Initiation is a concept of human evolution in Theosophy which states that there are five major and several minor steps of spiritual development, expansions in consciousness which are experienced by people, as they evolve.
- For other uses, see Initiation (disambiguation).
- Initiation – A practice of admission into the Mysteries of Life as practiced in Ancient times. Since most of the mysteries have long since been forgotten by mankind in general, the term has evolved a new meaning for the Occultist and student of Truth and now refers to gradations or degrees of attainment or advancement into the World of Higher Truths, each new entry or Initiation being marked by an actual Ray of Illumination sent by Hierarchy, and corresponding with the degree of purification that has been reached by the Initiate. Of course, initiations do not take place on the physical plane, but within the individual, on the ‘inner’ planes, and each successive one is accompanied by a broadening of consciousness and the fiery transmutation of the centers. (LHR I, p 384)
- Treason is judged not by its causes but by its effects.
Each one is free, but is judged by his deeds.
Initiation is not found through heartless action.
Happiness is gained through labor.
- Agni Yoga, Leaves of Morya’s Garden I, The Call, 384. (1924)
- Since the heart is an accumulator and transmuter of various energies, there must be more favorable conditions for arousing and attracting these energies. The most fundamental condition is work, mental as well as physical. In the motion of work, energies are gathered from space; but one must understand work as a natural process that enriches life. Thus, every kind of work is a blessing, while the vagaries of inaction are extremely harmful in a cosmic sense. Love for the endlessness of labor is in itself an initiation of considerable degree; it prepares you for the conquest of time. Being in a condition where you have conquered time guarantees you a place in the Subtle World, where work is an unavoidable condition, just as it is in the body. A complaint about having to work can only come from a slave of the body.
- Agni Yoga, Heart, 79. (1932)
- Only the bond with the Hierarchy of Light can kindle inextinguishable fires. So the opposition of the heart to all the dark forces will be a sign of victory. I am confirming the power of the heart, and you know for yourself how near at hand and powerful this weapon of light is. One cannot approach the fiery domain without the flame of the heart. Initiation by fire is only for the pure of heart.
- Agni Yoga, Heart, 556. (1932)
- Why wonder that the development of vision demands moderate lighting? It is quite clear that sharp light does not permit the increase of inner light. Yet only striving for self-perfection provides a solid foundation. Therefore, in ancient times the initiations into the Mysteries were accompanied by prolonged stays in darkness, until the eye overcame the obstacles of darkness by its inner sight.
- Agni Yoga, Fiery World I, 316. (1933)
- How can one attain fiery initiation without actual struggle? How can one pass through life without a real battle? Only a low understanding can have a conception of higher attainment without tension. To pass through life and attain means to pass along the edge of the abyss, means to pass through sorrow and tension. Just as the Cosmic Laboratory transmutes these energies of the heart, so do human souls pass through purgatory on Earth. Without this fiery attachment to Cosmic Fire the heart cannot know initiation into the Higher World. On the path to the Fiery World one must remember about the purgatory of life.
- Agni Yoga, Fiery World III, 381. (1935)
- When rocks begin to crumble people break them up and remove them for the security of the road; and so it is with certain human definitions. In the course of centuries a term may lose its original meaning and should be replaced by a word closer to the current period. This has happened with the word initiated. Together with anointment, its original meaning has been relegated to the past. Instead of initiated and uninitiated, let us say knowing and unknowing, or cognizant and ignorant. But it is better to express initiation itself by the word education. Thus it can be expressed without belittlement, in a word closer to contemporary times. In no way is it right to conceal something good in outmoded words when it is possible to express it more comprehensibly for broad masses of people. Surely, knowledge is not for the elect but for all! Therefore, we should not reiterate outworn morals, but rather, designate the best conditions for scientific cognizance. Only the ignorant will not understand that for the successful advancement of science the best conditions of life must be established. Science cannot go beyond the limits of the mechanistic circle so long as this wall remains unsurmounted by the understanding of the Subtle World.
- Agni Yoga, Brotherhood, 10. (1937)
- Urusvati knows what initiation is. There is much confusion about this concept. Some think that initiation is the acquisition of knowledge, but it is only a path. Others think that the act of devotion in itself is initiation, but that, too, is only a path. Still others state that to be initiated is to guard a secret: even that is but a path. Initiation is daring to approach the Image of Light and not fearing to look at It. Uniting with Light requires courage and a high degree of self-denial; this fearlessness is in itself a beautiful initiation. The Teacher imparts many wise truths, but finally He will say, “Now walk alone, without fear.” A particular tension of consciousness is required toward the end of the path. Intellectual knowledge breaks up and vanishes, and the pilgrim remains alone on the cliffs of ascent. Only the flame of the heart can warm when the accumulated coverings have been rent by the storm. Voices are heard, but they do not resemble the Call of the Beloved. Be prepared beforehand to face the Light and to accept It without fear. It is impermissible to speak in the marketplace about the awareness of Light. An initiate will not disclose his precious experience. No one can compel him to utter the unutterable. This is the difference between an initiate, and a deceiver, who knows how to roll his eyes and sing sweetly about visions that only he can perceive. True messengers are not talkative.
- Agni Yoga, Supermundane, 232. (1938)
- Pay attention to those who are committed to true advancement. They do not impose their beliefs. They avoid claiming degrees of initiation. They always know that it is better not to speak about even their most sacred encounters. They are always kind and ready to offer help. The first task for the true seeker of the sacred knowledge is to cultivate goodness. In doing this he will attract good, like a magnet.
- Agni Yoga, Supermundane, 581. (1938)
- Initiation is in the nature of a great experiment which our planetary Logos is making during this round. In earlier and perhaps in later rounds the whole process will follow natural law. . . . The whole process is optional, and a man may - if he so choose - follow the normal process, and take aeons of time to effect what some are choosing to do in a briefer period, through a self-chosen forcing process.
- Alice Bailey, A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, p. 829, (1925).
- The mark of the initiate is his lack of interest in himself, in his own unfoldment, and his personal fate, and all aspirants who become accepted disciples have to master the technique of disinterestedness.
