Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Continuity of Revelation

The Continuity of Revelation

When we look at the world's religious teachings we tend to see the separate, outer forms, and see them as being unrelated to each other. Yet from our perspective there is only one inner religion, which manifests in many ways and many forms. There has been a continuity of revelation, a steady outpouring of the teachings held by the Spiritual Hierarchy throughout the ages of the world.

Each of these revelations presents to humanity some aspect of the Path. Each revelation presents some clear picture of the nature of spiritual reality. They also, in exceptional cases, ground or anchor upon the earth a spiritual principle (that is to say, a planetary, solar, or cosmic principle) making it more accessible to mankind.

It is said that Hercules, in his twelve labors, symbolically presented to humanity the path of soul unfoldment. As Hercules passed through the twelve labors he also passed through the twelve signs of the zodiac. In doing so he represented the soul, as it reincarnated over and over again, gaining experience, overcoming the limitations of the lower nature, and passing triumphantly through to the Light.

Later, yet still many ages ago, he who is now known as the Hindu teacher Vyasu represented the passage of the human being through the door of the first initiation. In that far distant age, this teacher made the transition through the door possible.

Consider an unknown, unexplored territory. A few brave souls decide to undertake a journey, and carve a path through the wilderness. After they do so, the way is easier for others. There are markers on the path, guideposts on the way, and a trail, however faint, has been established. It is the same for these great teachers. They courageously went through the trials and difficulties of initiation, forged a path through the spiritual wilderness, and by their effort and sacrifice marked the way for others.

The second initiation was represented for humanity by the life of the Hindu teacher Krishna. We see the necessary teachings for the second initiation beautifully embodied for us in the story in the Bhagavad Gita, where Arjuna, the aspiring soul, seeks his way out of the realm of the emotions into the world of the soul.

The third initiation, is gloriously represented in the life of Gautama Buddha. He symbolized in his life the great struggle against the forces of illusion, the control of the mind, and the consequent liberation into the life of Spirit. The Buddha, in his Transfiguration under the Bodhi tree, made the way easier for all subsequent disciples on the path.

The Buddha also grounded a great spiritual principle, the principle of Light. The theme of illumination, revelation, clarity of mind, and inner vision runs throughout the Buddha's teachings. In the East, this has grounded the idea of the light of the "real mind" and made it apparent to humanity. In the West, this has resulted in the revelation of the light of the soul. Many of the great Greek philosophers echoed the Buddha's words and adapted them for the benefit of the West.

The Christ continued the process of revelation, and presented many things to humanity. First, the Christ symbolized for humanity the process of the fourth initiation, often termed the Crucifixion. It is this crucifixion that is fixed in the minds of humanity by the life of the Christ, and this has served to teach humanity the need for sacrifice and service to others.

Second, the Christ anchored the spiritual energy of Love more firmly on the earth. This is not to say that love was never mentioned in other previous teachings, but that it was presented to humanity in a new way and with a new emphasis. We can see this in the West by the growing understanding of humanity about the true nature of love. It has been hard for humanity to grasp this teaching and apply it, and humanity is still — through pain and sorrow — learning the lesson of the need for love. In the East, this emphasis upon love may be seen in the rise of the Mahayana teachings of Buddhism and their emphasis upon the development of bodhicitta, the "mind of compassion."

Third, the Christ presented the path of initiation as a whole to humanity. This path is represented in every aspect of His life as portrayed in the Bible:

The first initiation: the birth at Bethlehem.
The second initiation: the baptism at the river Jordan, representing mastery over the watery emotional nature.
The third initiation: the transfiguration on Mount Carmel, with the three disciples present, witnessing the vision of the three prophets.
The fourth initiation: the Crucifixion on the cross of four arms.
The fifth initiation: the resurrection of Christ.
In this manner the whole path of initiation was presented, however dimly, to humanity.

