Rosicrucian Writings Online

"The White Brother"

By Raymund Andrea
[From The Mystic Triangle September 1929]
THERE is a class of book which never fails to interest the occult student: that which speaks of the personal contact of a pupil with a Master.  A kind member of our Order recently sent me a book called "The White Brother," an occult autobiography;* and since it belongs to the class above mentioned, I believe our members will be particularly interested in some account of it and in references to certain items of oral teaching imparted by the Brother to his pupil.
In the first place, I think that, on reading a book of this nature, a wise discrimination should be made on certain points. The Brother therein referred to, for instance, is called M; and it is just possible that some may immediately jump to the conclusion that this individual is none other than the Master M known to many of us in occult literature. This would be a profound mistake. Those of us who have any just conception of what a World Master must be, of the vast works under his supervision and his well known traditional aloofness from physical contact in mundane affairs, would never identify the Brother M in this book with the Great Master Morya. The correct view to take of this matter, it seems to me, is, that an aspirant of occult promise, such as the writer of this autobiography, may contact a Brother, who to him, may undoubtedly occupy the position of Master to pupil; but that Master is not to be considered by the reader for one moment as one of the august Chiefs of the Brotherhood. With all due respect to this particular writer, we cannot conceive, in the face of all our studies on the subject, of such a Master dwelling in London, taking part in the meetings of little groups of students, submitting to interrogation upon all kinds of topics, occult and otherwise, and taking his pupil for an occasional excursion on the astral or mental plane. Happily, the writer himself makes no such claim: but it is astonishing what claims some of his readers might make for him, and it is these credulous souls I am thinking of. If they will bear in mind that the Great Masters have under their supervision initiates of various degrees operating all over the world, we shall place this particular case in its proper setting and profit by its publication. No doubt it was one of these initiates that made himself known to the writer of this book with the definite intent of personal instruction. As the Brother himself says: a man's Master may be waiting just around the corner, or living in the same house, but he will not make himself known to his prospective pupil until the right moment for contact and recognition. And such Masters, as a general rule, are initiates, agents, or messengers of those higher, yet in the scale of occult evolution they are themselves under the superior supervision of a Great Master. And these initiates are prepared and sent forth to contact and instruct those who are ready to profit by the knowledge they can impart and equip them in turn for greater spheres of service.
The author says that his book is the chronicle of a student who sought and became the pupil of one deeply learned in the knowledge of the Divine Sciences. On that statement, therefore, we accept the authenticity of his book, and the various fragments of teaching given by the Brother to his pupil appear to leave no doubt that the narrative is authentic. We shall be specially interested in the account of the author's eager mental pilgrimage from one persuasion of thought to another, each to be thrust aside in turn as unsatisfying to the hunger of the developing soul, until finally the unexpected meeting took place when he was given that personal inner assistance which enabled him to manipulate certain occult forces and take his own higher evolution consciously in hand, some hints of which are given in the book. Members of the Ninth Grade of our teachings will be interested at this point in connection with the instruction therein which deals specifically with the preparation for meeting a personal Master. The author touches the matter very briefly, but it is clear that he was acquainted with some aspects of the Rosicrucian teachings and it is left to conjecture whether the Brother was not himself a member of the Order, since the meeting, we are told, took place in the room of an organization which is unnamed. And thinking of our own members in the Ninth Grade, I am led to refer to the case of one of these members whom I recently contacted for the first time. This man has been a close student of occult literature for many years; and his lament to me was, that in spite of all his eager research, he had not yet made the contact he desired. He felt that he had not been used in any definite way; his knowledge lay broad and deep in his mind, logically built up and duly assimilated, but he had not felt a particular call in any direction. The case is not exceptional; there are others in a similar position. And I am thrown back upon this thought in considering it: that in such a life there is a cycle of Karma to be liquidated, that his long and sincere efforts can by no means have been in vain; that he is, perhaps quite unconsciously, steadily progressing to a point where all his knowledge and experience will be requisitioned; for it is needed, deeply needed, and any day the hindering conditions may pass and his mission be revealed.
For that member, and others like him, this book may have a message. From poverty, through doubt, and onward to increasing knowledge, the author pressed on, never despairing that at length he would find the true nurture for the soul. The Brother was there and knew him from afar, but waited until the hour for recognition came, until the accumulated knowledge and world experience of his prospective pupil had matured to the point of right use and could be safely utilized.
I can only touch briefly on the main points of the autobiography leading up to the time of the meeting, and then note one or two of the aspects of instruction given by the Brother. And first I wish to observe how often it is the fact that those who make some exceptional progress on the path and eventually contact an initiate in this way, have had an arduous struggle with circumstances and have been severely schooled in various adverse conditions before coming into their own. This is the very opposite of what the average student expects to find. He imagines that the privileged one must have had every assistance and convenience that circumstances could afford and been sheltered from anything in the nature of the inimical restrictions and oppositions that have fallen to his lot. Yet he is entirely wrong in this assumption. Those who have gone up the mountain have had to do their own climbing, but in the majority of cases we know nothing of the difficulties they have had to encounter. In this book the writer takes us unreservedly into his confidence. Perhaps it is well for him that he writes, as I think, under a pseudonym.