- Alice Bailey, A Treatise on the Seven Rays: Volume 1: Esoteric Psychology I, (1936)
- Christ gives us a definite picture of the entire process in His own life story, built around those major initiations which are our universal heritage and the glorious (and for many) the immediate opportunity. These are: 1. The Birth at Bethlehem, to which Christ called Nicodemus, saying, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."... 2. The Baptism in Jordan. This is the baptism to which John the Baptist referred us, telling us that the baptism of the Holy Spirit and of fire must be administered to us by Christ... 3. The Transfiguration. There perfection is for the first time demonstrated, and there the divine possibility of such perfection is proven to the disciples. The command goes forth to us, "Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."... 4. The Crucifixion. This is called the Great Renunciation, in the Orient, with its lesson of sacrifice and its call to the death of the lower nature. This was the lesson which St. Paul knew and the goal towards which he strove. "I die daily," he said, for only in the practice of death daily undergone can the final Death be met and endured."... 5. The Resurrection and Ascension, the final triumph which enables the initiate to sing and to know the meaning of the words: "Oh death, where is thy sting? Oh grave, where is thy victory?"... Such are the five great dramatic events of the mysteries...
- Initiation might be defined in two ways. It is first of all the entering into a new and wider dimensional world, by the expansion of a man's consciousness, so that he can include and encompass that which he now excludes, and from which he normally separates himself in his thinking and acts. It is, secondly, the entering into man of those energies which are distinctive of the soul and of the soul alone - the forces of intelligent love, and of spiritual will. These are dynamic energies, and they actuate all who are liberated souls.
- Alice Bailey, A Treatise on the Seven Rays: Volume 2: Esoteric Psychology II, p. 12, (1942)
- The partial subjugation of glamour, and escape from the complete thralldom of illusion, are indications to the watching Hierarchy that a man is ready for the process of initiation.
- Alice Bailey, Glamour: A World Problem, p. 126, (1950).
- The concept which has to supersede the one at present extant, is that of group initiation, and not that of the initiation of an individual aspirant. In the past, and in order to get the idea of initiation into the minds of the people, the Hierarchy chose the mode (now obsolete) of holding out the prospect of initiation before the earnest disciple; upon this they placed an early emphasis of its peculiarity, its rewarding nature, its ritual and ceremonies, and its place in the scale of evolution. Since the fact of initiation had been grasped by many, and achieved by some, it has become possible today to reveal what has always been implied, that initiation is a group event.
- Alice Bailey, A Treatise on the Seven Rays: Volume 5: The Rays and the Initiations, p. 341, (1960)
- No one is admitted (through the process of initiation) into the Ashram of the Christ (the Hierarchy) until such time as he is beginning to think and live in terms of group relationships and group activities. Some well-meaning aspirants interpret the group idea as the instruction to them that they should make an effort to form groups - their own group or groups. This is not the idea as it is presented in the Aquarian Age, so close today; it was the mode of approach during the Piscean Age, now passed. Today, the entire approach is totally different. No man today is expected to stand at the centre of his little world, and work to become a focal point for a group. His task now is to discover the group of aspirants with which he should affiliate himself, and with whom he must travel upon the Path of Initiation - a very different matter, and a far more difficult one.
- Alice Bailey, A Treatise on the Seven Rays: Volume 5: The Rays and the Initiations, p. 344, (1960)
- An Ashram has in it disciples and initiates at all points of evolutionary development, and of all grades and degrees; these all work together in perfect unison, and yet - within their differentiated ranks, for each degree stands alone, yet united with all the others - with their own established rapport, their coded telepathic interplay, and a shared occult secrecy and silence, which guard the secrets and knowledges of one grade from another and from the unready. Similarly, when an aspirant, seeking upon the physical plane to find those who will share with him the mystery of his next immediate step or demonstrated expansion, discovers his own group, he will find that it has in it those who have not reached his particular point of wisdom, and those also who have already left him far behind. He will be drawn into a vortex of force and a field of service simultaneously. Ponder on this statement. He will learn, therefore, the lessons required by one who is to work in an Ashram, and will know how to handle himself with those who may not yet share with him the secrets which he already knows, and with those who have penetrated deeper into the Mysteries than he has. (18 - 346).
- Alice Bailey, A Treatise on the Seven Rays: Volume 5: The Rays and the Initiations, p. 346. (1960)
- Initiation has been so frequently presented as being a ceremony, that I have felt it necessary to offset strenuously that erroneous significance. If, however, you are to comprehend that which I have to say, you will have to call in what measures of enlightened understanding you may possess. Initiation is only a ceremony in so far that there comes a climaxing point in the initiatory process, in which the disciple's consciousness becomes dramatically aware of the personnel of the Hierarchy, and his own position in relation to it. This realisation he symbolises to himself - successively and on an increasingly large scale - as a great rhythmic ceremonial of progressive revelation in which he, as a candidate, is the centre of the hierarchical stage... I am not here saying that the teachings given in the past by various occult groups, or in my book Initiation, Human and Solar, are not correct, or do not recount accurately what the candidate believes has taken place. The point I seek to make is that the ceremonial aspect is due to the thought-form-making capacity of the disciple.
- Alice Bailey, A Treatise on the Seven Rays: Volume 5: The Rays and the Initiations, p. 530/1, (1960)
- Periods of search, periods of pain, periods of detachment, periods of revelation producing points of fusion, points of tension, and points of energy projection - such is the story of the Path of Initiation. Initiation is in truth the name given to the revelation of the new vision which ever draws the disciple onward into greater light; it is not something conferred upon him or given to him. It is a process of light recognition and of light utilization, in order to enter into ever clearer light. Progress from a dimly lighted area in the divine manifestation, into one of supernal glory, is the story of the Path of Evolution.
