The subject of Initiation is one that has a great fascination for thinkers of all schools of thought, and even those who remain sceptical and critical would like to believe that this ultimate attainment is possible. To those who do not believe that such a goal is possible this book is offered for what it may be worth as a formulation of an interesting hypothesis. To those who anticipate such a consummation of all their endeavours, this book is tendered in the hope that it may prove an inspiration and a help.
Among occidental thinkers at this time there is a wide diversity of view upon this momentous subject. There are those who think that it is not of sufficient immediate importance to engross their attention, and that if the average man adheres to the path of duty and high-minded attention to the business in hand, he will duly arrive at his destination. This is undoubtedly true, yet as capacity for increased service, and the development of powers to be used in the helping of the race are the reward of the man who is willing to make the increased effort and to pay the price which initiation demands, perhaps this book may spur some on to attainment who might otherwise have drifted slowly towards their goal. They will then become givers, and not the recipients of help.
There are those again who consider that the teaching hitherto given out in various books concerning initiation, [viii] is erroneous. Initiation has been made out to be fairly easy of attainment, and to call for no such rectitude of character as might have been anticipated. The following chapters may serve to show that the criticism is not unmerited. Initiation is profoundly difficult of attainment, and calls for a strenuous discipline of the entire lower nature, and a life of self-effacing and self-abnegating devotion. At the same time, it must be remembered that the earlier teaching is right in essence, though belittled in interpretation.
Again, there are some who are interested, yet who feel the possibilities involved are too far advanced for them, and that they need not occupy themselves with them at this stage of their evolution. This book seeks to make it apparent that here and now the average man may begin to build that character and to lay those foundations of knowledge which are necessary before even the Path of Discipleship can be trodden. Due preparation may now be made, and men and women everywhere may—if they choose—fit themselves for the condition of discipleship and tread the Probationary Path.
Hundreds in the East and in the West are pressing onwards towards this goal, and in the unity of the one ideal, in their common aspiration and endeavour, they will meet before the one Portal. They will then recognise themselves as brothers, severed by tongue and apparent diversity of belief, but fundamentally holding to the same one truth and serving the same God.
Alice A. Bailey.
New York 1922.
THE CONSTITUTION OF MAN