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Mysteries of the Qabalah, by Elias Gewurz, [1922], at

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Initiation according to the Qabalah, from a Scientific and Philosophical Point of View. *

Various explanations of the way of initiation have been given to the world which appeal to those who are purely upon the line of devotion—i.e., to the Bhaktis, but we must remember that the man of knowledge, the Gnani, plays an important part in this, our Fifth Race. To the scientific or philosophical mind an explanation must be given which will appeal especially to the intellect, not, let it be noted, to the hard materialistic mind, but to the true intellect which has sensed the right path and knows of the Goal to which it leads. For this explanation we have to turn again to the Qabalist who has already been of such service to us in our study.

*         *         *         *

The scientific mind of this age requires a logical and well-reasoned foundation for

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every statement that claims his attention. Credence is given to naught but the senses and their testimony. Even in the realms of psychology and metaphysical research, the man of scientific mind clings to this rule and demands compliance with his own conditions.

Naturally the Pilgrim on the Path to the Masters finds himself at a loss to reconcile the man of science, with his cold calculating mind and relentlessly exacting methods, to a manner of procedure which, even in its incipiency requires as a sine qua non, an article not to be found in the average scientist's stock-in-trade. This article is nothing else but the faith of a little child. Fortunately this does not sound as ridiculous now as it would have some fifty years ago. A great number of men distinguished for their learning and sound knowledge are very far from being strangers to the spirit and things spiritual. (If perhaps there be a few materialists who treat with scorn the dictum laid down as to the necessity of clearing the mind of all preconceived notions when confronted with new and strange teachings or happenings, to such it should

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be said that their great prophet Huxley himself laid down the same rule as regards materialistic science). To this daily growing number these words may carry a message. Its source is the heart, the seat of Love, but the channel by which it has been conveyed is reason, the discerner: it makes its appeal to the heart, but it does not wish to evade the criterion of strict scientific discernment.

The Astral or Water initiation, the purpose of which is to call the attention of the disciple to the gulf fixed before him, is the lowest of all save that of the initiation of Earth, which, however, is rather a basis of operations than an initiation per se. It detaches the student from earthly things only so far as his active participation in the grosser joys and carnal pleasures is concerned. It does not yet touch his mind and his craving for these things—far from it. The fire of desire only gains momentum and the fierceness of passion shows itself in all its primeval vehemence whenever one turns to Yoga in earnest and is about to pass the Water initiation as we have termed it.

Tremendous are the consequences and

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far-reaching the importance of the disciples’ conduct during this period of his trial. If he obeys and renders all allegiance to his Teachers, the heavier blows may be kept from him, but woe, a thousand times woe unto him if he takes it lightly and casts longing looks behind him upon his past mode of life, no Teacher cart then help him and no Master can save him.

The entrance to this path and the passing of this initiation are solemn facts in Nature and cannot be trifled with any more than the burning fire or the exploding dynamo. He who disregards the laws governing the inner life after entering the Sanctuary, pays for his disobedience not only by loss of bodily life, but by injury and possible loss of his mental and moral life which is a far more terrible lot than any mere physical dissolution.

To set one's foot upon the path and then to hesitate is to be lost indeed. To doubt the Powers is to perish. But the well-prepared and obedient aspirant, of a childlike heart and of single mind need have no such fears. Those that are for him are stronger than those that are against him,

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and the multitude of witnesses always encompassing and watching the budding chela will hasten to his help whenever needed. There is indeed but one thing for the probationer to know who has been declared fit and ready for the task, for the arduous uphill climb to the Summit. He has to realize the position in which he has placed himself, with one foot upon the base of the mountain and the other hanging over the abyss of avidya. He cannot, nay, dare not, turn back for there is no foothold, so he has to fling himself bodily upon the base of the mountain clinging tightly thereto with all his might, holding on like grim death. This is his first trial and yet it is the most important and reflects in a way the last one, for here lie must exert his whole strength for the victory gained thereby will carry him on to the summit if only Ire keep to the narrow way and follow the landmarks and signs left by those who in former times trod this same weary path.

