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Discipleship in the New Age II - Teachings on Initiation - Part IX
Let us now study the remaining hints:

Hint Three. "Disciples in all the Ashrams have the task of 'modifying, qualifying and adapting the divine Plan' simultaneously. Why is this so? Why is the Plan not imposed?" [390]

You will note immediately the relation of this hint to the first one given. The concept of responsibility underlies the significance of this hint, and in connection with it I would remind you that - from the angle of the esoteric science - the sense of responsibility is the first and the outstanding characteristic of the soul. In so far, therefore, as a disciple is in contact with the soul and is becoming a soul-infused personality, and is consequently under soul direction, so far will he undertake the task presented to him in this third hint. The "modifying, qualifying and adapting" process is carried on through the medium of an intellectually focused personality and is aided by the comprehension of which the concrete mind is capable. It is a result of the activity of the soul upon its own level and is related entirely to the hierarchical group intention and to the furthering of the divine Plan.

The apprehension of this Plan by the disciple will necessarily vary according to the disciple's point in evolution. In the very early stages of discipleship, his capacity to "modify, qualify and adapt" is small indeed, but each expansion of consciousness fits him increasingly to do this. You would find it of interest to study again the stages of discipleship as outlined in Volume I of Discipleship in the New Age. You would note how each stage (when it is a factual experience) enables the disciple to see the Plan from the angle of the Ashram and of the Master with increasing clarity; finally, there comes the time when the disciple arrives at the very heart of things and is so close to the heart of the Master that the hierarchical planning becomes something in which he shares and to which he contributes.

There are two thoughts which should be here considered. First of all it should be realized that the disciple, under the Law, has to master the technique of spiritual compromise, and secondly that the three words: modify, qualify and adapt, have definite reference to the three worlds wherein the Plan must manifest. There are two kinds of compromise, brother of mine. There is the compromise in which the balance is attained for the sake of expediency, and this is usually on the side of the least desirable, the more material and the easiest. There is also the compromise which swings decision (and [391] decision is always involved in the furthering of the Plan) over towards that which concerns the spiritual values, and which will eventually bring about the greatest good for the greatest number. It is this art of compromise which the disciple has to learn, for little is gained by the imposition of the spiritual values. The compromise to be established by the disciple lies between the recognition of the stage reached by average humanity and the immediate aspects of the Plan which the Masters feel should be presented to, and recognized by, everybody.

The value to the ashram of a trained and functioning disciple lies in his ability to "see with the Ashram" that activity which is required, and the technique and mode of bringing about still another development within the eternal Plan; to this must be added the disciple's understanding of the civilization and the culture of which he is a part and a comprehension of the field in which his endeavor must lie. Being a functioning human being and a part of the great panorama of life, he can interpret to the Ashram what he sees of extended evil, what he notes of humanity's striving towards the good, and the "revealing voice" of the speechless masses; his suggestions as to the immediate mode of turning the hierarchical ideas into ordinary human ideals are of importance to the Master of his Ashram. His value in this aspect of the hierarchical work is that he is not a Master, that he is necessarily closer in touch with the daily life of ordinary human beings, and that the field of his activities is with personalities, whereas the Masters and the senior initiates work with souls. When a disciple is a truly soul-infused personality, he can give to the Master most valuable assistance. There are, it should be pointed out, three types of hierarchical workers:

  1. Souls; i.e., those initiates who have taken the fourth Initiation of Renunciation and in whom the soul body, the causal body, has been destroyed. They are the Custodians of the Plan.
  2. Soul-infused personalities; these are the disciples and the initiates of the first three initiations, through [392] whom the "souls" work in the carrying out of the Plan.
  3. Intelligent aspirants who are not yet soul-infused personalities but who recognize the necessity of the Plan and who seek the welfare of their fellowmen.

The highest group formulates the Plan; the second group "modifies, qualifies and adapts" the Plan to contemporary human requirements and thus ensures the gradual and steady continuity of the Plan; the third group are the agents who carry this Plan to mankind and seek to make it workable, guided by spiritual compromise - the compromise evidenced by the second group.

Disciples, as they grasp the Plan and are spiritually informed as to the steps to be taken to modify the Plan upon the mental plane so that its acceptance by humanity is intelligently progressive and is not dynamically imposed with consequent disastrous effects, are the primary agents. They accept the responsibility for the needed compromise, for it is their responsibility and not the responsibility of the Masters. The various aspects of the Plan - as Presented to them in the Ashram - are then modified and rearranged so that the Plan becomes a series of sequential steps and is not the violent impact of an unrealized idea. It might be said that the spiritual compromise of the disciple (working with the Plan) transforms the basic idea (through mental modification) into an acceptable ideal.

When the process of modification is completed, the idea - in the form of an ideal - descends to the astral plane, the plane of the emotions. There it becomes tinctured with the quality which the working disciple believes will make the best appeal to the masses of men with whom he may be working, and particularly to the aspiring intelligentsia.

Today two qualities are "tincturing" the ideal of the coming civilization for which all disciples are working: Freedom and spiritual security. This is true even if the man who talks in terms of security omits the word "spiritual." It is that for which they nevertheless seek. Then later, the ideal, "duly modified and qualified" is presented to the world of [393] men upon the physical plane, is there adapted to the differing fields of thought, to the diverse types of consciousness, and to the nations and groups with which the New Group of World Servers is working. This triangle of workers is enfolded on all sides by the world of souls and of men; its apex reaches to the highest levels of the Hierarchy; its second point is anchored in the New Group of World Servers; its lowest point penetrates into the masses of men. You have, therefore:


There is a straight line of spiritual descent from the Masters into the ranks of men, and - in the New Group of World Servers - the task of "modifying, qualifying and adapting" is carried forward. Mistakes are often made, because this triple work is dependent upon clear vision and a balanced judgment, but in spite of everything, the work goes on and (in the long last) that which is the divine idea does emerge as an accepted ideal and, in due time, is the means of carrying the entire human family onward along the Path of Evolution.

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