"The group of Teachers with whom the average aspirants and probationary disciples may be in touch on the mental plane, are but men of like passions but with a longer experience upon the path and a wiser control of themselves. They do no work with aspirants because They personally like or care for them, but because the need is great and They seek those whom They can train. The attitude of mind that They look for is that of teachableness and the ability to record and refrain from questioning until more is known. Then the aspirant is urged to question everything. May I remind you of the words of one Teacher who said, 'Know us for sane and balanced men who teach as we taught on earth, not flattering our pupils but disciplining them. We lead them on, not forcing them forward by feeding their ambitions by promises of power, but giving them information and leading them to use it in their work, knowing that right use of knowledge leads to experience and achievement of the goal.'
How often does one find a student more occupied with the Master and what He will do than he is with his own side of the question? And yet the fitting of himself for service and the equipping of himself for useful co-operation is, or should be, his main preoccupation.
Inquiry about the Master is more interesting than inquiry about the needed qualifications for discipleship. Interest for the data available in relation to the Adepts, is more potent than the steadfast investigation into limitations and disabilities which should engross the aspirant's attention. Curiosity as to the habits and methods of specific Masters and Their ways of handling Their disciples, is more prone to be displayed than patient application to the right habits and ways of work in the life of the would-be disciple. All these matters are side issues and only handicap and limit, and one of the first things we advise one who would enter into communication with the Masters, is to take his eyes off those things which concern him not, focus his attention on the needed steps and stages which should demonstrate in his life, and eliminate those wasted moments, moods and thought periods which so often occupy the major part of his thought life.
When a Master seeks to find those fitted to be instructed and taught by Him, He looks for three things first of all. Unless these are present, no amount of devotion or aspiration, and no purity of life and mode of living suffices. It is essential that all aspirants should grasp these three factors, and so save themselves much distress of mind and wasted motion.
i. The Master looks for the light in the head.
ii. He investigates the karma of the aspirant.
iii. He notes his service in the world.
Unless there is an indication that the man is what is termed esoterically "a lighted lamp" it is useless for the Master to waste His time. The light in the head, when present, is indicative of:
a) The functioning to a greater or less extent of the pineal gland, which is (as well known) the seat of the soul and the organ of spiritual perception. It is in this gland that the first physiological changes take place, incident upon soul contact and this contact is brought about through definite work along meditation lines, mind control, and the inflow of spiritual force.
b) The aligning of the man on the physical plane with his Ego, soul or higher self, on the mental plane and the subordination of the physical plane life and nature to the impress and control of the soul. This is covered sufficiently in the first two or three chapters of Letters on Occult Meditation, and these should be studied by aspirants.
c) The downflow of force via the sutratma, magnetic cord, or thread from the soul to the brain via the mind body. The whole secret of spiritual vision, correct perception and right contact, lies in proper appreciation of the above statement, and therefore the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are ever the text-book of disciples, initiates and adepts, for therein are found those rules and methods which bring the mind under control, stabilise the astral body and so develop and strengthen the thread (from the) soul that it can and does become a veritable channel of communication between the man and his ego. The light of illumination streams down into the brain cavity and throws into objectivity three fields of knowledge. This is often forgotten, and hence the undue stress and premature interpretation of the partially illuminated disciple or probationer.
The light first throws into relief and brings into the foreground of consciousness those thought-forms and entities which depict the lower life, and which (in their aggregate) form the Dweller on the Threshold.
Thus the first thing of which the aspirant becomes aware, is that which he knows to be undesirable and the revelation of his own unworthiness and limitations, and the undesirable constituents of his own aura burst on his vision. The darkness which is in him is intensified by the light which glimmers faintly from the centre of his being, and frequently he despairs of himself and descends into the depths of depression. All mystics bear witness to this and it is a period which must be lived through until the pure light of day drives all shadows and darkness away, and little by little the life is brightened and lightened until the sun in the head is shining in all its glory.
d) Finally, the light in the head is indicative of the finding of the Path and there remains then for the man to study and understand the technique whereby the light is centralised, intensified, entered, and eventually becomes that magnetic line (like unto a spider's thread) which can be followed back until the source of the lower manifestation is reached and the soul consciousness is entered. The above language is symbolic and yet vitally accurate, but is expressed thus in order to convey information to those who know, and protect those who as yet know not.
'The path of the just is as a shining Light' and yet at the same time a man has to become that path itself. He enters the light and becomes the light and functions then as a lamp set in a dark place, carrying illumination to others and lighting the way before them.
The next point that a Master has to consider before admitting a man into His group, is whether or not such a step is karmically possible, or whether there exist in a man's record those conditons which negate his admission in this life.
There are three main factors to be considered separately and in their relation to each other.
First, are there such karmic obligations in a man's present life as would render it impossible for him to function as a disciple? In this connection it must be carefully borne in mind that a man can become a disciple and merit the attention of a Master only when his life counts for something in the world of men, when he is an influence in his sphere, and when he is moulding and acting upon the minds and hearts of men.
