Rosicrucian Writings Online
Reflections on the Third Temple (Postulant)
By Raymund Andrea, K.R.C.,
Grand Master, AMORC, Great Britain.
[From The Mystic Triangle December 1927]
MEMBERS in the advanced grades are often reminded, in the course of their lectures, that it will be necessary for them to revert again and again to the early grades and dwell upon the principles and suggestions therein, as these constitute the indispensable foundation of the subsequent studies and demonstrations. This admonition is inclined to be overlooked, or its full import is not grasped, by many who are solely intent upon the works of practical occultism. Sometimes a member who has passed into the sixth or seventh expresses disappointment because the unique vistas of knowledge and the wonderful possibilities opened out in these grades are not at once demonstrable factors in his hands.
It is a simple matter, indeed, to read and intellectually understand what the master mind has written; but it must inevitably prove disappointing to overlook the esoteric character and development of that mind. We need a true perspective regarding the question of preparedness for the accomplishment of master works. The Rosicrucian Mystery flames silently at the heart of life, not on the surface; and only the deeply initiated soul passes within the precincts of the temple. And when this Mystery is actually embodied before us in a master personality, and a transcendent knowledge flows from it as a special revelation illuminating the material and immaterial worlds alike with a Cosmic comprehension which is supremely arresting and convincing, a sense of proportion is requisite to place that personality in the exceptional category which Karma has decreed for it, and ourselves in the category to which we, too, rightfully belong.
In a word, the category of the master mind is one; that of the pupil is another. I do not wish to impress an idea that an impassable gulf exists between the two: that would prove a sad and depressing conviction; but in the early progress through the grades this idea of the two distinct categories should be recognized, and the recognition should give a true perspective and mitigate any feeling of temporary disappointment experienced through the inability to perform offhand master works.
The teaching in the Third Temple Grade is of great suggestiveness and value and indicates a wide field for study and reflection on the expansion of consciousness. The eager aspirant who has reached the seventh or eighth may conceivably be highly gratified at the masterly exposition of esoteric knowledge continuously passing into his hands and the brilliant prospect of achievement possible through its application: and justly so. But has he grasped the real significance of the Third, with all it suggests of a wide preparedness indispensable for subsequent demonstration? Does he realize what this extension of consciousness implies?
When we survey the work of the expert in any other realm our first thought is of the prolonged attention and assiduous toil of years he must have given to expound and demonstrate with ease and facility the deep arcana of his science. We know he has had to wrestle with nature at every step; at many a point he has been thrown back by what appeared overwhelming odds--a little progress, a seeming retrogression, an abrupt halt--but through it all the proud beat of the dedicated heart steadily advancing along the undiscovered path to firm conquest. It is the history of all conquest. And the same novitiate awaits us. We are entering upon what is, for us, the undiscovered country: the footprints of the elder brothers are before us making straight for the goal; in our hands are their charts for our guidance; over us silently broods their sacred influence. They cannot do more: the law of life forbids. It is we who err in that in our enthusiasm we glimpse the heights of occult mastery in the master mind and, lacking experience, we would attain those heights ourselves--now! But nature soon undeceives us. Have we the perfected organism necessary to exist on the heights? What though enthusiasm like an incantation should suddenly raise us, if the fearful loneliness of the heights proves too much and we fall back through want of the sustaining vigour of the ripened powers of the inner man? For the master personality must stand alone. The reward of his attainment is a tremendous responsibility in teaching others the way and in sharing their burden. The great soul stands apart, and alone. "And he went up into the mountain to pray, himself, alone;" that he might receive power, not of men, but from God, and do greater works for their sakes that they should likewise do after him.
We read that the path of preparation must precede the path of initiation. But we do not take this matter of preparation with sufficient seriousness. It implies far more than a brief period of daily meditation. A prevalent idea among aspirants is that their exclusive concern must be with the things of the Spirit; that the personal life matters nothing; that their whole attention is to be focused upon the Self that is real over against the personality which has no life in itself and must therefore be excluded from consciousness. The teaching of the Third is diametrically opposed to this idea. The genius of man is fourfold; and it is pointed out that the perfection of the master mind consists in the fourfold realization of the dream of beauty in the physical order, of love in the moral, of poetry in the intellectual, and in the spiritual of the mystics. Here are indicated the four lines of personal culture which is to culminate in that extension of consciousness which is the mark of the full orbed Rosicrucian life in all its strength and beauty.
The Rosicrucian life is a Cosmic life, an enlargement of consciousness which is susceptible of and responsive to the manifold appeal of the entire gamut of vibrations which reach it along these four avenues of expression of the genius of man. I venture to affirm that however far on in the grades an aspirant may be, the work suggested in the Third must never be lost sight of, must indeed form the essential basis of all the later work. I would not be misunderstood in saying that we cannot build upon the spiritual alone. The attitude of many aspirants seems to suggest that we can. They possess an enthusiasm which is laudable enough and declare emphatically that they wish only to realize God and perform the miracles of the divine life. It is well: they are the richer for such an ideal. But their novitiate has hardly commenced: there is a long series of readjustments to be made throughout the whole economy of their lives, a rearing of faculties and discipline of powers, a resurrection of the soul in its many aspects of beauty and expression, and a firm welding together and a concentrated and wise direction of all these masterful forces, before the Master can use them for responsible world service.
