Rosicrucian Writings Online

The Great White Brotherhood

By The Imperator
[H. Spencer Lewis]
[From The Rosicrucian Digest February 1935]
A SHORT time ago there was published in The Rosicrucian Digest the substance of an interview with one of the great Rosicrucian Masters of Europe, and in the interview reference was made to the visible and invisible Masters and to the great white body of Masters who compose the spiritual board of directors of the recognized and affiliated esoteric organizations of the world.
Many questions pertaining to the Great White Brotherhood have been asked by our members as the result of the publication of that interview, and I feel that there may be some misunderstanding regarding the subject in the minds of many of our newer members as well as a few of our older members.
The first and most serious error that exists in the minds of many regarding the Great White Brotherhood is that the Brotherhood is some sort of definite fraternity living as a community or as a secluded and exclusive physical organization somewhere on the top of the Himalayas, or on some mountain in Tibet, and that this organization or secret school is as definitely and materially composed, systematized, regulated, and objective in every sense as any physical organization of man anywhere on earth. This understanding of the Brotherhood is a serious error and makes possible all the other errors of understanding in connection with the Brotherhood. Another idea associated with this error is that all of the great leaders, Masters, or spiritual teachers in the Great White Brotherhood are of the Buddhistic faith and belong to the strange cult of so-called "mystics" living in the secluded parts of Tibet and associated with the various Buddhistic or other monasteries under the spiritual direction of the Delai Lama who was their spiritual potentate until recently when he passed on from this earth plane in transition.
We have tried to make plain in The Rosicrucian Manual in the article dealing with the Great White Brotherhood that the only Brotherhood of this kind which the Rosicrucian Order of AMORC in each land has ever recognized is that INVISIBLE body of mystics composed of the most exalted and advanced mystics or spiritual leaders of various lands. Some of these may be properly classified as followers of the Buddhistic religion and most certainly some of them cannot be thus classified. Certain it is, that not all of them composing the inner lodge or Great White Lodge of the Brotherhood, as the board of directors, or inner controlling circle, do not live exclusively or periodically in Tibet, India, or any other special locality. And none of them, so far as we have ever learned, were completely under the rule of dictatorship of the Delai Lama.
In the article in The Rosicrucian Manual called Part 10 of the book with the title, "The Great White Lodge and the Attainment of Psychic Illumination," it is distinctly said that there are twelve great Masters composing the holy assembly of the Great White Lodge and that some of these are on the Cosmic plane while others are on this earth plane directing and inspiring the work of the so-called Great White Brotherhood. And it is said in this same article that the Great White Brotherhood is "the school, or fraternity, of the Great White Lodge and into this invisible Brotherhood of visible members every true student on the Path prepares for admission."
Just from these statements alone our members, who should be familiar with all of the statements contained in the Manual since its first publication in 1918 and which has had a very wide circulation with many editions during the past years, will see that we refer to the Great White Brotherhood and the Great White Lodge as an invisible organization and that while some of the members or Masters composing the holy assembly or inner section of the Great White Brotherhood may be invisible by their present existence in the Cosmic, the general membership of the Great White Brotherhood is composed of those visible members who have attained Cosmic illumination and the very highest degree of unfoldment. It will be noted that this being so, the general membership of the Brotherhood is limited, for there are few, comparatively speaking, of all of the people on the earth plane today who can or will attain in any one incarnation the utmost of unfoldment and development which would take them into membership in the invisible organization of the Brotherhood.
In the article in The Rosicrucian Manual referred to, we read in another paragraph that "the student who attains membership in the Great White Brotherhood, after due preparation and real worthiness, first discovers this by becoming conscious of having passed through a series of events constituting a true initiation."
It is explained then that this series of initiations or degrees of advancement are not those which are given in a lodge or in any visible form of organization, or at the hands of any worldly teacher or leader, but constitute Cosmic initiations. From this it must be understood, and would be understood by any rational thinker, that initiation into the Great White Brotherhood is not something that is conducted in any particular building, temple, monastery, or other plans in any particular city, state, or country of the world. The idea, therefore, that there are certain temples of the Great White Brotherhood in Tibet or up in the Himalayan Mountains or anywhere else on the face of this earth where aspiring persons may go and through an agreement to certain rituals and the dogmatic participation in certain forms of ceremony or through a period of devotion and prayer, pass an examination and be formally, physically, and materially admitted into the membership of the Great White Brotherhood is erroneous and without any foundation in any of the statements made by our organization.
But it must be admitted that there is so much misinformation published in the Western World regarding the Great White Lodge and the Great White Brotherhood that Neophytes and Adepts alike are led to believe that there is a definite, supreme monastery of the Great White Brotherhood in Tibet and that branches of this monastery have been established in various parts of the world and that emissaries or specially qualified teachers have been sent forth from the supreme monastery in Tibet to various countries to proselyte or select suitable persons and prepare them for a formal ceremony which will make them members of the Brotherhood. In The Rosicrucian Manual we have stated that "the sublime joy of Cosmic Consciousness or divine illumination (leading to contact with the Great White Brotherhood) can be known only through experience. . .  . . . You will realize, of course, that the Great White Brotherhood and the Great White Lodge have no visible organization. They never come together in one united session, their members are never assembled in any one meeting. They have no temple known by their names and they have no earthly rituals, physical organization laws, or material form as a brotherhood or lodge."
Realizing how misleading many of the popular stories regarding the Great White Lodge really are, the same article also states: "Therefore, our members will realize that statements they see in print, or hear, to the effect that a 'branch' of the Great White Lodge is located in some city and is issuing secret books of instruction, etc., are not only untrue but impossible."
