The “new age” has a connotation in some human minds of an ungrounded, free-wheeling approach to living characterised by an attitude that “the rules don’t apply”. True, the crystallised restrictions and binding mores of the old age no longer dominate most human thinking, but the timeless rules of the soul do and always will apply to the spiritual seeker. The sincere aspirant to the discipleship knows all too well that there is no evading the law on the way of spiritual evolution. This is a lesson which the inpouring energies of the new age are bringing to human recognition, for the energy which will govern the new age is the seventh Ray of Ceremonial Law or Order. This is the impulse behind the increasing demand for the rules of law which is becoming increasingly evident in societies everywhere. It may also lie behind the urge of fundamentalists in all fields to impose their sets of law and rules on the larger society and, in so doing, widening any existing cleavages between peoples.
Rules govern group relationships on every level from the mundane to the most spiritual, and the books of Alice A. Bailey are replete with them. There are the Rules for Disciples in A TREATISE ON WHITE MAGIC, the Rules for Aspirants in INITIATION HUMAN AND SOLAR, and the Rules for disciples and Initiates in THE RAYS AND THE INITIATIONS, Volume V of A TREATISE ON THE SEVEN RAYS. Then there are the timeless Rules of the Road discussed in GLAMOUR, A WORLD PROBLEM. All of these rules are intended to set the parameters of group work, to elevate it to its highest level as the collaboration of souls.
The Tibetan master said the following:
What is this occult obedience, my brothers, about which we hear so much? Not what many occult groups make it out to be. It is not the control of an external organisation, dedicated to so-called occult work. It is not the imposed conditions of any teacher of any rank. It is not the exchange of the prison of one set of ideas for those of another set with perhaps a larger range or import. A prison is a prison, whether it is a tiny cell or an isolated island of vast extent, from which escape is impossible.
The authority to which we, the teachers on the inner side, respond is twofold in nature, and to it you are just beginning (as units in a group) to respond. To what do you respond?
1. To the slowly emerging realisation of the “light beyond,” using that phrase as a symbol. This light is different in its appeal to the individual. Yet it is ONE LIGHT. But its recognition reveals new laws, new responsibilities, new duties and obligations, and new relations to others. These constitute an authoritative control. None can escape this authority, but can disobey it in time and space and for a temporary period.
2. To the authority of the Rules of the Road which are imposed upon one as one passes from the Path of Probation on to the Path of Discipleship. Yet it is ONE ROAD. Upon this “narrow, razor-edged path,” one learns to walk with discipline and discretion and with the desirelessness which one experiences in unison with one’s fellow disciples.
What, briefly and succinctly, are these rules of the Road? Let me give you six of the simplest rules, begging you to remember that they are not authoritatively imposed by an arbitrary Board of Directors, such as a group teacher or teachers (of whom I might, of course, be one) but are the outcome of the conditions to be found upon the Path itself. They carry the warrant of a man’s own soul and are the result of the experience of millions of travellers upon that Path.
I will give you these six rules (even as I gave them to another aspirant*) in ancient and symbolic form, translating them as well as I can from the ancient records, stored in the Hall of Wisdom, and available to all earnest disciples,—such as you.
I. The Road is trodden in the full light of day, thrown upon the Path by Those Who know and lead. Naught can then be hidden, and at each turn, a man must face himself.
II. Upon the Road the hidden stands revealed. Each sees and knows the villainy of each. (I can find no other word, my brother, to translate the ancient word which designates the unrevealed stupidity, the vileness and crass ignorance, and the self-interest which are distinguishing characteristics of the average aspirant.) And yet there is, with that great revelation, no turning back, no spurning of each other, and no shakiness upon the Road. The Road goes forward into day.
III. Upon that Road one wanders not alone. There is no rush, no hurry. And yet there is no time to lose. Each Pilgrim, knowing this, presses his footsteps forward, and finds himself surrounded by his fellowmen. Some move ahead; he follows after. Some move behind; he sets the pace. He travels not alone.
