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SECTION TWO - THE ASPIRANT AND THE MAJOR INITIATIONS - Part 6

The solar plexus centre is consequently the dominant factor, because—even in the case of the intelligentsia—it is desire for material well-being, for territorial possessions and for planned governmental and economic material decisions which control and motivate the individual, the group or the nation.  These are not necessarily wrong, but (under the present emotional-desire concept) they are placed in the foremost position and are regarded as causal in their nature; nevertheless they are fundamentally secondary [677] in their nature, and are effectual in their essential nature, placing the emphasis upon the word "effect."  Humanity, even in its advanced brackets, is not yet able to think on causal levels.

What is the basic goal of the initiate who has taken the second initiation?  I would ask you to transit in consciousness from the concept that the process of initiation is a consummation of effort, to the higher and better concept that it is initiatory in effect and marks a beginning and not a consummation.  What, therefore, lies ahead of the initiate who has entered the purificatory water, or rather, fire?  To what is he pledged?  What is to happen within "the area of livingness" (I want you to familiarise yourselves with that phrase) and what results will take place within the mechanism with which he approaches the place of initiation?  These are the factors of importance, and these are the aspects of the life process which should condition him.  At the close of the initiatory process certain energies and divine aspects should be recognised by him as now playing a part in his thinking and his purposes—energies which heretofore (even if present) were quiescent and not controlling.

Before him lies the third Initiation of the Transfiguration.  Facing him is a great transition from an emotional aspirational focus to an intelligent, thinking focus.  He has, theoretically at least, cast off the control of the astral body and nature; much still remains to be done; old desires, ancient astral reactions and habitual emotions are still powerful, but he has developed a new attitude to them and a new perspective to the astral body.  Water, fire, steam, glamour, delusion, misinterpretation and emotional continuity still mean something specific and undesirable to him.  He is now negative to their appeal and positive to the higher demanding focus.  That which he now loves and longs for, desires and plans for, lies in another and higher dimension.  He has, through his willingness to pass through the second initiation, struck the first blow at his innate selfishness and has demonstrated his determination to think [678] in wider and more inclusive terms.  The group begins to mean more to him than himself.

What has happened, technically speaking?  The energies of the solar plexus centre are being transferred from the major clearing house below the diaphragm to the heart centre—one of the three major centres into which all the lower energies must transfer.  At the first initiation he was granted a vision of a higher creativity and the energy of the sacral centre began its slow ascent to the throat centre.  At the second initiation, he is granted a vision of a higher focus, and his place in the larger whole begins slowly to reveal itself.  A new creativity and a new focus become his immediate goals, and for him life can never again be the same.  The old physical attitudes and desires may still at times assume control; selfishness may continue to play a potent part in his life expression, but—underlying these and subordinating them—will be found a deep dissatisfaction about things as they are and an agonising realisation of failure.  It is at this point that the disciple begins to learn the uses of failure and to know certain fundamental distinctions between that which is natural and objective and that which is supernatural and subjective.

Do these ideas make the concept of initiation more useful to you and more practical?  Any initiation which does not find interpretation in daily reactions is of small service and basically unreal.  It is the unreality of its presentation which has led to the rejection of the Theosophical Society as an agent of the Hierarchy at this time.  Earlier and prior to its ridiculous emphasis upon initiation and initiates, and prior to its recognition of the probationary disciples as full initiates, the Society did good work.  It however failed to recognise mediocrity and to realise that no one "takes" initiation and passes through these crises without a previous demonstration of a wide usefulness and of a trained intelligent capacity.  This may not be the case where the first initiation is concerned, but where the second initiation is involved there must ever be the background of a useful dedicated life and an expressed determination [679] to enter the field of world service.  There must also be humility and a voiced realisation of the divinity in all men.  To these requirements, the so-called initiate of the Theosophical Society (with the exception of Mrs. Besant) did not conform.  I would not call attention to their prideful demonstration, were it not that the same claims are being made and the same delusions presented to the public.

The problem of freedom from the limitations of matter should now be considered and the entire theme be rendered practical.

There is perhaps an ultimate opinion that it is the realm of the emotions and the susceptibility to emotional reactions which constitute the major human limitation—both from the individual angle and also from that of the national angle.  It is everywhere realised that the demagogue, for instance, who sways public opinion, is one who also and emphatically plays on human emotions as well as upon human selfishness.  As the race progresses towards mental expression, this distorting influence will become increasingly less important, and once the masses (composed of the millions of so-called "men in the street") begin definitely to think, the power of the demagogic approach will have disappeared.  The major battle in the world today is that of the freedom of the average citizen to think for himself and to come to his own decisions and conclusions.  It is here that the major quarrel between the Great White Lodge and the Black Lodge is to be found.  It is a battle in which humanity itself is the decisive factor, and for this reason the Black Lodge is working through the group which is controlling the destiny of Russia and also through the Zionist movement.  The leaders of the U.S.S.R. are working intelligently and potently against human freedom and particularly against freedom of thought.  Communism per se has no such objective; it is the totalitarian policies of the national rulers which are so disastrous, plus their ambition and their hatred of true freedom.  Zionism today stands for aggression and for the use of force, and the keynote is permission to take what you want irrespective [680] of other people or of their inalienable rights.  These points of view are against the position of the spiritual leaders of humanity, and therefore the leaders of the Zionist movement, and the group of men who direct and control the policies of Russia, are against the policies of the spiritual Hierarchy and are contrary to the lasting good of mankind.

