In Atlantean days, the plane whereon humanity received its major direction or unfoldment was such that the emotional, impulsive nature and the field of maturing desire became dominantly active. Then the real difficulty within the realm of maya started. Hitherto only two energies had been felt upon the etheric plane: the energy of life itself, via the sutratma, as it passed through the etheric plane in order to produce exoteric livingness upon the physical plane, and secondly, the energy of the Hierarchy as a whole, producing a slow, broad, though somewhat negative organisation of the prevalent forces. But then a third and most potent force, generated by humanity, was beginning to make an impact upon the etheric forces. Men were beginning, at this early period of human history, to desire, and this desire was not, as hitherto, of a purely animal nature and hence an emanation from dense physical substance (and, therefore, not related to a principle), but it embodied a new type of energy and was—in reality—man's first expression of the highest divine aspect. Desire is the lowest reflection within the human consciousness of the will aspect.
This potent vibration of desire was evoked by men who were as yet without any spiritual vision of any kind; they were purely material in their instinctive reactions (and rightly so at that particular time), and these reactions attracted the attention of certain purely evil energies or Beings. These Beings availed themselves of the situation in order to satisfy their desire for power—again a distortion of the will or first aspect. Thus the Black Lodge was founded. It fed upon human desire and resembled a vast overshadowing vampire. It vitiated human living and increased the growth of desire far beyond normal expectancy or hierarchical planning, thus creating false goals and standards, building a barrier between the lowest planetary centre, Humanity, and the "middle point" or centre, the Hierarchy. It will be apparent, therefore, that the following energies were let loose within the realm of maya:
1. The instinctive force of animal desire. This was not wrong in itself and is subject to negation in time, and normally is controlled.
2. The stream of descending life, and this in two aspects:
a. The life aspect, as it bestows being.
b. The life aspect, as it preserves form.
3. The steady impact of the attractive power of the soul, implemented by the Hierarchy and increasing in potency as time elapses.
4. The impelling power of material desire, focussed in the Black Lodge, both feeding human desire and drawing a form of life from the massed desire of humanity.
5. Human development along astral lines, expressing itself as certain well-defined energies or force directions:
a. Material desire for possessions.
b. Desire for that which is owned by others. To this the commandment "Thou shalt not steal" has reference.
c. Personality aims and ambitions; these constitute a form of focussed desire of a compelling, life-determining nature.
d. Aspiration, leading to vision and to the mystic Way.
e. Purification, the conscious handling of desire upon the Probationary Path.
f. Initiation. The first two initiations are taken, as you know, upon the astral plane, and bring complete release both from that plane of glamour and from the realm of maya.
All throughout this period, the organisation of the etheric plane has been going on, subject to the impact of energies and forces as listed above, plus certain other energies (latent or potent) with which we have no immediate concern. Both the great White Lodge and its opponent, the Black Lodge, increased steadily in potency. Gradually the forces took organised form and the four "veils of maya" or the seven separating energies became well-defined. When this differentiation was complete, two great planetary events (if I might call them so) were consummated:
1. The seven centres in the human body (five up the spine and two in the head) were esoterically "in shape." The seven lotuses or chakras were functioning, some powerfully, whilst others remained unawakened. These seven were now visible to clairvoyant vision.
2. The seven Ashrams of the Masters in Their seven groups (conditioned by the seven Rays) appeared, motivated from Shamballa, organised at this time upon the higher levels of the mental plane, and gradually supplied with personnel from the ranks of humanity itself, as one by one men achieved initiation.
Paralleling this activity and implemented, fed and sustained by the Black Lodge, was the appearance of glamour upon the astral plane, and to this thickening glamour humanity steadily contributed and responded. Then as evolution progressed and the human intellect began to make itself felt, "the four veils of maya" and the great "curtain of glamour" began to condition the mental plane. Illusion then appeared, and the distinction between truth and falsehood, between good and evil, and between the left hand Path and the Path of Initiation became apparent to the advanced humanity of the time. These distinctions had always been known to the Hierarchy, but now human beings were faced with them and recognised them: the great potency of intellectual choice confronted humanity and the Aryan race (as that name is correctly used to denote modern intelligent humanity) came into being.
As the ages slipped away, men contributed more and more both to the problem and to the solution of maya, of glamour and of illusion. The potency of human thought began to make itself felt; men in increasing numbers sought the Path of Liberation and so passed on into the Hierarchy; they became active and instructed opponents of the Black Lodge and intelligent wielders of energy as it can be projected downwards and used to destroy the four veils, to dissipate glamour and to dispel illusion. Humanity responded more and more sensitively to impacts—both subjective and objective—and their cooperation began to be [Page 189] effective and useful to the Hierarchy, necessitating some changes in hierarchical techniques, releasing hierarchical workers for other and different activities, and greatly complicating the problem and menacing the safety and the status of the Black Lodge.
