The History of the White Brotherhood on Earth and Its Teachings
This chapter is devoted to the interpretations or opinions regarding the White Brotherhood according to history collectively.
Millions upon millions of years ago in the darkness of pre-history -- as man attempts to measure time, which does not exist -- Humanity was an infant, a child of Mother Nature, unawakened, dream-like, wrapped in the cloak of mental somnolence. Like a stream of brilliance across the horizon of time came divine beings.
Sons of Mind descended among the sleeping humans and with the flame of intellectual solar fire lighted the wick of latent mind. Self-consciousness awakened, and man became a dynamo of intellectual and emotional power capable of love, of hate, of glory, of defeat.
Knowledge, more knowledge, and still greater knowledge, was required by the growing humans who looked with gratitude to the godlike beings who had come to awaken them. For many centuries they followed their guidance, as children lovingly follow the footsteps of their mother.
At this early period there were no mystery colleges, the Ancient Wisdom was not ancient yet, not the "common heirloom" of all mankind, for as yet there had been no abuse of knowledge, and hence, no need for bodies kept hid and sacred from the world of men. Truth was freely accepted in that "Golden Age."
The race was young; not all men were adept in learning. Some, through past experience in former world-periods, learned quickly and with ease, choosing intuitively the path of spiritual intellection; others, less awake, were good, though wayward, in progress, while a third class of humans, drugged with inertia, found learning and aspiring a burden and became laggards in the evolutionary process. Spiritual death to them was preferable to spiritual exertion.
Nature is cyclical throughout: at one time she is fertile in spiritual things, at another, barren. At the period of the Third Root Race, on the great continent of Lemuria, the cycle was against spiritual progress. A great downward sweep was in force, when expansion of physical and material energies were accelerated with the consequent retardation and contraction of spiritual power.
The humanity of that period was part of the general evolutionary current and individuals reacted to the coarsening atmosphere according to their nature. Some resisted its down- ward influence through awakened spirituality; others, weaker in understanding, vacillated between spirit and matter, between good and evil -- at one time listening to the whisper of intuition, at another submerged by the rushing waves of the downward current. Still others, in whom the spark of intellectual splendor burned low, plunged headlong down the stream unmindful of the turbulent and muddy waters.
As the downward cycle proceeded, knowledge of spiritual verities and living of the life in accordance therewith, became a dull and useless tool in the hearts and minds of men.
During the first millennia, the Spiritual Head and Guardian of the Earth had been watching, guiding, stimulating wherever possible the individual fires of active spirituality; gradually as millennium succeeded millennium and knowledge of divine things became abused by those strong in will but weak in morality, the Truth was veiled. The Planetary Watcher now felt the need of selecting a bank of co-workers to act as body-guard and protector of the Ancient Wisdom.
Alone, a handful of spiritual illumined men in whom the divine fervor burned bright, acknowledge wholehearted allegiance to their Planetary Teacher -- the spiritual Hierarch of Humanity.
Through the centuries strong-hearted men had been watched over, guided, strengthened and tested in innumerable ways, and those who passed the fateful test of self-knowledge and self- sacrifice were gathered together to form the first Association or College of Spiritual Men -- the Great Brotherhood.
There in the fastnesses of Tibet at Shamballa, the Elder Brothers of the Race remain "the Elect custodians of the Mysteries revealed to mankind by the divine Teachers;" and it has been remarked that these elect were the germ of a Brother- hood which never died since that period -- since the foundation and establishment of the Great Brotherhood, eons ago.
From this center for millions of years rays of spiritual strength have been streaming in continuous procession into the world at large, and more specifically, into the hearts of those whose lives are dedicated to the service of truth.
From this secret retreat have gone forth Messengers, Masters of Wisdom, to found the grand religions of the past and they will continue to send forth their envoys as long as mankind requires their care.
Unthanked, unknown, unconsidered, the Masters go on in their compassionate work for Man's salvation, a work that has never ceased in its outpouring of spiritual vitality, to continue until such time as Humanity will have awakened from its lethargy, and once again wills to unite its heart with Truth.
