Series I
Study Set 6
Beauty in Physical Form

Seed Thought
Reading Assignment
Written Work
Value of Written Work in the Meditative Life
On Beauty
Compendium on Diet
Glossary of Terms


Daily renewing of the mind in the light of the Soul's clear purpose will inevitably bring about the necessary outer changes and rearrangements, letting the beauty of the inner God shine through the outer form. 

Reading Assignment: A Treatise on White Magic, Pages 511 - 561


Please answer the following questions out of your own thinking, rather than searching through the book or study set for quotable answers. You are urged to give considerable attention to this aspect of the subjective work. The more time, the more thought you give to it, the more spiritual help you will receive through your studies. These are quite searching questions. If you wish, try to formulate written answers to these questions. The effort you give to expressing your thinking about them is in itself a method of calling into activity hitherto unused parts of your mental equipment.
1.) Which of the questions in your Evening Review has been most spiritually helpful to you?
2 .) What do you consider physical purity? What constitutes purity on the physical plane? What is a pure physical form?
3.) How does beauty in physical form fit into the spiritual life?
    a. Can spiritual qualities be expressed in ugly forms? If so, please give several examples. If not, please explain.
    b. Can you think of any beautiful physical forms that have no spiritual value? Any ugly forms that have real spiritual value? Please give examples.
4.) Have you observed any outer changes and rearrangements which you attribute to "daily renewing of your mind in the light of the Soul's clear purpose......"?

(From the notebook of a member in a Meditation Workshop)

The written work you are asked to do (the monthly records of meditation and the study papers) is quite essential to practicing the principles of meditation. The meditative life only begins with the morning meditation exercise. The total practice of meditation includes relating the energies tapped during the morning meditation to the whole of the daily life. A necessary link between the deeply interior experience of meditation of the soul throughout the remainder of the day and night, is the regular writing of the assigned papers.

The morning meditation builds an etheric structure by which the brain, the mind and the soul are aligned and linked. Expressing on paper what you think or understand about spiritual matters, puts to use the soul-mind-brain alignment. For the server in training, it is not enough to illumine the mind with the soul's light and wisdom; the soul's attitudes and intent must somehow be:

(1) Made known to the waking brain consciousness.
(2) Anchored upon the physical plane in appropriate physical form.

Experienced meditators know that persistent effort to express on paper their very best thinking, accomplishes several things that meditation and study alone would not accomplish:

(1) Writing out the study papers obliges you to think more clearly.
(2) Writing out your ideas imprints upon the physical brain more of the mind's contents than would otherwise reach the brain.
(3) Such writing will, in many instances, reveal to you more of the contents of your own mind than you knew were there!
(4) When you write your papers intentionally, as an act of group participation, it will probably invoke more energy from the plane of soul than you usually bring into your mind. Thus, you may find that the quality of thinking expressed in your written papers is of a higher order than the usual quality of your thought life.
(5) In time, you will learn to draw upon the group's "pool of light" upon the mental plane; this is a reservoir of group knowledge, group experience, group insight continuously fed and maintained by the work done by all of us, daily, monthly, on the plane of mind.

Experiment with doing the written work as participation in a group effort. See for yourself how the written work opens your consciousness in a way that complements and fulfills the daily meditation and daily study; and in a way that meditation and study, without the written work, would not develop.

It is very easy to dissipate spiritual energy through talk before it has been put to use through service in the daily life. Writing good papers helps you to get the ideas into your brain before they have been dissipated and lost forever.

The new insights will get into your consciousness and then into your living.

The thoughtful introspective student realizes the wisdom of this. The more out-going student, if he is wise, will take it to heart.


The perception of beauty is a moral test.

Thoreau, JOURNAL June 21, 1852

It is perhaps the highest distinction of the Greeks that they recognized the indissoluble connection of beauty and goodness.