The freedom of the human spirit, the freedom to think, govern and worship as innate, human, instinctual human desire may dictate, under the influence of the evolutionary process, the liberty to decide on the required form of government or of religion—these are the rightful prerogatives of mankind.  Any group of men or any form of government which fails to recognise this inherent right runs counter to the principle which governs the Great White Lodge.  The menace to world freedom today lies in the known policies of the rulers of the U.S.S.R. and in the devious and lying machinations of the Zionists.  In neither group is there any true spiritual potency, and both are doomed to failure even though they may succeed from the angle of material gain; from the spiritual angle, they are doomed.  The leaders of the Russian enterprise against the freedom of the individual are doomed, because inherently man is free and fundamentally divine, and it is assured (from the long range vision) that masses of men in Russia and in the communistically inclined "satellite states" will inevitably react divinely and potently.  The true communistic platform is sound; it is brotherhood in action and it does not—in its original platform—run counter to the spirit of Christ.  The imposition of intellectual and formal communism by a group of ambitious and sometimes evil men is not sound; it does not adhere to the true communistic platform, but is based on personal ambitions, love of power and on interpretations of the writings of Lenin and Marx which are also personal and run counter to the meaning of these two men, just as the theologians of the Church interpret the words of Christ in a fashion which has no relation to His original intention.  The rulers of Russia are not truly working for the good of the people, any more [681] than academic Zionism is working and carrying out its projects for any humanitarian reasons.  But the people hold the ultimate triumph in their hands, for the heart of the people in all nations is basically sound, fundamentally good and God-inclined.  This the rulers of the communistic regime forget.

The leaders of the Zionist movement of aggression constitute a real danger to world peace and human development and their activities have been endorsed by the expediency policy of the U.S.A. and, in a secondary degree, by Great Britain, under the influence of the U.S.A.  It is the Zionists who have defied the United Nations, lowered its prestige and made its position both negative and negligible to the world.  It is the Zionists who have perpetrated the major act of aggression since the formation of the United Nations, and who were clever enough to gain the endorsement of the United Nations, turning the original "recommendation" of the United Nations into an order.  The rule of force, of aggression and of territorial conquest by force of arms is demonstrated today by the Zionists in Palestine, as well as the demonstration of the power of money to purchase governments.  These activities run counter to all the plans of the spiritual Hierarchy and mark a point of triumph of the forces of evil.  I am emphasising the activities of these two countries because through the leaders of these groups of aggressive men the forces of evil—dammed back temporarily by the defeat of the evil group which Hitler gathered around him—have again organised their attack on the spiritual development of humanity.

The world today still remains divided into people of evil intention and great power and their victims, plus the negative reactions of the remaining nations.  There is no nation in the United Nations which has attempted to swing the tide of evil by ranging itself and other nations on the side of freedom.  There are only groups of unillumined men who seek to control national destinies.  There is still emotional reaction to situations and the emotional exploitation of individuals and nations by those who are in [682] no way emotional but who are mentally convinced that certain lines of activity must be followed, leading to their own individual good but which—in the long run—are not good for the peoples involved.

We therefore come back to the problems of the astral plane, of the emotional level of consciousness, and to the second initiation; this initiation releases men from emotional control and enables them to shift their consciousness on to mental levels, and from that higher point of focus to control their normal and well developed emotional attitudes.

If you will turn back to page 340, you will find that the three keynotes are given for this second initiation and for its technique.  I would like to call your attention to them because they present those keynotes which give us the clue to the world problems and indicate at the same time the solution and the way out of the present impasse.  These three words are:  Dedication.  Glamour.  Devotion.

It is the dedication of the aspirant which invokes the fire.  You have here a statement of major importance.  The aspirant upon the higher levels of the astral plane is swept by the "fire of dedication."  This immediately focusses his will as it demonstrates on the mental plane, and this focussing in due time starts the serious undertaking of the shifting of his consciousness on to mental levels.  Then immediately the "fire" works, and the first reaction (as I have earlier pointed out) is the "meeting of fire and water," and consequently the production of fog, mist, of glamour and illusion.  All of these four words must be understood symbolically.  The glamours thus induced are dependent upon the ray and the point of evolution of the individual and the nation.  It is essential that you learn to think in the widest possible terms.  With these I shall not deal.  Individuals are rapidly discovering the nature of their glamours, once their "spiritual intention" is determined; also national glamour is well recognised by onlookers, though seldom yet by the nations involved.  The factor which leads to the dissipation of glamour is devotion—devotion to an [683] individual, to a Master (as taught by the Theosophical Society) or to some idealistic project.  It is finally an unlimited devotion to the Way, to the treading of the Path at any cost, and to the unswerving attachment to service—as constituting the major technique of the Path.

