SECTION TWO - THE ASPIRANT AND THE MAJOR INITIATIONS - Part 3
In the climaxing war of the immediate past, the mental plane was the focus of the amalgamated forces, for  the war was in reality a clash of ideologies and has been far more the result of man's thinking than of man's emotional desires. It therefore automatically involved the three levels of human activity and was fought out upon the physical plane, although it was impulsed from the mental plane. The symbol of fire was this time involved, instead of water, and this fire led to the destruction of men and of cities by fire (literally, "fire from heaven"), by the evocation of the fiery emotions so prevalent in the councils of men at this time, and by the drought of the year 1947 which burnt up the terrain in Europe and in Great Britain, being—curiously enough—preceded by the floods and waters of the earlier spring, thus evidencing the repetition of cycles; this repetition is distinctive of natural process, leaving each stage of man's evolution depicted, but producing a climaxing point which is indicative of the past and of the present, but leaving (as is the case today) the future locked in the determinative processes of man's thinking and planning. As man thinks and decides "in his heart," so will the future of humanity prove to be, for it is the same process for mankind as a whole as it is for the individual.
I would like to cover this theme by dividing my subject into the following parts:
1. The particular type of energy involved and its initiatory effect. This concerns the Principle of Conflict as contained in the activity of this fourth ray.
2. The effect upon humanity as a whole. The "Renunciation Initiation" is an expression of the result of the activity of this Principle.
3. The factor of the second Ray of Love-Wisdom as it basically controls Ray IV and implements the return of the Christ, because the potency of the heart centre is involved.
4. The effect of this Ray IV in the modern world of nations and of fundamental organisations.
5. The result of this fourth ray activity upon the individual disciple:
a. In the three aspects of his nature, physical, emotional and mental.
b. Upon the soul-infused personality.
6. Summation of the whole theme and a forecast of future possibilities.
I shall attempt to deal with this as concisely as possible, and will keep the handling of this subject exceedingly brief, or as brief as its historical importance will permit and its definitive angle will allow. The whole of human history has been conditioned by the fourth Ray of Harmony through Conflict, and it is this ray which has determined the ring-pass-not within which humanity must work.
At this time, the effect of this ray is predominantly of a group nature, and there are—except in the ranks of disciples of the Great White Lodge—no fourth ray souls in incarnation. Once humanity has decided upon the goal and the method of reconstruction and of reorganisation which is to take place within the periphery of the fourth ray ring-pass-not, then (if humanity's decision is correct and is not postponed) many fourth ray souls will resume incarnation, and so implement human decision. This will mark a great turning point in human history and will enable seventh ray energy to be turned to the best advantage.
The Particular Type of Energy involved and its Initiatory Effect
Here we are confronted with a basic problem, i.e., the nature of the Principle of Conflict which is the outstanding characteristic of this fourth Ray of Harmony through Conflict. This is by no means an easy subject to handle or to make clear, for the correctness of conflict, its naturally separative and eliminative effect and its power to condition not only Humanity but also the Hierarchy, will have to be considered. When we study the fourth initiation, that of the Renunciation, the effects of its activity will emerge more clearly.
Fundamentally, this fourth ray is that which is responsible  for the strains and the stresses, and for the initial conflict between the major pair of opposites to which we give the name of spirit-matter. It is this fourth ray energy which makes apparent the distinction (so often misunderstood by man) between good and evil. In Atlantean days, the leaders of men, under the influence of this paramount fourth ray energy, made a decision which laid the emphasis upon the matter aspect, according to their desire and their emotional reaction, which is present in the essential duality of manifestation, and thus inaugurated the Age of Materialism. This age has wrought itself out through its accompanying greeds, hate, separativeness and aggression. During the present century, this materialism led to the world war which was in reality the expression of a shifting orientation, and therefore to a certain extent, of a coming triumph of Good.
The balance is slowly, very slowly, swinging over to the side of the spirit aspect of the duality; it has not yet swung, even in intention, completely over, but the issues are becoming increasingly clearer in men's minds and the indications are that man will eventually decide correctly, will attain a point of balance or equilibrium, and will finally throw the weight of public opinion on the side of spiritual values, thus leading to a collective renunciation of materialism, particularly in its grosser and physical forms. The time is not yet, but a great awakening is in process; men, however, will only see correctly when this Principle of Conflict is properly evaluated as a spiritual necessity and is used by humanity as an instrument to bring about emergence from the wrong controls and principles. Just as the individual disciple uses it to emerge out of the control of matter in the three worlds, beginning with the emergence from the control of the physical body, passing out of the control of the emotional nature, and formulating for himself a spiritual ideology which enables him to pass out of the control of the three worlds of forms, and so begin to function as a soul-infused personality, so mankind also has to do the same in mass formation.