Guided by these realizations and firmly established in his faith, the Path to the heights is now open to the pilgrim and nothing can turn him away from the main

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road leading to the ultimate fruition of all his travail except his own wavering and inconstant nature. The lesson, therefore, which the Astral or Water initiation is to teach is nothing less and nothing more than purification on the one hand and faith on the other. Briefly, it is a process of detachment, resignation and the cultivation of an implicit trust in what was hitherto only a tentative enterprise. Prior to the aspirant's entrance upon the Astral Plane and experiences, the body, the lower nature and mundane cares were his chief concern in life; teachings and self-knowledge came in as a kind of pleasantry or hobby, good enough for recreation, but now these things that were first must become the last and the last become the first.

A line of demarcation, invisible to ordinary sight but none the less substantial and real, divides the Astral from the Mental, the water from the air, which is symbolized by the horizon. The dwellers on the mental plane, to which we, as far as our mind-bodies are concerned, belong, have dominion and power over the two lower planes given them as their natural heritage from

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the Cosmic Lords, consequently man as mind is the ruler and can control all the astral elements. Seeing that the astral is the birthplace and scope of desire, it follows that man, if he will, can, in the exercise of his natural sovereignty, subdue every one of them. His inclination towards them is due solely to the non-use of this prerogative, and he is like unto a King or an Emperor who is determined in his actions by the momentary disposition of his subordinates. But the King is a King if he only knew it. What deprives him of his power is his ignorance of his real capacity. What makes man yield to his passion is likewise his ignorance that he himself is its origin and procreator and in virtue of that can command its cessation.

Now a breach of the law on the astral plane, wrong though it may be, cannot by any stretch of imagination be compared in its bearing and influence to a breach of the law on the plane of mind. The unlawfulness of a mental plane act is so serious and its effects so far-reaching that punishment must be not only swifter, but more drastic also. This leads to the conclusion that sin

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by a man awakened on the mental plane must always be visited upon him in the direst possible manner, because if that were not so the man would readily fall a prey to the Brothers of the Shadow and abuse his powers against the Good Law.

Powers and gifts without the corresponding virtues and devotion, can lead only to the left-hand Path and to ultimate destruction. In the infinite mercy, therefore, the Masters of the great White Lodge whenever They choose a disciple lead him in the first place into such conditions that will weed out all the excrescences of this Kamic and Manasic principles, which is equivalent to saying that he will be "smashed-up" and so humiliated that he will not be likely again to fall into the snares of the invisible enemies in his subsequent career.

When the disciple is thus guided by experience and trained by time and sorrow, he is preparing his spiritual weapons for the coming battle. He is evolved by our old friend Pain and made strong by our dear brother Anguish. There need be no feeling of shame and no trace of remorse in his mind at the remembrance of former

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failings, for it has all been necessary and he would never be where he is nor what he is but for these past things of which he is now utterly ashamed.

We evolve from worm to angel and must do many things over and over again. These bring in their train the disgust of the Self which is of the nature of Light, with its lower instruments, and flinging them away sets our faces towards the brightness which is the entrance to the Path proper.

The spiral law governing cyclic evolution receives at this stage of the disciple's career a new impulse from the "Intelligible Sphere." Here everything is governed by pure reason, and an entity moving in this orbit must comply with the law of the sphere, else it would not only destroy its own life but affect harmfully the existence and usefulness of neighboring worlds. This holds good of the individual disciple and of his planetary correspondence. It is of not much account if a man makes a mistake ere he reaches this point, but it is equivalent to a cosmic crime and as disastrous in its consequences if a mistake is made having arrived thus far. This is the reason that

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the Great Teachers from time immemorial put so much emphasis upon the need of purgation before the Path proper may be entered upon by the disciple. Ceasing to be an arbitrary factor in his and other people's lives, he becomes so much law-governed in his most minute movements of thought and as much prompted in his centres of action as are the laws of magnetism and electricity.

Hydrogen and Oxygen and any of Nature's minute phenomena are none of them moved by arbitrary impulse; the law that presides at their evolution and directs their mode of life and activity is, in its essential nature, the same as the everlasting laws that are the foundation of a Solar System, and (for all we may know) of the greater systems which in their turn embrace and comprehend what to us is the vastest expanse to be found within the boundaries of infinity.

The bubbles of air and drops of water and grains of sand, as well as the mighty Devas ruling great plants, are all manifestations of the Great Law which we call God. It is only man who has been pushed out from the normal course of evolution between

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the animal and the angelic stages in order to suppress the former and unfold the latter in his constitution.

