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Series 2:


Study Set 6
The Probationary Path and Discipleship


Seed Thought
Reading Assignment
Work to be Completed
Letter from Teaching Staff
Discriminator, or Man with a Mustache
Krishnamurti on Discrimination
On Synthesis
Synthesis: A Characteristic of the New Group of World Servers

Circumstances and environment offer no true obstacle to the spiritual life.

Reading Assignment:


Q) What is the difference between a fine discrimination and the tendency to be hypercritical? What do the words (discrimination and hypercriticism) mean to you? How would you compare these two faculties of mind?

You won't find the answers to these questions in the study material. In thinking out the answers for yourself, and in learning to express your thinking more clearly, you will be calling into use brain cells hitherto unused. This bringing into use of new brain cells is an important fact of esoteric training.

(a) A scattered mind
(b) A focused mind
(c) An open mind
(d) A narrow mind

Pick several pairs of the above listed states of mind and compare them with the others.
For instance, compare: (a) with (b); then compare (a) with (c); (b) with (d) etc.
Select as many combinations as you like.

By "compare" we mean how are they the same? How do they differ? How do they relate to each other?

Dear Fellow Student,

To each mountain climbing aspirant there occurs a period known as a plateau. From this barren, naked spot where no seed will grow we see through tears that radiant city at the peak. The perfection of its pure, simple beauty draws us like a magnet and we yearn to make it our dwelling place. In quietude we contemplate the joy our services would carry to mankind from the heights of our future abode. But as the north wind becomes increasingly strong we are harshly reminded of where we are; and a cloud, incomprehensibly dark and cold, obscures our heavenly vision.

What happened?  Why the interlude? Our yearning had set up a response; ask and yea shall receive. It takes time to assimilate that which we receive. As the new dislodges the old which we have lived with for so long, we tend to resist. The old ways become very dear to us and we fight to keep them alive, hence the plateau.

The spiritual ascent is similar to climbing a physical mountain. During his ascent, the climber pitches camp for the night, cooks his meal, takes care of his housekeeping duties and assesses his gear. Tomorrow and the next day he will need certain pieces of equipment for the climb. That which he can no longer use he leaves behind. He sacrifices these pieces no matter how well they have served him. His clear thinking would not allow him to carry his canoe to the top! It had just today carried him across his last mountain lake, but tomorrow it would be excess baggage. In his log he jots down the experiences of the day; and for those -who follow after him he advises a change of route to avoid an avalanche, a different piece of equipment to better serve the purpose. He projects himself into tomorrow and organizes his climb. And then he sleeps, awakening refreshed, ready to live his theory of the night before. And so it is with us.

From this point of view the plateau becomes the pause that refreshes. As we assess the past from our broader perspective, we realize the value of well established regularity in meditation and the spiritually strengthening effect of a sacred place in our home. Now we reap the rewards of persistent effort. Day by day, month after month, our patient careful following of the Meditation Outline (see section (I) in PRELIMINARY MANUAL ON GROUP DISCIPLINES) has brought into existence in the place where we meditate each morning, an etheric temple. When we enter that temple in meditation, we meet daily on the plane of mind with our group brothers. Seated with ankles crossed, hands folded, and the mind's eye turned to the assigned meditation, we know the loving fellowship of our brothers. As it permeates our very being we realize the healing quality of true soul relationships which ask nothing in return. As our old attitudes fall away we reach a point of total acceptance. We perceive the blueprint for the palace on the mountain top and see that the palace is built from below upwards, with all the workers sharing the knowledge of the blueprint, hence working in loving co-operation.

Our earlier bumbling blocks to progress which we deplored on the plateau, we now perceive as building blocks for our palace in that radiant city on the mountain. Plateaus point up the giant steps in our climb up that mountain; and those giant steps build in spiritual muscle which takes us into the very presence of the One Initiator.

We are now entering the last third of the twentieth century which the Tibetan teacher says is the beginning of a most interesting period. How wonderful! Dare we think that we could possibly be a part, even a tiny part of the entourage of the Great Lord Himself upon His return?

