Study Set 3:
The Magical Work of the Soul
Seed Thought and Reading Assignment
Written Work (for your own records)
Letter from Staff
Service in the Outer World Is More Truly Esoteric than Prayer Under a Tree
The Sannyasin: Ancient and Modern, East and West
Compendium on Magic
Glossary of Terms
SEED THOUGHT for Meditation Work: Three words translate the magic of the Soul into the magic of an ordered life: Radiance ... Magnetism ... Actuality.
Reading Assignment: Pages 157-216 "A TREATISE ON WHITE MAGIC"
The soul in incarnation can view its outer environment only by using its triple form (mental, emotional and physical bodies) as a mechanism of contact. The soul in incarnation can influence and serve its environment only by using its triple form as an instrument of expression.
As an exercise in seeing as the soul sees, take a long careful look at your environment and write a description of it. Try to observe from the soul's point of view. Emphasize those factors, which you consider to be of most interest to the soul (rather than to the personality).
Describe as objectively as you can:
a) Your physical environment:....What kind of place is it?
b) Your emotional environment:. What is its "climate"?.. What is its usual condition?
c) Your mental environment:....Is it large or small?....Dull or stimulating?
Be as general or as specific as you like. The main thing is, try to see things as
the soul sees them. The time you spend on this assignment should prove to be extremely
rewarding. So don't stint. Don't be in a hurry. And do begin at once to gather your
Dear Fellow Student:
The student of the esoteric teaching is constantly enjoined to live a spiritually disciplined and rhythmic life. It might be helpful if we examine again the reasons why this is so important, is even a necessity. Rhythm controls our entire physical life; it separates the seasons of the year, and night from day; it is behind ocean tides, and the movements of planets in deep space. Everything that lives has cycles of behavior. Plant life is governed by rhythms of growth and dormancy; animals hibernate and mate according to definite cycles; even God, we are told, inhales and exhales. Man alone tries to flout the inherent rhythm of his being and live according to his desires, unaware that even these are subject to cyclic ebb and flow.
The person who has achieved success in the world, has found it necessary to fit the major share of his daily life into the rhythm that rules his chosen line of work or his chosen sphere of experience. The doctor, the teacher, the housewife for example, must bow to the exigencies of their daily occupations. The doctor's whole time is subject to scheduled patient and hospital appointments, plus emergencies -- the rhythm of sickness and suffering, a very demanding rhythm. The rhythm of the education system (classroom hours, vacation periods, etc.) governs the lives of teachers and students and considerably influences the plans of students' parents. The housewife must move to the tempo of the everlasting rituals of home making.
The life of the soul, too, has its distinctive rhythm. And the person who is undergoing spiritual training and is becoming one-pointed in his spiritual aims, must learn to synchronize his daily life with the rhythm of the soul's inner life and affairs.
Evolution at any level resolves itself into rhythm, and the again and again-ness of practice, the painful climbing up and falling back of trial and error, the confident pushing forward into areas of light, the hesitant fumbling in areas of shadow, form cycles of rhythmic behavior which are an integral part of all growth. Every human being has been through these cycles many times in physical life and it should come as no surprise when he learns that the path of spiritual growth proceeds in the same manner.
As the awakening spiritual man becomes aware of the two strong, often conflicting rhythms -- that of the outer world and that of the soul -- he also becomes aware of the need for discrimination. He must choose which rhythm he allows to structure his life, and if he is discriminating enough he realizes that he must choose one or the other, not a conglomeration of both. This in spite of the fact that he must continue to meet his responsibilities in the outer world while training himself to function as a soul. After living in this quandary, and such a quandary can sometimes last a very long time, the earnest student understands one day that soul rhythm and the rhythm of the outer world can exist harmoniously together in the same life. It might be said that soul rhythm is analogous to the bony structure of a physical body. Such a bony structure, though hidden from view, forms a living pattern for the outer body. Solar rhythm, established in a human life, forms a firm spiritual structure upon which the outer life can be built.
One does not turn his back on duty when he answers the call of his soul. He discovers, rather, that being attentive to the voice of his soul awakens him to his true obligations and makes it possible for him to shut out non-essentials. He becomes increasingly aware of subtler rhythms, finer distinctions; the broad clatter of personality living decreases in urgency, in importance. He fulfills the duties of his outer life while keeping his attention trained on the steadyin-breathing / out-breathing at soul levels.
