What is a Disciple?

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Summary: A collection of statements by the Tibetan.

"(Man) has used (the form side) and has been dominated by it. He has also suffered from it and consequently in time revolted, through utter satiety, from all that pertains to the material world. Dissatisfaction, disgust, distaste, and a deep fatigue are characteristic very frequently of those who are on the verge of discipleship. For what is a disciple? He is one who seeks to learn a new rhythm, to enter a new field of experience, and to follow the steps of that advanced humanity who have trodden ahead of
him the path, leading from darkness to light, from the unreal to the real. He has tasted the joys of life in the world of illusion and has learnt their powerlessness to satisfy and hold him. Now he is in a state of transition between the new and the old states of being. He is vibrating between the condition of soul awareness and form awareness. He is "seeing double".
     His spiritual perception grows slowly and surely as the brain becomes capable of illumination from the soul, via the mind. As the intuition develops, the radius of awareness grows and new fields of knowledge unfold.
     The first field of knowledge receiving illumination, might be described as comprising the totality of forms found in the three worlds of human endeavour, etheric, astral and mental. The would-be disciple, through this process, becomes aware of his lower nature and begins to realise the extent of his imprisonment and (as Patanjali puts it) "the modifications of the versatile psychic nature". The hindrances to achievement and the obstacles to progress are revealed to him and his problem becomes specific. Frequently then he reaches the position in which Arjuna found himself, confronted by enemies who are those of his own house-hold, confused as to his duty and discouraged as he seeks to balance himself between the pairs of opposites. His prayer then should be the famous prayer of India, uttered by the heart, comprehended by the head, and supplemented by an ardent life of service to humanity.

Unveil to us the face of the true spiritual sun,
Hidden by a disk of golden light,
That we may know the truth and do our whole duty
as we journey to Thy sacred feet.

     As he perseveres and struggles, surmounts his problems and brings his desires and thoughts under control, the second field of knowledge is revealed -- knowledge of the self in the spiritual body, knowledge of the Ego as it expresses itself through the medium of the causal body, . . . and awareness of that source of spiritual energy which is the motivating impulse behind the lower manifestation. The "disk of golden light" is pierced; the true sun is seen; the path is found and the aspirant struggles forward into ever clearer light.
     As the knowledge of the self and as the consciousness of that which the self sees, hears, knows and contacts is stabilised, the Master is found; His group of disciples is contacted; the plan for the immediate
share of work he must assume is realised, and gradually worked out on the physical plane. Thus the activity of the lower natures decreases, and the man little by little enters into conscious contact with his Master and his group. But this follows upon the "lighting of the lamp" -- the aligning of the lower and higher, and the downflow of illumination to the brain.
     It is essential that these points should be grasped and studied by all aspirants so that they may take the needed steps and develop the desired awareness. Until this is done, the Master, no matter how willing He may be, is powerless, and can take no steps to admit a man to His group and thus take him into His auric influence, making him an out post of His consciousness. Every step of the way has to be carved out by a man himself, and there is no short or easy way out of darkness into light." (A Treatise on White Magic, p. 58/60)

"The problem of all disciples remains the same. This is to live simultaneously the acutely sensitive inner life of the Pilgrim upon the path of life, of a human being in the world of human events; to live the group life of the pledged disciple, and the mass life of humanity; to fulfil his own spiritual destiny, through the medium of a controlled personality and, at the same time, to participate fully in the life of humanity upon Earth -- this is no easy task." (Esoteric Astrology, p. 498)


"The true initiate has never made the slightest claim, either privately or publicly, to be an initiate. It is against the occult law, and too many people of no particular spiritual focus or intellectual capacity make these claims, and consequent harm has ensued, thus lowering the idea of the Hierarchy and the nature of adeptship in the eyes of the watching public. . . . The word "disciple" is the legitimate and non-controversial word (as well as the truthful word) to be used for all grades of workers in the Hierarchy, from the probationary disciple, loosely affiliated with certain disciples in that Hierarchy, up to and including the Christ Himself, the Master of all Masters, and the Teacher alike of Angels and of men. . . . The unwholesome curiosity as to status and title . . . is a blight on many occult groups, leading to the full tide of competition, jealousy, criticism and claim-making, which distinguishes the majority of the occult groups, which renders futile so many of their publications, and which hinders the general public from receiving the teaching in its purity and simplicity. Status and title, place and position, count for nothing. It is the teaching that counts -- its truth and its intuitive appeal." (Discipleship in the New Age,Vol. I, p. 781 )