Rosicrucian Writings Online
Waiting for The Master
By Raymund Andrea
Grand Master, AMORC,
[From The Mystic Triangle March 1929]
IN the Ninth Grade we stand at the threshold of a greater life. We await the Master who is to initiate us into divine cognition and a knowledge of our true mission on the path. In this highly mystical grade there is significant pause and vast scope for contemplation. Looking back over the grades, it seems as if we had gradually ascended a great and narrowing stairway, step by step, and now stand on the last stair, far away from the voices of earth, before the portals of the unseen temple. Many have fallen away as the ascent grew steeper: the reward was too remote and the goal intangible. They fell away because they had not faith, and their portion will be a still continuing and unappeased hunger for that life which lies beyond the threshold which is approached in the Ninth Grade.
The pause and silence in the Ninth Grade constitute one of the greatest tests we have to meet on the path. We may have done all in our power, and the Master has not appeared. I know not why; I only know that in many lives the fact is so. Yet I feel convinced that there are certain conditions to be met, certain work to be accomplished, which we may dimly apprehend but which the Master knows, absolutely and in detail, are necessary for us to meet and to accomplish before we may share in his life. At this point we retain a firm footing through the exercise of an indomitable faith. I doubt whether one of us has come so far without realizing within, in one form or another, the strongest reason for this faith in those things which remain hidden to us just beyond the threshold. Those of us who have given the best part of our lives to the study and contemplation of higher things are seldom troubled with anxious questionings as to the path we have chosen, the reward of our effort, or the ultimate goal. We live onward from day to day in confidence that such aspects of truth and revelations of the divine as we are ready to accept and fitted to receive will be lawfully unfolded to an aspiring consciousness, and that veil after veil will pass away as we live and serve in the world of men. And it is inconceivable that those who entered upon the study of the path for the first time when they contacted the Order, passed through the grades understandingly, and now stand with us in the mystical pause of the Ninth Grade, have not the inner assurance of a reward for their labor and a realization of expanding consciousness. Their ability to demonstrate objectively may still be negligible; they may feel that they have little to show as a result of their study and meditation; yet experience warrants us in saying that such objective demonstration is by no means the only criterion of progress. It is just at this point in his studies that so much depends, in my opinion, on a student having a fairly clear idea of his inner status on the path. If he were studying in a certain course at the university with the hope of graduating for a specific profession, a time would ultimately arrive when he would need to take thorough stock of himself before presentation for examination to that end. He would need to gauge his weakness and his strength; he would submit to a careful self-examination and exercise himself in every way for qualification. Is not his position in the Ninth Grade somewhat analogous to this? But here he is largely his own instructor: he need entertain no fear of being "sent down" in the absence of certain qualifications. The period of waiting may be prolonged, but there is no failure.
This leads us to the important question of what is the outstanding qualification for passing beyond the threshold in the Ninth Grade. We are clearly confronted with no ordinary test. Upon entering each grade we have passed a threshold, at least symbolically. But at some stage of our progress through the Ninth Grade there is to be a definite translation of consciousness; during the interval of this grade we are engaged in a refining preparation which is to culminate in a complete change of polarity. Personally, I do not think this is to be achieved by any specific occult experiment, although some members in the Ninth Grade appear to hold this idea. I have often studied, with a good deal of interest, photographs depicting the remarkable throws of the proficient in ju jitsu; but woe to the man who attempts these if he has not a sufficiently athletic body and the requisite flexibility and strength of muscle and mental resources. There may not be the element of danger in the occult experiment that resides in the simple looking throw, but a vast amount of conscientious preparation is necessary in both cases.
There was a time when I could not altogether understand the urgent admonition of advanced occultists to serve. On more than one occasion when I had almost implored these greater souls of one school or another of occult teaching to give me some exceptional soul knowledge or instruction to satisfy the fierce hunger for advancement, I was uniformly pointed to the path of service. It was put to me most strongly that it was practically useless to engage in meditation and speculation about the soul unless the knowledge and force already possessed as the reward of past effort were communicated in some form for the assistance of others. Indeed, it was not until I contacted our Order that the significance of this admonition was fully realized and given effect.