Charles Eliot Norton, FIFTH ANNUAL REPORT

of Executive Committee of the Archaeological Institute of America


Discloses hidden beauty furled
In the commonplace stuff of the everyday world.....
Charles Frederick Johnson, THE SHAKESPEAREAN PHRASE

Beauty being the best of all we know
Sums up the unsearchable and secret aims
Of nature.
Robert Bridges, THE GROWTH OF LOVE

There will be always one or two who hold
Earth's coin of less account than fairy gold;
Their treasure, not the spoil of crowds and kings,
But the dim beauty at the heart of things.
Lizzie M. Little, FAIRY GOLD
Beauty and Truth, tho' never found, are worthy to be sought.
Robert Buchanan, TO DAVID IN HEAVEN

Beauty is a pledge of the possible conformity between the soul and nature, and consequently a ground of faith in the supremacy of the good.
George Santayana, THE SENSE OF BEAUTY

A thing of beauty is a joy forever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness.
John Keats, ENDYMION, Book I.

Light, God's eldest daughter, is a principal beauty in a building.
Thomas Fuller, OF BUILDING

Beauty is truth, truth beauty, -- that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

What the Imagination seizes as Beauty must be Truth.
John Keats, LETTER Nov. 22, 1817

Art's perfect forms no moral need,
And beauty is its own excuse.....

Beauty is its own reward,
Being a form of Peace.

Who walks with Beauty has no need of fear;
The sun and moon and stars keep pace with him.....

He used to say that personal beauty was a better introduction than any letter; but others say that it was Diogenes who gave this description of it, while Aristotle called beauty "the gift of God"; that Socrates called it "a short-lived tyranny"; Theophrastus, "a silent deceit"; Theocritus, "an ivory mischief."
Diogenes Laertius, ARISTOTLE

There comes one moment, once -- and God help those
Who pass that moment by! -- when Beauty stands
Looking into the soul with grave, sweet eyes
That sicken at pretty words.

Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and you are the mirror.
Kahlil Gibran, ON BEAUTY


Comment by M.R.: The following excerpts on diet should point up that:

Hierarchical teaching applies to various stages of human unfoldment.

Each serious aspirant needs to develop that precious sixth sense (common sense!) in order to wisely see which passages apply particularly to himself, right now.

The Ageless Wisdom, like Scripture, may be quoted out of context to prove, or disprove, almost any perspective in these matters.

Especially needed, in group work, is firm self-restraint from setting rules for another's way of life. True, we do see each other more clearly than ourselves, BUT.... a group such as our workshop reflects even in its early stages, this curious fact of soul relations: We are able to correctly interpret a brother's situation only if we have already experienced that situation. If his present problem or dilemma is one that lies ahead of our own experience on the Path, we neither know the nature of his situation nor do we recognize our own lack of understanding of it. This spiritual fact -- and it is a fact -- enables esoteric students and investigators at diverse stages of growth to work together comfortably and cooperatively.

Occult students have not sufficiently grasped the fact that objectivity is an inevitable result of an inner conscious subjective life. When this is better apprehended, bodies on the physical plane -- for instance -- will be purified, developed and beautified through a scientific attention to the development of the psyche, to the unfoldment of the Soul, and to the stimulation of the egoic vibration. The cause will be dealt with and not the effect..... The lunar Lords have had their day; now Agni, as the solar Lord of life and energy, will assume due importance in human life.

Among occidental hindrances to correct occult study, is the condition of the physical body, which has been built up by the aid of meat and fermented foods and drinks, and (in densely populated areas) nurtured in an environment in which fresh air and sunlight are not paramount factors...........For long centuries food that has been decomposing, and hence in a condition of fermentation, has been the basic food of the Occidental races; and the result can be seen in bodies unfitted for any strain such as occultism imposes, and which form a barrier to the clear shining forth of the life within. When fresh fruit and vegetables, clear water, nuts and grains, cooked and uncooked, form the sole diet of the evolving sons of men, then will be built bodies fitted to be vehicles for highly evolved Egos. They patiently await the turning of the wheel, and the coming in of a cycle which will permit of their fulfilling their destiny. The time is not yet, and the work of elimination and adjustment must be slow and tedious.