IV. Three things the Pilgrim must avoid. The wearing of a hood, the veil which hides his face from others; the carrying of a water pot which only holds enough for his own wants; the shouldering of a staff without a crook to hold.
V. Each Pilgrim on the Road must carry with him what he needs: a pot of fire, to warm his fellowmen; a lamp, to cast its rays upon his heart and show his fellowmen the nature of his hidden life; a purse of gold, which he scatters not upon the Road but shares with others; a sealed vase, wherein he carries all his aspiration to cast before the feet of Him Who waits to greet him at the gate—a sealed vase.
VI. The Pilgrim, as he walks upon the Road, must have the open ear, the giving hand, the silent tongue, the chastened heart, the golden voice, the rapid foot, and the open eye which sees the light. He knows he travels not alone.
[GLAMOR A World Problem. pp. 49-51]
The rules given here are fourteen in number, and are gathered from a series of instructions compiled for those who seek to take the first initiation.
Rule I. Let the disciple search within the heart's deep cave. If there the fire burns bright, warming his brother yet heating not himself, the hour has come for making application to stand before the door.
When love for all beings, irrespective of who they may be, is beginning to be a realised fact in the heart of a disciple, and yet nevertheless love for himself exists not, then comes the indication that he is nearing the Portal of Initiation, and may make the necessary preliminary pledges. These are necessitated before his Master hands in his name as a candidate for initiation. If he cares not for the suffering and pain of the lower self, if it is immaterial to him whether happiness comes his way or not, if the sole purpose of his life is to serve and save the world, and if his brother's need is for him of greater moment than his own, then is the fire of love irradiating his being, and the world can warm itself at his feet. This love has to be a practical, tested manifestation, and not just a theory, nor simply an impractical ideal and a pleasing sentiment. It is something that has grown in the trials and tests of life, so that the primary impulse of the life is towards self-sacrifice and the immolation of the lower nature.
Rule 2. When application has been made in triple form, then let the disciple withdraw that application, and forget it has been made.
Herein lies one of the initial tests. The disciple's attitude of mind must be that he cares not whether he takes initiation or not. Selfish motive must not enter in. Only those applications which reach the Master through the energy engendered through pure altruistic motive are transmitted by Him to the recording angel of the Hierarchy, only those disciples who seek initiation because of the added power to help and bless that it confers, will find a response to their plea. These careless of initiation receive not the occult accolade, and those anxious, through selfishness or curiosity, to participate in the mysteries, enter not the door but remain knocking outside. Those who are keen to serve, those who are weighed down with a sense of world need, and the personal responsibility thereby awakened, and who have fulfilled the law, knock and meet with response, and make application which meets with recognition. They are the ones who send forth a cry for added power to aid, which penetrates to the ear of Those Who silently wait.
Rule 3. Triple the call must be, and long it takes to sound it forth. Let the disciple sound the cry across the desert, over the sea, and through the fires which separate him from the veiled and hidden door.
Under this symbology comes to the disciple the injunction to make the desert of the physical plane life to blossom like the rose, so that from the garden of the lower life may arise those sounds and scents, and a vibration strong enough to cross the intervening space between it and the portal; to still the restless waters of the emotional life, so that in their limpid, still expanse, that portal may be reflected, and the lower life mirror forth the spiritual life of the indwelling divinity; to pass through the fiery furnace those motives, words, and thoughts which are the mainspring of activity, and have their origin upon the mental plane. When these three aspects of the manifesting Ego, the God within, are brought under control, co-ordinated, and utilised, then, even unconsciously to himself, will the voice of the disciple be heard, demanding the opening of the door. When the lower life upon the physical plane is fertilised, the emotional stabilised, and the mental transmuted, then naught can prevent the latch upon that door being lifted, and the disciple passing through. Only synchronous vibration to that which lies the other side of the door produces its opening, and when the key of the disciple's life is attuning itself to that of the hierarchical life, then, one by one, the doors will open, and nothing can keep them closed.
