Entry into the Aquarian Age is accentuating the general tendency towards synthesis, grouping of interests, collaboration in all spheres, and moving away from the separative attitudes which so often characterized human relationships in the past. This inclination is also finding expression with regard to initiation.
Some salient aspects of group work have already been dealt with, and it will therefore suffice to point out that these principles are also applicable to the training of initiates. Whereas in previous ages the emphasis has been on individual training and the single admission of initiates, the Hierarchy has now adopted a policy of group admission. The Masters have been forced to this revised attitude because of the rapidly increasing number of candidates for initiation, and because many more are expected in the years that lie ahead.
In future initiation will therefore become a joint effort. This will be based on the principle that through close collaboration, loyalty, interdependence and loving understanding, united groups will be created which will be consecrated to the serving of humanity. The idea is that these disciples will then unitedly be able to stand before the Initiator, and that they will unitedly be able to enter their new sphere of consciousness and activities, and that they will assume their new fields of service as united groups.
As might have been expected, these initial attempts are not yet working smoothly and according to plan. Man is as yet not quite equal to future expectations, as the average disciple still has to overcome several of his inherent selfish traits before he will be able to adapt himself to this new approach to initiation. The general principle of group effort on various terrains is, however, rapidly permeating the human mind, and with further changes now being effected for improving human relationships, it should not be very long before initiation will be able to function more satisfactorily.
Actually the soul, forming part of that larger group synthesized in the One Soul, is in its own nature already group-conscious and has no individual ambitions, not being interested in any personality concerns. It is the soul which is being initiated. The First Initiation is that process when the spiritual man within the personality becomes aware of himself as the soul, of the duality of personality existence, and that this inner subjective entity has its own powers, relationships and destiny. The moment the individual becomes even faintly or only periodically aware of this, his group-consciousness also awakens. Every further step along the Path of Initiation accentuates this group recognition and will facilitate group activity and initiation.
Meanwhile each and every disciple should do his utmost to conform by suppressing individualistic inclinations and ensuring that he is contributing his full share to make this new group system a success.
Although on the whole disciples are not yet consciously aware of it, they already belong to a group of souls constituted on etheric levels. One of the reasons why so many groups on physical levels fail is because their members have been gathered haphazardly and often prove to be uncongenial, which unavoidably leads to personality clashes. Such groups are therefore artificial, and will not meet esoteric requirements. For real initiate training the disciple must find the group to which he belongs subjectively, and when he is ready for this work, he will be guided to his spiritual group, but it will be left to his own sense of affinity to recognize his soul-mates and fellow group members.
As is the case with any Master's group (ashram), these training groups will consist of members at various levels of development, and all of them will certainly not be simultaneously trained for the same initiation.
It may be expected that so-called training groups will arise here and there under self-seeking or be-glamored leaders, who might even proclaim themselves as Masters. These spurious teachers may temporarily attract the notice of the general public and perhaps even of early beginners, but few genuine disciples will feel attracted to them or will be duped or impressed by their glib arguments. It will be found that in the majority of instances these groups are commercially motivated, which factor alone should be sufficient to ward off the authentic aspirant.
The ever increasing number of initiates on Earth must be regarded as one of the first indications of the gradual externalization of the Hierarchy, and therefore as a preparation for that period when the Perfected Ones will again walk the Earth in physical presence and in direct conscious contact with man. Meanwhile these initiates are serving as a connecting link, transmitting the wishes and energies from the Hierarchy to humanity. Each initiate, according to his development and capabilities, serves as a smaller or larger center of light and power for the group or community for which he consciously or unconsciously has assumed responsibility.
The initiate should ever be ready to evince the sensitivity needed for registering and recognizing impressions intended for his reception. He should be ready to translate these communications and to bring them down to Earth with a minimum distortion. Each additional revelation should be regarded as but a further step intended for the unfoldment of the human consciousness. This constant flow of new and ever superseding concepts is provided to ensure the steady and systematic evolution of mankind and, if correctly intercepted, transmitted and interpreted, will satisfy every need. The initiate should be prepared to relinquish instantly all that appears to be futile, superfluous, or inadequate to man's need, and to utilize the power with which he is endowed to break and disperse that which has served its purpose, has become crystallized, and is obstructing man's progress along the Path and is not in accordance with the prescriptions of the Plan. In contrast to the vague and uncertain attitude of the mystical idealist, the initiate must be prepared to fulfill the practical and decisive duties of the esotericist, both on subjective levels and on that of daily human requirements.
The true initiate will never make any public claim as to his status. Such claims by the unqualified have already caused much harm and only lead to loss of public confidence, sowing distrust in man's belief in many aspects of esoteric work and of the subjective worlds in general. Even within the relative privacy of esoteric groups, any claims as to spiritual status will only lead to competition, jealousy and criticism by those still standing on the lower rungs of the ladder. And of what importance is worldly status and title? All that matters is the quality of the service and work produced by the initiate, and this is what will really determine his spiritual status. It is his life activity, the truth and intuitive appeal of his words and teachings which will reflect his actual inner status.
Humility is therefore an attribute of the true initiate, but at the same time this humility should be firmly based on fact, on vision and the need of circumstances. The initiate must therefore have a sense of right proportion, a balanced point of view, a dispassionate and impersonal attitude, and lastly discrimination or the ability to recognize and truthfully to consider the pros and cons of each situation.
By constantly focusing his consciousness in the subjective world of thought, and no longer predominantly occupying himself with the world of outer perceptions, the initiate, the spiritual seeker, arrives at the realization that the world of spirit is in truth the world of meaning, and the sole world of reality for humanity. It becomes his task to assist in establishing the recognition of this concept in the consciousness of the race.
The term "initiate" actually refers to the Soul. The initiate therefore ever was, and still is, present in every human being. Viewed from this standpoint the initiate is therefore not the product of the evolutionary process, but its underlying cause.