A member once wrote me to ask whether I thought a pair of blue eyes, which she discerned in the psychic distance, were those of a certain great Master. The obvious reply was that while there was no reason why the Master should not be as personally concerned in her welfare as in that of anyone else, provided she were ready, yet it was reasonable to think that if such were indeed the case she would have no doubt whatever on the matter. The fact was, this good soul was prone to over-estimate her evolutionary status, and perhaps her personal value in this particular direction.
There is a great lesson here involved. We need but study impartially the biography and works of the master mind to gain a vivid conception of the vast range of vibrational response which is the keynote of his unique influence. Let us think for a moment of the comprehensive genius of Bacon. We cannot but regard with profound admiration the almost unsearchable riches of knowledge and wisdom of this great Rosicrucian. It is a far cry from the humble aspirant in the grades, breaking new ground in the elementary principles of our science, to the intellectual grasp and amplitude of thought which unfolded and systematized with consummate mastery the volume of universal knowledge. Yet that is our objective. The fourfold genius of man, latent in every one of us, has to be resurrected through the incarnations and compel the attention and arouse the sleeping ambition of the multitudes that walk in darkness. It is the central aim of the work of the grades to awaken to vital consciousness the manifold nature of the aspirant, to bring into the field of acute conscious realization every power and possibility that slumbers in human personality. With full knowledge of the responsibility of the assertion, I say, it is of little avail for us, possessed with a simple desire for the mystical life, to spend our time in affirming the Self and denying the human self through which alone the Self can express its powers. Yet innumerable cults are founded mainly upon this magic process of affirmation and denial. It is not surprising that many of our members have based their faith upon it, by reason of their former association with these cults. I say not a word to belittle sincere effort: on the contrary, their original spiritual intention has opened the way for well-directed and scientific work. Neither is it surprising that they did not make the progress they anticipated. Many of them took to heart the science of Yoga in its severest outline: their ideal was the Eastern yogi resting peacefully in his Samadhi. Here, too, the ideal is a noble one: but it must receive certain modifications when transferred to Western life. The aspirant has a far different objective in daily life than the Eastern yogi. Moreover, the yogi is a master mind, whatever works he chooses to do or leave undone; and the master mind belongs to one category and the aspirant to another, with a severe novitiate separating them.
The aspirant in the Third must take his work seriously. He must take his personal self just as it has been fashioned by him in the past, recognize its strength and weakness, assess the value of the faculties he has, and resolve to build those he will surely need. The curriculum of the university is not necessary for a knowledge of self. Some of the best occultists have not had the opportunity of academic training; others have disdained and refused it as a probable menace to their native and aspiring genius. But they have always been tutors to themselves and submitted to an arduous personal discipline. Neither did they deny themselves the beholding of the beauty of the world, lest the glory of it should blind them to the greater glory of God. They held it to be the part of wisdom to increase, not diminish, their power of response. And if we learn to live solidly and humanly in the natural man and understand what a wholesome creation he is, we shall not have the heart to deny his existence.
Let us survey the living face of nature as freshly as a child and absorb the wisdom of the sages through our cultured senses from the eloquent earth and sky and human countenance divine, before we acquiesce with the gospel of a textbook that these are but illusions to lure us to sin and corruption. If nature is the art of God, is it not an insult to the Artist to neglect the cultivation of those senses through whose instrumentality we are to interpret it? There is not a mood of the Great Mother which has not a beauty of its own, and the aspirant with cultured senses will learn to appropriate its secret essence and thereby enrich his soul's expressiveness. There is a beauty of voice, gesture and motion which should never pass unheeded, but should awaken some sleeping harmony and incite to nobler living. He should never weary of reading and interpreting the infinite shades of expressive beauty that flash from the countenances of his fellow men and women. In them he will read the history of the world: he will see Christ saving the world, communing alone with the Father, going up to Calvary with never a glance behind Him; he will see Him suffering on the Cross and forgiving even those who crucified Him. In them he will see the struggling soul in every phase of its eventful evolution, advancing passionately in joy, stricken cold by the hand of fate, eagerly questioning all experience, indifferent through grief of the pain of life: all divine fragments that went forth in the morning of their creation curious and wondering and beautiful to look upon, for the author of all beauty created them; and returning at setting sun, bearing each one the indelible traces of the long search of the incarnation. O aspirant, this is the very beginning of your novitiate: for unless you have learned to see and to understand, how will you serve even the least of these? It is the fullness, the completion, of life experience we need, not the denial of it. It is undoubtedly true that he who is somewhat derogatively referred to as a man of the world is often in many respects far nearer the Rosicrucian life than the student who has deliberately refused the contacts of personality and banks upon his own sweet conviction of self-righteousness and spiritual aloofness. But nature has not so instructed him. Her law is that of swift response to the primal urge. She knows nothing of the doctrine of denial: she lives and expresses. So does the master mind; and thus in him the realization of the dream of beauty is perfected and the Cosmic law fulfilled.
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