[xvii] The question arises, each time a book is written which is to be read by earnest aspirants: What line of instruction will carry forward their training with the most speed?—for speed is an essential factor, if the present day unfoldment is to be rightly utilised and the stress and strain in the world relieved. The teaching to be given must likewise increase their mental competency, and lead to that stabilisation of the emotional body which will most rapidly set them free for service. It must be remembered that constant study (of papers), and the apprehension by the ear and eye of statements anent the Ageless Wisdom, serve only to increase responsibility, or produce brain fatigue and soreness, with subsequent revolt from instruction. Only that which is brought into use in the life is of practical value and retains its livingness. Sincerity is the first thing for which those of us who teach inevitably look.
Let me remind those I reach through these books that the main result I look for is one of group co-operation and understanding, and not that of individual benefit. By studying and reading with care, a group interplay is set up, the group becomes more closely integrated, the units in it more closely linked together and as a group more closely blended in the unfolding Plan of the Great Ones. We are building and planning for the future and for humanity, and not for the personal unfoldment of any particular aspirant. The individual growth is of no tremendous significance. The formation and development of a band of pledged aspirants, trained to work together and to respond in unison to a teaching, is of real moment to those of us who are responsible for the training and for the preparation of the group of world disciples who will function with freedom and power in a later cycle. You see a tiny portion of the Plan. We see the Plan as it unfolds for a series of lives ahead, and we are today seeking those who can be taught to work in group formation and who can constitute one of the active units in the vast happenings that lie ahead, connected with that two-thirds of humanity who will stand upon the Path at the close of the age, and with that one-third who will be held over for later unfoldment. We are training men and women everywhere so that they can be sensitive to the Plan, sensitive to their group vibration, and thus able to co-operate intelligently with the unfolding purpose. It is a mistake to think that the Plan is to train aspirants to be sensitive to the vibration of a Master or to the Hierarchy. That is but incidental and of minor importance.
It is for the purpose of training aspirants so that group awareness may be developed that these books have been written. Recognise clearly that you personally do not count, but that the group most surely does. Teaching is not given only in order to train you or to provide you with opportunity. All life is opportunity, and individual reaction to opportunity is one of the factors which indicate soul growth. For this, the training school of the world itself suffices.
There should be in all impartation of truth no imposition of authority. Aspirants must be left free to avail themselves of the teaching or not, and spiritual work must go forward because of the free choice and self-initiated effort of the individual student.
In the books already published three basic lines of teaching can be traced:
First, a relatively new technique has been given as to the control of the body.
[xix] Second, teaching has been given anent the formation of the New Group of World Servers.
Third, the general lines of the magical work of creation have received attention.
The first line of teaching concerns the individual and his development; the second indicates the nature and ideals of the group into which he may find his way if he profits by the teaching and learns control; the third, could you but realise it, details in some measure the methods and modes of work during the coming new age.
Ponder upon these three main approaches to truth, and think upon them with clarity of thought. Mental appreciation of their significance will produce understanding and will likewise increase the group apprehension of the teaching which I have sought to impart. Any student who thinks clearly and applies the teaching to his daily life is contributing most valuably to the group awareness.
Oft an aspirant says to himself: "Of what real use am I? How can I, in my small sphere, be of service to the world?" Let me reply to these questions by pointing out that by thinking this book into the minds of the public, by expressing before your fellow men the teaching it imparts, and by a life lived in conformity with its teaching, your service is very real.
This will necessarily involve a pledging of the entire personality to the helping of humanity, and the promise to the Higher Self that endeavour will be made to lose sight of self in service—a service to be rendered in the place and under the circumstances which a man's destiny and duty have imposed upon him. I mean a renewal of the effort to bring about the purification of all the bodies so that the entire lower man may be a pure channel and instrument through which spiritual force may flow unimpeded. I mean the attaining of an attitude[xx] wherein the aspirant desires nothing for the separated self, and in which he regards all that he has as something which he can lay upon the altar of sacrifice for the aiding of his brethren. Could all who read this book see the results of such a united effort, there would emerge a group activity, intelligently undertaken, which would achieve great things. So many people run hither and thither after this individual or that, or this piece of work or that, and, working with lack of intelligent co-ordination, achieve nothing and no group results. But united group effort would eventuate in an inspired reorganisation of the entire world, and the elimination of hindrances; there would be the making of real sacrifices and the giving up of personal wishes and desires in order that group purposes may be served.