RHYTHMIC LIFE OF THE INCARNATED SOUL
|Sleep (school on mental plane)||Daytime Occupation|
|Solitude (gather resources)||Community Involvement (expenditure of resources)|
|Revelation (golden spots in meditation)||Wisdom applied to human relations|
Esoterically and symbolically, there is a meaningful correspondence between the motion of the physical sun through the heavens and the rhythmic life of the soul. The following items added to the above tabulation, when pondered upon, convey valuable hints about establishing a well regulated, well rounded, well balanced spiritual life -- free of fanatical zeal, and free of spasmodic alternations between feverish effort and inertia that are so harmful to the vehicles and tend to discouragement in the long run.
|From new moon to full moon||From full moon to new moon|
|January through June||July through December|
We hope you feel no hesitation about discussing, by e-mail, any questions or new
understandings that come to you as you read these papers. Most of us need to converse with
a sympathetic mind occasionally, and yet, it is not wise to discuss one's spiritual
studies beyond the inner group of one's study companions.
With the loving concern and confident good wishes of
Your friends, The Staff of Arcana.
SERVICE IN THE OUTER WORLD IS MORE TRULY ESOTERIC THAN PRAYER UNDER A TREE
I call you from your dreams of vague beauty, impossible Utopias and wishful thinking to face life as it is today; and then to begin, in the place where you are, to make it better. I call you to the experiment of right human relations, beginning with your own personal relations to your family and friends, and then to the task of educating those you contact so that they also start a similar work. It is the work of attaining right individual relations, right group relations, right intergroup relations, right national relations and right international relations. I call you to the realization that in this work no one is futile or useless, but that all have a place of practical value. I call you to recognize that goodwill is a dynamic energy which can bring about world changes of a fundamental kind, and that its mode of expression is through the activity of the individual man and woman and through their massed intent. "EXTERNALIZATION OF THE HIERARCHY" 210-211
A new type of mystic is coming to be recognized; he differs from the mystics of the
past (except in a few outstanding instances) by his practical interest in current world
affairs and not in religious and church matters only; he is distinguished by his lack of
interest in his own personal development, by his ability to see the God immanent in
all faiths and not just in his own particular brand of religious belief, and also
by his capacity to live his life in the light of the divine Presence. All mystics have
been able to do this to a greater or less degree, but he differs from those in the past in
that he is able clearly to indicate to others the techniques of the Path; he combines both
head and heart, intelligence and feeling, plus an intuitive perception, hitherto lacking.
The clear cold light of the Spiritual Triad now illumines the way of the modern mystic,
and not simply the light of the soul, and this will be increasingly the case.
"DISCIPLESHIP IN THE NEW AGE, Vol. II" 166
When I speak of throwing the weight of human influence, upon one side or another, I refer not alone to thought power and to what so many euphemistically call "work on mental levels." I refer to the conscious activity of the whole man, working mentally, emotionally and most emphatically physically also. Only those, therefore, who are integrated personalities can work in this manner, and herein lies a difficulty. Those people today who work only mentally or who sit and send thoughts of love broadcast into the world, and who bask thus in the beauty of their own idealism (making frequently no adequate balancing physical effort to bring this present evil situation to an end through right choice, sacrifice and strenuous service), are in reality of no service at all to any except themselves.
I would have you remember that disciples learn to work with the plan by working; they learn to discover the inner expanding consciousness of humanity by the development of an increasing sensitivity to it; and they find their coworkers in the Plan by the old and tried method of trial and error. The less evolved the disciple and worker, the larger the number of trials and the greater the number of errors.
But the system works, for it is an eliminating as well as a perfecting process, and the
residue which remains after due effort, can be trusted. You have those, finally, who
remain and who are worthy of trust. Why does this system work? Because by its means the
graces of humility, prompt obedience to soul injunction, and inner integrity are
unfolded and developed. Where these are present, there will be found sureness of touch
when humanity is contacted; sensitivity to the impression of the Hierarchy when that
Hierarchy is seeking contact; and a right sense of proportion.
