[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]

C H E L A S and C H E L A S H I P

Nov 04, 2005 12:50 PM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck

November 4, 2005

Dear Friends:

Further inquiries into these subjects are to be found answered 
here, below as THEOSOPHY teaches.

Best wishes,



C H E L A S and C H E L A S H I P


"One may constitute himself a disciple by his own inward desire, but that
does not involve the Masters until he reaches that degree of development
where he is actually accepted as a chela. Masters cannot be drawn in
unwillingly; neither will They ever refuse help when deserved. Masters in
bodies do take upon themselves the Karma of that which They teach, and where
an actual relation mutually assumed exists, They must feel bodily the errors
of omission and commission of each pupil."	Friendly Philosopher, p. 75

Q.:	Do the Masters know one’s earnest desires and thoughts? I desire to
become a chela in my next incarnation. What effect will it have upon my
condition and environment in that life? is my desire forgotten or lost, or
is there record made of it?

W.Q.J.—The effect of a desire to become a chela in the next incarnation will
be to place one where the desire may be probably realized. Its effect on the
next condition and environment depends on so many things that no definite
reply could be given. If the desire be held determinedly and unceasingly,
the goal is brought nearer, but that also brings up all the karma of the
past, thus precipitating an immense conflict on the individual: a conflict [
9 ] which when once begun has only two ways of ending, one, total defeat,
the other, success; there is no half-way. 

As Dante wrote, “Who enters here leaves hope behind.” Therefore, in general,
the next life, or rather the life of a chela, while full of noble
possibilities, is a constant battle from beginning to end. As to times and
periods, it is said in the East that when the probationary chela steps on
the path he will reach a goal in seven births thereafter.”
WQJ Forum Answers, pp. 8 – 9

Progress and Development of Soul-Power

"...if we admit the fact of various or different agencies (individual
Brothers for instance) endeavoring to develop the Egos of different
individuals, without subjecting entirely their wills to their own (as it is
forbidden) but by availing themselves of their physical, moral, and
intellectual idiosyncrasies; if we add to this the countless kosmical
influences which distort and deflect all efforts to achieve definite
purposes: if we remember, moreover, the direct hostility of the Brethren of
the Shadow always on the watch to perplex and haze the neophyte's brain, I
think we shall have no difficulty in understanding how even a definite
spiritual advance may to a certain extent lead different individuals to
apparently different conclusions and theories."	Mahatma Letters, p.

"[ to Mr. Sinnett ] Your case is an exceptional one. You have forced
yourself upon him, and stormed the position, by the very violence and
intensity of your feeling for him [KH ]--and once he accepted he has to bear
the consequences in the future.

Yet it cannot be a question with him what the visible Sinnett may be--what
his impulses, his failures or successes in his world, his diminished or
undiminished regard for him. With the "visible" one we have nothing to do.
He is to us only a veil that hides from profane eyes that other ego with
whose evolution we are concerned. In the external rupa do what you like,
think what you like: only when the effects of that voluntary action are
seen on the body of our correspondent--is it incumbent upon us to notice
it...No Sahib...the outside Sinnett is different (and inferior) to the
nascent inside "protege." Learn that and set the latter to watching the
editor, lest he play him a bad trick some day. Our greatest trouble is to
teach pupils not to be befooled by appearances."	M L, p.

[ from KH, February 1882 ] "...this is my first moment of leisure. I offer
it to you, whose inner Self reconciles me to the outer man who but too often
forgets that great man is he who is strongest in the exercise of patience.  