Above all, there must be the elimination of fear. With this I have dealt at length in A Treatise on White Magic, and have given likewise certain rules and formulas for its control. How many who have read the teaching profited by the information imparted? Will you not, with determination and because the world cries out for help, cast away fear and go forward with joy and courage into the future?
There has been, behind all the books which I have written, a definite purpose and a planned sequence of teaching. It may be of interest to you if I trace them for you:
The first book issued was Initiation, Human and Solar. This book was intended for the average aspirant, to lead him on from where he was to a vision of an organised band of teachers who were seeking to aid humanity (and incidentally himself), and to give some idea of their technique of work and modes of procedure.
Letters on Occult Meditation indicated how these teachers could be reached and the discipline of life that the treading of the Path involved. These two are especially for aspirants.
[xxi] A Treatise on Cosmic Fire is in an entirely different category. In the last analysis, it is for the guidance of the initiates of the world, and will lift the aspirant's eyes away from himself and his own growth to a vaster conception and a universal ideal. The mark of the initiate is his lack of interest in himself, in his own unfoldment and his own personal fate, and all aspirants who become accepted disciples have to master the technique of disinterestedness. Their eyes have also to be lifted away from the group of workers and from the hierarchy which they constitute and to be fixed on wider horizons and vaster realms of activity. The great creative Plan, its laws and technique of unfoldment, and the work of the Builders of the Universe was dealt with; emerging out of the mass of imparted facts, and underlying all the teaching, was the idea of a great Life with its own psychology and ideas. It was an attempt to give a synthetic picture of the unfolding Mind of God as It works out Its plans through the lesser Sons of Mind. In symbolism and archaic phrases it veiled the truths and principles which lie at the root of the creative process, and in its entirety is beyond the grasp of the advanced student. At the same time, it is a most valuable compendium of information, and will serve to convey truth and to develop the intuition.
The last book, A Treatise on White Magic, is a parallel volume to A Treatise on Cosmic Fire. Just as the first dealt with the psychology of Deity, the work of the Macrocosm, and the laws whereby the Solar Logos works, so this book constitutes a treatise on the psychology of the Son of God and the work of the Microcosm. It intimately concerns His Place in the Larger whole.
I have also aided A.A.B. in getting out a translation of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, which is a bridging book, intended to show the aspirant the rules whereby the light within him [xxii] may be developed and the power of the intuition be brought to bear on all problems and on the phenomena of life itself. This book was given the name The Light of the Soul.
Here I am fulfilling my intention to write a book on the subject of the Seven Rays. This topic has always been of real interest for students, but about these rays little is known. We know, from The Secret Doctrine, that they are the building Forces and the sum total of all that is in the manifested universe, but their effect in the human kingdom, and their essential quality and nature, remain as yet a mystery. It will be necessary for me to avoid the cosmic note, if I may so call it, for I seek to make the information of practical value to the student and to the intelligent reader. I shall therefore approach the subject entirely from the standpoint of the human family and deal with the subject in terms of psychological values, laying the foundation for that new psychology which is much needed, and so dealing primarily with the human equation. What I have to say will be a commentary upon an expansion of the words found in the proem of The Secret Doctrine, that "All Souls are one with the Oversoul."
We shall, from the outset, accept the fact of the soul. We shall not consider the arguments for or against the hypothesis of there being a soul-universal, cosmic, and divine, or individual and human. For our purposes of discussion, the soul exists, and its intrinsic reality is assumed, as a basic and proven principle. Those who do not admit this assumption can, however, study the book from the angle of a temporarily accepted hypothesis, and thus seek to gather those analogies and indications which may substantiate the point of view. To the aspirant, and to those who are seeking to demonstrate the existence of the soul because they believe in its existence, this expression of its laws and tradition, its nature, origin and [xxiii] potentialities will become a gradually deepening and experienced phenomenon.
