RE: Theos-World C H E L A S and C H E L A S H I P
Nov 05, 2005 04:50 AM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck
November 5, 2005
Dear Mark and friends:
Off hand I would say and I quote : "when the disciple is ready, the Master
will be found."
So in such matters it is a question of: 'How and why do I wish to become
Here is something to read and consider.
An elder student was found to have written to some inquirers like you and me
on this subject :
TO ASPIRANTS FOR CHELASHIP
Sincere interest in Theosophic truth is often followed by sincere aspiration
after Theosophic life, and the question continually recurs, What are the
conditions and the steps to chelaship; to whom should application be made;
how is the aspirant to know that it has been granted?
As to the conditions and the discipline of chelaship, not a little has been
disclosed in THE THEOSOPHIST, [ LUCIFER, PATH ] ... and other works upon
Theosophy; and some of the qualifications, difficulties, and dangers have
been very explicitly set forth by Madame Blavatsky in her article upon
"THEOSOPHICAL MAHATMAS" in the PATH [Magazine] of December, 1886.
[An extract from this reads:
"Once that a theosophist would become a candidate for either chelaship or
favors, he must be aware of the mutual pledge, tacitly, if not formally
offered and accepted between the two parties, and, that such a pledge is
sacred. It is a bond of seven years of probation.
If during that time, notwithstanding the many human shortcomings and
mistakes of the candidate (save two which it is needless to specify in
print) he remains throughout every temptation true to the chosen Master, or
Masters (in the case of lay candidates), and as faithful to the Society
founded at their wish and under their orders, then the theosophist will be
initiated into ______ thence-forward allowed to communicate with his guru
unreservedly, all his failings, save this one, as specified, may be
overlooked: they belong to his future Karma, but are left for the present,
to the discretion and judgment of the Master.
He alone has the power of judging whether even during those long seven years
the chela will be favoured regardless of his mistakes and sins, with
occasional communications with, and from, the guru.
The latter thoroughly posted as to the causes and motives that led the
candidate into sins of omission and commission is the only one to judge of
the advisability or inadvisability of bestowing encouragement; as he alone
is entitled to it, seeing that he is himself under the inexorable law of
Karma, which no one from the Zulu savage up to the highest archangel can
avoid--and that he has to assume the great responsibility of the causes
created by himself.
Thus, the chief and the only indispensable condition required in the
candidate or chela on probation, is simply unswerving fidelity to the chosen
Master and his purposes.
This is a condition sine qua non; not as I have said, on account of any
jealous feeling, but simply because the magnetic rapport between the two
once broken, it becomes at each time doubly difficult to re-establish it
again; and that it is neither just nor fair, that the Masters should strain
their powers for those whose future course and final desertion they very
often can plainly foresee.
Yet, how many of those who, expecting as I would call it "favours by
anticipation," and being disappointed, instead of humbly repeating mea
culpa, tax the Masters with selfishness and injustice? They will
deliberately break the thread of connection ten times in one year, and yet
expect each time to be taken back on the old lines! "
To everyone cherishing even a vague desire for closer relations to the
system of development through which Masters are produced, the thoughtful
study of this article is earnestly commended. It will clear the ground of
several misconceptions, deepen the sense of the seriousness of such an
effort, and excite a healthy self-distrust which is better before than after
the gate has been passed.
It is entirely possible, however, that the searching of desire and strength
incited by that article may only convince more
strongly of sincerity, and that not a few readers may emerge from it with a
richer purpose and a deeper resolve.
Even where there is not a distinct intention to reach chelaship, there may
be an eager yearning for greater nearness to the
Masters, for some definite assurance of guidance and of help. In either of
these cases the question at once arises before the
aspirant: Who is to receive the application, and how is its acceptance to
The very natural, indeed the instinctive, step of such an aspirant is to
write to an officer of the Theosophical Society.
None the less is this a mistake. For the Theosophical Society is an
exoteric body, the Lodge of Masters wholly esoteric.
The former is a voluntary group of inquirers and philanthropists, with
avowed aims, a printed Constitution, and published officers, and, moreover,
expressly disavowing any power, as a Society, to communicate with Masters.
The latter is an Occult Lodge, of whose address, members, processes,
functions, nothing is known. It follows, therefore,
that there is no person, no place, no address, to which an aspirant may
Let it be supposed, however, that such an inquiry is preferred to a person
advanced in Occult study, versed in its methods and tests and
qualifications. Assuredly his reply would be directly to this effect: --
"If you were now fitted to be an accepted chela, you would of yourself know
how, where, and to whom to apply.