Look around you, my friend: see the "three poisons" raging within the heart
of man--anger, greed, delusion, and the five obscurities--envy, passion,
vacillation, sloth, and unbelief--ever preventing them seeing the truth.
They will never get rid of the pollution of their vain wicked hearts, nor
perceive the spiritual portion of themselves. Will you not
disentangle yourself from the net of life and death in which they are all
caught, to cherish less--lust and desire ?...but man, after all, is the
victim of his surroundings while he lives in the atmosphere of society...the
world of the Plains is antagonistic to that of the mountains...I can come
nearer you, but you must draw me by a purified heart and a gradually
developing will. Like the needle the adept follows his attractions. Is
this not the law of the disembodied Principles ? Why then not of the living

...M. spoke truly when he said that a love of collective humanity is his
increasing inspiration; and if any one individual should wish to divert his
regards to himself, he must overpower the diffusive tendency by a stronger

All this I say...because I read your heart and detect in it a shade of
sadness, not to say disappointment, that hovers there ...I write you
therefore with some effort to bid you keep a cheerful frame of mind. Your
strivings, perplexities and forebodings are equally noticed, good and
faithful friend."	M L pp. 165-6

Imperishable Record of Thought and Motive

"In the imperishable Record of the Masters you have written them all. There
are registered your every deed and thought; for, though not a chela, as you
say to my Brother Morya, nor even a "protegé"--as you understand the
term--still, you have stepped within the circle of our work, you have
crossed the mystic line which separates your world from ours, and now
whether you persevere of not; whether we become later on, in your sight,
still more living real entities or vanish out of your mind like so many
dream are virtually ours. Your hidden Self has mirrored
itself in our Akasa; your nature is--yours, your essence is--ours. The
flame is distinct from the log of wood which serves it temporarily as fuel;
at the end of your apparitional birth--and whither we two, meet face to face
in our grosser rupas--you cannot avoid meeting us in Real Existence. Yea,
verily good friend your Karma is ours, for you imprinted it daily and hourly
upon the pages of that book where the minutest particulars of the individual
stepping inside our circle--are preserved; and that your Karma is your only
personality to be when you step beyond.

In thought and deed, by day, in soul-struggles by nights. you have been
writing the story of your desires and spiritual development. This, every
one does who approaches us with any earnestness of desire to become our
co-worker, he himself "precipitates" the written entries by the identical
process used by us when we write inside your closed letters and uncut pages
of books and pamphlets in transit...

During the past few months, especially, when your weary brain was plunged in
the torpor of sleep, your eager soul has often been searching after me, and
the current of your thought been beating against my protective barriers of
Akas as the lapping wavelets against a rocky shore. What that "inner Self,"
impatient, anxious--has longed to bind itself to, the carnal man, the
worldlings' master has not ratified: the ties of life are still as strong
as the chains of steel. Sacred indeed some of them are, and no one would
ask you to rupture them. There below, lies your long-cherished field of
enterprise and usefulness. Ours can never be more that a bright
phantom-world to the man of thorough "practical sense;" and if your case be
in some degree exceptional, it is because your nature has deeper
inspirations that those of others, who are still more "businesslike" and the
fountain-head of whose eloquence is in the brain not in the heart not in the
heart, which never was in contact with the mysteriously effulgent, and pure
heart of Tathagata.

If you hear seldom from me, never feel disappointed, my Brother, but
say--"It is my fault." Nature has linked all parts of her Empire together
by subtle threads of magnetic sympathy, and, there is a mutual correlation
even between a star and a man; thought runs swifter than the electric
fluid, and your thought will find me if projected by a pure impulse, as mine
will find, has found, and often impressed your mind. We may move in cycles
of activity divided--not entirely separated from each other.

Like the light in the sombre valley seen by the mountaineer from his peaks,
every bright though in your mind, my Brother, will sparkle and attract the
attention of your distant friend and correspondent. If thus we discover our
natural Allies in the Shadow-world--your world and ours outside the
precincts--and it is our law to approach every such an one if even there be
but the feeblest glimmer of the true "Tathagata" light within him--then how
far easier for you to attract us...Indulge not in apprehensions of what evil
might happen if things should not go as your worldly wisdom thinks they
ought; doubt not, for this complexion of doubt unnerves and pushes back
one's progress. To have cheerful confidence and hope is quite another thing
from giving way to the fool's blind optimism: the wise man never fights
misfortune in advance..." M L pp, 266-8

Self-Discipline and Mutual Assistance

"The first steps in true occultism are Self discipline, self knowledge and
devotion to the interests of others--i.e., unselfishness.

