Rosicrucian Writings Online


The Technique of the Master

By Raymund Andrea, K.R.C.,
 
Grand Master, AMORC, Great Britain.
 
[From The Mystic Triangle November 1927]
 
 
I NEITHER propose to ask permission of, nor to render any apology to, our friends the Theosophists for writing intimately in our Rosicrucian magazine of the Master Kut-Hu-Mi. The publication in our magazine a few months ago of the Master's photograph, with a list declaring his very prominent position in the hierarchy of the Masters and the extent of his great authority in world activities, no doubt came as a considerable surprise to a large number of our friends, who had hitherto regarded the Master as exclusively concerned in the affairs of their Society and themselves as the main objective of his personal interest. I write in all seriousness, for there have existed the strongest reasons for the creation of this impression. However, the illusion on this head has passed, and it is now practically demonstrated that the Master is far too universal a character, and too versatile in activity, to confine his unique influence to any group of aspirants of a single name. Indeed, it is surprising how such an idea of limitation and exclusive interest should ever have been entertained by any well-informed occult student. The most simple application of the law of analogy should dissipate this error. The objective of the aspirant in his studies is to transcend the personal attitude, to observe life and his fellowmen from a Cosmic standpoint, to offer his hand in help wherever the cry of man reaches his ear; what then would he expect to be the invariable attitude of the Master whom he aspires to meet and be assisted by on the path to liberation? Is not the Master the Compassionate One who has given all for the world, and can perfect compassion exclude, or be bound by a name? Does not the scripture say: "When the pupil is ready the Master appears?" I am firmly of the opinion that when we become fully initiated into the superphysical and enter, in full consciousness, into the secret assemblies and councils of the Masters, we shall be not a little surprised at the diverse nationalities and the manifold types and the independent status of the pupils there contacted and engaged unitedly in world service under that august supervision. Perhaps no other experience will so quickly and effectually divest us of this mean bondage to locality and name, nor so readily enable us to attain that comprehensive and catholic view which is the note of the truly occult mind.
 
In the light of the increasing information vouchsafed us in our day of the Masters and their work, we may take a bold and decisive step toward an entirely fresh adjustment of outlook regarding their personality and procedure. The old--yes, ridiculous and conceited--idea of a great world worker, such as a Master of Occultism, devoting his transcendent powers and wisdom to fostering exclusively the dreams of a small group of aspirants gathered around the one or two accredited pupils to whom, at that time, he embraced an opportunity, under the law of Karma, of making known his activities to the Western world, must go. It no doubt served a good purpose, inasmuch as it gave a considerable importance to those who entertained the new knowledge, imparted a consciousness of exclusive adoption and of individual worth, and urged them to unusual activity in disseminating it. We today recognize the importance of our mission, we need the consciousness of individual worth and the incentive to unusual activity, but we know nothing of exclusive adoption. The voice of the Masters is an impersonal one: that is the cardinal fact for us; and he who can respond to that voice is known and accepted, whoever and wherever he may be. The swift movement of events during recent years, the increasing complexity of human life and relationships, the resolute pioneer work in the realms of mind, the amazing progress in the great fields of scientific discovery, and the emergence of the psychic on every hand, are all strong indications, for those who have the eyes to see, of hierarchical response to the demands of the growing soul. The old dividing lines have vanished. The cry is: Onward in the name of the soul! The man with that irrepressible passion deep in the heart is known, whether he hides himself in the solitudes or among men; he is known to the Master who is a world focus of the same constraining passion. The two are one under the occult law--the law which is perfected in the technique of the Master.
 
Few subjects are so profound and fascinating as that of the technique of the Master. It is with certain phases of the technique of the Master Kut-Hu-Mi that I propose to deal. He has been well named "the Illustrious." He is presented to us as of singular and majestic mien, with a lustre and dignity of personality edifying to behold. In the clear and tranquil light of the mesmeric eyes we discern the concentration and completion of human experience. It is a blessed thought that the Higher Powers have given such men to humanity, comparatively unknown but ever watchful, to guide and inspire it, through the agency of their disciples, along the difficult path of evolution. With all its trials and sufferings, life affords no greater privilege to man than to be consciously active in some aspect of this endeavour. But the technique of the Master is not easy to understand or to translate into life. He knows too well the extreme rigor of his laws to demand from any soul what it has not yet found the power and insight to give. For the first step is an entirely spontaneous one and the offspring of a high order of vibration which is the culmination of a mature experience in the knowledge of the planes. This experience is often not an acquirement of the present incarnation, but exists as subjective memory. The history of its direct attainment is hidden in the past and is now chiefly shown in swift and versatile response to occult truth in any form, accompanied with exceptional ability of some nature for the expression of that truth. Wherever this response exists, and is of a pure and powerful character, there we may discern the silent influence of the Master's realm upon an awakening soul in the far time. He is now ready for the technique of the Master. There will be for him, in the scripture of wisdom, a geometry of the Spirit which he will delight to ponder and apply to the infinite intricacies of life and character. Humanity, passing and repassing between the two eternities, will no longer appear to him as an uninteresting pageant and unrelated to himself: the power and passion of its living blood will create a mighty music in his soul, often very hard to be borne. Vibrant harmonies will arise within and sweep to celestial heights; strange chords of sombre pitch will mingle with his song of life; and the keen breath of a superhuman strength must have touched both heart and brain to enable him to stand before the knowledge that this symphony of a thousand voices of joy and sorrow is indeed his own collective Karma, in martial array, opening the gates of self-cognition. It is the Master's response to the soul's endeavour; it is the Master's technique demonstrating within him, whose inexorable law is: That every latent germ of good and bad in his temperament shall be awakened and declare itself.
 
