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Esoteric Psychology II - Chapter II - The Ray of Personality - The Appropriation of the Bodies
This second battle is the true kurukshetra and is fought out in the astral nature, between the pairs of opposites which are distinctive of our solar system, just as the physical pairs of opposites are distinctive of the past solar system. From one interesting angle, the battle of the opposites upon the lower spiral (in which the physical body in its dual aspect is concerned) can be seen taking place in the animal kingdom. In this process, human beings act as the agents of discipline (as the Hierarchy in its turn acts towards the human family) and the domestic animals, forced to conform to human control, are wrestling (even if unconsciously from our point of view) with the problem of the lower pairs of opposites. Their battle is fought out through the medium of the dense physical body and the etheric forces, and in this way a higher aspiration is brought into being. This produces in time the experience which we call individualization, wherein the seed of personality is sown. On the human battlefield, the kurukshetra, the higher aspect of the soul begins to operate and eventually to dominate, producing the process of divine-human integration which we call initiation. Students might find it of use to ponder upon this thought.

When an aspirant reaches that point in his evolution wherein the control of the physical nature is an urgent necessity, he recapitulates in his own life this earlier battle with the lower pairs of opposites, and begins to discipline his dense physical nature.

Making a sweeping generalization, it might be stated that, for the human family en masse, this dense-etheric conflict was fought out in the world war, which was the imposition of a tremendous test and discipline. We should ever remember that our tests and disciplines are self-imposed and grow out of our limitations and opportunities. The result of this test was the passing on to the Path of Probation of a very large [311] number of human beings, owing to the purging and the purification to which they had been subjected. This purificatory process in some measure prepared them for the prolonged conflict upon the astral plane which lies ahead of all aspirants, prior to achieving the goal of initiation. It is the "Arjuna" experience which lies definitely ahead of many today. This is an interesting point upon which to think and reflect; it holds much of mystery and of difficulty in the sequence of human unfoldment. The individual aspirant is prone to think only in terms of himself, and of his individual tests and trials, He must learn to think in terms of the mass activity, and the preparatory effect where humanity, as a whole is concerned. The world war was a climaxing point in the process of "devitalizing" the world maya, as far as humanity is concerned. Much force was released and exhausted, and much energy also was expended. Much was consequently clarified.

Many people are occupied today, in their individual lives, with exactly the same process and conflict. On a tiny scale, that which was worked out in the world war is being worked out in their lives. They are busy with the problems of maya. Hence today we find an increasing emphasis upon the physical cultures, disciplines, and upon the vogue for physical training, which finds its expression in the world of sport, in athletic exercises, military training and preparation for the Olympic Games. These latter are in themselves an initiation. In spite of all the wrong motives and the terrible and evil effects (speaking again with a wide generalization), the training of the body and organized physical direction (which is taking place today in connection with the youth of all nations) is preparing the way for millions to pass upon the Path of Purification. Is this a hard saying? Humanity is under right direction, e'en if, during a brief interlude, they misunderstand the process and apply wrong motives to right activities. [312]

There is a higher duality to which it is necessary that we refer. There is, for the disciples, the duality which becomes obvious when the Dweller on the Threshold and the Angel of the Presence face each other. This constitutes the final pair of opposites.

The Dweller on the Threshold is oft regarded as a disaster, as a horror to be avoided, and as a final and culminating evil. I would here remind you, nevertheless, that the Dweller is "one who stands before the gate of God", who dwells in the shadow of the portal of initiation, and who faces the Angel of the Presence open-eyed, as the ancient Scriptures call it. The Dweller can be defined as the sum total of the forces of the lower nature as expressed in the personality, prior to illumination, to inspiration and to initiation. The personality per se, is, at this stage, exceedingly potent, and the Dweller embodies all the psychic and mental forces which, down the ages, have been unfolded in a man and nurtured with care. It can be looked upon as the potency of the threefold material form, prior to its conscious cooperation and dedication to the life of the soul and to the service of the Hierarchy, of God, and of humanity.

The Dweller on the Threshold is all that a man is, apart from the higher spiritual self; it is the third aspect of divinity as expressed in and through the human mechanism. This third aspect must be eventually subordinated to the second aspect, the soul.

The two great contrasting forces, the Angel and the Dweller, are brought together - face to face - and the final conflict takes place. Again, you will note, that it is a meeting and battle between another and a higher pair of opposites. The aspirant, therefore, has three pairs of opposites with which to deal as he progresses towards light and liberation: [313]

The Pairs of Oppsites

  1. Upon the physical plane - The dense and etheric forces.
    These are faced upon the Path of Purification.
  2. Upon the astral plane - The well-known dualities.
    These are faced upon the Path of Discipleship.
  3. Upon the mental plane - The Angel of the Presence and the Dweller on the Threshold.
    These are faced upon the Path of Initiation.
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