One cannot hope to be a chela until the elementary stages are gone through.
Your own heart will tell you how much you are prepared for chelaship.
Secondly, the adepts when they do take a chela nearly always stop psychic
powers for a while, until the disciple has got to know himself, his faults,
his follies, his vices and his thoughts as well as his virtues."

When the disciples are ready the teachers will appear. By doing just what
it can in studying theosophical doctrines, and with their minds the members
of a Branch will grow and teach each other, for as yet it is not teachers
that are wanted, but the preparation found in study, work and
self-discipline. The branch should also try to spread before the
people--without proselyting -- the doctrines of Theosophy such as
Brotherhood, Karma and Reincarnation, and meanwhile should exemplify
Brotherhood, and act with energy as well as discrimination."	WQJ
--Practical Occultism, p. 148

"It is wise to remember that "Ishwara" the Spirit that is common to all
dwells inside of us and if that be so, our sincere belief in and reliance
upon it will gradually awaken us to the consciousness that we are that
spirit itself and not the miserable creatures which walk on this earth
bearing our names. Hence I would ever reflect on the spiritual unity of all
beings, continually saying to myself that I am actually that spirit. Our
difficulties are always due to the personality which is unwilling to give
itself up to the great idea that it has no real existence except in the one
Practical Occultism, p. 221

"Are you...desirous of pursuing occultism as such, or of studying
philosophically, or as enthusiastic adherents of a cause whose aim is to
raise as far as possible the race--to put it esoterically: "of lifting some
of the heavy Karma of the world?"...	Practical Occultism, p. 57

Occult Training

" entity, that is passing through the occult training in its successive
births, gradually has less and less (in each incarnation) of that lower
Manas until there arrives a time when its whole Manas, being of an entirely
elevated character, is centered in the higher individuality, when such a
person may be said to have become a Mahatma...

The real Mahatma is then not his physical body but that higher Manas which
is inseparably linked to the Atma and its vehicle (the 6th principle)--a
union effected by him in a comparatively very short period by passing
through the process of self-evolution as laid down by the Occult
Philosophy....whoever therefore wants to see the real Mahatma, must use his
intellectual sight. He must so elevate his Manas that its perception will
be clear and all mists created by Maya must be dispelled. His vision will
then be bright and he will see the Mahatmas wherever he may be, for, being
merged into the 6th and 7th principles, which are ubiquitous and
omnipresent, the Mahatmas may be said to be everywhere...although the whole
of humanity is within the mental vision of the Mahatmas, they cannot be
expected to take special note of every human being, unless that being by his
special acts draws their particular attention to himself.  

The highest interest of humanity, as a whole, is their special concern, for
they have identified themselves with the Universal Soul which runs through
Humanity, and he, who would draw their attention, must do so through that
Soul which pervades everywhere. This perception of the Manas may be called
"faith" which should not be confounded with blind belief...This belief
should at the same time be accompanied by knowledge, i.e., experience, for
"true knowledge brings with it faith." Faith is the perception of the Manas
(the 5th principle), while knowledge, in the true sense of the term, is the
capacity of the Intellect, i.e.., it is spiritual perception...divine things
can be sensed only by divine faculties..." --HPB "Mahatmas and Chelas"
HPB Art. I 293-4 

"Accepted" Chelaship

"The "accepted chela" is one whom no one knows save the Master, and to
become one often takes many incarnations of ceaseless effort for the good of
others. Hence it follows that to aspire without having performed those
actions and developed that character which ensures acceptance is a wrong
position to assume...Sages like Masters cannot "accept" mere aspirations for
the simple reason that the latter still are living on a plane of development
so much lower that the Master that there is a natural barrier, the same that
prevents the child under a preparatory master from being instructed by a
head professor...	
the work of merely preparing oneself for being a mere chela on probation
takes many years. That effort and work you can make and do, for none can be
refused or prevented. But it must be made. The rules formulated after the
experience of thousands of centuries cannot be broken for the aspirations of
the most devoted person."	Practical Occultism, p. 122-3