Many are the misgivings of an aspirant when that law begins to operate in his personal sphere. Well may he think that far from making the smooth progress expected, he is on the path of retrogression. "It is not enough," says the Master, "to know thoroughly what the chela is capable of doing or not doing at the time and under the circumstance during probation. We have to know of what he may be capable under different and every kind of opportunities." A stern and exacting law of which the world knows nothing! Therefore the aspirant must be perfectly ready and willing to withstand its criticism. There is nothing intentionally mystifying in the procedure; it is simply a procedure which runs counter to all other procedures he is conversant with and for which he has to develop a rare discrimination. It cannot reasonably be expected that he will be intrusted with new and altogether higher responsibilities in a totally different realm of mentation and action, unless he has been drastically probed and tested by the searching influences proceeding from that superior realm. New faculties emerge under stress; not in the unexercised nature of him who fears the consequences of self-discovery. There is no smooth and easy path of ascent here; and with that assurance the aspirant must be prepared to find the confidence which the Master will certainly demand in him for the initial trials.
 
A member recently wrote me in these words: "Sometimes I feel further than ever from this attunement. I wonder why it is. I have an idea, probably gathered from my reading, that while one does not make any effort in this direction consciously there are influences at work which keep things balanced for you. You have your ups and downs. But once you begin making conscious effort these forces are upset and you may have all ups, or you may have all downs. You might easily make a great mess of the whole affair. I know at the moment my mind feels just in that state with regard to everything." How exactly, though quite unconsciously, does this member shadow forth the fact of the initial experience referred to! In her case it has not been delayed; her work in the occult field has been of short duration, and in the work of our Order she has only advanced to the third National grade. But there is no time in this realm. We are dealing with the intangible self, pregnant with undelivered Karma, and the word of knowledge of the right vibrational value may be all-sufficient to precipitate a phase of circumstance, perplexing and painful, but written largely in Nature's great law, and which must be met and understood. It is the conscious effort made to progress on the path which is the determining factor. Until that moment life moves slowly onward at its accustomed pace; there is an established rhythm in the vehicles which imparts a relative sense of ease and adjustment in the various contacts of life; the furniture of the mind is well-known and thoroughly catalogued, the selection considered excellent and becoming, nothing eccentric, nothing revolutionary, nothing at variance with the preconceived scheme, nothing to disturb the aesthetic taste of its possessor. But alas! the counterfeit peace of stagnation and conformity is not for the pioneer; the tidal wave of evolution will surely agitate the still waters in good time and compel advancement. And if, through fervent aspiration to the divine, the aspirant deliberately seeks the feet of the Master, sooner or later the trial comes to the soul, and well for him who, even through disappointment and tears, recognizes the guiding hand and clasps it in perfect faith. For the Master has said: "The mass of human sin and frailty is distributed throughout the life of man who is content to remain an average mortal. It is gathered in and concentrated, so to say, within one period of the life of a chela--the period of probation."
 
A large percentage of our members are wrestling with the difficulties incident to the period of probation. It is the period paramount, wherein the technique of the Master is so unexpected and penetrating that the aspirant's intention must be at once steadfast, pure and spiritual, to intuitionally grasp and personalize it. One has constantly to confront the lamentations of aspirants who do not appear to realize that occult progress must be slow, and that trials met and overcome are of the very essence of advancement. "The iron rule is," says the Master, "that what powers one gets he must himself acquire."--"He must not even desire too earnestly or too passionately the object he would reach; else the very wish will prevent the possibility of its fulfilment." The aspirant is working upon himself, upon the texture of his vehicles of expression, not upon external matter, as an artist fashioning material after his own conception. He has been so accustomed, in the physical world, to impose his will objectively upon men and things and receive an immediate response, that it is long before he comprehends that the deeper laws of the psychic and spiritual are alien to this. There is no time in occultism. The liquidation of Karma transpires in accordance with an inner law which is not in our will to hasten or delay. That is why the voice of the Masters, though often foreboding and tinged with warning, is ever a voice of encouragement; he knows that the persistent and courageous spirit will ultimately triumph over all. Has he not, as mortal man, himself triumphed? In every aspirant there is that which is akin to the Master's own immortal nature; the vital, dominant, irresistible seed of immortality which is destined to blossom into adeptship. But adeptship is a starry altitude supremely difficult of attainment. At every step of the way the Master has progressed scientifically and spiritually under the stern imposition of iron rule; obviously, then, no one better equipped than he to involve and guide the aspirant through the manifold intricacies of that rule, imperative for his complete knowledge and mastery of personal forces. Only through ceaseless application and after pains incredible do the masters of the arts and sciences attain their superb insight and mastery, and inspire and redeem humanity from the commonplace and trivial, and entrance the dreaming idealist into ecstatic yearning for the Infinite. Only through steadfast service and never-failing aspiration, through love and compassion and sacrifice, through success and failure, through lonely vigil and impassioned admonition, through all the heights and depths of thought and emotion of which the eager heart and the awakened mind are capable, shall we gain a true perspective of the sure and perfect action, and become worthy exponents of the Master's technique.
 
