The Nature of Initiation
by Aart Jurriaanse

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Summary: A discussion by Aart Jurriaanse of modern discipleship and the signs of readiness for initiation. Aart Jurriaanse, a South African author and esotericist, has written a number of compilations from the books of Alice A. Bailey and is the author of "Bridges" and "Of Life and Other Worlds", a commentary on these teachings.

     We should be on our guard not to place undue emphasis on the subject of initiation, as this might readily lead to too much self-interest. Man should work towards initiation and not for initiation. Initiation as such should therefore never be the objective of the disciple -- he should work, discipline himself, and study to equip himself mentally as best he can to become an efficient instrument in the hands of the Masters for serving humanity. With such striving and serving, the disciple will automatically gain experience, knowledge, expansion of consciousness, and finally wisdom, resulting in proportionate spiritual stature. For descriptive purposes, various sequential stages of spiritual development are referred to as 'initiations'.

     Each successive initiation will be an indication that the disciple's inner flame is burning ever brighter; this will result in achieving closer union, not only with his fellow man, but with all that lives, with all of God's creation. It will result in constantly expanding horizons, widening fields of service, and consequently increasing responsibility. It will lead to ever clearer vision and consciousness, and a resulting sharper projection of the Divine Plan on the screen of life, and a better conception of that small fraction of the Plan for which the initiate is assuming responsibility.

     Once the 'stream of initiation' has been entered, there may occur temporary delays and deviations, and the process will certainly take many lives to be accomplished, but there will be no turning back, and the man will be swept onwards until eventually he may touch the feet of the Father.

     In this saga of development the distinction between good and evil will be revealed; the disciple will be offered the opportunity of utter sacrifice, which must first be experienced before perfect liberation will be granted, and before the initiate will stand free of all Earth's fetters. Then will the initiate be granted complete Wisdom, and will he be handed the key to All Knowledge, which will be put at his disposal in graduated sequence. As succeeding states of consciousness are entered, and as these expansions lead to the vision of one new horizon after another, all the hidden mysteries of the solar system will step by step be revealed to him.

     The evolution of the human spirit is a process of progressive at-one-ment. At first it is the gradual unification of the personality with the soul, followed subsequently by at-one-ment with the Monad, the Father. Every instance of merging must, however, be preceded by a burning or destruction of the partition that had been separating the bodies; this burning of all barriers is effected by the inner spiritual fire. Before entering the Path of Initiation the cost will have to be carefully counted, because this entry will demand a total readjustment of values, and each step forward, every move from one plane of activity to the succeeding higher plane, will demand the voluntary sacrifice of all that the heart held dear on that plane.

     Expansions of consciousness will come with the course of time to every individual according to the laws of nature, but in this process distinction should be made between expansions of knowledge and expansions of wisdom. Accrued knowledge can only be transmuted into wisdom and thus lead to initiation, if such knowledge is consciously sought for, if applied to life with selfless sacrifice, and if willingly used on behalf of others, and intelligently applied towards realization of the Plan.

     With each fresh expansion of consciousness, new revelations will be disclosed to the initiate's vision, new inner powers will be evoked, and new fields of service will be recognized -- and all this will of course be accompanied by corresponding increased responsibility. The effect of initiation is to enable man to live as the soul and progressively to become the distributor of divine energy towards its planned destination.

     The Master never directly informs the disciple as to which stage of spiritual advancement he has reached. That is something which each disciple must determine for himself, and it is for him to ascertain which is the next initiation that lies ahead and for which he must prepare himself. This he will be able to establish by a careful study of his circumstances and a recognition of the tests and experiences to which he is being subjected.

     Since the end of the previous century there has been a marked shift in approach to initiation. Whereas previously initiation was approached mainly from the emotional angle, the accent is now being placed on mental and service aspects, as well as on a clear understanding of what initiation implies. The disciple must come to the realization that he is being taught to become a white magician, or in other words how to work with energy, and how creative and dynamic energy may be applied in accordance with the hierarchical Plan in order to manifest the Divine Purpose in the material world. As he advances along the Lighted Way, new forces and energies, of which previously he had been unaware, will be placed into the hands of the initiate, and these he must progressively learn to apply for fulfilling the Plan.

     For eons the soul has been gaining experience in the three worlds, but mainly in a passive sense and without playing an active role in the development of the personality. Initiation is, however, an indication of the degree to which the soul has managed to reverse this role, and is now succeeding to prevail over the personality and in manifesting its true nature and character.

     It is the disciple's capacity to recognize the different lights encountered along the Path of Light which indicates his readiness for initiation. The extent to which the Light will permeate his being will depend on his development, and will determine the clarity of revelation of that which up till now remained hidden and which will now form the basis for his next step towards his objective. Each initiation will immerse the initiate into ever brighter light, thus subduing the light previously acquired.