The Tibetan says that the keynote of this Teacher of love and unity will be regeneration through love poured forth on all. Active groups, worldwide, will work consciously for unity, co-operation and brotherhood in every department of life.

The Tibetan also says, "IN THIS WORK MANY HAVE THEIR SHARE, PROVIDED THEY DEMONSTRATE THE NECESSARY ENDURANCE". Let us use those plateaus to consciously build in endurance, and use the sensitizing disciplines to help us see our place of duty in the planetary picture, and thus consciously aid in the reappearance of the Christ. For wouldn't we all like to think that we have incarnated this time to help prepare the way for the coming of His Feet?

With understanding love from fellow plateauers,

The Staff of ARCANA


The word discrimination is a well-known term which has gained an inauspicious reputation as its popularity has increased. The opinion of fashionable thinking today tags one basic, though inaccurate, meaning to this word: bigotry. This is unfortunate for the public at large because it prevents people from giving due consideration to a faculty of mind which is necessary to clear thinking.

The meaning given to discrimination in ,WEBSTER'S NEW WORLD DICTIONARY is: "1. a discriminating; making or perceiving differences and distinctions. 2. the ability to make or perceive distinctions; perception; discernment. 3. a showing of difference or favoritism in treatment."

The first meaning suggests a clear distinguishing between one thing and another. This distinguishing may be of important and obvious differences between widely contrasting things or it may be of minute and subtle differences between similar things. Discernment, in the second meaning given, ".. implies a making out or recognizing of something visually or mentally." While perception ".. implies recognition by means of any of the senses, and with reference to mental apprehension, often implies keen understanding or insight." The third meaning given concerns the act of choosing to treat one thing more favorably than another. But even this meaning does not necessarily have to have a negative connotation. A doctor rightfully chooses to treat healthy body tissue more favorably than unhealthy body tissue. A minister rightfully chooses to treat the subject of salvation more favorably than the subject of sin. A philosopher rightfully chooses to treat the world of ideas more favorably than the world of materialism. Discrimination, therefore, does not mean bigotry.

To clarify the issue, let us consider the word bigotry and its root word bigot. One of the sources of the term bigot is the Spanish, "hombre de bigote," which literally means,

". man with a mustache hence man of spirit, firm character, obstinate person."

Again, quoting from WEBSTER'S NEW WORLD DICTIONARY, the meaning given is: "1. a person who holds blindly and intolerantly to a particular creed, opinion, etc.

1. a narrow-minded, intolerant person." A few lines down, the meaning given for bigotry is: ". bigoted behavior, attitude, or act; intolerance."

How should these two words be compared in the mind of the sincere student of occult teaching? The word bigot obviously refers to prejudice -- prejudgment -- a judgment or opinion formed before the facts are known. This type of judgment is often unfavorable, and marked by suspicion, fear, intolerance, or hatred.

Discrimination, however, refers to becoming acquainted with, understanding, and adhering to eternal principles based upon universal law. Discrimination applies directly to the student's desire to be of service. He must understand that all service is rooted in observation, discrimination, and concentration. As Buddha explained, the first step to being of service is to help the person who is in need; the second step is to help the person who is helping others; and the third, and highest, step is to become a dedicated server of' eternal principles.

Before an individual can be of service he must be able to observe the need -- that is, he must not only see the outer circumstances, he must have the ability to see through things, so that the cause of the circumstances may be correctly appraised and wisely dealt with.

In dealing with such causes, the faculty of discrimination organizes things according to their value; placing that which is primary, first; that which is secondary, second; and so on. The use of discrimination helps the server to differentiate between the doer and his deed; between the thinker and his thought; between the soul and its personality; between helpfulness and interference.

Having discovered the path of service through observation and discrimination, the next step is to concentrate upon the principles to be applied in order to elevate and integrate the life of the server making him more effective in his ability to serve. To concentrate simply means to focus all of the energies upon the goal to be accomplished. For example, if the individual knows himself to be intolerant, and if the principle to be applied is that of justice, the person must see to it that he is fair with himself and all others even in the smallest matter. He must never for a single moment consciously permit himself to lapse into the least degree of prejudice or injustice. Discrimination will point out to what degree the server possesses the qualities of order, justice, truth, love, mercy, wisdom, etc., thus making him more aware of those qualities which may be deficient in his relationship with others.

