Rosicrucian Writings Online

Reflections on the Third Grade Temple Lectures

By Raymund Andrea, F.R.C.,
Grand Master of AMORC, Great Britain
[From The Mystic Triangle March 1928]
THE DREAM of mysticism completes and perfects the realization of the fourfold genius of man. Upon the basis of study and effort sketched in the former articles the mystical life is to be reared. To express the beauty of life, to realize the fullness of love in service, and to be conversant with the noble creations of inspired minds, affords a sound preparation for entering upon the deeper life of spiritual attunement. As Rosicrucians we are concerned with the ascension of consciousness under law which is thoroughly sane and wholesome in character, impairs not the personal self, is eminently practical at every step and makes for efficiency in all departments of life. That is practical mysticism; and the Rosicrucian is a practical mystic. So much should be clear to the aspirant who has reached the Third; yet some have protested because their work up to this point has appeared to be mainly technical and foundational instead of experimental. I trust these articles will help them to see more clearly how much is involved in the early work, how basic and necessary it is if they wish to become vehicles of the Master's influence and be of real service in the world of men.
It is not difficult to become a visionary and be carried hither and thither by every wind of doctrine of ethereal nature, without chart or compass or any sure foothold upon lawful research. But the silent mystics who stand behind the thrones of kings, compel governments to act better than they know, infuse the breath of life into the arts and sciences and impress their influence upon the metropolises of men, are of another order. They are men of such a calibre that they have to conceal half their power to justify their existence; for the world is still unable to recognize its saviours and wilfully destroys what it cannot understand. Visionaries indeed they are, but not hothouse visionaries; they are the ripe product of a cultured and storied evolution and hold their preeminence because they possess a working knowledge of every aspect of life experience over which they exert their influence. The literature of Rosicrucian biography reveals this fact on every page. Every subject portrayed in those unique annals stands out in the bold outline of a great character, a force to be reckoned with in his chosen sphere, and so supremely practical, so adaptive, so truly an expression of the life of his day, as to remain unknown in his mystical nature even to those nearest to him.
There are, and always have been, men of this stamp in the forefront of our Order. They are complete men; they stand in the light; they have met and overcome every obstacle of darkness that strikes terror into the hearts of the multitude. Their perfected realization is a thing of rare beauty and power and singularly potent in its blessing. Practical to the fingertips, at heart they are great devotees and their closeness to the Cosmic is the only secret of their lives. We are to touch upon this attitude of devotion in this article. In the former articles we dealt with three stages of practical effort, an active advance, purporting to awaken the aspirant to a strong sense of the necessity of training his vehicles of expression as a worker in the world; of dissipating once for all any too sanguine expectations he may foster of touching the master level without putting forth every ounce of emotional and mental strength to that end; of making him realize that faith without works is dead; and of urging him to call forth the latent reserves of all his faculties and impressing his personality uniquely without the sphere of his daily activity. All this he will discern in the master mind and in such a degree of excellence as will no doubt incline him to regard his own life value as very limited indeed in comparison. His encouragement lies in the thought that by working steadily and continuously, with patience and perseverance, at this all round culture of his soul life, latent faculty may unexpectedly emerge into consciousness and enable him to cover many stages of the path in a very short time. Many aspirants can bear witness to the demonstration of this law in their lives. The aspirant can determine just where he stands in evolution only after he has made prolonged and unfaltering effort to get right down to the foundations of his soul life and stimulate into activity the latent memories of former existences. It is for him to find out for himself how much of this concealed growth is waiting to emerge under the combined stimulus of healthy introspection and objective application. The growth he has made in the past is there; nothing can obliterate it; it rests with him whether or not he has at this point the desire and strength, engendered through daily experience, to become his own preceptor and bring that Karma quickly to fruition.
The mystical life perfects itself in the deep silences of our nature. It is the flower of the soul. We intuitively know that its many-coloured petals are unfolding as we meditate and serve; and no matter what the stress of thought, the agitation of circumstances, or the swift retribution of Karma which we have consciously or unconsciously demanded, the fragrance of the divine bloom will ascend and pervade the temple of being and evoke the compassion of the Master. Yone Noguchi, the Japanese poet and disciple of Buddha, in a beautiful description of a Japanese Temple of Silence in which he experienced his third spiritual awakening, relates that in this Temple there was a picture of Dharuma, the ancient Hindoo monk who established the Zen, the religion of silence; and on this picture Yone wrote these words:
"He is a pseudonym of the universal consciousness,
A person lonesome from concentration.
He is possessed of Nature's instinct,
And burns white as a flame;
For him mortality and accident of life
No longer exist,
But only the silence and the soul of prayer."
For years those lines haunted my soul. It would be difficult to pen a more beautiful definition of the mystical consciousness. In "the silence and the soul of prayer" we realize the dream of the mystics, adumbrated in the Third and consummated in the Ninth Grade. It is the stage of the sacred retreat into the Peace Profound of the soul. We have lived the beauty of the world and understand it; we have learned to serve and service has become the breath of our life; we have communed with great and holy minds until their contagious fervour has possessed us and made us hunger and thirst after the sources of power and inspiration; and now, we stand within the temple, if so be that in wordless prayer we may evoke the mystic consciousness in the soul and know the divine will. This day the outer man has done his work bravely and intensely; he has striven mightily to accomplish the greater things; he has fallen short of much he would have done, but what he has done is well and time will justify it. Now we put off the outer man and partake of the holy sacrament of the altar within us. In mystical communion with the eternal we kindle the sleeping fire that burns away the illusions of finite consciousness; our pledge with the Cosmic is once again ratified, and its responsive vibration as the voice of the silence is perfect assurance that we have not sought its aid in vain.