This whole process culminates when the fourth initiation, the Great Renunciation, is taken by man today, and by humanity in some distant future; this "point of emergence" is reached by right decision and as a result of a right use of the Principle of Conflict.
It will be obvious to you that this Principle of Conflict is closely related to death. By death, I mean extraction from form conditions—physical, emotional or mental; I mean cessation of contact (temporarily or permanently) with physical form, with astral glamour and with mental illusion; I mean the rejection of Maya, the name of that all-inclusive effect which overwhelms a man who is immersed in materialism of any kind, and is therefore overcome (from the soul angle) by life in the three worlds. It is the Principle of Conflict, latent in every atom of substance, which produces, first of all, conflict, then renunciation, and finally emancipation; which produces war in some form or another, then rejection, and finally liberation. This principle is, as you can well see, closely linked to the law of Karma; it is to this principle that Mrs. Besant refers when she speaks in one of her books of the fact that the substance whereof all forms are made is already—from the very dawn of the creative process—tinged with karma. There is deep occult significance to the thought, often voiced, that death is the great Liberator; it means that the Principle of Conflict has succeeded in bringing about conditions wherein the spirit aspect is released (temporarily or permanently) from imprisonment in some kind of form life, either individual or group.
You will all, as disciples or aspirants, be able to interpret the working of this principle as you watch the effect, in your own lives, of the action of the strains and stresses, the points of crisis or of tension which the conflict between soul and personality produces. Conflict is always present prior to renunciation, and it is only at this fourth great spiritual crisis that conflict, as we understand it, ends. In the realms of formless living wherein the Hierarchy lives and moves and has its being, conflict, which has developed  in man the sense of discriminative choice, is superseded by crises of decision—not decision based upon discriminative perception between right and wrong or between spirituality and materialism, but crises of decision based upon perception of the Plan, participation in the Purpose, and the prevention of evil. I would have you ponder on these three phrases which distinguish the crises of decision which confront the Master after the fourth initiation, and which take the place of the crises of discrimination which precede that stage:
Perception of the Plan.
Participation in the Purpose.
Prevention of evil.
These decisions are based, first of all, on goodwill to all forms in the three worlds, and secondly, upon the will-to-good which impulses and implements the three creative and manifesting aspects of divinity.
These are deep things whereof we speak; it is wise to remember that all crises in the material world—individual crises and those related to humanity as a whole—are governed by the Principle of Conflict, whilst crises in the spiritual world are controlled by the esoteric Principle of Decision.
The Principle of Conflict is the prime factor lying behind the evolution of form as the field of experience for the soul in the four kingdoms in nature: the human and the three subhuman. It is based on the intellectual factor of discrimination which is inherent in the smallest atom of substance, and which reaches its fullest expression in advanced humanity; the indications that it has achieved its purpose, as far as humanity is concerned, are to be found in the passing through the Initiation of Renunciation. The Principle of Decision which controls the Master governs His work within the Hierarchy, in relation to Shamballa and in connection with all the service rendered in the three worlds; it is based on the energy of the second Ray of Love-Wisdom, just as the Principle of Conflict is based on the energy of the third Ray of Active Intelligence.  This Principle of Decision, as a controlling factor, is put to the test at the sixth initiation, the Initiation of Decision; at that time, the will aspect of divinity summarises in a unique manner all past achievements of the two principles and brings in a final cycle of unfoldment to which I can give no truly appropriate name, but which climaxes in the ninth Initiation of Refusal. You have, therefore, in relation to these principles (which are all related to the Law of Karma) three great initiations at which the effectiveness of the liberation brought about by their inherent action is finally tested:
1. The Initiation of Renunciation... 4th Initiation
The Principle of Conflict
Governed by Ray IV
Active in the Human Kingdom, the 4th
Leading to right Discrimination
2. The Initiation of Decision... 6th Initiation
The Principle of Decision
Governed by Ray III
Active in the Hierarchy
Leading to right Perception
3. The Initiation of Refusal... 9th Initiation
The Principle of liberated Being (shall we call it thus?)
Governed by all three major Rays
Active in Shamballa
Leading to one or other of the 7 Paths
In the above tabulation you have a wide and general picture of three major Principles, leading to three great spiritual events, each of which is an expression of the personality, the soul and the Monad. Where humanity as a whole is involved, the effect is upon the reincarnating soul of the human kingdom, then on the liberated souls of the members of the Hierarchy, and finally on the Being which is distinctive of the Council at Shamballa.
