A Study in
George Sidney Arundale
First published 1926
Dr Arundale was International President of
the Theosophical Society (Adyar) from 1933 to 1945
... the city that is built
To Music, therefore never built at all,
And therefore: built for ever.
TENNYSON (Gareth and Lynette).
I THINK I am justified in my surmise that in some definite way entry into Nirvanic consciousness modifies every lower vehicle from the Buddhic downwards; so that the very physical body itself is changed, and will become more so as time passes. It has, I imagine; been the same with all previous expansions of consciousness, for form is dependent upon consciousness. Outer forms are reflections, shadows, of inner realities. To us, density suggests permanence, durability, reality.
From the inner standpoint, the greater the density the less the permanence, the less the durability, the less the reality. I feel my very physical body changed consequent upon this entry into a new realm of being, but I do not know how far others perceive the change, if change there be. I suppose a clairvoyant would perceive the readjustment. Life in all its details, on all planes, becomes much more wonderful, stupendous, majestic beyond conception, for even the little things are perceived to be contributing to great ends. “Not a sparrow falls to the ground” has a new significance, for it is wonderfully true of the whole of life.
As for myself, I cannot walk in the garden„ through the Australian bush on my way to work in town, without perceiving everything around me in terms of the Light I know. The growing grass, the trees swaying in the breeze, the birds singing in the air and flying from tree to tree, the insects crawling on the ground, the very earth I tread in all its varied forms of rock and
mould, the water trickling down the hill-side, the very air I breathe: all is imprisoned splendour, sacred to every sense I possess. I am more in tune than ever before with the Purpose of Life. I see God working out His Purpose in all around me;
and all around me is shining Light, restless, ordered growth-movement. Colour, form, place, storm, sound, stillness, time - all are growth, because Light ever shines. It is the nature of Light to shine - a fact which down here people sometimes express in the phrase, the import of which is little apprehended - God
is Love. God shines, for He is Light and Love Ineffable.
May I repeat once more that Nirvana is everywhere? We do not need to go, we only need to perceive. Heaven lies about us in our infancy, in the infancy of our evolution, but we are not alive to it. A Master may pass us in the street, embodied Heaven may pass us by, and we shall go on our way unheeding, perhaps uninfluenced, or hardly influenced. The truth may be uttered to our very ears, yet we may remain deaf to the utterance. If we have not heard Nirvana it is simply because our sense of hearing is yet too crude.
If we have not seen Nirvana it is simply because our sight is yet too dim. Nirvana lies about us. Do we stop to consider what weaknesses in us, what lack of growth, veil from us the Vision Splendid? Nirvana is in the very air we breathe, in the very sights we see, in the most trifling circumstances of our daily lives. So, too, is Buddhi.
So near, and yet apparently so far. Is it not worth while to strive to refine our senses that these glories may become unfolded to our sight, to our hearing? How? There is but one way, a way most simply put in At the Feet of the Master, embodying the words of a Great Teacher as taken down by a pupil. Begin to live the precepts therein set forth, it is enough to begin, and soon we shall know these Heavens. Let there be none who, knowing of the way, are too foolish, too lazy, to tread it.
I have said elsewhere that to preserve my balance in the midst of the new and blinding splendours I had to know that there was more beyond even these. I am now beginning to perceive that equally must I remember the existence of the less. Only thus shall a true balance be preserved. I must not ignore time because I know something of Eternity. I must not ignore the darkness because I know something of the Light. I must not ignore diversity because I know something of the Unity. I must not ignore man because I have learned something of God. I cannot, and do not, perceive the significance of Eternity, of Light,
of Unity, of God, save as I work in their respective shadows of Time, of Darkness, of Diversity, of Man and of all that leads up to Man.
Not that I feel more bound to specific growth. Were I treading the Pathway leading to the office of Manu, or of Bodhisattva, or of Mahachohan, I should, I imagine, be coming infinitely closer to Races or to Faiths, to this world to which these Great Ones so specially belong. But because I belong to the Staff, I am called to an apprenticeship to more general functions. The opening of the Nirvanic consciousness seems to bring me closer both to the great Lord of our world Himself and to our Lord the Sun, the Lord of the Universe.
Hitherto I have had to live in the world because I have grown in and through it. Now I seem to belong to this world only because, for the time being, I am sent here. Members of the Staff may be sent anywhere, to function on another plane, to serve in any world. Glorious is the service of those who are messengers of our Lord the Sun, members of His Staff. I am but the humblest apprentice in the ranks of that great body, though it may be that for many lives I have been working towards such apprenticeship. One day, in some far distant future, I shall become a wanderer through the spaces, a messenger of the Universal Will.
My home will be the Universe, for I serve my Lord the Sun wheresoever it shall please Him to send me.