At this point a pertinent question may arise in the mind of the young aspirant. It is this: To whom, or to what, should I direct my devotion? He has already received the clearest indication on this matter, but the question is important and may be profitably considered. Most of our members have been brought up in the nurture and admonition of some form of the Christian religion; so much is obvious from individual declarations on entering our Order. And not a few have earnestly stressed in their subsequent correspondence their profound acquiescence in the teachings of Christ and their wholehearted acceptance of the way of the Christ in their studies. Their aim in uniting with us is to acquire that knowledge and understand that discipline which they behold so wonderfully expressed in their perfect exemplar. It is well; they have nothing to renounce on this head through their association with us. It is written in the "Fama": "But that also every Christian may know of what religion and belief we are, we confess to have the knowledge of Jesus Christ." That is a most expressive declaration. Note the content and force of it: "We confess the knowledge." Now, we see in Christ the perfect expression of Cosmic illumination, the complete at-one-ment; and our work, from first to last, is to so prepare the soul, that the false wrappings of many incarnations may be put off and we may become attuned with this same Christ or Cosmic consciousness. We are not content with a simple belief in Christ or in any other great teacher, or our lives would not be more mystical or spiritual than is the life of the average so-called Christian. We are not content with belief. Belief can make a man an orthodox Christian at any moment he chooses; it can never make a Rosicrucian. It is the knowledge of the interior way of the Christ or the Buddha that we teach, as revealed through the study and application of the cosmic laws by which alone that way can be trodden. That is the working faith we have, and it is strong enough to bear the most searching interrogation and to confront the boldest criticism, whether of those who believe or those who doubt. And it matters not whether the aspirant is a follower of Christ or of Buddha, or of any other great leader of the human race; we raise no issue with him on the matter; we simply point out that if he desires to know the secret of their knowledge and power and become himself, according to his capacity, a teacher of men, he must focus attention not upon the historical figure but upon the interior way which every one of these teachers epitomizes in himself.
If the aspirant is accustomed to watch the trend of human thought and affairs in well known organizations such as the Church and, for instance, the Theosophical Society, he may draw important conclusions for himself. At the present time he will observe that the Church is seething with controversies respecting the moral and scientific value of its articles of belief, and once again thousands within its pale are asking, "What is the truth?" The reason is not far to seek. It is because their religious life is founded almost entirely upon theological canons relative to an historical personality which have given rise to endless contention in the past and will continue to do so as long as they exist. He will observe something similar, but on a very small scale, in the Theosophical Society. For years Theosophists knelt down before the shrine of H. P. Blavatsky, and bitter controversies raged around the fact of what she actually wrote, what she meant to write, and what her successors have kindly written for her. Just then, when every well meaning Theosophist was at his wits' end as to what to believe or whom to worship, the heavens were opened and a new revelation was vouchsafed; a Christ-Buddha appeared in their midst, and another phase of hero worship dawned. In both cases personal salvation is made easy by adhering, in the one case, to narrow formulae of belief, with little or no emphasis on the urgency for individual effort toward the essential and mystical life; and, in the other case, in deliberately and apparently with fullest and highest authority offering a fictitious Christ for the allegiance of students of the Wisdom Religion, a substitution which is regarded by a large percentage of those students as a direct betrayal of the honoured founder of their society.
These facts are not irrelevant to our theme. They reveal the clearest possible answer to the question of the sincere seeker as to where he shall look for true progress and enlightenment. The mystical consciousness is to be sought within, and no where else. The Rosicrucian is the last person on earth to reject exalted characters; he is a seer and takes the measure of a personality at sight; his chief work in the world is to exalt human lives by inculcating that practical knowledge of inherent forces which unfolds the divinity in humanity and makes men saviours of the world by virtue of the superiority and versatility of their word and action. If the aspirant looks deeply enough he will discern at the heart of all our teaching and all our work in the world, the rapt devotee. We preserve that inner attitude with most jealous care. The master mind who has trodden the interior way and recorded the scripture of his cosmic communion, we recognize; and we know the secret of his greatness. He has explored the infinite solitudes of the soul and beheld the mystery of his own divinity; he has gazed with fearless eyes upon the unsullied mirror of the power of God within and reflects the brightness of its everlasting light. That is the ritual of the Rosicrucian worship. In the Third the suggestions and adumbrations of it pass in swift review, to be unfolded and lived and perfected according to the persistent research and experimentation of the aspirant. All the glorious possibilities of imaginative absorption in the living beauty of the world, the nobility of ever-extending and sublime service to humanity's need, the far cry of men of vision who have seen the light on the heights of literature and art, and the holy offering of every perfected power and faculty on the shrine of silence within the temple,--such is the fourfold realization of the genius of man, the goal of all our endeavour.
Raymund Andrea.

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