SECTION THREE - TEACHINGS ON INITIATION - Part 4
In my last instruction to you I dealt with some aspects of the new approach to discipleship and to initiation; it is essential that the old concepts—profoundly useful in their day—should be forgotten and the newer methods and techniques should be substituted. This is now necessary on account of the surprising unfoldment of the human consciousness during the past twenty-five years. The steps taken at the Conclave in Shamballa in 1925 (based on tentative conclusion at the previous centennial Conclave) and the pressures exerted by the Hierarchy have proved most successful, and out of the chaos of the world war (precipitated by humanity itself) there is developing a structure of truth and a paralleling responsiveness of the human mechanism which guarantees the perpetuation and the rapid unfoldment of the next stage of the teaching of the Ageless Wisdom.
I used a phrase in my last instruction to which I would like to call your attention. I spoke of the coming ability of mankind to "share in the great hierarchical task of illuminating, precipitating and lifting." These words signify far more than their obvious meaning, and I would like somewhat to elucidate.
Men are apt to think that the entire objective of the work of the Hierarchy is to find and admit men into hierarchical contact. It is that minor phase of hierarchical activity which appears paramount in your consciousness; is it not so? Your main hope is that as you unfold your latent possibilities, you will be able to help others to do the same. This is indeed a worthy thought, but is nevertheless based entirely on misapprehension. Let me, therefore, throw light upon the matter by quoting the Old Commentary:
"When light illuminates the minds of men and stirs  the secret light within all other forms, then the One in Whom we live reveals His hidden, secret lighted Will.
"When the purpose of the Lords of Karma can find no more to do, and all the weaving and close-related plans are all worked out, then the One in Whom we live can say: `Well done! Naught but the beautiful remains.'
"When the lowest of the low, the densest of the dense, and the highest of the high have all been lifted through the little wills of men, then can the One in Whom we live raise into radiating light the vivid lighted ball of Earth, and then another greater Voice can say to Him: 'Well done! Move on. Light shines.'"
You will note that the emphasis in these words is placed upon human accomplishment and not upon what the Hierarchy does for man. When men achieve illumination, intelligently precipitate the karmic quota of their time, and lift the subhuman kingdoms (with its reflex activity of lifting the Highest simultaneously), then they can and then they do share in the work of the Hierarchy.
That cycle of sharing has seemed for aeons too far away to be considered; when, however, humanity precipitated the war, they automatically and somewhat surprisingly brought the final achievement much nearer. The illumination of men's minds will rapidly follow. The process of lifting the subhuman kingdoms has been amazingly forwarded by science—the crowning accomplishment of which was the fission of the atom and the penetration of the "spiritual interfering" aspect of the human spirit into the very depths of the mineral world. Ponder on this.
Therefore, if you could see things as they truly exist in the world of today and view them in their true perspective (and this—as far as you are concerned—is from the angle of the Master), you would know that a great step has been taken towards:
1. The institution of more rapid initiation, and that in group form.
2. The possession of a much closer and a more widespread contact between the Hierarchy and humanity.
3. The revelation of the true significance of initiation.
This true significance lies still behind the curtain of that which veils the ultimate truth. The great secrets of Sanat Kumara are there to be found in due time, and the truth anent initiation is one of them.
When the Hierarchy withdrew behind the separating curtain in Atlantean times, it marked the beginning of an interlude of darkness, of aridity and a cycle of "blank abstraction," which persisted in its crudest form until 1425 A.D., and since then has sensibly lightened until we reached the year 1925. It became possible for the Hierarchy itself to regard the necessity for reorientation and the imminence of the revelation of the first secret—the secret of initiation. Note well what I say here. Humanity had reached a stage where it could do the "abstracting" itself, and could eventually and by sheer force of the spiritual will wrest the secrets from the custody of the Guardians behind the veil. This presented the Hierarchy with another problem. How could this be permitted with safety so that, in its avidity for pure truth, humanity could be simultaneously trusted? Revelation brings responsibility, and ofttimes danger. Men, as individuals, can grasp certain of these truths of initiation and use them for themselves with impunity, but their revelation to the unready might involve serious risks.
It was therefore decided that a truer picture of the nature of discipleship should be imparted to the waiting aspirant, the misunderstood principle of occult obedience should be "soft-pedalled" (if I may use such a word), and men should be set "free for penetration"—as it is called—and be taught the needed reticence through testing and experience.
