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The Rays and the Initiations - Part Two - Section Two - The Aspirant and the Major Initiations
The Particular Type of Energy involved and its Initiatory Effect

Here we are confronted with a basic problem, i.e., the nature of the Principle of Conflict which is the outstanding characteristic of this fourth Ray of Harmony through Conflict. This is by no means an easy subject to handle or to make clear, for the correctness of conflict, its naturally separative and eliminative effect and its power to condition not only Humanity but also the Hierarchy, will have to be considered. When we study the fourth initiation, that of the Renunciation, the effects of its activity will emerge more clearly.

Fundamentally, this fourth ray is that which is responsible [606] for the strains and the stresses, and for the initial conflict between the major pair of opposites to which we give the name of spirit-matter. It is this fourth ray energy which makes apparent the distinction (so often misunderstood by man) between good and evil. In Atlantean days, the leaders of men, under the influence of this paramount fourth ray energy, made a decision which laid the emphasis upon the matter aspect, according to their desire and their emotional reaction, which is present in the essential duality of manifestation, and thus inaugurated the Age of Materialism. This age has wrought itself out through its accompanying greeds, hate, separativeness and aggression. During the present century, this materialism led to the world war which was in reality the expression of a shifting orientation, and therefore to a certain extent, of a coming triumph of Good.

The balance is slowly, very slowly, swinging over to the side of the spirit aspect of the duality; it has not yet swung, even in intention, completely over, but the issues are becoming increasingly clearer in men's minds and the indications are that man will eventually decide correctly, will attain a point of balance or equilibrium, and will finally throw the weight of public opinion on the side of spiritual values, thus leading to a collective renunciation of materialism, particularly in its grosser and physical forms. The time is not yet, but a great awakening is in process; men, however, will only see correctly when this Principle of Conflict is properly evaluated as a spiritual necessity and is used by humanity as an instrument to bring about emergence from the wrong controls and principles. Just as the individual disciple uses it to emerge out of the control of matter in the three worlds, beginning with the emergence from the control of the physical body, passing out of the control of the emotional nature, and formulating for himself a spiritual ideology which enables him to pass out of the control of the three worlds of forms, and so begin to function as a soul-infused personality, so mankind also has to do the same in mass formation. [607]

This whole process culminates when the fourth initiation, the Great Renunciation, is taken by man today, and by humanity in some distant future; this "point of emergence" is reached by right decision and as a result of a right use of the Principle of Conflict.

It will be obvious to you that this Principle of Conflict is closely related to death. By death, I mean extraction from form conditions - physical, emotional or mental; I mean cessation of contact (temporarily or permanently) with physical form, with astral glamor and with mental illusion; I mean the rejection of Maya, the name of that all-inclusive effect which overwhelms a man who is immersed in materialism of any kind, and is therefore overcome (from the soul angle) by life in the three worlds. It is the Principle of Conflict, latent in every atom of substance, which produces, first of all, conflict, then renunciation, and finally emancipation; which produces war in some form or another, then rejection, and finally liberation. This principle is, as you can well see, closely linked to the law of Karma; it is to this principle that Mrs. Besant refers when she speaks in one of her books of the fact that the substance whereof all forms are made is already - from the very dawn of the creative process - tinged with karma. There is deep occult significance to the thought, often voiced, that death is the great Liberator; it means that the Principle of Conflict has succeeded in bringing about conditions wherein the spirit aspect is released (temporarily or permanently) from imprisonment in some kind of form life, either individual or group.

You will all, as disciples or aspirants, be able to interpret the working of this principle as you watch the effect, in your own lives, of the action of the strains and stresses, the points of crisis or of tension which the conflict between soul and personality produces. Conflict is always present prior to renunciation, and it is only at this fourth great spiritual crisis that conflict, as we understand it, ends. In the realms of formless living wherein the Hierarchy lives and moves and has its being, conflict, which has developed [608] in man the sense of discriminative choice, is superseded by crises of decision - not decision based upon discriminative perception between right and wrong or between spirituality and materialism, but crises of decision based upon perception of the Plan, participation in the Purpose, and the prevention of evil. I would have you ponder on these three phrases which distinguish the crises of decision which confront the Master after the fourth initiation, and which take the place of the crises of discrimination which precede that stage:

  • Perception of the Plan.
  • Participation in the Purpose.
  • Prevention of evil.

These decisions are based, first of all, on goodwill to all forms in the three worlds, and secondly, upon the will-to-good which impulses and implements the three creative and manifesting aspects of divinity.

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