Rule 4. Let the disciple tend the evolution of the fire; nourish the lesser lives, and thus keep the wheel revolving.
Here comes an injunction to the disciple to remember his responsibility to those many lesser lives which, in their sum total, compose his triple body of manifestation. Thus is evolution possible, and thus each life, in the different kingdoms of nature, consciously or unconsciously, fulfils its function of rightly energising that which is to it as is the planet to the sun. Thus will the unfolding of the plan logoic proceed with greater accuracy. The kingdom of God is within, and the duty of that inner hidden Ruler is twofold, first, to the lives which form the bodies, physical, astral, and mental, and then to the macrocosm, the world of which the microcosm is but an infinitesimal part.
Rule 5. Let the applicant see to it that the solar angel dims the light of the lunar angels, remaining the sole luminary in the microcosmic sky.
To fulfil this injunction all applicants need to do two things, first, to study their origin, to realise their own true psychology occultly understood, and to become scientifically aware of the real nature of the Ego, or the Higher Self, functioning in the causal body. Then they have to assert upon the physical plane, through the medium of the three lower bodies, their innate divinity, and to demonstrate in ever increasing degree their essential value. Secondly, to study the constitution of man, to understand the method of functioning in the lower nature, to realise the interdependence and interrelation of all living things, and thus bring the lesser lives, which compose those three bodies of manifestation, under control. Thus the solar Lord, the inner Reality, the Son of the Father, and the Thinker on his own plane becomes the intermediary between that which is of the earth, earthy, and that which finds its home with in the sun. Two verses in the Christian Bible hide something of this idea within themselves, and students in the occident may find it helpful to meditate upon them: "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ." "O Lord, our God, other lords beside Thee have had dominion over us, but by Thee only will we make mention of Thy name." The last verse is particularly interesting, as it demonstrates the suppression of the lower sound and creative force by that which is of higher origin.
Rule 6 The purificatory fires burn dim and low when the third is sacrificed to the fourth. Therefore let the disciple refrain from taking life, and let him nourish that which is lowest with the produce of the second.
This rule 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. This is a drastic rule for applicants, and may not be violated. 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 centres, and dire danger to the brain, the spine, or the heart would eventuate.
It must, of course, here be recognised 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. For those who can stand it, eggs and cheese are sometimes better eliminated from the diet, but this is not in any way compulsory. It is advisable always that those who are in process of developing psychic faculties of any kind should not permit themselves to eat eggs and very little cheese. Milk and butter come under a different category, and most initiates and applicants find it necessary to retain them in the diet. A few exceptional people can subsist and retain their full physical energies on the diet mentioned in the preceding paragraph, but there the ideal is embodied, and, as we all know, the ideal is seldom attainable in the present transitional period.
In this connection two things should be emphasised: First, the need that all applicants have for common sense; this factor is very often lacking, and students do well to remember that unbalanced fanatics are not desirable members of the Hierarchy. Equilibrium, a just sense of proportion, a due regard for environing conditions, and a sane common sense are the marks of the true occultist. When a real sense of humour exists likewise, many dangers will be avoided. Secondly, a recognition of time, and an ability to move slowly when effecting changes in the diet and in the habits of a lifetime. Everything in nature progresses slowly, and applicants must learn the occult truth of the words:—"Make haste slowly." A process of gradual elimination is usually the path of wisdom, and this eliminating period should—under ideal conditions which so seldom exist—cover the stage which we call that of the aspirant, so that when a man becomes an applicant for initiation he will have done the necessary preparatory purification of the diet.
Rule 7. Let the disciple turn his attention to the enunciating of those sounds which echo in the halls where walks the Master. Let him not sound the lesser notes which awaken vibration within the halls of Maya.