What I indicate and the suggestions I may make, will, I forecast, be demonstrated, in the scientific sense, during the coming Aquarian Age. Science will then have penetrated a little further into the field of intangible yet real phenomena; it will have discovered (mayhap it has already made this discovery) that the dense and concrete do not exist; it will know that there is but one substance, present in nature in varying degrees of density and of vibratory activity, and that this substance is impelled by urgent purpose and expressive of divine intent.
We shall seek to avoid as far as possible those loose generalities which are so distressing to the academic and critical mind, and in which the mystic finds such relief and joy. I will however ask those who study this treatise to reserve their opinion and come to no crystallised judgment until the entire proposition has been presented to them, and its outlines have been clearly sensed and its detail somewhat elaborated.
It will be necessary for us to introduce the subject on a wide basis and to link the individual with the general, and this may (at the first) seem too vast a theme, too speculative a presentation and too misty and vague an outline. But this situation cannot be avoided, for the argument—as must be the case in all truly occult work—must be considered from the universal to the particular, from the cosmic to the individual. Men are, as yet, too interested in the particular and the individual to find it easy to apply the same interest to the greater Whole in which they "live and move and have their being," nor do they at this time (as a general rule) possess that inner mechanism of thought and that intuitive perception of truth which will enable them easily to grasp the significance of that which underlies the symbolism of words, or to see clearly the subjective [xxiv] outline under the objective form. But the effort to understand carries its own reward, and the attempt to grasp and comprehend the Soul—cosmic, universal, planetary and individual—leads inevitably to an unfoldment of the mental apparatus (with a subsequent development of the, as yet, quiescent brain cells) which must eventually produce a co-ordination of the thinking faculty, and resultant illumination.
The nature of our septenary universe must be considered, and the relation of the threefold human being to the divine Trinity must be noted. A general idea of the entire symbolic picture is of value. Each student, as he takes up the study of the rays, must steadily bear in mind that he himself—as a human unit—finds his place on one or other of these rays. The problem thus produced is a very real one. The physical body may be responsive to one type of ray force, whilst the personality as a whole may vibrate in unison with another. The ego or soul may find itself upon still a third type of ray, thus responding to another type of ray energy. The question of the monadic ray brings in still another factor in many cases, but this can only be implied and not really elucidated. As I have oft told you, it is only the initiate of the third initiation who can come in touch with his monadic ray, or his highest life aspect, and the humble aspirant cannot as yet ascertain whether he is a monad of Power, of Love or of Intelligent Activity.
In concluding, I ask for your sincere cooperation in the work which we are undertaking. It may be of more general and public value than any other of my writings. I shall seek to make this treatise upon the soul relatively brief. I shall seek to express these abstract truths in such a way that the general public, with its profound interest in the soul, may be intrigued and won to a deeper consideration of what is as yet a veiled surmise. The Aquarian Age will see the fact of the soul demonstrated. This is an attempt, carried forward in the difficulties [xxv] of a transition period which lacks even the needed terminology, to aid that demonstration.
Let me also add that your attitude to the imparted instruction should be that of the student who is seeking truth that can be verified and information that can be applied to the daily life and tested in the crucible of life experience. If, for instance, there are indeed seven rays, embodying seven types of divine energy, then a man should be able to recognise these types and energies in the particular field of phenomena in which he plays his little part. If the truth given is veiled in symbolism and offered as an hypothesis, it should at the same time be unveiled sufficiently so as to be recognisable, and should have in it if sufficient intelligent appeal to warrant its investigation. The words "All souls are one with the Oversoul" may and do, I believe, embody a basic and essential piece of information, but unless there is evidence in the world that there is appearing a living relation between all sentient beings, then the statement is meaningless. But the fact is that universal sentiency and a general awareness are recognised everywhere as existing and as developing. The world is full of knowledge, which is in the last analysis sentient response to conditions which exist, by minds which are developing but are not fully developed. It is becoming gradually apparent that under diversity lies a basic unity, and that our awareness is right and true and correct in so far as we can identify ourselves with this unity.
In closing, may I beg all of you to go forward. Let nothing in the past—physical inertia, mental depression, lack of emotional control—keep you from taking fresh hold and with joy and interest making that needed progress which will fit you for more active and useful service. That none of you may be hindered by the past or by the present, but may live as Onlookers, is the prayer, constant and believing, of your teacher.