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Discipleship in the New Age I - The Six Stages of Discipleship - Part VII
This responsive relationship and interplay is only attained after a long cycle of the outer relation of the accepted disciple upon the periphery and finally within the Ashram. It does not come about as the result of any effort to fit oneself for this position of power and of influence in service. It is simply the silent and almost unconsciously achieved result of that self effacement and self-forgetfulness which distinguishes the accepted disciple; he is decentralized and engrossed in the fulfilment of the divine Plan to the best of his ability. It is the reward, if I might so express it, of the worker who knows what [747] he has come into incarnation to do and who is endeavoring with dedication to do it. The driving urge of his life is the need of humanity and his expanding awareness of the immediate next step that man must take.

The major tasks of the Master when a disciple first enters his Ashram is to make him think along the lines of decentralization. This involves the shift of the disciple's consciousness from himself to the work to be done and, incidentally, the answering of the questions:

  1. Do you, in reality, know what your life task is?
  2. Have you tried to carry this out in your current life processes?
  3. Is your main objective the building of character and the development of purity? If this is so, do you not think that you should be on the Path of Probation and not deluding yourself with the idea that you are on the Path of Discipleship?
  4. Are you preoccupied with human need or are you engrossed with your own position as a disciple, with your own spiritual problems, and with the delusion of the terrific difficulties in your personal life?

As long as you believe that your life is one of all engrossing interest and also one of exceeding hard places, you are only in the very early stages of accepted discipleship and have not yet cast off ancient habits of thought. These questions have eventually to be answered before the student has what I might call "the full freedom of the Ashram."

The Ashram, you must remember, is externalized only in so far as it provides a point of spiritual tension. From that Ashram, disciples go out to work in the world. The outer group, working in the world, or the exoteric Ashram, is externalized by reflecting the radiance of the inner Ashram and by establishing a magnetic field of spiritual power. This is done just in so far as the members of the Ashram who are found on its outer periphery relate themselves to the inner Ashram and therefore react to the note and quality of the inner group, gathered around the Master.

An Ashram is not a group of people seeking spiritual realization. It is a center of group   activity, swept by energies which [748] (when given full and proper sway) enable the group to carry out the Master's plan and meet human need. You may wonder perhaps why I so constantly emphasize this need. I do it because that need is the main and urgent principle of invocation; it can and will evoke hierarchical response and thus put two centers - that of Humanity and the Hierarchy - en rapport. This is a group correspondence to the invocation of the soul by the personality and its subsequent evocation upon the plane of every day living, thus leading to a consequent fusion. An Ashram or Master's group is, therefore, a center of invocation and when the individual disciple becomes a chela on the thread, it is as the reward of selfless service - carried forward at any personal cost. Then the Ashram can be a center of unique world potency.

Chelas on the thread employ a peculiar technique, according to their ray; they work always through the head center. By means of this center, they sound out the call (an inaudible call, from the physical plane angle) which (vibrating along the thread) reaches the Master. These techniques are, however, taught directly to the disciple by the Master when he recognizes his chela's right to the privilege. I cannot give these techniques direct to you. When you are "on the thread," you will inevitably have the information given to you.

This thread is not the antahkarana but a linking thread of living light. This the Master projects as the disciple's service evokes a response from him. This evocation, however, increases its potency as the disciple builds the antahkarana between the personality and the Spiritual Triad. The chela on the thread eventually has the life thread (one aspect of the antahkarana) connected with this ashramic thread and hence the establishment of monadic control of the individual which (in its group form) signifies the control of the Hierarchy by Shamballa. The lesser and the greater relationship must ever be borne in mind.

To the average aspirant, the implications of this stage of discipleship are valuable from the angle of emphasizing what has not been achieved. The implications are, therefore, negative. This is frequently desirable where accepted disciples are concerned whose attitude should be positive and intelligent. [749] The Law of Positive and Negative Relationships underlies all these stages. That which is higher is, at first, always negative to that which is lower; then interim changes take place which make the higher positive to the lower and lead, therefore, to the steady ascending of the Way of Life and the Ladder of Spiritual Ascent.

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