One of the results of this mental development was the sending of the disciples out into the world of men; they issued forth in large numbers, and whilst preserving their conscious link with the Ashram with which they were affiliated, they could be trusted to live among men as men and to bring their potency to bear upon the problem of maya and glamour, doing so from below upwards. This work had to be done by disciples who could stand under pressure, who would, in spite of all difficulties, live nobly and prepare for and take the initiation which was for them their next step. Several hundred years ago, only a few could be so trusted. Today (1944) there are many in every land, though there are very few in Germany, owing to the concentration in that unhappy land of the power of the Black Lodge and also to the misuse of the Shamballa force. This force has been isolated and its destructive aspect utilised in Germany, and this has been done without the paralleling activity of the love energy of the Hierarchy. It is this fact that has made it impossible (since 1933) for disciples of the White Lodge to enter. Elsewhere, however, the concentration of active disciples is greater than at any other time in human history.
I have emphasised this point because our second phrase, "let the group widen all the rents within those veils," has reference here to disciples and the groups which they have everywhere gathered around themselves. It is these groups, many in number and differing in ray potency, which will lead the world through the post-war period into the New Age. It is their pressure upon the physical plane which has precipitated the crisis between the great White Lodge and the Black Lodge. Their work is to let in the light, and where the light goes the Black Lodge must fade out and disappear. It feeds on glamour and illusion and uses the veils of maya as a protection. Students would do well to avoid naming and differentiating the four veils. The veils themselves are transient and variable. They differ as they come under the impact of the seven rays. It is not possible or practical to distinguish them one from the other, except from the angle of the Hierarchy, and their destruction today (though it was not so earlier) has to come from the dense physical plane, and the attack must be made by personalities and individualities dwelling in physical bodies. This is a somewhat new mode of approach, for hitherto only a very few disciples and initiates have been able so to work. Today, hundreds and thousands of disciples are working, and thus learning to use the ancient rules for work within the veils of maya. Let me here give you some of these rules or formulas as they are to be found in The Masters' Book of Rules and as I can translate them. Some are untranslatable:
1. Focus the force at the jewel's point and find the veil that it can touch.
2. Carry the force from point to point and then project.
3. Look for the energy in form behind the veil attacked. A rent within the veil exists. Find it and see.
4. A path lies through the veils, giving access to the several courts. Walk on that path, wielding destruction and clearing out the refuse in the court. The court of the money changers is the last.
5. Meet the descending forces and find the current which is yours.
6. Watch for the evil stream of force which seeks to mend the rents. Project upon that stream the energy of which you know. It led you from the Ashram into the veils. Use it and drive the evil back unto the astral plane.
7. Work with the Sound and know it as the source of power. Use first the Voice; then use the O.M., and later use the Sound. All three together will suffice.
There are other rules, but these will give you the major recognitions needed to do this type of work; these are the rules which the adventuring disciple needs to know. They have been used, and should not be interpreted by the lower mind, but with the aid of the initiate consciousness.
The second phrase runs as follows:
2. Let the group widen all the rents within those veils and thus let in the light.
We come now to a definite group injunction or instruction. The aid of the group is invoked almost in the form of an order. The point of this formulated injunction is that in the new era and in the interlude between the past (wherein prominent disciples worked within the veils of maya) and the New Age (wherein humanity itself will consciously function upon the etheric plane), the work of the esoteric groups, under the direction of the New Group of World Servers, is needed. They will have the capacity to recognise the distinction between the various veils. This is the next needed development. The groups must focus the energy at the very centre of the group being; the group must carry the force from point to point and from veil to veil; the group must project the destroying energy and become unitedly aware of what each veil hides; the group must perform the activities (seven in all) of purification; the group must meet, accept and distribute the descending spiritual energy which will finally consummate the work done. The group—through the use of that descending current—will drive the forces of evil back on to the astral plane and will together work with the three aspects of the first ray. These are typified by the Voice, the O.M. and the Sound.
In the above you have in reality a great formula for group activity and also a potent method (once the group can unitedly work together) for the cleansing and the re-organisation of the forces active in the world today. These forces are now raging and running wild; their effect is almost tangible (being in etheric substance) and factually and visibly present under the control of the Black Lodge. This Lodge uses the voices of lying propaganda, the Word of death (which I shall not give to you for the O.M., the Word of Life, suffices), and the Sound of the densest aspect in manifestation—the sound of power in the mineral kingdom. This constitutes an unparalleled condition and creates a unique concentration of the Forces of Good and the forces of evil upon the etheric plane. The task of all groups which are working under the Masters of the Wisdom is to let in the light, utilising those rents which already exist within the Veils of maya.