- Alice Bailey, A Treatise on the Seven Rays: Volume 5: The Rays and the Initiations, p. 538, (1960)
- Briefly, the stories of the birth of Christ at Bethlehem symbolize the first initiation. The baptism at the river Jordan symbolizes the second great initiation, which is baptism into greater responsibility with higher consciousness. The transfiguration on the mountain top points to the third initiation, when our whole personality or lower nature is to be under the control or direction of the Soul or higher nature. The trial at Jerusalem, culminating in the crucifixion, symbolizes the fourth initiation, often called the Great Renunciation. The resurrection from the tomb beautifully portrays the fifth initiation, completing the long process of transition from the fourth or human kingdom to the fifth, which Jesus called the Kingdom of God or of Heaven, making the initiate a Master of Wisdom, or a 'full grown man in Christ', as the Bible puts it.
- Howard Ray Carey, in The Joy of Christ's Coming: From Traditional Religion To Ageless Wisdom (1988), Ch. 31, Biblical teachings and the great initiations (1988)
- Those who are familiar with the gospel according to John will recall that a certain 'ruler of the Jews', a man named Nicodemus, came to Jesus by night to inquire about His work. In the course of the conversation Jesus is reported to have said to this Pharisee: Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.
And a bit later He emphasized: Truly I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you: you must be born anew. (John 3:3, 5-7)
Clearly Jesus was pointing out to Nicodemus that the New Birth, the first initiation, is the first and a most essential step into the fifth kingdom, the Kingdom of God. Much has been written, by Geoffrey Hodson and others, as to how the birth stories about Jesus, recorded only in Matthew and Luke, are really symbolic of the first initiation, a life-changing experience toward which all of us are moving unless we have indeed been through it in this or a previous life.
- Howard Ray Carey, in The Joy of Christ's Coming: From Traditional Religion To Ageless Wisdom (1988), Ch. 31, Biblical teachings and the great initiations (1988)
- In the esoteric literature it is well established that the second initiation can be undergone only after a long and difficult struggle with personal desires and emotions, culminating in a large measure of Soul mastery over this 'watery' sphere.
- Howard Ray Carey, in The Joy of Christ's Coming: From Traditional Religion To Ageless Wisdom (1988), Ch. 32, The second initiation in the Bible, (1988)
- In The Masters and the Path, C. W. Leadbeater has an interesting discussion of the three 'fetters' which the first degree initiate must 'cast off' before he is prepared for the Baptism initiation. The first of these fetters is the delusion of the separate self. This has to be replaced by the realization of oneness in the true Self. The second fetter is the glamour of doubt or uncertainty, especially in relation to the truth of reincarnation and karma, or the law of cause and effect. The third fetter is described as superstition, or the belief that the rites and dogma of any one religion are necessary for salvation, or that we have to deal with the so-called 'wrath of an angry God'.
- Howard Ray Carey, in The Joy of Christ's Coming: From Traditional Religion To Ageless Wisdom (1988), Ch. 32, The second initiation in the Bible, (1988)
- Today, large sections of mankind, for the first time in history, are beginning to think, truly to think for themselves; to actually use the energy of mind and make conscious choices and decisions. Up to now, mankind as a whole simply reacted. Thinking is something, as we know, which is entirely different. The masses of mankind are beginning to think - politically, economically - they are beginning to take decisions along these lines, and no longer simply respond emotionally to some teacher or some leader. This is new.
In Atlantean days mankind did not think at all. Only the most advanced Atlantean man, the disciple or initiate, thought.
- In mid-Atlantean times, the highest initiation that could be taken was what is now the third initiation. (St Paul was a third-degree initiate so we have some idea what a third-degree initiate of His time might be like.) Third-degree initiates today, of course, are much more mentally developed than in St Paul's time. It is harder to become a third-degree initiate now, a much tougher assignment, because mankind has developed so much mentally. A higher quality of initiate is being created all the time: the Masters of today would have been tremendous Adepts in Atlantean times. The Christ and the Buddha were among the very earliest of our Earth humanity to take the third initiation in mid-Atlantean times, and have been at the forefront of our evolution ever since. They are great Planetary Lives, unbelievably advanced as far as we are concerned.
- Leonardo da Vinci, Schweitzer, Beethoven, Plato, Shakespeare, Galileo, Abraham Lincoln, one could go on and on... these initiates, for that is what they are, is a sign of man's evolution, as are all the arts, all the great scientific revelations. The exploration of the atom; the discovery that matter is energy; that you can release energy from the building blocks of nature itself, this is incredible - this is the great science. And when we learn to handle it safely, and for the good of all, instead of for negative purposes, this energy will give us a base on which to build a civilization beyond our imagination. The spread of knowledge - an almost universal educational programme - and worldwide communications, with the sense of Oneness which this engenders, has brought humanity today to the point of readiness for the new Revelation which the Christ brings.
- I do not know what the average point in evolution is of the governing, intelligent, politicians in the world. I would say it is something like 1.4 or 1.35. It is not enough. They are functioning astrally; they are not mentally polarized. They cannot make decisions objectively and so they make a mess of the world... The people whom Maitreya and the Masters have been training, you will find, will be 1.5 or higher, probably even a few second-degree initiates, working from a higher level. They can see more objectively. They might still be fanatics and might still be sunk in their own particular ideology, but they will have a greater sense of the whole. They will have greater tolerance in the things that matter even if they are Christian fanatics or Muslim fanatics or whatever. p. 69
- We live in a world in which there are about 865,000 first degree initiates, about 250,000 second-degree initiates, between 2,000 and 3,000 third-degree initiates, 450 fourth-degree initiates, and 63 Masters. p. 75
- Each nation is governed by two rays, a soul ray, which is sensed and expressed by the initiates and disciples of the nation; and a personality ray which is the dominant mass influence and expression. From time to time, through the activities of the initiates and disciples of a country, the soul ray may be given expression and the true quality of the nation can be seen. p. 120
- When Blavatsky occasionally calls someone an Initiate, just what does she mean? As with many terms, Initiation also must have several meanings. One meaning is to be given privy knowledge or teachings in an esoteric school. Another meaning is to go through a ritual or ceremony as an entrance or stage in a fraternity, genuinely esoteric or not. Yet another meaning, and the most important I believe, is to undergo a certain level of mystic experience. The latter in other traditions is called "Enlightenment," "Moksha," "Satori," "Cosmic Consciousness," "Christ Consciousness" and many other terms and allusions. It is probably not arguable that there are different levels of mystic experience and not all of these should be correctly labeled Initiation.