In ancient Egypt, centers of the Brotherhood worked continuously throughout the land to send forth the Light of the indwelling Son. All their rituals were built upon the central theme of the rising sun and the influence of the planets and the zodiacal signs.
The Brethren of old knew that the spiritual forces surrounding the Earth keep it upon its course and assist in the evolution of wave upon wave of life breathed forth from the Heart of God.
Numerous references occur throughout the religious literature of the world to an order of enlightened human beings who are the custodians of the essential wisdom of the race. During the medieval revival of the Hermetic traditions in Europe, the higher initiates of this secret Fraternity were called Adepts, and it has seemed reasonable and advisable to preserve this term and title.
Modern writers have gathered a quantity of reference material dealing with the Adept tradition, but no work is yet available which may be considered as a systematic outline of the historical side of this inquiry, because the existence of advanced spiritual types already functioning within and through the very existence of Adept-teachers has been artfully concealed.
Humanity accepted the challenge and sought to ascend through disciplines of spiritual development, toward conscious knowledge of the Hierarchy (the invisible government of the world.) The only means available for such an ascent were the perceptive powers locked within the human compound.
The Mystery systems of initiation were organized to teach the science of human regeneration by which the inner faculties of the soul could be stimulated and unfolded according to the laws governing such processes in Nature.
These sacred institutions flourished collectively for thousands of years, and those who attained mastery were called Initiates. These were not merely persons who had received an exalted kind of knowledge; their advancement was the result of the release of internal powers of God-knowing.
Through these Initiate-teachers, the existence of the Adept tradition was gradually revealed to the world. The whole doctrine is suspended from one primary assumption; namely, that it is possible for the creature to know the Creator. It was further held that unless such a possibility existed the human state was purposeless.
The Adepts are sometimes referred to as a race inhabiting a continent between heaven and earth. This does not mean that the secret Fraternity is a separate creation, but a foreshadowing of the human destiny.
Ultimately, the working of natural law will release the extra- sensory perceptions in the majority of mankind. The Initiate- teachers are therefore referred to as Elder Brothers who have achieved to a superior state because of dedication to the noblest ideals which can inspire mortal conduct.
Increase of knowledge brings skill, which the word "adept" implies. The miraculous accounts, which are an essential part of the Adept tradition, bear witness to an increase of internal wisdom.
The Adept is not a magician, but a sage. He does not dominate natural law or violate its patterns. He simply uses the resources of Nature which his inner consciousness has made available.
The Adept tradition descended to the modern world through the migrations of the Aryan peoples. The Rishis of old were the first Aryan Adepts, and from them came the wonderful doctrines and teachings which the East honors today as the Light of the Vedas.
It was revealed to the Aryan ancestors that the administration of the radical unfoldment was in the keeping of certain custodians. These Adept-princes were once lords over the rulers ordained by divine right. Sometimes called the Trans-Himalayan Brotherhood, the Adepts are required by the Law of the Great Plan to guide the race without interfering with the right of the human being to learn through experience.
Like the humblest creature within their spiritual domain, the Adepts must keep the universal laws and are servants rather than Masters of the Great Plan. As the wise parent protects his child but does not overshadow his individuality, so the Hierarchy can only operate in accordance with the conscious will of the governed. When man seeks light, the Hierarchy will reveal itself, but until such time it cannot force growth.
In India, the Manu gave the laws for the regulation of public conduct. The Manu was one of a series of progenitors of human beings and authors of human wisdom in Hindu mythology. The Hierarchy reveals the divine plan for personal unfoldment. Hundreds of sects and schools have stood as gates leading into an unknown world. Those who pass through these gates discover the one religion and the one discipline.
The Eastern sage and the Western saint walk the same path, although some have not discovered the identity of their methods. The Greeks and the Chinese, the Egyptians and the Persians, the Mohammedans and Jews share together the secret doctrine of the Aryans.
The road from diversity to unity, from illusion to reality is always and everywhere the way of Yoga. The world has been deceived by difference of language and has mistaken words for ideas.