A planned synthesis thus appears, producing immutability,  inevitability and correct prevision; it is also the result of the liberation of free will, and in no way infringes the right of the individual man or disciple to make free choice, once the Principle of Conflict has made him aware of the basic dualism of the manifested worlds. This presents him with a battleground and a field of experience wherein he makes great experimental choices and comes eventually to correct orientation and to the door of initiation, progressively revealed to him as the result of right choice, right perception and right decision. Thus the nine initiations are covered.
The Principle of Conflict has a close connection with the Path of Discipleship, and here lies the reason for the inclusive and synthetic aspect of the present world conflict; though the physical aspects of the conflict are today greatly lessened (but are still present on a small scale in various parts of the world), the conflict is by no means over or yet resolved. It is still being violently waged by advanced human beings upon the mental plane and by the masses upon the plane of emotional reactions; it will be some time before the war truly is brought to a finish.
There could, however, be no disaster more serious than a too abrupt ending of this clash of the emotional reactions of humanity and of the current ideologies. It is essential that the issues become still clearer in the minds of men, prior to any final choice or decision. This must be remembered, and students would do well to avoid discouragement and train themselves to wait with spiritual optimism for the way of humanity to clear. Too prompt a choice at this time might prove only a makeshift decision and one based on expediency and impatience. The Hierarchy is in no way discouraged, though somewhat concerned that the factor of timing may not prove correct.
This Principle of Conflict is a familiar one to every struggling aspirant and conditions his whole life, producing crises and tensions, sometimes almost past endurance; they indicate nevertheless rapid development and steady progress. The activity of this principle is greatly increased  at this time through the medium of the following spiritual events (the full discussion appears on pages 741-760):
1. The crisis of the ideologies.
2. The awakening of humanity to better understanding.
3. The growth of goodwill which leads to the presentation of certain fundamental cleavages which must be bridged by human effort.
4. The partial "sealing of the door where evil dwells."
5. The use of the Great Invocation with its extraordinary and rapid effects, at present unrealised by you.
6. The gradual approach of the Hierarchy to a closer and more intimate relation to Humanity.
7. The imminent return of the Christ.
There are other factors, but these will be adequate to demonstrate to you the increased expression of conflict on all the three levels of strictly human evolution. It is a conflict which has engulfed the masses in every land, which is still producing physical conflict, emotional strain and tremendous mental issues, and which will greatly lessen when the masses of people everywhere are convinced that right human relations are of far greater importance than greed, human pride, territorial grabbing, and material possessions.
The Effect of the Energy of Harmony through Conflict upon Humanity
It will be obvious that this ray energy, embodying the Principle of Conflict, has a unique and curious effect upon relationships. This is due to the interrelation of this Ray of Harmony through Conflict and the second Ray of Love-Wisdom; this second ray is primarily the ray of right human relations—as far as the fourth kingdom in nature is concerned. The energy of love governs all relations between souls and controls the Hierarchy, the Kingdom of Souls; the energy of wisdom should govern all relations within the fourth kingdom, the human; some day it will inevitably do so, hence the emphasis laid upon the need for soul-infused personalities in the world today, as promulgated by all true esoteric schools.
It might be said that the effect of the Principle of Conflict, operating under Ray IV and controlled by Ray II, will be—as far as humanity is concerned—to bring about right human relations and the growth of the universal spirit of goodwill among men. Only the most benighted and uncouth of thinkers would fail to see that these two results of the conflict, engendered at this time, are the two most desirable factors for which all men of goodwill should work. The inflow of energy into humanity at this time is all in favour of such efforts, and the Principle of Conflict has worked so effectively that all men are desiring harmony, peace, equilibrium, right adjustment to life and circumstances, and right and balanced human relations.
In every country and among all types of men—sincerely or insincerely—the talk of the newspapers, on the radio and upon the lecture platforms is on behalf of harmony and a widespread recognition of the needed adjustments. Even the evil forces which still remain active hide their greedy purposes behind a spurious desire for world unity, world harmony and right human relations. The masses of the people in all lands have been convinced by the evidence made available by the Principle of Conflict that basic changes in man's attitude and goals must be brought about if humanity is to survive; they are, in their own ways (wisely or unwisely), seeking a solution.
