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LIGHT ON THE PATH
THESE rules are written for all disciples: Attend you to them.
Before the eyes can see, they must be incapable of tears. Before
the ear can hear, it must have lost its sensitiveness. Before the
voice can speak in the presence of the Masters it must have lost the
power to wound. Before the soul can stand in the presence of the
Masters its feet must be washed in the blood of the heart.
1. Kill out ambition.
Note on Rule 1. — Ambition is
the first curse: the great tempter of the man who is rising above his
fellows. It is the simplest form of looking for reward. Men of
intelligence and power are led away from their higher possibilities
by it continually. Yet it is a necessary teacher. Its results turn to
dust and ashes in the mouth; like death and estrangement it shows the
man at last that to work for self is to work for disappointment. But
though this first rule seems so simple and easy, do not quickly pass
it by. For these vices of the ordinary man pass through a subtle
transformation and reappear with changed aspect in the heart of the
disciple. It is easy to say, I will not be ambitious: it is not so
easy to say, when the Master reads my heart he will find it clean
utterly. The pure artist who works for the love of his work is
sometimes more firmly planted on the right road than the occultist,
who fancies he has removed his interest from self, but who has in
reality only enlarged the limits of experience and desire, and
transferred his interest to the things which concern his larger span
of life. The same principle applies to the other two seemingly simple
rules. Linger over them and do not let yourself be easily deceived by
your own heart. For now, at the threshold, a mistake can be
corrected. But carry it on with you and it will grow and come to
fruition, or else you must suffer bitterly in its destruction.
2. Kill out desire of life.
3. Kill out desire of comfort.
4. Work as those work who are ambitious.
Respect life as those do who desire it. Be happy as those are who
live for happiness.
Seek in the heart the source of evil and expunge it. It lives
fruitfully in the heart of the devoted disciple as well as in the
heart of the man of desire. Only the strong can kill it out. The weak
must wait for its growth, its fruition, its death. And it is a plant
that lives and increases throughout the ages. It flowers when the man
has accumulated unto himself innumerable existences. He who will
enter upon the path of power must tear this thing out of his heart.
And then the heart will bleed, and the whole life of the man seem to
be utterly dissolved. This ordeal must be endured; it may come at the
first step of the perilous ladder which leads to the path of life: it
may not come until the last. But, O disciple, remember that it has to
be endured: and fasten the energies of your soul upon the task. Live
neither in the present nor the future, but in the eternal. This giant
weed cannot flower there: this blot upon existence is wiped out by
the very atmosphere of eternal thought.
5. Kill out all sense of separateness.
Note on Rule 5. — Do not fancy
you can stand aside from the bad man or the foolish man. They are
yourself, though in a less degree than your friend or your master.
But if you allow the idea of separateness from any evil thing or
person to grow up within you, by so doing you create Karma, which
will bind you to that thing or person till your soul recognizes that
it cannot be isolated. Remember that the sin and shame of the world
are your sin and shame; for you are a part of it; your Karma is
inextricably interwoven with the great Karma. And before you can
attain knowledge you must have passed through all places, foul and
clean alike. Therefore, remember that the soiled garment you shrink
from touching may have been yours yesterday, may be yours tomorrow.
And if you turn with horror from it, when it is flung upon your
shoulders, it will cling the more closely to you. The self-righteous
man makes for himself a bed of mire. Abstain because it is right to
abstain — not that yourself shall be kept clean.
6. Kill out desire for sensation.
7. Kill out the hunger for growth.
8. Yet stand alone and isolated, because nothing that is imbodied,
nothing that is conscious of separation, nothing that is out of the
eternal, can aid you. Learn from sensation and observe it, because
only so can you commence the science of self-knowledge, and plant
your foot on the first step of the ladder. Grow as the flower grows,
unconsciously, but eagerly anxious to open its soul to the air. So
must you press forward to open your soul to the eternal. But it must
be the eternal that draws forth your strength and beauty, not desire
of growth. For in the one case you develop in the luxuriance of
purity, in the other you harden by the forcible passion for personal
9. Desire only that which is within you.
10. Desire only that which is beyond you.
11. Desire only that which is unattainable.
12. For within you is the light of the world — the only light
that can be shed upon the Path. If you are unable to perceive it
within you, it is useless to look for it elsewhere. It is beyond you;
because when you reach it you have lost yourself. It is unattainable,
because it for ever recedes. You will enter the light, but you will
never touch the flame.