Today we are looking forward to the time when yet another revelation will be presented to humanity. We look forward to the reappearance of the Christ (or the Buddha Maitreya, or whatever other name you so choose) and the anchoring of a new principle of divinity. The Buddha anchored the energy of Divine Light on earth. The Christ anchored the energy of Divine Love. When the Christ returns again the energy of Divine Will shall appear and be anchored on the earth in a new way. The Purpose of God will be more fully revealed to humanity. But this event will only take place when humanity has learned to truly love and when brotherhood, right human relations, and goodwill are the dominant keynotes of mankind.

When the Christ returns again the emphasis will be upon the fifth initiation, the resurrection. It will be upon the living Christ and the living soul in the heart of every human being. The emphasis will be upon freedom — freedom from the limitations of the personality nature, freedom for the soul — our true Self — to fully express in every aspect of our lives, and freedom for humanity to move into a new age of love, peace, and happiness.

Thus we have:

Hercules — path of discipleship
Vyasu — First Initiation
Krishna — Second Initiation
Gautama Buddha — Third Initiation
Christ — Fourth Initiation
The reappearance of the Christ — Fifth Initiation.
There have, of course, been many other great teachers and prophets. It may be easy to imagine that one teacher ought to be measured as being higher than the others. Yet all of these teachers were and are simply representatives of the Spiritual Hierarchy and transmitters of the qualities of Divinity. Let us visualize them all, therefore, working in joyful cooperation in every sphere of human life. Let us remember that they all work for the benefit of every human being without exception.

The appearance of these teachers has stimulated all of humanity to new life and new awareness. They have stimulated the consciousness of mankind and accelerated humanity's progress on the Path. Today the awareness of humanity is once more being stimulated by the inflow of energies from the Spiritual Hierarchy. This is a tremendous opportunity for all disciples to take advantage of these inflowing energies and consciously hasten their own evolutionary process. The "hour of opportunity" has arrived for those who are willing to take it. This is not just an opportunity of a lifetime, it is a unique opportunity in the life of the soul, a life that stretches all the way from the time when the "door of individualization" opened and animal-man became human.

The Spiritual Hierarchy, the Kingdom of Souls, has always been present. There have always been members of humanity who were in touch with this Kingdom and who have spread the teachings of the soul in the world. They have worked in their little town, city, nation, region, or society in order to adapt the teaching to the time, the place, and the consciousness of the people around them. Today, however, the Kingdom of Souls is growing closer to humanity; the Spiritual Hierarchy is externalizing and coming forth into outer expression.

We should consider the remarkable nature of this event. Consider what has happened in the past when each of the various kingdoms has come into manifestation — it was a milestone in the evolution of the planet. Ages ago the hot gasses that made up this planet solidified and the dense earth appeared — the mineral kingdom was manifested on this globe. Many ages later, algae and other plant life slowly appeared, and the plant kingdom made its presence known. Still many ages later, various forms of fish and reptiles and mammals made their appearance, and the animal kingdom came into outer form expression. Consider what kind of change these made in the consciousness of the Planetary Life. New forms of expression were possible that were not possible before.

Still later, the "door of individualization" opened, and humanity — as we now understand it to be — came into existence. This was a revolutionary event in the consciousness of the planet and all life on it — not that mankind was or is so important, but because the Planetary Life had a means of greater expression, making new activity, new creations, and new energies possible. Through humanity, for example, the energy of "mind" has been grounded upon this planet, for humanity is the exponent of mental energy. Today, the exponent of the energy of "Love," the Spiritual Hierarchy, is manifesting, and the fifth kingdom of nature is making its sequential appearance in the world, with equally momentous results. Who can say what new life and new activity will be possible for mankind and all the lower kingdoms of nature as a result of this appearance? Who can say what transforming energies will appear? Who can tell what momentous changes this may make in the Planetary Life? We can only imagine what new possibilities will be present hundreds of years from now as a result of the decisions made today. Thus we are at a momentous point in the process of evolution, the birthing of a new kingdom of nature into outer activity and the revelation of the world of the soul. We have a unique opportunity to participate in this process and, by doing so, awaken to our own soul and Monadic life and thus to perfect freedom.

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