It is essential that servers everywhere -- the intelligent men and women of good will -- get a grasp, fresh and clear, of the work to be done and that they become "relaying channels and not delaying points of selfish interest" in the divine flow. This takes vision and courage. It takes courage to adjust their lives -- daily and in all relations -- to the need of the hour and to the service of mankind; it takes courage to attack life problems on behalf of others and to obliterate one's own personal wishes in the emergency and need, and to do so consistently and persistently. However, there is much to encourage the server. Humanity has now reached a point in development where there is a definite grasp of the Plan of the Hierarchy -- call it brotherhood, sharing, internationalism, unity or what you will. This is a growing and factual apprehension and is a general recognition by the thinkers and esotericists of the world, by the religious people of enlightenment, by broad minded statesmen, by industrialists and business men of inclusive vision and humanitarian insight, and even today by the man in the street..... All of this is a challenge to the disciple. What is it that he must do?
The disciple has to take himself as he is, at any time, with any given equipment, and
under any given circumstances; he then proceeds to subordinate himself, his affairs and
his time to the need of the hour -- particularly during the phase of group, national or
world crisis. When he does this within his own consciousness and is, therefore, thinking
along lines of the true values, he will discover that his own private affairs are taken
care of, his capacities are increased and his limitations are forgotten. He takes his
place with those who perceive the needs of the coming cycle -- a cycle wherein the new
ideas and ideals must be stressed and for which a fight must be made, wherein the wider
plans for the good of the whole must be understood, endorsed and preached, the new and
clearer vision for human living must be grasped and finally brought into being, and a
cycle wherein the effort of all members of the New Group of World Servers must be given to
the lifting of humanity's load.
"TELEPATHY AND THE ETHERIC VEHICLE" 195-197
THE SANNYASIN: ANCIENT AND MODERN, EAST AND WEST
The Sannyasin (or the wandering Renouncer, the higher servant) is a Hindu ascetic who
has reached the highest mystic knowledge, whose mind is fixed only upon the supreme truth,
and who has entirely renounced everything terrestrial and worldly.
-- THEOSOPHICAL GLOSSARY
The true sannyasin must "work towards an increasing release from ties of any kind,
though (and herein lies a subtle distinction) not release from environing conditions
and responsibilities. What is required is an inner attitude of complete abandon to the
will of your soul which is the Will of God, as far as any individual is concerned."
"DISCIPLESHIP IN THE NEW AGE", Vol. I -p 391
A western visitor has said of Sri Ramana Maharshi, one of Indias greatest modern yogis, "Sri Ramana would have looked like a superior human being in any surroundings. He had the quietly assured look of a man who has experienced a great deal and thought everything through to a final, unshakable conclusion. Even an unbeliever could see that he possessed a sort of personal serenity that is rare even in the contemplative Orient." Said one of Sri Ramanas disciples, a former professor of English literature: "You can attain peace merely by being near him."
The approach to such serenity is of course not easy. For the male Hindu with the will
and means, life is divided into four stages. First, beginning with the rite of initiation
between the ages of 8 and 12 and lasting by tradition for 12 years, comes life as a
student. With marriage, the student becomes a householder, enjoying the pleasures of the
sense and of family life, seeking worldly success and serving his community and fellow
men. At any time after the birth of his first grandchild he is free to cast off
these pleasures and responsibilities and, after providing for his wife if she does not
care to come with him, retire to the forest in search of enlightenment. When this quest
has succeeded, he enters his final earthly state as a sannyasin or holy man, a homeless
beggar possessing nothing but a loincloth and an alms bowl. "Taking no thought of the
future and looking with indifference upon the present," says one Hindu text, the
sannyasin "lives identified with the eternal Self and beholds nothing else."
Many Hindus find it difficult to believe that Christian missionaries, enjoying such
luxuries as shoes and houses and regular meals, can be genuine holy men.
-- INDIA, from Life World Library
There are, in my group of disciples, certain people who are outstandingly called to live the life of the sannyasin, the life of the one who -- having fulfilled the duties of the scholar, of the householder, of the family man, and of the business man -- is now called to that attitude of life and that orientation to other purposes--and goals which we technically call that of the sannyasin, or the teaching disciple. In the olden times, such a man left his home and his business and went out into the world, following the gleam, seeking the Master, and ever teaching as he went. Today in the life of our Western civilization and under the dawning influence of the New Age, the call remains the same but the disciple goes not out, leaving all the familiar scenes behind and negating his outer usefulness. He remains where he is, continuing with the outer and physical fulfillment of duty, but within a great change and definite re-orientation takes place. His attitude to life and affairs is basically altered. His whole inner life tendency becomes that of a planned withdrawing. He is passing through that stage upon the Way to which Patanjali refers in "The Yoga Sutras" under the term "right abstraction." It differs somewhat from the process called "detachment," because that process or motivated activity is applied primarily to the astral-emotional nature, to the desire life, whatever those attachments or desires may happen to be. This is a mental activity; it is an attitude of mind which affects primarily the entire life attitude of the personality. It involves not only the detachment of the desire nature from that which is familiar, desired and appropriated from long habit, but it involves also a complete readjustment of the entire lower threefold man to the world of souls.
