|Each cycle (again figurative cycles) leaves one of the petals more vitalized, and has a definite effect on each.
Second. The 70 incarnations. These concern the unfoldment of the middle circle. Much may be learned from a consideration of the occult significance involved in the sending out of their followers by any initiate (such as the Christ) in groups of seventy, going two and two. These seventy incarnations primarily effect the development of love in the personal life, the evolution of the astral nature, based on the recognition of the pairs of opposites, and their equilibrising in love and service.
This cycle covers the period passed by the man in the Hall of Learning and has its correspondence in the Atlantean root-race and its conflict between the Lords of the Dark Face and the Brotherhood of Light. Within the life of each individual, a similar conflict wages during this period, ending with the final kurukshetra or battleground which earns for the man the right to tread the Probationary Path, and eventually the privilege to stand before the Portal of Initiation. Again the numerical significance of the numbers must be studied; this time they are hid in the number ten, or three cycles of three lesser periods, each making nine, and one synthesizing period, leading up to the consummation of one period within the greater cycle; this is signified by the ten of relative perfection. The interplay between kamic impulse and manasic energy has produced a realization within the consciousness of the Ego of that which he has learned within the two Halls; the outer circle of petals is unfolded, and the central ring is ready to open.
A Treatise on White Magic
The astral plane is also the Kurukshetra, both of humanity as a whole and of the individual human unit. It is the battleground whereon must be found the Waterloo of every aspirant. In some one life, there comes an emotional crisis in which decisive action is taken, and the disciple proves his control of his emotional nature. This may take the form of some great and vital test, covering a brief time but calling forth every resource of wisdom and of purity that the disciple possesses, or it may be a long and protracted emotional strain, carried over many years of living. But in the attaining of success and in the achievement of clear vision and right discernment (through right discrimination) the disciple testifies to his fitness for the second initiation.
I would like to point out that it is this test and crisis through which humanity is now passing, and which began in those conditions which culminated in the world war and the present world strain. The first initiation of humanity, as an entity, took place when individualization became possible, and the soul was born in the body of humanity. This was preceded by a period of fearful stress and strain, dimly sensed by the pioneers into the human kingdom from the ranks of the animal-men. Should this crisis be successfully passed, the second initiation of humanity will be the result – the passing through the baptism and the entering of the stream. So the world war and its resulting effects constitute the Kurukshetra of the world Arjuna, and the outcome is still in the balance. Let this not be forgotten. There is however no cause for pessimism. The outcome of good is inevitable. It is however a question of a slow or a rapid realization and liberation from the great world illusion, and to this end every aspirant is begged to work strenuously and to lend his aid. Every man who liberates himself, who sees clearly, and who releases himself from the glamor of illusion aids in the Great Work.
Again, the astral plane is that whereon the pairs of opposites act and interact, and whereon the pull of the great dualities is most potently felt. Primarily, the interaction is between the soul and its vehicle, matter, but there are many lesser dualities which play their part and are more easily recognized by the average man.
Light and darkness interact, as do pleasure and pain; good and evil meet and form the playground of the Gods, and poverty and riches are offset one against the other. The entire modern economic situation is of an astral nature; it is the outcome of desire and the result of a certain selfish use of the forces of matter. Heat and cold, as we understand the term, in a most peculiar manner are the result of the interplay of the pairs of opposites, and an interesting line of occult study concerns itself with the effects of racial emotions on climatic conditions. We most truly make our climate in one significant sense. When desire has burnt itself out, planetary life comes to an end, as climatic conditions will negate form-life as we understand it.
In relation to the human unit, the secret of liberation lies in the balancing of the forces and the equilibrising of the pairs of opposites. The Path is the narrow line between these pairs which the aspirant finds and treads, turning neither to the right nor to the left.
It must be remembered always that when the pairs of opposites are discerned, when a man balances the forces of his own nature, when he has found the Path and become the Path, then he can work with the world forces, can preserve the balance and the equilibrium of the energies of the three worlds and so become a co-worker with the Masters of the Wisdom. Let us pray and hope that this may be the practical outcome of our understanding of the nature of the battleground of the astral plane.
