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The Destiny of the Nations - Spiritual Life in the New Age
To understand a little the problem involved and the differing modes of work which characterize those who worked in the past under the influence of the sixth ray and those who are learning to work under the influence of the incoming seventh ray, it might be helpful if we compared very briefly the two systems of activity. I would ask you to remember that both systems and modes of work are equally right in their time and place, but that the modern disciple should be discarding the old methods and steadily learning to employ the new and more modern and effective modes of work. This he must learn to do optimistically and with assurance, knowing that the benefits and the experience gained under the sixth ray system of discipline is still his most precious possession because it has been transmuted from method and mode into characteristics and established habits. It is the new ways of working and the new forces and objectives which the disciple of this present era has to master; he [110] must do this relying upon the lessons learnt in the past and must base his new structure of truth upon the foundations and the stabilized orientations, which must now be established.

The first step for the sincere aspirant is at this point to stop for a moment to enquire and discover whether he is working primarily under the sixth ray impulse or the seventh ray influence. I use these words "impulse and influence" deliberately because they describe the general effect of the two functioning energies. Upon one thing all disciples and aspirants can rely and this is the basic and enduring effect of all the sixth ray potencies which have been established during the past two thousand years. These must be counted upon, offset and understood and the newer influence must then be studied, the newer methods investigated and mastered, and the new ideas and idealisms must be brought through into objectivity and so expressed in a new way. Only thus can the new civilization and culture be wisely and sanely produced and the foundations laid for the development of the human family along right lines during the coming era. It will be of value, therefore, to compare the old and the new ways of discipline and of training, of attribute and quality, and of method and objectives.

Let us take the sixth ray methods of activity and its major characteristics first of all. They are, for us, the most familiar and can be rapidly considered, enabling us to pass on to the new ways of demonstrating and discovering the ancient wisdom, and to the comprehension of the fresh modes of working which will give new vitality to the work of the Hierarchy upon the physical plane.

The outstanding characteristic of the disciple and the aspirant under the old regime was devotion. The race had, of necessity, to achieve a different and right orientation to [111] the world of spiritual values, and hence the effort of the Hierarchy during the past twenty centuries was to lay the emphasis upon the realm of religious values. The world religions have held the center of the stage for several thousand years in an effort to make humanity seek one-pointedly for the soul and thus prepare itself for the emergence of the fifth kingdom in nature. This is slated (if I might use such a specialized word) to come into manifestation during the imminent Aquarian age; this age will be predominantly the age of worldwide discipleship, leading later to the age of universal initiation in Capricornian times. Therefore the great world religions have held authoritative sway for a very long time; their peculiar tenets, adapted to specific nation, race or time, embodied some truth through the medium of some particular teacher who attracted to himself individuals throughout the world who were spiritually minded, because he expressed for them the highest goal towards which they could possibly strive. All the world religions have been thus built around an embodied Idea, Who, in His Own Person, expressed the immediate ideal of the time and age. He demonstrated certain divine attributes and concepts which it was necessary to present to the vision of the sons of men as their possible and immediate goal. In these manifestations - as I have earlier pointed out - the sixth ray influence can easily be seen. When, however, an individual sixth ray influence can be noted in an era wherein the sixth ray is uniquely active, then the reason for the potency of the religious idea, as expressed in theological dogma and doctrine and the universal authority of the Churches can be seen.

This orientation of man to the world of higher values has been the main objective of the Piscean age which is ending now and of the sixth ray influence which is so [112] rapidly passing out. Though there has never been a time when this basic orientation has not been going steadily forward, it is of value to bear in mind that during the past two thousand years a much higher, rarer and more difficult process of orientation has been held before the race and for the following reason. The fourth kingdom in nature has been definitely attracted upwards towards the emerging fifth kingdom and this has made necessary also the shift of attention away from the three worlds of human endeavor and expression into the higher world of soul consciousness. It has necessitated likewise the refocusing of the instinctual and intellectual attention which are the main factors in the unfoldment of divine awareness. This awareness can be instinctual, intellectual and therefore human, and also spiritual. But all three are equally divine, which is a point oft forgotten.

The second objective of the sixth ray disciple or of the man who is emerging out of the sixth ray influence but is still conditioned by it (being a representative human being from the current evolutionary angle) has been the unfolding of the "capacity for abstraction," as it has been called. The outstanding quality of our day and period, as a result of transmuting human quality and character in and through its disciples, has been the expression of the idealistic nature of man, or of his instinctual response to the higher intuitional values. In the past, highly developed but rare people have here and there demonstrated this power to abstract the consciousness from the material or form side of life and to focus it upon the ideal and upon the formless expression of living truth. Today, whole masses of people and entire nations are regimented to certain forms of idealism and can and do appreciate ideas, formulated into ideals. Thus again the success of the evolutionary process can be seen [113] and the work of the Hierarchy, as it endeavors to expand human consciousness, can be demonstrated to be effective.

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