The great teachers who have founded the several religions which now flourish among the Aryan sub-races are all to be considered as Adepts or as saintly persons who have received the Adept tradition as an experience of inner consciousness. Some have not known the source of their inspiration and there- fore could not state the unity of the doctrine. Each came in a time and to a group which urgently required spiritual guidance.
Many may feel that the Adept tradition is fantastic, but is there anything incredible in the belief that there can be experts in the science of life and the art of living?
The world has produced great painters, musicians of wonderful virguosity, skilled architects and profound scholars. These geniuses are regarded as exceptional, but are accepted because their works bear witness to their abilities.
Men have always accepted the possibility of excellence, and from the earliest times have taught that a few dedicated and disciplined mortals have become Masters of the secret sciences of the soul. Because the soul is invisible and the sciences of the soul are not obvious in their workings, those untrained in such matters are not likely to recognize the Adepts and Initiates.
There are numerous accounts in both Christian and non- Christian sacred books of saints and sages who have walked with God, have performed miracles, and have led their peoples out of darkness and into the light of better ways. Shall all these accounts be rejected together as hallucinations or infirmities of the mind? What is gained by denying that which has inspired and guided the destiny of nations?
Nor is the record of the Adept-teachers so difficult to find. It is impossible to study any religion without contacting historical accounts of the appearances and activities of these teachers. They have appeared in all nations, and at critical moments have emerged as sages, reformers, and instructors. Equally significant is the message which they brought.
It is always the same; for after all, there is only one adversary -- spiritual ignorance. China records the wonderful sages who dwell far apart from men in the Jade Mountains that touch the sky. India tells of the great Yogis whose ashrams and hermitages are above the headwaters of the Ganges. The dervishes and the Sufis have their secret Masters who wander about seeking those worthy to receive the Mysteries.
These accounts should not be read to be criticized, ridiculed, or dismissed because they conflict with prevailing prejudices.
If the universe has reason and purpose, how are these reasons and purposes served and fulfilled? The Hierarchy of the Host is the only possible explanation for the wonderful and exact control by which the future of humanity is assured. In a strange way the Hierarchy itself is an integral part of all spiritual teachings.
The law produces the lawgiver and engenders from itself its own servants. Contrary to general belief, it is not the lawgiver but the law itself which comes first.
There has always been in the world since the rise of an order of self-conscious life a hierarchy of Teachers. This Hierarchy is composed of properly initiated priest-philosophers who serve as the "hands and feet" of the Supreme Teacher.
The organization of the Hierarchy is analogous to that of the cosmos itself, and through its Initiates the Great School is distributed throughout human society like an arterial system. The primary function of the Teacher-adepts is to initiate humanity into those sublime mysteries by which the corporeal man, cleansed of bodily limitations, may ascend to reunion with his own divine nature.
As man grows in awareness of the constant presence and unexpected concern of the Elder Brothers toward his spiritual growth, he soon develops an overwhelming desire to go seeking around the globe, in order to find one of these Masters who can teach him personally. The error of this lies in thinking that such beings may be located on the physical plane of existence, such as in Tibet or some other far-off exotic place.
One need not journey to Asia to find these Great Ones, for they are to be located only in the vaster realms of Spirit and soul, regardless of where one is geographically; but this cannot be until he is spiritually "ripe." The prerequisites for such grace are right attitudes, and intentions of the highest good, along with a Karmic preparedness -- and this refers to the place where he has arrived on the narrow Path invisible to human eyes, as a consequence of the whole series of events and soul memories from his earliest beginnings.
To reach this place, man's concern must be with his own motives; he must learn selflessness, and to express to the best of his ability the finer qualities within him, for the only voice heard by the Masters of Wisdom is that of dawning spirituality, of newly-awakened perception of the unity and divinity of life itself. Love is the first step -- the love that is sometimes called "charity," but is in reality somewhere between the two. The good of mankind must be placed above his own good, to love his neighbor as himself, and live in the spirit of goodwill. Merely to "be good" is not enough to qualify for spiritual assistance, as one can be very "good" while doing nothing at all, just by refraining from evil. But in actively moving out to bring good unto others, progress is made.