It is interesting to note that the cycle now being inaugurated in the world is that of "Growth through Sharing," and that advanced humanity can now share the work, the responsibility and the trained reticence of the Hierarchy, whilst paralleling this and simultaneously, the mass of men are  learning the lessons of economic sharing; and, my brothers, in this lies the sole hope of the world.
Every initiation to which disciples are admitted permits this closer occult sharing in the hierarchical life. This involves, for advanced humanity, a noticeable increase in vitality and in vital tension and potency. Its reflection among the masses is shown in the constant demand for speed and in the enormous speeding up of the life of mankind in every department of living. This speeding up synchronises with the increasing readiness of disciples everywhere for initiation—according to their status and developed ability.
The difference, brother of mine, between the past and the present readiness lies in the fact that in the past this readiness was a purely individual matter; today it is something which is closely related to a man's group, and the individual aspect is of secondary importance. As time and speed increase in importance for the masses of men, the disciple (ready for initiation) regards his personal advancement upon the Path as of less importance than his developed capacity to serve his fellowmen, serving them through the group with which he may be affiliated and to which he may be drawn. For the disciple facing the first two initiations, this group will be some exoteric body of men who claim his allegiance and in which he learns group cooperation and methods of working; for the more advanced disciple, it is the Ashram and direct service under the instigation of some Master.
I have in the above paragraphs given you a number of ideas which, though not new in their stating, are new in their reference. This is of importance for you to remember—or discover? The significance of sharing and the relation of spiritual development to speed are points of importance to emphasise. Much that I have said above has a close connection with the hint given on pages 302-3. I suggest that you look it up.
I have continually laid the emphasis upon the need of  disciples to think esoterically, and this is perhaps the most difficult demand that I can make upon you. A consideration of these hints should teach you much, for they are not what they seem upon superficial reading, and the effort to understand and to interpret should lead you far on your way towards "occult thinking." The Masters do not convey teaching through the medium of hints which could be safely given in a more open form. They have no intention at any time to be mysterious or to hold back teaching from the enquirer. Their method is, in reality, threefold:
1. The presentation of those truths which obviously grow out of a recognition of truths already presented. There is here usually a close adherence to the esoteric teaching of the time, and this method is essentially a linking presentation.
2. Occasionally (usually once in a century after Their Conclave at the close of the first quarter) there is the imparting of a more advanced body of teaching. This teaching will only be recognised by a few of the foremost disciples in the world; it will, however, prove to be the ordinary form of occult teaching during the next developing cycle. It is this type of work which I have been endeavouring to do with the aid of A.A.B.
3. There is also the teaching which is definitely given within the Ashram, and which is not, at the time when the other two forms are prevalent, reduced to writing; it will find its way out into expression as need arises and as opportunity is offered to the disciples who are its custodians. Its presentation is dependent upon the unfoldment—rapid or slow—of the lesser disciples of the world.
All these three methods are in use at this present time.
As a man progresses nearer and nearer to his goal, he finds himself beginning to realise that the entire technique of this unfoldment consists of a sequence of revelations which are induced by his recognition of subjective significances which are of a nature entirely different to the usual and apparent meanings. In the olden days, as you well know,  the Master would say to a disciple: "Here is a hint" and, having stated it, He would proceed to enjoin upon His disciple the necessity to withdraw and search for the true meaning until he found it; then, and only then, could he return for a consequent new hint.
Today, this method is no longer being used, and this change constitutes one of the modes of training the disciples of the New Age. The modern disciple has to recognise the hint which is related to his point in consciousness and which is to be found in the mass of instruction made available for his use. He has to seek for the—to him—most deeply esoteric statement he encounters in the current teaching; from this isolated hint he has to abstract the significance, after removing it from its context; later, he must learn and profit from its meaning.
The hints given at this stage are related to the theme of revelation, or they concern themselves with the techniques which make revelation possible. The hint, for instance, with which you can work until you receive the next sequence of teaching is contained in this paragraph and the one above; you can discover it if you take each phrase, release your intuition and seek for meaning and significance related to the possibility of revelation. My one effort today is to indicate the relation between initiation and revelation. The revelation—induced by right orientation and right thinking—is a part of the training of the initiate, and many thus in training delay their progress by not recognising the revelation when it tops the line of their spiritual horizon.
Five hints have already been given to you, and I would like you to get their sequence, for it may prove valuable to you and to other disciples:
1. That the changes brought about in the Hierarchy have been the work of the disciples of the world. Have you asked yourself (in studying this hint), Why the disciples?
2. That human world planning is today the first indication of the emergence of the will aspect. Why is this rightly so?
3. That disciples in all the Ashrams have the task simultaneously of "modifying, qualifying and adapting the divine Plan." Why is this so? Why is the Plan not imposed?