- M. R. Jaqua, What Is Initiation? Fohat magazine (Summer 1999)
- As it was said, "The purification of consciousness and of the Teachings is the greatest task of our time." There are now so many "initiates," "hierophants" and "great incarnates," etc. But it is not so difficult to recognize the impostors. First of all, they lack simplicity. While the true initiates or entrusted ones are entirely simple in their lives, trying not to be different in outward ways and to be silent about their achievements, all the self-deceiving ones are very fond of acting mysteriously and talking about their high initiations, as well as of using high-sounding titles and names, although they themselves do not even know what real initiation means. Real initiations have nothing to do with any kind of ritual invented for the masses; initiation can take place in diverse places and dwellings, and there is only one condition necessary—the readiness of spirit in the disciple. And this readiness is ascertained by the "thermometer" in the hands of the Great Teachers. Initiation consists of the assimilation of the higher rays of various strength and qualities. Often, those who sincerely aspire toward the good are under the influence of these higher rays, though at the beginning they do not even suspect it. The stage of preparation for the assimilation of the higher rays is sometimes very long; all depends on the accumulations of the disciple.
- Helena Roerich, Letters Volume I, (1929-1935), (12 August 1934)
- Many think that they possess cosmic consciousness, that they have been through the highest degrees of initiation, etc. etc. The self-conceit of people is a most tragic page in the history of humanity.
- Helena Roerich, Letters Volume I, (1929-1935), 20 December 1934
- Tara is a goddess, the feminine equivalent of the Arhat, or a Sister of the White Brotherhood. But please do not be too much interested in the names of various initiations; this will not lead you anywhere. In ancient times, each religio-philosophical school, or sacred brotherhood, had its own gradations or degrees, and had special names for them. But you may be sure that the true degrees were not designated by the names we now see in books. If you are interested in this, take the beautiful definitions of the degrees of spiritual advancement given in Agni Yoga. Indeed, among some who study occultism, there are those who are convinced that the Sun-initiation takes place on the physical sun! All degrees of initiation are in ourselves. When a disciple is ready, he receives a Ray of Illumination, which corresponds with the degree of purification he has achieved, as well as of the broadening of his consciousness and the fiery transmutation of his centers.
- Helena Roerich, Letters Volume I, (1929-1935), 16 January 1935
- What is, in reality, the Book of Enoch, from which the author of Revelation and even St. John, the author of the fourth Gospel, so largely draw in their writings? It is simply a book of Initiation, which, in allegorical and cautious phraseology, presented the outline of certain archaic Mysteries that took place in the inner temples. The so-called "Visions" of Enoch concern his (Enoch's) experiences during initiation and what he had learned in the Mysteries.
- Helena Roerich, Letters Volume II (1935-1939), 18 January 1936
- It is ridiculous to read about the highest degrees of initiation that can be attained in contemporary occult schools. The highest degrees are attained only through inner perfectment, which no contemporary esoteric school can give. Initiations take place face to face, between a Great Teacher and the disciple; the next degree of perception of the higher energies, or rays, is the result. Therefore, such Initiations always take place unexpectedly and often simply in the bedroom or workroom of the disciple. And this Festival of the Spirit remains unforgettable in the consciousness and heart of the disciple. These Festivals of the Spirit have nothing in common with the trappings of the initiations described in some occult books.
- Helena Roerich, Letters Volume II (1935-1939), 7 January 1937
- Initiation ― A voluntary process whereby successive and graded stages of unification and at-one-ment take place between the man or woman in incarnation, his/her soul, and the divine Monad or spark of God. Each stage confers on the initiate a deeper understanding of the meaning and purpose of God's Plan, a fuller awareness of his/her part in that Plan, and an increasing ability to work consciously and intelligently towards its fulfillment.
- Share International glossary (1999)
Initiation, Human and Solar, by Alice A. Bailey (1922)
- A man who has taken the first step into the spiritual kingdom, having passed out of the definitely human kingdom into the super-human. . . . He has entered upon the life of the spirit, and for the first time has the right to be called a "spiritual man" in the technical significance of the word. He is entering upon the fifth or final stage in our present fivefold evolution. p. 10
- Each initiation marks the passing of a pupil in the Hall of Wisdom into a higher class, marks the clear shining forth of the inner fire and the transition from one point of polarisation to another, entails the realization of an increasing unity with all that lives and the essential oneness of the self with all selves. It results in a horizon that continually enlarges until it includes the sphere of creation; it is a growing capacity to see and hear on all planes. It is an increased consciousness of God's plan for the world, and an increased ability to enter into those plans and to further them. It is the honour class in the Master's school, and is within the attainment of those souls whose karma permits and whose efforts suffice to fulfil the aim. p. 13
- Initiation leads to the mount whence vision can be had, a vision of the eternal Now, wherein past, present, and future exist as one. p. 13
- Initiation leads to the stream that, once entered, sweeps a man onward until it carries him to the feet of the Lord of the World, to the feet of his Father in Heaven, to the feet of the three-fold Logos... It leads through the Hall of Wisdom, and puts into a man's hands the key to all information, systemic and cosmic, in graduated sequence. It reveals the hidden mystery that lies at the heart of the solar system. It leads from one state of consciousness to another. As each state is entered the horizon enlarges, the vista extends, and the comprehension includes more and more, until the expansion reaches a point where the self embraces all selves, including all that is "moving and unmoving", as phrased by an ancient Scripture. p. 14
- At the first initiation, the control of the Ego over the physical body must have reached a high degree of attainment. "The sins of the flesh", as the Christian phraseology has it, must be dominated; gluttony, drink, and licentiousness must no longer hold sway. The physical elemental will no longer find its demand obeyed; the control must be complete and the lure departed. A general attitude of obedience to the Ego must have been achieved, and the willingness to obey must be very strong. The channel between the higher and the lower is widened, and the obedience of the flesh practically automatic. p. 82
- After this (first) initiation...He passes, at this initiation, out of the Hall of Learning into the Hall of Wisdom... A long period of many incarnations may elapse before the control of the astral body is perfected, and the initiate is ready for the next step. p. 84
