Saturday 25 July 2015

The Masters Revisited

Rather neglecting the title of this blog and one of its chief purposes, I have not written anything about the Masters for a while. This is partly because there is a sense in which the Masters are quite incidental to the spiritual path which is concerned above all with finding the truth within, even if that does not mean neglecting it as it exists outwardly. The Masters, as long as they are seen as beings separate from us, belong to the world of phenomena (not in themselves, of course, but as they exist in our perception). Thus to focus on them too much is to lose connection to the light within oneself, and their only aim is to guide us to that light.

But I have also not written about the Masters recently because I know that some people, who might be interested in the spiritual matter of these essays, are put off by talk of Masters, such is the disrepute into which channeling and the idea of transcendent, superhuman beings, whose existence cannot be proven, has fallen. Now it is perfectly true that there has been a lot of nonsense talked about Masters and supposed enlightened beings, and the subject is riddled with superstition and illusion, but do we let the existence of fake gold cause us to deny the real thing? It may be rarer but it does exist, and simply means that we have to use our discrimination. I appreciate that the idea of Masters can also seem to have a sensationalist aspect to it, but again that is to mistake imitation for reality. There is nothing remotely sensationalist about the Masters as they truly are, and in no way does acknowledging their reality materialize spirituality as some would have it. Unless, that is, you think that paying any attention to Jesus or the Buddha materializes spirituality.

So now it's time to write a little more about the Masters as I knew them though I cannot claim extensive knowledge. If they are the generals in a large army then I am a recently enlisted private, but they have at least inspected me on the parade ground and passed a few comments on the way I was turned out with some advice on improvements I could make if I wished to progress through the ranks. So my knowledge of the Masters may be limited but I have encountered them and spoken with them, as a consequence of which I can be a witness to the fact of their existence, and confirm that they truly are oceans of love and wisdom who embody the highest one can imagine in terms of human perfection. They are souls who have gone beyond identification with the limited created aspect of their being and healed the ancient split in the psyche that marked our separation from divine oneness. Having died to self, they have risen to God and can point the way for anyone else who wishes to do the same. They are at the same time human, because the greater always includes the lesser (and they are not without a touch of humour), and remote because their outlook and understanding of life, its divine source and spiritual nature, removes them from our frankly trivial concerns. Nevertheless they understand these concerns and can fully enter into our problems and difficulties, even if, from their perspective, these problems and difficulties are seen to be rather less important than we, still caught up in them, might imagine. If you can envisage someone who is both austere and full of love, and whose understanding of you is total but without judgment or condemnation, who sees you exactly as you are, with all your hidden motivations and self concern, and who still loves you, truly seeing you as a child of God, then you have an idea of what a Master is like.

The question might be asked that, if I have met the Masters, why have so few others been fortunate enough to have had a similar experience? If they exist why do they not make their presence known to all, and put humanity back on the right track? Why leave us in spiritual ignorance when it should be so simple to guide us to the truth? But perhaps things are not that simple. Have you ever wondered why this world is so perfectly set up that those who wish to believe in spiritual truth can find enough to confirm their beliefs while those who do not so wish can also find, or think they have, evidence to confirm them in their assumptions? This is because there must be no coercion in real religion. God wants lovers not slaves who believe because they have no choice. And he wants belief to come from within, from the heart, because only then can it permeate and transform the whole character. So, in line with the law of free will, the Masters cannot suddenly appear and put everything to rights. That would contravene the whole purpose of this Earth which is a school for the development of saints. They might be able to appear to those who are ready for such a thing, in other words, who are sufficiently awakened spiritually, but even this does not necessarily mean a direct encounter. Simply hearing about them could be enough. Even meeting them in a book is a perfectly valid way to come into their presence, and contact on the higher planes is another way to know them. This may not be registered by the physical brain but will still seep down into everyday consciousness in the form of greater intuitive perception.

So, even if no others factors were taken into account, the Masters could not just appear to all and sundry because that would violate the laws that govern how humanity can grow spiritually.

But there are other factors and chief of them is that the Masters (except possibly a few of their number) do not live in the physical world so their ability to communicate directly with it is limited. They exist in a spiritual form (once described by one of them as a sea of azure blue and gold) which means that contact with them is not easy even if it should be wished. Michael Lord was an unusual medium as was the Boy. As the Masters themselves told me, the ordinary psychic or medium would not be able to support their presence or their vibration as we say nowadays. Think of how too strong a current can burn out the filament in a light bulb and you will understand what is meant by that. In this example the strength of the wire equals the purity of the soul.

