Initiation by Annie Besant

See Theosophy by John AlgeoAnnie Besant explains in this book that there is a PathSee also the paragraph in Self Healing, Yoga and Destiny by Elisabeth Haich about speeding up the development of our soul, which leads to what is known as “Initiation” and through Initiation to the Perfecting of Man; a Path, which is recognized in all great religions. She points out that it does not matter which faith one belongs to. She says, that one can take a shorter Path if he/she wants to and describes this Path as a more difficult way in which man evolves more rapidly than in the ordinary course of human and natural evolution.

There are four facts that underlie the whole Path of Human Perfecting:

  • Reincarnation, meaning the gradual growth of man through many lives
  • Karma, the law of causation
  • The fact that there is a Path and
  • The fact that there are men that have trodden this Path before and that these men are standing at the end of the Path – Guardians and Teachers of the World.

The first step towards the entrance to the Path is the Service of Man meaning to think more of the common good than of one’s own individual gain. If you want to serve man you have to be unselfish, strenuous, moved by the ideal to help and serve – anything that is of value to human life. If you are of service to man you can be engaged in anything but the difference lies in the conditions of the work you provide. What is your motivation? There lies the difference. Do not despise the common world of men with selfish motives making many errors because these are all lessons in life’s school. Man has to realize that not in seeking pleasure, wealth, and honor for himself can permanent joy be found but in the service of his fellow-men; in the helping of the miserable, the teaching of the ignorant. The recognition of social duty is the noblest sign of evolution of man. The key is to give yourself, and not only what you possess. You must feel the sorrow and pain of others as you feel your own pain. It must be the constant resolute endeavor to give everything away that others may profit.
In other words the service demanded is that unselfish service that gives everything and asks for nothing in return.

A man who becomes possessed by an idea and nothing can turn him away from it, that man is coming near to the Path, even if the ensuing action is folly. The outer action is the expression of some past thought or emotion; the motive for the action is what is all-important based on the occult rule.

This means that we have to study our motives more than our actions.

There are many ways on the Path to God – intense desire for knowledge, intense love for an ideal, the realization of the intolerable anguish of the world.

People who seek knowledge will then discover the Science of Yoga, which is nothing else but the application of the laws of evolution to the human mind and to the individual and to that it joins a Discipline of Life. The Discipline of Life is a necessary guarding of the would-be disciple against the dangers of his swifter process because of the great strain on body and mind.

Part of the Discipline of Life is
No alcohol because of the danger to certain vibrations
No flesh food because it coarsens the body

The seeker finds that there are certain Qualifications laid down:
1) DISCRIMINATION: Power to discriminate between the real and unreal – distinguish between the permanent and the impermanent.
2) DESIRELESSNESS: Dispassion or Desirelessness
3) GOOD CONDUCT: Six Jewels (mental qualities)
a) Control of the Mind
b) Control of Action
c) Virtue of Tolerance – holding your own, willing to share it, but ever refusing to impose or attack
d) Endurance
e) Faith
f) Balance, equilibrium
4) LOVE: Desire to be true, the will to be free, in order that you may help.

You reach them largely by meditation, and then practice in life. Concentrated thought is the instrument when you re-create yourself.

Once the seeker is aware of the facts and has worked on the Qualifications but has not perfected them yet, but he must have made some progress in weaving them into his character, must at least have shaped his conduct after these main ideas, the Masters will be found so that these Qualifications can be put into action along the lines that the Masters demand. Probably the Master finds him.

The first stage is that a particular Master chooses a particular aspirant and takes charge of him, in order to prepare him for Initiation. This constitutes a tie that cannot be broken. He summons the man through his astral body and places him on probation. When the Master sees he has gained to a considerable extent the Qualifications that are necessary and after seeing him he accepts him as disciple, no longer on probation, but accepted and approved.

One disciple wrote down in the book At the Feet of the Master what those Qualifications meant. To meditate on a quality and then to live it, that is the way of definite progress.  Example: The form is unreal while life is real. The religion does not matter but does the essence come out in his thought and life? The Occultist can never look with contempt at anyone whose form he himself has outlived. Never ascribe evil to another man because we cannot see the motive and have no right to judge.

You also must learn to discriminate between the duty to help and the desire to dominate. Only control those who are placed in your hands of guidance.
When it comes to desire we should not even want to see the result of one’s work. We have to learn to work but not demand payment in results for our labor. Silence is the mark of the Occultist. Speak when you have something to say that is true, helpful, kind.
Keep the mind away from all that is evil and keep it cheerful as well as calm.
For Tolerance we should study the religions of others so we can help others by seeing their standpoint.
When it comes to Endurance take troubles as an honor, not as penalty.
Then you need to learn One-pointedness and last confidence in your teacher and yourself.

