INDIVIDUATION AND INITIATION
The integral relationship between initiation and individuation can be grasped through the essential logic of the entire process of evolution. From the standpoint of matter, the logic of transformation involves increasing heterogeneity, differentiation and complexity. At the same time, there is pari passu a commensurate withdrawal of subjective and spiritual faculties which cannot function freely through limited projections or distorted reflections. The degree of spiritual volition depends upon the texture of the reflecting medium. In the collective thrust of evolution every single life-atom in all the seven kingdoms of nature is touched by the same primal universal impulse towards self-consciousness. Within the broad perspective and purpose of evolution as a whole, the possibilities of initiation are enriched by individuation at a high level of self-consciousness. Initiation, in its most hallowed meaning, must always involve the merging of minds of Guru and chela into a state of oneness with the ineffable Source of Divine Wisdom. This mystical and magical relation of Manas and Mahat was comprehended and transmitted in secret sanctuaries. It was intimated in the enigmatic etymology of the word upanishad, "to come and sit close", so that there could be direct communion of minds and hearts. Sacred teachings are conveyed and communicated through the eyes and not merely through words, although mantramic sounds have a sacred and vital function. In the Bhagavad Gita Arjuna"s earnest enquiries and Krishna"s cosmic affirmations and psychological adjustments bring to birth within the mind of the chela the seed of chiti, a level of consciousness which negates, transcends, and also heightens individuality. Initiation is the highest mode of individual communication, and it necessarily involves a mystic rapport between one who has gone before and one who is to come after, rather like the magnetic transference between mother and child. Such a relation is inherent in the logic of evolution because, as a result of an extremely long period of evolution, it is impossible to find any mechanical sameness between all human beings. They are identical in their inmost essence but so markedly different in the internal relations of their vestures that there cannot be complete equivalence between any two persons. Hence experience and reflection reveal both the mystery of each individual human being and the commonality of what it is to be human.
At one level of communication The Secret Doctrine is a metaphysical treatise on cosmic and human evolution. But at another level, for those who are Buddhic, it is not merely a book, but the initiatory presence of the compelling voice of the Verbum or Brahma Vach, reverberating in the society of sages, the Rishis who are of one mind and one lip. For the ardent seeker of Divine Wisdom, The Secret Doctrine is a series of stepping-stones, as the Upanishads and the great scriptures of all times have been, towards initiations into the mysteries of Selfhood. Through ever-renewed contact with the teaching, the chela begins to enact self-consciously and by degrees the realities which ordinary individuals sporadically experience at some level through deep sleep. This process comes alive through prolonged meditation for the sake of universal compassion, making one"s breathing more benevolent for the purpose of elevating all beings in all the kingdoms of nature. When a person begins to do this, it is the awakening of Bodhichitta, the seed of enlightenment. It is the first step in translating knowledge into wisdom, words into realities, and resolves into actions. Having turned the key of compassion in the lock of the heart, the disciple will come to realize, through inward communication with the Teacher, the fuller meaning of the Upanishads:
The practical import of the metaphysical teaching of The Secret Doctrine lies in the fact that the highest spiritual powers are partly used by each human being every day but without fully knowing it. Light is universal, but it makes all the difference whether one has a blurred sense of perception and merely consumes light, or whether one can take a magnifying glass and concentrate light. There are also those who are like the laser beam which can direct a concentrated shaft of light to destroy cancerous cells and produce a range of extraordinary effects upon the physical plane. There is something of Kundalini at work in every human being. Electricity and magnetism are sevenfold and work at the highest cosmic level of Akasha, but they also work at the most heterogeneous and diffusive level because everything is electrical and magnetic, from the occult standpoint. The aspirant must grasp, even at a preliminary level, the moral and psychological implications of this metaphysical "power or Force which moves in a curved path" in man and nature.