Something else that those who might wish a public appearance of the Masters should consider is that they are not, anymore than Jesus was, all sweetness and light. Jesus himself said that he did not come to bring peace but a sword by which he meant the sword that separates truth from falsehood, and the Masters, should they appear, would similarly bring a fire which could burn as well as illuminate. Are we ready for that? Are we prepared for the sacrifices that the approach of a truly spiritual force would require us to make? Look what the world did to Jesus when it became clear that he was not going to satisfy its expectations of what he should be. Could it be that the reality of what he was showed people something about themselves that they did not like, and so he had to be got rid of? A true Master does not treat everyone with the same benign love regardless of their inner state. He loves, certainly, but he is the most intolerant of beings, and what he does not tolerate is precisely falsehood, or sin as we are no longer willing to call it. Not that he condemns the sinner, for whom he has infinite compassion, but he requires any individual who wishes to associate with him to confront the darkness in their own soul. And then to do something about it. He is endlessly patient and forgiving, but he is also demanding and relentless. As a physician of souls that is what he has to be.

On the subject of Jesus, I have been asked if I see him as similar to the Masters or them as like him, meaning, I suppose, someone who has reached the pinnacle of human spiritual achievement and demonstrated the truth of the liberated or enlightened state. My answer is, no I do not. The Masters, elevated as they are, are human beings, human beings who may have joined the company of saints, but human beings, or past human beings, nonetheless. I think of Jesus as more than this. You only have to read the Gospels to see that here was a person like none other before or since. One who embodied spiritual perfection to the highest degree, and who could say "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life" and not just mean it metaphorically. There is no other historical figure who could do this, and none who spoke with such authority as Jesus did. His resurrection from the dead (surely a real thing and not just symbolic or it would not have had the effect it did) was the triumph of spirit over matter, healing a most ancient wound and opening a door into the heavenly realm for all mankind. I am aware of the Theosophical theory that the Master Jesus was overshadowed by the Christ, a higher spiritual being, and I don't dismiss it entirely but I don't think it begins to uncover the mystery of what the Incarnation signified. The traditional view of Christ as the Son of God may seem too extreme for many people nowadays, but it conveys a deeper sense of truth than any other. The very moving passage at the end of  'Towards the Mysteries' when Swami Omananda asks her Master if it was from Christ that he came and whether the Masters were the messengers of Christ, and is told "Yes. He sent us out" rings very true to me, and supports my contention that Christ was/is something much more than 'just' a Master himself.

Over the years I have come more and more to understand what I think I have always known in my heart and that is that all spiritual truth is summed up in the figure of Jesus Christ and his teachings. Other approaches to spirituality, worthy and excellent as they may be, do but approximate to what came from Jesus. They may contain elements that it does not emphasise, but it alone and he alone contain the pure spiritual essence or heart of truth. This doesn't mean that I think everyone should become a Christian to be saved (to use conventional Christian terminology) or that I think anyone professing, however sincerely, Christianity will necessarily be saved. As Christ made quite clear not everyone calling on his name will find their name in the Book of Life. Besides all forms of Christianity are much departed from the pure truth of Christ even if that shines at the heart of them still since its light cannot be extinguished. And nor does it mean I would advocate a new and theoretically better form of Christianity. There are quite enough sects as it is, and any new one would soon take on the faults of all those currently existing, probably much more quickly as we are much further on from the initial fecundating principle. But I do believe that we all must become inner followers of the way laid down by Jesus, whatever our external path, and that his pre-eminence as the divine prototype should be recognised. It is a mistake to regard Jesus Christ as no more than a soul that has realised God like various others in history. These may be saints and sages but they are not Christ.

I may disappoint some of my readers in saying this. I hope not. It does not lessen my love and reverence for the Buddha and the holy men of India and elsewhere one jot. Nor do I question their achievement. Nevertheless I think that, certainly as far as this world is concerned, it is in Christ that we must look for the greatest spiritual truth, and through him that we see most clearly into the sacred heart of reality. He represents a spirituality that has gone beyond mere oneness or non-duality to a higher understanding in which the purpose of creation as bringing to fruition the twin realities of the One and the Many, Sameness and Difference, Truth and Love, is most fully revealed. In him being and becoming are perfectly reconciled, and from their complete union is born the true Son of God.