Copyright © 1979 by Theosophical University Press. All rights reserved.
There are many sorts of chelas. There are lay chelas and probationary ones; accepted chelas and those who are trying to fit themselves to be even lay chelas. Any person can constitute himself a lay chela, feeling sure that he may never in this life consciously hear from his guide. Then as to probationary chelas, there is an invariable rule that they go upon seven years' trial. These "trials" do not refer to fixed and stated tests, but to all the events of life and the bearing of the probationer in them. There is no place to which applicants can be referred where their request could be made, because these matters do not relate to places and to officials: this is an affair of the inner nature. We become chelas; we obtain that position in reality because our inner nature is to that extent opened that it can and will take knowledge: we receive the guerdon at the hands of the Law. — W. Q. Judge, Letters That Have Helped Me, pp. 54-5
"Verily! it is this noble eightfold path; that is to say: right views; right aspirations; right speech; right conduct; right livelihood; right effort; right mindfulness; and right contemplation.
"This, O Bhikkhus, is that middle path, avoiding these two extremes, discovered by the Tathagata — that path which opens the eyes, and bestows understanding, which leads to peace of mind, to the higher wisdom, to full enlightenment, to Nirvana!" — Dhamma-Chakka-Ppavattana-Sutta (Max Muller, trans.), (The Sacred Books of the East, vol. xi, 147-8)
Seek this wisdom by doing service, by strong search, by questions, and by humility; the wise who see the truth will communicate it unto thee, and knowing which thou shalt never again fall into error, . . . — Bhagavad-Gita, ch. 4 (W. Q. Judge Recension)
Let loyalty and truth be paramount with you. — Confucius
Be what you love. Strive after what you find beautiful and high, and let the rest go. Harmony, sacrifice, devotion: take these for keynotes; express them everywhere and in the highest possible way. — W. Q. Judge
THERE IS something very beautiful and encouraging in the thought that the doctrines which we study have been studied with the same devotion in other ages, not only by learners such as we are, but by the greatest minds of all times; and, furthermore, that these being the doctrines of nature, of Mother Nature, they are essentially the same in all parts of the boundless spaces of the kosmos, so that kindred thinkers on the planets of other solar systems study the same essential thoughts that we do. As the mind of man grows in its comprehension of these wonderful doctrines, as his mind expands and his soul grows greater under the inspiriting rays of his inner spiritual sun, he comes to realize that the more he learns, the more does he know that there are endless knowledges ahead to learn; until, finally, the student reaches the point where his whole soul is infilled with a reverence and a love and a devotion for truth and his teachers that know no limits; and truly, that realization is the mainspring and the inspiration of what we call the chela life.
I have been hoping, before the present cycle of our studies is concluded, to touch upon this question of the inner life of the student, the chela life, because I know nothing that is more beautiful, nothing that is so encouraging, and at the same time nothing that calls for larger exercise of the truly spiritual will and of the higher understanding than do the requirements of soul needed in order to follow that chela life; because that life calls out everything that a man has in him, or a woman has in her — everything. You may remember that H. P. Blavatsky somewhere, in fact in several places, speaks of the chela life as being very, very beautiful, and at other times as being a "terrible" thing. And so it is, and for one simple reason which we shall mention, and then we shall turn to our evening's study.
The reason is this: beautiful we know it is. But why should it be "terrible"? Because no sooner does the student set his feet finally and firmly on that still small path, which we are told leads to the very heart of the universe, than everything that is in his karma and that would find expression through many future lives perhaps, comes down upon him all at the same time, more or less; and, as H. P. Blavatsky says, to succeed requires an inflexible will of iron and an undivided concentration of all his faculties upon the great work. He must face, and conquer, in one short lifetime perhaps, the karmic fruitages of bygone mistakes and failures falling upon his devoted soul; all at once, like horrible ghosts of the past. You can imagine what that means! He must face them, and conquer. Such is the working of nature and the karmic law; and all aspirants must go through the trial. Our Teachers as well as all others have had to face karmic circumstances, and conquer them; and these things have been a puzzle to the ignorant outside world, which inevitably has most unjustly blamed the aspirant. In H. P. Blavatsky's life, to take an instance, there are passages which, as anyone who knows of and who can understand them aright will realize, redound infinitely to her credit; but the ignorant and biased and cruel world does not see the originating karmic cause of past lives in those passages, and blames her as having originated them in this life as "weaknesses" in its blind view, because it does not know of what these greater souls have to face when their devoted feet are following the path to glory and success — "working out old karma," as the saying is.