4. That the initiate knows because he works. What does this hint mean to you?
5. A key to the correct interpretation of a hint lies in its association with the idea of direction in time and space.
Study these and see what is their relationship and what you feel is the inner meaning which they are intended to convey.
It might sometimes be remarked that these formulas are attempts by advanced aspirants to confine within due limits some of these escaped revelations. They express a past, indicate a revelation, and ground the thinking aspirant in the world of meaning because it is in that world that he must learn to work and live; it is from that world that he must begin now to work in two directions in time and space, for the world of meaning is the antechamber to the "Circle of Liberation." This "Circle of Liberation" is ever entered by the individual initiate, and has been down the ages, but now, for the first time, it is being entered by humanity itself and as a whole. This is the result of the experience of the war, 1914-1945. Humanity, entering this circle, will be confronted by the first major lesson: the Unity of the One Life. This form of presentation will be more easily recognised by the masses than such phrases as Brotherhood, Relationship, Fraternity. Life and its balancing partner, Death, are old and familiar aspects of general livingness to the masses, and their starting point in all revelation is life, and the result of all revelation is death or the disappearance of veils.
The formula with which I present you today consists of three closely related words, and the theme with which the student must concern himself is the nature of the relationship which is indicated—not by the words but by the very  nature of that which relates them. This is not an obvious relation but the esoteric and subtle meaning which the intuition will reveal and that the outer words hide.
THE SUN . . . BLACK . . . ANTAHKARANA
These words constitute, and when placed in their correct order create, a most potent magical and mantric formula. It has a tenuous yet definite connection with the third initiation, but it is not this angle with which you are asked to concern yourselves but with the triangle created and the lines of force set in motion when the right word finds itself at the apex of the triangle.
The clue to rightly orienting your thinking lies in the realisation of the threefold aspect of the Sun, the unity of the reality and the dual nature of the antahkarana. More I must not say; it is for you to wrestle with the formula and unearth or bring to the surface its hidden significance. In line with the hints given in connection with the other four formulas, the keynote of this one would be:
Lead us from the individual to the Universal.
POINTS OF REVELATION
I would like at this point to call more directly to your attention the three stages of revelation; you have been dealing with them and considering them, if you have succeeded in following this work closely, and may already have achieved something of the automatic and the essential in their activity.
Revelation seldom breaks in all its completed beauty into the consciousness of the disciple; it is a gradual and steadily unfolding process. The three words I have given you as descriptive of the stages concern the individual disciple or initiate and express the stages of the impact of the revelation upon his mind. There are paralleling inner causes which are responsible for the outer stages of Penetration, Polarisation and Precipitation. These are:
1. The stage of the "advancing point of light."
2. The stage of right direction or the focussing of the "advancing" potency.
3. The stage of spiritual impact.
Again here (if you could but see it) you have an illustration of the processes and interaction of Invocation and Evocation and of the establishing of a triple relation between an inner reality and the outer man, the disciple on his own plane; you have an evocative activity of so potent a nature that it produces corresponding exoteric attitudes and expressions. In reality, you have here a phase of the working of the Law of Cause and Effect, demonstrated in a most illustrative manner. As the Law of Karma makes its presence felt upon the outer physical plane, you have the evidence before your eyes of the three stages of Penetration, Polarisation and Precipitation. At the same time, on the inner planes, and because of the existence of the inner reality, you have the three corresponding stages of Advancing Light, Right Direction, Impact. You have here also an indication of the close interrelation of the outer and the inner, producing a condition wherein the disciple creates a situation analogous to the phase—the long phase—of his creation of karma and its final precipitation in (so-called) "critical" disaster in his physical plane life.
A study of the three revelations indicated in the earlier instruction will reveal the accuracy of the above statement. I enumerated them for you in my previous instruction and wonder if you have read them often. You will find it of value to take these three points of revelation and apply to them the three outer and the three inner stages through which all revelations pass. You may also have noted how one point of revelation leads normally to another. You will (having studied the three revelations indicated on pages 309-10) note how all of them concern the first divine aspect, starting with the initial energy set in motion by God's thinking; leading to the expression of the Will, which is the great first ray in action, and then focussing itself through the Monad.  Curiously enough, in these three you have—symbolically and factually given you—expression of the three exoteric stages:
1. Penetration, the descending and circulatory nature of energy.
2. Polarisation, the effect upon this energy of the polarised will.
3. Precipitation, through the focussed intent and the directed impulse of the Monad.
The next sequential revelation will be that of creativity, the world of thoughtforms and the desire which each human being and humanity as a whole have created, and (note this well) the setting in motion by humanity and in relation to its own destiny, the Law of Cause and Effect, or of Karma.