Dedication, resulting in glamour, which is dissipated by devotion—these are the keynotes of the second initiation.  Forget not that nationalism is the result of dedication to a particular national set-up and produces the glamours which lead to world difficulty.

These three aspects of evolutionary unfoldment must be recognised by every aspirant; their existence determines his place upon the Path, the initiation for which he is being prepared and the nature of his service for humanity.

And what will be the result of the combination in one's life of these three factors?  Primarily two things:

1. The solar plexus centre will be brought, first of all, into a condition of almost violent and compelling activity.  This activity is induced by dedication and produces glamour inevitably.

2. The violent energies of the solar plexus centre will eventually be controlled by the quality of devotion.  It is this quality which transforms the solar plexus centre into the great clearing house for all emotional reactions and for all glamours, and makes it temporarily a cause of disaster, of conflict, of pain and of distress.

As a result of both of these, a great transforming agency is set in motion by the quality of devotion, and the solar plexus centre becomes not only a clearing house but the main factor in lifting both physical and emotional active energies from below the diaphragm into the heart centre.  This constitutes a long process which the aspirant is forced to face in the interim between initiations.  We are told (and it is factually true) that the longest period between initiations is that to be found between the first and the second initiations.  This is a truth which must be faced, but it should also be remembered that it is by no means the hardest period.  The hardest period for the sensitive, feeling [684] aspirant is to be found between the second and the third initiations.

It is a period of intense suffering, of the penalty of applying factors of glamour and illusion, of pronounced involvement in situations which, for a long time, remain unclarified, and of a steady moving forward as best the beleaguered aspirant can—under the influence of right direction and spiritual determination.  This he has usually to do in the dark, working under the action of the logical and understanding mind, but seldom under the influence of inspiration.  Nevertheless, the good work goes on.  The emotions are brought under control, and necessarily the factor of the mind assumes an increasingly right importance.  Light—flickering and as yet uncertain and unpredictable—pours occasionally in from the soul, via the mind, adding frequently to the complications but producing eventually the needed control which will lead to and result in freedom.

Ponder on these things.  Freedom is the keynote of the individual who is facing the second initiation and its aftermath—preparation for the third initiation.  Freedom is the keynote for the world disciple today, and it is freedom to live, freedom to think and freedom to know and plan, which humanity demands at this time.

The initiation (that of the Transfiguration) which we are next to study is one of the most important of them all.  From one particular angle, it is peculiarly related to the fifth Initiation of Revelation and to the seventh Initiation of Resurrection.  All three are concerned with freedom:  freedom from the personality, freedom from blindness, or freedom from all the seven planes of our planetary existence—the planes which are sometimes referred to as the planes of human and superhuman evolution.  You will have noted that lately I have been emphasising an aspect of initiation hitherto little emphasised—the aspect of freedom.  The Path of Initiation has at times been called the Path of Liberation, and it is to this essential aspect of the initiatory process that I am seeking to call your attention.  I have [685] pointed out continuously that initiation is not really the curious mixture of self-satisfied attainment, ceremonial, and hierarchical recognition as portrayed by the major occult groups.  It is far more a process of excessively hard work, during which process the initiate becomes what he is.  This may entail hierarchical recognition, but not in the form usually pictured.  The initiate finds himself in the company of those who have preceded him, and he is not rejected but is seen and noted and then put to work.

It is also a graded series of liberations, resulting in the attainment of increased freedom from that which lies behind in his experience; this carries with it the permission (soul enjoined or given) to proceed further on the WAY.  These freedoms are the result of Detachment, Dispassion, and Discrimination.  At the same time Discipline enforces and makes possible the hard work required to pass the grade.  All these four techniques (for that is what they are) are preceded by a series of disillusionments which, when realised and comprehended, leave the aspirant no choice but to move forward into greater light.

I would like to have you study initiation from the angle of liberation, looking upon it as a process of strenuously attained freedoms.  This basic aspect of initiation—when realised by the initiate—ties his experience into a firm relation with that of the whole of humanity, whose fundamental struggle is the attainment of that freedom "whereby the soul and its powers can unfold and all men be free because of an individually attained freedom."

If you will study the nine initiations and look upon them from this angle, you will see how each does most definitely mark a point of attainment, and therefore the entire subject of initiation takes on a new beauty and appears more worthy of the pain and struggle of attainment.  Let me give you an indication (no more than that) of what I mean.

Initiation I.  Birth.  Freedom from the control of the physical body and its appetites.