I think that this is a very valuable truth which we should carefully reflect over; and to me it has always been a very practical and morally useful one, because it brings charity for others into our hearts, a greater kindliness, and a greater realization of the nobility, of the self-sacrifice, of those who tread this path — not for themselves but for us, a path which yet is pure joy; it is absolutely so; but, on the other hand, until the final victories have been won, and they must be won, it is often strewn with pitfalls and surrounded with circumstances which cause the treader of that path to be grossly and cruelly misjudged by the world, which sees but understands not.
We have been studying during the last few evenings the doctrine of the planetary chains, and we have arrived at the point where we are enabled to see how the various planets of our chain, as illustrating all the planetary chains, came into being as the off-throwings of the life-waves coming down from the rest to which they had gone when leaving the preceding planetary chain at its pralaya, or death.
Now what do we mean when we speak of life-waves, the seven — or the ten? We mean the collective hosts of the monads; and in order to have a short and easy definition, which perhaps will best recall to our minds what a monad is, let us call it, if you please, a spiritual ego. It is, in fact, a consciousness-center, being in the spiritual realms of the universal life what the life-atoms are in the lower planes of form. Now these monads and life-atoms collectively are the seven (or ten) life-waves — these monads with the life-atoms in and through which they work; these life-atoms having remained — when the former planetary chain went into pralaya — in space as kosmic dust on the physical plane, and as corresponding life-atoms or life-specks of differentiated matter on the intermediate planes above the physical.
Out of the working of the monads as they come down into matter — or rather through and by the monadic rays permeating the lower planes of matter — are the globes builded: partly out of the substance of the monads themselves, thrown out from themselves; and partly from the ingathering of the life-atoms magnetically attracted to the incoming monadic life-waves, for these are the same life-atoms that formed the various vehicles of those identical monads in the preceding planetary chain, and therefore are now attracted to them again. These life-atoms had remained behind, when that former chain died, on each of the various planes: the physical, the astral, the psychic, the intellectual, the quasi-spiritual, the spiritual, and the divine; for all these planes or worlds have their various life-atoms (or building bricks) through and in which these spiritual egos or monads work.
We have already explained the building of the globe A, the first on the downward arc of our own planetary chain. Let us briefly recapitulate. The seven (or ten) hosts of monads, or the seven life-waves, consist of monads in seven degrees of advancement for each host, or in ten degrees, if we count ten. Let us say seven for purposes of easy illustration. Therefore, these seven main hosts with their seven subdivisions each, comprise the 49 "fires," or the 49 sublife-waves, which work and function through the globes of the planetary chain during the rounds after they have builded those globes. These seven main groups or hosts or hierarchies pertained each one to a respective one of the seven manifest globes of the planetary chain that was — of the moon in our case; and they build each one the respective new globe of the planetary chain that is or that will be — of the earth in our case. Yet all enter into the work of building each globe, for instance, globe A; and when globe A is builded, they all enter into the work of building globe B; and likewise so with globes C and D and E and F and G, which are all of the manifest seven.
In doing this work of building, first enter into the arena of activity, as said before, the three kingdoms of the elementals, one kingdom of which may perhaps be called a spiritual kingdom. The second kingdom of the elementals we may perhaps call a quasi-spiritual or akasic kingdom; and the third elemental kingdom is much more material, immediately preceding the mineral which is the fourth kingdom. The other life-waves or the hosts or hierarchies, outside of these four, are those of the vegetable, the beast or so-called animal, and the human; and then finally above these seven are three other kingdoms, thus forming ten; and these three highest are the kingdoms of the dhyan-chohans, the completed or fully evolved entities from the preceding lunar manvantara. About them there is a most fascinating detailed study, which we cannot go into tonight. It has reference to the reason why these particular dhyan-chohans failed to attain full dhyan-chohanship during the lunar manvantara, and therefore were obliged to take a hand in the building of the succeeding planetary chain, that of our earth, in which they actually function, however, as the inspiring spirits, the inspiring gods, so to say.
Now then: first enters elemental kingdom no. 1, and forms the basis or lays the foundation of globe A. When it has run through its sevenfold cycle, when its seventh subcycle begins, its first subclass is attracted to the plane below in order to form the foundation of globe B as it had done that of globe A. But it is the surplus of life which so descends. The actual elemental kingdom no. 1 belonging to globe A remains behind on globe A and goes into dormancy there; whereas the surplus of life which elemental kingdom no. 1 had in its bosom (latent as it were in globe A) is projected out or attracted to that spot of kosmos which is to develop into globe B, because the monads of this surplus of life belonged to globe B of the lunar chain, as the monads on globe A did to globe A of the lunar chain. Then follows on globe A, elemental kingdom no. 2; followed in turn by all the other kingdoms. As each new kingdom enters globe A, a step forward is taken by all the preceding kingdoms, each to its succeeding globe.
