equal, and their quality is not competitive; all of them differ as to their planned activity—an activity which is all part of a carefully formulated hierarchical activity. This you need most carefully to remember. The devotion of a disciple to some particular Master is of no importance to that Master or to His ashramic group. It is not devotion or predilection or any personality choice which governs the formation of a Master's group. It is ancient relationships, the ability to demonstrate certain aspects of life to demanding humanity and a definite ray expression of quality which determine the hierarchical placement of aspirants in an Ashram. This will perhaps be a new thought to you and is responsible for the reason why A.A.B. has never emphasised concentration on some one of the known Masters. She has always been aware that each central Ashram has associated with it six other Ashrams which are steadily and constantly being organised to meet planetary need. You will note that I did not say "human need," for the needs of the planet which the Hierarchy has to meet embrace more than those of the fourth kingdom in nature. I would have you ponder on these points.
It would be of benefit to you also to consider the Masters' Ashrams as expressions of the highest type of constructively functioning groups. There exists amongst its personnel a complete unity of purpose and an utter dedication (without any reservations, as far as the disciple involved is concerned) to the furthering of the immediate ashramic enterprise. The  position of the Master at the centre of the group has no relation to that of a teacher at the centre of a group of learners and devotees, such as we have learned to recognise in this Piscean Age. He is the centre simply because through the quality of His vibration, through karmic ancient relationship and through the invocative demand of disciples, initiates and some aspirants, He has gathered them together in order to further the ends of His ashramic enterprise; He has not gathered them together in order to teach them or to prepare them for initiation as has hitherto been taught. Aspirants and disciples prepare themselves for the processes of initiation by becoming initiated into the mysteries of divinity through discipline, meditation and service. You need to bear in mind that a Master of an Ashram may, for instance, attract to Him other Masters of equal rank as His Own. I have five Masters working with me in my Ashram. It would be of value to you if you considered the factors which hold an Ashram together and which establish its unity. The major ones, and those which you can understand, are as follows:
1. The most important capacity of a Master of an Ashram is that He has earned the right to communicate directly with the Council at Shamballa and thus to ascertain at first hand the immediate evolutionary task which the Hierarchy is undertaking. He is not called Master by the initiates in His Ashram; He is regarded as the Custodian of the Plan, and this is based on His ability to "face the greater Light which shines in Shamballa." It is the Plan which gives the keynote to the activities of any Ashram at any particular time, during any particular cycle.
2. This unanimity of purpose produces a very close subjective relationship, and each member of the Ashram is occupied with making his fullest possible contribution to the task in hand. Personalities do not enter in. You will remember how some years ago I told you that the personality vehicles are ever left outside the Ashram—speaking symbolically. This means that the subtler bodies of the personality have perforce to follow the same rules as the physical body—they are left outside. Remember also that  the Ashrams exist upon the plane of buddhi or of the intuition. The joint undertaking and the united adhering to the desired and arranged cyclic technique binds all members of the Ashram into one synthetic whole; there is therefore no possible controversy or any emphasis upon individual ideas, because no personality vibratory quality can penetrate in the periphery or the aura of an Ashram.
3. The planning and the assignment of tasks connected with the enterprise in hand is carried forward through the medium of an ashramic, reflective meditation, initiated by the Custodian of the Plan. The Master of an Ashram does not say: "Do this" or "Do that." Together, in unison and in deep reflection the plans unfold, and each disciple and initiate sees occultly where he is needed and where—at any given moment—he must place his cooperative energy. Note my wording here. The members of an Ashram, however, do not sit down for a joint meditation. One of the qualities, developed through ashramic contact, is the ability to live always within the field of intuitive perception—a field which has been created, or a sphere of energy which has been generated, by the united purpose, the combined planning and the concentrated energy of the Hierarchy. An analogy (but only an analogy, however) would be to regard this field of reflecting, reflective and reflected energies as resembling the brain of a human being; this brain reflects the impacts of telepathic activity, the sensory perceptions and the knowledges gained in the three worlds; reflection then sets in in relation to the mental processes which are synchronised with the brain, and then follows the impartation of these reflections to the outside world. The ashramic reflective meditation is an integral part of the constantly developing perception of the disciple-initiate, and it (in its turn) is a part of the whole hierarchical reflective meditation. This latter is based upon inspiration (in the occult sense) from Shamballa. The moment a disciple can share in this constant unremitting meditation or reflection without its interfering with his service and his other lines of thought, he becomes what is called "a disciple who shall no more go out."
