Rosicrucian Writings Online


THE
THOUGHT OF THE MONTH
 
THE GREAT WHITE BROTHERHOOD
 
By THE IMPERATOR
[Ralph M. Lewis]
 
PART II
 
[From The Rosicrucian Digest February 1943]
 
 
THERE is very good reason to believe that all of the ancient exiles and lost tribes did not equally possess the concealed mysteries, the secret wisdom. In each tribe there were, of course, those who were initiates and who composed the brotherhood. Nevertheless, one of the most mystical of all the tribes, and which was thoroughly conversant with the concealed mysteries, was the Essenes. Each member of the Essenes was also one of the great brotherhood whose breast and consciousness were a repository for the ancient wisdom. The Essenes had their own system of degrees, with mystical initiations for each, and there was a dress and symbolism peculiar to each degree, which indicated the attainment of the member.
 
One of the degrees composing really a sect within the Essenes was known as the Therapeuti. The members of it were especially trained in the art of healing and in the care of the sick and the prevention of disease. In other words, these sages specialized, shall we say, in the application of that portion of the secret wisdom which concerned the curing of disease and the maintenance of health. To Rosicrucians it is of special interest that the Essenes had an inner shrine in their homes--a sanctum--for meditation. Pliny, referring to the Essenes, said their usages are different from all other peoples and nations.
 
Dr. H. Spencer Lewis, in his book "The Mystical Life of Jesus," which gives a fascinating and lengthy account of the Essenes, relates that these perpetuators of the secret wisdom first assumed their name, Essenes, at Alexandria, Egypt. He points out that the word Essene is derived from the Egyptian word Kashai, which means secret. He also states that there is a Jewish word, Chsahi, which is similar in sound, the meaning of which is secret and silent. He recounts how the Essenes, after receiving their initiation, after passing through certain rites of enlightenment, were attired in white, signifying their attainment and illumination. So common did this practice become that they were often referred to as "The Brethren in White."
 
Thebes, the ancient capital of Egypt, had at one time been the Sacred Ark, namely, the repository for the mysteries. Since it was no longer, these people, this brotherhood in white related to the lost tribes, sought to find a new ark to preserve the wisdom and to further it. This was a trust and an obligation they must fulfill toward whoever had imparted their wisdom to them.
 
The next human link with this esoteric wisdom is found in Syria on the slopes of Mount Herman, and in the little country known as Lebanon. There dwelled a mysterious people known as the Druses. Some think that they had an autochthonous origin, but it is very probable that they were of the very ancient Akkadians of the old land of Akkadia. Possibly after the fall of the united states of Sumer and Akkadia, they migrated to that region, seeking the security of the mountains. That they had come in close contact with the white brotherhood and its traditions and secret wisdom is not to be presumed merely from a similarity of customs which might have independently evolved, but rather from their mystical principles and conceptions. The origin of their name is still a matter of dispute.
 
To them, God is indefinable, that is, defying description. He is likewise ineffable and passionless. The fact that there is ascribed to Him a lack of passion distinguishes their conception of God from the orthodox Hebrew notion. By being passionless, it is meant that God knew no anger or jealousy, nor a special love toward any group of men. God, to the Druses, manifested in numerous incarnations, in fact seventy in all. Each incarnation was for one of seventy different periods of the world. In each of these incarnations He was a great spiritual leader. The first creation of God, according to the Druses, is a universal intelligence, an all-pervading spirit. Next in rank are four ministering spirits, namely, Soul, The Word, the Right and Left Wing. They further expounded that the material world is an emanation from and a mirror of the Divine Intelligence. The soul of a virtuous man or woman is said to pass through a succession of births in new incarnations. In each incarnation the personality becomes more perfect until eventually it is absorbed into the Deity.
 
The main body of this White Brotherhood, that is, the greater number, left an indelible mark upon human society, as like a torch of light they moved across the face of continents. The disciples this brotherhood made, and left in its wake, in turn became the nucleus of other esoteric, mystical, and philosophical societies. They are well established in history and several of them are in existence today. Finally this main body of mystics entered the mountain fastness of Tibet, which they decided should become the new ark for the concealed mysteries of which they were the custodians. It is quite comprehensible why the great plateaus in the Himalayas were selected for the sacred and holy See. The great natural barriers, the stupendous peaks, were awe-inspiring. They made man ever conscious of the majesty of nature and the finite limitations of his material self. They were, therefore, conducive to a mystical state of mind, to such attitudes as humility, simplicity, and respect for Cosmic law and manifestation. From a practical point of view, such a rugged and remote region provided isolation and protection from the temporal world and its adverse influences. Close and intimate proximity to nature often, as we know, invites one to commune with the Infinite.
 