- This ceremony of initiation marks a point of attainment. It does not bring about Initiation... It rests upon his inner attainment. The initiate will know for himself when the event occurs and needs no one to tell him of it. . . . It is quite possible for men to be functioning on the physical plane and to be actively employed in world service, who have no recollection of having undergone the initiatory process, yet who, nevertheless, may have taken the first or second initiation in a previous or earlier life... A man may be able better to work off certain karma and to carry out certain work for the Lodge, if he is free from occult occupation and mystic introspection during the period of any one earth life. p. 102
- The first initiation is within reach of many, but the necessary one-pointedness and the firm belief in the reality ahead, coupled to a willingness to sacrifice all rather than turn back, are deterrents to many. If this book serves no other purpose than to spur some one to renewed believing effort, it will not have been written in vain. p. 111
- There is a great distinction between the terms "aspirant to the Path" and "applicant for initiation". He who aspires and strives towards discipleship is in no way pledged to the same specific attitude and discipline as is the applicant for initiation, and he can, if he so choose, take as long as he desires in the treading of the Probationary Path. p. 192
- The disciple's attitude of mind must be that he cares not whether he takes initiation or not. Selfish motive must not enter it... When the lower life upon the physical plane is fertilised, the emotional stabilised, and the mental transmitted, then naught can prevent the latch on the door being lifted, and the disciple passing through. p. 193/4
Initiation, The Perfecting of Man, by Annie Besant (1923)
- There is nothing new in these lectures, but only old truths retold. But the truths are of such vivid and perennial interest that, though old, they are never stale, and, though well known, there is always something to say which seems to throw on them new light and new charm. For they touch the deepest recesses of our being, and bring the breath of heaven into the lower life of earth...
May these reminders of the ancient facts of discipleship and Masterhood nerve some to effort, encourage others to perseverance. May they help some to realize the possibility of obeying the command: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." Foreword
- There is a Path which leads to that which is known as Initiation, and through Initiation to the Perfecting of Man; a Path which is recognized in all the great religions, and the chief features of which are described in similar terms in every one of the great faiths of the world. You may read of it in the Roman Catholic teachings as divided into three parts: (1) The Path of Purification or Purgation; (2) the Path of Illumination; and (3) the Path of Union with Divinity. You find it among the Mussulmans in the Sufi — the mystic — teachings of Islam, where it is known under the names of the Way, the Truth and the Life. You find it further eastward still in the great faith of Buddhism, divided into subdivisions, though these can be classified under the broader outline. It is similarly divided in Hinduism; for in both those great religions, in which the study of psychology, of the human mind and the human constitution, has played so great a part, you find a more definite subdivision. But really it matters not to which faith you turn; it matters not which particular set of names you choose as best attracting or expressing your own ideas; the Path is but one; its divisions are always the same; from time immemorial that Path has stretched from the life of the world to the life of the Divine.
- The Path of Purification is the Probationary Path, on which certain qualifications must be developed; the Path of Illumination is the Path of Holiness, subdivided into four stages, each of which is entered by a special Initiation, symbolized among Christians as the Birth, Baptism, Transfiguration, and Passion of Christ; the Path of Union is the attainment of Masterhood, Liberation, Final Salvation.
- It is the Path by which, to use a simile often used, instead of going round and round the mountain by an ever-climbing spiral, man climbs straight up the mountainside regardless of cliff and precipice, regardless of gulf and chasm, knowing there is nothing that can stop the Eternal Spirit, and that no obstacle is stronger than the strength that is omnipotence, because it has its source in Omnipotence itself.
- We must assume, at least for the time, the existence of certain great facts in Nature. I do not mean that our man of the world, in taking his first step towards the Path, need either know or recognize these facts. Facts in Nature do not change either with our believing or non-believing. Facts of Nature remain facts whether we know them or not, and since we are here in the realm of Nature, and under the order of law, the knowledge of the facts and the knowledge of the law are not essential for the steps which lead man to the Path.
- Sunshine does not cease to warm you because you may not know anything of the constitution of the sun. Fire does not cease to burn you, because, unknowing its fierceness, you thrust your hand into the flame. It is the security of human life and human progress that the laws of nature are ever working and carrying us on with them, whether we know of them or not. But if we know them, we gain a great advantage.
- To know is the difference between walking in the darkness and in the light, and to understand the laws of Nature is to gain the power of quickening our evolution by utilizing every law that hastens our growth, by avoiding the working of those that would retard and delay.
- Now, one of the great facts which underlie the whole possibility of a Path of Human Perfecting, that I must take for granted throughout the lectures — for to deal with it as a matter for argument would lead us far away from our subject — one of the fundamental facts in Nature, is the fact of reincarnation. That means the gradual growth of man through many lives, through many experiences of the physical world, of the intermediate world, and also of the world called heaven. Evolution would be too short to enable a man to grow from imperfection to perfection, unless he had many opportunities, a long, long road to lead him upward.
- The fact of reincarnation, then, is taken for granted, for not one of us could possibly tread the whole of that long course, could reach divine perfection, in the limits of a single life. But our man of the world need not know of reincarnation. He knows it in his spiritual memory, although his physical brain may not yet have recognized it, and his past, which is a fact, will push him onwards until Spirit and brain are in fuller communication, and that which is known to the man himself becomes known in the concrete mind.
- The next great fact, necessary and taken for granted, may be put into a single phrase of your own Scriptures: "Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap. It is the law of causation, the law of action and reaction, by which Nature brings inevitably to the man the results of that which he has thought, which he has desired, which he has done.
- Next, the facts are that there is a Path and that men have trodden it before us; that the swifter evolution is possible; that the laws of it may be known, the conditions of it understood, the stages of it be trodden; and that at the end of that Path there are standing Those Who once were men of the world, but now are the Guardians of the world, the Elder Brethren of our race, the Teachers and the Prophets of the past, stretching upwards in ranks of ever-more dazzling light from the ending of the Path for man to the highest Ruler of the world in which we live.