It, therefore, seems inevitable that the practice of discrimination would, instead of involving the individual in bigotry, do much to weed this undesirable trait out of his character.

Anyone for a shave?

A Member of the Staff


Krishnamurti's first book, AT THE FEET OF THE MASTER, written when he was a young boy, has led thousands of people in many lands to enter upon the Path of Holiness. The book describes the four qualifications for this Path. Of the first qualification he writes as follows:

The first of these qualifications is discrimination; and this is usually taken as the discrimination between the real and the unreal which leads men to enter the Path. It is this, but it is also much more; and it is to be practiced, not only at the beginning of the Path but at every step of it every day until the end.

In all the world there are only two kinds of people -- those who know, and those who do not know; and this knowledge is the thing which matters. What religion a man holds, to what race he belongs -- these things are not important; the really important thing is this knowledge -- the knowledge of God's plan for men. For God has a plan and that plan is evolution. So, because he knows, he is on God's side, standing for good and resisting evil, working for evolution and not for selfishness.

Those who are on His side know why they are here and what they should do, and they are trying to do it; all the others do not yet know what they should do, and so they often act foolishly, and try to invent ways for themselves which they think will be pleasant for themselves, not understanding that all are one, and that therefore only what the One wills can ever be really pleasant for any one. They are following the unreal instead of the real. Until they learn to distinguish between these two, they have not ranged themselves on God's side, and so this discrimination is the first step.

But even when the choice is made, you must still remember that of the real and the unreal there are many varieties; and discrimination must still be made between the right and the wrong, the important and the unimportant, the useful and the useless, the true and the false, the selfish and the unselfish.

Between the right and wrong it should not be difficult to choose, for those who wish to follow the Master have already decided to take the right at all costs. But the body and the man are two, and the man's will is not always what the body wishes. When your body wishes something, stop and think whether you really wish it. For you are God, and you will only what God wills; but you must dig deep down into yourself to find the God within

you, and listen to His voice, which is your voice. Do not mistake your bodies for yourself -- neither the physical body, nor the astral, nor the mental. Each one of them will pretend to be the Self, in order to gain what it wants. But you must know them all, and know yourself as their master.

Between right and wrong, Occultism knows no compromise. At whatever apparent cost, that which is right you must do, that which is wrong you must not do, no matter what the ignorant may think or say. You must study deeply the hidden laws of Nature, and when you know them arrange your life according to them, using always reason and commonsense.

You must discriminate between the important and the unimportant. Firm as a rock where right and wrong are concerned, yield always to others in things which do not matter. For you must be always gentle and kindly, reasonable and accommodating, leaving to others the same full liberty which you need for yourself.

Try to see what is worth doing: and remember that you must not judge by the size of the thing. A small thing which is directly useful in the Master's work is far better worth doing than a large thing which the world would call good. You must distinguish not only the useful from the useless, but the more useful from the less useful. To feed the poor is a good and noble and useful work; yet to feed their souls is nobler and more useful than to feed their bodies. Any rich man can feed the body, but only those who know can feed the soul. If you know, it is your duty to help others to know.

However wise you may be already, on this Path you have much to learn; so much that here also there must be discrimination, and you must think carefully what is worth learning. All knowledge is useful, and one day you will have all knowledge; but while you have only part, take care that it is the most useful part. God is Wisdom as well as Love; and the more wisdom you have the more you can manifest of Him. Study then, but study first that which will most help you to help others. Work patiently at your studies, not that men may think you wise, but because only the wise man can be wisely helpful. However much you wish to help, if you are ignorant you may do more harm than good.

You must distinguish between truth and falsehood; you must learn to be true all through, in thought and word and deed.

In thought first; and that is not easy, for there are in the world many untrue thoughts, many foolish superstitions, and no one who is enslaved by them can make progress. Therefore you must not hold a thought just because many other people hold it, nor because it has been believed for centuries, nor because it is written in some book which men think sacred; you must think of the matter for yourself, and judge for yourself whether it is reasonable. Remember that though a thousand men agree upon a subject, if they know nothing about that subject their opinion is of no value. He who would walk upon the Path must learn to think for himself, for superstition is one of the greatest evils in the world, one of the fetters from which you must utterly free yourself.