He was born in a poverty-stricken quarter of a great city, probably London, and was a "wanderer burdened with the cross of poverty," among a populace of souls made weak through suffering and of low and undeveloped character. Once he lived in a court, surrounded with all that was foul, drunken, and sordid and which, to a sensitive and imaginative child, was a heavy and continual horror. His education was of the meanest, provided by the authorities for the children of parents who were considered the scum of society, where any sign of personality in a child was immediately attacked and suppressed and the views and doctrines of the Educational Board reigned omnipotent. He sat at his desk, "like a fool," uninspired. And passing from school into many trades in none of which he excelled, he looked back at the age of eighteen to realize that only one ideal had ever possessed him--to write a book.
Then he began to take notice and soon reached a point where he became a conscious and determined rebel against circumstances and grew apace in egotism and cynicism. In this favorable mood he fell in with an atheist, and atheism was championed for a while with sounding rhetoric and youthful virility. But the way was hard and progress slow, and he passed as suddenly into the promised land of socialism. In this enchanted realm great hopes sprung up and he eagerly sought to gather material for three vast volumes on "Egotism--Past, Present, and Future." A step further, blindly, and he entered the dark valleys of anarchism, and joined the noble army of anarchists pledged to destroy all tyrants and revolutionize society. This task was harder still; enthusiasm cooled; and, in a peaceful interlude, he reposed for a while in the nourishing bosom of philosophy. But this proved a disquieting resting place for a one-time atheist, for spiritualism and theosophy were already threatening his repose. He studied the theosophical literature, joined the library, and entered the society. There he found friends but got on ill with them. They lived in a serene air of unthinking faith and his interrogations upset them. The "Secret Doctrine" he read, but understood little of. Some of the characters in the group he was allied with are described and classified with keen discrimination. They were a strange people and provoked his curiosity.
With one or two of his mystical intimates he visited in the evenings the cafes of Soho, the resort of every type of artist, and there observed life in many of its most unedifying aspects. Yet this period was marked by their great devotion to theosophy. But theosophy was one thing: the Theosophical Society another. "Yet we stayed on in the society" he writes, "because we were enchanted by the shadows and emotional fountains that played upon our senses, becoming more and more somnolent, and it was a long time after that we were forced to admit that all we could learn was of an intellectual nature, which could only lead us into a perpetual mirage. For, above all, what we really desired were realizations that would enable us to comprehend the meanings of life, to understand why humanity suffered, and the cure; for we no longer believed that life woke from the unconscious passions of the elements to snarl and tear its way up a staircase built from the bones of lesser lives." For three years he had studied theosophy and grown weary, not of its doctrines, but of the lack of spiritual incident, when, unexpectedly, he met the Brother. It was in the room of an organization which, he says, has long since passed away. A few students had met for discussion and were awaiting the arrival of him whose identity was evidently not suspected. As soon as he entered the writer says he felt an immediate difference in the mental atmosphere. This meeting led to a personal invitation from the Brother to visit him. From that time onward he received various fragments of teaching and instruction from the Brother, some of which I will refer to.
Having on one occasion heard him speak of the Masters, the author asked the Brother if he would define their state of consciousness. In answer to this the Brother brought him a book, which was none other than that known as the "Comte de Gabalis," about which an article appeared in this magazine not long since, introducing it to members, and in which is given on page 297 a definition of the Master. The Brother pointed out that this book contained much truth and that the commentaries had been written by one who had experienced certain illuminations. We are told that the Brother did not confine himself solely to occult matters but was also conversational on many unrelated topics. He indicated the talents of his pupil, and encouraged him to continue his early efforts in verse writing. He was told many things about himself which nobody else could possibly have known, and given clear descriptions of people personally unknown to the Brother but well known to the writer, their habits, talents, and so forth. On questioning the Brother about the elementals, the book above mentioned was indicated as a source of reliable and first hand information.
It is interesting to note the remarks of the Brother on marriage. He pointed out that the student was perfectly free to do what he would, though it would be inadvisable to marry a person who was below him in caste and development, for then he would be more often hindered than helped, particularly if he married when young; though, of course, marriage sometimes could also help, for the student seeks balance, and if the student arrives at that stage there is little to fear. He then mentioned a case of a married Master with a family, whose wife was completely ignorant of the fact that her husband was different from the ordinary type of mankind, save for the exception that he possessed a vast knowledge that surprised his family. I am reminded, on this topic, how that once, in conversation with a theosophical leader, a book came up for discussion in which it was stated that certain of the Masters marry. This statement is strongly repudiated and the book was completely discounted because of it. Now, what particularly commends itself to me in the Brother's conversation with his pupil is the breadth and tolerance of his views upon vexed questions of this nature, and the entire absence of assertiveness and bigotry which so strongly characterize some of those who would hold us in bondage to their narrow and preconceived opinions.
