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The Masters & the Path


  We may take it, then, that in all the best men of the more advanced races at the present day the physical body is fully developed, and fairly under control; the astral body is also fully developed, but not by any means under perfect control; the mental body is in process of unfoldment, but its growth is yet very far from complete. They have a long way to go yet before these three bodies, the physical, the astral and the mental, are entirely subordinate to the soul. When that happens the lower self will have been absorbed into the Higher Self, and the ego, the soul, will have dominated the man. Though the man is not yet perfect, the different vehicles are so far harmonized that they have but one aim.  




  Much is forgiven during the first years of probation. But no sooner is he accepted than his personality must disappear, and he has to become a mere beneficent force in Nature. . . . It is only when the power of the passions is dead altogether, and when they have been crushed and annihilated in the retort of an unflinching will; when not only all the lusts and longings of the flesh are dead, but also the recognition of the personal self is killed out and the astral has been reduced in consequence to a cipher, that the union with the Higher Self can take place. Then, when the astral reflects only the conquered man-- the still living, but no more the longing, selfish personality-- then the brilliant Augoeides, the divine Self, can vibrate in conscious harmony with both the poles of the human entity-- the man of matter purified, and the ever pure Spiritual Soul-- and stand in the presence of the Master-Self, the Christos of the mystic Gnostic, blended, merged into, and one with It for ever. . . . The aspirant has to choose absolutely between the life of the world and the life of Occultism. It is useless and vain to endeavour to unite the two, for no man can serve two masters and satisfy both.  




  A candidate cannot succeed if he be entirely lacking in discrimination; yet if he shows much less of that than he should, an overflowing flood of love may perhaps be accepted as atoning for it. Secondly, the ego must have so trained his lower vehicles that he can function perfectly through them when he wishes to do so; he must have effected what in our earlier Theosophical literature was called the junction of the lower and Higher Self; and thirdly, he must be strong enough to stand the great strain involved, which extends even to the physical body.  




  Most of us down here are very emphatically personalities, and think and act almost exclusively as such; yet we know all the time that in reality we are egos, and those of us who by many years of meditation have rendered ourselves more sensitive to finer influences are often conscious of the intervention of this Higher Self. The more we can make a habit of identifying ourselves with the ego, the more clearly and sanely shall we view the problems of life; but in so far as we feel ourselves to be still personalities looking up to our Higher Selves, it is obviously our duty and our interest to open ourselves to them, to reach up towards them, and persistently to set up within ourselves such vibrations as will be of use to them. At least let us be sure that we do not stand in the way of the ego, that we always do our best for him according to our lights.  






When the candidate has passed through the four substages of the second Initiation, and has once more become Gotrabhu, he is ready for the third Initiation, to become the Anagamin, which means literally “he who does not return,” for it is expected of him that he will attain the next Initiation in the same incarnation. The Hindu name for this stage is the Hamsa, which means a swan, but the word is also considered to be a form of the sentence So-ham, “That am I”. There is a tradition, too, that the swan is able to separate milk from water, and the sage is similarly able to realize the true value for living beings of the phenomena of life.

This Initiation is typified in the Christian symbolism by the Transfiguration of the Christ. He went up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before His disciples: “ His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light,” “exceeding white as snow, so as no fuller on earth can white them”. This description suggests the Augoeides, the glorified man, and it is no inaccurate picture of what happens at this Initiation, for just as the second Initiation is principally concerned with the quickening of the lower mental body, so at this stage the causal body is especially developed. The ego is brought more closely into touch with the Monad, and is thus transfigured in very truth. Even the personality is affected by that wondrous outpouring. The higher and the lower self became one at the first Initiation, and that unity is never lost, but the development of the Higher Self that now takes place can never be mirrored in the lower worlds of form, although the two are one to the greatest possible extent.