13. Desire power ardently.
14. Desire peace fervently.
15. Desire possessions above all.
16. But those possessions must belong to the pure soul only,
and be possessed therefore by all pure souls
equally, and thus be the especial property of the whole only when
united. Hunger for such possessions as can be held by the pure soul,
that you may accumulate wealth for that united spirit of life which
is your only true self. The peace you shall desire is that sacred
peace which nothing can disturb, and in which the soul grows as does
the holy flower upon the still lagoons. And that power which the
disciple shall covet is that which shall make him appear as nothing
in the eyes of men.
17. Seek out the way.
Note on Rule 17. — These
four words seem, perhaps, too slight to stand alone. The disciple may
say, Should I study these thoughts at all did I not seek out the way?
Yet do not pass on hastily. Pause and consider awhile. Is it the way
you desire, or is it that there is a dim perspective in your visions
of great heights to be scaled by yourself, of a great future for you
to compass? Be warned. The way is to be sought for its own sake, not
with regard to your feet that shall tread it.
There is a correspondence between this rule and the
17th of the 2nd series.
When after ages of struggle and many victories the final
battle is won, the final secret demanded, then you are prepared for a
further path. When the final secret of this great lesson is told, in
it is opened the mystery of the new way — a path which leads out of
all human experience, and which is utterly beyond human perception or
imagination. At each of these points it is needful to pause long and
consider well. At each of these points it is necessary to be sure
that the way is chosen for its own sake. The way and the truth come
first, then follows the life.
18. Seek the way by retreating within.
19. Seek the way by advancing boldly without.
20. Seek it not by any one road. To each
temperament there is one road which seems the most desirable. But the
way is not found by devotion alone, by religious contemplation alone,
by ardent progress, by self-sacrificing labor, by studious
observation of life. None alone can take the disciple more than one
step onward. All steps are necessary to make up the ladder. The vices
of men become steps in the ladder, one by one, as they are
surmounted. The virtues of man are steps indeed, necessary — not by
any means to be dispensed with. Yet, though they create a fair
atmosphere and a happy future, they are useless if they stand alone.
The whole nature of man must be used wisely by the one who desires to
enter the way. Each man is to himself absolutely the way, the truth,
and the life. But he is only so when he grasps his whole
individuality firmly, and, by the force of his awakened spiritual
will, recognizes this individuality as not himself, but that thing
which he has with pain created for his own use, and by means of which
he purposes, as his growth slowly develops his intelligence, to reach
to the life beyond individuality. When he knows that for this his
wonderful complex separated life exists, then, indeed, and then only,
he is upon the way. Seek it by plunging into the mysterious and
glorious depths of your own inmost being. Seek it by testing all
experience, by utilizing the senses in order to understand the growth
and meaning of individuality, and the beauty and obscurity of those
other divine fragments which are struggling side by side with you,
and form the race to which you belong. Seek it by study of the laws
of being, the laws of nature, the laws of the supernatural: and seek
it by making the profound obeisance of the soul to the dim star that
burns within. Steadily, as you watch and worship, its light will grow
stronger. Then you may know you have found the beginning of the way.