Three major rents within these Veils might here be noted. They are symbolically referred to in The Bible, though their essential meaning has not been noted or comprehended.
The first major rent was made by the establishment of the Law of God, and this is portrayed for us symbolically in The Old Testament in the story of Moses. He went up into the Mount of God and there received the Ten Commandments. This is the expression of divine law as adapted for humanity and as needed in the projection of those forces which will destroy, purify and reorganise. Moses, the Lawgiver, penetrated to one of the halls within the Veils of maya, and there encountered the glory of the Lord. This was of such a radiance that, as the Old Commentary puts it:
"He who entered among the first to penetrate within the veils absorbed the light and knew not how to pass it on. Neither he nor they were ready, but the light was there and likewise the two directing eyes. But only one can use, project and send the light upon its mission. The other must be blinded, and of this fact the Lawgiver was aware. He therefore veiled the light, assuming towards this end a fragment of that which he had helped destroy, and so descended from the mountain top, back to the darkness of the earth."
The second, and much the most important rent, was made by the power of the second aspect when the Christ subjected the Master Jesus to the fourth initiation and Their joint influence was triumphant over death. [Note that the Christ and Jesus are two separate entities.] Then we read that the veil of the Temple was split in twain from the top to the bottom. The lawgiver assisted at the first rending as the climax to the third initiation, and there was a somewhat similar process of glorification. A similar event took place at the Transfiguration of the Christ, overshadowing or rather working through the Master Jesus. But at the triumph over death and through the Great Renunciation or Crucifixion episode, a great and major rending took place. The Law, when rightly kept and interpreted, defines man's attitude upon the mental plane and serves to make a rent in the etheric veil, separating the etheric vehicle in its fourfold aspect from the dense physical form. The rending of the second veil at the time of the Crucifixion let in light on to the second level of the etheric plane, and a new type of illumination was spread abroad upon the earth. Law and Love could now penetrate into the consciousness of humanity in a new and direct manner, as the brain of man became involved through the substance of the etheric counterpart of the physical brain; the instinct to self-preservation (one of the lowest aspects of Law) and the tendency to sensitivity (feeling or emotion, one of the lowest forms of Love) could be expressed in a more comprehensive manner.
Another rending of the veil, and one of relatively minor importance, took place when Saul of Tarsus saw the glory of the Lord and was changed into Paul the Apostle. His forward moving and potent directness and sincerity, pushing along "the road to Damascus," forced him to penetrate through one of the separating veils. The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force. This force, working in Saul, drove him through the veil which prevented vision, and the rent thereby made brought him a new revelation. He was, we are told, completely blinded for three days, and this the esoteric records corroborate. This is a well-known correspondence to the three days in the tomb and one recognised by esotericists; it corresponds also to the penetration into the third heaven to which Paul testified later in his life. He realised the nature of the Law, as his later epistles demonstrate; he was brought to the feet of the Initiator through the effect of love, and thus he availed himself of the two earlier rents in the veil. Whilst thus reaching out to the light, he wrote that epistle about which so much controversy has raged—The Epistle to the Hebrews. In it the results of the rending of the third veil provide the keynote and express the first and highest aspect, as the two earlier rents lead to the revelation of the third and second divine qualities. This first aspect is seen as synthesis, as the Communion of Saints, and as related to the Lord of the World, Melchizedek. Read that epistle in the light of these remarks, and note how a great initiate endeavoured to reveal some facts, inherent in the will or power aspect. These were, however, far beyond the ken of the disciples and aspirants of the time, but can today form a true part of the realisation of humanity. Law, Love, Union or Synthesis—all these great energies have seeped into the human consciousness and now provide the platform upon which the new civilisation can be founded, the new approach to God be taken, and new human relations be implemented.
Three great rents, therefore, now exist, as well as numerous smaller and less important ones, to which no reference has been or need be made. Three great Sons of God at the moment of initiation made a major contribution to the human consciousness through their determined will-to-law, will-to-love and will-to-synthesis. Mankind was thereby aided to move forward more easily along the "lighted Way," to pass through the halls of maya, aided by the light pouring through the rents made in the separating veils by perfected divine Men at the very moment of Their triumph. A fourth great rent still remains to be made as a result of the energies released and the gained good which the three earlier rents have made possible. This fourth major rent will be made by humanity itself, standing with "massed intent," focussed through the groups which are externalisations of the Ashrams of the Masters. It will therefore be made at the time that the Hierarchy takes physical shape upon the earth again.