The war has produced much good—in spite of the destruction of forms. The causes of war are better understood; the issues involved are slowly being clarified; information about all nations—even when incorrectly presented—has awakened mankind to the fact of the One World; the community of pain, sorrow, anxiety, starvation and despair have brought all men closer together, and this relation is a far greater breeder of harmony than man realises; the world of men today is more closely knit subjectively (in spite of all outer cleavages and conflicts) than ever before in human history; there is a firmer determination to establish right human relations and a clearer perception of the factors involved; the new Principle of Sharing,  inherent in the second Ray of Love-Wisdom which is concerned so fundamentally with relationships, is gaining ground, and its potency is being released by the activity of the fourth Ray of Harmony through Conflict. This Principle of Sharing, though still divorced from any official sanctions, is under consideration and will some day be the governing factor in the economic life of the world, regulated and controlled by those men who are alert to human need upon the physical plane.
This Principle of Conflict is also active in all institutions, groups and organisations in all lands and in every department of human thought. Its results are, first, the awakening of humanity to certain major human developments and possibilities, and secondly, it will lead to certain basic renunciations, once the issues are clearly seen and the cleavage which exists in reality between the desirable spiritual values and the undesirable material values has been made clear. In politics, for instance, the two-party system is based upon a correct premise, but it is not at present a satisfactory system because of human stupidity. It stands in truth for the reactionary groups in any land and also for the progressive party who are alert to the new possibilities; one party aims at the holding back of the life of the spirit, at clarifying by obstruction and at holding back or preventing the too rapid rushing forward of the impatient and the immature; the progressive party should be composed of those who are aware of the unneeded and old issues, and who pioneer all the time, even though frequently without much skill in action. Such a clear line of demarcation between the two basic world parties is not yet possible, nor are the spiritual values of either group appreciated by the unthinking masses. Today, party politics are as selfish, and therefore as reactionary, as are the mass of men; the real good of humanity is not the goal of the average politician in either group, for usually only his own selfish ambition and the desire to preserve a certain political ideology which has put him into power are the goal of his efforts.
The Principle of Conflict is working also in the churches, but more slowly, unfortunately, owing to the corruption and soporific effect of theological churchianity; I would have you note my choice of words; I said not "of Christianity," for true Christianity, as Christ taught it, is free from theological abuses and must and will be restored or—perhaps more accurately—reach its first stage of expression.
Everywhere the fourth Ray of Harmony through Conflict is active in the human family and is dominating human affairs; everywhere in the life of the individual, in the lives of groups, organisations and churches, in the life of nations and in the life of mankind as a whole, the issues are being clarified, and humanity is being led from one renunciation to another, until some day the human kingdom will unitedly take the fourth initiation and the Great Renunciation will be accepted; this step, lying far ahead as yet in the future, will affiliate humanity with the Hierarchy and release millions of men from the thralldom of materialism. This moment in human history will inevitably come. The first indication that the distant vision has been glimpsed might perhaps be noted in the prevalent instinct to share, motivated at present by the instinct to self-preservation, but definitely developing as a possible mode of action upon the far horizon of man's thinking. True sharing definitely involves many little renunciations, and it is upon these small renunciations that the capacity for freedom is slowly being generated and the habit of renunciation can eventually be stabilised; this capacity and these habits, these unselfish activities and these spiritual habitual attitudes are the preparatory stages for the Initiation of Renunciation, just as the effort to serve one's fellowmen is preparatory to the taking of the third Initiation, of the Transfiguration.
The Factor of the Ray of Love-Wisdom as it controls the Ray of Harmony through Conflict and implements the Return of the Christ
In the first paragraph of this instruction, I ascribed the inevitability of Christ's imminent return to the decision  of humanity to precipitate the existent conflict on to the physical plane, thus determining the sphere of Christ's activity. In earlier teachings also I have pointed out that He might come in one of three ways or in all three of them simultaneously. The issues which have emerged as the result of the conflict upon the physical plane, and of its shifting (by man's decision) today on to the mental plane, have made completely evident the fact that the locale of Christ's influence will be, therefore, the entire three worlds Of human evolution, which naturally includes the physical levels of experience and demands His physical Presence.
Let me make the facts somewhat clearer and enlarge somewhat upon these three modes of His appearing, of His coming, His advent and of His physical recognition by humanity:
1. By His overshadowing of all initiates and disciples who are today, or will be at the time of His arrival, active in the three worlds of human evolution. This involves His influencing their minds telepathically. This overshadowing or influencing will be His primary work upon the mental plane. This will constitute one of His most effective methods in His proposed spiritual interference in world affairs. Through the medium of these members or affiliates of the Hierarchy, He will have outposts of His consciousness in every nation. Through them He can work.