The disciple who seeks to enter within the Portals of Initiation cannot do so until he has learnt the power of speech and the power of silence. This has a deeper and a wider significance than perhaps is apparent, for it holds, if rightly interpreted, the key to manifestation, the clue to the great cycles, and the revelation of the purpose underlying pralaya. Until a man comprehends the significance of the spoken word, and until he utilises the silence of the high places for the bringing about of desired effects on one plane or another, he cannot be admitted into those realms wherein every sound and every word spoken produces powerful results in matter of some kind, being energised by two predominant factors, (a) a powerful will, scientifically applied, (b) right motive, purified in the fires.
An adept is a creator in mental matter, an originator of impulses on the mental plane, thereby producing results in astral or physical manifestation. These results are powerful and effective, and hence the necessity for their originator to be pure in thought, accurate in word, and skilful in action. When these ideas are realised by applicants, the immediate consequence will be important changes in the life of every day. These changes might, for the sake of their practical use, be enumerated as follows:
a. Motives will be closely searched, and a strict check will be kept upon originating impulses. Hence during the first year in which the applicant devotes himself to the work of preparation for initiation he will, three times a day, keep a written account of the investigations he pursues, which concern his motives, or the mainspring of action.
b. Speech will be watched, and an endeavour will be made to eliminate all unkind, unnecessary and wasteful words. The effects of the spoken word will be studied, and be traced back to those originating impulses which, in every case, initiate action upon the physical plane.
c. Silence will be cultivated, and applicants will be careful to preserve strict silence concerning themselves, their occult work or knowledge, the affairs of those associated with them, and the work of their occult group. Only in group circles or in connection with their superiors will a wise latitude in speech be permitted. There is a time to speak. That time comes when the group can be served by wise words, a careful intimation of conditions, good or bad, and a rare, but necessary word to some brother concerning the inner life, or to some superior or group of officials, in case where a brother may be hindering a group through error of some kind, or might help the group if put to different work.
d. The effect of the Sacred Word will be studied, and conditions for its use wisely arranged. The sounding of the Word, and its effect upon a particular esoteric centre (not in any case whatsoever a physical centre) will be watched, and the life thereby influenced and regulated.
The whole question of the study of sound and of words, sacred or otherwise, has to be taken up by applicants for initiation. This is something which must be faced more strenuously by all eventuating occult groups.
Rule 8. When the disciple nears the portal, the Greater Seven must awaken and bring forth response from the lesser seven upon the double circle.
This rule is a very difficult one, and one which holds in it the elements of danger for the man who undertakes too early to tread the final path. Literally it can be interpreted thus: The would-be initiate must develop somewhat the vibration of the seven head centres, and thus sweep into increased vibratory activity the seven centres in the body upon the etheric plane; affecting also, through reciprocal vibration, the seven physical centres which are inevitably stimulated when the etheric centres approach their maximum vibration. It is not necessary to enlarge upon this point beyond pointing out that as the seven centres within the head become responsive to the Ego the following seven centres,
1. The head, considered as a unit,
2. The heart,
3. The throat,
4. The solar plexus,
5. The base of the spine,
6. The spleen,
7. The organs of generation,
are also affected, but affected along the line of purification and control. This will produce results in the definitely physical organs through which man functions on the physical plane. In illustration:—man can then transfer consciously the creative fire and energy from the organs of generation to the throat, or, through the conscious control of the heart, produce suspended animation of the physical body. This is not achieved through what is called Hatha Yoga practices, or concentrating the attention upon the physical organs, but through the development of the control by the inner God, Who works through the head centre and thus dominates all else.
The applicant, therefore, will bend all his energies towards the development of the spiritual life, which development will be the outcome of right thinking, meditation, and service. Through deep study of all there is to be known concerning energy and its focal points, he will co-ordinate his life so that the life of the spirit may flow through it. This study can only be safely undertaken at present in group work and under guidance from a teacher; the pupils will pledge themselves to permit no experimentation in their lives, and no careless trifling with the fires of the body. They will simply apply themselves to a theoretical comprehension and a life of service.