"...the body formed here in the world by these high beings [Mahatmas] and
hence in replying to you we have been governed by the rules given by Them.
Chelas or would-be chelas approaching through the T S have to join the body
formed by the Masters and have to work for the furtherance of its objects
unselfishly if through that channel they hope to get a fuller realization of
what seems desirable to them. Masters have over and over again declared
that they do not work for single individuals and will not to them be
revealed no matter whether those persons are in the T S or out of it unless
the conditions are complied with. Those are in part: a devotion to
humanity and a persistence in work to that end, and, to the end that all the
motives shall be purified, and also, the life. This is why there are many
persons of extraordinary attainments who, failing to find the recognitions
which they think their due, have denied the existence of the Masters--the
conditions had not been fulfilled."	Practical Occultism, p. 126-7

Chelaship and the Astral Plane and Nature

"The "medium," or "spiritualist," who rushes into the psychic world without
preparation, is a lawbreaker, a breaker of the laws of super-nature. Those
who break Nature's laws lose their physical health; those who break the
laws of the inner life, lose their psychic health. "Mediums" become mad,
suicides, miserable creatures, devoid of moral sense; and often end as
unbelievers, doubters even of that which their own eyes have seen. The
disciple is compelled to become his own master before he adventures on this
perilous path, and attempts to face those beings who live and work in the
astral world, and whom we call masters, because of their great knowledge and
their ability to control not only themselves but the forces around them."
L on P p. 40-1

"The condition of the soul when it lives for the life of sensation as
distinguished from that of knowledge, is vibratory or oscillating, as
distinguished from fixed...In sensation no permanent home can be found,
because change is the law of this vibratory intolerable
sadness is the very first experience of the neophyte in Occultism. A sense
of blankness falls upon him which makes the world a waste and life a vain
exertion. This follows his first serious contemplation of the abstract. In
gazing, or even in attempting to gaze, on the ineffable mystery of his own
higher nature, he himself causes the initial trial to fall on him. The
oscillation between pleasure and pain ceases for--perhaps an instant of
time; but that is enough to have cut him loose from his fast moorings in
the world of sensation. He has experienced, however briefly, the greater
life..."	L on the Path, p. 42-3

"The most intense forms of suffering fall on such a nature [ one near the
door of knowledge ], till at last it arouses from its stupor of
consciousness, and by the force of its internal vitality steps over the
threshold into a place of peace. Then the vibration of life loses its power
of tyranny. The sensitive nature must suffer still; but the soul has freed
itself and stands aloof, guiding the life towards its greatness...When one
of these subjects of Time decides to enter the path of Occultism	 

...the oscillation in which he lives is for an instant stilled; and he has
to survive the shock of facing what seems at first sight as the abyss of
nothingness. Not till he has learned to dwell in this abyss, and has found
its peace, is it possible for his eyes to have become incapable of tears."
L on P, p. 43-4

"The first 4 rules of Light on the Path are...curious though the statement
may seem, the most important in the whole book save one only. [ p. 81 --
"The sacrifice or surrender of the heart of man, and its emotions, is the
first of the rules." ]...they contain the vital law, the very creative
essence of the astral man. And it is only in the astral (or self-illumined)
consciousness that the rules which follow them have any living meaning.
once attain to the use of the astral senses and it becomes a matter of
course that one commences to use them... 

The 4 rules stand written in the great chamber of every actual lodge of a
living Brotherhood.  

1. Kill out ambition.
2.	Kill out desire for life.
3. Kill out desire of comfort.
4.	Work as those work who are ambitious.  	
Respect life as those do who desire it.