In this region, there were already dwelling a people. They were indigenous to the land, and they were of Mongolian racial stock. They were of savage and warlike disposition. They composed an animalistic cult who worshipped demons and devils and practiced malediction and phylactery of the crudest kind. Even today they exist in large numbers in Tibet, and are known as the "Bo" cult. In Eastern Tibet they particularly flourished; and then, and today, they have large monasteries. In these monasteries are various images of the demons they worship, and to whom living sacrifices are offered, even men. The living sacrifices are put through horrible tortures before finally being slain. Over the prostrate forms, the curses are pronounced by priests. Into such a land, beautiful, austere, vast, but with its superstitious and savage peoples, came the White Brotherhood. So much as it was possible, they isolated themselves from these sects and built temples of their own in which they experimented with nature's laws, and further contemplated her mysteries, adding to that knowledge which was their ancient heritage.
 
It is an erroneous idea that what is now the city of Lhasa, or the political capital of Tibet, or any other place in this plateau region, was the principal abode of the White Brotherhood. The members of the White Brotherhood dispersed themselves throughout the land in small groups, and even converted to their high ideals some of the Bo cult. Tales of the achievements of the White Brotherhood, as miracles, trickled down into India, China, and the outside world. To the superstitious and the uninitiated, their powers appeared supernatural. It has likewise been claimed for them that they did as they pleased, with no regard for natural law, like gods unto themselves. Such false stories and absurdities have found their way into modern trash novels and so-called travel accounts of those who claim to have lived with the White Brotherhood. The fact is, there were and there are no greater respecters of and conformers to natural and divine law than the members of the White Brotherhood. Never have they claimed to possess a power which any other mortal, by like study and application, could not also attain.
 
Sometime after 650 A. D., Buddhism invaded Tibet and almost immediately gained numerous votaries. It flourished to such an extent that there developed many Buddhist sects and orders, just as there are numerous Christian sects in the Western World, differing in points of doctrine and dogma. The largest and the highest temporal order of these sects came to be known as the "yellow hats" by the headpiece they wore to identify themselves. The sect numbered many thousands of monks or lamas, the latter name meaning "superior ones." At Lhasa eventually a temporal government was established, and a Grand Lama or Dalai Lama was appointed. Dalai, meaning ocean, symbolized that in his way of living, or that which he represented, one would find an ocean of understanding and love.
 
One principal misunderstanding of the Buddhistic doctrines arose among the Tibetan sects. It was and is believed that no salvation or Nirvana, that is, ultimate absorption into the divine state, can be had unless one enters a monastic order, namely, becomes a lama. Consequently, one out of every three of the some three million population is a lama. This condition contributed, therefore, to the rapid decline of the population. The White Brotherhood saw in true Buddhism many spiritual and mystical precepts worthy to be preserved and to be lived. Therefore, in addition to their own studies, they became members of some of the higher Buddhistic Orders, and gave their time to the monasteries. That is, they assisted in the translation of sacred teachings into the Pali and Sanskrit languages, or from them into the profane languages of the outside world.
 
As the centuries passed, the Great White Brotherhood membership became further dispersed throughout those great monasteries which clung tenaciously to the finer aspects of Buddhism. By no means must this be interpreted that the members of the Great White Brotherhood became Buddhists exclusively. As individuals, most of them lived and worked in these finer, nobler monasteries as teachers and performed scholastic duties. As members of the Great White Brotherhood, they met at various places in great assemblages to perform their own ancient mystical rites, and to have their own masters and teachers orate to them upon the mysteries.
 
These members of the Great White Brotherhood had naught to do with the Bo cult nor with the lesser Buddhistic orders, with their perverted ideas and practice of theurgy. Neither did they possess a great temple, secluded away, which idea appeals to the imagination, and which has been made the basis of many fiction stories. One may journey into the interior of Tibet and never find any monastery or sacred precinct designated the Great White Brotherhood, nor is any exclusively used by them. If one is on a proper mission in Tibet, he will come to meet the brethren of the Great White Brotherhood in a manner that will seem to be mysterious to him, for no matter how he searches for them, he won't find them. They will come to him, if he is there for a right purpose.
 