There is a group of devas who form the health auras of all the three middle kingdoms of nature (vegetable, animal and human) either collectively or individually. Man is coming into contact with them along medical lines and beginning somewhat to recognize them. One of the great errors into which the human family has fallen has been the endeavour to administer mineral drugs to man for medicinal purposes. It has resulted in a combination of deva substances which was never intended. The relation of man to the lower kingdoms, and particularly to the animal and mineral, has brought about a peculiar condition in the deva world and has tended to complicate deva evolution. The use of animal food (and the use of minerals as medicine in a lesser degree) has produced a commingling of deva substance, and of vibrations which are not attuned to each other. The vegetable kingdom is in a totally different situation, and part of its karma has lain in the providing of food for man; this has resulted in a needed transmutation of the life of that kingdom into the higher stage (the animal) which is its goal. The transmutation of vegetable life takes place necessarily on the physical plane. Hence its availability as food. The transmutation of the life of the animal into the human kingdom takes place on kama-manasic levels. Hence the non-availability, esoterically understood, of the animal as food for man. This is an argument for vegetarian living which needs due consideration.
The development of the physical eye is proceeding under the law, and inevitably the whole race of men will attain that dual focus which will enable man to see both the dense, and the etheric, forms. At this stage his inability to do so is largely due to a lack of pranic vitality. This is mainly the result of wrong conditions of living, and the misuse of food. The present general trend towards juster and purer conditions of life, the return of man to simpler and saner ways, the widespread feeling for bathing, fresh air, and sunlight, and the greater desire for vegetable and nut foods, will result inevitably in a more ready assimilation of the pranic fluids. This will produce certain changes, and improvements, in the physical organs, and in the vitality of the etheric body.
No set diet could be entirely correct for a group of people on differing rays, of different temperaments and equipment and at various ages. Individuals are every one of them unlike on some points; they require to find out what it is that they, as individuals, need, in what manner their bodily requirements can best be met, and what type of substances can enable them best to serve. Each person must find this out for himself. There is no GROUP diet. No enforced elimination of meat is required or strict vegetarian diet compulsory. There are phases of life and sometimes entire incarnations wherein an aspirant subjects himself to a discipline of food, just as there may be other phases or an entire life wherein a strict celibacy is temporarily enforced. But there are other life cycles and incarnations wherein the disciple's interest and his service lie in other directions. There are later incarnations where there is no constant thought about the physical body, and a man works free of the diet complex and lives without concentration upon the form life, eating that food which is available and upon which he can best sustain his life efficiency. In preparation for certain initiations, a vegetable diet has in the past been deemed essential. But this may not always be the case, and many disciples prematurely regard themselves as in preparation for initiation.
In Lemurian days, the healer achieved his ends by use of drastic physical disciplines, thus gaining the needed purity. The goal, as you know, of hierarchical effort in those days was to teach primitive man the uses and purpose of the physical body and its intelligent control; the man who mastered the body and was in control of it as a machinist is in control of a machine, was then regarded as an initiate. Today, it is the mastering of the personality which makes a man an initiate. Celibacy, careful modes of eating and a measure of bodily cleanliness, plus the rudiments of Hatha Yoga (embryonic physical, athletic control -- muscular control primarily) were strictly emphasized. This achieved, so-called purity permitted the free flow of the pranic currents from the healer to the patient, via the sacral center and the throat center -- the spiritual healer working through the throat center, and the point of reception in the patient being the sacral center; neither the heart nor the head centers were used. Prana, to define it for your purposes, is the vitality of the planet, its vital emanation; it is this prana which is distributed or transferred by a natural healer (one without any spiritual orientation). He heals but does not know how or why; prana simply flows through him in the form of a strong current of animal vitality, usually from the splenic center and not from any of the seven centers.

These drastic physical disciplines are often attempted today by well-intentioned aspirants; they practice celibacy, strict vegetarianism, relaxation exercises and many kinds of physical exercises, in the hope of bringing the body under control. These forms of discipline would be very good for the undeveloped and the lowest type of human being, but they are not the methods which should be employed by the average man or the practicing aspirant. Concentration upon the physical body only serves to enhance its potency and to feed its appetites and bring to the surface of consciousness that which should be securely secluded below the threshold of consciousness. The true aspirant should be occupied with emotional, not physical, control and with the effort to focus himself upon the mental plane, prior to achieving a stabilized contact with the soul.