The two aspects of this omnipresent power mentioned here have to be totally mastered by the initiated yogi in all their possible manifestations. Long before this stage is reached, the disciple must begin to learn to govern these internal and external relations through Buddhi Yoga in order to fulfil the prerequisite conditions of magnetic rapport with a true Teacher of Wisdom.
The universal process of adjustment of the external to the internal, which leads to involuntary reincarnation for human beings, must be understood in terms of karma. At the most primary level, whenever human beings entertain and succumb to emotional reactions, they establish mental deposits and astral grooves which require many lives for proper adjustment. That is why over eighteen million years so many people approach the Path again and again but stumble and lose their track just as often. They cannot make a fundamental breakthrough even when in the presence of great teaching. For those who have made the teaching an internal living power in their consciousness, this is comprehensible as essential, just as the world seems clear to a child when its eyes are directed to the light of the sun. Whilst this is true for all human souls, the philosophical recognition of how this works is important. Every emotion registers an appropriate record in the astral vesture. It is wear and tear on the linga sharira and is at the expense of something or someone else. Thus selfishness is increased. This is true even if the emotion is benevolent for emotion itself is a form of passivity. Emotion is quite different from deep feeling which is unmodified by cyclic change or external event and is totally independent of outward demonstration. Emotion is like cashing a check: whilst it makes money available, it depletes the account. It is a way of demanding proof. As a form of external indulgence it is a passive fantasy which weighs heavily upon the astral vesture. To that extent it obscures one"s inmost feelings which are detached and compassionate. All the higher feelings are ontologically powerful and at the same time they constitute a pure negation psychologically. Though only an initial understanding of the problem, this is sufficient to explain why merely sitting down to postures and trying to control the external breath by hatha yoga exercises cannot make a significant difference to the inevitable adjustment of internal and external relations inherent in life itself. There is no substitute for facing oneself, asking what one is truly living for, how one is affected by likes and dislikes, and how one"s temper – or sophrosyne – is unbalanced through various irritations.
In the ancient schools one would not be allowed to begin serious study of yoga until one had mastered one"s temper. In the school of Pythagoras candidates were tested from the first day in regard to their personal vulnerability. That was the stringent standard of all schools preparing for the Mysteries of initiation. The laws have not changed even though the external rules may seem to have been modified. It remains an inescapable fact of nature and karma that if one loses one"s temper even after a lifetime of spiritual development, one"s progress is destroyed in a single mood. Like a city or a work of art, the time to construct is long, but destruction can be swift. One has to think out one"s true internal and external state of being, even if one goes to the Tolstoyan extreme of seeing every kind of fault in oneself. Tolstoy did not do this out of pride but rather because he was so thoroughly honest that he simply could not think of a single fault in anyone else which he could not see present in himself. This sense of commonality, rooted in ethical self-awareness, leaves no room for judging anyone else or for running away from anyone because one sees that the whole army of human foibles is in oneself, and that every elemental is connected with internal propensities in one"s astral form. To think this out Manasically is crucial in the Aquarian Age. The wise disciple will recognize that thoroughness, urgency and earnestness are quite different from fatuous haste and impulsiveness. Even if it takes months and years to think out and learn to apply the elementary axioms of the Science of Spirituality, it is necessary to be patient and persistent, rather than revel in fantasies that leave residues in successive lives. When something so obvious which one can test and comprehend is taught, this is an opportunity for growth which demands honesty in thought and intelligence in response. To receive the timeless teaching in this way enables the self to be the true friend of the Self. Not to do this is one of the myriad ways in which the self becomes the enemy of the Self because it is afraid of facing the facts and the laws of nature connected with relations and patterns in the vestures. Self-regeneration is a precise science and it is possible to test oneself in a manner that fosters sophrosyne.