Your thought about others must be true; you must not think of them what you do not know. Do not suppose that they are always thinking of you. If a man does something which you think will harm you, or says something which you think applies to you, do not think at once:

"He meant to injure me." Most probably he never thought of you at all, for each soul has its own troubles and its thoughts turn chiefly around itself. If a man speak angrily to you , do not think: "He hates me, he wishes to wound me." Probably someone or something else has made him angry, and because he happens to meet you he turns his anger upon you. He is acting foolishly, for all anger is foolish, but you must not therefore think untruly of him.

You must be true in speech too -- accurate and without exaggeration. Never attribute motives to another; only his Master knows his thoughts, and he may be acting from reasons which have never entered your mind. If you hear a story against any one, do not repeat it; it may not be true, and even if it is, it is kinder to say nothing. Think well before speaking, lest you should fall into inaccuracy.

Be true in action; never pretend to be other than you are, for all pretense is a hindrance to the pure light of truth, which should shine through you as sunlight shines through clear glass.

You must discriminate between the selfish and the unselfish. For selfishness has many forms, and when you think you have finally killed it in one of them, it arises in another as strongly as ever. But by degrees you will become so full of thought for the helping of others that there will be no room, no time, for any thought about yourself.

You must discriminate in yet another way. Learn to distinguish the God in everyone and everything, no matter how evil he or it may appear on the surface. You can help your brother through that which you have in common with him, and that is the Divine Life; learn how to arouse that in him, learn how to appeal to that in him; so shall you save your brother from wrong.


You may find it helpful to make a close study of certain words and terms associated with both philosophy and science to determine the meaning given to them by each of these schools. For example, the word synthesis, while philosophically indicating a natural and lawful coming together of seemingly diverse parts to make up an inherent whole, scientifically refers to something produced by chemical combination rather than of natural origin, and is, therefore, artificial.

We cannot afford to think of this word exclusively in its scientific sense, for the world today is in desperate need of a new doctrine based upon the principle of synthesis. The supreme need of our time is to blend the diverse interests of men into a common purpose. The philosophy of this generation must reveal the interdependence of the East and the West, the white man and the black, the mighty and the weak. We are in need of a basic premise upon which all will be agreed because it will be based upon the mutual understanding of the underlying unity of all mankind.

This fundamental unity must come to be realized by those whose power and influence shape the destiny of the millions of lives in every earthly kingdom. We, the human family, must finally discover all things within the Soul and the Soul within all things. We must overcome the idea that the Soul can rival its own nature. For man to compete against man is as senseless as heart competing against brain, or lungs against liver. In the perfect functioning of the physical body all parts are of equal significance, the great and the small alike. In the perfect functioning of the spiritual body of mankind all souls are of equal significance.

The realization of equality leads naturally to the higher realization of identity, because, in fact, equality is based upon identity. This realization of identity makes each man's needs the needs of all, and each man's accomplishments the accomplishments of all; for a while

the needs and accomplishments may differ in their outer appearances, inwardly they express a common life, in diverse forms, evolving through the ages.

Students of the ageless wisdom soon discover that its philosophy is a synthetic teaching in that it includes all branches of knowledge within its scope of instruction. The study of ancient philosophy will not necessarily lead to specialization in any particular field. It is more likely to lead to a broader interest in and an enlightened appreciation of all spheres of culture and learning. The study of karma -- the law of cause and effect -- for example, will inevitably arouse an interest in the intrinsic and exacting laws of science, mathematics, medicine, religion, jurisprudence, astronomy, music, art, and so forth. Once the student gains a basic understanding of the inflexible principles supporting the various departments of man's earthly endeavors he becomes aware of the underlying unity of all existence. Out of the philosophical contemplation of the synthesis of life is born the camaraderie of the spirit and identity of the soul.