Glamor a World Problem
It might perhaps become clearer to your perception if I worded the truth about maya as follows:
The latent impulses of the personality life, when divorced from and not under soul control, are blended with the pranic fluids within the periphery of the personality sphere of influence, and then become potent directed streams of force, seeking emergence into physical manifestation through the medium of the seven centers in the physical body. These forces or impulses, plus the prana available, constitute the etheric body of the undeveloped and frequently of the average man. It will be apparent, therefore, how much the undeveloped man is the victim of mass energy of a low kind, for his etheric body is responsive to, and draws its energy from a type of general environing prana, until such time as there is a definite direction and a higher control – either through oriented aspiration and mental discipline, or later as the result of soul conditioning, to use the psychological phrase.
This etheric energy, focused in an individual etheric body, passes through two stages prior to the period of discipleship:
- The stage wherein it assimilates the second force to which I referred – the force, latent in the dense physical form, the energy of the atomic substance, thus producing a definite fusing and blending. This causes the animal nature to conform entirely to the inner impulses, emanating from the world of prana, where the entirely undeveloped man is concerned, or from the lower astral where the more developed or average man is concerned.
- The moment, however, that an inner orientation towards the world of higher values takes place, then the etheric or vital force is brought into conflict with the lowest aspect of man, the dense physical body, and the battle of the lower pairs of opposites takes place.
It is interesting to note that it is during this stage that the emphasis is laid upon physical disciplines, upon such controlling factors as total abstinence, celibacy, and vegetarianism, and upon physical hygiene and physical exercises. Through these, the control of the life of matter, the lowest expression of the third aspect of divinity can be offset, and the man set free for the true battle of the pairs of opposites. This second battle is the true kurukshetra and is fought out in the astral nature, between the pairs of opposites which are distinctive of our solar system, just as the physical pairs of opposites are distinctive of the past solar system. From one interesting angle the battle of the opposites upon the lower spiral, in which the physical body in its two aspects is concerned, can be seen taking place in the animal kingdom. In this process, human beings act as the agents of discipline, and the domesticated animals, which are forced to conform to human control, are wrestling (even if unconsciously from our point of view) with the problem of this lower pair of opposites. Their battle is fought out through the medium of the dense physical body and the etheric forces, and in this way a higher aspiration is brought into expression. This produces in them the experience which we call “individualization,” wherein the seed of personality is sown. On the human battlefield, the kurukshetra, the higher aspect of the soul begins to dominate, producing the process of divine-human integration which we call “initiation.” Ponder upon this.
A Treatise on Cosmic Fire
The Logoic Plane. The first, the second, and the third subplanes of the first cosmic ether respond specifically to the vibration of one of the three aspects, or to those cosmic Entities Whose influence reaches the matter of the planes from without the system altogether. On the fourth subplane comes a primary blending of the three fiery Lives, producing archetypally that force manifestation of electricity which eventually causes the blazing forth of the Sons of Light on the next plane. In this electrical connotation we have the three higher planes ever embodying the threefold Spirit aspect, the lower three embodying the threefold substance aspect, and then a plane of at-one-ment whereon an approximation is made which, on the path of return, marks the moment of achievement, and the point of triumph. This is succeeded by obscuration. Hence on every plane in the solar system we have a fourth plane whereon the struggle for perfect illumination, and subsequent liberation takes place, the battle ground, the Kurukshetra. Though for man the fourth plane, the buddhic, is the place of triumph, and the goal of his endeavor, for the Heavenly Man it is the battleground, while for the solar Logos it is the burning-ground.
This differentiation of the subplanes of the systemic planes into a higher three, a lower three, and a central plane of harmony is only so from the standpoint of electrical phenomena, and not from the standpoint of either pure Spirit, or pure substance, viewed apart from each other. It concerns the mystery of electricity, and the production of light. The three higher planes concern the central Forces or Lives, the three lower concern the lesser Forces or Lives. We must bear this carefully in mind, remembering that to the occultist there is no such thing as substance, but only Force in varying degrees, only Energy of differentiated quality, only Lives emanating from different sources, each distinctive and apart, and only Consciousness producing intelligent effect through the medium of space.