After elemental kingdom no. 2 ends its course, then on globe A follows elemental kingdom no. 3; and when its seventh subkingdom is running its course, its first subkingdom is projected to globe B, which also attracts the same. Meanwhile, the first subkingdom on globe B of no. 2 moves to globe C; and elemental kingdom no. 1 passes to globe D; and so it is that these kingdoms follow each other, step by step, globe after globe, up to globe G.
Then on globe A comes the mineral kingdom, or what may be called the mineral kingdom on such a spiritual globe as is globe A. We probably could not conceive of its condition on globe A, first round, in our present condition of existence here on globe D, fourth round, although we — our monads — passed through that condition on globe A. We ourselves as monads took a part in that building of the mineral on globe A, first round.
Each one of the kingdoms on the several globes below globe A, when the mineral kingdom enters globe A, now each in its turn moves a step forward to the next globe. Then appears the vegetable kingdom on globe A, and then the animal, and then the human. As each following one appears, each of the preceding kingdoms, each on its globe, moves one step forward to its next globe; so that it works out that when the first subkingdom of elemental kingdom no. 1 reaches the last manifest globe, or globe G, the first subkingdom of the human (or what is the "human" for globe A) reaches globe A and runs its course there. Then follow on globe A the three highest kingdoms, the dhyan-chohanic, but in a very peculiar way; and it would overload our minds, I think, at the present time, to go into the details of that study now. Let us get the main principles of the course of the monads around the seven globes clear first.
When these seven kingdoms — from elemental no. 1 to the human — have finished their evolution on globe A during this first round, globe A goes into what Mr. Sinnett called obscuration, that is, into dormancy; it goes to sleep. Everything on it is now dormant, is sleeping, awaiting the incoming of the life-waves when round no. 2 begins. Please remember that we are now studying round no. 1 only. Beginning with round no. 2, the process followed by the life-waves through the seven globes changes. Again when the life-waves have run their full sevenfold course, or their seven stock-races or root-races on globe B, then it in its turn goes into dormancy or obscuration, which is not pralaya, please. Technically not. It may be possible to call the state of dormancy by the name of pralaya in a general sense; but pralaya really means disintegration and disappearance, like that of death. But obscuration is sleep; it is, really, dormancy. And so is it with each one of these seven globes, one after the other. When the final or rather the last representatives of the last stock-race, i.e., of the last life-wave, leave it, each one in turn then goes to sleep or into dormancy.
But there is an interesting fact, due to what the Masters have called the law of acceleration operating on the downward arc, and the law of retardation operative on the upward arc. It so happens that the most evolved kingdoms, such as the human and the beast and the vegetable, pass through their various cycles more quickly than do the younger kingdoms or hosts of these seven life-waves or hierarchies, such as the mineral and the three elemental kingdoms. These latter are younger, and have not been over the ground before; whereas the more evolved kingdoms have to go over what is, in a certain sense, a more familiar path — unfamiliar only in this respect, that they are now running the round in a new planetary chain, on and in and through a new plane or world of the universal kosmos.
Remember that there are seven planes of kosmos, ten really; but we are now keeping our study limited to the seven manifest planes. With each new planetary chain, a new subdivision of one of those seven worlds or planes is entered upon, for this purpose: to gain experience in every world or plane that the universal solar system offers the evolving entities of the life-waves. So that when seven full chain-manvantaras have been run through — in other words, when seven planetary chains have been lived through — one complete plane of the kosmos has been traversed or experienced by the life-waves, and there then ensues what is called a solar pralaya. This is another deep subject which we reserve for future study.
Now, then, all the entities in our first round on our present planetary chain have reached globe G, the last of the manifest seven; the smaller and inferior and less evolved entities having had more trouble and difficulty in making the route, in running the round, on account of having had less experience in former great cycles. But as these less kingdoms, inferior kingdoms, come down the arc of descent, being more matter-full than the more evolved, i.e., the older and therefore more spiritualized, they run faster than do these latter; and this is the acceleration of the speed of development of the lower kingdoms on the downward arc. Conversely, on the upward arc, from our globe D or the earth, the rate of development is reversed; the higher kingdoms run faster, while there is for those lower kingdoms a law of retardation: acceleration for the higher kingdoms, such as the human, but a slowing down or retardation for the lower kingdoms.
Here is the reason why the process of evolution works out as I have tried to explain it: when all these seven hierarchies do finally reach globe G during this first round, they reach it all together, that is to say, they gather on that last globe G all together, globe G being the last globe of the manifest seven; and here they all finish the first round simultaneously before the interplanetary nirvana begins.