Possessiveness or selfishness is the negation of good, building walls which separate a man from his fellows. The possessive state was useful while man was in a more primitive condition, as a means of self-protection; but this characteristic having become strongly developed, it is not now easy to break. A person who retains any touch of selfishness may not use the spiritual powers, which are available only to the pure in heart.
Perfected men are part of the evolutionary pattern, for each sage, as he grows closer to perfection through mastery over himself and the lower elements, is able to hand on to others some of his great knowledge -- the same knowledge and wisdom which await every one of us in time to come. As the soul stature increases, when there is practically nothing more to be learned that is worthy of note, then is one near to the stature of a Perfect Man.
There are always some that are newer to this state than others, but in time all will reach it, for within every man resides the germ of that which is perfect. Each is a god in the making, who will come, in time, to the fullness of stature in his divine Self.
Various paths of development are laid out before us, many of which lead far from this planet to other worlds. Or one may choose to remain on the inner realms surrounding the Earth, to form part of the great Hierarchy of those who have become truly free, to help humanity in its growth and ascent. Some Adepts choose the work of world government, becoming concerned with the methods used in governing humanity, in the rise and fall of nations, and in an effort to inspire great statesmen.
Other classes of Adepts are those who choose to appear on the physical plane, among men; and here we find the great Teachers and religious founders and leaders, who are concerned with the inner and soul growth of men. There are still others who concern themselves with scientific discoveries and progress in science and art, in healing and human relationships. It is sacrifice for these Masters to return to the vale of the physical realm, but they do it with selfless love, in order to uplift those who have not yet attained as they.
Such beings are not gods to be worshipped, but men, whose life on the inner planes enormously transcends our own. They are not necessarily more advanced physically, for all men have now become quite highly developed in their physical vehicles. But unlike the average man who sleeps even as he walks and talks, the Adept is awake on all levels and planes at once, living in a higher consciousness of what IS. He is a whole being, or as some describe it, living in the fourth dimension.
They do not seek to stop the world's dreadful experiences directly, because their mission is not to act as arbiters of karma, and when causes are set into motion, they run their course to become effect. The adept does not often interfere, but lets man learn their lesson.
He does teach, and inspire to a higher Way. He leads minds and souls onward and upward, and helps to bring a new level of spiritual attainment for many, acting as a leaven to the whole. Their work on the physical level is the least of what they do, though some work is performed there also. They act as spiritual guides to influence those in high places who are at a point where they can listen, that they may work for the greater good of all. These are our Elder Brothers, to whose way we aspire.
The attainment of adeptship is possible as an inalienable birthright to all human beings. The path of discipleship leads through the wise to wisdom itself.
The truth seeker is first the disciple of some learned man who may be himself in one of the lower grades of the Hierarchy. As the student's abilities increase he advances, and the cultivation of his spiritual faculties are properly guided. As the body passes from infancy to childhood, from childhood to youth and from youth to maturity, so the invisible internal man must be matured by the laws of God and in obedience to the laws of Nature.
The grades of discipleship represent degrees of spiritual maturity. When the internal Self has been properly and sufficiently enlightened, the disciple is ready for formal initiation into the Great School. As a disciple he sees through a glass darkly; as an Initiate, he sees face to face.
The truth seeker must learn discrimination, and this is gained not by depending upon the advice of others, but by the development of judgment. Suffice it to say that "When the disciple is ready, the Master is there."
The great Aryan Teachers have revealed to the face all the wisdom that is necessary to bring the earnest soul to the feet of the Master. It is not lack of knowledge, but the failure of dedication and the unwillingness of the human being to perform patiently the disciplines of self-improvement that prevent the profane from reaching the steps of the sanctuary.
During the Hermetic recension in Europe, the title of adept was applied almost exclusively to the Masters of operative alchemy. Certain philosopher-chemists who had attained unusual distinction were referred to as adepts by later authors and disciples of the art.
The title had a larger implication, however, when applied to those unnamed Masters to whose uncertain activities there are scattered references in the tracts published by aspiring chemists.
These unidentified adepti had no certain identity or residence, but appeared miraculously in response to the earnest prayers of devout disciples. The adepts seemed to possess the power to examine into the hearts and minds of men, to weigh motives, and to determine merit.