The last Qualifications include avoidance of the vices of crimes against love, cruelty (against humans and animals and not paying a wage/bill) and superstition (animal sacrifice).
Example: The life of Christ and others. The cross is the symbol of life, of life triumphant over death, of Spirit triumphant over matter.
Initiation in the Mysteries means an expansion of consciousness.

There are five ceremonials on the Path. Four (related to the Christ-story) are the Portals on the Path leading to the final divine Perfection of Manhood, the Birth, Baptism, Transfiguration, and the Passion.
The Initiate is He whom the Christ is born – the little child – is born into this new life of the Spirit (all truth are known by Intuition not reasoning). He vows poverty, chastity and obedience meaning he gives up all sense of property, ownership, renounces all pleasures of sense and surrenders his own will. He must also give up three weaknesses – they are called three fetters.
1) The sense of Separateness (everything is part of himself, feel with their joys and sorrows, look at things from their standpoint, understand their feelings and be able to sympathize with them – judge none, criticize none.)
2) He must get rid of all Doubts as to certain facts in nature.
3) He must get rid of superstition, the belief that a particular rite or ceremony is necessary for the attainment of the result that is sought.

When those fetters are cast aside, then he has grown to manhood and is ready to pass the second of the great Initiations (baptism in Christianity). The Spirit comes down, the Spirit of Intuition and he must learn to bring it down, through his enlarged causal and mental bodies, to his physical consciousness so it may guide him.
At this stage man has to add powers, super physical powers so that he can more perfectly serve. During this stage he is perfecting all his bodies.

The he approaches the third great Portal (Transfiguration in Christianity), the symbol of the recognition of the “I” as one with God. Here two more weaknesses have to be gotten rid of, Attraction and Repulsion.

Between the third and fourth Portal he must feel the desertion by all, the loneliness in which the last great sufferings have to be faced, because here he faces the gulf of silence, where the disciple hangs alone in the void with nothing on earth to trust to, nothing in heaven to look to, no friend whose heart can be relied upon.

When he feels forsaken by all he finds the God within. Then the fourth great Initiation is accomplished; he is who has become the Christ crucified and therefore the helper of the world.

After that fourth Initiation, the Passion, there remains only the Resurrection, the Ascension, which is the Initiation of the Master. The last weakness, the desire of life in any world, has to be cast aside, for he is life. Now all worlds are open to him and he can pour down strength, help, knowledge. And that it is to have become a Christ.

After passing the four Portals he stands triumphant, with the door of the fifth great Initiation open before him – the all-embracing consciousness, the extinction of the lower Self. He stands among the many Brethren of whom the Christ is the Firstborn.

He can hear free cries of humanity, the suffering he has transcended. The fetters left that has power to bind, the fetters of compassions; they are the bonds of love. And then he turns backwards to the world he has left and takes it up and bears it still to help mankind. And so he becomes what we call a Master, a liberated Spirit who still bears the burden of the flesh, so that Humanity may not be without it’s Guides along the Path. He has become a Savior of the world.

They help the world in three general ways:
1) Their light pours down in general benediction and if we are receptive to it, we can profit for it.
2) He pours his blessing or strength into great organizations, communities and religious communities.
3) They help the thought of the world, sending out mighty thoughts of knowledge, of beauty, of inspiration, especially for those men and women of genius who have climbed to the point where they can be individually affected, and made channels to the world at large.

Some of these Masters take as disciples those who are willing to tread the Path.

There are two great departments of human life in addition to this more general and individual helping, in which the work of the Hierarchy is most especially seen – the Ruling Department, which guides all natural evolution, changes the face of the surface of our globe, builds and destroys continents, controls the destinies of nations, shapes the fate of civilizations. That mighty Ruling Department is one in which the Occult Hierarchy is ever at work. And then the Teaching Department with the Supreme teacher, which/who watches over the spiritual destinies of mankind. It includes the great One who appears from age to age to inspire a new religion.

When a great world-age is over, He comes for the last time.

All the great civilizations of the past had been built on the family as a unit; in the new age the note of the individual was struck. The overwhelming importance of the present life, of the value of the individual soul started. Chaos happened but it was necessary to have strong individuals fit to put together a mighty Brotherhood.

Through Christendom the note of self-sacrifice has been born, a civilization with social conscience, a realization of human duty and responsibility.

The one that comes will be the mighty One, Who is the Master of Masters, the Supreme Teacher.

We can see the work of the Ruling Department when we look back over history and realize that all the spreading and changes have a purpose and that behind it stand it’s Manu. All wars and conquests have a purpose and all these conquests work into the mighty Plan, and spread abroad through the nations the treasures that otherwise would be enclosed within the limits of a single country. Remember that destruction also means rebuilding; death only means new life.

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