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Discipleship in the New Age II - Personal Instructions to Disciples - I.B.S.
September 1943


You may have noted that there is a slight difference in the type of instructions which I am now giving to this group of disciples in my Ashram, of whom you are one. It is not that each of them is not definitely personal in their application or that they do not carry a meaning of very real import to the disciple for whom they are intended; this they do and should. It is now, however, my intention to convey certain principles and certain aspects of truth which have more of a group implication than a personal one. The previous two cycles of teaching to which you have all submitted yourselves were primarily concerned with the training of the threefold personality and with an effort to bring it into a closer relation with the soul, and therefore with the Ashram. This was peculiarly so in the work of the Groups of Nine, and in the first cycle of the New Seed Group work this was continued, though in a lessened degree and with a specific emphasis laid upon the required training for initiation. It was not so much the training of the personality which was under consideration. All this is a part of a definite plan, and the teaching which I intend now to give will have a clear group import, even though adapted to the disciple's personality and to the particular individual to whom the instruction is given. In spite of the individual usefulness, it will profit each member of the group also to read and study and apply the teaching from the group angle.

There are, of course, three basic principles governing all work in an Ashram. I refer not here to occult principles of [549] life, but to governing principles in training. These three are: Occult Obedience. Group Integration. Right of Access. Let us consider each of them for a minute with a view to group instruction, but with an individual application which will be purely your own.

Occult Obedience. In the six statements given to you in the preceding instruction I used the words, "Obedience lies ahead with freedom in its hand." Upon these words I presume that you have pondered. The disciple so often gives obedience within limits. His personal sense of liberty (due largely to a rapidly developing mental grasp of life and living) prompts him to concede certain forms of obedience to the Master who has him in training, but to refrain from a complete surrender through fear of losing his sense of free action, free thought and free choice of relationships. The older the disciple, the less is this the case, for the life of the Ashram and an increasing steady contact with the Master demonstrate to him the complete and utter freedom which governs the entire circle of ashramic life - both within the Ashram and within the field of its interior and exterior service. But the development of this discreet appreciation takes time, and the neophyte is always on guard against any intrusion into his organized field of determined self-government. Let me illustrate in a manner which I believe will convey to you a much needed suggestion.

The beginner and newcomer in the Ashram, new in his service (from the angle of his present life experience if not from the angle of the soul), new in his registering of a sense of power which relation to the Ashram always conveys, and new in his joyous reaction to the recognition given him by those to whom he seeks to give help, speaks increasingly of "my work, my group, my teaching, my people, my plans," and in so doing stabilizes himself in his chosen field of service. This is a temporary phase, oft unrecognized by the disciple, though annoying to those who hear. As he proceeds in the spiritual life and intensifies his understanding of the Master, as he enters more deeply into the life of the Ashram and into the aura of his Master, and as his vision grows - revealing possibilities of service and the limitations of his equipment, plus a [550] divine indifference - he drops the possessiveness of his approach to service and regards all that he does as his response to the life of the Ashram, as his contribution to the work of the Ashram, and thus eventually comes to the point where he himself fades out of his own picture and from the center of his work, and only the need to be met and the power of the Ashram to meet that need remain.

This marks a definite step forward, and it is this attitude of selflessness and this capacity to be a channel for the power, the love, the knowledge and the life of the Ashram which constitute in the last analysis what is meant by occult obedience.

You, my brother, are now at a point where you need to fade more definitely out of your own picture of yourself as a worker. The first indication of this deepened approach to service will appear in your speech when in company of your group brothers and of other workers in the field of general human service. I stated in the last instruction to you that "cycles of speech transmute themselves into periods of silence." What does this mean? Something very simple, my beloved chela. Your service in the world and in your chosen and useful field could at present be characterized by the term "cycles of speech," could it not? Yet within the Ashram, if those cycles of speech are to be eloquent of truth, the quality which will distinguish you will be the balancing "periods of silence"; in order to acquire this quality of silence (ashramic silence) you will have to learn to practice silence within the ranks of your brothers and co-workers.

Speaking symbolically, and without enlarging upon the significances, it might be stated that an Ashram has three circles (I refer not here to grades or ranks):

  1. The circle of those who talk and who stand close to the outer door. Their voices may not penetrate too far and thus disturb the Ashram.
  2. The circle of those who know the law of silence, but find it hard. They stand within the central part and utter not a word. They know not yet the silence of the Ashram. [551]
  3. The circle of those who live within the secret quiet place. They use not words and yet their sound goes forth and when they speak - and speak they do - men listen.

This triple presentation of the balancing potencies of speech and of silence are the comprehended effects of occult obedience - in itself a voluntary response to the power of the life of the Ashram, and to the mind and the love of the Master of the Ashram. It is upon these potencies I would have you reflect during the coming interlude between this instruction and the next. Make the results of your reflection practical, and thus learn to know when to speak and when to be silent, remembering that the elimination of possessiveness and of self-reference will reduce speech to its spiritual essentials.

Your next incarnation holds for you a peculiar form of service, for which this life has been preparatory. It is related to speech, to words, to the voice, and to the creative power of sound; for the remainder of this life, the theme of much of your thinking should be concerned with the occult meaning of silence, of voiceless interludes and of the "spiritual retention of sound." This may, and probably will, manifest itself in an increase of voiced teaching of those you seek to help, but its quality will be different.

The teaching of the ones you seek to help will blot out the picture of yourself, the teacher, and obliterate it from your mind. This will happen automatically and not by planned intent. Some years ago I could not have told you this; you would not have accepted it. Today you will and will profit thereby. Some years ago you would have wasted time and strength in inner worry, in self-condemnation or in refutation. Today you know better the meaning of occult obedience and the acceptance of the statement and expressed wish of your Master - and this because you know me better and trust me more.

Let me give you a visualization exercise to be followed by you each Sunday morning, every Friday morning, and for the five days which come at the time of the Full Moon each month. In company of your group brothers, you have for [552] years visualized me standing by an open window, and you have thus sought contact with me. This trained facility forms the basis of the following suggested exercise, the procedure of which is as follows:

  1. Picture to yourself a wood of pine trees, a purling brook a winding, mounting path, and at the end a low built bungalow of undressed wood, in which I live. With you are walking your group brothers, and all of you are talking on the way.
  2. You stand before the door, the outer door, and pass inside and hear a voice which says, "You stand within the circle of those who talk and, talking, cannot hear the Master's voice." Stand there. Listen. Reflect and cease from speech.
  3. Picture a curtain, hanging across the space near to the place where you stand. Imagine yourself achieving, with effort, that complete silence which will enable you to hear a voice which says, "Move forward into the circle of those who know the Law of Silence. You now can hear my voice." Then imagine yourself obeying the summons and passing beyond the partitioning curtain into the central room within my place of retreat. There sit in quietude and contemplative reflection, and listen.
  4. Then across the silence and breaking into the current of your quiet thought will come a voice, inviting you to enter the circle of those who live within the secret quiet place.

You will note, my brother, how I emphasize for you the need to listen. That must be the keynote of your inner life for the remainder of this incarnation. When you can thus listen, the two other principles to which I earlier referred as governing the life of the Ashram - Group Integration and Right of Access - will take on new and vital meanings to you. Within the circle of those who talk there is no group integration. Right of access comes to those who know the Law of Silence. [553]

This exercise will deepen your life, increase your capacity to serve, make pregnant every word you speak to those you teach and bring you to a point of group usefulness next life. Then you will carry out certain work that you and I together have already planned.

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