I would point out that the Lord Agni shows forth His fiery life on the atomic subplane of each plane; He shows forth as solar fire on the second, third and fourth, and as ‘fire by friction’ on the fifth, sixth and seventh. From the point of view of the microcosm, the Spark in the Flame, man demonstrates as electric fire on the second plane, or the second cosmic ether; as solar fire on the third, fourth and the three higher subplanes of the fifth plane, and as fire by friction on the lower subplanes of the fifth, on the sixth, and seventh planes.
In the fifth round, at its middle point, certain things will eventuate.
The fifth Hierarchy will rise to its full power. This will precede the Judgment Day, and will mark a point of tremendous struggle, for the manasic vehicle “manas” (which they embody) will rebel against the translation of the life within (the buddhi). There will, therefore, be seen on a racial scale and involving millions simultaneously, a repetition of the selfsame struggle which embroils the man who seeks to transcend mind and to live the life of Spirit. This will be the final Armageddon, the planetary kurukshetra, and will be succeeded by the Judgment Day when the Sons of Manas will be cast out and the Dragons of Wisdom rule. This only means that those in whom the manasic principle is over-potent or underdeveloped will be considered as failures and will have to wait for a more suitable period for development, while those who are living the buddhic life, and in whom it is waxing stronger – spiritual men, aspirants, disciples of various degrees, initiates and adepts – will be left to pursue the natural course of evolution on this scheme.
A Treatise on White Magic
It should be remembered that just as the battle ground (the kurukshetra) for the aspirant or probationer is the astral plane, so the battle ground for the disciple is the mental plane. There is his kurukshetra. The aspirant has to learn to control his emotional psychic nature through right control of the mind, and this Krishna seeks to emphasize as he trains Arjuna to take the next step towards right vision. The disciple has to carry forward this mental attention, and, through right use of the mind, achieve a higher realization, and bring into active use a still higher factor, – that of the intuition.
Back again of these three groups stand the Masters and the devas of the formless levels – a Great Brotherhood, pledged to serve humanity.
Movements are being set on foot to transmute, if possible, the labors of destruction into constructive work. The time is critical, for a pause has come in the work of the destroyers. There is opportunity for the tide to turn and for the rebuilding of the body social.
It is for this reason that each one of you needs to make a fresh dedication of himself to the work of the redemption. Personalities must be submerged. Aspirants must live harmlessly in thought and word and deed. In this way each one of you will provide a pure channel, will become an outpost for the consciousness of the Master and provide a center of energy through which the Brotherhood can work.
The prime problem of the aspirant is to dominate the emotional nature. Then he stands victor on the field of Kurukshetra; the clouds have rolled away, and henceforth he can walk in the light. Let it here be remembered that this very freedom to walk in the light carries with it its own problems. You ask how this can be? Let me give one simple, yet (I think you will find) convincing argument.
When a man literally walks in the light of his soul and the clear light of the sun pours through him – revealing the Path, – it reveals at the same time the Plan. Simultaneously however, he becomes aware of the fact that the Plan is very far as yet from consummation. The dark becomes more truly apparent; the chaos and misery and failure of the world groups stand revealed; the filth and dust of the warring forces are noted, and the whole sorrow of the world bears down upon the astounded, yet illuminated, aspirant. Can he stand this pressure? Can he become indeed acquainted with grief and yet rejoice forever in the divine consciousness? Has he the ability to face what the light reveals and still go his way with serenity, sure of the ultimate triumph of good? Will he be overwhelmed by the surface evil and forget the heart of Love which beats behind all outer seeming? This situation should ever be remembered by the disciple, or he will be shattered by that which he has discovered.
But with the advent of the light, he becomes aware of a new (for him) form of energy. He learns to work in a new field of opportunity. The realm of the mind opens up before him, and he discovers that he can differentiate between the emotional nature and the mental. He discovers also that the mind can be made to assume the position of the controller, and that the sentient forces respond with obedience to mental energies. “The light of reason” brings this about – light that is always present in man but which only becomes significant and potent when seen and known, either phenomenally or intuitionally.