CHAPTER VIII - DISCIPLESHIP
A disciple described. <Pages 71,73>
A disciple is one who above all else, is pledged to do three things:—
a. To serve humanity.
b. To co-operate with the plan of the Great Ones as he sees it and as best he may.
c. To develop the powers of the Ego, to expand his consciousness until he can function on the three planes in the three worlds, and in the causal body, and to follow the guidance of the higher self and not the dictates of his three-fold lower manifestation.
A disciple is one who is beginning to comprehend group work, and to change his centre of activity from himself (as the pivot around which everything revolves) to the group centre.
A disciple is one who realises simultaneously the relative insignificance of each unit of consciousness, and also its vast importance. His sense of proportion is adjusted, and he sees things as they are; he sees people as they are; he sees himself as he inherently is and seeks then to become that which he is.
A disciple realises the life or force side of nature, and to him the form makes no appeal. He works with force and through forces; he recognises himself as a force centre within a greater force centre, and his is the responsibility  of directing the energy which may pour through him into channels through which the group can be benefited.
The disciple knows himself to be—to a greater or less degree—an outpost of the Master's consciousness, viewing the Master in a two-fold sense:—
a. As his own egoic consciousness.
b. As the centre of his group; the force animating the units of the group and binding them into a homogeneous whole.
A disciple is one who is transferring his consciousness out of the personal into the impersonal, and during the transition stage much of difficulty and of suffering is necessarily endured. These difficulties arise from various causes:—
a. The disciple's lower self, which rebels at being transmuted.
b. A man's immediate group, friends, or family, who rebel at his growing impersonality. They do not like to be acknowledged as one with him on the life side, and yet separate from him where desires and interests lie. Yet the law holds good, and only in the essential life of the soul can true unity be cognized. In the discovery as to what is form lies much of sorrow for the disciple, but the road leads to perfect union eventually.
The disciple is one who realises his responsibility to all units who come under his influence,—a responsibility of co-operating with the plan of evolution as it exists for them, and thus to expand their consciousness and teach them the difference between the real and the unreal, between life and form. This he does most easily by a demonstration in his own life as to his goal, his object, and his centre of consciousness.
The Work to be done. <Pages 73,75>
The disciple, therefore, has several things at which to aim:—
A sensitive response to the Master's vibration.
A practical purity of life; a purity not merely theoretical.
A freedom from care. Here bear in mind that care is based on the personal, and is the result of lack of dispassion and a too ready response to the vibrations of the lower worlds.
Accomplishment of duty. This point involves the dispassionate discharge of all obligations and due attention to karmic debts. Special emphasis should be laid, for all disciples, on the value of dispassion. Lack of discrimination is not so often a hindrance to disciples these days, owing to the development of the mind, but lack of dispassion frequently is. This means the attainment of that state of consciousness where balance is seen, and neither pleasure nor pain dominates, for they are superseded by joy and bliss. We may well ponder on this, for much striving after dispassion is necessary.
He has also to study the Kama-manasic body (desire-mind body). This is of very real interest, for it is, in many ways, the most important body in the solar system, where the human being in the three worlds is concerned. In the next system the mental vehicle of the self-conscious units will hold an analogous place, as the physical did in the previous solar system.
He has also to work scientifically, if it may be so expressed, at the building of the physical body. He must so strive that he will produce in each incarnation a body which will serve better as a vehicle for force. Hence there is nothing impractical in giving information anent initiation, as some may think. There is no moment of the  day that that goal may not be envisioned, and the work of preparation carried on. One of the greatest instruments for practical development lying in the hands of small and great, is the instrument of SPEECH. He who guards his words, and who only speaks with altruistic purpose, in order to carry the energy of Love through the medium of the tongue, is one who is mastering rapidly the initial steps to be taken in preparation for initiation. Speech is the most occult manifestation in existence; it is the means of creation and the vehicle for force. In the reservation of words, esoterically understood, lies the conservation of force; in the utilisation of words, justly chosen and spoken, lies the distribution of the love force of the solar system,—that force which preserves, strengthens, and stimulates. Only he who knows somewhat of these two aspects of speech can be trusted to stand before the Initiator and to carry out from that Presence certain sounds and secrets imparted to him under the pledge of silence.
The disciple must learn to be silent in the face of that which is evil. He must learn to be silent before the sufferings of the world, wasting no time in idle plaints and sorrowful demonstration, but lifting up the burden of the world; working, and wasting no energy in talk. Yet withal he should speak where encouragement is needed, using the tongue for constructive ends; expressing the love force of the world, as it may flow through him, where it will serve best to ease a load or lift a burden, remembering that as the race progresses, the love element between the sexes and its expression will be translated to a higher plane. Then, through the spoken word, and not through the physical plane expression as now, will come the realisation of that true love which unites those who are one in service and in aspiration. Then love between the units of the human family will take the form of the utilisation of  speech for the purpose of creating on all planes, and the energy which now, in the majority, finds expression through the lower or generating centres will be translated to the throat centre. This is as yet but a distant ideal, but even now some can vision that ideal, and seek—through united service, loving co-operation, and oneness in aspiration, thought, and endeavour,—to give shape and form to it, even though inadequately.