Until that is the case it is waste of a Master's time to personally deal with him, for he can be adequately helped in other ways and has, for instance, much knowledge from books and teachers which is as yet theory and not practice, and much experience to pass through under the guidance of his own Ego, the Master of his heart. When a man is a disciple he is one because he can be used for working out the Plan of the Hierarchy, and can be influenced to materialise those endeavours which are planned to enable humanity to make the needed forward steps. This involves (in his physical plane life) time and thought, right circumstance, and other considerations, and it is quite possible for a man to have reached the stage from the character standpoint, where he merits the recognition of a Master, and yet have obligations and duties to work through which would handicap him for active service in some particular life. This the Master has to consider and this a man's own Ego also considers.
The result quite frequently at this time is that (perhaps unconsciously to the physical brain) a man will shoulder a great amount of experience and undertake the working out of an abnormal amount of responsibility in one particular life, in order to free himself for service and chelaship in a later life. He works then at the equipping of himself for the next life, and at the patient performance of duty in his home, his circle of friends, and his business. He realizes that from the egoic standpoint, one life is but a short matter and soon gone, and that by study, intelligent activity, loving service, and patient endurance, his working out of those conditions which are preventing his prompt acceptance in a Master's group.
A Master also studies the condition of an aspirant's physical body and of the subtler bodies to see whether in them are to be found states of consciousness which would hinder usefulness and act as obstacles. These conditions are likewise karmic and must be adjusted before his admission among other chelas becomes possible. A sick physical body, an astral body prone to moods, emotions and psychic delusions, and a mental body uncontrolled or ill-equipped, are all dangerous to the student unless straightened out and perfected. A chela is subjected constantly to the play of force coming to him from three main sources:
ii. His Master.
iii. The group of co-disciples,
and unless he is strong, purified and controlled, these forces will serve but to stimulate undesirable conditions, to foster that which should be eliminated and to bring to the surface all the hidden weaknesses. That this has to be done inevitably is so, but much must be done along this line before admission into a group of disciples; otherwise much of the Master's valuable time will perforce be given to the elimination and nullifying of the effects of the chela's violent reactions on other chelas in the same group. It is better to wait and work gradually and intelligently oneself, than force ones' way unprepared into lines of force before one can handle either them or their consequences.
Another factor that an adept has to consider, is whether there are in incarnation those chelas with whom a man has to work and who are karmically linked to him by ancient ties and old familiarity in similar work.
Sometimes it may be deemed wiser for a man to wait a little while before being permitted to step off the physical path, until a life comes in which his own co-workers, keyed to his vibration, and accustomed to work with him, are also in physical bodies, for a Master's group is entered in service to be rendered and specific work to be done, and not because a man is to receive a cultural training which will make him an adept some day. Chelas train themselves and when ready for any work, a Master uses them. They develop themselves and work out their own salvation, as step by step is taken, their particular Master lays more and more responsibility upon them. He will train them in service technique, and in vibratory response to the Plan, but they learn to control themselves and to fit themselves for service.
There are other karmic factors to be considered by a Master, but these are the three paramount ones and of the most important for aspirants to consider now. They are specified so that no true and earnest worker need be depressed and discouraged if he has no conscious link with the Master and is unaware of any affiliation with an esoteric group of chelas. It may not be because he is not fit. It may simply be because his Ego has chosen this life to clear the decks for later action, to eliminate hindrance in one or other, or all of the three lower bodies, or to wait for that time when his admission may count the most.
The third factor, that of service, for which the Master looks, is one upon which the aspirant has the least to say, and may very probably misinterpret. Spiritual ambition, the desire to function as the centre of a group, the longing to hear oneself speaking, teaching, lecturing, or writing are often wrongly interpreted by the aspirant as service. The Master looks not at a worker's worldly force or status, not at the numbers of people who are gathered around his personality, but at the motives which prompt his activity and at the effect of his influence upon his fellow men. True service is the spontaneous outflow of a loving heart and an intelligent mind; it is the result of being in the right place and staying there; it is produced by the inevitable inflow of spiritual force, and not by strenuous physical plane activity; it is the effect of a man's being what he truly is, a divine Son of God, and not by the studied effect of his words or deeds. A true server gathers around him those whom it is his duty to serve and aid by the force of his life and his spiritualised personality, and not by his claims or loud speaking. In self-forgetfulness he serves; in self-abnegation he walks the earth, and he gives no thought to the magnitude or the reverse of his accomplishment and has no preconceived ideas as to his own value or usefulness. He lives, serves, works and influences, asking nothing for the separated self.
When a Master sees this manifestation in a man's life, as the result of the awakening of the inner light and the adjustment of his karmic obligations, then He sounds out a note and waits to see if the man recognises his own group note. On this recognition, he is admitted into his own group of co-workers, and can stand in the presence of his Master. (A Treatise on White Magic, p. 182/189)
"A few simple suggestions I will give you. These can be useful to all aspirants:
i. In the ordered regulation of the life comes the eventual sythesis and the right control of time, with all that eventuates therefrom.
ii. In the right elimination of that which is secondary, and in a sense of rightly adjusted proportion, comes that accuracy and one-pointedness which is the hallmark of the occultist.
iii. In the right aspiration at the appointed time, comes the necessary contact and the inspiration for the work that has to be done.
iv. In the steady adherence to self-appointed rules, comes the gradual refining of the instrument, and the perfecting of the vehicles that will be -- to the Master -- the medium of help among many little ones." (The Rays and the Initiations, p. 11)