2. By the pouring out of the Christ life or consciousness upon the masses everywhere and in every nation. This spiritual inflow will bring about the reorienting of human desire and will evoke the emotional reaction to His Presence. This therefore brings the astral plane within the active sphere of His influence; this involves the release of the energy of goodwill into the hearts of men, predisposing them towards right human relations. It is this establishing of right relations which is the major objective of His coming triple activity. The masses everywhere will be responsive to the work and the message of the Christ, as it is  implemented from the mental plane by the disciples and initiates, overshadowed by the mind of Christ.
3. By His physical appearance among men. Through His Own immediate appearance, He can establish a potent focal point of hierarchical energy upon Earth in a manner not hitherto possible. He has never deserted humanity and has always kept His promise to stay with us all the days, even unto the end of the age. Men in all lands will know where He can be found. The locale of this focal point of His threefold spiritual activity cannot here be disclosed, for it is contingent upon the results of the sequential processes of overshadowing and outpouring.
The first of the methods which will lead to the eventual physical reappearance of the Christ has already been set in motion; disciples and initiates in all lands are starting the work preparatory to the outpouring of the Christ spiritual force, leading to the awakening of the Christ consciousness (as it is usually called) in the hearts of men. This outpouring will come as the result of three activities:
1. The work and the teaching of the trained disciples and initiates, as each of them, in his own way, points out the surety of Christ's coming and thus implements the innate expectancy of the masses.
2. The evocation of a united hierarchical response through the use of the Great Invocation. You will note how this invocation can be interpreted in terms of the three modes of the return of the Christ:
a. "Let Light stream forth into the minds of men."
The influencing of the minds of disciples.
The enlightening of intelligent humanity.
The mental plane.
b. "Let Love stream forth into the hearts of men."
The influencing of the masses everywhere.
The outpouring of the Christ spirit.
The astral plane.
c. "The Purpose which the Masters know and serve."
The anchoring of hierarchical energy on Earth.
The physical appearance of the Christ.
The physical plane.
What this divine purpose may be the Christ Himself will reveal upon His arrival; the focal point of His activity will be dependent upon the medium used by Him to implement that purpose—known only to Him and to the senior members of the Hierarchy. Should politics be the medium through which He best can serve, that then will determine the locality of the focal point; if it should be the religious organisations of the world, it may prove to be elsewhere; if the field of economics or of the social sciences, then still another locality may prove appropriate. The determining factor in all cases, and that which will indicate to Him the appropriate place for this focal point, will be the number and the ability and status of the disciples found active in the chosen field. More, I may not suggest.
3. The demand or prayer or outgoing desire of the masses for the appearance of a Liberator and for the establishing of right human relations, plus the work of all the spiritually-minded people in all nations and of all faiths. All these three factors are today present but have not yet the needed potency to prove immediately effective. This triple nucleus of determining factors is, however, already firmly established; in this fact is to be found a sure ground for a sane optimism.
It should be pointed out that the Principle of Conflict is motivated strongly by these same factors. The over-shadowing of all disciples and initiates, and the consequent stimulation of their natures and of their environment, must inevitably produce conflict; the outpouring of the stimulating love of God into the hearts of men must equally and inevitably produce conflict; the line of cleavage between men of goodwill and the unresponsive natures of those uninfluenced by this quality will be made abundantly, usefully and constructively clear. It will be obvious also  that when Christ establishes the "centre or focal point of the divine Purpose" in some definite place on Earth, its radiation and implementary potency will also produce the needed conflict which precedes the clarification and the renunciation of obstructions.
But there will come a point in all these three spheres of Christ's proposed activity when conflict will be superseded by harmony; this is due to the fact that the energy of harmony through conflict is under the control or influence of the energy of the second Ray of Love-Wisdom. As far as humanity as a sum total is concerned, the conflict of ideas and of emotional desire is today so acute that it will finally exhaust itself, and men will turn, with relief and with a longing to escape from further turmoil, towards right human relations; this will constitute the first major human decision leading to the longed-for harmony. The attitude of the masses will then be soundly tending towards harmony, owing to the work of the men and women of goodwill as they implement the "streaming forth of the love of God into the hearts of men."