For the time being I am concerned with the mass, with crowds, with the larger shapings, but it does not seem to matter whether the mass be human or sub-human, whether the crowds be men or congregations in the lower kingdoms. I experience a peculiar joy in the sense of being sent, entirely irrespective of the objective.
I presume the future Manu and the future Bodhisattva must grow in attachment to those with whom in the distant future they will be officially concerned. Already they are planning their peoples or their, faiths, little though some of them may remember the fact in their waking consciousness. From the very moment of their consecration to office their true life’s work may be said to begin.
It is, of course, the same with us of the Staff we too have our ceremony of consecration. But our objectives are fleeting objectives, which vary as the need varies. We fill gaps; we make new pathways; we establish and strengthen communications. We start activities which their proper rulers will take over and
direct; we are hurried to danger points. Any world may be our special world for the time; any plane may be the special plane of our activity; any race or nation may be our special race or
nation; any faith may be our 0special faith; any place may be our special place; but only for the time.
We of the Staff live in the Will of the Lord, ready for His bidding. As His messengers we go forth, returning to Him as soon as the message has been delivered, be the delivery of it a piece of work or an intimation of His Will. There is no great apotheosis of achievement for us; no mighty consummation.
We may sow seed, or carry seed to the sower, or till the soil. We have no concern with the greater harvests. We shall go elsewhere, perhaps, long before fields in which we have laboured are ready for the reapers. I have said above that we of the Staff live in the Will of the Lord; but truly all live in the Will of the
Lord. How then can I express the difference between one kind of living and another? The only comparison I can make is with an army. There is the Commander-in-Chief. He has his Generals and his Staff, his officers and men.
All live in the will of the Commander-in-Chief, for all are carrying out his will. But you will at once see the difference between the work of the Generals scattered over the area of the campaign and that of the Staff who go out from headquarters, convey the orders, carry out the specific duties entrusted to
them, and 0then return. The Staff are the Commander’s personal representatives; the Generals his agents. In some ways there is less responsibility upon the Staff than upon the Generals. The Generals are given an objective and possibly a general plan, but they must work out the scheme themselves. The work of the Staff is in some ways far more specific, but needs
great adaptability; a member of the Staff must be able to go anywhere and do, with reasonable efficiency, anything. Above all, he must live in great detachment from his work, while wholeheartedly doing it.
A most interesting revelation lies in the realization of the way in which the great Company of Servers,* (*See Appendix D.) from ourselves upwards, forms a wonderful centre of Light - one of the Suns of the world, of which our Lord the Sun is the heart. The Company of Servers, viewed in the deeper insight afforded me by this expansion of consciousness, becomes one unity through the ages. I do not know quite what language to use, but it is as if this Company might be likened to a film-roll-part in action on the screen, part completed, part yet to come.
At any particular time, such and such members are active on the physical plane, others not yet engaged, yet active on other planes - and here is where the film simile fails, for from one point of view the whole Company is active all the time on one plane or another, to the common end.
There seems to be no particular past, present or future. There is as much future in the Company as present or past. It may be that some have yet to join its ranks. Yet they are already of the Company from a certain standpoint, and are borne upon its strength. There is, of course, variation in strength of
functioning, but the Company of Servers is a type apart, to which Monads seem to be attached ab initio, however long it may take for the type to be expressed in the outer consciousness. It is a kind of predestination, the Monad having taken the resolve.
This centre of Light-formed, as I have said, by the Company of Servers - is a process of expansion of world-consciousness. It is a world-chakra, growing in Light-intensity. It is not, of course, the only centre. There are many others, hidden as well as outer. Among the former is the true Rosicrucianism; among the
latter the great centres of Light such as Adyar, 0Sydney, Ommen and Huizen, such as Ojai
It is as if the whole world were passing through some kind of initiation, and the world gains an added radiance, distinctly perceptible to inner sight.Another fact of great significance is that to be a pupil of a Master, even to be a member of a Master’s School of Training, involves a very beautiful partial
identification with the Master’s Light. From the very moment that an individual is connected with a Master, His Light to some extent shines through him and in him. At Sonship the connection is made indissoluble, but even then the extent to which the connecting “wires” can bear increasing transmission depends upon their strength and purity. There may be a feeble glow or a radiant brightness.
The Masters have explained to us that those of us, with whom They have definite and special links, are in a special measure not only Their representatives in the outer worlds, but also representatives of our Lord the Sun, consecrated to shine for Him and in His Brightness in the outer darkness. Surely this is a great and wonderful privilege for us, bearing a solemn and heart-searching responsibility all the more stupendous when we know in some slight degree Who and What He is. As He causes His Light to shine alike upon the just and upon the unjust, the saint and the sinner, the poor and the rich, the weak and the strong of all Faiths and Nations, so must the sunshine of our own power, compassion and understanding reflect His glory upon all. We must be all things to all men. We must be in the outer worlds a faint reflection of that which makes Nirvana so glorious a witness to the Love of God. As the Sun is all things to His universe, so must we little suns be all things to ours.