4. Another factor productive of group unity and synchronous precision in working is the complete freedom of the Ashram from any spirit of criticism. There is no tendency among its personnel to be critical and no interest whatsoever in the outer, personal lives of the members, should they be amongst those functioning in the three worlds. Criticism, as seen among men, simply is a mode of emphasising the lower self and deflects the attitude to the material aspects of a person's life. There is necessarily clear vision among the members of an Ashram; they know each other's capacities and limitations and they know, therefore, where they can complement each other and together create and present a perfect team in world service.
5. One other factor I will mention among the many possible: The members of an Ashram are all in the process of demonstrating love and pure reason, and they are—at the same time—focussing themselves in the Will aspect of divinity. This statement may mean little to you at present but it is fundamentally the factor which creates the higher antahkarana, uniting the Hierarchy and Shamballa. This makes the planetary purpose of so much importance.
These are the major factors which produce group unity; they have, as results, telepathic rapport and intuitive perception; but these are effects and not causes and are the product of the measure of the attained group unity.
You can see, therefore, the scientific reason I had when I urged you in past years to have a group enterprise, for it is a major unifying factor, and the inner Ashram with which you are affiliated stands to you (at your particular point of development) as Shamballa stands to the Hierarchy—from the angle of dynamic inspiration. Had you done this (which you did not) the group would not have fallen apart—as it has done. Had you eliminated criticism, the essential unity would have been strengthened. One of the reasons I had for the complete frankness and so-called exposure of your individual weakness and limitations to the group as a whole was to train you in the light of pure perception which knows the reason  why and sees with clarity the ends in view. Where true perception exists, criticism is automatically eliminated.
Modern groups (and groups form a large part of every field of thought and activity) are usually composed of people possessing some basic idea upon which they are all agreed and which they are trying to express through the medium of their clashing personalities and, frequently, in obedience to some leader or person of more powerful mentality than that of the majority, and in order to exploit and use the methods which they regard as essential to success. There is therefore little true unity, and often what there is is based on expediency or good manners.
Everywhere, however, the newer type of groups are slowly being gathered together. Have you ever realised (I seek here to make you think and reason) that a group composed entirely of people upon the same ray, and who were also at exactly the same point in evolution, would be relatively futile and useless? Such a group would lack dynamic—the dynamic which comes into expression when many and different ray qualities meet and combine. When you speak of an Ashram being a first or a second ray Ashram—to mention only two out of the seven—it is essential that you bear in mind that though its members may have the same basic soul ray, they are apt to be found on one or other of the six subsidiary sub-rays; there is also a constant shifting of people as they make true progress from a minor ray to a major ray or (for service reasons) on to a different sub-ray of their own ray; this is a point which is very apt to be forgotten. It is wise to realise that an Ashram is composed of disciples and initiates of all degrees. It is this interplay of diverse elements that enriches an Ashram and tends inevitably to successful service in the three worlds.
I am anxious to see the group, with which I have been undertaking an occult experiment for the Hierarchy, hold together. When I say this, I refer not only to the few of you who are now active (and perhaps patting yourselves on the back for your steadfastness!), but also to the inactive members, to those likewise who of their own freewill dropped out, those whom perforce I myself had to drop, and those also  who are functioning upon the other side of the veil. I have asked A.A.B. to send each of you a complete list of all who were in the earlier groups as well as those who were or are in the reorganised group. The names will be sent to you without comment and without addresses. I would ask you on one day each month—the day of the full moon—to sit down and mention each of these names of your co-disciples in the light, sending out light and love to one and all. This will strengthen the relation of you all to each other and it will also create an energy body—an etheric body—for the entire subjective group and will integrate them closely as time goes on, restoring those who broke away and strengthening those who unfortunately proved themselves to be weak.
