By Cyrus Ryan
Bringing Back the Masters
Re-defining Theosophy Today
The Theosophical Society was founded by the initiating impulse from Masters of Wisdom from the Trans-Himalayan Arhat School with Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (HPB) as their representative on the physical plane. HPB was trained directly by the Elder Brothers, the Masters in Tibet, precisely for the task of bringing the esoteric tradition to the West. HPB was the conduit for the shakti (energy) and knowledge of the Masters. HPB was an advanced initiate (3rd Initiation) not a Master of the Wisdom. HPB was not the only agent of the Masters, but she was of prime importance, and spearheaded this great effort of the Hierarchy. Theosophy introduced the West to Eastern esoteric concepts which were unavailable to most people in the 19th century, unless one could read Sanskrit and had access to the sacred texts of India or Tibet. The idea of these exalted beings called by HPB, Mahatmas, or great souls, initially caused wonder and awe on one side, and disbelief and condemnation on the other. In general, many people and the media at the time did not believe in the existence of the Masters of Wisdom. As the twentieth century passed its halfway point, a new surge of interest in the esoteric traditions came to life in the west. The works of Alice A. Bailey (AAB) purported to be the actual teachings of the Tibetan Master D.K. helped to boost this rebirth. The creation of the Arcane School gave a more practical approach to Theosophical teaching, introducing meditation, seed-thoughts, and the idea of Service to Humanity. Similarly, with various offshoots that eventually developed, various occult schools operated through correspondence courses, and students rarely interacted on the physical plane. There is a certain wisdom in this, but these efforts have their limits, as the deeper esoteric teachings cannot be pasted on, except through an oral transmission. Around this same time, many swamis/yogis from India arrived in the West in the late 1960’s, along with numerous other forms of spiritual inquiry. There were those who claimed that they were channels of the Master’s or other advanced souls looking to communicate with humanity. But again, many of these proved to be bogus. In the end, the idea of the Masters began to fade, and many Theosophical groups rarely even mentioned them. Why? Some believed that only HPB could contact the Masters. Thus, many Theosophist would not accept the teachings given out by the Master DK through AAB as the next step in the Theosophical esoteric tradition. With no initiate at the helm of the Theosophical Society, the approach to the teaching became very mundane, over intellectualized, and empty. The saving grace of the Theosophical Society is that they continue to re-publish many of the esoteric works of the early Theosophist, and many lodges maintain superb libraries with old, hard to find, esoteric books and periodicals.
The times have changed! People today have some inkling about what was esoteric in the nineteenth century, where today, it is exoteric; such concepts as, reincarnation, karma, mantra, yoga, and meditation. In HPB’s time, how many people in the west meditated, or knew about yoga? Today, many people follow some form of meditation, do some Yoga, and even sound the OM, or some mantra when they meditate. Also, with the migration of people from the East to the West, the culture of the East is shifting westward. Now there are Hindu, Buddhist, and even Taoist temples in the West. Many young people are now attracted to some form of Yoga or Buddhism, whether Tibetan or Zen, because they want to experience something truly spiritual, they are not that interested in scholarly viewpoints or arguments about terminology. Many of the souls of those being born today are ‘oriental souls’ having incarnated many times in the east, and they have an innate spiritual tendency. They are inherently driven to continue their past spiritual efforts, going with what feels comfortable, unconsciously following the footsteps from spiritual efforts in past lives. If this wasn’t so, groups like the Hari Krishna would not have been so successful and able to last for so many years in North America.
Today, many aspirants searching on some spiritual path are reaching out to find some form of spiritual guidance. Too many of the external gurus, especially in North America, have proven to be charlatans, getting caught in various scandals with incorrect interactions with their followers. Because students are hungry for spiritual teachings, in their enthusiasm, they are easily snared by what appears to be far from genuine. They see a swami or some lama, and the memory force of the ‘form’ of past association, ‘samskara’, triggers a memory which they unconsciously follow. Some, on the other hand, want the experience of an inner teacher. Unfortunately, they are caught by sub-conscious illusions, and wishful thinking, supposing that advanced spiritual teachers will take the time to have lengthy conversations with them on their personal problems. The problem with both of these examples is that todays aspirants lack correct esoteric knowledge to teach them to discriminate between the real and the unreal. This is one of the purposes of the Theosophical teaching today in this varied, changing spiritual landscape.