As soon as man acknowledges the Light of the Self as his true guide, and with undying love that neither rests nor hastes, works with the Law, he attracts in virtue of his striving all the affinities corresponding to his own nature from the higher spheres, and on the fruitful foundation of these affinities he mounts upwards to the great Fountain of Eternal Truth. He is helped by what we call invisible helpers, because the lenses of our mind are so focussed as to consider the things and beings that are most real to be invisible. Supported by these guides and pushed onward by the unfailing law, his mental initiation is going on smoothly and peaceably until it leads him to the shore where darkness is not and where the promised reward of a full revelation is near at hand.

The Teacher is about to reveal himself and that great coining event is casting its shadow before him. Peace, perfect peace, is falling now upon the hitherto harassed soul and the sweetest consummation of

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æons of struggle expands the heart that has been broken, and prepares with its inexpressible joy and indescribable awe the Temple for the indwelling of the Most Holy One that is to take possession of him. The benediction of the Master draws him into the interior sanctuary and announces the coming of the Lord himself. This is the mental initiation.

The central point of the grand synthesis comprising the initiation on all planes is the Jiva-atma in its highest aspect. Its triple nature, that of knowledge, being, and bliss, is progressing towards its ultimate sublimation and absolute freedom from the bonds of Maya while undergoing the outlying trials and ordeals. Advancing on the crest of the wave which is raised by the evolutionary tide, the soul loses all its hold on matter in any shape or form. Even thought (which is only a finer form of matter) must now be considered to be a form of bondage, and every impact from the mental plane must be scrutinized and most closely examined as to its nature and mission.

To the ordinary mind, even of cultured

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people, thought is so much identified with self that any mental movement within them is looked upon as the guidance of the Self. This is why they get angry when their wills are thwarted and their desires contravened. Taking their mind to be themselves, their spirit rushes out against the supposed enemy who dared to frustrate that which the mind had planned. The disciple, distinguishing between the eternal and evanescent, knowing the mind to be as unreal as the lower manifestations which he has already conquered, cannot by any possible chance get angry or wish ill to his opponents, no matter whether his grievance be real or fancied. The knower of Truth is far above the mind and its complications and has actually nothing to lose or gain, nobody to attack and nobody to defend, least of all himself. There may arise exceptional occasion when, for the sake of "younger souls" and their evolution, a defense may be made by an Occultist against slander where others are concerned with him, but this is a razor-edged path and needs careful treading.

When the disciple has mastered these

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lessons and does not rush out any longer in self-defense so far as action is concerned, he has still to follow up this conquest by the additional and let it be confessed more difficult one of conquering the mind's savage progeny. For no sooner has the victory been attained on the outer plane than the Powers of the Air, as They are called, announce Their advent and throw into the face of the daring aspirant the challenge for a new battle. It is now that he must, in the language of the Alchemists, put a fiery sentinel at the door of his mind, with a flaming sword in its hand, asking every newcomer, "who goes there?"

This is the critical point, where it is finally decided if that part of the mind called Antakarana, meaning "before the causal," shall be saved from the wreckage of the lower personality or share its fate. The Antakarana, being the bond of union between the waking mind and the Higher consciousness, must at the final rupture of the lower and the higher, be either joined to the latter or disintegrate into its component parts by being drowned in the universal group-spirit governing the lower mind of

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collective humanity at the present.

Those who transcend the personality and the passions completely can recover even here and now, in these bodies of flesh, the consciousness of the Higher Self, but those who are unable to soar so high, either by reason of their past Karma or because of present disabilities, cannot catch a glimpse of the hidden glory and must content themselves with the ordinary life and the ordinary progress of humanity in general. But those who have won the victory and scaled the heights, they return to testify to the Light, the brightness of which has left its reflection upon their faces.

We can see their shining auras and their glorified countenances, for they, without ceasing to be children of the earth, have become naturalized citizens of the celestial realms. They are now the twice-born sons and daughters of the Father of Lights, whose limitless splendor must remain a mystery to the world at large to the end of time. This is the Buddhic initiation.