After this long interplanetary nirvana, when it is ended, then opens round 2 on globe A, and round 2 is the exemplar, or sets the example, of the evolutionary process for all the succeeding five rounds, seven rounds in all; and while, indeed, the same general procedure or plan of evolving on each globe, and from globe to globe, that was followed in the first round still holds, there is this immense difference: that all the "houses," the "tenements," used by the evolving entities in the second round were builded during the first round for them. They are ready and awaiting the incoming monads, as the sishtas, the remainders, of the first round. So that the entities, the host of monads, when they return to globe A and the other globes of the chain for the second round, have but to step into and thus awaken these sleeping bodies or houses, each host passing into its own class, instead of having to build anew and go through the lowest houses or bodies up to the highest, as was the case in the first round; for each kingdom now enters into its own appropriate bodies evolved during the first round and now waiting for the incoming monads. And so it is on each of the seven globes of the planetary chain. When round 3 begins, an identical procedure is followed; and likewise for all succeeding rounds.
Another immense difference, already alluded to, is this — that beginning with the second round, all the lines of evolution or activity now having been laid, and nothing having to be instituted de novo, from the ground up, as it were, the progress of the life-waves or hierarchies is relatively faster for those which are the most evolved: having this effect, that some smaller hosts of monads, and individuals too, outrun the others, run through their evolutionary course much more rapidly, and thus outdistance or precede the general body of the seven evolving hierarchies, so that, for instance, when they leave our own globe D, they pass on ahead of, or before, the bulk of the advancing army, to globe E, and then to globe F, and finally to G the last, and then have their interplanetary nirvana ahead of their more slowly evolving brothers; and return to globe A as advanced rounders. In our case, the case just cited, they would be fifth rounders, since our present round is the fourth. This is why we have fifth rounders now among us, although we as a human host are in our fourth round. As regards the sixth rounders — those whose spirituality is so high, and whose innate capacity acquired through long aeons of experience is so great that they outrun even the fifth rounders — they are very, very few in number. Our Teachers tell us that Gautama the Lord Buddha is the only fully developed sixth rounder in recorded history who has succeeded in attaining this exalted state, and he only — the noblest initiate in recorded history — he only succeeded by virtue of a mystery — a profoundly esoteric process.
. . . . . . .
There remain a few scattered thoughts for us to take up before we leave our study tonight. First: the seven so-called sacred planets are not all necessarily higher in degree or stage of evolution than is our earth-chain, although they do indeed actually build our earth-chain by their supervision and guiding influence as architects, and by and through the forces which they lend to the evolving hierarchies or life-waves belonging to our chain. Some of them, of our seven sacred planets, are actually lower than the earth is, spiritually. Others are higher. Others again are higher in degree but less evolved in time than we are; that is to say, they are spiritually higher, yet they are younger in years. As, for instance, a son is younger in years than is his father, but it is quite possible that the growing boy is, spiritually speaking, his father's superior; not necessarily so, but it could be so and often is. Gautama the Buddha is an example in point. He vastly outranked not merely his own family, but all human beings since his time, and also for ages preceding his time.
. . . . .
As has been said, the second round opened the new process of evolution for the remainder of the manvantara of our planetary chain; and at our next meeting we shall deal briefly with this; and then we shall turn to our own globe D and its evolutionary history; because it seems better to follow the lines of study laid down by H. P. Blavatsky in The Secret Doctrine; and, after having pointed out the general evolution of the planetary chain, to come to our own globe and specialize on it. Its history holds all that we can possibly manage to study and understand for months to come; and this study will, of course, involve the study of the seven great stock-races or root-races of our globe during this present fourth round.
. . . . .
I have before me three questions. The first is as follows:
What is the true esoteric explanation of the physiological and psychic effect or influence exerted by the vibratory movement set in motion by the sounding of the Word, upon the cerebral or nervous centers of the human body, and is there any special, definite musical note which ought to be sustained throughout the sounding?
This question we are not enabled to answer in full for two reasons: first, interesting as it is, it does not bear upon the subject of our present study; and the second reason is, that a full answer to this very interesting question would involve a virtually complete outline of practical theurgy, and that, of course, is impossible here and now. But we might say this: the main thing is not so much what musical note is sounded, as what is behind the sounding. If the sounding is to be merely a humming, or making a musical noise, or a vocal exercise, you might as well be still; but if there is behind the sounding the aspiration of the heart, and the uplifting of the mind, and the throwing of the will as a consciously exerted energy to everything that is spiritually noble, it matters very little, so far as we are concerned, on what note the voice is sounded. It is what is aroused by will and meditation in the inner man, or what the inner man is enabled to give out, that counts for good; but this does not mean that the proper sounding of this mystic word cannot be done so as to produce the most wonderful effects. It certainly can.