In Atlantean times, the shift of the attention from the dense physical body to the emotional vehicle began slowly to be made. The initiate of that time began to teach his disciples that the physical body was in reality only an automaton, and that it was the desire body, and the nature and quality of their habitual desires which should be considered if purity was to be attained. It was in this race therefore, that personal magnetism first began slowly to show itself. The early and the primitive Lemurian was not in the least magnetic as we understand the word, but in Atlantean days a certain measure of magnetic radiation showed itself, though not to the extent which is now frequent and possible. The first dim outline of the halo could be seen around the heads of advanced Atlanteans. Magnetic purity became a possibility and a goal, but was dependent upon emotional control and the purification of the desire nature; this produced automatically a much greater measure of purity in the dense physical vehicle than the Lemurian initiate ever achieved. Diseases of the body became more subtle and complex, and the first psychological diseases appeared and the various ills which are definitely based upon the emotions. With this type of difficulty we have dealt in an earlier part of this treatise. The healer in those days worked through the solar plexus center and (if an initiate) through the heart. There was still no magnetic area or field of energy in the head.

Today, in our Aryan race, magnetic purity is not dependent upon the physical disciplines.
from ESOTERIC HEALING Page. 578-580
This rule (Rule 6 for Applicants) might be summed up in the trite instruction to each disciple that he be strictly vegetarian. The lower nature becomes clogged and heavy, and the inner blaze cannot shine forth when meat is included in the diet. Aspirants can choose to eat meat or not as they prefer, but at a certain stage upon the path it is essential that all meat eating of every kind be stopped, and the strictest attention must be paid to diet. A disciple must confine himself to vegetables, grains, fruits and nuts. Only thus can he build the type of physical body which can stand the entry of the real man who has stood in his subtler bodies before the Initiator. Should he not do this, and should it be possible for him to take initiation without having thus prepared himself, the physical body would be shattered by the energy pouring through the newly stimulated centers, and dire danger to the brain, the spine, or the heart would eventuate.

It must, of course, here be recognized that no hard or fast rules can ever be laid down, except the initial one that for all applicants for initiation meat, fish, and fermented liquors of all kinds, as well as the use of tobacco, are absolutely forbidden.
The Sixth Rule (for Initiates) is the polar opposite of the rule as it was given to Applicants. There, if you will refer to my exegesis of that rule in Initiation, Human and Solar, you will find that the objective of that rule was physical purification with the emphasis upon the need for a vegetarian diet at a certain stage of the preparatory process. The reasons for such a discipline were two in number: purification and the necessity for the applicant (at that stage) to refrain from the sharing of the benefits incident to the so-called "taking of life". But, my brother, can one take life? I think not. Life IS. Naught in heaven or on earth can touch or affect it. This is a point oft forgotten. The rule as given to applicants consequently concerns their ability to accept and adhere to a self-imposed discipline. Through the means of that discipline, the control of the physical and astral natures is demonstrated by the applicant to himself and the effect of the discipline is to reveal to him certain inevitable and basic weaknesses, such as the control of the animal nature, the powerful imposition of desire, a sense of superiority, of pride and separativeness. His ability to sustain the discipline and his appreciation of himself for so doing, plus a sense of superiority to those who are not so disciplined are all indicative of essential weaknesses.

His fanaticism, latent or expressed, emerges in his consciousness with clarity and -- when he is sincere -- he is conscious of having brought about a measure of physical purity but, at the same time, he is left with the awareness that he perhaps may be starting with the outer and the obvious when he should be beginning with the inner and with that which is not so easily contacted and expressed. This is a great and most important lesson.