For the becoming a chela in reality consists in the evolution or development
of certain spiritual principles latent in every man, and in great measure
unknown to your present consciousness.
Until these principles are to some degree consciously evolved by you, you
are not in practical possession of the means of
acquiring the first rudiments of that knowledge which now seems to you so
desirable. Whether it is desired by your mind or by your heart is still
another important question, not to be solved by any one who has not yet the
clue to Self.
"It is true that these qualities can be developed (or forced) by the aid of
an Adept. And most applicants for chelaship are
actuated by a desire to receive instructions directly from the Masters.
They do not ask themselves what they have done to merit a privilege so rare.
Nor do they consider that, all Adepts being servants of the Law of Karma, it
must follow that, did the applicant now merit their visible aid, he would
already possess it, and could not be in search of it. The indications of the
fulfillment of the Law are, in fact, the partial unfolding of those
faculties above referred to.
"You must, then, reach a point other than that where you now stand, before
you can even ask to be taken as a chela on
All candidates enter the unseen Lodge in this manner, and it is governed by
Laws containing within themselves their own
fulfillment and not requiring any officers whatever. Nor must you imagine
that such a probationer is one who works under constant and known direction
of either an Adept or another chela.
On the contrary, he is tried and tested for at least seven years, and
perhaps many more, before the point is reached when he is either accepted
(and prepared for the first of a series of initiations often covering
several incarnations), or rejected.
And this rejection is not by any body of men just as they incline, but is
the natural rejection by Nature.
The probationer may or may not hear from his Teacher during this preliminary
period; more often he does not hear. He may be finally rejected and not know
it, just as some men have been on probation and have not known it until they
suddenly found themselves accepted. Such men are those self-developed
persons who have reached that point in the natural order after many
incarnations, where their expanded faculties have entitled them to an
entrance into the Hall of Learning or the spiritual Lodge beyond. And all I
say of men applies equally to women.
"When anyone is regularly accepted as a chela on probation, the first and
only order he receives (for the present) is to work
unselfishly for humanity -- sometimes aiding and aided by some older chela
-- while striving to get rid of the strength of the
The ways of doing this are left to his own intuition entirely, inasmuch as
the object is to develop that intuition and to bring
him to self-knowledge. It is his having these powers in some degree that
leads to his acceptance as a probationer, so that it
is more than probable that you have them not yet save as latent
In order to have in his turn any title to help, he must work for others, but
that must not be his motive for working.
He who does not feel irresistibly impelled to serve the Race, whether he
himself fails or not, is bound fast by his own
personality and cannot progress until he has learned that the race is
himself and not that body which he now occupies.
The ground of this necessity for a pure motive was recently stated in
LUCIFER [Magazine] to be that "unless the intention is entirely
unalloyed, the spiritual will transform itself into the psychic, act on the
astral plane, and dire results may be produced by it. The powers and forces
of animal nature can be equally used by the selfish and revengeful as by the
unselfish and all-forgiving; the powers and forces of spirit lend
themselves only to the perfectly pure in heart. ...
"To lose all sense of self, then, implies the loss of all that ordinary men
most value in themselves. It therefore behooves you
to seriously consider these points:
"1st. What is your motive in desiring to be a chela?
You think that motive is well known to you, whereas it is hidden deep within
you, and by that hidden motive you will be judged. It has flared up from
unseen regions upon men sure of themselves, has belched out in some lurid
thought or deed of which they esteemed themselves incapable, and has
overthrown their life or reason.
Therefore test yourself ere Karma tests you.
"2d. What the place and duties of a true neophyte are.
"When you have seriously considered both for twenty-one days, you may, if
your desire remains firm, take a certain course open to you.
It is this.
"Although you do not now know where you can offer yourself to Masters
themselves as a chela on probation, yet, in forming that desire in your
heart and in re-affirming it (if you do) after due consideration of these
points, you have then to some extent called upon the Law, and it is within
your power to constitute yourself a disciple, so far as in you lies, through
the purity of your motive and effort if both are sufficiently sustained.
No one can fix a period when this effort will bear fruit, and, if your
patience and faith are not strong enough to bear you through an unlimited
(so far as you know) period of unselfish work for humanity, you had better
resign your present fancy, for it is then no more than that.