Bear in mind the symbolical nature of this teaching. The veils are not actually existing veils in the usual sense of that term. They are in the nature of opposing forces and energies which act as inhibitory factors to the aspirant as he seeks to make progress, and to the entire human family as it moves onward upon the Path of Evolution. They are not basically related to consciousness at all, for in the majority of cases these veils "lie on the earthward side of being and not upon the side of light"; they are essentially physical forces, and although they are the result of man's own effort and activity down the ages, they are largely unrealised, unseen obstacles to his progress. They constitute the lowest concentration of forces precipitated from levels of activity other and higher than the physical, as you understand physical substance. If one might use a phrase which, even if true, is misleading, they lie between the subtle inner man, mental and astral, and his physical brain. They are that which prevents brain registration of the world of causes and of meaning. This inner world can be emotional or mental in its focus and in its force precipitation on to the etheric plane. It can be the fused result of personality integration and be a combination of energies; or it can be dominated by the effects of soul energy. These, if evoked, can penetrate occultly and drive out or break down and through the separating veiling forces, thus producing coordination eventually between soul and brain.
These veils are as curtains over the windows of vision. They prevent realisation of that which lies beyond the room or area of average or mediocre experience, and they prevent the light from penetrating.
The work of the three Sons of God referred to above is not concerned with the rending of the veils of their own interior life and forces, thus bringing about soul contact unimpeded and dear, or with the illumination of experience upon the physical plane. That had long ago been effected in these special and individual cases. Their service was rendered to humanity and They made rents in the veils which separated mankind as a whole from the higher spiritual experience and from registration of the fact of the existence of the Hierarchy. Theirs was a universal service, and made possible further human progress, for until some greater measure of light had been let in it was not possible for man to see and grasp the necessity to destroy the obstacles to light. The veils remain unperceived by the average aspirant until some light appears through the rents in the "curtain of impediment."
The glory of the Christ and the uniqueness of His accomplishment lies in the fact that He was the first to bring about the rending of the veils from "the top to the bottom." This He could do because He acted as the World Saviour, outside and independent of humanity; He was free from the aura of the human family and—again quoting the Old Commentary, as far as it is possible to translate these archaic terms:
"From above He worked and from the further side issued the force which tore its way into the separating forces, driving them in a threefold direction, from the point which is the highest, to the right and to the left, thus letting in that streaming force which resolved itself as light, as love, as lifting energy. Thus worked the One for Whom all men must wait. He is as man, but works not as a man. He works as light divine, as energy supreme and as the Saviour of the world of men."
Let me again quote from the same source and give you the ancient names of the veils:
"Next to the earthly plane is found the Veil of Impulsion and then the Hall of Concentration. To that succeeds the Veil of Distortion, related to the world of glamour as impulsion is to force. Beyond that veil is found the Hall of Choice. And then we find another veil, the Veil of Separation, and beyond it lies the Hall of Blinded Men—blinded by light but facing towards the final veil, the Veil of Aspiration. Four veils, three halls and many men."
I will leave you to make due application of this paragraph of stated truth and of condensed realisation. I would remind you that concentration is one thing to the aspirant, and a very different thing to the initiate, and that the choices made by the initiate resemble not those made by the disciple. The blinding force referred to can range all the way from the deep spiritual darkness in which the average man moves, through the blindness of which Saul of Tarsus was the exponent, up to that condition which overwhelms the highest Initiate as He awaits entrance into the Council Chamber of the Lord.
Blindness is a prelude to initiation of no matter what degree. It is only at the last and highest initiation that the "tendency to blindness" comes to a complete end. In the early stages of evolution, blindness is natural, innate, unavoidable and impenetrable. For ages man walks in the dark. Then comes the stage wherein this normal blindness is a protection, but has also entered a phase wherein it can be overcome. Technically speaking, the blindness to which I have referred is something different. From the moment when a human being catches the first, faint glimpse of the "something other" and sees himself in juxtaposition to that dimly sensed, distant reality, the blindness with which I have dealt is something imposed by the soul upon the hastening aspirant, so that the lessons of conscious experience, of discipleship, and later of initiation may be correctly assimilated and expressed; by its means, the hurrying seeker is defended from making too rapid and superficial progress. It is depth and a profound "rootedness" (if I may coin such a word) for which the inner Teacher and later the Master looks, and "occult blindness," its need, its wise handling and its final elimination are part of the curriculum imposed upon the candidate. This truth is recognised, though not truly interpreted, by the Masonic Fraternity. In one of the most important and highest initiations, the candidate enters with unblinded eyes and no hoodwink is applied. Then, halfway through the ceremony, he is blinded, and in that condition passes through the terrific tests, symbolic of a certain high stage upon the Path.