They appear fortuitously at the precise moment when their advice and guidance were most necessary. They seldom lingered long in one vicinity and justified their comings and goings by assuming the habits and trades of journeymen.
The Mysteries always operated through two parallel streams of descent. The philosophical Orders emphasized the wisdom aspect of the Universal Mystery. The mystical Orders stressed the devotional aspect. Thus understanding and faith, identical in content, accomplished two works in one. Through under- standing, the Initiate overcame the illusion of worldliness, and through faith he attained to participation in the substance of the Divine.
Today as you look around you there seems very little indication of brotherhood as it was taught by the Masters and Initiates of the past. They taught mankind to live by the spirit, in kindness, in tolerance and in love.
These Wise Ones taught also that man should give his brother the gift of freedom of life, freedom of thought, freedom of choice, because they knew that truth is implanted in every human heart. They knew that if men have freedom, the spirit within all mankind will eventually arrive at truth and recognize the Father God as the Power which is the source of all life – the Power which is the center of the circle and the hub of the wheel -- the Power which is creative and eternal.
The Great White Brotherhood has existed ever since the first God-men came to the Earth at the beginning of time. They have worked to raise man's consciousness from darkness to light, to develop the power of the spirit within each individual heart, and thus to keep an understanding of the Law of Life.
There have been times when these Brethren have been persecuted, burnt at the stake, tortured. Some have been driven to the far corners of the Earth, others forced to take refuge underground.
Their teachings refuted and repudiated, they left the earth- plane, but they did not withdraw entirely from their human brethren: they merely awaited more favorable times before returning to continue their work.
The Great White Brotherhood can be incarnate or discarnate at will. They have given power to their younger brethren to form small Lodges in certain prepared places, to heal the sick, to bring comfort to the troubled soul. In the olden days they were known as the Sages, as the Wise Men of the East, as the Masters.
They dwelt on Earth to help men find the Light, and to manifest it in their daily lives. They no longer have need for rebirth, since they have overcome all the limitations of the flesh. At this time of crisis upon the Earth they are drawing near in ever-increasing numbers to help their human brethren and so prevent the complete destruction of the world of men.
We would stress the point they need no longer wear a garment of flesh unless they so choose, as did the Master Jesus. The Christian Faith as taught by Jesus was the Ancient Wisdom which was known to the God-men since the beginning of time. His birth, his childhood, his manhood, the agony of Gethsemane, his death upon the cross and his resurrection were a portrayal of the greatest parable ever known -- the complete fulfillment of the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom.
Jesus came to teach mankind that there is no death and that life is eternal and indestructible, that all the good in man lives on, whereas the evil fades as man continues on his earth journeys.
The Great White Lodge is on a plane of being above the Earth. Within that Lodge are the Initiates -- the bearers of the Light -- souls who from ages past have journeyed along the path of spiritual evolution.
Within the Lodge on High are the risen souls of men and women opened to the Light who live lives of utmost purity. These souls have grown in God-consciousness and give love and service to their brethren on Earth and in many realms.
The Grand Master of the Lodge is he who is the Son of the Father-Mother God, and whose love, so gentle and yet so powerful, has proven the salvation of human life -- our Lord Jesus Christ.
Throughout the ages there has always been the Great Lodge of the White Light, and Teachers from this Lodge have gone forth to instruct mankind, and to form other Lodges of the White Light. We, with each of you who become linked to this Lodge, are working to raise the consciousness of those who are unconscious of the great potentialities that lie within themselves for service and love.
We would ask you to remember that God never leaves His people without a witness; that throughout the ages a Teacher has come to bring a message of hope when most needed. It is possible it may be the same Teacher in a different manifestation, bringing the same teaching in the form most needed at that time.
Although the world is filled with materialism and there is a lust for power, while the desire for imperialism sways the minds and controls the thoughts of many, yet that message is never completely forgotten.
It filters through into the memory of men from past lives and lives again in the teachings of the Brotherhood. Members of the Brotherhood were in ancient Egypt in days long past and their work still endures. The light they projected still blesses the world of men.