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Discipleship in the New Age II - Talks to Disciples - Group Instruction
It would be of benefit to you also to consider the Masters' Ashrams as expressions of the highest type of constructively functioning groups. There exists amongst its personnel a complete unity of purpose and an utter dedication (without any reservations, as far as the disciple involved is concerned) to the furthering of the immediate ashramic enterprise. The [104] position of the Master at the center of the group has no relation to that of a teacher at the center of a group of learners and devotees, such as we have learned to recognize in this Piscean Age. He is the center simply because through the quality of his vibration, through karmic ancient relationship and through the invocative demand of disciples, initiates and some aspirants, he has gathered them together in order to further the ends of his ashramic enterprise; he has not gathered them together in order to teach them or to prepare them for initiation as has hitherto been taught. Aspirants and disciples prepare themselves for the processes of initiation by becoming initiated into the mysteries of divinity through discipline, meditation and service. You need to bear in mind that a Master of an Ashram may, for instance, attract to him other Masters of equal rank as his Own. I have five Masters working with me in my Ashram. It would be of value to you if you considered the factors which hold an Ashram together and which establish its unity. The major ones, and those which you can understand, are as follows:
  1. The most important capacity of a Master of an Ashram is that he has earned the right to communicate directly with the Council at Shamballa and thus to ascertain at first hand the immediate evolutionary task which the Hierarchy is undertaking. He is not called Master by the initiates in his Ashram; he is regarded as the Custodian of the Plan, and this is based on his ability to "face the greater Light which shines in Shamballa." It is the Plan which gives the keynote to the activities of any Ashram at any particular time, during any particular cycle.
  2. This unanimity of purpose produces a very close subjective relationship, and each member of the Ashram is occupied with making his fullest possible contribution to the task in hand. Personalities do not enter in. You will remember how some years ago I told you that the personality vehicles are ever left outside the Ashram - speaking symbolically. This means that the subtler bodies of the personality have perforce to follow the same rules as the physical body - they are left outside. Remember also that [105] the Ashrams exist upon the plane of buddhi or of the intuition. The joint undertaking and the united adhering to the desired and arranged cyclic technique binds all members of the Ashram into one synthetic whole; there is therefore no possible controversy or any emphasis upon individual ideas, because no personality vibratory quality can penetrate in the periphery or the aura of an Ashram.
  3. The planning and the assignment of tasks connected with the enterprise in hand is carried forward through the medium of an ashramic, reflective meditation, initiated by the Custodian of the Plan. The Master of an Ashram does not say: "Do this" or "Do that." Together, in unison and in deep reflection the plans unfold, and each disciple and initiate sees occultly where he is needed and where - at any given moment - he must place his cooperative energy. Note my wording here. The members of an Ashram, however, do not sit down for a joint meditation. One of the qualities, developed through ashramic contact, is the ability to live always within the field of intuitive perception - a field which has been created, or a sphere of energy which has been generated, by the united purpose, the combined planning and the concentrated energy of the Hierarchy. An analogy (but only an analogy, however) would be to regard this field of reflecting, reflective and reflected energies as resembling the brain of a human being; this brain reflects the impacts of telepathic activity, the sensory perceptions and the knowledges gained in the three worlds; reflection then sets in relation to the mental processes which are synchronized with the brain, and then follows the impartation of these reflections to the outside world. The ashramic reflective meditation is an integral part of the constantly developing perception of the disciple-initiate, and it (in its turn) is a part of the whole hierarchical reflective meditation. This latter is based upon inspiration (in the occult sense) from Shamballa. The moment a disciple can share in this constant unremitting meditation or reflection without its interfering with his service and his other lines of thought, he becomes what is called "a disciple who shall no more go out."[106]
  4. Another factor productive of group unity and synchronous precision in working is the complete freedom of the Ashram from any spirit of criticism. There is no tendency among its personnel to be critical and no interest whatsoever in the outer, personal lives of the members, should they be amongst those functioning in the three worlds. Criticism, as seen among men, simply is a mode of emphasizing the lower self and deflects the attitude to the material aspects of a person's life. There is necessarily clear vision among the members of an Ashram; they know each other's capacities and limitations and they know, therefore, where they can complement each other and together create and present a perfect team in world service.
  5. One other factor I will mention among the many possible: The members of an Ashram are all in the process of demonstrating love and pure reason, and they are - at the same time - focusing themselves in the Will aspect of divinity. This statement may mean little to you at present but it is fundamentally the factor which creates the higher antahkarana, uniting the Hierarchy and Shamballa. This makes the planetary purpose of so much importance.

These are the major factors which produce group unity; they have, as results, telepathic rapport and intuitive perception; but these are effects and not causes and are the product of the measure of the attained group unity.

You can see, therefore, the scientific reason I had when I urged you in past years to have a group enterprise, for it is a major unifying factor, and the inner Ashram with which you are affiliated stands to you (at your particular point of development) as Shamballa stands to the Hierarchy - from the angle of dynamic inspiration. Had you done this (which you did not) the group would not have fallen apart - as it has done. Had you eliminated criticism, the essential unity would have been strengthened. One of the reasons I had for the complete frankness and so-called exposure of your individual weakness and limitations to the group as a whole was to train you in the light of pure perception which knows the reason [107] why and sees with clarity the ends in view. Where true perception exists, criticism is automatically eliminated.

Modern groups (and groups form a large part of every field of thought and activity) are usually composed of people possessing some basic idea upon which they are all agreed and which they are trying to express through the medium of their clashing personalities and, frequently, in obedience to some leader or person of more powerful mentality than that of the majority, and in order to exploit and use the methods which they regard as essential to success. There is therefore little true unity, and often what there is based on expediency or good manners.

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