The forces of regeneration, of reconstruction, of restoration and of resurrection are making their presence felt in all the many groups which are seeking to aid and lift humanity, to rebuild the world, to restore stability and the sense of security and thus (consciously or unconsciously) prepare the way for the coming of the Christ.
There is also a unique revival of the ancient teaching of the Buddha and it is penetrating into the Western countries and finding devoted adherents in every land. The Buddha is the symbol of enlightenment and there is everywhere today a unique emphasis upon light. Countless millions down the ages have recognised the Buddha as the Light Bearer from on high. His Four Noble Truths exposed the causes of human trouble and pointed to the cure. He taught: Cease to identify yourselves with material things or with your desires; gain a proper sense of value; cease regarding possessions and earthly existence as of major importance; follow the Noble Eightfold Path which is the Path of right relations—right relations to God, and right relations to your fellowmen—and thus be happy. The steps on this Path are:
|Right Values.||Right Aspiration.|
|Right Speech.||Right Conduct.|
|Right Modes of Living.||Right Effort.|
|Right Thinking.||Right Rapture or Happiness.|
This message is uniquely needed today in a world in which most of these right steps to happiness have been consistently ignored. It is on the foundation of this teaching that Christ will raise the superstructure of the brotherhood of man, for right human relations are an expression of the love of God; they will constitute man’s major and next demonstration of divinity. Today, in the midst of this devastated, chaotic and unhappy world, mankind has a fresh opportunity to reject selfish materialistic living and to begin to tread the Lighted Way. The moment that humanity shows its willingness to do this, then the Christ will come, and there is every evidence at this time that men are learning this lesson and making their first faltering steps along that Lighted Way of right relationships.
The present time is unique in that it is (as never before) a cycle or period of conferences—communal, national and international—and of men getting together. Clubs, forums, committees, conferences, and leagues are forming everywhere for the discussion and study of human welfare and liberation; this phenomenon is one of the strongest indications that the Christ is on His way. He is the embodiment of freedom, and the Messenger of Liberation. He stimulates the group spirit and the group consciousness, and His spiritual energy is the attractive force, binding men together for the common good. His reappearance will knit and bind together all men and women of goodwill throughout the world, irrespective of religion or nationality. His coming will evoke among men a widespread and mutual recognition of the good in all. This is part of the uniqueness of His coming and for it we are already preparing. A study of the daily press will prove this. It is the invocative appeal of the many groups working on behalf of humanity (consciously or unconsciously made) which will bring Him forth. Those who carry out this great act of invocation are the spiritually minded people, the enlightened statesmen, the religious leaders and the men and women whose hearts are full of goodwill. They will evoke Him if they can stand with massed intent, with hope and with expectancy. This preparatory work must be focussed through and implemented by the world intelligentsia and leading lovers of humanity, by groups dedicated to human betterment and by representative unselfish people. The success of the effort now being planned by Christ and the spiritual Hierarchy is dependent upon the ability of mankind to use what light it already has in order to establish right relations in their families, their community, in their nation and in the world.
There is, therefore, this unique difference between the expected coming of the Christ and the time when He came before: the world is full of groups working for human welfare. This effort, in the light of past aeons of human history, is a relatively new thing and for it the Christ must prepare and with this trend He will have to work. The “cycle of conferences” which is now swinging into full tide is part of the unique condition with which the Christ is faced.
Before, however, Christ could come with His disciples, our present civilisation had to die. During the coming century, we shall begin to learn the meaning of the word “resurrection,” and the new age will begin to reveal its deep purpose and intention. The first step will be the emergence of humanity from the death of its civilisation, of its old ideas and modes of living, the relinquishing of its materialistic goals and its damning selfishness, and its moving forward into the clear light of the resurrection. These are not symbolical or mystical words but part of the general setting which will surround the period of Christ’s reappearance; it is a cycle as real as the cycle of conferences now so busily organising. Christ taught us when He came before the true meaning of Renunciation or of the Crucifixion; this time His message will be concerned with the resurrection life. The present cycle of conferences is preparing men everywhere for relationships, even though today they may seem widely divergent in nature; the important factor is the general human interest and thought about establishing the need, the objectives involved, the means to be employed. The resurrection period which the Christ will inaugurate and which will constitute His unique work—within which all His other activities will have their place—will be the outcome of the fermentation and the germination going on in the world of men at this time, of which the many conferences are the outer evidence.