Initiation II.  Baptism.  Freedom from the control of [686] the emotional nature and the selfish sensitivity of the lower self.

Initiation III.  Transfiguration.  Freedom from the ancient authority of the threefold personality, marking a climaxing moment in the history of all initiates.

Initiation IV.  Renunciation.  Freedom from all self-interest, and the renouncing of the personal life in the interest of a larger whole.  Even soul-consciousness ceases to be of importance and a more universal awareness, and one closer to the divine Mind, takes its place.

Initiation V.  Revelation.  Freedom from blindness—a liberation which enables the initiate to see a new vision.  This vision concerns the Reality lying beyond any hitherto sensed or known.

Initiation VI.  Decision.  Freedom of choice.  I have dealt with these choices in an earlier part of this book.

Initiation VII.  Resurrection.  Freedom from the hold of the phenomenal life of the seven planes of our planetary Life.  It is in reality a "lifting out of or above" the cosmic physical plane.

Initiation VIII.  Transition.  Freedom from the reaction of consciousness (as that word is understood by you) and a liberation into a state of awareness, a form of conscious recognition which has no relation to consciousness, as you understand that term.  It might be regarded as complete freedom from sensitivity, yet with a full flowering of that quality to which we give the inadequate name "compassion."  More I cannot say.

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Initiation IX.  Refusal.  Freedom from all possible forms of enticement, particularly with reference to the higher planes.  It must constantly be remembered (and hence my constant reiteration) that our seven planes are the seven subplanes of the cosmic physical plane.

This goal of freedom is in reality the main incentive to tread the Path of Return.  One of the most spiritually exciting things taking place in the world today is the use, in every country, of the word FREEDOM; it was that great disciple, F. D. Roosevelt, who "anchored" the word in a new and more universal sense.  It now has a fuller and deeper meaning to humanity.

Initiation III.  The Transfiguration

There is no need for me to enter into the symbolic details anent this initiation.  The whole theme is adequately dealt with in a book written by A.A.B. entitled From Bethlehem to Calvary—a book to which I gave my approval and endorsement as presenting the subject of the five initiations in a form suitable for the Christian West.  I would like to recall to you the fact that this third initiation is in reality the first of the major initiations and is so regarded by the emanating Source of our planetary Logos, Sanat Kumara, and in the two great planetary centres, Shamballa and the Hierarchy.  I refer to that stupendous Source of our entire planetary life, the sun Sirius, and to the Lodge of Divine Beings Who work from this heavenly Centre.

The first two initiations—regarded simply as initiations of the threshold—are experiences which have prepared the body of the initiate for the reception of the terrific voltage of this third initiation.  This voltage is passed through the body of the initiate under the direction of the planetary Logos, before Whom the initiate stands for the first time.  The Rod of Initiation is used as the transferring agent.  The second initiation freed the initiate from the astral [688] level of consciousness, the astral plane—the plane of glamour, of illusion and of distortion.  This was an essential experience because the initiate (standing before the One Initiator for the first time at the third initiation) must be freed from any magnetic or attractive "pull" emanating from the personality.

The mechanism of the personality must be so purified and so insensitive to the material attractions of the three worlds that there is henceforth nothing in the initiate which could offset the divine initiatory activity.  The physical appetites are subdued and relegated to their rightful place; the desire nature is controlled and purified; the mind is responsive primarily to ideas, intuitions and impulses coming from the soul, and begins its true task as an interpreter of divine truth and a transmitter of ashramic intention.

You will note, therefore, how this third initiation is a climaxing point and also inaugurates a new cycle of activity leading to the seventh Initiation of Resurrection.  I would call your attention to the fact that the third, fifth and seventh initiations are under the control of the fifth, first and second rays.  These, as you might expect, will constitute the emanating energies transmitted through the application of the Rod of Initiation.

Initiation III.  The fifth Ray of Science.  This inflowing energy produces its major effects upon the mind, or upon manas, the fifth principle; it enables the initiate to use the mind as its major instrument in the work to be done, prior to passing through the fourth and fifth initiations.

Initiation V.  The first Ray of Will or Power.  At this initiation the disciple appreciates for the first time the significance of the will and uses it to relate the head centre and the centre at the base of the spine, thus completing the integration started at the third initiation.

Initiation VII.  The second Ray of Love-Wisdom is here active, as the major planetary ray.  The application of the Rod of Initiation by the Initiator (working this time from the highest plane, the logoic plane) produces in a [689] mysterious way an effect on the totality of humanity and—to a lesser extent—upon the allied kingdoms.  The effect is similar to that produced in the individual at the fifth initiation, wherein the head centre and the centre at the base of the spine became closely en rapport—through the use of the will.