This spiritual intelligence test is not a matter of making some sweeping moral judgement about oneself, because that will have no meaning for the immortal soul. It would simply not be commensurate with eighteen million years of self-conscious existence. It is really a waste of time to say "I"m no good, I"m this kind of person, I"m bound to do this." Such exclamations are absurd because they do not account for the internal complexity and psychological richness of sevenfold man, let alone the immensity of the human pilgrimage. It is more important to understand and recognize critical incipient causes, to see how the karmic process takes place, and to arrest the downward slide into fragmented consciousness. To do this firmly with compassion at the root, one has to meditate upon some fundamental idea. One might benefit from the golden example set by disciples who practise the precept: "All the time everything that comes to me I not only deserve but I desire." This form of mental asceticism is the reverse of psychic passivity and self-indulgent fatalism. It is a clear and crisp recognition that there is karmic meaning to every single event, that nothing is unnecessary even though one may not yet know what its meaning is. Ignorance of the process of adjustment of internal and external relations is merely a reflection of the limitation of one"s own growth at the level of lower mind. To accept totally one"s karma is like a swimmer recognizing the necessity of accepting the tidal currents of the ocean. A swimmer is not doing a favour to the ocean by accepting its sway. Deliberate and intelligent acceptance of oceanic currents is the difference between drowning and surviving.
When it comes to karma on the causal plane with reference to human consciousness and invisible forces, the same principle applies. That is why the Buddha said, "Ye who suffer, know ye suffer from yourselves." Though the teaching seems obvious when stated, it must really be thought through at the core of one"s being if one is going to alter the karmic tendencies of the forces at work. One must ask whether the whole of one"s being is cooperating with the totality of one"s karma. Unless one engages in this meditation and willingly accepts all karma even though one does not understand most of it, no regrets or resolves will make any difference. The constant task of learning, which is a matter of activating and sensitizing all the centres of perception, has an intimate bearing upon diminishing the range and reach of the irrational in one"s responses to life. There is a direct connection between the Kundalini force of adjustment of internal and external relations, which moves in a curved path, and the karmic predominance of the various elemental powers in the human constitution. In the words of Hermes Trismegistus:
Throughout the cyclic development of each soul, the proportional composition of the vestures out of the five elements is continually being adjusted. Through the attraction and repulsion of their coessence to the vestures, certain elements become the dominant ruling factors in one"s life. Unless one engages in noetic mental asceticism, one will invariably remain passive to the psychic sway of these irrational forces. Without ratio, harmony and proportion, one cannot employ the vestures as channels for the benevolent transmutation of life-atoms: rather one will needlessly compound the karma of selfishness. The compassionate projection of the spiritual energies of the soul requires that the genii be made subordinate to the awakened Buddhi-Manasic reason. The genii
By the "few in number" is meant those Initiates and Adepts for whom there is no "God" but the one universal and unconditioned Deity in boundless space and eternal duration.
The truly reasonable part of the soul is extremely important in the Aquarian Age. To think clearly, logically and incisively must be the true purpose of education. To unfold the immense powers of pure thought, the reasonable part of the soul must be given every opportunity to develop so that the irrational side is reduced. Its false coherence must be broken by seeing it causally. One must begin with a willingness to acknowledge it readily, and see that there is no gain in merely pushing it aside. The development of the reasonable part of the soul, which is not subject to the genii, culminates in the reception of the god who enlightens it with a sunny ray, the Chitkala that is attracted by contemplation. Clear, pure reason characterizes the immortal ray which is connected with the star that has its genii, good and evil by nature. The use of reason and clarity of perception in the spiritual and metaphysical sense involves the heart as well as the mind because they cooperate in seeing and thinking clearly. Once this is grasped, one can make a decisive difference to the amount of unnecessary karma involved in one"s irrational emanations and wasteful emotions. One can begin to let go of all that and calmly cultivate the deepest feelings.