I have here condensed into a relatively few short paragraphs much important teaching anent revelation and its processes and have emphasised a phase of human activity (needed to produce revelation) which has hitherto received little, if any, attention. Revelation is apt to be regarded as apart from all laws, as an extra-planetary activity, as something that occasionally happens to the well-intentioned aspirant, and as relatively unpredictable and unexpected. I have sought here to correct this erroneous impression.
It would present a very real problem to would-be initiates if they had to answer certain questions, among them the following: Into what are you being initiated? Are disciples being initiated into the Hierarchy? Are there certain secret contacts that the initiation makes possible? Is the acquiring of certain mysterious and hitherto unknown knowledge the reward of initiation? There is much vague and loose thinking on these matters.
Over the years I have given you many definitions of initiation; all of them have been useful and true. Today I seek greatly to widen your conception of these matters and to  give you an entirely new slant on this engrossing and assertive work. What I have to say grows out of certain hints I gave you in the preceding pages. These hints are good illustrations of that method of teaching which is profoundly rooted in hierarchical technique. I said:
1. That more rapid processes of initiation are now being instituted.
2. That initiation veiled a secret and that its revelation was imminent.
3. That every initiation permits a closer sharing within the hierarchical life and that this sharing is closely related to vitality and to vital tension.
4. That initiation is concerned at this time with group life and not with the individual.
5. That initiation concerns the future and involves prevision.
6. That time is one of the major underlying themes or secrets of initiation.
In this particular instruction I seek to deal with these six points.
1. When I say that more rapid initiation is being instituted, it must not be inferred that a certain slackness is to be permitted or that the requirements are not so drastic or that the disciple will be allowed to take initiation before he is truly ready or that he can pass on before he has proved his capacity to move forward upon the path. Such is not in any single point the situation. Three factors are responsible for this change in the hierarchical requirements:
a. The mental development of disciples everywhere is today of such a calibre that it does not take as long for them to make the needed adjustments or to change their attitudes and conditions of life as it did formerly; it does not take as long for them to assimilate a presented truth or to respond to an intuitive perception. Their grasp of the Law of Cause and Effect and their appreciation of the subsidiary Law of Consequences is  far more prompt than in the past. These facts therefore necessitate a recognition upon the part of the Masters of the more advanced condition and a pronounced saving of time as the consequence. This you should note as of very real importance; its true significance is that the period required for a truth, a contact, or a spiritual apprehension to be registered by a physical brain has been greatly—almost phenomenally reduced. Disciples can now in a few months (if sincere and honest in their endeavour) master ideas and develop responses which it took them years to master in earlier cycles of hierarchical effort. This is true, on a lower turn of the spiral, of the masses of men everywhere. The mind factor is today alert, trained and controlling. These are facts which the Hierarchy cannot ignore, nor do the Masters desire to do so, because it is that mental alertness which has for ages engrossed Their attention and it is this for which They have worked for aeons.
b. Another factor is that many disciples are taking incarnation at this time who are already prepared and ready for initiation; they have done the needed work in previous lives. No time, therefore, need be lost, and there is today a constant series of initiations taking place. This must perforce produce certain important hierarchical changes; new situations come about in initiate circles and many fit candidates are supplied for hierarchical vacancies; this produces a shifting of the hierarchical personnel on a scale hitherto unknown. Needless to say, this shifting and changing presents its own peculiar difficulties and opportunities. One of the most important of the latter is that candidates for the Initiation of Decision are far more numerous than at any previous time in our planetary history.
c. Again: Initiation can now be taken in group form; this is something entirely new in the work of the Hierarchy. Not one by one do candidates stand before the Initiator, but many so stand simultaneously. Together they can think in complete accord; together they are  tested, and together they reach the "point of triumph" which supersedes the "point of tension"; together they see the "Star shine forth," and together the energy emanating from the Rod of Initiation fits them for the reception of specialised energy, to be later used in their future world service. This group approach, this group intention, this "group silent reticence and vocal recognition," and this group dedication and vision are no longer in the experimental stage. This group achievement (I refer not here to your particular group which has not been outstandingly successful) marks the point where there can be the inauguration of a new phase of activity in Shamballa. This will enable the Lord of the World to become the Ruler of a Sacred Planet which, up to date, has not been the case. Our Earth can now become a Sacred Planet, if all right conditions are fulfilled. A new divine quality (as yet unrevealed and which we would not at this time recognise if presented with it) is slowly crystallising into expression, through the medium of this hastened initiation process. Disciples are today witnessing the emergence of a solar characteristic, through the medium of their planetary Logos, just as the "Lives of similar Intention"—as it is esoterically called—witnessed it many aeons ago. It is to this unknown and mysterious quality that the "shining forth" of the Star refers.