It appears to be a condition of the threshold that the aspirant must retreat from the very point to which he has attained if he would go further. It seems that he is called upon to show in a very unique manner what sort of man he is; and this is not, as we are apt to think, by some remarkable demonstration of divine or occult power, but rather in what measure he can work upon the souls of lesser aspirants and raise them, too, to this level of renunciation. And unless I am greatly mistaken, that is the keynote of the pause in the Ninth Grade. There must be some dominant characteristic in the nature of the aspirant which stamps him as a different man from his fellows--or surely the reality of his position in this grade is lost to him! That characteristic must be as the vital breath of the soul and radiate powerfully in the world of men. For, in a sense, no one has a right in the Ninth Grade unless he is willing to assume the responsibility of taking knowledge. That responsibility is, that he shall project the light he has into the darkness for the guidance of others. Failure lies in considering too critically and nicely the quality of the light possessed. Such as we have we must use--now, and be grateful that our earnest search for knowledge has kindled so much in the soul. The aspirant, in order to gain confidence in using the light he has need only reflect upon the multitudes around him, a good percentage of which would give nearly all they possess to have the knowledge and conviction about the deeper realities of life that he has. We are far too prone to think, because we have not some extraordinary insight into supersensible truth, or lack the facility of some admired exponent of it, or cannot immediately unravel every problem that confronts us and read the soul of man as an opened volume, that we must wait and do nothing. This will never satisfy the soul, nor prepare us for that which we must handle with strength and mastery when we pass beyond the threshold.
Here, then, we come face to face with the one qualification which overshadows all others and which must be brought out in the Ninth Grade. We have almost to forget the goal in inspiring others on the way to it. We have to cool ourselves of this fever for advancement which constantly tempts us to leap away on to the heights and stand there, conscious of our celestial radiance and elevation beyond the masses, only to look down. What use has a Master for a surveyor of human lives? This is one of the most prolific of the poisonous plants in the garden of modern occultism; it propagates serene and debonair souls, clothed in majestic repose and conscious meritoriousness, having a rosary of theories too sacred for utterance except among the elect, and far beyond the comprehension of this evil world, or any advanced soul in it who thinks not likewise. If that is height, they have the right to it since they sought and attained it; but if in some incarnation they happen to contact a Master I think the first admonition they will receive will be, to come down. And this is a hint for us if so be any of us have misinterpreted the way. We must do something with might and main for those who want what we have. We have to come down now to the problem of any soul that confronts us and wrestle with it, even though it be formidable and apparently far beyond us. We have no idea of the strength and range of our knowledge and power until we, with something akin to heroic passion, endeavor to use them. Surely, the past years of silent thought and meditation, and upward aspiring must be allowed to have fostered something in the soul worthy of use, or we have wasted precious time. We might have mastered a language or studied a literature as a desirable acquisition and a proof of culture, and taken infinite delight in a skillful expression of it in the associations of every day life. Yet this is insignificant in comparison with the secret forces of light and leading of which every true aspirant should be conscious and desire to manifest. If this seems a severe judgment, I can only say that I see no reason for speaking less unreservedly, since it touches the heart of our own particular problem of the threshold. Before we take serious knowledge of the way, our life may be as easy-going and indifferent as we choose to make it; others may have their problems and suffer under them, and there may be no inner compulsion on our part to trouble much about them. It is the note of the world; and since we have to build for ourselves there appears nothing illogical in making our own path sure. On the occult path this is a crime. It will shut fast every avenue of approach to the life of the Masters. True, we must think for ourselves; a true knowledge of self and an endeavor to achieve a right adjustment to life must necessarily be a constant aim--but only that we might work the more skillfully and effectively upon the souls of our fellowmen for their advancement. A soul in pain--I use the words deliberately--will vibrate every living chord in the heart of a true Rosicrucian. He will forget conventions, rise beyond himself under the strong impulsion of the will to enlighten and ameliorate, and pass into another soul without let or hindrance by the divine right of an understanding compassion, and that mystic and vital contact will have wrought in secret and never be forgotten.