The next question is:
Is not our number 10 made of 6 and 4 instead of 7 and 3? The upper and lower globes are connecting or transition globes, as I understand. We have often been told that this earth is the real hell, so to speak, which is now more comprehensible. Some beings, I understand, may have to travel lower, which would mean backward, and this must be connected with the mystery of the moon, it would seem. I should also imagine that the lower globe at least, must have been formed or evolved or compounded differently from the others.
The answer to the last part of this question is, no. It has not been evolved differently. As regards "the upper and lower globes being connecting or transition globes," I presume the person who sent this question in meant the uppermost and lowest; in other words, no. 1 and our earth. They are so. The rest of the question has already been answered. The evolving entities are ever traveling, either lower or higher; and this is very truly connected in one direction very straitly with the "mystery of the moon"; but this is a subject which, for us at least, is and must remain absolutely tabu for the present.
I will in a few moments draw a diagram which will illustrate the question of the 6 and 4, or 7 and 3. Meanwhile, we will go on to the next question.
The moon must also have had twelve globes?
Are possibly our present globes the ones which held this position for the moon?
They are, yes, in a sense; not the actual present globes of our chain, but their "privations," as Aristotle would have said. That is to say, those spiritual-astral remnants or types or images which the lunar globes became when they went into pralaya, do reappear again when the new planetary chain comes into being, and around them are formed, as around a model, the 12 globes of the earth-chain. The answer, then, is both yes and no; the 12 globes of the moon that were, come out of "privation" as types or models for the 12 globes of the new chain to be — the earth-chain.
And those now above us the ones we shall next use, climbing as does the nautilus, who "left the past year's dwelling for the new"?
I do not fully, perhaps, understand this part of the question; because, obviously, we shall use next all the globes on the ascending arc, and of course we shall climb. Unless, indeed, the questioner means, perhaps, three of the five hid globes, the three on the ascending arc; in which case the answer is the same, yes.
Now with regard to the 6 and 4, or 7 and 3. I might point out that it is quite possible theoretically to divide these ten principles of man or nature in various ways. I have never heard, however, of a division into 6 and 4. I do not see why it could not be so divided; but I have never heard of such a division; and, to follow the old saying, "We have not so received it, and we cannot so impart it" — in substance, an old Buddhist saying. But the division into 7 and 3 is a natural division. There is a sharp separation between the divine worlds and the worlds of manifestation, and this division into 7 and 3 shows it. But the best two divisions that I have ever heard of or seen of the 7 and 10 principles are this and one other, as seen in this first diagram. Here we have an upper triangle (this diagram is a symbol, please understand, a symbolic diagram), a triangle with its "horn" pointing upwards; then an intermediate square below it; and then a triangle with its horn pointing downwards. These three figures show the ten innate or natural principles of man: the divine triad; the intermediate quaternary, showing the personal or individual entity as a composite and complete "man"; and the lower triangle with its horn, if you like, pointing downwards.
Now this is a very general diagram, but it does show how the ten element-principles function: the divine, the purely material, and the intermediate quaternary. But for practical purposes, I think the best way is to divide the ten principles of man as shown by diagram 2. First, of course, is the upper or divine triangle, a figure which goes without saying. Then we divide the intermediate quaternary into two duads. Please remember that this composite drawing is a symbolic diagram used merely for purposes of illustration. Here, then, we have, as before, the divine triad above; then the duad of the monad, so to say, atma-buddhi. Then the second or personal or astral duad, which is manas and kama. Then below is the inverted triangle representative of the mere vehicle, the body — that is to say, the sthula-sarira and the linga-sarira and the pranas. The value of this division is, that if you study it, it will most admirably illustrate what happens to a man post mortem, or after death. This intermediate quaternary can be divided, as said, into these two duads, which separate naturally after death. They can be separated even in life, without a man's killing himself. When a man dies, the lower triangle disperses, simply goes to pieces. The psychological struggle after death, when the "second death" ensues, takes place between this lower duad, kama and manas, or kama-manas, and the monad, atma-buddhi; and if the upper duad, atma-buddhi, succeeds in taking out from this lower duad all that is of good in it, then the reincarnating ego has its stock of experience increased, and its incarnation has not then been a failure.
The lower duad likewise is mortal, and finally goes to pieces; but the monad, the upper duad, is at last indrawn into the divine triangle, into the three highest of the ten principles of man, and there it passes its postmortem experience, whether it be devachan for the ego of ordinary men or nirvana for the initiates.
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