Aspirants and disciples should remember that after the third initiation, the effects of the initiation which they may be undergoing are not confined simply to the individual initiate, but that henceforth at all the later initiations he becomes the transmitter of the energy which will pour through him with increasing potency at each application of the Rod.  He acts primarily as an agent for the transmission, for the stepping down and for the consequent safe distribution of energy to the masses.  Each time a disciple achieves an initiation and stands before the Initiator, he becomes simply an instrument whereby the planetary Logos can reach humanity and bring to men fresh life and energy.  The work done prior to and at the third initiation is purely preparatory to this type of service required from an "energy transmitter."  That is why, at the seventh initiation, the dominating ray of our planet—the second Ray of Love-Wisdom—is employed.  There is no energy upon our planet of equal potency, and no expression of it has so pure and constructive a quality as that to which the initiate is subjected at the seventh initiation.  This seventh initiatory climax marks another culminating point in the career of the initiate, and indicates his entrance into an entirely different cycle of experience.

You will have noted, if you are comparing these instructions with the outline given by me on page 340, that in this third initiation it is the ajna centre (the centre between the eyebrows) which is stimulated.  This is a fact of great interest, because it is at this initiation that the disciple begins consciously and creatively to direct the energies being made available to him, doing so via the ajna centre and directed towards humanity as a whole.  These energies are:

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1. The energy of his own soul.  This has a purely group effect and though working through his personality, is consciously directed outward into the world—after the transforming process brought about as the energy received permeates his threefold mechanism.

2. The energy of the Ashram to which he belongs.  Both this energy and the one above mentioned are necessarily the energy of his soul ray and of the Ashram which is representative of that ray.  The effect produced—according to his capacity of absorption and direction—will further the working out of the divine Plan.

3. The energy of the Hierarchy Itself.  The Hierarchy is primarily controlled by the energy of the second Ray of Love-Wisdom, though this dominant ray is modified and enriched through blending with the other six rays.  His use of this energy will at first be largely an unconscious use and he will register at this point no definite intention.  This is due to the magnitude of the great reservoir of energies; he is a recipient of the incoming energy largely because he is an initiated member of the Hierarchy and is also a pure channel for transmission.

4. The peculiar energy which is transmitted to him by Sanat Kumara at the time of his initiation.  This is a totally different energy to that transmitted to him at the earlier initiations.  It comes from Shamballa and is uniquely (in a sense undefinable and hence incomprehensible to you) the energy of the planetary Logos Himself.  He directs extra-planetary energy (in the initiations which follow the third initiation) from the ajna centre of which He is possessed, to the head centre of the initiate and from thence immediately to the ajna centre of the initiate.  Then this energy is directed outward into its destined field of service.  This energy is of so high a quality that there is nothing of a registering mechanism in the initiate's equipment capable of registering its admission and circulation through his three head centres.  Nevertheless, this energy does pour through him and out into the world, in spite of the fact that he remains unconscious of its presence.

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The ajna centre is the "centre of direction"; it is placed symbolically between the two eyes, signifying the twofold direction of the life energy of the initiate—outward into the world of men and upward towards the divine Life and Source of all Being.  Where the direction of the energy is consciously undertaken (and there are certain energies of which the initiate is constantly aware), the ajna centre is controlled and dominated by the indwelling spirit of man; this spiritual man bases all action in relation to these entering energies on the ancient premise that "energy follows thought."  His thought life becomes, therefore, the field of his major effort, for he knows that the mind is the agent of direction; he endeavours to concentrate within himself so that eventually he may consciously control and direct all the incoming divine energies.  This is, in reality, the major hierarchical endeavour and the work to which the Masters are pledged and for which They are in constant training.  As the evolutionary process proceeds, new and higher energies become available.  This is particularly the case now, as They prepare for the reappearance of the Christ.

There are three words which are directive words for the disciple as he handles his life, his environment and his circumstances.  They are:  Integration, Direction, Science.  His task—as he faces it after the third initiation—is to produce a greater personal integration so that he becomes increasingly a soul-infused personality, and also to integrate himself with his environment for service purposes.  To this must be added the subtler task of integrating himself into the Ashram so that he becomes an integral part of the Master's band of workers.

As the work of integration proceeds, he is striving all the time to learn the uses of the ajna centre and consciously and with right understanding to work with, absorb, transmute and distribute energy as his major ashramic service.  His keynote is right direction as the result of right reaction to hierarchical intention and the injunctions of his own soul.  Both integration and direction, he discovers, require [692] understanding of occult, scientific knowledge.  He works then as a scientist, and for this reason all the three keynotes of his life as an initiate—before and immediately after the third initiation—are conditioned by and directed by the mind; the mental plane becomes the field of his major endeavour as a server.

Again you see that I am presenting you with no glamorous picture of the initiatory process but only one of hard work, constant effort and strenuous mental and spiritual living.  There is much here for you to consider, and what I have here given warrants sound reflection and much thought.  It is my earnest hope and wish that you may realise that the teaching here given can be appropriated by you and that the initiatory process is one that eventually you will understand and in which you will participate.