Be happy as those are who live for
Seek in the heart the source of evil and
expunge it...
L on P 1-2   

"The first four aphorisms of "light on the path" refer entirely to astral
development...The keenest enjoyment, the bitterest pain, the anguish of loss
and despair, are brought to bear on the trembling soul, which has not yet
found the light in the darkness...until these shocks can be endured without
loss of equilibrium the astral senses must remain sealed." L on P 40  

"The man can chose between virtue and vice, but not until be is a man...thus
with the disciple, he must first become a disciple before he can even see
the paths to choose between. This effort of creating himself a disciple,
the rebirth, he must do for himself without any teacher. Until the 4 rules
are learned no teacher can be of any use to him..." L on the P 46

"To have acquired the astral senses of sight and hearing; or in other words
to have attained perception and opened the doors of the soul, are gigantic
tasks and may take the sacrifice of many successive incarnations. And yet,
when the will has reached its strength, the whole miracle may be worked in a
second of time. Then is the disciple the servant of Time no longer."
L on the Path, p. 60

"Experiment and induction will confer a great deal of knowledge about the
inferior nature...but before knowing the occult, hidden, intangible realms
and forces--often called spiritual, but not so in fact--the inner astral
senses and powers have to be developed and used. This development is not to
be forced, as one would construct a machine for performing some operation,
but will come in its own time as all our senses and powers have come. It is
true that a good many are trying to force the process, but at last they will
discover that human evolution is universal and not particular; one man
cannot go very far beyond his race before the time."	Gita Notes, p. 134

"A student of occultism after a while gets into what we may call a psychic
whirl, or a vortex of occultism. At first he is affected by the feelings
and influence of those about him. That begins to be pushed off and he
passes in to the whirl caused by the mighty effort of his Higher Self to
make him remember his past lives. Then those past lives affect him. They
become like clouds throwing shadows on his path...They begin to affect his
impulse to action in many various ways. To-day he has vague calling
longings to do something, and critically regarding him- self, he cannot see
in this life any cause. It is the bugle note of a past life blown almost in
his face. It startles him; it may throw him down...He gets, too, a power
and a choice. If all his previous past lives were full of good, then
irresistible is the force for his benefit. But all alike marshal up in
front, and he hastens their coming by his effort. Into this vortex about
him others are drawn, and their germs for good or ill ripen with activity.
This is a phase of the operation of Karmic stamina...Do you wonder that in
the case of those who rush unprepared into the "circle of ascetics" and
before the time is the ripe moment, insanity sometimes results ? But then
that insanity is their safety for the next life, or for their return to
WQJ -- Letters That Have Helped Me, p. 15

"...pushing their demands upon the law...For this at once heightens their
magnetic vibrations, their evolutionary ratio; their flame burns more
brilliantly, and attracts all kinds of shapes and influences within its
radius, so that the fire is hot about him. And not for him alone; other
lives coming in contact with him feel this fierce energy; they develop more
rapidly, and, if they have a false or a weak place in their nature, it is
soon discovered and overthrows them for a time. This is the danger of
coming into "the circle of ascetics;" a man must be strong indeed who thus
thrusts himself in..."	
WQJ Letters, p. 50

" are not body, brain, or astral man, but that you are That, and
"That" is the Supreme Soul."
WQJ Letters, p. 116

"The whole world is animated and lit, down to its most material shapes, by a
world within it. This inner world is called Astral by some people...though
it only means starry; but the stars...are luminous bodies which give light
of themselves. This quality is characteristic of the life which lies within
matter; for those who see it, need no lamp to see it by. The word derived from..."stir-an," to steer, to stir, to move, and
undeniably it is the inner life which is master of the outer, just as a
man's brain guides the movements of his lips...

The whole of "Light on the Path" is written in an astral cipher and can
therefore only be deciphered by one who reads astrally, and its teaching is
chiefly directed towards the cultivation and development of the astral life.
Until the first step is taken in this development, the swift knowledge,
which is called intuition with certainty, is impossible to man..."
Light on the Path, p. 33-34

"The senses spoken of in these four statements are the astral, or inner
senses. ... To see with the astral sense of sight is a form of activity
which it is difficult for us to understand immediately...This arises from
the fact that we move and live and have our being in matter. Our knowledge
of it has become intuitive. With our astral life, it is very much
otherwise."	L on the Path, p. 35-6