We have now reached a point where the inevitability of Christ's return is established, scientifically and under law; this constitutes a call which He may not deny and one which He must obey. This fourth Ray of Harmony through Conflict works (where the initiatory process is concerned) through the heart, or through what esotericists call "the heart centre"—the focal point through which the energy of love can flow. When the Christ founds His focal point on Earth, it will be in the nature of a tiny heart centre through which the love energy of the Hierarchy can persistently flow. The harmony (which the Principle of Conflict produces) causes an alignment, so that the love—streaming forth from the Heart of God—enters the hearts of men; so that the Hierarchy (which is the heart centre or the place where love prevails upon our planet) is brought into relationship with humanity; so that the New Group of World Servers (implementing the love of God and enlightened by the Mind of God) are brought also into relation with the  men and women of goodwill in all lands whose task it is to make men's hearts responsive to and receptive of the love of God; this is another way of saying receptive to the consciousness of the Christ.
This alignment is now in process of being made; it will be brought about automatically when the effectiveness of the Principle of Conflict in producing liberation is generally recognised. Thus the hearts of men, the heart of the planet, i.e., the Hierarchy, and the heart of the Hierarchy, the Christ, are in a state of positive contact; when this channel is open and unobstructed, then the Christ will come. Nothing can stop His appearance and—under law—He may not turn His back upon the presented opportunity.
Thus, eventually, the Lord of Love—in response to the invocative cry of humanity, aroused by the Principle of Conflict—must "proceed again to the high place of sacrifice and walk openly with men on Earth." His heart, embodying as it does the love of God, is drawn forth from the heart of the planet (the Hierarchy) to the hearts of men, and the path of His return to Earth service stands unchallenged and unobstructed. Again, under law, a profound optimism is engendered and may be rightly developed.
The heart centre of humanity is created by the sum total of the hearts (symbolically speaking) of all those men of goodwill (in or out of the churches and irrespective of their political concepts) who are serving their fellowmen, sponsoring human welfare movements, working for the establishing of right human relations, and constantly offsetting the separativeness of the human mind through the inclusiveness of the divine love nature. You have, therefore, as a guarantee of the return of Christ into public recognition, an implementing of a great alignment. This alignment, when effectively concluded, will bring about a clear channel or pathway of return or line of light or magnetic power between:
1. The centre where the will of God is known. This is Shamballa where the will-to-good originates. This will-to-good is essential love.
2. The Hierarchy, which is the planetary heart centre.
3. The Christ, the very heart of love within the Hierarchy.
4. The initiates, disciples and aspirants who form the New Group of World Servers, seeking to embody the love and light needed in the world today.
5. The hearts of the men of goodwill in all lands who are responsive to love as it can express itself through right human relations.
6. The focal point through which the Lord of Love will work on Earth.
If you will study this sixfold progression of divine love from the highest manifestation of Deity down to its appearance through the medium of some focal point in our known modern world, it will be apparent to you that a very definite "structure of approach" has been created, and that a "Path of Return" is being constructed which will bring the long-awaited Christ into our midst. Nothing can stop or prevent His return today; the evidence of this structure can be seen everywhere.
The Effect of the Ray of Harmony through Conflict in the modern world of Nations
As we approach what some may regard as a highly controversial subject, I would remind you that we must attempt to see the picture whole in some such manner as the Agents of the divine Will see it, embracing the past of the nations involved (a past which is seldom good), seeing the effects of that past as they work out in the present and as they are the inevitable result of the Law of Cause and Effect, and attempting also to foresee the future in terms of lessons learnt and new habits of a better nature established (written in 1948). I would remind you also that the governing principle of this ray is conditioning all the nations and has done so with increasing potency since the year 1850. Just in the same manner as this principle of conflict controls the battling life of the aspirant and of the world aspirant, the entire human family, so it must  inevitably control the life of nations to a greater or lesser degree, according to their materialistic or their spiritual status, according to the type of energy which may be expressing itself through them, and according to the age of the nation under consideration. From certain angles, the youngest of the nations are Germany and Italy, for they only arrived at nationhood in the nineteenth century; the oldest nation with the clearest unified record is Japan. The United States of America is always regarded as a young nation, but from the angle of a unified central government, the two Axis Powers are still younger, and this has had a definite bearing on their activities.