Speaking of failures, the Brother said that many of his pupils had failed through sex, egotism, and jealousy, "but though they had failed they were not forgotten, and a time would come when the fallen pupil would be given another opportunity, for the Teachers are very patient and can understand the weaknesses of mankind because they had also suffered in the past before succeeding; treading the path is a case of constant effort and though years may pass, persistence in carrying out the various exercises will ultimately be rewarded with success, for not the smallest effort is wasted, and the moment comes when something is opened, some sleeping force awakened, and the seeker has a new realization of life, an extension of the senses that makes one more sensitive of things passed unnoticed before."
And let us particularly note this: "There is no autocrat among a group of pupils, for each teacher is somewhat of a specialist along certain given lines, also it can happen sometimes that the apparently lesser evolved members may become the teacher to the rest of the group, though even then he would not attempt to command or force obedience from the rest, for the freedom of each student is considered sacred, though all are supposed to work in perfect harmony for the good of all and for the good of mankind. One of the saddest moments in a teacher's life is when he is challenged by his pupil for knowledge, for the pupil's soul must be given freedom of expression, and anything that tends to limit the soul's expression brings upon the teacher the Karmic responsibility. Above all, let people alone with freedom for their soul's expression. The true student asks the other man's soul how he can help it, and the student's own soul will transmit the message. Keep the mind calm, for this is the higher form of clairvoyance, and the confessional, if done impersonally, is a spiritual thing."
The chapter devoted to various occult teachings contains many instructive fragments. That on initiation is enlightening: "Within the soul of each mortal dwells a watcher, one who waits patiently for the time when his charge will cry out for a consciousness of the divine realities, and when that occurs, the inner watcher guides the seeker into a series of experiences that will perfect and make him fit to enter the temples of Truth. Wherever the seeker dwells, whether he be white, yellow, or black, whether he dwells in a hovel or a palace, directly he desires to become a helper for humanity and work in unity with the laws of the spirit, directly he listens to the compelling voice of intuition that bids him seek beyond the glamour of events, and he obeys it, then the watcher within takes him upon a voyage that can only end when the seeker has found his own. But when guiding him, the watcher also gives to him various keys, keys that will open each of the seven doors that lead into ancient chambers, wherein can be found books written by the other selves of the past, works wherein are inscribed the symbols of divine powers. Only by perseverance and relentless pursuit can the seeker attain his desires. For in his aspiration for initiation, he must not permit his energies to be frittered away in the mental clamour and voices of parasitic and vague interests, that are shaped from mist and bring only temporary nourishment. For initiation consists of discovering one's own limitations, though one also discovers an affinity to the elements of nature and the universe. And a time comes in his occult studies when he enters through the curtains of air, and he discovers new regions, new laws, and truths, which he endeavors to build into his character, and possess powers that can demonstrate to humanity the existence of higher kingdoms and forces."
Other fragments on art, consciousness, and symbolism are of absorbing interest but are too long to give here. To abbreviate them would be to lose their import, since the Brother is economical in the use of language; every sentence tells and is necessary to the evolution of the main idea.
The concluding chapter on travel on the mental plane merits attention. For over two years the pupil practised various exercises prescribed by the Brother and eventually certain higher faculties were awakened. He was soon after to have his first experience of journeying out of the body into the mental world. On this occasion, he says, though travelling was vague he was not entranced; his senses were more acute and sensitive to the slightest sound than ever before, and the Brother's voice sounded louder although he spoke in low tones. This journey was a prelude to many more, until his mental sight became clear and reliable. I select the following from several experiences. It is very arresting. "One evening M took me upon a mental trip, wherein I traveled with great difficulty. Something seemed to pull me downward and it was only with M's help that I managed to arrive at the place he desired to show me. It was a small room in which a young child was writing, while through a nearby window a great shaft of silver light came flowing. I looked at the child and seemed to recognize him as somebody I had known long ago. I asked M if he could tell me who the child was and heard with astonishment that it was myself upon this mental plane. I noticed that as the child gazed up into the stream of light, the face grew younger; but when he bent down, the face grew very old. M told me I was writing a book that would appear in the future, which did not surprise me, for I had often seen complete new poems in my dreams, for in sleep the soul journeys to its realm of true being, with clear metrical forms and subjects, which were ultimately written, though many were also unwritten, as I could not recollect the words."
A prologue to one of the chapters in the book may suitably conclude this article. It is entitled "Human Spectra."
"Ponderers peering through the mist, builders of minarets of sand, ghosts who walk and laugh and work. You are bewitched by the shadows, the thoughts, the dreams of the hidden people. They are in your room, holding in their hands the secrets that would make you as gods. They overshadow you with their shekinahs, invisible, they whisper to you, and you become inspired. They call themselves the humble servants of God, and you call yourselves masters of Earth. And yet you are as spectrums, reflecting their thoughts, their emotions, but diverting their shafts of power, often for evil motives, and flooding the earth with stained beams of thought that return to the instrument, bringing with them destruction. Yet in the aegis of their love and their divine patience they still guide you into fresh realms of experience."
* Webmaster's Note: "The White Brother: An Occult Autobiography" by Michael Juste may be downloaded here (external link).

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