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Autobiography of Alice A. Bailey - Appendix - The Principles of the Arcane School
III. The Arcane School Recognizes the Fact of the Spiritual Hierarchy

The school is kept rigidly free from dogmas and doctrines. No one is expected to accept this, that or the other truth; and if they reject what some of us believe and accept, we feel that that is their own business and none of ours. It makes no difference whatsoever in the attitude of the workers at Headquarters if a student rejects the doctrine of reincarnation and refuses to believe in the Hierarchy and the Masters of the Wisdom. All we ask is that he investigate the reasons for and against such beliefs and then abide by what he feels to be right. Certain beliefs are, however, of such ancient origin that they are generally accepted, either as recognized truths, as basic premises or as interesting hypotheses. This attitude or approach to truth we ask the student to hold because we feel that he should regard these presented truths as providing a fair field for honest investigation. This holds true as regards the belief in the factual nature of the Spiritual Hierarchy; this truth is approached in our presentation from the angle of evolutionary development; the graded order of Beings Who constitute the Hierarchy are regarded by us as constituting the fifth kingdom in nature, a necessary product of the experience of life in the fourth kingdom, the human. It is the Spiritual Hierarchy to which the Christian teaching of the Kingdom of God surely refers. If this premise is true, then the existence of this kingdom can be scientifically considered as an integral part of the great evolutionary process with its order of living beings, moving onward in ordered progression from the tiniest atom up to God Himself.

Little of this is taught in the earlier work of the Arcane School, except in so far that the existence of the divine Plan and the fact of the unfolding consciousness in man and in all forms is considered and interrelated. Later the attention of the student is directed towards Those Who bring inspiration and truth to humanity, and this is referred to in the meditation work; if, however, this has no appeal to him, he is provided with an alternative meditation which omits all reference to the Spiritual Hierarchy. In the higher degrees (which are entered by direct invitation) belief in the Masters of the Wisdom is assumed to exist and the elementary training for discipleship is begun. By that time, necessarily, the sifting work of the previous degrees has been carried forward and those who remain fall into two categories: [288]

  1. Those who do not question the existence of the Spiritual Hierarchy (of which Christ is the Head).
  2. Those who still question, but who accept the teaching as a working hypothesis.

Both groups are then instructed in the rules governing the Path of Discipleship; these, when consistently accepted and followed, have led countless thousands from "darkness to light" and out of the fourth kingdom of nature into the fifth. The laws and rules of a Master's Ashram are taught. An Ashram is that center of spiritual light and power into which a Master gathers His disciples for instruction in the Plan, of which they then become the agents.

Discipleship is a technical phrase indicating aptitude for teaching, a willingness to implement the Plan for humanity and a deep love for one's fellowmen. The student who learns to apply these ancient rules to his daily life will eventually arrive at a personal knowledge of the Hierarchy and the Plan of which It is Custodian. This Plan, God Transcendent, is working out through the processes of evolution; these processes eventually reveal the fact of God Immanent.

Students are under no compulsion to apply these rules or to tread the Path of Discipleship; our experience, however, has been that when confronted with the opportunity offered, they either accept the training or drop out of the life of the Arcane School, at least temporarily.

In the higher degrees, the Arcane School emphasizes the nature of the Plan, the new evolutionary cycle into which humanity is at this time entering and the immediacy of the return of the Christ - as taught in all the world religions. The Christian looks forward to the advent of Christ, the Jew is still expectant of the coming of the Messiah, the Buddhist is waiting for the coming of the Boddhisattva, the Hindu for the coming Avatar and the Mohammedan for the appearance of the Imam Mahdi. The universality of this teaching, plus the general expectancy is a major argument for the factual nature of the truth involved. The widespread acceptance of any truth down the ages and in every civilization and culture is indicative of a divinely presented spiritual fact. Today, the appeal of these truths must be mental and scientifically based and not simply emotional and mystical as has hitherto been generally the case. [289]

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