Initiation IV.  The Great Renunciation or Crucifixion

This initiation of renunciation (called "The Crucifixion" by Christian believers) is so familiar to the majority of people that I am hard put to it to say that which will arrest your attention, and thus offset a familiarity which necessarily lessens the importance of the theme in your consciousness.  The idea of crucifixion is associated in your minds with death and torture, whereas neither concept underlies the true meaning.  Let us consider some of the significances connected with this fourth initiation.

The sign of the Cross—associated in the Western world with this initiation and with the Christian faith—is in reality a cosmic symbol, long ante-dating the Christian era.  It is one of the major signs to be found in the consciousness of Those advanced Beings Who, from the distant sun, Sirius, the seat of the true Great White Lodge, watch over the destinies of our solar system, but Who pay particular attention (why They do so is not yet revealed) to our relatively little and apparently unimportant planet, the Earth.

The word "crucifixion" comes from two Latin words signifying to "fix on a cross" (I have asked A.A.B. to look this word up in the dictionary so that you can have a sense [693] of surety).  The cross referred to in reference to this particular initiation is the Cardinal Cross of the heavens.  It is to this cross that the disciple shifts at the fourth initiation, from the Fixed Cross of the heavens.  This fixed cross is the one on which he has been crucified from the moment he found himself upon the Path of Probation and passed from thence on to the Path of Discipleship.  On that Path—having transcended the world of phenomena and established an unbroken contact with the Monad, via the antahkarana—he renounces the Mutable Cross of existence in the three worlds (the world of appearances), and after a period of time he transfers from that cross on to the Fixed Cross, which is set up in the world of meaning where he has steadily learnt to dwell.  This covers the period of the first three initiations.  Now, being liberated through renunciation, he needs no longer to undergo the tests, trials, and difficulties which crucifixion on the Fixed Cross inevitably entails; he can now take his place upon the Cardinal Cross, with all its cosmic implications and opportunities which are then conferred.  This—as far as the individual is concerned—is necessarily symbolic and figurative in its teaching.  As far as the Heavenly Man is concerned, however, the application is not symbolic.  It is far more factual.  From the angle of the supreme Masters on Sirius, our planetary Logos, Sanat Kumara, is still on the Fixed Cross; He mounted the Mutable Cross in the first solar system; the Fixed Cross still holds Him in this solar system "fixed in His place"; in the next solar system, He will transfer Himself to the Cardinal Cross, and from "thence return to that High Place from whence He came."  You can see, therefore, why I emphasise the fact that these three crosses are simply symbols of experience in relation to the individual disciple.  Let us consider this a little more closely:

1. The Mutable Cross governs the three worlds and the astral plane in particular.  On this cross the average man is "crucified" until he achieves the needed experience and consciously reorients himself to another phase of unfoldment.

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2. The Fixed Cross governs the five worlds of human development and conditions the experiences of all disciples.  Through the discipline and the experiences thus gained whilst on this cross, the disciple passes from one renunciation to another until complete freedom and liberation has been achieved.

3. The Cardinal Cross governs the Master as He passes through the remaining five initiations; the fourth initiation is, curiously enough, governed by neither the Fixed Cross nor the Cardinal Cross.  The disciple is descending from the Fixed Cross and seeking to mount the Cardinal Cross, and it is this transition period and experience which practically govern Him.  It might therefore be noted that there are three initiations which test the disciple as to knowledge and experience:  the first, the second and the third; then there comes an initiation of transition, followed by five initiations which the Master undergoes upon the Cardinal Cross.

It should be remembered that the distinctive nature of the man upon the Mutable Cross is that of self-consciousness; that the disciple upon the Fixed Cross is rapidly becoming group conscious when the experiences undergone have been rightly assimilated; and that the Master on the Cardinal Cross is distinguished by a universal consciousness which passes finally into cosmic consciousness—a state of being unknown to you, even in the wildest flights of your imagination.  The first hint of the growth of cosmic consciousness comes when the disciple passes through the sixth Initiation of Decision.  He determines then (by means of His enlightened will and not His mind) which of the seven Paths He will decide to follow.  From that time on, the consciousness of the greater Life which enfolds our planetary Logos, as He enfolds humanity within His consciousness, increasingly controls the attitude, the awareness and the activities of the Master.

You can see, therefore, how this initiation of crucifixion (which the Christian world has appropriated for itself) is far vaster in its implications than students suspect.  [695] Yet this appropriation was intentional under the divine Plan of the Hierarchy, for always some great Teacher—by His life and teaching—will call attention to some particular initiation.  The Buddha, for instance, in His Four Noble Truths, stated in reality the platform upon which the initiate of the third initiation takes his stand.  He desires nothing of a personal nature; he is liberated from the three worlds.  The Christ pictured for us and emphasised the fourth initiation with its tremendous transition from the Fixed Cross to the Mount of Ascension, symbol of transition, through initiation.