And when you have found the end its light will suddenly become the
Note on Rule 20. — Seek it
by testing all experience, and remember that when I say this I do not
say, Yield to the seductions of sense in order to know it. Before you
have become an occultist you may do this; but not afterwards. When
you have chosen and entered the path you cannot yield to these
seductions without shame. Yet you can experience them without horror:
can weigh, observe and test them, and wait with the patience of
confidence for the hour when they shall affect you no longer. But do
not condemn the man that yields; stretch out your hand to him as a
brother pilgrim whose feet have become heavy with mire. Remember, O
disciple, that great though the gulf may be between the good man and
the sinner, it is greater between the good man and the man who has
attained knowledge; it is immeasurable between the good man and the
one on the threshold of divinity. Therefore be wary lest too soon you
fancy yourself a thing apart from the mass. When you have found the
beginning of the way the star of your soul will show its light; and
by that light you will perceive how great is the darkness in which it
burns. Mind, heart, brain, all are obscure and dark until the first
great battle has been won. Be not appalled and terrified by this
sight; keep your eyes fixed on the small light and it will grow. But
let the darkness within help you to understand the helplessness of
those who have seen no light, whose souls are in profound gloom.
Blame them not, shrink not from them, but try to lift a little of the
heavy Karma of the world; give your aid to the few strong hands that
hold back the powers of darkness from obtaining complete victory.
Then do you enter into a partnership of joy, which brings indeed
terrible toil and profound sadness, but also a great and
21. Look for the flower to bloom in the silence
that follows the storm: not till then.
It shall grow, it will shoot up, it will make branches and leaves
and form buds, while the storm continues, while the battle lasts. But
not till the whole personality of the man is dissolved and melted —
not until it is held by the divine fragment which has created it, as
a mere subject for grave experiment and experience — not until the
whole nature has yielded and become subject unto its higher self, can
the bloom open. Then will come a calm such as comes in a tropical
country after the heavy rain, when Nature works so swiftly that one
may see her action. Such a calm will come to the harassed spirit. And
in the deep silence the mysterious event will occur which will prove
that the way has been found. Call it by what name you will, it is a
voice that speaks where there is none to speak — it is a messenger
that comes, a messenger without form or substance; or it is the
flower of the soul that has opened. It cannot be described by any
metaphor. But it can be felt after, looked for, and desired, even
amid the raging of the storm. The silence may last a moment of time
or it may last a thousand years. But it will end. Yet you will carry
its strength with you. Again and again the battle must be fought and
won. It is only for an interval that Nature can be still.
These written above are the first of the rules which are written
on the walls of the Hall of Learning. Those that ask shall have.
Those that desire to read shall read. Those who desire to learn shall
Note on Rule 21. — The
opening of the bloom is the glorious moment when perception awakes:
with it comes confidence, knowledge, certainty. The pause of the soul
is the moment of wonder, and the next moment of satisfaction, that is
Know, O disciple, that those who have passed through the silence,
and felt its peace and retained its strength, they long that you
shall pass through it also. Therefore, in the Hall of Learning, when
he is capable of entering there, the disciple will always find his
Those that ask shall have. But though the ordinary man asks
perpetually, his voice is not heard. For he asks with his mind only;
and the voice of the mind is only heard on that plane on which the
mind acts. Therefore, not until the first twenty-one rules are past
do I say those that ask shall have.
To read, in the occult sense, is to read with the eyes of the
spirit. To ask is to feel the hunger within — the yearning of
spiritual aspiration. To be able to read means having obtained the
power in a small degree of gratifying that hunger. When the disciple
is ready to learn, then he is accepted, acknowledged, recognized. It
must be so, for he has lit his lamp, and it cannot be hidden. But to
learn is impossible until the first great battle has been won. The
mind may recognize truth, but the spirit cannot receive it. Once
having passed through the storm and attained the peace, it is then
always possible to learn, even though the disciple waver, hesitate,
and turn aside. The voice of the silence remains within him, and
though he leave the path utterly, yet one day it will resound and
rend him asunder and separate his passions from his divine
possibilities. Then with pain and desperate cries from the deserted
lower self he will return.
Therefore I say, Peace be with you. My peace I give unto you can
only be said by the Master to the beloved disciples who are as
himself. There are some even among those who are ignorant of the
Eastern wisdom to whom this can be said, and to whom it can daily be
said with more completeness.
Regard the three truths. They are equal.
PEACE BE WITH YOU.
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