This capital qualification, then, of self-exploitation for the assistance of others, has either to appear spontaneously in the soul of the aspirant before the threshold or must be cultured for with a no less conscientious laboriousness than that of an artist seeking to reflect the light and truth of ethereal nature across his canvas, or that of a writer laboring to embody immortal truth in language that wrings tears from human hearts. The personal self has to be laid upon the altar of service to living souls. Nothing less than this will suffice. Do we not plainly discern this stern, unrelenting, self-denying service in the Masters of men? That unearthly beauty and profound peace which they reflect are derived fundamentally from this one thing. If not, what else can give this majesty to mortal man? Nothing in the world, either in literature, art or science, or the path of life would be marshalled with angelic beings; whereas the flower of humanity is so rare that our life is one long yearning to encounter it. Some of us, at least, are only too well aware of this; we know what it is to greatly serve and we know that it calls for the right kind of soul. We have seen many a path of lesser glory in the eyes of the Masters, but of great account in the eyes of the world, which we could have trodden and thereby seized just and coveted rewards, yet have renounced them until they now grow dim in the distance. It is well, and as it should be--for us. As surely as we await the Master, the Master waits for us, until the one decisive attitude is so firmly established as to preclude even the thought of sacrifice. Supreme dedication is the secret key in any great life. It is an extreme polarity which refuses to be biased by lesser things than the flaming ideal upon which the eyes are fixed. But on the occult path there is no violence, no forced development to this end. The service demanded by the Master is the full bloom of the soul, not the strained exertion of a disproportional development of any particular faculty. This is obvious; for when confronted with the problem of a soul we shall be little more than helpless before it if our life and knowledge have moved simply to one point and the problem be viewed merely from thence. The problem must become our problem and be viewed from the precise angle and altitude of the soul whose problem it is. We translate ourselves by inner and sympathetic contact.
I said, that the established attitude of service precludes even the thought of sacrifice. There may be something of the nature of a crucifixion of the personal self, but we cannot regard it as loss or deprivation. The increasing momentum of the outgoing force of the soul seems to overwhelm and obliterate, or shall we say, depolarize the personal factor. I should be more inclined to term it the way of loneliness than of crucifixion. One of the occult scriptures says: When the disciple has conquered the hunger of the heart, and refuses to live on the love of others, he finds himself more capable of inspiring love; when the heart no longer wishes to take, it is called upon to give abundantly. That is high doctrine, and perhaps we have not touched its level yet; but the approach thereto is not crucifixion--it is spiritual loneliness. And this particular stage of the path will be difficult to tread and its vibration hard to bear according to the native or acquired vigor of the soul for the quest. Certainly there is immense possibility in it, and here in the Ninth Grade I believe we are dealing with it. There are many references to this fact of loneliness in occult literature, yet, for all our theoretical knowledge of it, we are more or less disquieted in experiencing the solitudes of the path. What we have aspired to has in part been attained, and then we question the rightness of the attainment. But there is a never failing and tranquillizing thought upon which the aspirant can rest in such an exigency: whatever altered condition of mental aspect or conscious awareness of finding himself well out on a comparatively solitary path of investigation and remote from the common interests of men, whatever inner questionings may arise as to further pursuit of an uncommon enterprise which lesser souls are only too ready to pronounce unprofitable and discourage him from, he will know that a higher and subtler strength is of greater value in evolution than a lower one, and when he becomes fully adjusted to it he will be capable of the greater works of that higher strength. Remember, it will be impossible to contact and hold the intense vibration of life beyond the threshold without this specific culture of the vibration within ourselves. To this end we labor. We seek to touch the super-levels of consciousness, and as the growing pains we have to experience and the intervals of loneliness that test us in the ascent are necessary and unavoidable, let us hold steadfastly on until the Master appears.
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