The true disciple does not need vegetarianism or any of the physical disciplines, for the reason that none of the fleshly appetites have any control over him. His problem lies elsewhere and it is a waste of his time and energy to keep his eyes focussed on "doing the right thing" physically because he does it automatically and his spiritual habits offset all the lower physical tendencies; automatically these developed habits enable him to surmount the appeal of those desires which work out in the fulfillment of lower desire. No one is accepted in the circle of the Ashram (which is the technical name given to the status of those who are on the eve of initiation or who are being prepared for initiation) whose physical appetites are in any danger of controlling him. This is a statement of fact. This applies particularly and specifically to those preparing for the first major initiation. Those preparing for the second initiation have to demonstrate their freedom from the slavery of ideas, from a fanatical reaction to any truth or spiritual leader, and from the control of their aspiration which -- through the intensity of its application -- would sacrifice time, people and life itself to the call of the Initiator -- or rather, to be correct, to what they believe to be His call.

..... Many Disciples today who should be functioning in the Hall of Wisdom are still fanatically working in the Hall of Knowledge and are still so earnest over the physical disciplines that the disciplines of the soul are ignored. I would ask you to reflect on this.
from TREATISE ON THE SEVEN RAYS, Vol. V "The Rays and the Initiations"
 Faith is of three kinds; it is according to the innate character of embodied beings, either of Substance, or of Force, or of Darkness.
Everyone is according to the nature of his faith... For man is formed of faith; what his faith is, that verily is he.

Those of Substance worship bright deities; those of Force, deities greedy and passionate; the others, the men of Darkness, worship the hosts of darkness, the spirits of night.

And the favorite food of each is also divided threefold. Learn the divisions of these:

Foods that increase the life-force, power, strength, health, well-being, happiness, foods that are savory, mild, strengthening, vigorous, are dear to the men of Substance.

Foods that are acrid, bitter, salt, over-hot, sharp, stinging and burning, are the foods dear to the men of Force, and bring pain and sorrow and sickness.

Foods that are stale, whose savor has departed, which are decayed and corrupt, things that are leavings and impure are the choice of the men of Darkness.
from BHAGAVAD GITA, Book XVII, Charles Johnston's translation

of terms encountered in your Reading Assignment and which may be new to you:
ANIMA MUNDI - The life and soul of the One Life which permeates all and in which all embodied existences live and move and have their beings. The "Soul of the World", the divine essence which permeates, animates and informs all, from the smallest atom of matter to man and God.

ARMAGEDDON - The battle at the end of the sixth root race, before the emergence of the seventh root race, fought on the battleground of the three lower bodies. A preliminary form of this battle will be fought at the close of the sixth root race.

DEVA - Angel or archangel. All such lives are organized to work as builders of all forms on all planes. They exist in varied grades paralleling but distinct from the various stages of human evolution. Devas, the Greater Builders, control and work through the elementals: the Lesser Builders, who are blind (unconscious) forces obedient to sound.

1) harmlessness
2) truth
3) abstention from theft
4) abstention from incontinence
5) abstention from avarice.
The five commandments constitute the universal duty and are irrespective of race, place, time or emergency.

1) internal and external purification
2) contentment
3) fiery aspiration
4) spiritual reading
5) devotion to Ishvara.

MAHABHARATA - The "great war" celebrated in the epic poem of India, which includes the Ramayana and the Bhagavad Gita.

PRANA - The breath of life, the vital principle which, circulating through the etheric web, enables the One Life to animate form.

PRANAYAMA - (Prana=life force and yama=abstention from wrong acts) Right control of the life-force by suppression or regulation of the breath. It is the science which leads to proper organization of the etheric body.

SENZAR - Mystical name for the secret sacerdotal language, or the "mystery speech" of the initiated Adepts, all over the world.

SHAMBALLA - The center of the invisible government of the planet. The city of the Gods. It is located on the etheric plane, not the dense physical plane.

TETRAKTYS - 1+2+3+4=10, a sacred formula usually attributed to Pythagoras but more ancient in origin; a variation of the Tetragrammaton indicating the nature of deity.
One symbolized The One, a dot or circle.
Two symbolized duality, a line.
Three symbolized surface power, the triangle, energy ascending or descending.
Four symbolized the solid cube and the world of physical form.
Together they equal ten, the number of perfection or completion.