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the threshold. Suppose a case in which a man during the past has
steadily identified himself with the lower part of his nature and
has gone against the higher, paralysing himself, using higher
powers for lower purposes, degrading his mind to be the mere
slave of his lower desires. A curious change takes place in him.
The life which belongs to the Ego in him is taken up by the
physical body, and assimilated with the lower lives of which the
body is composed. Instead of serving the purposes of the Spirit,
it is dragged away for tile purposes of the lower, and becomes
part of the animal life belonging to the lower bodies, so that
the Ego and his higher bodies are weakened, and the animal life
of the lower is strengthened. Now under those conditions, the Ego
will sometimes become so disgusted with his vehicles that when
death relieves him of the physical body he will cast the others
quite aside. And even sometimes during physical life he will
leave the desecrated temple. Now after death, in these cases, the
man generally reincarnates very quickly; for, having torn himself
away from his astral and mental bodies, he has no bodies with
which to live in the astral and mental worlds, and he must
quickly form new ones and come again to rebirth here. Under these
conditions the old astral and mental bodies are not disintegrated
when the new mental and astral bodies are formed and born into
the world, and the affinity between the old and new, both having
had the same owner, the same tenant, asserts itself, and the
highly vitalised old astral and mental bodies will attach
themselves to the new astral and mental bodies, and become the
most terrible form of the dweller on the threshold.

These are the various forms which the dweller may assume, and all
are spoken of in books dealing with these particular subjects,
though I do not know that you will find anywhere in a single book
a definite classification like the above. In addition to these
there are, of course, the direct attacks of the Dark Brothers,
taking up various forms and aspects, and the most common form
they will take is the form of some virtue which is a little bit
in excess in the yogi. The yogi is not attacked through his
vices, but through his virtues; for a virtue in excess becomes a
vice. It is the extremes which are ever the vices; the golden
mean is the virtue. And thus, virtues become tempters in the
difficult regions of the astral and mental worlds, and are
utilised by the Brothers of the Shadow in order to entrap the

I am not here speaking of the four ordinary ordeals of the astral
plane: the ordeals by earth, water, fire and air. Those are mere
trifles, hardly worth considering when speaking of these more
serious difficulties. Of course, you have to learn that you are
entirely master of astral matter, that earth cannot crush you,
nor water drown you, etc. Those are, so to speak, very easy
lessons. Those who belong to a Masonic body will recognise these
ordeals as parts of the language they are familiar with in their
Masonic ritual.

There is one other danger also. You may injure yourself by
repercussion. If on the astral plane you are threatened with
danger which belongs to the physical, but are unwise enough to
think it can injure you, it will injure your physical body. You
may get a wound, or a bruise, and so on, out of astral
experiences. I once made a fool of myself in this way. I was in a
ship going down and, as I was busy there, I saw that the mast of
the ship was going to fall and, in a moment's forgetfulness,
thought: "That mast will fall on me" that momentary thought had
its result, for when I came back to the body in the morning, I
had a large physical bruise where the mast fell. That is a
frequent phenomenon until you have corrected the fault of the
mind, which thinks instinctively the things which it is
accustomed to think down here.

One protection you can make for yourself as you become more
sensitive. Be rigorously truthful in thought, in word, in deed.
Every thought, every desire, takes form in the higher world. If
you are careless of truth here, you are creating a whole host of
terrifying and deluding forms. Think truth, speak truth, live
truth, and then you shall be free from the illusions of the
astral world.

Preparation for Yoga

People say that I put the ideal of discipleship so very high that
nobody can hope to become a disciple. But I have not said that no
one can become a disciple who does not reproduce the description
that is given of the perfect disciple. One may. But we do it at
our own peril. A man may be thoroughly capable along one line,
but have a serious fault along another. The serious fault will
not prevent him from becoming a disciple, but he must suffer for
it. The initiate pays for his faults ten times the price he would
have had to pay for them as a man of the world. That is why I
have put the ideal so high. I have never said that a person must
come utterly up to the ideal before becoming a disciple, but I
have said that the risks of becoming a disciple without these
qualifications are enormous. It is the duty of those who have
seen the results of going through the gateway with faults in
character, to point out that it is well to get rid of these
faults first. Every fault you carry through the gateway with you
becomes a dagger to stab you on the other side. Therefore it is
well to purify yourself as much as you can, before you are
sufficiently evolved on any line to have the right to say: "I
will pass through that gateway." That is what I intended to be
understood when I spoke of qualifications for discipleship. I
have followed along the ancient road which lays down these
qualifications which the disciple should bring with him; and if
he comes without them, then the word of Jesus is true, that he
will be beaten with many stripes; for a man can afford to do in
the outer world with small result what will bring terrible
results upon him when once he is treading the Path.

The End

What is to be the end of this long struggle? What is the goal of
the upward climbing, the prize of the great battle? What does the
yogi reach at last? He reaches unity. Sometimes I am not sure
that large numbers of people, if they realised what unity means,
would really desire to reach it. There are many "virtues" of your
ordinary life which will drop entirely away from you when you
reach unity. Many things you admire will be no longer helps but
hindrances, when the sense of unity begins to dawn. All those
qualities so useful in ordinary life--such as moral indignation,
repulsion from evil, judgment of others--have no room where unity
is realised. When you feel repulsion from evil, it is a sign that
your Higher Self is beginning to awaken, is seeing the dangers of
evil: he drags the body forcibly away from it. That is the
beginning of the conscious moral life. Hatred of evil is better
at that stage than indifference to evil. It is a necessary stage.
But repulsion cannot be felt when a man has realised unity, when
he sees God made manifest in man. A man who knows unity cannot
judge another. "I judge no man," said the Christ. He cannot be
repelled by anyone. The sinner is himself, and how shall he be
repelled from himself? For him there is no "I" or "Thee," for we
are one.

This is not a thing that many honestly wish for. It is not a
thing that many honestly desire. The man who has realised unity
knows no difference between himself and the vilest wretch that
walks the earth. He sees only the God that walks in the sinner,
and knows that the sin is not in the God but in the sheath. The
difference is only there. He who has realised the inner greatness
of the Self never pronounces judgment upon another, knows that
other as himself, and he himself as that other--that is unity. We
talk brotherhood, but how many of us really practice it? And even
that is not the thing the yogi aims at. Greater than brotherhood
are identity and realisation of the Self as one. The Sixth Root
Race will carry brotherhood to the highest point. The Seventh
Root Race will know identity, will realise the unity of the human
race. To catch a glimpse of the beauty of that high conception,
the greatness of the unity in which "I" and "mine," "you" and
"yours" have vanished, in which we are all one life, even to do
that lifts the whole nature towards divinity, and those who can
even see that unity is fair; they are the nearer to the
realisation of the Beauty that is God.

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