Group relationships. <Pages 75,82>
The path of the disciple is a thorny one; briars beset his every step, and difficulties meet him at every turn. Yet in the treading of the path, in the overcoming of the difficulties, and in a single-hearted adherence to the good of the group, with a proportionate attention to the individuals and their evolutionary development, comes at length fruition, and the attainment of the goal. A SERVER of the race stands forth. He is a server because he has no ends of his own to serve, and from his lower sheaths goes out no vibration which can beguile him from his chosen path. He serves, because he knows what is in man, and because for many lives he has worked with individuals and with groups, gradually expanding the range of his endeavour until he has gathered around him those units of consciousness whom he can energise, and use, and through whom he can work out the plans of his superiors. Such is the goal, but the intermediate stages are fraught with difficulty for all who stand on the verge of self-discovery, and of becoming the Path itself.
Some practical advice might be of value here:—
Study with care the first three books of the Bhagavad Gita. The problem of Arjuna is the problem of all disciples, and the solution is eternally the same.
Stand ready and watch the heart. In the transferring of the fire from the solar plexus to the heart centre comes much pain. It is not easy to love as do the Great Ones, with a pure love which requires nothing back; with an impersonal love that rejoices where there is response, but looks not for it, and loves steadily, quietly, and deeply through all apparent divergences, knowing that when each has found his own way home, he will find that home to be the place of at-one-ment.
Be prepared for loneliness. It is the law. As a man dissociates himself from all that concerns his physical, astral and mental bodies, and centres himself in the Ego, it produces a temporary separation. This must be endured and passed, leading to a closer link at a later period with all associated with the disciple through the karma of past lives, through group work, and through the activity of the disciple (carried on almost unconsciously at first) in gathering together those through whom later he will work.
Cultivate happiness, knowing that depression, an overmorbid investigation of motive, and undue sensitiveness to the criticism of others leads to a condition wherein a disciple is almost useless. Happiness is based on confidence in the God within, a just appreciation of time, and a forgetfulness of self. Take all the glad things which may come as trusts to be used to spread joy, and rebel not at happiness and pleasure in service, thinking it an indication that all is not well. Suffering comes as the lower self rebels. Control that lower self, eliminate desire, and all is joy.
Have patience. Endurance is one of the characteristics of the Ego. The Ego persists, knowing itself immortal. The personality becomes discouraged, knowing that time is short.
To the disciple naught occurs but what is in the plan, and where the motive and sole aspiration of the heart are towards the carrying out of the Master's will and the serving of the race, that which eventuates has in it the seeds of the next enterprise, and embodies the environment of the next step forward. Herein lies much of clarification, and herein may be found that on which the disciple may rest when the vision is clouded, the vibration lower than perhaps it should be, and the judgment fogged by the miasmas arising from circumstances on the physical plane. With many, much arises in the astral body that is based on old vibration and has no foundation in fact, and the battleground is so to control the astral situation that out of present anxieties and worries may grow confidence and peace, and out of violent action and interaction there may be elaborated tranquility.
It is possible to reach a point where naught that occurs can ruffle the inner calm; where the peace that passeth understanding is known and experienced, because the consciousness is centred in the Ego, who is peace itself, being the circle of the buddhic life; where poise itself is known and felt, and equilibrium reigns because the centre of the life is in the Ego, who is—in essence—balance; where calm rules unruffled and unshaken, because the divine Knower holds the reins of government, and permits no disturbance from the lower self; where bliss itself is reached that is based, not on circumstances in the three worlds, but on that inner realisation of existence apart from the not-self, an existence that persists when time and space and all that is contained therein, are not; that is known when all the illusions of the lower planes are experienced, passed through, transmuted and transcended; that endures when the little world of human endeavour has dissipated and gone, being  seen as naught; and that is based on the knowledge that I AM THAT.
Such an attitude and experience is for all those who persist in their high endeavour, who count all things but naught if they may but achieve the goal, and who steer a steady course through circumstances, keeping the eyes fixed upon the vision ahead, the ears attentive to the Voice of the God within, that sounds in the silence of the heart; the feet firmly placed on the path that leads to the Portal of Initiation; the hands held out in assistance to the world, and the whole life subordinated to the call of service. Then all that comes is for the best—sickness, opportunity, success, and disappointment, the gibes and machinations of enemies, the lack of comprehension on the part of those we love—all is but to be used, and all exists but to be transmuted. Continuity of vision, of aspiration, and of the inner touch, is seen to be of more importance than them all. That continuity is the thing to be aimed at, in spite of, and not because of circumstances.