We may expect a very marked characteristic in the aspirant as the result of consciously passing through such an eventful inner discipline: he will be spiritually positive. A passive character can never hope to handle the work of the Master. It is not in the nature of things. The master of art uses his vehicle or material of expression with power. He will undoubtedly be receptive to superior influences and often appear to be a tool in the hands of the genius of his art: but there is a world of difference between a highly cultured receptivity and a passivity without strength and poise. The Master is very direct on this matter: "It is not enough that you should set the example of a pure, virtuous life and a tolerant spirit; this is but negative goodness--and for chelaship will never do. You should--even as a simple member--learn that you may teach, acquire spiritual knowledge and strength that the weak may lean upon you, and the sorrowing victims of ignorance learn from you the cause and remedy of their pain." That is one of the hard sayings of occultism, but it must stand. Conventional goodness, and all the qualities which constitute a well-tempered character, are to be prized; but the aspirant who intends to take the stages of the occult path must possess, or must resolutely cultivate, a certain aggressiveness of spirit which compels every difficulty to yield its secret and grows stronger for the struggle. I speak to the aspirant who aspires to be a light and guide to others, who feels this deep call in his nature, who can take defeat in the arena of life and yet pass on, that thereby the qualifications for higher service may be born and raised to power within him. And one of the reasons for this insistence upon interior assertiveness is that we have to deal subjectively with powers and influences on other planes than the visible, which work actively into the personal life. "The aspirant is now assailed entirely upon the psychological side of his nature."--"The direct hostility of the Brothers of the Shadow always on the watch to perplex and haze the neophyte's brain" is not an imaginary menace. It is a Karmic heritage ranged along the path for opportune attack, before which the strong survive and the weak fall back. However keenly the sensitive nature may suffer and recoil before the inimical and unsuspected vibrations which impinge upon it, the inner self must have reached that measure of strength which can do and dare and be silent.
 
Through conscientious study of himself in the light of such reflections as these the aspirant comes to realize the full significance of the outworking of Karma in his life. On this matter he cannot be too rightly introspective and discriminative. The Master's comment is: "To unlock the gates of the mystery you must not only lead a life of the strictest probity, but learn to discriminate truth from falsehood. You have talked a great deal about Karma but have hardly realized the true significance of that doctrine. The time has come when you must lay the foundation of that strict conduct--in the individual as well as in the collective body--which, ever wakeful, guards against conscious as well as unconscious deception." His endeavour on the path will develop this discrimination and so clarify his vision that the truth of things will respond to his right-mindedness. For the Master is truth; he has no pleasure in the error of the aspirant: nor will he be subject to error if he persistently tries to identify his thinking with the thought of the Master. There is a pregnant admonition of the Master which he will profitably ponder: "My chelas must never doubt, nor suspect, nor injure our agents by foul thoughts. Our modes of action are strange and unusual, and but too often liable to create suspicion. The latter is a snare and a temptation. Happy is he whose spiritual perceptions ever whisper truth to him! Judge those directly concerned with us by that perception, not according to your worldly notions of things." That spiritual perception is the basis of everything. It will contradict much that the aspirant has always believed to be true, and he will experience pain in renouncing that which is so firmly woven into his world of facts. But his greatest help will be dogmatic faith, although his world crumble around him. There will be many a secret struggle, but the right aspirant scarcely troubles to count the cost.
 
And from this new strength indifference to opinion will arise. The aspirant must let appearances go. What his inmost heart dictates is the law, not the urgent voices of external authorities. The Master's word is: "He who damns himself in his own estimation and agreeably to the recognized and current code of honour to save a worthy cause may some day find out that he has reached thereby his loftiest aspirations. Selfishness and the want of self-sacrifice are the greatest impediments on the path of adeptship." Cannot we rest our cause implicitly on adept assurance? There can be no half measures in occultism. We either want the Master life or we do not: if we do, there is but one law of conformity for us, and the technique of that law embraces every circumstance of life. It does not complicate, it simplifies life--if the necessary preparation has been taken. "What better cause for reward, what better discipline, than the daily and hourly performance of duty?"
 
The technique of the Master ramifies every phase of experience past and to come. It touches the inmost secret of his own supreme altitude and passes back to the common task of the present hour. Nothing is veiled to the eye of occult omniscience: no circumstance that cannot be divinely adjusted in the evolutionary scheme. We have to make the adjustment, whether in sorrow or in joy, and emerge more purified from the fire. "It is with armed hand, and ready to either conquer or perish, that the modern mystic can hope to achieve his object."
  

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