- These are the great facts in Nature, existing, whether recognized or not, on which the possibility of treading the Path depends: Reincarnation, the law of Karma, the fact of the Path, the Existence of the Teachers. p. 15
- The first step of all, absolutely necessary, without which no approach is possible, by which achievement ever comes within reach of realization, may be summed up in four brief words: the Service of Man.
- There is the first condition, the sine quanon. For the selfish no such advance is possible; for the unselfish such advance is certain. And in whatever life the man begins to think more of the common good than of his own individual gain, whether it be in the service of the town, of the community, of the nation, of the wider joinings of nations together, right up to the service of humanity itself, every one of those is a step towards the Path, and is preparing the man to set his feet thereon.
- There is no distinction here between the kinds of service, provided they are unselfish, strenuous, moved by the ideal to help and serve... I cannot give you one by one the numerous divisions of the Way of Service. Anything that is of value to human life is included on that way. Choose then what way you will, because of your capacities and your opportunities; it matters not as regards the treading of the first steps. p. 20
- Learn, then, that the service demanded is that unselfish service that gives everything and asks for nothing in return; and if you find that in you it is a necessity of your nature, not a choice but an overmastering impulse, then you may be sure that you are one of the men of the world who are taking the first steps towards the Path. (I need hardly say that when I say men I mean women too, but I cannot keep on saying "man and woman each time..)! p. 29
- When a man has sufficiently distinguished himself by service, and by acquiring and accepting the theoretical views that were glanced at in 'Seeking the Master' then he finds his Master — or rather his Master finds him. During all the time of his struggle those gracious eyes have been upon him watching him progress; in many lives in the past he has come under the same influence which now is to become the dominant influence in his life. He has reached a point where the Master can reveal Himself, can place him definitely on probation, can help to prepare him for Initiation. That is the first stage: a particular Master chooses a particular aspirant and takes charge of him, in order to prepare him for Initiation; for you must remember that Initiation is a quite definite thing, that only Those who have already attained can enable others to enter on the Path which They Themselves have trodden. p. 61
- Quickly or slowly, according as that probation is lived nobly or poorly, another summons comes to him, when the Master sees that he has gained to a considerable extent the Qualifications which are necessary, and needs a further fuller teaching in order that he may apply his knowledge more efficiently to life. Again he is called; again he sees his Master. And then the Master accepts him as disciple, no longer on probation, but accepted and approved; now his consciousness is to begin to blend with the consciousness of his Master, and he is to feel His presence more clearly. p.63
The Masters and the Path, by Charles W. Leadbeater (1925)
- Most people when they think of Initiation have in mind a step to be gained for themselves. They think of the Initiate as a man who has developed himself very highly, and has become a great and glorious figure, as compared with the man of the outer world. That is true; but the whole question will be better understood if we try to look down on it from a higher point of view. The importance of Initiation does not lie in the exaltation of an individual, but in the fact that he has now become definitely one with a great Order, the Communion of Saints, as it is very beautifully put in the Christian Church, though few ever pay attention to the real meaning of those words.
- The stupendous reality that lies behind Initiation into the Brotherhood will be better understood after we have considered the organization of the Occult Hierarchy and the work of the Masters, to be dealt with in later chapters.
- The Candidate has now become more than an individual man, because he is a unit in a tremendous force.... There is a marvellous and incomprehensible plan by which the One, having become many, is now becoming One again; not that any unit in the whole scheme will lose the least fraction of his individuality or power as a unit, but that he has added to it something a thousand times greater; he is part of the Lord, part of the body that he wears, the weapon that he uses, the organ upon which he plays, the implement with which he does his work.
- This is a very wonderful moment in the candidate’s spiritual life, as was explained by the Master Kuthumi, when accepting a pupil not long ago. He said to him:
Now that you have attained the immediate goal of your aspiration, I would exhort you at once to turn your attention to the far greater requirements of the next step. That for which you have now to prepare, the ‘entering upon the stream’ which the Christians call salvation, will be the salient point in the long line of your earthly existences, the culmination of seven hundred lives. Ages ago, by individualization, you entered the human kingdom; in a future which I trust is not remote, you will quit it by the door of Adeptship, and become a Superman; between these two extremes is no point of greater importance than that Initiation towards which you should now turn your thoughts. Not only will it make you safe for ever, but it will admit you to that Brotherhood which exists from eternity unto eternity—the Brotherhood which helps the world. Think then with how great care so wondrous an event should be approached. I would have you keep the glory and the beauty of it constantly before your mind, that you may live in the light of its ideals. Your body is young for so mighty an effort, but you have a rare and splendid opportunity; I want you to take it to the full.
- For a long time the new Initiate will not be able to understand all that this union implies, and he must penetrate far into the sanctuaries before he can realize how close is the link, and how great is that consciousness of the King himself, which all Brothers to a certain extent share with him. It is incomprehensible and inexpressible down here; metaphysical and subtle it is beyond words, but nevertheless a glorious reality, real to such an extent that when we begin to grasp it everything else seems unreal.
- So wonderful is the expansion of the Initiate’s consciousness that it is most apt to speak of the change as a new birth. He begins to lead a new life “as a little child,” the life of the Christ; and the Christ, the intuitional or buddhic consciousness, is born within his heart. He has also now the power to give the blessing of the Brotherhood—a tremendous and overwhelming force, which he is able to give or send to anyone, as he judges to be most appropriate and useful. The power of the Brotherhood will flow through him just as much as he will let it flow; it is for him to use the power and to remember that he has the entire responsibility of directing it for whatever purpose he may choose.
- The benediction given by the Officiant at Initiation means: “I bless you; I pour my force and benison into you; see that you in your turn constantly pour out this good-will upon others.” The more confidence the new Initiate has the greater will be the flow of force through him. If he feels the least hesitation, or is weighed down by the responsibility of letting such a tremendous power flow through him, he will not be able to use this wonderful gift to the full...
