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Discipleship in the New Age I - The Six Stages of Discipleship - Part VIII
The aura of any form of life can be defined as the quality of a sphere of radiatory activity. Very little is as yet known about auras, and a great deal of nonsense has been written anent the matter. The aura is usually spoken of in terms of color and of light, due to the nature of the vision of the one who sees and the apparatus of response which is in use. Two words only describe an aura from the point of view of occult knowledge and they are "quality" and "sphere of influence." What the clairvoyant really contacts is an impression which the mind rapidly translates into the symbology of color, whereas there is no color present. Seeing an aura, as it is called, is in reality a state of awareness. That the seer may in all sincerity believe that he has registered a color, a series of colors, or light, is entirely true in many cases, but what he has really recorded is the quality of a sphere of radiatory activity; this he does when his own individual sphere of radiatory activity is of the same nature and quality as that contacted. Most seers register the astral range of vibrations of a person or a group and this through the medium of their own astral body. The impact of a truth or of a mental concept and its recognition is an expression of a similar contact, carried forward this time into the realm of the mind.

This explains the truth lying behind all so-called "expansions of consciousness" to which the mind of man can respond; [753] he registers a constant succession of vibratory impacts, emanating from spheres of activity; these range all the way from the early stage of increasing awareness through the development of the five senses and the three vehicles of contact in the three worlds of human experience to those recognitions which lead a man into the sphere of influence of a Master and later enable him to take what is termed one of the major initiations.

These spheres of radiatory activity are ever present even when unregistered and unrecognized. The evolutionary process is one of developing a response apparatus with which to register them; having done so, the next step is to react intelligently to such contacts, thus producing an ever increasing range of awareness which finally constitutes the sumtotal of consciousness.

I cannot here enlarge upon this theme as it proceeds under the impelling force of volution. I am only here concerned with the fact of a Master's sphere of radiatory activity and its peculiar quality and ray coloring (occultly understood).

The factor lying behind and thus making possible each of the six stages of discipleship is the existence in the disciple of qualities, radiatory activities and emanatory impulses which correspond to those emanating from some particular Ashram. These, when they have evoked a response and drawn the disciple to the periphery of the sphere of activity of such an Ashram, gradually intensify their magnetic, attractive quality; they awaken to still greater potency the same qualities in the disciple, occultly pulling him closer to the central point, which is the focus of all the trained ability and the high-powered spiritual life of the Master at the very heart of the Ashram.

It is at this point that the disciple awakens to the realization that his three bodies or vehicles - etheric, astral and mental - are only the reflections of the three aspects of the Spiritual Triad and that they can give him the key to his own being and also the capacity to respond to the threefold vibration of the Master, as expressed through his aura.

The teaching that the personality must be destroyed is a distortion of the truth; his focus of consciousness has to be shifted from the threefold lower nature into that of the Triad and this with the aid of the threefold soul nature. The mode of this progressive shifting is response to an ever higher rate of [754] vibratory activity. Just as soon as there exists, in the consciousness of the disciple, the ability to respond to the quality and the radiation, emanating from an Ashram, he moves forward into that sphere of influence. That in his own aura which is akin to the quality of the Master's aura is trained, intensified and purified. His own radiatory activity is enhanced as the ashramic life plays upon his vehicles until in time he becomes the chela within the aura. In a faint way, his vibration and that of the Master tend to synchronize.

I would point out that in this way, the disciple begins to make a significant contribution to the life of the Ashram. Each disciple who penetrates into the aura of the Master through similarity of quality and vibratory activity enriches and intensifies the group with which he is thus affiliated. As time elapses, the Ashram of a Master becomes increasingly potent, magnetic and radiant. Within that aura the initiate-disciple carries forward his work, standing at the radiant center of the group life and working from thence outwards in service. He is ever careful to protect that center from any quality of his own aura which is not in harmony with the quality of the Master and to keep (as far as may be) outside his own consciousness any thoughts or desires which might disturb the group aura. When he is admitted to this stage of discipleship that is his responsibility, and such a privilege is never accorded to him unless he is able so to guard himself and the sphere of influence of which he is now a part.

You can see, therefore, that the Hierarchy itself is only a great Ashram with a triangle at the center, composed of the Christ, the Mahachohan and the Manu. Symbolically speaking, this triangle constitutes one radiant center, for the radiatory activity of each of these Great Lords is such that they are swept into each other's auras in such a way that there is a complete blending and fusing. Every Ashram radiates some one major quality according to the ray of the Master at the center; in the same way the Hierarchy radiates the quality of the second divine aspect, just as the all-inclusive Ashram (to which we give the name Shamballa) has the outstanding characteristic of the first aspect, life itself. This is not a quality, but that of which quality is an emanation. [755]

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