It was these various unique conditions which the Christ faced during the years of war when the need of humanity forced Him to decide to hasten His coming. The unhappy state of the world as the result of centuries of selfishness and of the world war, the unique sensitivity which men everywhere were showing (as a result of the evolutionary process), the unique spread of knowledge about the spiritual Hierarchy and the unique development of group consciousness, showing itself on every hand in the multiplicity of conferences, confronted Christ with His unique occasion and presented Him with a decision which He could not avoid.
Reverently we might say that in this “occasion” of the Christ’s, two facts were involved and that both of them are difficult for man to understand. The fact of the synchronisation of His will with that of the Father, and the fact that this synchronisation led to a basic decision, must be recognised by us. It is not easy for the average Christian to realise that the Christ passes on steadily to increasingly potent experiences, and that in His divine experience there is nothing static or permanent—except His unalterable love for humanity.
A close study of the Gospel story, unimpeded by orthodox interpretations, reveals certain things. The usual interpretations, if men would but recognise them in their true meaning, are simply some man’s understanding of a series of Aramaic, Greek or Latin words. The fact that the majority of accepted commentators lived many hundreds of years ago seems to have given such words a totally unwarranted value. The words of a commentator or of an interpreter today are apparently of no value in comparison with those of ancient date; yet the modern commentator is probably more intelligent and better educated than the ancient one and has, also, the benefit of the many recognised translations and a precise science. We are suffering theologically from the ignorance of the past; it is a peculiar thing that an ancient commentator is supposed to carry greater weight than the modern, more educated and intelligent man. If The New Testament is true in its presentation of the Christ, if it is true in its repetition of His words, that we can do “greater things” than He did, and if it is true in that He told us to “be perfect even as our Father in Heaven is perfect,” what is there wrong in our recognising the capacity of a human being to keep pace with the mind of Christ and to know what He intends us to know? Christ said that “if any man will do the will of God, he shall know”; that was how the Christ Himself learnt and that is the mode He assures us will be successful for each of us.
It was the dawning of this significance of the will of God upon the consciousness of the Christ which led Him to certain great decisions, and which forced Him to cry out: “Father, not my will but Thine be done.” These words definitely indicate conflict and do not indicate the synchronisation of the two wills; they indicate the determination on the part of the Christ that there should be no opposition between His will and that of God. Suddenly, He received a vision of the emerging, divine intention for humanity and—through humanity—for the planet as a whole. At the particular stage of spiritual development which Christ had then attained and which had made Him the Head of the spiritual Hierarchy, the One who engineered the emergence of the Kingdom of God and established Him as the Master of all the Masters and the Teacher of angels and of men, His consciousness was absolutely at one with the divine Plan; its application on Earth and its goal of establishing the Kingdom of God and the appearance of the fifth kingdom in nature was simply for Him the fulfilling of the law and to that fulfilment His entire life was and had been geared.