It is here that right habits and attitudes in life to the world of business, and of
family relations play their part, enabling the sannyasin to "continue on the upward
way with heart detached and free," and yet to do so whilst performing right action,
through right habit and right desire, to all with whom his lot is cast. To this difficult
task your soul is now calling you. It constitutes your major life problem: To stand free
whilst surrounded; to work in the subjective world whilst active in the exterior world of
affairs; to achieve true detachment whilst rendering to all that which is due.
Discipleship in the New Age Vol 1
Compendium on MAGIC
The very word Magic bears within itself proof of its high origin. The Latin Magus, the
Greek Magos, a magician, give us all those other words...... magnitude, magnificent,
magniloquent, to express greatness in position, in action and in speech; majesty, implying
dominion, and magistrate, which has been simplified into Master, and finally by the
process of word evolution has become plain Mister. We can follow the historical
development of this root until we reach the Zend where we find it doing duty as the name
for the whole priestly caste. The magi were renowned all over the world for their wisdom
and skill in occultism and no doubt our word magic is mostly indebted to that source for
its present existence and meaning...... back of the Zend mag, looms up
the Sanskrit, maha, signifying great. It is thought by good scholars that maha was
originally spelled magha. To be sure, there is in the Sanskrit the word Maga meaning a
priest of the Sun, but this was evidently a later borrowing from the Zend which had
originally derived its root from its neighbor the Sanskrit.
-- Lucifer, Vol. X, 157
When the sixth ray disciple (or aspirant) attempts to use the new incoming energies,
they express themselves for him upon the astral plane and the result is astral magic,
deepened glamour and pronounced deception. To this fact must be ascribed today the
appearance of teachers, claiming to teach magic, to bring about certain magical results,
to work with rays of differing colors and to utilize Words of Power, to pronounce decrees
and to be repositories of the hitherto unrevealed wishes and secrets of the Masters of the
Wisdom. It is all a form of astral glamour, and the contacting upon the astral plane of
that which will later precipitate upon earth. But the time is not yet and the hour for
such usages has not arrived. The sense of time and the understanding of the correct hour
for the carrying out of the Plan in its future detail has not been learnt by these
sincere, but deluded, people and -- focussed as they are upon the astral plane and
undeveloped as they are mentally -- they misinterpret to themselves and for others that
which they there psychically sense. They know far too little and yet believe that they
know much. They speak with authority, but it is the authority, of the unexpanded mind. The
expression of old magical patterns, the digging up of hints and indications of
crystallized and worn-out methods from the ancient past is all too prevalent at this time
and is responsible for much deception of the masses and consequent mass delusion.
-- DESTINY OF THE NATIONS, 122
Definitions and Comparisons by H. P. B:
White magic -- as I would have you remember -- is concerned with the unfoldment of the
soul in form and its gaining needed experience thereby. It is not concerned with direct
work upon the form but with the indirect influence of the soul, functioning in any form in
every kingdom in nature as it brings the form under its control, thereby effecting needed
and developing changes in the apparatus of contact. The white magician knows that when the
proper and correct ray stimulation is applied to the center which we call the soul, in any
form but not to the form itself, that then the soul, thus stimulated, will do its own work
of destruction, of attraction, of rebuilding and of a consequent renewed life
manifestation. This is true of the soul of man, of the soul of a nation and of the soul of
humanity itself. Bear this in mind, for I have here stated a basic and fundamental rule by
which all white magic is agelessly governed.
-- DESTINY OF THE NATIONS 122-3
It has been truly said that between white and black magic, the line of demarcation is so slight as to be difficult of recognition by those who, as yet, merit not the term knower. The distinction between the two exists in both motive and method.