More than this I cannot say, for you would not understand; what I have said above you can accept as a possible hypothesis without outraging your commonsense or violating your intention, that I do ask you to do—just accept.
A great opportunity is presented to you, and the success of the system of Raja-Yoga, the Kingly Science of the Mind (started by the great initiate, Patanjali, eleven thousand years ago) is being demonstrated and his techniques are being vindicated. What he issued on behalf of the Great White Lodge has now been satisfactorily launched and much of the original purpose justified. For the next seven thousand years  his system will be used to train disciples in mind control. They will, through this system, achieve the stage of "isolated unity," and in that recorded unity—alone and yet with many others—take the initiation which will enable them to release energy into a waiting and demanding world of men.
2. We come now to our second point, that initiation veils a secret and that the revelation of that secret is imminent. Just what this secret is, I may not reveal, but it is concerned with a peculiar type of energy which can be induced at a moment of supreme tension. The only possible hint I can give you in connection with this mysterious matter is that it is closely related to the "Blinding Light" which Saul of Tarsus saw on the road to Damascus and the "blinding light" which accompanied the discharge of energy from the atomic bomb. The "Blinding Light" which ever accompanies true conversion (a rare and sudden happening always when true and real) and which is an attendant demonstration of all Lives Who have passed the human stage of consciousness—according to Their degree—and the light which is released by the fission of the atom are one and the same expression on different levels of consciousness, and are definitely related to the processes and effects of initiation. This will not even make sense to you until certain initiate-experiences have been undergone by you. It is not easy for the average aspirant to realise that progressive stages upon the Path indicate a progressive ability to "take the Light." When the aspirant prays in the new Invocation: "Let Light descend on Earth" he is invoking something which humanity will have to learn to handle; this is one of the things for which the disciples of the world must begin to prepare the race of men.
All these planetary developments are attended by risks, and none more so than that of the absorption of light—on a world-wide scale—by humanity, with a subsequent reflex action on the three subhuman kingdoms. Nothing which affects humanity or which stimulates it to a forward-moving activity is without its inevitable effect upon the three lower kingdoms in nature. Forget not! Mankind is the macrocosm to this threefold lower microcosm.
This as you may well surmise, can be among the secrets  of the initiatory process. The "principle of absorption" emerges as one of the subjects to be studied, understood and mastered between initiations, for each initiation carries the subject another step forward. At present, the physical effects of the fission of the atom and its subsequent constructive use is the immediate problem before modern science, and (I would remind you) it is now an exoteric problem. Its use, or corresponding use on esoteric levels, still remains one of the secrets of initiation.
3. I stated as our third point that every initiation indicated a closer sharing in all forms of the hierarchical life. Do you realise in any measure what that statement means or what the implications are? I am dealing with a point not only of profound significance but of major testing. There is a spiritual counterpart or higher correspondence of the economic life of our planet to be found in the Hierarchy. Sharing is associated with that which is of value, which should be shared if justice is to be demonstrated, and basically, with those values which are life-giving. The sharing to which I am here referring is the sharing in all reactions, of all attitudes, of all types of wisdom, of all problems and difficulties and limitations, so that they become constructive in the group sense and cease to be destructive. Nothing destructive has place in any Ashram, but disciples can and do use ashramic force in their work in a destructive manner, and in the three worlds. This is not easy to understand. Perhaps I can make it clearer to you if I point out that this sharing involves complete knowledge of all the personality reactions of all the members of the Ashram, i.e., of all preparing for the lesser initiations, and therefore of all below a certain degree. There is nothing secret which will not be known, and you can understand that the discovery of the factual nature of this constitutes a major test for all disciples. There is nothing in the mind of a disciple which cannot be telepathically known to all the other members of the Ashram who are at the same degree of development or to all of a higher degree, for it is a law that the greater can always include the lesser.