The centres will then develop normally, whilst the applicant bends his attention to loving his brother perfectly in truth and in deed, to serving wholeheartedly, to thinking intelligently, and to keeping a close watch upon himself. He will also record all that seems to him in his inner life to be concerned with the evolution of the centres. This record can be surveyed by the teacher, comment made, deduction sought, and the quota of information thus gained filed for group reference. In this way much knowledge can be stored up for use.
The applicant who misuses knowledge, who indulges in such practices as "breathing for development," or concentrating upon the centres, will inevitably fail in his endeavor to reach the portal, and will pay the price in his body by the appearance of insanity, of neurasthenic conditions, and various physical ills.
Rule 9. Let the disciple merge himself within the circle of his other selves. Let but one colour blend them and their unity appear. Only when the group is known and sensed can energy be wisely emanated.
One thing all disciples and applicants for initiation have to do is to find that particular group of servers to which they belong on the inner plane, to recognise them upon the physical plane, and to unite with them in service for the race. This recognition will be based upon:—
a. Unity of aim.
b. Oneness of vibration.
c. Identity in group affiliation.
d. Karmic links of long standing.
e. Ability to work in harmonious relation.
Superficially, this may appear one of the easiest of the rules, but in practice it is not so. Mistakes are easily made, and the problem of working harmoniously in group alignment is not so simple as it may appear. Egoic vibration and relationship may exist, yet the outer personalities may not harmonize. It is the work, then, of the applicant to strengthen the grip of his Ego upon his personality, so that the esoteric group relation may become possible upon the physical plane. He will do this by the disciplining of his own personality, and not by the correction of his brothers.
Rule 10. The Army of the Voice, the devas in their serried ranks, work ceaselessly. Let the disciple apply himself to the consideration of their methods; let him learn the rules whereby that Army works within the veils of Maya.
This rule refers to the work of occult investigation, which must be pursued at some time or another by all who seek initiation. Though it is not safe for the uninitiated to tamper with the parallel evolution of the devas, yet it is necessary and safe to investigate the procedure pursued by the builders, the methods followed by them, in reproducing from the archetype, via the etheric that which we call physical manifestation; their sounds must be somewhat theoretically cognised, and the sounds whereby they are swept into activity considered. This involves, therefore, the organised study, by all applicants, of:—
1. The purpose of sound.
2. The esoteric meaning of words, of grammar, and of syntax.
3. The laws of vibration and of electricity, and many other subsidiary studies which concern themselves with the manifestation of divinity and consciousness through the medium of deva substance and the activity of the controlling devas. The laws of the macrocosm will be investigated, and the correspondence between the activities of the microcosm, and the active manifestation of the macrocosm will be recognised.
Rule 11. Let the disciple transfer the fire from the lower triangle to the higher, and preserve that which is created through the fire of the midway point.
This means, literally, the control by the initiate of the sex impulse, as usually understood, and the transference of the fire which now normally vitalises the generative organs to the throat centre, thus leading to creation upon the mental plane through the agency of mind. That which is to be created must then be nourished and sustained by the love energy of nature issuing from the heart centre.
The lower triangle referred to is:—
1. The solar plexus.
2. The base of the spine.
3. The generative organs.
Whilst the higher one is, as pointed out:—
1. The head.
2. The throat.
3. The heart.
This might be interpreted by the superficial reader as an injunction to the celibate life, and the pledging of the applicant to abstain from all physical manifestation of the sex impulse. This is not so. Many initiates have attained their objective when duly and wisely participating in the marriage relation. An initiate cultivates a peculiar attitude of mind, wherein there is a recognition that all forms of manifestation are divine, and that the physical plane is as much a form of divine expression as any of the higher planes. He realises that the lowest manifestation of divinity must be under the conscious control of that indwelling divinity, and that all acts of every kind should be regulated by the endeavour to fulfil every duty and obligation, to control every action and deed, and to utilise the physical vehicle so that the group may be thereby benefited and aided in its spiritual progress, and the law perfectly fulfilled.