- The consciousness of the Great White Brotherhood is an indescribably wonderful thing. It is like a great calm shining ocean, so strangely one that the least thrill of consciousness flashes from end to end of it instantaneously, and yet to each member it seems to be absolutely his own individual consciousness, though with a weight and a power and a wisdom behind it that no single human consciousness could ever have.
- As the band of pupils is all one in the Master, so is the Brotherhood all one in its Lord. The members may freely discuss a point among themselves, yet it is as though different aspects of a case presented themselves in the same mind, and were by that mind weighed one against the other; but one is all the time in the presence of a tremendous, an almost awful serenity, a certainty which nothing can ever disturb. And yet somehow in all that every suggestion is welcomed; indeed, there is the sensation that the whole Brotherhood is alertly and eagerly waiting for each individual’s contributions to the subject before it. There is nothing down here to which this consciousness can be adequately compared; to touch it is to come into contact with something new and strange, yet inexpressibly wonderful and beautiful, something which needs no evidence and no comparison, but asserts itself to be of a higher and unknown world.
- Though individualities are so strangely merged in this, yet are they at the same time sharply separated, for the assent of each Brother is required to every decision of importance. The rule of the King is absolute, yet he carries his vast council with him, and is at every moment willing to consider any point that occurs to any member of it. But this great governing body differs utterly from any parliament of earth. Those who stand above the rest in positions of authority have not been elected, nor have they been appointed by some party organization; they hold their positions because they have won them—won them by superior development and greater wisdom.
- In such an organization there should surely be no possibility of failure or trouble of any sort; and yet, because humanity is frail, and because not all members of this great Brotherhood are yet Supermen, failures do sometimes occur, although they are very rare. “Great ones fall back even from the threshold, unable to sustain the weight of their responsibility, unable to pass on,” as is said in Light on the Path, and only the attainment of Adeptship ensures perfect safety.
- The Initiator tells the candidate that now he has entered upon the stream he is safe for ever; but although that is so, it is still possible for him to delay his progress to a most serious extent, if he yields to any of the temptations that still beset his path.
- There is no eternal condemnation; it is, as the Christ said, simply aeonian; there are some who cannot go in this age or dispensation, but they will follow along in the next, precisely as a child who is too dull to succeed in this year’s class will drift comfortably along in next year’s, and will probably even be at the head of it.
The Rays and the Initiations, by Alice A. Bailey (1960)
- The concept which has to supersede the one at present extant, is that of group initiation, and not that of the initiation of an individual aspirant. In the past, and in order to get the idea of initiation into the minds of the people, the Hierarchy chose the mode (now obsolete) of holding out the [Page 200] prospect of initiation before the earnest disciple; upon this they placed an early emphasis of its peculiarity, its rewarding nature, its ritual and ceremonies, and its place in the scale of evolution. Since the fact of initiation had been grasped by many, and achieved by some, it has become possible today to reveal what has always been implied, that initiation is a group event.
- The soul - in its own nature - is group conscious, and has no individual ambitions or individual interests, and is not at all interested in the aims of its personality. It is the soul which is the initiate. Initiation is a process whereby the spiritual man within the personality becomes aware of himself as the soul, with soul powers, soul relationships, and soul purpose. The moment a man realises this, even in a small measure, it is the group of which he is conscious.
- Only the man whose sense of identity is beginning to expand and become inclusive, can "take initiation" (as it is erroneously termed). If initiation were a purely personal achievement, it would throw the man back into the separative consciousness, out of which he is endeavouring to escape. This would not be spiritual progression. Every step upon the Path of Initiation increases group recognition.
- It dawns on the initiate, as he proceeds from one initiation to another, that each time he moves forward on the path, or penetrates into the heart of the Mysteries in company with those who are as he is, who share with him the same point in evolution, and who are working with him towards the same goal, that he is not alone; that it is a joint effort that is being made. This is in fact the keynote of an Ashram, conditioning its formation. It is composed of disciples and initiates at various stages of initiate-unfoldment, who have arrived at their point of ashramic consciousness together, and who will proceed together until they arrive at that complete liberation which comes when the cosmic physical plane drops below the threshold of consciousness, or of sensitive awareness, and no longer holds any point of interest for the initiate. p. 342
- No one is admitted (through the process of initiation) into the [Page 201] Ashram of the Christ (the Hierarchy) until such time as he is beginning to think and live in terms of group relationships and group activities. Some well-meaning aspirants interpret the group idea as the instruction to them that they should make an effort to form groups - their own group or groups. This is not the idea as it is presented in the Aquarian Age, so close today; it was the mode of approach during the Piscean Age, now passed. Today, the entire approach is totally different. No man today is expected to stand at the centre of his little world, and work to become a focal point for a group. His task now is to discover the group of aspirants with which he should affiliate himself, and with whom he must travel upon the Path of Initiation - a very different matter, and a far more difficult one. p. 344
- An Ashram has in it disciples and initiates at all points of evolutionary development, and of all grades and degrees; these all work together in perfect unison, and yet - within their differentiated ranks, for each degree stands alone, yet united with all the others - with their own established rapport, their coded telepathic interplay, and a shared occult secrecy and silence, which guard the secrets and knowledges of one grade from another and from the unready.
- When an aspirant, seeking upon the physical plane to find those who will share with him the mystery of his next immediate step or demonstrated expansion, discovers his own group, he will find that it has in it those who have not reached his particular point of wisdom, and those also who have already left him far behind. He will be drawn into a vortex of force and a field of service simultaneously. Ponder on this statement. He will learn, therefore, the lessons required by one who is to work in an Ashram, and will know how to handle himself with those who may not yet share with him the secrets which he already knows, and with those who have penetrated deeper into the Mysteries than he has. p. 346
Maitreya's Mission Vol. I, by Benjamin Creme (1986)
- The Process of Evolution. The process of evolution takes place alike on individual, planetary and on cosmic levels. As we progress in this, the human kingdom, we shall recognize that it is a very important kingdom in the scheme of this planet but is nevertheless a transitional phase between the animal and the spiritual kingdoms, and that the evolutionary journey which each of us is making takes place under laws which govern throughout cosmos.