In one of our other books, Rosicrucian Questions and Answers with Complete History of the Order, the following statement is made in the question and answer section. "With the Great White Lodge and its Ashramas and monasteries in several lands of the Orient providing a place for the most evolved workers of the organization to come together and devote their lives to the inner work of the Brotherhood, there was no reason for the maintenance of many movements or schools under various names."
We have tried to make it plain that the Rosicrucian Order of AMORC and the Rosicrucian activities generally throughout the world is only one of the channels that has been used and is still being used by the Great White Brotherhood for the development and progress of man's own spiritual and esoteric unfoldment and for the improvement of civilization. The Rosicrucian Order of AMORC has never made the absurd statement, made by some other organizations, that it was chartered by or held any power of authority from the Great White Lodge or Great White Brotherhood as a special "branch" of the invisible organization to which we have been referring. We do claim that the Rosicrucian activities throughout the world in the past and the present form of them, as being carried on by the AMORC in all lands, represent one of the important and one of the oldest of the still existing channels of the Great White Brotherhood and have often so been recognized simply because of its larger membership and its greater world-wide establishment and affiliations. But we know, and most of our highly advanced members know, that there are other channels through which the Great White Brotherhood is functioning or through which the holy assembly of the Great White Lodge is inspiring and urging certain esoteric, mystical, and spiritual ideas and activities throughout the world or in special forms in definite localities or countries where some existing need warrants a special form of the activities or a special manifestation of one of its channels. To illustrate what is meant by these last few words, I may indirectly infer, as an example, that in the United States of America at the present time and for the past year or more there have been in operation certain activities on the part of certain individuals inspired and urged by the Great White Brotherhood leading to the elimination and correction of some specific social, political and economic affairs, and that these special activities, directed by the Great White Brotherhood through a number of individuals more or less definitely associated together, constitute a special and temporary channel of the Great White Brotherhood that came into existence within the past few years and will cease to exist as a special channel in another few years when its special mission has been completed. I may not be more definite than this because of certain secrets that are necessary in the carrying on of this work for the betterment of the country and the upholding of the ideals and fundamental principles of the Constitution of the United States and the support of the President and his cabinet in carrying out the excellent ideas that have been inspired in their minds.
Throughout the ages the Great White Brotherhood has created special channels at special times in the history of civilization and the development of man's consciousness and some of these continued for a century or more while others lasted for only a few years and a few other channels have continued through all the ages to the present time.
Naturally, no person who steps upon the Path of esoteric unfoldment and development can be guaranteed by his teacher, leader, adviser, or guide, that as a pupil or as an advanced adept he will ever actually attain membership in the Great White Lodge or Great White Brotherhood. It is the hope, the desire, of every pupil and every adept to some day attain such worthiness and to make such contact, and it is the ardent desire of every teacher and guide that his pupil or pupils will attain such membership even if he as an advanced, long-experienced leader and teacher has not made that contact himself. For any person or group of persons, therefore, to join any organization or take up studies under any teacher or professed leader with the belief that personal, private, or any other form of instructions in the esoteric and mystical principles will put him automatically or essentially in contact with the open door of the Great White Brotherhood and assure him eventual membership in the organization is absurd and ridiculous.
From all of these remarks, it must be apparent to our readers that there are two forms of mystic brotherhoods existing in the Orient, one generally referred to as the Great White Brotherhood, located in connection with the monasteries of Tibet and more or less under the direction and control of the former Delai Lama and essentially Buddhistic in nature and having a formal organization of some kind, and the invisible Great White Brotherhood TO WHICH WE REFER IN ALL OF OUR LITERATURE and which is NOT a part of any specific movement or body in Tibet or any other land. By this we mean to intimate that the terms "great" and "white" do not necessarily apply to any religious cult or any specific organization. They refer to a body of eminent and highly advanced individuals whose ideals and purposes are pure white in their spiritual motives in behalf of man and in the fulfillment of Cosmic laws, regardless of any creed or any religion and regardless of any country or place or nation of people.
Those representatives from India or Tibet or other places in the Orient who visit America or other parts of the Western World as Swamis, or as Gurus, or other spiritual leaders, wearing Oriental garb and affiliated with the Buddhist Church or some other Oriental religion and claiming that they are emissaries of the Great White Brotherhood of Tibet or India may be all that they claim to be, but nevertheless, the Great White Brotherhood to which they refer and which they MAY represent is not the Great White Brotherhood referred to in our literature. But again I say that some members of the Brotherhood to which we do refer have been residents in Tibet and have contacted certain other monasteries there. Some of them have been of the Buddhist religion. Some of them have been students under some of the leaders of the esoteric teachings of the monasteries of Tibet which are part of the other organization and even the present writer has been honored with honorary contact and appointment under one of the great leaders of the esoteric schools of Tibet. But this does NOT make the writer or the AMORC organization an exclusive part of the monasteries of Tibet or of the other Brotherhood that is an exclusive organization of Tibet and India. It is just the writer's personal association and not one that is binding upon all of our Rosicrucian members or upon our Order any more than would my connection with any church or any other learned or mystical society in any part of the world be binding upon all of the members of the AMORC or all of the members of my own family.
In general, we agree with what was said by Frater S. J. Marx in his recent article in The Rosicrucian Digest regarding the pretenses on the part of any foreign persons who come to America, probably in all sincerity but presenting such claims and statements regarding their own "Great White Brotherhood" as to cause confusion in the minds of persons of the Western World who are not aware of the fact that there are two organizations bearing a similar name of a White Brotherhood; one of them having a visible, definite, physical organization with its center in Tibet, and the other an invisible organization that is international, world-wide, and free from sectarian limitations or the limitations of any creed.

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