In the Lightworker and Spirituality Community (what used to be referred to often as New Age) there is much talk of Masters. This has been particularly influenced by the Theosophical Movement of the 19th Century. Prior to that, the masters tended to me drawn from the ranks of the Ancients, and might or might not include the founders of great religions, like Krishna, Buddha and Jesus.
We will look at known great masters, divine teachers, masters contacted telepathically and how (and when) masters may arise.
In the telling of his myth, Orpheus is decapitated, and his head floats to Lesbos. This indicates the dissemination of his teachings and how his ideas flowed on through time.
"HERMES, draw near, and to my pray'r incline,
From Orpheus' Hymn to Mercury trns Thomas Taylor
He plays a part in this novel. In one tradition he married the remarkable Theano from Crete, who led his school for many years after he died.
Pay honour first to the immortal Gods,
"The Tao that can be expressed in words is not the All-embracing and Immutable Tao; the name which can be uttered is not the Ever-applicable Name."
Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind
Plato The Republic
Just as with Jesus, there is a question over whether we are dealing with a God in human form, or a human that in some way transcends their humanity, so with Krishna, some see him as Divine as such and some as the Messenger of the Divine.
Beyond the Manifested there is another, Unmanifested and Eternal,
When the agitations of the mind are under control,
The Arrival of Theosophy
With the arrival of Madame Blavatsky and her extraordinary teachings, the Western World was introduced to a range of Masters reputed to be living in the fastness of Tibet or the Himalayan Mountains. Although the images above look like early photographs of these august teachers, it is unlikely that anyone took pictures of them in India.
As a psychologist, the current writer has always been perplexed at the lack of interest in the prolific writings of people like Helena Blavatsky and also Alice Bailey (whose works are shown above). Both claimed to have received teachings from "Masters'. In both cases the content of the teachings have been highly influential. The valuable school of psychotherapy called Psychosynthesis was developed by the Italian Psychologist Assagioli. He was directly influenced by Alice Bailey's teachings (amongst other things). He is reputed to have been one of the Disciples referred to cryptically in her writings.
The Problem with the Masters
With the Masters as described by Blavatsky (19th Century), Alice Bailey, David Anrias (early 20th Century) and many who have written since, much has to be taken on trust. With Saint Germain. Khut Hoomi, Hilarion, and The Tibetan we do not have direct access to their teachings, in writing or from those who have literally 'sat at their feet'. In each case their work is through the medium of those who received the words in some form of telepathic state.
With many of these masters, there have been a multitude who claim to have channelled their words, so a huge amount of discernment has to be exercised to differentiate between what might be the teachings of a great mind (received by one attuned to that mind) and the deliberate disinformation arising from either a discarnate being with mischievous intent, or the rearrangement of commonplace truths within the subconscious of the one channelling.
But knowing that certain writing is truly the work of a great mind, or indeed revelation, requires a certain element of trust. This applies in all cases. If we take, for example, The Beatitudes:
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
These words were not spoken in the English language, however beautiful the King James version manages to be. Nor were they spoken in Greek. Can we be sure that they were written down as they were spoken (in Aramaic or whatever language we assume Jesus used). Or were they transcribed by an inspired genius decades later? Or possibly centuries later?
In the end, we have to judge the words according to their own merits and the beauty, truth and goodness of the ideas they convey. Although religions will claim the words of their scriptures have been protected by Divine Fiat, a glance at the different Bibles of Catholicism, Orthodoxy and the many sects of Protestant Christianity in America, will show that a bewildering number of versions of "God's Word" exist, each with subtle (and unsubtle) differences.
So the teachings of the known great teachers of mankind rest partly on the teachers being real and not fictitious, but more so on the wisdom of the teachings themselves. The persistence of teachings over great periods of time, when they have been the object of study and inspiration to generations of fine minds, is another indication that the ideas are worth careful reflection.
So what is a Master?
The very concept of a Master, suggest an exceptional being delivering a teaching necessary at a particular time, for certain historical groups or for humanity as a whole.
We need to address first the lack of women amongst the Masters mentioned above. There may be many reasons for this, and we should bear in mind that the Soul of each of us is both male and female. The expression of a teaching through a male body may reflect requirements both esoteric and exoteric, cultural and social. In the case of many Masters, there is often a woman who is absolutely crucial in the development and life of the individual.
Pythagoras was the son of Pythia, a priestess and his earliest teacher. Plato's mother, Perictione, is considered to have been of utmost importance in his intellectual development, as was the mysterious philosopher, Diotima for Socrates. With Jesus his mother Mary (almost certainly an Essene and trained in their wisdom) and – more controversially - Mary Magdelene (who some suggest was a priestess of Isis and whose true import has been deliberately distorted) were crucial to his fulfilling his destiny. Similarly, Krishna has Radha as his lover.
Sri Aurobindo, a Master within living memory, could not have done his work without 'The Mother' a French woman of remarkable abilities.
So although the teachings may be associated with a given man, the conception, reception and dissemination of those teachings required specific women (for example Blavatsky and Bailey).
The making of a Master
Various factors may be considered in the 'making of a master'.
They need teachers who are wise and steeped in a tradition. They need to be part of a tradition that can receive their insights and wisdom. Some, it is said, are God taught (without a teacher). This title was given to Ammonius Saccas of Alexandria. But even they need a tradition receptive to their revelation.
They have to have the right body (genetic constituency). This is one reason that the idea of blood-lines is emphasised with certain of the great teachers. Their ancestry is important.
We may assume that they are remarkable Souls. This does not require a belief (or indeed necessity) for reincarnation. But it is clear that the individuals listed at the beginning of this post were in no way 'run of the mill' and that they brought some extraordinary capacity with them at birth. Often their births appear to have miraculous elements. In today's parlance we would say they are 'old souls'.
We may suggest that in some way they can access the Higher Mind and the collective higher minds of the tradition to which they belong. In this way they are in tune with their times and their teachings have a huge impact at that time to those who can 'hear' what is being said to them.
All, without exception, have many moments when they are inspired, The Divine Spirit, raises their thinking and actions to a higher level of significance. They see further, their ideas fly higher. And with all true Masters, there is also Revelation. They are the conduit of a new Divine Teaching, that is not and cannot be in contradiction to any other Divine Revelation that has gone before.
Their teachings have a beauty and a simplicity and carry the spark of inspiration across millennia.
Murray Morison is a novelist living in Crete
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