This crucifixion initiation has a major instructive feature.  This is preserved for us in the name which is frequently given to this fourth initiation:  the Great Renunciation.  One tremendous experience is vouchsafed to the initiate at this time; he realises (because he sees and knows) that the antahkarana has been successfully completed and that there is a direct line of energy from the Spiritual Triad, via the antahkarana, to his mind and brain.  This brings to the forefront of his consciousness the sudden and appalling recognition that the soul itself, the egoic body on its own level, and that which for ages has been the supposed source of his existence and his guide and mentor, is no longer needed; his relation, as a soul-infused personality, is now directly with the Monad.  He feels bereft and is apt to cry out—as did the Master Jesus—"My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?"  But he makes the needed renunciation, and the causal body, the soul body, is relinquished and disappears.  This is the culminating renunciation and the climaxing gesture of ages of small renunciations; renunciation marks the career of all aspirants and disciples—renunciation, consciously faced, understood and consciously made.

I have hinted earlier to you that this fourth or Renunciation Initiation is closely linked with the sixth initiation and with the ninth.  The sixth initiation is only possible when the initiate has definitely made the needed renunciations; the reward is that he is then permitted to make a [696] perfectly free choice and thus demonstrate his essential and gained freedom.  The ninth initiation (that of the Refusal) has in it no element of renunciation.  It is not a refusal to hold, for the initiate is at the point where he asks and holds nothing for the separated self.  At that final planetary initiation the Master is brought face to face with what might be called cosmic evil, with that reservoir of evil which cyclically overflows the world, and also with the massed group of masters of the Black Lodge.  He refuses recognition.  This I will deal with later when we take up that particular initiation.

In connection with this Initiation of Renunciation there are some most interesting correspondences which throw a bright, illuminating light upon its significance.  They are known to you in some measure, because I have dealt with the significance of the fourth Ray of Harmony through Conflict, and the fourth kingdom, the human, in my earlier writings; it might, however, serve some useful purpose if I bring some of them together and show how this Initiation of Renunciation is of supreme importance to humanity and to the individual initiate who is, of course, a member of the fourth kingdom.  First of all, this great act of renunciation marks the moment when the disciple has nothing in him which relates him to the three worlds of human evolution.  His contact with those worlds in the future will be purely voluntary and for purposes of service.  I prefer the word "renunciation" to the word "crucifixion" because the last word simply emphasises the suffering undergone by the initiate as he renounces all that is of a material nature and becomes a permanent and (if I may use such a term) a non-fluctuating and unchanging member of the fifth kingdom in nature, the kingdom of God, called by us the Hierarchy.  Forget not that the three worlds of ordinary evolution constitute the dense physical subplanes of the cosmic physical plane.

Crucifixion embodies the concept of extreme physical suffering of a protracted nature, its last "three hours" according to the Bible story, typifying the three planes of [697] our evolution.  On all three planes, the disciple renounces; on all three planes he is, therefore, crucified.  It connotes the ending of a life and—from the cosmic angle—of the personality life of the soul through many incarnations.  If it is a statement of fact that the time sense is the response of the brain to a succession of states of consciousness or of events, and if it is equally true that (to the soul) there is no such factor in consciousness as time but only the Eternal Now is known, then the three worlds of incarnated being constitute one unit of experience in the life of the soul—an experience which ends at the crucifixion, because the soul in incarnation definitely, consciously and by the use of the enduring will, renounces all, and turns his back upon the material world, finally and for ever.  He has mastered all the uses of the three worlds of experiment, experience and expression (to use three terms with which I have familiarised you in my other books), and now stands liberated.

Each initiate who makes this renunciation and undergoes the consequent crucifixion is in a position to say with the first of our humanity to do so, "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me."  So spoke the Christ.  The initiate is lifted up by his renunciation—which he makes through the "blood of the heart"—out of the world of material phenomena, because he has freed himself from any desire for them, from any interest in them and from any hold they may ever have had over him.  He is completely detached.  It is interesting to note that the Master Jesus underwent the renunciation initiation whilst at the same time the Christ was raised up at the seventh or Resurrection Initiation.  So the two stories of these two great Disciples are parallel—One so obediently serving the Greater, and the Christ submitting His will to that of His Father in Heaven.

This initiation is therefore, in a unique sense, a culminating experience and a point of entrance into a new life for which all the past has been a preparation.  After the ninth initiation, the Refusal Initiation, there comes a cosmic repetition of the Renunciation experience, this time [698] devoid of the crucifixion aspect; the initiate at that great moment renounces or refuses contact with the cosmic physical plane on all its seven levels of awareness, unless he has chosen (at the sixth Initiation of Decision) the Path of World Service.