In the world at this time the two aspects of this fourth ray—the aspect or Principle of Conflict and the aspect or Principle of Harmony—are struggling to bring about the liberation into equilibrium of mankind. Until quite lately, the Principle of Conflict has grown increasingly in power, yet as a result of this conflict a definite trend towards harmony can be seen emerging in human thinking; the concept of harmony through the establishing of right human relations is slowly coming into recognition. The activities of mankind, and particularly of governments, have been ignobly selfish and controlled by the concepts of fighting, aggression and competition for untold millenia; the territories of the planet have changed hands many times and the earth has been the playground of a long succession of conquerors; the heroes of the race—perpetuated in history, stone and human thinking—have been the warriors, and conquest has been an ideal. The world war (1914-1945) marked a culminating point in the work of the Principle of Conflict and, as I have shown, the results of this work are today inaugurating a new era of harmony and cooperation because the trend of human thinking is towards the cessation of conflict. This is an event of major importance and should be regarded as indicating a turning point in human affairs. This trend is impulsed by a weariness of fighting, by a changing rating as to the values in human accomplishment, and by a recognition that true greatness  is not expressed through such activities as those of Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon or Hitler, but by those who see life, humanity and the world as one united whole, interrelated, cooperative and harmonised. Those who struggle for this world unity, and who educate the race in the Principles of Harmony and of right human relations, will some day be recognised as the true heroes.
The factor that must and will relate the Principle of Conflict to the expression of harmony and bring about the new world order, the new civilisation and culture, is the trend and the voice of public opinion, and the opportunity offered to people everywhere to bring about social security and right human relations. It is not the government of any nation which will bring this about, but the innate rightness of the people themselves when they have been educated to see the issues clearly, the relationships which should be established, and the immense subjective unity of mankind. This will not come about without an intensive period of planned education, of a truly free press and radio—both free to speak the exact truth and to present the facts as they occur, without being controlled or influenced by governmental interference, pressure groups, religious organisations, or by any dictating parties or dictators. The sin of the Roman Catholic Church is its effort to dictate to people what they should think—theologically and politically—what they should do, read and wear; this, to a still greater extent, is the crime of Russia. The mass of the people in the strictly Catholic countries are not as free in their thinking as are those living in the Protestant lands; the Russian people know no freedom and have no opportunity to form their own point of view; commercial interests and expediency impose restrictions in other countries. By means of these sources of control, the growth of true understanding is prevented, distorted or stunted. Curiously enough, the intention of the dictating agents, in both the Catholic Church and in Russia, is basically good; they believe that the uneducated masses are not fitted to decide for themselves what they should hear, think or  decide; they must therefore be protected—in the one case by decrees and prohibitions from the Vatican (via the organised priesthood) as to right attitude and right action to be followed without questioning; and in the other, by withholding the truth as to events and happenings. But men are awakening everywhere and—given some sound leadership, which at present is not to be found in any country in the world—they can be trusted to swing the tide into a great harmonising and unifying movement.
As we study the effect of the Principle of Conflict as the instigator of eventual harmony in relation to the nations, let us remember that the widespread extent of the conflict is indicative of climax, that the "points of crisis" which express the conflict are today well known to all men, that a "point of tension" has now been reached (of which the United Nations is a symbol) which will eventually prove to be the agent that will bring about a "point of emergence." I would ask you to keep these three phrases—descriptive of the working of the Ray of Harmony through Conflict—constantly in mind in relation to developments in your own life, in the life of your nation or of any nation, and in the life of humanity as a whole. They embody the technique whereby the spiritual Hierarchy of our planet brings good out of evil without originating the evil or infringing the free will of mankind.
There are certain nations which are necessarily more responsive to the energy of this fourth ray than some of the others, because it is either the energy which is conditioning their personality activities or that which conditions their soul expression. Forget not that nations are like individuals, expressive of soul and body. The nations responsive to this ray energy are:
India, whose personality or material ray is that of Harmony through Conflict. This could be seen in full expression in that unhappy country during the years 1947-1948. India is old and crystallised in her separativeness, in her myriads of diversified sects and religious groups, in her manifold languages and in her ancient antagonisms;  it will be long before there is any basic synthesis or harmony. There lies her problem, and unfortunately she lacks pure disinterested leadership; as is the case elsewhere in the world, party politics and religious cleavages condition her many peoples. The soul energy of India is that of the Will to Power or government, but that spiritual energy will not come into true activity until she has resolved her many differences and has returned to the old ways of spiritual understanding and of enlightened wisdom which distinguished her many centuries ago. India has nearly lost the light, but when she has passed through the coming points of crisis, and has achieved a point of united tension, then she will find the door or point of emergence into light.