It is not what men do to us that matters. It is not what circumstances are to us that matters. All that matters is what we are to them. Circumstances and people may frown upon us, but we can only smile. Circumstances and people may persecute us, ridicule us, despise us. We can but give our goodwill in return.
We must be all good things to all men. A hard task for those who have been accustomed to return evil for evil, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a blow for a blow, an injury for an injury, a frown for a frown. But we have learned otherwise. We have ceased to have the power to injure. We can no longer hinder, we can but help and serve; for this is all we care to do. The
taste for satisfying the lower nature at the expense of others has departed from us. We can no longer feel hurt. We can no longer feel annoyed. We can no longer feel shocked.
We are concerned with what we can do for others, not with what others do to us - that is their business. Let those who know something of the great Hierarchy strive to understand more clearly what that Hierarchy is, and of Whom it is composed. Let each member of the Society meditate upon these greater
Suns in the firmament of the world, unifying himself to the utmost of his power with Their Radiance. Let each member feel this Radiance surging through him to the outer world, lifting him into a divine and clear-cut, over-flowing ecstasy as it floods his being.
Let us learn to reflect, as occasion demands, the varied glories of the Seven Rays. The members of Their Staff of workers must be able, no matter to what Ray they may individually belong, to become channels for any colour in the great Spectrum of the Rays. We must sense the respective variations of these Rays on the theme of the Light-Splendid and in the thrill of our response realize how glowing must be the varied life which we should radiate into the world.
But may I say here that it is utterly immaterial to what Ray we belong? From one standpoint each of us, everything, belongs to all the Rays. As for the dominant Ray, the less we bother about it the better. I have noticed that most people who talk about their Rays are very little on any Ray. While we speculate about ourselves, we remain small, for we are the centre of our circles. When we forget ourselves and are lost in the work, then we shall cease to speculate and wonder, for we shall know. Leave yourselves alone and devote yourselves to others.
I notice as a fact of very considerable importance that each individual is a reflection, however feeble, of the line to which he belongs, or on which he happens to be working. Every teacher, whoever and wherever he may be, simply because he is a teacher, becomes in some degree an image of Those Who serve the Teaching Ray, though too often this image is distorted and barely recognizable, sometimes even worse than a distortion. As every Christian priest is a humble representative of the Christ, so is every teacher a humble representative of one of the Great Heads of the Teaching Department of the world. This privilege is his because of his office, and apart from all question of his worthiness. To be a teacher is to be a representative of the Great Teachers. The responsibility cannot be escaped any more than the privilege.
The same principle holds good in all departments. Those who rule, the statesmen, the politicians, all engaged in statecraft, are humble representatives - worthy or unworthy - of the Great Rulers. They may desecrate and degrade the office; yet the office remains, however besmirched. The same principle holds good in all sub-divisions of departments. All this is in compliance with, in expression of, the great Unity of all Life.
One thus becomes able to see the Real in every one, however much the unreal may interpose. One perceives the Truth despite the camouflage. Every teacher, by virtue of his office, is a Christ in miniature; but how little most of them realize their possibilities and responsibilities! Many teachers are careless and
perfunctory, many are incredibly cruel; yet upon each of them, as a teacher, the Christ-Light sheds its glory, however blankly unaware of this privilege he may be, however little the 0glory may shine through, be the windows of his soul open or closed. He is part, for the time being at all events, of the heavenly Teacher, the embodiment of the Teaching Principle in life.
Applying this fact within a more circumscribed area, we realize that those who are members of a Church dedicated to some special Teacher are part of His body corporate, and thus partake of His essential nature. For example, those who are in communion, through the dedication of their church, with St. Alban, are thereby linked to him, become members of his family and may draw upon his life.
He is the father of that Church-family. It becomes very much worth while, therefore, to acquire all available authentic information about St. Alban, his lives, his line of work, his special characteristics, and so on. As members of his Church it becomes easier for us to contact him, and to develop in our own natures the glorious qualities existing in his. There is very much more in the dedication of a Church to a Saint than appears at first sight. There is also very much more than appears at first sight in becoming a teacher or a politician, in taking an office of whatever kind which involves responsibility to the outer world.
And not only is the link made with an Elder Brother, it is also made with His angels, and with all other grades attached to the same department. The fact that we belong to this Earth links us in a wonderful degree with the Earth-Life, makes us representatives of the Earth-Spirit, of the Earth-consciousness. It would be well if we related ourselves more definitely to the larger life around us, so that we might become more effective instruments, less obstructive channels. Have you ever meditated on the life-force you draw from our very globe itself, from its various constituent elements of earth, air, fire, water, and so forth? Interrelationship, interaction, everywhere. Our very existence modifies the world, and qualifies it according to our natures, just as we ourselves are creatures of the Earth, its children.
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