The Plan, its goal, its techniques and its laws, its energy (that of love) and the close and growing relation between the spiritual Hierarchy and humanity were known to him, and fully understood. At the highest point of this consummated knowledge and at the moment of His complete surrender to the necessary sacrifice of His life to the fulfilling of this Plan, suddenly a great expansion of consciousness took place. The significance, the intention, the purpose of it all, and the comprehensive divine Idea (as it existed in the mind of the Father) dawned upon His soul—not on His mind, for the revelation was far greater than that. He saw still further into the meaning of divinity than had ever before seemed possible; the world of meaning and the world of phenomena faded out and—esoterically speaking—He lost His all. For the time being, neither the energy of the creative mind nor the energy of love were left to Him. He was bereft of all that had made life bearable and full of meaning. A new type of energy became available—the energy of life itself, imbued with purpose and actuated by intention. But it was new and unknown and hitherto unrealised. For the first time, the relation of the will which had hitherto expressed itself in His life through love and the creative work of inaugurating the new dispensation became clear to Him. At this point, He passed through the Gethsemane of renunciation. The greater, the larger and the more inclusive was revealed to Him and all that hitherto seemed so vital and important was lost to sight in the greater vision. It is this living realisation of Being and of identification with the divine intention of God Himself, the Father, the Lord of the World upon levels of awareness of which we know nothing (as yet) which constituted the unfolding awareness of the Christ upon the Way of the Higher Evolution. This Way He treads today and He began to tread it in Palestine two thousand years ago. He knew, in a sense hitherto unknown to Him, what God intended and what human destiny meant, and the part that He had to play in the working out of that destiny. We have paid little attention down the centuries of human thinking to Christ’s reaction to His own destiny, as it affected the human. We have paid small attention to the aspect of His reaction to knowledge, as it unfolded itself to Him. We have been selfish and grasping in our reaction to His work and sacrifice.
The word to “know” (in relation to the initiate-consciousness of the Christ and of still lesser initiates) concerns the certainty of the knowledge the initiate has gained through experiment, experience and expression. The first faint tremor of reaction to monadic “destiny” and to the widespread universal influence a Son of God can exert makes itself felt in the consciousness of the Christ—as it will in the consciousness of all those who obey His injunction and arrive at the perfection which He pointed out as possible. The highest divine quality or aspect now makes itself felt in the life of the progressing Son of God; He knows the meaning of intelligence; He realises the significance of love and its attractive quality. Now—because of these two recognitions—He becomes aware of the potency of will and of the reality of the divine intention which that will must (at any cost) implement. This was the major crisis of the Christ.
There are in the Gospel story (as testimony to this divinely progressing unfoldment) four recorded moments wherein this universal or monadic realisation showed itself. Let us look at each one of them for a moment:
- There is, first of all, His statement to His parents in the Temple, “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” We should note here that He was twelve years old at the time and, therefore, the work with which He had been occupied (as a soul) was finished; twelve is the number of completed work, as witness the twelve labours of Hercules, another Son of God. The symbolism of His twelve years is now replaced by that of the twelve apostles, the symbol of service and sacrifice. He was also in the Temple of Solomon, which is the symbol of the perfect life of the soul, just as the Tabernacle in the wilderness is the symbol of the imperfect ephemeral life of the transient personality; Christ was, therefore, speaking on soul levels and not only as the spiritual man on Earth. He was also serving, when He spoke these words, as a working Member of the Spiritual Hierarchy, for He was found by His parents teaching the priests, the Pharisees and the Sadducees. These points all indicate His recognition of His work as a World Teacher, becoming conscious, for the first time in His physical brain, of divine intention or of the divine will.
- Next comes His statement to His disciples: “I must go up to Jerusalem,” after which we read that He “steadfastly set His face to go” to that city. This was the intimation to them that He now had a new objective. The only place of complete “peace” (which is the meaning of the name “Jerusalem”) is the “centre where the will of God is known.” The spiritual Hierarchy of our planet (the invisible Church of Christ) is not a centre of peace but a very vortex of loving activity, the meeting place of energies coming from the centre of the divine will, and from humanity, the centre of divine intelligence. Christ had oriented Himself to that divine centre which has, in the ancient Scriptures, been called the “place of serene determination and of poised, quiescent will.” This statement marked a point of crisis and of determination in the life of Christ, and proved His progress towards divine fulfilment.
- Then in the Garden of Gethsemane He said, “Father, not My will but Thine be done,” thus indicating His realisation of divine destiny. The meaning of these words is not (as is so often stated by Christian theologians) a statement of acceptance of pain and of an unpleasant future and of death. It was an exclamation, evoked surely by His realisation of the universal implications of His mission and the intense focussing of His life in a universal sense. The Gethsemane experience was an experience uniquely possible only to those Sons of God Who have reached His rare point in evolution; it had no real relation to the Crucifixion episode, as the orthodox commentators emphasise.