"...our astral life...For long ages past, man has paid very little attention
to it--so little, that he has practically lost the use of his senses...most
often he denies it, and in being a materialist becomes that strange thing, a
being which cannot see its own light, a thing of life which will not live,
and astral animal which has eyes, and ears, and speech, and power, yet will
use none of these gifts. This is the case, and the habit of ignorance has
become so confirmed, that now none will see with the eyes not only unseeing,
but without tears--the moisture of life."	L on the Path, p. 36-37

"To suffer either pleasure or pain, causes a vivid vibration which is, to
the consciousness of man, life...this sensibility does not lessen when the
disciple enters upon his training; it increases. It is the first test of
his strength; for he must suffer, must enjoy or endure, more keenly than
other men, while yet he has taken on him a duty which does not exist for
other men, that of not allowing his suffering to shake him from his fixed
purpose...he has taken the first step to take himself steadily in hand and
put the bit into his own mouth; no one else can do it for him."	L on
the Path, p. 39

"The man who is strong, who has resolved to find the unknown path, takes
with the utmost care every step. He utters no idle word, he does no
unconsidered action, he neglects no duty or office however homely or however
difficult. But while his eyes and hands and feet are thus fulfilling their
tasks, new eyes and hands and feet are being born within him. For his
passionate and unceasing desire is to go that way on which the subtile
organs only can guide him. The physical world he has learned, and known how
to use; gradually his power is passing on, and he recognizes the psychic
world. But he has to learn this world and know how to use it, and he dare
not lose hold of the life he is familiar with till he has taken hold of that
with which he is unfamiliar.  

When he has acquired such power with his psychic organs as the infant has
with his physical organs when it first opens its lungs, then is the hour for
the great adventure...The man does but need the psychic body to be formed in
all parts, as is an infant's; he does but need the profound and unshakable
conviction which impels the infant, that the new life is desirable. Once
those conditions gained and he may let himself live in the new atmosphere
and look up to the new sun. But then he must remember to check his new
experience by the old. He is breathing still, though differently; he draws
air into his lungs, and takes life from the sun. He has been born into the
psychic world, and depends now on the psychic air and light. His goal is
not here; this is but a subtle repetition of physical life; he has to pass
through it according to similar laws. He must study, learn, grow and
conquer; never forgetting the while that his goal is that place where there
is no air not any sun or moon...The man, having learned his lesson fully,
casts off the psychic life; having learned his lesson fully, casts off the
contemplative life, or life of adoration.

All are cast aside at last, and he enters the great temple where any memory
of self or sensation is left outside as the shoes are cast from the feet of
the worshiper. That temple is the place of his own pure divinity, the
central flame which, however obscured, has animated him through all these

And having found the sublime home he is sure as the heavens themselves. He
remains still, filled with all knowledge and power. The outer man, the
adoring, the acting, the living personification, goes its own way hand in
hand with Nature, and shows all the superb strength of the savage growth of
the earth, lit by that instinct with contains knowledge. For in the inmost
sanctuary, in the actual temple, the man has found the subtile essence of
Nature herself. No longer can there be any differences between them or any

In that inmost sanctuary all is to be found: God and His creatures, the
fiends who prey on them, those among men who have been loved, those who have
been hated. Difference between them exists no longer. Then the soul of
man...goes forth into the world in which its actions are needed, and causes
these actions to take place without apprehension, alarm, fear, regret, or

This state is possible to man while yet he lives in the physical; for men
have attained it while living. It alone can make actions in the physical
divine and true.

Life among objects of sense must forever be an outer shape to the sublime
soul,--it can only become powerful life, the life of accomplishment, when it
is animated by the crowned and indifferent god that sits in the sanctuary.

The obtaining of this condition is so supremely desirable, because from the
moment it is entered there is no more trouble, no more anxiety, no more
doubt or hesitation."
Light on the Path, pp. 73-77

"Seated and hidden in the heart of the world and in the heart of man is the
light which can illuminate all life, the future and the past. Shall we not
search for it ?..."
Light on the Path, p. 84

[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application