There are numerous societies and "schools," in America in particular, that profess to issue direct the teachings of the Great White Brotherhood. There are others that even have the audacity to use that title as their own. No individual today can become a member of the Great White Brotherhood by direct association or affiliation in Tibet or elsewhere, nor can the teachings of the Great White Brotherhood be revealed directly to an individual. If one wishes to share in the concealed mysteries of antiquity, and of which we have written, he must first affiliate with one of the authentic esoteric Orders already established throughout the world, and having been in existence for possibly several centuries. These old authentic Orders were created or brought into existence by the disciples of the Great White Brotherhood as explained, as they journeyed through the centuries across the surface of the earth.
 
Such authentic Orders have, in comparatively recent times, for their mutual protection organized themselves into a world-wide federation. The abbreviated title of that federation is the F. U. D. O. S. I. A few of the Orders it includes are: Ordre des Samaritains (Inconnus), Ordre de la AMORC, Ordre Brahmanique Russe, Ordre de la Rose-Croix, Ordre Martiniste. Any new societies or orders, that is, just organized or established within the last ten, fifteen, or twenty years, could not and would not receive any epistles from the Great White Brotherhood unless they had been established by recognized members of the authentic Orders now composing the F. U. D. O. S. I., thus assuring that they would conform only to the highest precepts of the Great White Brotherhood.
 
New teachings which originate with the Great White Brotherhood are issued to one or more of the authentic Orders of the F. U. D. O. S. I., sometimes in the Sanskrit language and accompanied by instructions that they be translated by them, and thence disseminated to the other esoteric Orders comprising the F. U. D. O. S. I. Such teachings are never issued to an individual, we repeat, exclusively for his personal use or for him to establish an order or school, as has been fraudulently claimed at times. When such manuscripts or documents are sent from Tibet, they may originate, so far as their material form is concerned, in one of the great Buddhistic monasteries. That is, they may have been written there and the envelope in which they come may bear an address of such a monastery. However, the religious leader of that monastic Order may perhaps not have known of the manuscript, and he may have had nothing to do with its preparation unless he, too, was a member of the Great White Brotherhood. By no means must it be assumed from the originating address of such a manuscript that the monastery from which it was sent is a temple or sacred place of the Great White Brotherhood. It merely means that the one authorized to transmit such a manuscript resided at that monastery, and was perhaps a teacher or instructor there.
 
I have personally seen such manuscripts which were transmitted to Dr. H. Spencer Lewis, late Imperator of the Rosicrucian Order, AMORC. They have the traditional signs and seals upon them of the Great White Brotherhood, especially some which are concealed from the curious, and which are always known just to the initiate, and which must remain secret. Many manuscripts which purport to be issued by the Great White Brotherhood are often proven false, because the author of them did not know the true secret symbols, and therefore could not include them. I have examined such fraudulent documents and found them to be literally covered with a maze of symbols, many of them meaningless. Apparently the author realized that there was some identifying character, and he did not know what it was, and hoped by this maze of symbols to impress whomever he sent the document to. Any true officer of an esoteric Order of the F. U. D. O. S. I., which is the recognized channel for the Great White Brotherhood, is never misled; therefore, neither are the members who associate with such authentic societies and brotherhoods. That is why AMORC, for example, continually stresses its traditions, its historical background, and its authenticity.
 
I knew a member of the Great White Brotherhood. That is, he was not only affiliated with one of the official Orders recognized by the Great White Brotherhood, but he lived and had been educated with them in Tibet. He was one of those few who had worn their ceremonial robe and had the honor of being one of their sect. He was also a world-wide authority on the Sanskrit language. I have now, in my possession, that is, entrusted to me for AMORC, certain documents which he signed, granting AMORC the right with certain limitations to use further teachings which will be transmitted to it by the Great White Brotherhood from time to time. A stipulation is that AMORC must continue to conform to its traditions and abide by those provisions which are now the rules of the F. U. D. O. S. I. If it does this, it will continue as it is now, to be a channel for the teachings of the Great White Brotherhood.
 
Unless one has been initiated into an esoteric Order recognized by the Great White Brotherhood and the F. U. D. O. S. I., and also has a position of trust, he will gain nothing by a journey to Tibet and India in the hope of contacting directly the brethren in white, who, incidentally, do not dress in white publicly, but only in their secret ceremonies.
 

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