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The Rays and the Initiations - Part Two - Section One - The Aspirant and the Mysteries of Initiation
Elsewhere (The Reappearance of the Christ, Pages 157-158) I said that "The definition of religion, which will in the future prove of greater accuracy than any yet formulated by the theologians, might be expressed as follows:

Religion is the name given to the invocative appeal of humanity and the evocative response of the greater Life to that cry.

It is, in fact, the recognition by the part of its relationship to the Whole, plus a constantly growing demand for increased [521] awareness of that relation; it draws forth the recognition of the Whole that the demand has been made. It is the impact of the vibration of humanity - oriented specifically to the Great Life of which it feels itself a part - upon that Life, and the responsive impact of that "All surrounding Love" upon the lesser vibration. It is only now that the impact of the human vibration can dimly be sensed in Shamballa; hitherto its most potent activity has only reached the Hierarchy. Religion, the science of invocation and evocation as far as humanity is concerned, is the approach (in the coming New Age) of a mentally polarized humanity. In the past, religion has had an entirely emotional appeal. It concerned the relation of the individual to the world of reality, of the seeking aspirant to the sought-for divinity. Its technique was the process of fitting oneself for the revelation of that divinity, of achieving a perfection which would warrant that revelation, and of developing a sensitivity and a loving response to the ideal Man, summarized for present day humanity in the Christ.

Christ came to end the cycle of this emotional approach which had existed since Atlantean days; He demonstrated in Himself the visited perfection and then presented to humanity an example - in full manifestation - of every possibility latent in man up to that time. The achieving of the perfection of the Christ-consciousness became the emphasized goal of humanity."

The activity of all previous Teachers and demonstrating Sons of God became only the presentation of the various aspects of a divine perfection which the Christ summarized in Himself. But He did far more than just this. Had this been all that He accomplished, He would have presented to humanity a picture of a static achievement, a culmination of perfection such as the evolutionary status of man at that time demanded; He would have given us, in fact, a Figure of very great, but at the same time, arrested development. This was of course impossible, but the religion which He founded has never recognized this fact or considered what lay beyond Christ, what was the nature of His [522] subjective background and what was His point of achievement, and whether He still had other possibilities. This was perhaps an unavoidable omission owing to the fact that the idea of evolution was unknown until relatively very late, in the human consciousness. Orthodox religion has been preoccupied with an emotional and aspirational approach to this Figure of Perfection; it has not looked beyond the Figure to the Reality which He represents. This Christ Himself foresaw as a possibility, and sought to obviate when He pointed out to His disciples that they could do "greater things" than He had done, because He was going "to the Father." He, in those words, pointed beyond Himself to the One Who was responsible for His Being, and to the Way of the Higher Evolution - a subject with which the church has never satisfactorily dealt. In the above words He indicated a state of being which He had never demonstrated on earth, owing to the unpreparedness of man, and also to the fact that He Himself was only "on His Way."

The Way of the Higher Evolution has also its two phases, as has the Lighted Way. In the early stages of the unfoldment of the Christ consciousness and in the attainment of the third initiation, the Transfiguration, the aspirant and the initiate-disciple pass along the first part of the Path of Discipleship. In the treading of the Way of the Higher Evolution (for which we have as yet only this somewhat cumbersome name) the initiate-disciple treads the Way of Antahkarana and the Way of the Higher Initiations. In making this statement I would again remind you that the third initiation is regarded by the Hierarchy as the first major initiation, whilst the two previous initiations are considered as only preparatory in their nature. The training given in preparation for them, and the consequent expansions of consciousness, reveal to the initiate the nature of the soul, the scope (widespread and universal) of the divine consciousness, and his relation to the Father, the Monad. They enable him to become the soul in manifestation to such an extent that his awareness is definitely and unalterably [523] that of the soul; at the fourth initiation the soul-body, the causal vehicle, is no longer needed, and it then disappears, dissipates, and is entirely destroyed, thus leaving the initiate free to tread the Way of the Higher Evolution and to follow in the footsteps of the Christ. He was the first of our planetary humanity to blaze the trail (is not that a phrase much used?) to the higher spheres of revelation.

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