Blindness is therefore, esoterically speaking, the place of learning and is related to the eye, throat and heart doctrine. It is not related to the dim vision, the sensing of half truths and the gropings of the aspirant in the process of learning about himself, or as he visions the goal and seeks to walk the Path. That is a familiar condition and one to which all beginners are subjected and which they cannot avoid for it is inherent in their natures. Occult blindness is spiritually induced and "blacks out" the glory and the promised attainment and reward. The disciple is thrown back upon himself. All he can see is his problem, his tiny field of experience, and his—to him—feeble and limited equipment. It is to this stage that the prophet Isaiah refers when he speaks of giving to the struggling aspirant "the treasures of darkness." The beauty of the immediate, the glory of the present opportunity and the need to focus upon the task and service of the moment are the rewards of moving forward into the apparently impenetrable darkness. For the initiate, this blindness is still more esoteric; there remains for him absolutely no light whatsoever—no earth light nor any light within the three worlds at all. There is only blackness. To this the mystic has given the name "the dark night of the soul." The true dark night (of which the mystic's dark night is only a dim reflection, to speak paradoxically) marks a very exalted state of Being and stage of development. It was into the blackness and darkness that Christ penetrated as He overshadowed one of His Masters, the Master Jesus upon the Cross. This will strike a new note for many, and can only now be revealed. It is concerned with the facility with which a Master participates in the experience, subjectively realised, of the disciples whom He has prepared for initiation. It relates also to the still higher identification of the Christ with those initiates who are taking the fourth and fifth initiations, such as the Master Jesus in the experience referred to above. Christ is no longer the Initiator, but stands to the initiate as the Master does to the disciple. It is a curious phase of "identical participation," which evokes no reaction from the Master or the Master of the Masters, the Christ, except in so far as it enables the divine Participator Himself to face another area of darkness, veiling and hiding a still more supernal glory. The above paragraph is far beyond the comprehension of the average student, but will be comprehended by those whose eyes are open to be blinded.
Students must remember that the four veils upon the etheric plane are only the lower symbolic correspondences to certain great areas of divine expression, and that ever the glory must be approached through the darkness. Such is the Law. These higher veiling factors can be mentioned and enumerated, but more information concerning these mysteries, this separating darkness encountered by the initiate, may not be given:
VEIL I. That which faces the disciple as he wrestles with the Dweller on the Threshold and becomes conscious of the Angel of the Presence, though as yet he sees Him not.
VEIL II. That which the initiate encounters at the fourth initiation and which forces him to cry out in his blindness: "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me." The words uttered by the Christ at that time, and as the Participator, have been forgotten by the orthodox, though preserved by the esotericist. To them H.P.B. refers in The Secret Doctrine.
VEIL III. That mysterious blindness which overwhelms the initiate when—as the Embodiment of all the forces of the Spiritual Triad—He faces the Monad and is impelled forward by the "devastating Will" of the first aspect. Of this I may not write. It concerns the sixth and seventh initiations.
VEIL IV. That "unknown impenetrable Void, the utter darkness of negation" which Those Who are in the Council Chamber of the Lord of the World and Who are focussed in Shamballa face when the time comes for Them to "negate" our planetary life-expression and experience altogether. They must then leave behind all the seven planes of spiritual and human experience and pass onward and out into phases of Life and being for which we have no words, and of which we have no conception. They leave through the fourth veil on the cosmic physical etheric levels (on the highest plane of our seven planes) and pass on to the cosmic astral plane. There They negate its existence as They have earlier negated the existence of the astral plane, so familiar an illusion to all of us. The initiate passes on to the cosmic astral plane and finds—What? Who knows? I do not.
Thus the veils serve their purpose; blindness nurtures and protects, provided it is innate and natural, soul-imposed or spiritually engendered. If it is willfully self-induced, if it provides an alibi for grasped knowledge, if it is assumed in order to avoid responsibility, then sin enters in and difficulty ensues. From this may all of you be protected.
Step by step, the Brothers of the Light and others who tread consciously the Lighted Way have removed Themselves from the lure of form; the Army of the Voice no longer can succeed in deflecting Their footsteps and the veils of illusion no longer block Their vision and Their moving forward. A relative freedom has been gained and the initiate stands free from much that has hitherto hindered his progress; the world of form, of glamour and of seduction has for him no further appeal.
[The Rays and The Initiations, pp186-200]