The ray governing the soul expression of the German race is that of Harmony through Conflict, but her materialistic personality, focussed in the emotional nature and not yet under control of the soul, is conditioned by the first Ray of Power. Germany as a nation is too young, immature, and negative to realise the true uses of power; she lacks the wisdom to use power, and her sense of inferiority (based on youth) leads her to misuse it when she has it. The German race is very old, and the German leaders during the past one hundred years have confused racial issues and national ambitions. Races are basically subjective, and nations are basically objective. Their leaders have permitted the ideal of power (which is a great spiritual responsibility) to lead them to make the Germanic race synchronise with the German nation. It was this immaturity and this misguided and almost childish ambition which set the Principle of Conflict operating violently through the world war (1914-1945) in order to bring to an end the increasing nationalism of Germany and of all the nations. Great Britain is at the point of emergence from the nationalistic thoughtform; the United States and Russia are arriving—the first at the point of tension where the concept is concerned, and the other at the point of crisis. Germany's point of crisis and of tension led to the explosion of the world war; nevertheless, after due process of pain, of re-education  and of training in right human relations, the German people will discover their soul, and then the soul-infused personality of the German people will demonstrate in a unique manner the significance of harmony. The basic and subjective synthesis of the Germanic race must not be confused with the separate nation of the German people, and the underlying emotional and sentimental unity (using the word "sentimental" in its correct sense) must not be confounded with territorial unity. There is a racial and subjective unity between the British Commonwealth of Nations and the United States of America, but this in turn must not be confused with the outer national groupings and aims.
Italy also is influenced by the Ray of Harmony through Conflict because her personality or material expression is conditioned by this ray. During the world war, Italy had a king, a dictator, and a pope, and this produced a vortex of conflict in the highly intelligent Italian people. The dictator is no longer there; the monarchy has also disappeared, and only the continuing voice of the Vatican is left, but—curiously enough—receives less attention in Italy than in the other Catholic countries. Conflict during the centuries has done much for the Italian people, and their highly extraverted psychology has produced in them a balance which may prove most promising in the future. The conflict of thought through which they have passed during the past one hundred years has worked well for them. Torn as they are by party politics, in revolt against ecclesiasticism, and lacking leadership, they are nevertheless well on the way to the resolution of their problem.
When the fourth Ray of Harmony through Conflict is the energy expressing itself through the soul, the indications are that the country concerned is nearing the Path of Discipleship or the Path of Probation. Austria and Germany are nearing the Path of Discipleship; Brazil is on the Path of Probation and will rapidly move forward; Austria is nearer true discipleship than is Germany and, spiritually, Austria has much eventually to give. Spiritual  leadership will not be lacking once a measure of security and better living conditions have been assured. Germany has a bitter price to pay because her immaturity and childish interpretation of world affairs, her lack of thinking capacity and her curious innate cruelty permitted the Forces of Evil (temporarily) to work through Germany and precipitate the world conflict. But Germany will recover, provided she does not again permit herself to become a battleground, owing to her strategic position in central Europe. It is for this recovery that all men of goodwill must work.
It is perhaps appropriate to point out here that the spiritual forces of the planet do not greatly fear a renewed outbreak of war upon the physical plane. There are many chances that it can be averted because the mounting revolt of the masses against physical plane war, the general fatigue of the nations and the use of the United Nations councils for the ventilation of difficulties and problems may prove effective.
Each of the three Great Powers has its own internal conflict, conditioned by its historical tradition, its national emphases, and its developed habits of thought or—as the case may be—of feeling.
The major conflict in Great Britain at this time is between the reactionary thinkers and those unskilled labourers in the political field who favour the socialistic ideology. This conflict goes deep and is undermining and destroying old forms and producing intense national friction in all groups and parties. One group is fighting to preserve the old order; the other group is fighting fiercely to abolish all the old ways in the shortest possible time; other groups are fighting for their various ideologies and complicating the problem. The interesting thing is that the conflict is largely between party leaders and their immediate convinced followers, with the mass of people questioning the wisdom, the capacity and the activities of both groups and slowly deciding that they like and desire neither of them, but (lacking real leadership) they know not what  to do. The predisposing characteristic of the British is a sense of justice and it is for this that the people seek. They find, however, that neither party has an effective plan or programme, that both are animated by party politics, and that the interests of the people as a whole which could be served by a wise coalition are not of major importance to the present party leaders. This internal conflict is slowly, however, going to produce a harmony of purpose and of intention within the mind of the population; this will largely be the result of the increasing power of women in the land and their increasing penetration in municipal and national politics. The quality of the British historical retrospect has been predominantly masculine. Today the balancing factor of feminine interpretation and the feminine point of view is needed and will be provided. Great Britain, from the angle of its personality or material problem, is governed by the energy or Ray of Will or Power, whilst the soul of the country is conditioned by the Ray of Love-Wisdom. In this you have the presentation of a positive and a negative energy, and when they are fused and blended you will have a balance and a wisdom which is at present lacking.