The Masters withdrew their overshadowing blessings from the Theosophical Society a long time ago, now the cycle is returning, and the opportunity is at hand to begin a new cycle. The question is, will Theosophist want it. The Master’s never force, they offer, recommend, or suggest. Humanity is given the choice.
“The demands of the soul and the suggestions of the Master might be regarded as in conflict with the demands of time and space, focused in the personality or the lower man. You will have, therefore, in this situation a tremendous pull between the pairs of opposites: the field of tension or the focus of the effort is to be found in the disciple “standing at the midway point.” Will he respond and react consciously to the higher pull and pass on to new and higher areas of spiritual experience? Or will he fall back into the glamour of time and space and into the thralldom of the personal life…It is at this process the Master presides. He is able to do nothing because it is the disciple’s own problem. He can only enhance the desire of the soul by the power of His directed thought…Only the disciple can act upon the mental level of consciousness at this point of endeavor. Once he does so, the die is cast. He either moves forward towards the door of light when the Master takes his hand and the Angel of the Presence becomes potent and active…or he drops back temporarily into the life condition of the lower man: glamour and Maya settle down upon him and the Dweller on the Threshold inserts himself between the disciple and the light from the open door and renews activity.” (Discipleship in the New Age, Alice A. Bailey, Lucis Publishing Co. pg. 92)
Choice has a time limit. Many are unaware of this fact. If your intuitively conscious and feel inspired to get involved in a particular endeavor, it is necessary to act immediately, inwardly preparing for the external work to come. No hesitation, no compromises, and no half-way efforts can enter into one’s efforts to serve the Hierarchy of Masters. Once you wait too long or hesitate, the cycle will pass, and the opportunity is lost. Then you have to wait for the cycle to return, and another opportunity may present itself to see if you’ve made real inner progress. In the early days of the Theosophical Society, there were many who made irresponsible demands of the Masters, A.P. Sinnett was one, and he was cut off even from the indirect contact that he was so fortunate to have received.
What now for the Theosophical Society? Too much time has been spent on just the study of esoteric facts that have been presented through Theosophical literature. Now is the time for practice, to learn the esoteric methods of building the ‘antakharana’, the ‘rainbow bridge’ linking ones purified personality with the Soul and the sanctifications of the Hierarchy. It is time to learn the methods of access, and to synchronize one’s vibration to be in harmony with the Masters. Once contact is achieved, and over time perfected, the disciple is ready to serve the Divine Plan as it slowly unfolds before him. With this is mind, studies at the Theosophical lodges will be set based on Soul need, not on what the personality likes and finds interesting. In time, each lodge can be a beacon of focused light becoming a magnetized spiritual center in the occult sense, attracting those awakening souls that are yearning to re-enter the Way of Discipline. In order for lodges to become Centers of Discipline, members have to be taught the way of sounding the Sacred Word through the process of occult meditation for groups, and the methods to invoke higher spiritual forces, and eventually those we call, the Masters of Wisdom. The sounding of the Sacred Word (OM) in group formation is of prime importance… “drive forth the sound of the Sacred Word, pitched in the key to which the majority of the group respond. This sound will create the necessary funnel, and the result will be an immense temporary extension of the peripheries of the emotional bodies of the participants, and an intense vitalisation of their heart centres. By means of this the people will be enabled to reach heights and receive blessings otherwise not separately possible”. “The first postulate to remember in considering the collective use of form in meditation is that those forms, in employing sound and rhythm, should open up a funnel of communication between those taking part in them and the Intelligences or Powers they are seeking to approach”. (Letters on Occult Meditation, Alice A. Bailey, Lucis Publishing Co., Pg, 194) Thus, the next step for Theosophy is to go from gaining knowledge through inference, just reading and discussion, to acquiring knowledge through the more direct, practical method of occult meditation. With Theosophical lodges scattered around the world, aspiring Theosophist, who are willing to break out of the restrictive box of the past, can meet, forming meditation groups on the physical plane, and over time, become centers of spiritual invocation, inspiration, and positive change in the world, which is so dearly needed. When this occurs, advanced disciples of the Masters, and initiates will come. This is the way of the future, the way of a deeper service to humanity, not only for the Theosophical Society, but also for all those who have entered upon the great quest of Self-knowledge through the teachings of the Ageless Wisdom. To help with this transition, the Toronto Theosophical Society will hold a 2-day conference on March 7-8/20 on, Re-defining Theosophy Today, and Bringing Back the Masters. Make your plans today, to attend this momentous event.