I wish students would consider this fact with great intelligence and closer attention; they would then arrive at the  knowledge that their limitations definitely provide a problem for those less limited. The time has to come wherein candidates for admission into an Ashram, and later, for initiation, must realise that their limitations, their relatively petty points of view and their circumscribed attitudes are a hindrance to ashramic progressive events. If the principle of sharing has any significance whatsoever, these are points of great importance and are supremely worthy of consideration. An illustration of this can be seen in the response of this group to the work which I have asked you to undertake over the years. A tiny handful of you have responded and have made sacrifices and worked hard to further the Triangle work, to spread the Invocation and to help in the Goodwill work, but it is a very tiny minority. The rest have either been interested intellectually but could not make the needed sacrifices, or they refused to put first things first, and secondary issues occupied their lives. This limitation, as you may realise, has handicapped the ashramic plans, and those who wholeheartedly have worked (and they know I know who they are) have had to share—with pain and distress—in the limitation. I have frequently stated that on entrance into an Ashram the disciple leaves behind him his personality life and enters as a soul. What I have stated in the above paragraph in no way contradicts this fact. It must, however, be remembered that a disciple has become what he is as a result of his personality aspiration, his struggles in the three worlds, and an attained point of spiritual unfoldment. Therefore, though he may leave behind his personality with its faults and problems, he indicates clearly to his co-disciples and to those more advanced than he is, exactly what is lacking in his equipment, what is his point in evolution, and what stage of discipleship he has achieved. In this connection, I recommend the rereading of all that is said anent the six stages of discipleship in Discipleship in the New Age (Vol. l); the material given there is of great importance here.
At first the disciple may have little to share, and instead presents a great deal for senior disciples to record, for which they must make allowance and which they have to offset. They have also to regulate the energy which plays upon the  entering disciple so that it is adjusted to his point of development and to his ray and nature. The group of disciples within the Ashram who are of equal development with the new disciple, act as a safeguarding group, and this is true, no matter what the degree, where higher incoming energy is concerned. When a disciple is temporarily bewildered, this safeguarding becomes a major necessity, and where glamour is present in a disciple's life, it places a real strain upon his co-disciples. They have to share the charge and shoulder unitedly the protection; it is not the task of the Master, but is carried forward under His interested and wise instruction.
This ashramic sharing is one of the great compensations of discipleship. By means of it added light can be "occultly endured." I would like to have you ponder on that phrase. Great united strength can be brought to the service of the Plan, and the occult significance of the words: "My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure" can be grasped. The perfected strength of the Ashram (symbolised by the number 10) becomes available to the disciple whose purity of heart has enabled him to penetrate into the Ashram; his knowledge becomes more rapidly transmuted into wisdom as his mind is subjected to the play of the higher understanding of Those with Whom he is associated; gradually he begins to contribute his own quota of light and of understanding to those just entering and to those who are his equals.
The strength, availability and usefulness of an Ashram is that of the sum total of all that its members can contribute, plus that which Those above the third degree of initiation can "import" from still higher sources or the Masters of the Ashrams can make available at need. Students are apt to think that an Ashram has only one initiate of the fifth degree (that of Master) within it. Such is seldom the case. There are usually three "cooperating Masters" in every Ashram, with one at the apex of the triangle; He acts as the Master of the Ashram and is responsible for the preparation of disciples for initiation; frequently there are also "associated Masters," particularly during cycles of rapid initiation, as is the case  today. There are also Masters Who are preparing for the sixth initiation.
This "sharing" process does not involve what is usually understood as the "sharing of trouble." Personality difficulties and personality problems are not permitted entrance into an Ashram; only evolutionary limitations and lack of perfection (limitations in soul expression, indicating the grade or stage of discipleship) are recognised. If, however, disciples act or react in a way that brings attack upon the Ashram, that is naturally recognised, but these issues are fortunately very rare; they may become more common as the spiritual inspiration to which humanity is now subjected and reacting brings far greater numbers of disciples into relation with the Hierarchy. In the case where a disciple has opened a door of attack upon an Ashram—and this has happened, as you know, in the case of my Ashram—the work of the united disciples is to "seal the door" against the menacing evil, to withdraw themselves from the usual confidence shown to an erring disciple, but to stand at the same time in steadfast love beside him until such time as he has learned the error of his ways and has himself taken the needed steps to arrest the evil which he was responsible in starting.