The ultimate end of Science is to explain the facts of Nature. How does Science accomplish this? By generalization and

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deduction, which means the ranging of the newly discovered fact or the newly revealed truth at the side of facts already known and truths already familiar to man. But in the nature of things Science must stop somewhere because the latest fact to which she appeals requires a further generalization in order to account for its own origin. Scientific methods lead thus to metaphysics, and the basis of all scientific research is the trinity of time and space and matter, which, according to the latest dicta of the savants, are themselves mental conceptions. Now, seeing that these fundamental conceptions of time and space which form the warp and woof are essentially spiritual notions and beyond the material grasp of the unenlightened scientists who see nothing beyond the knife and scalpel, it naturally follows that the subject cognising these must he above and independent of them.

Prior to this stage, man can never think of anything except it is, was, or will be. Likewise can we never think of anything which does not occupy any space at all, or being devoid of all matter whatever. But the Atmic consciousness when fully awake

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in us needs no such support to substantiate the operation of its interior sight. It works on the formless plane, and its experiences are so far removed from our earthly ones that any terms we may use for their description must necessarily be as inadequate as are our minds in comparison to the fully enlightened divine soul.

However, the imperfection of the instrument does not detract from the excellence of the master, and the insufficiency of temporary channels does not lessen the fulness of the eternal fountain. In like manner does the shortness of our sight and the narrowness of our horizon leave untouched the limitlessness of the Divine Wisdom and of the great ranges it provides for the exercise of its perfected children among whom the soul at this stage of development takes her rightful place.

These truths were known to all Initiates of ancient times as they are now being revived and proclaimed anew to a doubting world, they are all founded upon the same principle on which the Cosmos itself is founded, namely, Love. But while being rooted and grounded in the very nature of

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things, and identical with the Self in all creatures, they are—we must not forget—meant to be revealed to the few only, the majority of the race being as yet insufficiently prepared for them.

Love, the motive power of all that lives and breathes, must be the guiding star of every disciple who has entered and is making progress upon the Path. It is not only his safety valve at every step of the way, but serves also to fathom the depths of the water surrounding him during his voyage to the other shore. The storms and the winds threatening his tiny barque which he calls Individual Life may often be of such vehemence that constant reliance and steadily increasing faith in the Powers above are needed in order to insure the firmness of his anchorage whenever he tries to find a haven of refuge. The rage of the waves environs the disciple continually, the subtlety of their onslaught is beyond the description of words, it varies with each case and is adapted to everyone's Karmic needs. It is only faith and hope and love which can save the disciple from destruction. His enemies are many and mighty,

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their number and their power keep increasing as he nears the goal, and his only chance of escape from their jaws is to hide himself in the bosom whither naught that is evil can follow him, the bosom of the Eternal Father and Mother—God.

But love, the well-known panacea for all ills of mind and spirit, has been too often looked upon as a sort of goody goodiness which means half weakness and half fear, and it is this which has robbed it of all the precious fruit it otherwise would have produced for those who worshiped at its shrine.

It is the purpose of these pages to show that love is not a concession of the weaker to the stronger, or a baseless surrender of privilege by the stronger for the unmerited benefit of the weaker, but rather the outcome of the spirit's own unfoldment within man and a proof of the awakening of the slumbering "Lord of lords" within his breast. It is the merit of this exposition to which we humbly call the attention of the intelligent reader, that the subject of all subjects, viz., Love, is treated at the same time in a rational and methodical, logical and scientific manner.

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To the doubting world this may still be fancy and childish talk, but we can wait patiently until the doubters grow in knowledge and the gainsayers increase in insight. In the measure that wisdom is being justified of its children, in the course of time these truths will become common knowledge and be no more doubted or wondered at than is at present the beneficial influence of fresh air and its efficiency in the healing of bodily ills.

The Alchemists, who will forever remain our philosophers, friends and guides in these matters, knew long ago that the whole universe is one homogeneous whole and that we, being members of one another, serve our ends best by living for others.

Sacrifice, therefore, is the highest form of life and self-renunciation the highest form of self-realization. The proofs adduced in favor of this conclusion are so numerous and so substantial as to amount to nothing less than a mathematical demonstration.

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The worthiest method of praising God is—to be silent. (The Qabalah.)

Wisdom ripens into silence
  When she grows more truly wise
And she wears a mellow-sadness
  In her heart and eyes.

Wisdom ripens into silence
  And the lesson she does teach
Is that life is more than language
  And that thought is more than speech


31:* The following teaching is taken down verbatim from Mr. Gewurz's dictation while in a semi-entranced condition.

Next: Chapter I. The Qabalah