- The final words of the Christ to His apostles were, “Lo, I am with you all the days, even unto the end of the age” or cycle. (Matt. 28.20.) The important word is “end.” The word used is the Greek “sun-teleia,” which means the end of the time period, with another immediately following after (what would be called the end of a cycle). In Greek the final end is another word “telos.” In Matt. 24.6, “but the end is not yet,” the other word telos is used for it means “the end of the first period has not yet been reached.” Here He was speaking as the Head of the spiritual Hierarchy and expressing His divine will (at-one now with the will of God) to inform and pervade continuously the world of men with His overshadowing consciousness. It was a tremendous affirmation, sent forth upon the energy of His developed will, His all-inclusive love and His intelligent mind. This affirmation has made all things possible.
It was also to the magnetic power of the will that Christ referred when He said, “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me.” This had no reference to the crucifixion but to the magnetic will of the Christ to draw all men, through the life of the indwelling Christ in every heart, out of the world of material values into the world of spiritual recognitions. It did not relate to death but to life; it had no reference to the Cross but to the resurrection. In the past, the keynote of the Christian religion has been death, symbolised for us in the death of Christ and much distorted by St. Paul in his effort to blend the new religion which Christ brought with the old blood religion of the Jews. In the cycle which Christ will inaugurate after His reappearance, the goal of all the religious teaching in the world will be the resurrection of the spirit in mankind; the emphasis will be upon the livingness of the Christ nature in every human being, and upon the use of the will in bringing about this living transfiguration of the lower nature. The proof of it will be the risen Christ. This “Way of Resurrection” is the radiant Way, the lighted Way which leads from one great expression of divinity in man to another; it is the way which expresses the light of the intelligence, the radiant substance of true love, and the inflexible will which permits of no defeat or withdrawal. These are the characteristics which will be declarative of the Kingdom of God.
Today, humanity stands at a peculiar and unique middle point, between an unhappy past and a future which is full of promise if the reappearance of the Christ is recognised and preparation for His coming is undertaken. The present is full of promise and also full of difficulty; in the hands of human beings today and in the immediate present, lies the destiny of the world and—if it may be reverently said—the immediate activity of the Christ. The agony of the war, and the distress of the entire human family led Christ, in the year 1945, to come to a great decision—a decision which found expression in two most important statements. He announced to the assembled spiritual Hierarchy and to all His servants and disciples on Earth that He had decided to emerge again into physical contact with humanity, if they would bring about the initial stages of establishing right human relations; secondly, He gave to the world (for the use of the “man in the street”) one of the oldest prayers ever known, but one which hitherto had not been permitted to be used except by the most exalted, spiritual Beings. He used it Himself for the first time, we are told, at the time of the Full Moon of June, 1945, which is recognised as the Full Moon of the Christ, just as the Full Moon of May is that of the Buddha. It was not easy to translate these ancient phrases (so ancient that they are without date or background of any kind) into modern words, but it has been done, and the great Invocation, which may eventually become the world prayer, was pronounced by Him and taken down by His disciples. It has been translated as follows:
From the point of Light within the Mind of God
Let light stream forth into the minds of men.
Let Light descend on Earth.
From the point of Love within the Heart of God
Let love stream forth into the hearts of men.
May Christ return to Earth.
From the centre where the Will of God is known
Let purpose guide the little wills of men—
The purpose which the Masters know and serve.
From the centre which we call the race of men
Let the Plan of Love and Light work out
And may it seal the door where evil dwells.
Let Light and Love and Power restore the Plan on Earth.
Its extraordinary potency can be seen in the fact that hundreds of thousands of people are already using it day by day and many times a day; it is (1947) translated into eighteen different languages and used by people in all those languages; in the jungles of Africa, groups of natives are using it and it can be seen on the desks of great executives in our major cities; it goes forth over the radio in Europe and in America and there is no country or island in the world where its use is unknown.
Bailey, A.A. (1948) The Reappearance of the Christ. pp. 21-32. Lucis Trust.