- We have within us the potentiality of all divinity, and the process presented to us to demonstrate that divinity is rebirth. Rebirth is a process which allows God, through an agent (ourselves), to bring Itself down to Its polar opposite----matter----in order to bring that matter back into Itself, totally imbued with Its nature. It is an extraordinarily interesting and beautiful thing that is taking place in creation. It is amazing in its beauty, its intricacy, its logic, in the opportunity also for creative change, because it is not a fixed mechanical thing but an extraordinarily beautiful living process.
- We are entering the ‘‘crisis of love.’’ This is the experience which the human race faces as it enters that period in its evolutionary journey when it will, as a whole, demonstrate the quality of Love and take its place in the Kingdom of Souls, the Esoteric Hierarchy. During the Aquarian age, the aim of the Christ, Maitreya, the Hierophant at the first two initiations, will be to initiate millions of people, in group formation, into the Hierarchy. Eventually, by the end of the age, the vast majority of humanity will have taken their places in the Spiritual Kingdom, the Esoteric Hierarchy, at some stage or other. Vast numbers will take the first and some will take the second initiation. This is an extraordinary event to be happening on a mass scale. It shows the success of the evolutionary Plan as it is envisaged by the Lord of the World, Sanat Kumara, on Shamballa, and carried out by His agents, the planetary Hierarchy.
- As does everything in Cosmos, evolution proceeds according to definite laws. The result of evolutionary experience and progress is to come into deeper awareness of these laws and of the mechanism by which they govern the energies at the basis of all creation. God, it might be said, is the sum total of all the energies in the whole of the manifested and unmanifested universe and at the same time the laws governing these energies, and their interrelationship.
- The evolutionary journey on which we are engaged is marked off by five major points of crisis, major expansions of consciousness, the five steps to Liberation and Mastery. These are the five planetary initiations which free us from further incarnational experience on this Earth. All of the Masters have taken these five initiations (some have taken further, higher initiations), and Their presence in this world is the result of a conscious decision to serve the Plan of Evolution and not from any need, through personal karma, to incarnate.
- The esoteric process we call initiation is an artificial forcing process introduced into our planet in mid-Atlantean times to speed up the evolutionary process. Without it we would inevitably arrive at the same point of development as we evidence today, but it would take millions of years longer to do so.
- Seen from the esoteric standpoint, the gospel story is really the story of initiation, a story presented to humanity again and again, in different ways, long before Christianity. The account of the life of Jesus is the symbolic presentation, dramatically re-enacted for us, of the initiate’s journey to Perfection.
- The first initiation is called the Birth of the Christ and is symbolized by the birth of the Disciple Jesus at Bethlehem. When the evolutionary energy which we call the Christ Principle or Consciousness is awakened in the human heart (the spiritual heart centre at the right side of the chest), the man or woman becomes ready for preparation to take the first initiation.
- The human soul, the first master, brings its vehicle to the point of initiation through its life experience and meditation. Then the Master (of the Hierarchy) steps in, and by a combination of stimulus, testing and presented service opportunity, prepares the candidate to come before the Hierophant to receive the impact of the energy from the rod of initiation which He wields. The Christ, Maitreya, is the Hierophant at the first and second initiations, the third and higher initiations being taken before the Lord of the World, Sanat Kumara, at Shamballa.
- ‘‘I am the Way.’’ ‘‘No man can know the Father except through me.’’ These sayings of the Christ are esoterically true, but they have been interpreted by the churches, quite wrongly, to mean that Christianity (or, more correctly, Churchianity) is the only religious path; that only if a man accepts the (man-made) dogmas and doctrines of the Christian Church can he know God. The Christ embodies the Christ Principle on this planet. That is an energy which flows from Him to us. It is through the manifestation of this Principle that we re-orient ourselves and enter the Initiatory Path. In this sense, He is indeed ‘‘the Way.’’ Likewise, only when one has stood before the Christ at the first two initiations can one open up contact with the Monad, the Spirit, the ‘‘Father in Heaven,’’ which leads to the third initiation before Sanat Kumara, the Lord of the World.
- The first initiation demonstrates control over the physical body, in particular over the tiny devic (or elemental) lives which make up the physical body of man. The second initiation demonstrates control over the astral emotional body or elemental lives which make up that vehicle. This is called the Baptism Initiation and is symbolized for us by the Baptism of Jesus at Jordan.
- The gospel story holds before humanity the promise of Divinity, a Divinity realized not alone by one extraordinary man, the ‘‘Son of God’’ but a Divinity attainable by all who make the necessary effort to expand their consciousness to include the spiritual levels; a Divinity achieved, too, by a scientific process, of which the Christ and the Masters are the custodians, the process of initiation.
- The Requirements for Initiation. I have shown the gospel story as the presentation to humanity, in symbolic form, of the esoteric path of initiation. Many people today stand on, or at the threshold of, that path, yet very little is known about the actual requirements for these great expansions of consciousness which constitute initiation. It would seem appropriate, therefore, to devote some time to touch on these requirements, remembering always that an article of this kind can do no more than cover, rather superficially, the basic essentials.
- Initiation is a complex, profoundly esoteric and mysterious subject, and those readers who wish to read more deeply about it are referred to the writings of the Master D.K. through Alice A. Bailey, in particular to Initiation, Human and Solar''. It is important to remember that initiation is a process, not a ceremony (although it does involve ceremony), nor the successful passing of an examination. It is the result of a gradual expansion of consciousness. It is a growing awareness and demonstration of the spiritual realities which lie back of our outer physical plane expression----our Higher Self or soul, and that of which the soul itself is a reflection, the Divine Monad or Spark of God. It is a process whereby successive and graded stages of unification and at-one-ment take place between the man or woman in incarnation...
- There are a great many minor but five major planetary initiations. Each one represents a definite stage of integration and atonement reached by the initiate. The goal is achieved when, at the fifth initiation, the liberated Master stands in full at-onement with the Monad, His ‘‘Father in Heaven.’’ He has expanded His consciousness to include the spiritual planes and needs no further incarnational experience on this planet.