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The Rays and the Initiations - Part One - Fourteen Rules For Group Initiation
  1. Let the group see that all the eighteen fires die down and that the lesser lives return unto the reservoir of life.

A very casual consideration will show the student that this rule contains four sentences which refer to one or other of the four aspects we have been considering. Bear this in mind as we study significances, interpretations and carry our thoughts into the world of meaning.

A very cursory reading of the Rule leads one to the surmise that one of the most important hints concerns the effect of the group life and radiation upon the individual in the group. "Let the group see that all the eighteen fires die down and that the lesser lives return unto the reservoir of life." These words deal with the group personality, composed of all the personalities of its members. It should be borne in mind that a group is in itself an entity, having form, substance, soul and purpose or objective, and that none of these is better or greater, or more developed than the aggregate of group lives which compose it. Though individuals of varying points in evolution form the group, none of them is below the level of disciples upon the evolutionary ladder. A Master's Ashram has in it disciples and initiates of all degrees, but no probationary disciples at all. No one below the rank of disciples - accepted and dedicated - is admitted. This is one of the first Rules given to an accepted [98] disciple when first admitted into the Ashram, and it is from that angle that we should now consider it.

The three Rules we have earlier considered are general in nature and relate to certain broad themes or demanded hypotheses which must govern the consciousness of the disciple in the future. In this particular Rule we enter the realm of the specific, and are presented with certain "intentional" activities which must govern the disciple's life now that he is an integral part of the Ashram. He is faced with the proposition of making his life of such a nature that it furthers the group purpose, enhances the group strength, eliminates all that might hinder group usefulness, and brings closer the objective for which the group was formed - the carrying out of the Master's plans. It was the disciple's innate, instinctual and individual response to this ray objective, and his effort to subordinate his personality to the dimly sensed soul dedication, which led the Master in the first instance to recognize him and incorporate him into His Ashram. The moment that happened, the disciple came not only under an increased impact of egoic force and egoic impulsive intention (using those words in their occult sense), but the group radiation began its beneficent work upon him. The magnetic "pulling" power which had hitherto led him forward is now superseded by a radiating stimulating potency; this effects great changes in him, and produces both eliminating and substituting results. The effect of the life of the Ashram, as far as the group which forms it is concerned and apart from the Master's Own potency, can be described as follows:

  1. The life of the personality is steadily weakened, and its grip upon the soul is definitely loosened. The soul begins to dominate in a very real sense.
  2. The necessity of incarnation becomes appreciably less, and finally life in the three worlds of human manifestation becomes needless. All the lessons have been learnt and the soul objective has been attained.
  3. The Will of the Monad begins to be sensed; the will aspect blends with the love aspect and makes the [99] intelligence aspect fruitful and effective for the carrying out of divine purpose, focused for the disciple through the Ashram.
  4. The purposes of time and space, of events and extension, of matter and consciousness have been achieved and are eventually superseded by something for which we have as yet no term and of which we have no conception. It is that which begins to express itself after the third initiation, when the Father aspect "comes into view" - I know not how else to word it.
  5. The whole is seen to be of more vital importance than the part, and this not as a dream, a vision, a theory, a process of wishful thinking, an hypothesis or an urge. It is realized as an innate necessity and as inevitable. It connotes death, but death as beauty, as joy, as spirit in action, as the consummation of all good.

It will be obvious, therefore, that the interpretation of these Rules must involve capacity to pass beyond the usual attitudes and what one might call the usual metaphysical and theosophical platitudes, and to see life as the Hierarchy sees it. This means that life is approached from the angle of the Observer and not from that of a participator in actual experiment and experience in the three worlds. This Observer is different to the Observer on the probationary Path. Most of the experiment and experience has been left behind, and a new orientation to a world of values, higher than even the world of meaning, has set in. This attitude might well be described as the mode of approach of all who form a part of an Ashram. Those who form the Ashram are living in the three worlds of experience if they are accepted disciples, but the focus of their attention is not there. If they are initiated disciples, they are increasingly unaware of the activities and reactions of their personalities, because certain aspects of the lower nature are now so controlled and purified that they have dropped below the threshold of consciousness and have entered the world of instinct; therefore there is no more awareness of them than a man asleep is conscious of the rhythmic functioning of his sleeping [100] physical vehicle. This is a deep and largely unrealized truth. It is related to the entire process of death and might be regarded as one of the definitions of death; it holds the clue to the mysterious words "the reservoir of life." Death is in reality unconsciousness of that which may be functioning in some form or another, but in a form of which the spiritual entity is totally unaware. The reservoir of life is the place of death, and this is the first lesson the disciple learns.

The eighteen fires refer to the eighteen states of matter which constitute the personality. They are:

  • seven physical states of matter,
  • seven emotional states, enabling the astral body to function on the seven subplanes of the astral plane, and
  • four states of matter for each of the four conditions of the concrete mind
    - (7, 7, 4, = 18).
  • These are eighteen grades of substance,
  • eighteen vibratory groups of atoms, and
  • eighteen aggregates of life

which form the bodies of the lunar lords (as The Secret Doctrine calls them) which in their totality, form the body of the Lunar Lord, the Personality. The above is the very  A B C  of occultism and a familiar truth to all of you.  What is referred to here has, however, no reference to processes of purification, of control or of discipline. These have been much earlier considered and are regarded as the necessary processes instituted upon the probationary path, and should have reached a point prior to the stage of accepted discipleship where - rapid or slow in expression - they are nevertheless automatic in action, sure and inevitable.

The first sentence in this fourth rule refers to Detachment - the detachment of the soul from the body or the institution of those activities which bring about what is called in the Bible "the second death." It is not detachment as the aspirant practices it. It is the scientific breaking of all links and the ending (through completed use) of all contacts which are now regarded as militating against liberation. It is in reality a scientific process of ending karma; it is individual and national karma which brings a man back into a physical vehicle and clothes him with the qualities and aspects of substance. This must end whilst he is a member [101] of the Master's Ashram and is preparing himself for the triumph of the fourth initiation. This is brought about by the automatic, ceaseless and unquestioning fulfilment of duty, from the angle of recognized service.

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