But if otherwise, you are to work for the spiritual enlightenment of
Humanity in and through the Theosophical Society (which much needs such
laborers), and in all other modes and planes as you best can, remembering
the word of Masters: 'He who does what he can and all that he can, and all
that he knows how to do, does enough for us.'
This task includes that of divesting yourself of all personality through
interior effort, because that work, if done in the right
spirit, is even more important to the race than any outward work we can do.
Living as you now are, on the outward plane chiefly, your work is due there
and is to be done there until your growth shall fit you to pass away from it
"In following this course you work towards a fixed point under observation
-- as is, indeed, the whole Theosophic body, which is now, as a body, a
chela of Masters, but specialized from other members in the sense that your
definite aim and trust are understood and taken into consideration by the
unseen Founders and the Law. The Theosophical Society then stands to you,
for the time being, as any older chela might who was appointed for you to
aid and to work under.
You are not, understand, a chela on probation, since no one without
authority can confer or announce such a privilege. But if you succeed in
lifting yourself and others spiritually, it will be known, no matter what
the external silence may seem to be, and you will receive your full dues
from Those who are honest debtors and ministers of the Just and Perfect Law.
You must be ready to work, to wait, and to aspire in silence, just as all do
who have fixed their eyes on this goal. Remember that your truest adviser is
to be found, and constantly sought, within yourself. Only by experience can
you learn to know its voice from that of natural instinct or mere logic, and
strengthen this power, by virtue of which the Masters have become what They
"Your choice or rejection of this course is the first test of yourself.
Others will follow, whether you are aware of them or
not, for the first and only right of the neophyte is -- to be tried. Hence
silence and sorrow follow his acceptance instead of
the offer of prompt aid for which he looks. Yet even that shall not be
wanting; those trials and reverses will come only from the Law to which you
have appealed." -- J. N.
Let me suggest you look at some articles that HPB wrote.
RAJA-YOGA articles by H.P.B.
CHELAS AND LAY-CHELAS . . HPB Articles I 308
Theosophist, July 1882
THE THEOSOPHICAL MAHATMAS . HPB Articles I 301
Path, December 1886
PRACTICAL OCCULTISM . . HPB Articles II 91
Lucifer, April 188
OCCULTISM vs. THE OCCULT ARTS HPB Articles II 100
Lucifer, May 1888
LODGES OF MAGIC . . . HPB Articles I 287
Lucifer, Oct. 1888
WHAT OF PHENOMENA? . . HPB Articles I 79
Lucifer, Feb. 1888
PSYCHIC AND NOETIC ACTION . HPB Articles II 7
Lucifer, Oct & Nov. 1890
THOUGHTS on the ELEMENTALS . HPB Articles II 164
Lucifer, May 1890
ELEMENTALS . . . . HPB Articles II 127
Lucifer, Aug. 1893
CHINESE SPIRITS . . . HPB Articles II 348
Lucifer, Nov. 1891
ANCIENT MAGIC IN MODERN SCIENCE HPB Articles II 431
Theosophist, Oct. 1886
ANIMATED STATUES . . HPB Articles II 337
Theosophist, Nov. 1886
THE SCIENCE OF MAGIC . . Modern Panarion 54
THE SEARCH AFTER OCCULTISM . Modern Panarion 159
DIALOGS BETWEEN 2 EDITORS Astral Bodies
Lucifer, Dec. 1888 HPB Articles II 38
- do - Inner Man HPB Articles II
Lucifer, Jan 1889
HYPNOTISM AND FASCINATION . HPB Articles II 477
Lucifer, Dec. 1890
MAHATMAS AND CHELAS . . HPB Articles I 293
Theosophist, July 1884
Reprinted in a book titled RAJA-YOGA or OCCULTISM
40 New Marine Lines,
Bombay, 400 020, India,
If you want I can send you copies of these.
Needless to say, a great deal of serious study is involved.
From: Mark H
Sent: Friday, November 04, 2005 4:48 PM
Subject: Re: C H E L A S and C H E L A S H I P
Is there any kind of official message that is sent to the chela in the
next/final incarnation on his way to become an adept?
>From what I gather there would be no way to truly distinguish between
the fevered delusions of an occult practitioner and an actual
"official acceptance letter" into the white brotherhood, so to speak.
Even a true chela would find it hard to understand who he was, and
what needed to be done. However, after continuing training the lower
effects would be easily detatched, making it easier for the chela to
accept and understand what was happening.
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