At a certain point it will become natural for the mind to move spontaneously to spiritual teachings and universal ideas whenever it has an opportunity. It would not have to be told, nor would one have to make rules, because that would be what it would enjoy. When it becomes more developed in the art of solitary contemplation, it will always see everything from the higher standpoint whilst performing duties in the lower realm, thus transforming one"s whole way of living. This will make a profound difference to the conservation of energy and the clarification of one"s karma. It will also strengthen the power of progressive detachment whereby one can understand what it means to say that the Sage, the Jivanmukta, the perfected Yogin, is characterized by the golden talisman of doing only what is truly necessary. He only thinks what is necessary. He only feels what is necessary. There is so powerful a sense of what is necessary in the small, but from the standpoint of the whole, that there is no other way of life that is conceivable or imaginable. This internal Buddhic logic can never be understood by reference to external rules and characteristics because one has to come to it from a high plane of meditation and total detachment from the realm of external expression.
When the disciple is sufficiently self-evolved from within without, then the further individuation of the soul through self-conscious initiations may proceed. Prepared by testing and by trials, the reasonable part of the soul may receive a sunny ray, communicated by its spiritual ancestors, themselves inseparable from the disciple"s own seventh principle. The parentless progenitors of spiritual intelligence or consciousness are known at one level as Bodhisattvas, at another level as Dhyani Buddhas, at still another level as Manushi Buddhas. All of these are spiritual ancestors of what is called Buddhi – individually one"s own intuitive principle, but in a strict philosophical sense the pure vehicle of one universal light. Buddhi as a principle is its emanation, a gift from a Dhyani Buddha or spiritual progenitor. Seen in this way, all the higher principles are pure emanations from spiritual instructors and parents, in the same way that until the age of seven a terrestrial parent is the spiritual and mental progenitor of the thinking of a child. The child"s own intelligence is involved, and children vary in their responses because of accumulated karma. So too with the chela on the Path. The language that parents use, the ideas that they evoke, and their mode of consciousness colour the child"s psyche during the day, giving a certain tone to the environment. Though most parents hardly think deliberately about what is at stake, owing to their lack of knowledge and insight, nonetheless they have the inimitable opportunity of initiating the child into the wise use of its latent powers. This is only an imperfect analogy on the lower plane of differentiated consciousness and everyday relationships between highly vulnerable personalities. It can scarcely intimate the magical privilege of communicating with Adepts and Initiates, and of participating in the compassionate ideation that permeates the magnetic field in which the chela grows. As an immortal soul, each individual is potentially an inheritor of the whole field of human consciousness over eighteen million years; as an initiated chela each may freely assume this sacred birthright as a spiritual inheritor of the parentless Anupadaka.
The Bodhisattva Path of self-regeneration and of initiation into the mysteries of the higher principles begins and ends with the quickening of the reverential feeling of devotion and gratitude for every single being who ever did anything for oneself. Those who are fortunate enough to perfect that power of endless, boundless gratitude and spontaneous reverence to every teacher they ever learnt from are in a better position to understand how to invoke the highest gift of self-consciousness from the greatest spiritual progenitors. In a fearless way but also in a proper posture of true devotion and reverence, one can invoke the Dhyani Buddhas in dawn meditation, during the day, in the evening and at night, whenever and how often one reaches out in consciousness to them. Before this can be done effectively, one must learn to cleanse the lunar vesture, calm the mind and purify the heart. Every thought or feeling directed against another being makes that heart unworthy to feel the hebdomadal vibration of the Dhyani Buddhas. Self-concern pollutes rather than protects. Self-purification and self-correction strengthen the capacity to liberate oneself from the karmic accretions of lives of ignorance and foolish participation in the collective dross. Such are the laws of spiritual evolution that this purification can only proceed through the sacrificial invocation of the whole of one"s karma. Then one can begin to become truly self-conscious in ones s interior relationship to the Dhyani Buddhas, the Daimon, the Genius which can speak to one through the Kwan Yin, the Chitkala, the Inner Voice. Just as a vast portion of the world"s sublimest music is only theoretically available to the average person, the finest vibrations of Akasha-Alaya must remain of little avail to most mortals until they fit themselves to come and sit close to the Teachers of Brahma Vach. "To live to benefit mankind is the first step."
Hermes, June 1981