As the aspirant progresses he not only balances the pairs of opposites, but is having the secret of his brother's heart revealed to him. He becomes an acknowledged force in the world and is recognised as one who can be depended upon to serve. Men turn to him for assistance and help along his recognised line, and he begins to sound forth his note so as to be heard in deva and human ranks. This he does—at this stage—through the pen in literature, through the spoken word in lecturing and teaching, through music, painting and art. He reaches the hearts of men in some way or another, and becomes a helper and server of his race. Two more characteristics of this stage might here be mentioned:—
The aspirant has an appreciation of the occult value of money in service. He seeks nothing for himself, save  that which may equip him for the work to be done, and he looks upon money and that which money can purchase as something which is to be used for others and as a means to bring about the fruition of the Master's plans as he senses those plans. The occult significance of money is little appreciated, yet one of the greatest tests as to the position of a man upon the Probationary Path is that which concerns his attitude to and his handling of that which all men seek in order to gratify desire. Only he who desires naught for himself can be a recipient of financial bounty, and a dispenser of the riches of the universe. In other cases where riches increase they bring with them naught but sorrow and distress, discontent, and misuse.
At this stage also the aspirant's life becomes an instrument of destruction in the occult sense of the term. Wherever he goes the force which flows through him from the higher planes and his own inner God produces at times peculiar results upon his environment. It acts as a stimulator of both the good and the evil. The lunar Pitris, or little lives which form the bodies of his brother and his own body, are likewise stimulated, their activity is increased and their power greatly aggravated. This fact is used by Those Who work on the inner side to bring about certain desired ends. This it is also which often causes the temporary downfall of advanced souls. They cannot stand the force pouring into them, or upon them, and through the temporary over-stimulation of their centres and vehicles they go to pieces. This can be seen working out in groups as well as in individuals. But, inversely, if the lunar Lords, or lives of the lower self, have been earlier subjugated and brought under control, then the effect of the force and energy contacted is to stimulate the response of the physical brain consciousness and the head centres to egoic contact.  Then the otherwise destructive force becomes a factor for good and a helpful stimulation, and can be used by Those Who know how, to lead men on to further illumination.
All these steps have to work out on all the three lower planes, and in the three bodies, and this they do according to the particular ray and sub-ray. In this fashion is the work of the disciple carried forward, and his testing and training carried out. Thus is he brought—through right direction of energy and wise manipulation of force currents—to the Portal of Initiation, and he graduates from the Hall of Learning into the Hall of Wisdom, that Hall wherein he gradually becomes "aware" of forces and powers latent in his own Ego and egoic group, wherein the force of the egoic group is his for the using, for he can now be trusted to wield it only for the helping of humanity, and wherein—after the fourth initiation—he becomes a sharer in, and can be trusted with, some part of the energy of the Planetary Logos, and thus be enabled to carry forward the plans of that Logos for evolution.
It would be well to remember that disciples on the first ray understand discipleship largely in terms of energy, or force, or activity, whilst disciples on the second ray understand it more in terms of consciousness or initiation. Hence the divergence of expressions in ordinary use, and the lack of comprehension among thinkers. It might prove useful to express the idea of discipleship in terms of the different rays—meaning by this, discipleship as it manifests on the physical plane in service:
1st Ray........... Force.................... Energy.................. Action............ The Occultist.
2nd Ray......... Consciousness...... Expansion............ Initiation........ The true Psychic.
3rd Ray.......... Adaptation........... Development........ Evolution....... The Magician.
4th Ray.......... Vibration.............. Response.............. Expression...... The Artist.
5th Ray.......... Mentation............. Knowledge.......... Science........... The Scientist.
6th Ray.......... Devotion.............. Abstraction.......... Idealism......... The Devotee.
7th Ray.......... Incantation........... Magic................... Ritual............. The Ritualist.
Remember carefully that we are here dealing with disciples. Later on as they progress, the various lines approximate and merge. All have been at one time magicians, for all have passed upon the third ray. The problem now is concerned with the mystic and the occultist, and their eventual synthesis. A careful study of the foregoing will lead to the realisation that the difficulties between thinkers, and between disciples of all groups, consist in their identifying themselves with some form, and in their inability to understand the different points of view of others. As time elapses, and they are brought into closer relationship with the two Masters with whom they are concerned (their own inner God and their personal Master), the inability to cooperate and to merge their interests in the good of the group will pass away, and community of endeavour, similarity of object, and mutual co-operation will take the place of what is now so much seen, divergence. We might well ponder on this, for it holds the key to much that is puzzling and, to many, distressing.