The white magician has for motive that which will be of benefit to the group for whom he is expending his energy and time. The magician of the left hand path ever works alone, or if he at any time cooperates with others, it is with a hidden selfish purpose. The exponent of white magic interests himself in the work of constructive endeavor in order to co-operate in hierarchical plans, and to further the desires of the planetary Logos. The Brother of Darkness occupies himself with that which lies outside the plans of the Hierarchy and with that which is not included in the purpose of the Lord of the planetary Ray.
The white magician works entirely through the greater Deva Builders, and through sound and numbers he blends their work, and thus influences the lesser Builders who form the substance of their bodies, and therefore of all that is. The dark brother works directly with substance itself, and with the lesser builders; he does not co-operate with the forces which emanate from egoic levels. He therefore works primarily on the astral and physical planes, only in rare cases working with the mental forces.
The white magician works always in co-operation with others, and is himself under the direction of certain group Heads. For instance, the Brothers of the White Lodge work under the three great Lords and conform to the plans laid down, subordinating Their individual purposes and ideas to the great general scheme. The black magician usually works in an intensely individualistic way, and can be seen carrying out his schemes alone, or with the aid of subordinates. He brooks usually no known superior, but is nevertheless frequently the victim of agents on higher levels, who use him as he uses his inferior co-operators, that is, he works (as far as the bigger purpose is involved) blindly and unconsciously.
The magician of the Good Law works with the soul of things. His brothers of darkness work with the material aspect. The white magician utilizes in this connection the higher three centers. The black magician uses the energy of the lower three centers (the organs of generation, the spleen, and the solar plexus) synthesizing their energy by an act of the will and directing it to the center at the base of the spine, so that the fourfold energy is thence transmitted to the throat center,
In considering the factors requiring adjustment prior to undertaking the work of magic, we are dealing with that which is of eminently practical value. Unless students of magic enter upon this pursuit fortified by pure motive, clean bodies, and high aspiration, they are foredoomed to disappointment and even to disaster. All those who seek to work consciously with the forces of manifestation, and who endeavor to control the Energies of all that is seen, need the strong protection of purity. This is a point which cannot be too strongly emphasized and urged, and hence the constant injunctions to self control, comprehension of the nature of man, and devotion to the cause of humanity. The pursuit of magical investigation is dangerous in three ways.
1. If a man's bodies are not sufficiently purified and their atomic vibration is not sufficiently high, he is in danger of over-stimulation when brought in contact with the forces of nature, and this inevitably entails the destruction and disintegration of one or other of his bodies. At times it may entail the destruction of two or more, and when this is the case, it involves a definite setback to egoic unfoldment, for it requires, in such cases, a much longer interval between incarnations, owing to the difficulty of assembling the needed materials in the sheaths.
2. Unless a man is strengthened in his endeavor by right motive, he is liable to be led astray by the acquisition of power. Knowledge of the laws of magic puts into the hands of the student powers which enable him to create, to acquire, and to control. Such powers are fraught with menace to the unprepared and unready, for the student can, in this case, turn them to selfish ends, use them for his own temporal material advancement, and acquire in this way that which will feed the desires of the lower nature. He takes, therefore, the first step towards the left hand path, and each-life may see him progressing towards it with greater readiness, until (almost unconsciously) he will find himself in the ranks of the black masters. Such a state of affairs can only be offset through the cultivation of altruism, sincere love of man, and a steady negation of all lower desire.
3. The third danger which menaces the unwary student of magic lies in the fact that when he tampers with these forces and energies he is dealing with that which is akin to his own lower nature. He, therefore, follows the line of least resistance; he augments these energies, thereby increasing their response to the lower and to the material aspects of his nature. This he does, at the expense of his higher nature, retarding its unfoldment and delaying his progress. Incidentally also, he attracts the attention of those masters of the left hand path who are ever on the lookout for those who can be bent to their purposes, and he becomes (unwittingly at first), an agent on the side of evil.
It will be apparent, therefore, that the student has need of Physical Purity,
Etheric Freedom, Astral Stability, and Mental Poise
before he undertakes the arduous task of becoming a conscious Master of Magic.
-- TREATISE-ON COSMIC FIRE, 982-996
RAJA YOGA..... "Royal Union"; self-imposed discipline that the Rajans (kings and leaders) of ancient India underwent in order to become true spiritual guides of their peoples. Presently, the right use of the mind and its utilization by the soul for the achievement of group objectives and the development of group consciousness upon the physical plane. The subjugation of the mental body and the control of the mind is brought about through the practice of Raja Yoga, the "Kingly Science of the Soul."