This entire problem of group integrity and personnel-synthesis (if I may coin such a phrase) is at this time presenting a major problem to the Hierarchy. It is based, as you see, on the point in evolution which humanity has reached. There are many millions today—and this may surprise you—who have already achieved a definite measure of permanent personality integration. They are people in the fullest sense of the term although they may yet be lacking any contact with the soul or any desire for such contact. This means that they are relatively dominant men and women in their own setting, environment or milieu; they therefore constitute a problem in this preparatory cyclic era because they refuse—usually quite unconsciously—to form part of any group; they seek ever the position of leader. This is true of spiritual aspirants just as much as it is true of workers and group leaders in any other phase of human thought and procedure.
Therefore we ask: How can we create extra-ashramic groups out of aspirants and disciples who primarily value spiritual status, kudos or an elevated position? We cannot. All we can do is to train aspirants in recognised group requirements. We must also point out to them the dangers of mental pride, detail to them their personality limitations and the difficulties of true spiritual leadership, and then plead with them to mind their own business where each other is concerned and ask them to serve the human race; this of course means, incidentally, serving the Hierarchy and thus  demonstrate their ability to work within an Ashram. Disciples—in the earlier stages—are apt to be didactic; they like to express in words their profound understanding of occult truth and thereby, in reality, establish their superiority over non-esoteric students, and in so doing (again incidentally) antagonise those they otherwise could help. They like to show their unique familiarity with hierarchical principles but, as they are not yet living those principles, they hinder more than they can help; at the same time, through self-discovery, they learn much thereby. They believe that in expressing their knowledge of petty and unimportant details anent the lives and methods of the Masters, a high point of spiritual understanding and development is thereby indicated. This is not by any means the case. In the last analysis, it indicates a superficial sense of false values, and seventy per cent of their information is wrong and of no importance.
I feel it necessary to emphasise the unimportance of their claims to information because the work of the Masters and Their freedom to serve humanity as They desire have been greatly hindered by these foolish thoughtforms and by the preconceived ideas of well-intentioned aspirants. The Masters very seldom resemble the theories, the pictures and the information which is so frequently circulated by the average aspirant. This whole business of occult gossip and of misinformation governs the majority of the many little occult groups.
Until groups are formed which consist of disciples and senior aspirants who possess self-ascertained knowledge and who are capable of correct interpretation of the occult facts, and who are also endowed with the rare group virtue of silence, we shall not have the desired externalisation of the Ashrams. I would have you think on these matters and prepare yourselves for a better and sounder appreciation, plus a more adequate meeting of hierarchical requirements in your next incarnation.
And now, my brothers and co-workers, I leave you to work, serve and study; by that last word, I mean reflect and think. I would commend to your consideration (because you cannot as yet think truly constructively, but only imaginatively)  the place in this hierarchical planning, adjusting and aligning that my Ashram should take and of your part in it, as an individual and as a group, above all. I ask your aid so that one of the newest Ashrams may play a good part in the group of Ashrams, gathered around that of the One Who was my Master, the Chohan K.H.
There has been much pressure on you this year; I have seen and noted it; the group—as a group—has done better this year than for some years past; and I have seen a deepening of devotion and a strengthening of conviction. Failures, where they may be found, need not persist, for the group love can offset them all; personality weaknesses, mistakes and faults are overlooked and forgotten in the urgency of human need; they do not even penetrate into the Ashram. I would ask you to remember this, and with humility in your hearts, persistence in your efforts and love to all men, pass on your way.
Let love play its part in all your lives and all your inter-relations as it must and does in the Hierarchy; look upon the Ashram to which you are affiliated as a miniature Hierarchy and model your efforts upon what you have learned anent the Hierarchy; count all things but loss unless they are productive along the line of service to humanity, and become increasingly factual in your attitude to all disciples and to the Hierarchy. The coming cycle is momentous in its offering of opportunity, and I would have you—again as individuals and as a group—measure up to this chance. Fix your eyes on human need and your hand in mine (if I may speak thus to you in symbols) and go forward with me to greater influence and deeper usefulness.