It must be remembered that none of this is a personality or an individual attack upon an Ashram. The relatively feeble efforts of a person are unavailing and make no real impact upon the conscious life of the Ashram. The evil released must emanate from a group, though it is released through the agency of an individual disciple. That is a totally different matter. A disciple may do this through misuse of the lower mind and its rationalising capacity, which can make black to appear white and prove that good intention is responsible for evil-distributed energy; or the disciple can let in evil under the influence of glamour, provided again that it is group evil. In these ways, the disciple simply turns the key, and group evil enters. For instance, the harm done to the Ashram of the Master Morya by H.P.B. in his earlier incarnation as Cagliostro, [xvii]* is only now fading out, and its  repercussions affected the whole Hierarchy. The harm attempted on my Ashram has been more easily offset, and the source of hate which it represented failed in its attempt because of its general ill repute. It has been offset by love and understanding which is not so easily the case in a first ray attack.
In an Ashram, therefore, the sharing takes place along the following lines:
a. The sharing in individual initiation but not in individual problems or personality difficulties.
b. The sharing in the "art of occult protection." This involves two activities: the protection of limited disciples and the protection of the Ashram from attempted attacks or intrusions.
c. The sharing in the service of the Plan, resulting in action in the three worlds.
d. The sharing in the Ashramic life, with all that that signifies, and in the opportunities which are thus presented.
e. The sharing in the stimulation which comes from the Master's Presence and in the instructions which He occasionally gives.
f. The sharing in the accession of power or love or insight which comes during any cycle of initiation. These cycles (for our purposes) fall into three categories:
1. The initiation of members of the Ashram, either before the Christ or before the One Initiator.
2. Initiations taking place within affiliated Ashrams and having a specific ray effect.
3. Initiations into those degrees which are higher than the fifth degree; these create vacancies, and at the same time cause a tremendous influx of power.
At the period of these cycles, all within the Ashram react in some way or another; no one moves forward upon the Path without creating a new relationship and becoming a better transmitter of power.
g. The sharing in the results of special spiritual events, such as:
1. The directed attention of Shamballa.
2. An inflow of extra-planetary force.
3. The "nearing" or the directed power of an Avatar of some degree.
4. The merging of all hierarchical thought and activity into some one directed event, such as the Wesak Festival and, increasingly, the Full Moon or Festival of the Christ.
There are other events which have a definite effect upon every Ashram, the effect being determined by the ray or by the "unfoldment of the ashramic Lotus."
Every great act of sharing results automatically in the production of two reactions:
a. The creation of a point of tension.
b. The emergence of a point of crisis.
On these I shall not here enlarge, for I have given you much along these lines in other and earlier writings. The bringing together of "two points of energy" (as, for instance, two disciples) creates inevitably a point of tension which can release energy in the service of the Plan. It produces also a point of crisis, according to the development of the disciples involved. There is not the same point of crisis where initiates of the higher degree are involved. The point of tension in these cases results in a "crisis of projection and direction" which is in no way related to the disciple's life or condition or to his aspiration and understanding.
4. Initiation is today concerned with the group and not with the individual. This is not an easy matter to elucidate to a group of people who are still so polarised in their personalities that it is the personality aspect of their fellow members which engrosses their attention at all times. I say this with emphasis. Aspiring disciples are far more conscious of the failings and the personality attributes of others than are the more advanced disciples in the Ashrams. The advanced disciple may be—and is—well aware of the failings, failures and undesirable qualities of others with whom he is  associated, but his critical mind is not the determining factor, as it is with most of the less developed. He is far more conditioned by the aspirations, the effort and the fixed intention than by the personality angle. He gauges the soul's grip upon the lower self, primarily from the angle of the stability of its hold; his treatment of the aspirant is therefore based upon that recognition, and not upon any analysis of the aspirant's lack of development. This is a point of immense importance, for it is this type of consideration which governs the Masters when They are choosing and training a group for initiation. The Master is not occupied with the temporary faults but with the soul grip and intention, and with the aspirant's habitual response to soul energy, when that energy is applied. Given a firm hold by the soul, an attentive ear by the personality, and consistent and enduring effort from both directions—soul and personality (and this is an instance of invocation and evocation)—and the Master can begin to train a group.
This is necessarily a slow process, from the standpoint of the physical plane, but upon the inner planes—where the time factor does not rule—this does not matter in the least. The Masters think in terms of cycles and not in terms of an individual life; as you cannot yet do that, except theoretically, it is not possible for you to understand. The experience, the failures and the achievements of the disciples in my Ashram are seen by me, for instance, in terms of one thousand year cycles. What you may have done in this life, unless of outstanding significance, is in all probability quite unknown to me; if I choose to know, I can do so, and I do so in those cases where the results of some activity have repercussions upon my Ashram or upon a large proportion of the group of disciples.