During the experience of the initiatory process in its first three phases, the initiate rejects control of the energies which are seated in the three centres below the diaphragm; he renounces their use for personality or selfish reasons.  The centre at the base of the spine has received and distributed the energy of self-will (the will of the lower self) and is emptied and stands ready for the dynamic reception of the higher will which—using the spinal channel as the pathway or the symbol of the antahkarana—will pour into it from the highest head centre.  The sacral centre which has received and distributed the energy which has fed the physical appetites to a far greater extent than is at present realised, is also under control—a control which is related to normal and proper direction from the throat centre and to the preservation of life on the physical plane, if the initiate chooses to incarnate for service ends.  The solar plexus centre, which has received and distributed the energy of the astral plane, the energy of desire and of emotion, is likewise cleansed and purified; its energy is transmuted to such an extent that it can pass under the complete control of the heart centre, which henceforth and until the seventh Initiation of the Resurrection is "that whereby the initiate performs his hierarchical obligations."  Therefore, at the Great Renunciation, the three lower centres reach a point of utter purification or speaking symbolically—of utter emptiness.  No energy of their own (related to the selfish aeonial past) is left; they are simply pure receptacles for the energies of the three higher centres.  The three lower centres are related to the three worlds of personality evolution; the three higher centres are related to hierarchical work and living and are under the control of the initiate—a control which becomes increasingly perfect until the seventh Initiation of Resurrection.  At that momentous [699] resurrection, they become no longer of service; the Master needs no energy centres, and His consciousness is transcended and transformed into a type of awareness of which those who have not experienced these initiations know nothing.  If He chooses to take a physical vehicle (as many will when the Christ reappears and the Hierarchy is externalised on Earth), the Master will "function from the above to the below" and not (as is the case today with all disciples, though naturally not with the Masters) on "the below towards the above."  I am here quoting ancient phrases to be found in the archives of the Hierarchy.  They will therefore need no centres on the etheric levels of our planetary physical plane.

At this fourth initiation the initiate begins to function entirely and always upon the fourth plane, the buddhic levels of the cosmic physical plane—our intuitional plane.  This is the case whether you count from below upwards or from above downwards.  You have here again an indication of the central position of this initiation and of its importance.  It is preceded by three initiations and succeeded by three initiations, leading up to that of the seventh or final planetary initiation, because the remaining two initiations are fundamentally not related in any way to our planetary Life.  It is because of this permanent transition of the initiate's "living focus"—lifted out of the three worlds on to the buddhic plane—that the concept of resurrection has crept into the Christian teaching so that the Crucifixion Initiation is portrayed as preceding the Resurrection Initiation; this is in reality not the case, except in a lesser degree and as symbol of future experience.

In the same way, the concept of sacrifice has permeated all the teaching anent the Crucifixion or the Renunciation Initiation, both in the East and in the West.  This is a sacrifice idea associated with the concept of pain, agony, suffering, patience, prolongation and death.  Yet the true root of the word remains the same and gives the true significance:  "Sacer," to make holy; that is what in truth happens to the initiate; he is "made holy"; he is "set apart" [700] for spiritual development and service.  He is separated off from that which is natural, material, transmitted and handicapping, trammelling and destructive, and from that which lessens right activity for that which is new.  He learns to define the Wholeness which is his divine right and prerogative.

The beauty of the interpretation of this initiation and the reward to those who attempt to penetrate to its true meaning and significance are untold; it requires, however, the teaching of the East and of the West to arrive at the true understanding of the experience.  The concept of a clean break with the old life in the three worlds of experience which has characterised the work of the soul for so long is obvious.  It is death in its truest and most useful form; every death, as it takes place today and on the physical plane, is therefore symbolic in nature, pointing to the time when the soul finally "dies" to all that is material and physical, just as the human being dies to all contact in the three worlds before resuming incarnated living.

On the buddhic or intuitional plane (the fourth level of the cosmic physical plane) the mind nature—even that of the higher mind or the level of abstract thought—loses its control over the initiate and is henceforth only useful in service.  The intuition, the pure reason, complete knowledge illumined by the loving purpose of the divine Mind—to mention some of the names of this fourth level of awareness or of spiritual sensitivity—takes its place and the initiate lives henceforth in the light of correct or straight knowledge, expressing itself as wisdom in all affairs—hence the titles of Master of the Wisdom or Lord of Compassion given to Those Who have taken the fourth and the fifth initiations; these follow very closely upon each other.  From the buddhic level of awareness, the Master works; on it, He lives His life, undertakes His service and furthers the Plan in the three worlds and for the four kingdoms in nature.  Let this not be forgotten.  Also, let it be remembered that this achievement of focus and this attained freedom are [701] not the result of a symbolic ceremony, but are the result of lives of suffering, of minor renunciations and of conscious experience.  This conscious experience, leading to the fourth initiation, is a definitely planned undertaking, arrived at as true vision is gradually conferred, the divine Plan is sensed and receives cooperation, and intelligent aspiration takes the place of vague longings and sporadic efforts "to be good," as it is normally expressed by aspirants.