That it may be advisable, at certain stages, for a man to perfect control along any particular line through a temporary abstention is not to be denied, but that is a means to an end, and will be succeeded by stages when—the control having been gained—the man demonstrates perfectly through the medium of the physical body, the attributes of divinity, and every centre will be normally and wisely used, and, thus race purposes furthered.
Initiates and Masters, in many cases marry, and normally perform their duties as husbands, wives, and householders, but all is controlled and regulated by purpose and intention, and none is carried away by passion or desire. In the perfect man upon the physical plane, all the centres are under complete control, and their energy is legitimately used; the spiritual will of the divine inner God is the main factor, and there will be a unity of effort shown on all the planes through all the centres for the greatest good of the greatest number.
This point has been touched upon because so many students go astray upon these matters, and cultivate either an attitude of mind which results in the complete atrophying of the entire normal physical nature, or indulge in an orgy of license under the specious plea of "stimulating the centres," and thus furthering astral development. The true initiate should be known by his wise and sanctified normality, by his steady conformity to that which is best for the group as emphasised by the group laws of the land, by his control and his refraining from excess of any kind, and by the example he sets to his environing associates of spiritual living and moral rectitude, coupled with the discipline of his life.
Rule 12. Let the disciple learn the use of the hand in service; let him seek the mark of the messenger in his feet, and let him learn to see with the eye that looks out from between the two.
This rule looks easy of interpretation upon the first reading, and seems to enjoin upon the applicant the use of the hands in service, of the feet upon hierarchical errands, and the development of clairvoyance. But the real meaning is much more esoteric. Occultly understood, the "use of the hands" is the utilisation of the chakras or centres) in the palms of the hands in:—
a. Healing bodily ills.
b. Blessing, and thus curing emotional ills.
c. Raised in prayer, or the use of the centres of the hands during meditation in the manipulation of mental matter and currents.
These three points will bear careful consideration, and much may be learnt by occidental students from the study of the life of Christ, and a consideration of His methods in using His hands. More cannot be said here, as the subject is too vast to be enlarged upon in this brief commentary.
The "mark of the messenger" in the feet, is a reference to that well-known symbol of the wings on the heels of Mercury. Much upon this subject will be revealed to students in occult schools who will gather together all that can be found concerning the Messenger of the Gods, and who also will study with care information which astrological students have gleaned anent the planet Mercury, and which occult students have gathered concerning the inner round.
On the surface, the expression "the eye which looks out from between the two seems to signify the third eye, which clairvoyants utilise, but the meaning is very much deeper than that, and lies hidden in the following facts:—
a. That the inner vision is that which all self-conscious beings, from a Logos to a man, are in the process of developing.
b. That the Ego, or Higher Self, is literally to the Monad what the third eye is to man, and therefore is described as looking out from between the Monad or spiritual self on the one hand, and the personal self on the other.
In the fullest sense, therefore, this rule incites the applicant to develop self-consciousness, and thus learn to function in the causal body on the higher levels of the mental plane, controlling from thence all the lower vehicles and seeing clearly all that can be seen in the three worlds, in the past and in the future.
Rule 13. Four things the disciple must learn and comprehend before he can be shown that inmost mystery: first, the laws of that which radiates; the five meanings of magnetisation make the second; the third is transmutation, or the secret lost of alchemy; and lastly the first letter of the Word which has been imparted, or the hidden name egoic.
This rule cannot be enlarged upon. It concerns mysteries and subjects too immense to be fully handled here. It is included in these rules so that it may form a subject for meditation, for study, and for group discussion.
The final rule is very brief and consists of five words.
Rule 14. Listen, touch, see, apply, know.
These words concern what the Christian might aptly call the consecration of the three major senses, and their utilisation in the evolution of the inner spiritual life, application then made of that which is learnt and ascertained, followed by the fruition of realised knowledge.
[INITIATION, HUMAN AND SOLAR, pp. 193-209]