Let me put it this way: the petty selfishness and the silly little vanities and the irritations which disturb you, the unkind words you may speak of or to others, and the withholding of love or the fact of wrong emphasis in your daily life are not noted by me or by any Master. They are the affair of your own soul; the results affect your family, friend, or communal group, and are none of Our business. Yet those are  the things which you notice in others and which affect your judgment, evoking like or dislike, praise or blame, but inevitably putting you—as an individual—upon the judgment seat. There no Master sits. When Christ said: "Judge not and ye shall not be judged," He indicated a state of mind where understanding so controls that the aspirant no longer praises or blames; because of this general attitude within his mental approach to people, he is then free to become a full member of an Ashram.
If you consider the many apparent failures in my experiment in forming an external group affiliated with my Ashram, and as demonstrated in the book Discipleship in the New Age, you may well wonder why on earth I chose such a group of people or why I chose to make myself aware of their thinking, faults and failures. I will tell you.
From a survey of one thousand years which I have been enabled to make (as are all the Masters), everyone of these people shows a definite soul intention, all are definitely oriented in their personality life to the spiritual world, and react to soul control correctly—if at times quite feebly. The soul has them in a true grip, and that grip has become a stable and persistent hold. Therefore, in spite of serious faults, and in spite of pronounced personality qualities of undesirable nature, and in spite of wrong emphases, these people were and are ready for training. Their failings and faults will disappear more rapidly than you imagine under the influence of the soul—as the dew disappears under the morning sun. The enterprise of the Masters to substitute group initiation in place of the laborious process of individual initiation is proving successful, even though it is still in the experimental stage.
The "cycles of interest," or those periods in which the Masters pay close attention to the quality aspect of mankind, are also being speeded up; the "gauging" process will take place now every three hundred years, instead of every one thousand years, as has been the case until 1575 A.D. This change can be attributed to the greater sensitivity of man's response to spiritual stimulation and to the rapidity with which he deals with his personality. This is, of course, not  apparent to you, on account of your day by day consideration of each other; it is, however, apparent to Those Who view humanity with greater disinterestedness, deeper understanding and over much more extended cycles of time.
The result of this more frequent watchfulness on the part of the Hierarchy has been shown in the confidence with which the Masters have undertaken to prepare people for initiation.
This decision to do so, and permission having been granted from Shamballa, certain matters came up for consideration. Most of them would naturally be too abstruse for your comprehension—which is seated in the mind and brain instead of in the soul and heart. It is obvious that if initiation is a physical plane affair, requiring recognition in the brain consciousness, the disciples must be in physical incarnation together, and by this I mean within the ring-pass-not of the three worlds which are the dense physical planes of the cosmic physical plane) for a sufficiently long period of time to test their reactions, as a group, to the concept of group initiation and to each other as participants. For a great part of this time there must also be a physical plane life, shared by all in the group; this need not involve similarity or identity of location, but must involve similarity of world affairs and civilisation. This physical plane necessity is—as you will perceive—a test of individual integration, with a view to group integration later on.
It is this test which I have been applying in my work with all of you in this special group; the related state persists also on the inner plane after death, and in the consciousness of those (at present non-affiliated) who are still part of the group chosen for the experiment, on my part, of group preparation for initiation. Other Masters are doing the same as I am doing. We hope during the next five hundred years to present several such groups to the One Initiator. All who are in these groups have taken the first initiation, as have so many thousands of people in the world today. Many have taken the second initiation, particularly those who are working in fifth ray Ashrams and in third ray Ashrams, for such disciples are distinguished by a lack of emotional emphasis.
Group initiation has been forced upon the Hierarchy by the rapid unfoldment of the spiritual consciousness in humanity, an unfoldment which demonstrates—no matter what the ray—as goodwill. This goodwill is not to be interpreted as the sentimental sixth or second ray untrained aspirant is prone to interpret it. It can take many forms: it can show itself as sacrifice on the part of science and a dedication of the fruits of scientific research to human welfare; it may take shape in the third ray aptitude to dedicate great wealth to philanthropic or educational enterprises. In neither of these cases is the disciple apparently distinguished by a so-called loving nature. Yet the results of their application to science or their accumulation of the crystallised prana of the financial world are turned to the helping of mankind. This will be a hard saying for some of you who rate an irritable remark by a co-disciple as something disgraceful and belittle the efforts of the money-maker, and do both with a sense of self-righteous congratulation.
The old saying that "the evil which men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones" is not occultly true. Evil may follow after a man in his next incarnation until he has learnt to eliminate it, but the good men do (even with mixed motives) is not forgotten but is entered upon the calendar of the Hierarchy.