Through the daily practice of meditation man may gradually elevate his consciousness to the point where he clearly realizes that he and the many are identical. Having attained this state of consciousness, he no longer is exclusively himself. He becomes one with the many. He thinks in terms of the many and he seeks to serve the many. He discovers that the "I am" within himself is the same as the "I am" within all others. He seeks to unite with all others in a common purpose. The outer expression of his life reflects the inner process of synthesis -- parts coming together. There is a gradual annihilation of the sense of diversity. Thus, as soul quality permeates his every thought and word and action, his life becomes synthetic -- whole.

A Member of the Staff


On the physical plane, without any exoteric organization, ceremonials, or outer form, there

is integrating -- silently, steadily and powerfully -- a group of men and women who will supersede eventually the previous hierarchical effort. They will supersede all churches, all groups, and all organizations and will eventually constitute that oligarchy of elect souls who will govern and guide the world.

They are being gathered out of every nation, but are gathered and chosen, not by the watching Hierarchy or by any Master, but by the power of their response to the spiritual opportunity, tide and note. They are emerging out of every group and church and party, and will therefore be truly representative. This they do, not from the pull of their own ambition and prideful schemes, but through the very selflessness of their service. They are finding their way to the top in every department of human knowledge, not because of the clamour they make about their own ideas, discoveries and theories, but because they are so inclusive in their outlook and so wide in their interpretations of truth that they see the hand of God in all happenings, His imprint upon all forms and His note sounding forth through every channel of communication between the subjective reality and the objective outer form. They are of all races; they speak all languages; they embrace all religions, all sciences and all philosophies. Their characteristics are synthesis, inclusiveness, intellectuality and fine mental development. They own to no creed, save the creed of Brotherhood, based on the one Life. They recognize no authority, save that of their own souls, and no Master save the group they seek to serve, and humanity whom they deeply love. They have no barriers set up around themselves, but are governed by a wide tolerance, and a sane mentality and sense of proportion. They look with open eyes upon the world of men and recognize those whom they can lift and to whom they can stand as the Great Ones stand, -- lifting, teaching and helping. They recognize their peers and equals, and know each other when they meet and stand shoulder to shoulder with their fellow workers in the work of salvaging humanity. It does not matter if their terminologies differ, their interpretations of symbols and scriptures vary, or their words are few or many. They see their group members in all fields -- political, scientific, religious, and economic -- and give to them the sign of recognition and the hand of a brother. They recognize likewise those who have passed ahead of them upon the ladder of evolution and hail Them Teacher, and seek to learn from Them that which They are so eager to impart.

Let me tell you this -- this group now in process of forming, will in time develop its own "yoga" and school of training which will gradually supersede that of the raja yoga and bhakti yoga schools. The method of training will only be given to those who have trained the mind and learnt to control the emotions. Hence the key to what is now going on. The mode of training will be no easy short cut to the goal. Only the intelligent can attain it and only coordinated personalities will be eligible to the teaching. The keynote of the new yoga will be synthesis; its objective will be conscious development of the intuitive faculty. This development will fall into two categories: first, the development of the intuition and of true spiritual perception, and secondly, the trained utilization of the mind as an interpreting agent.

In the book AGNI YOGA, some of the teaching to be given has filtered through but only from the angle of the will aspect. No book has as yet made its appearance which gives in any form whatsoever the "yoga of synthesis". Ibid. 429

Each of the great initiations is but the synthesis of the smaller ones, and only as man seeks ever to expand his consciousness in the affairs of daily life can he expect to achieve those later stages which are but culminations of the many earlier. Students must get rid of the idea that if they are "very good and altruistic" suddenly some day they will stand before the Great Lord. They are putting effect before cause. Goodness and altruism grow out of realization and service, and holiness of character is the outcome of those expansions of consciousness which a man brings about within himself through strenuous effort and endeavor. Therefore it is here and now that man can prepare himself for initiation .. He becomes sensitive to the voice of his higher self, thus working off karma under the intelligent guidance of his own Ego. He becomes conscious, via the Ego, of the vibration emanating from his Master; he learns to feel it ever more and more, and to respond to it ever more fully. Finally, he becomes increasingly sensitive to the joys and pains and sorrows of those he daily contacts; he feels them to be his joys and pains and sorrows, and yet he is not incapacitated thereby.


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