The Inner Life
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The Inner Life is a book by Theosophist C. W. Leadbeater, first published in 1911. this edition includes both volumes of the work. Chapters include: The Work of The Christ; Masters and Pupils; The Work of The Masters; The Ancient Mysteries; The Logos; Spiritualism; Our Duty to Animals; The causal Body; The Fear of Death; Obsession and Insanity; The Focus of Consciousness; and many more.
This book has 386 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1911.
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Excerpt from The Inner Life
STUDENTS OF OCCULTISM — even those who have been students for many years — sometimes seem to fail to realise the Masters as They truly are. I have often found people thinking of Them as some kind of angels or devas, or, at any rate, as so far removed from us by Their greatness that it is scarcely possible for us to derive much help from Them. Their greatness is indisputable, and from that point of view the gulf between Them and ourselves may well seem incalculable in its extent; and yet from another point of view They are very close to us, so that Their sympathy and help are very near and very real. That our thought on the subject may be clear, let us first of all try to define exactly what we mean by the term “Master.”
We mean by it always one who is a member of the Great White Brotherhood — a member at such a level that He is able to take pupils. Now the Great White Brotherhood is an organization unlike any other in the world, and for that reason it has often been misunderstood. It has sometimes been described as the Himalayan or the Tibetan Brotherhood, and the idea has been conveyed of a body of Indian ascetics residing together in a monastery in some inaccessible mountain fastness. Perhaps this has risen largely from the knowledge of the facts that the two Brothers principally concerned in the foundation and work of the Theosophical Society happen at the moment to be living in Tibet, and to be wearing Indian bodies. To comprehend the facts of the case it may be better to approach its consideration from another point of view.
Most of our students are familiar with the thought of the four stages of the Path of Holiness, and are aware that a man who has passed through them and attained to the level of the Asekha has achieved the task set before humanity during this chain-period, and is consequently free from the necessity of reincarnation on this planet or on any other. Before him then open seven ways among which he must choose. Most of them take him away from this earth into wider spheres of activity, probably connected with the solar system as a whole, so that the great majority of those members of our humanity who had already reached this goal have passed entirely out of our ken.
The limited number who are still working directly for us may be divided into two classes — those who retain physical bodies, and those who do not. The latter are frequently spoken of under the name of Nirmanakayas. They hold themselves suspended as it were between this world and nirvana, and They devote the whole of Their time and energy to the generation of spiritual force for the benefit of mankind. This force They pour into what may be described as a reservoir, upon which the Masters and their pupils can draw for the assistance of Their work with humanity. The Nirmanakaya, because He remains to this extent in touch with the lower planes, has been called `a candidate for woe,' but that is misleading. What is meant is that He has not the joy of the higher work, or of the nirvanic levels. He has chosen to remain upon lower planes in order to help those who still suffer. It is quite true that to came back from the higher life into this world is like going down from the fresh air and glorious sunlight into a dark and evil-smelling dungeon; but the man who does this to help some one out of that dungeon is not miserable and wretched while there, but full of the joy of helping, notwithstanding the greatness of the contrast and the terrible feeling of bondage and compression. Indeed, a man who refused such an opportunity of giving aid when it came to him would certainly feel far more woe afterwards, in the shape of remorse. When we have once really seen the spiritual misery of the world, and the condition of those who need such help, we can never again be careless or indifferent about it, as are those who have not seen.
Fortunately those of us who have seen and realized this have ever at our command a means whereby we can quite really and definitely help. Tiny though our efforts may be as compared with the splendid outpouring of force of the Nirmanakaya, we also can add our little drops to the great store of force in that reservoir. Every outpouring of affection or devotion produces a double result — one upon the being to whom it is sent, and another upon ourselves, who sent it forth. But if the devotion or affection be utterly without the slightest thought of self, it brings in its train a third result also. Ordinary affection or devotion, even of a high kind, moves in a closed curve, however large that curve may be, and the result of it comes back upon the sender. But the devotion or affection of the truly unselfish man moves in an open curve, and though some of its affects inevitably react upon the sender, the grandest and noblest part of its force ascends to the LOGOS Himself, and the response, the magnificent response of benediction which instantly pours forth from Him, falls into that reservoir for the helping of mankind. So that it is within the power of every one of us, even the weakest and the poorest, to help the world in this most beautiful manner. It is this adding to the reservoir of spiritual force which is really the truth that lies et the back of the Catholic idea of works of supererogation.
The still more limited number of adepts who retain physical bodies remain in even closer touch with us, in order to fill certain offices, and to do certain work necessary for our evolution; and it is to the latter that the names of the Great White Brotherhood and the Occult Hierarchy have sometimes been given. They are, then, a very small number of highly advanced men belonging not to any one nation, but to the world as a whole. On the physical plane They do not live together, though They are of course in continual communication on higher planes. Since They are beyond the necessity of rebirth, when one body wears out They can choose another wherever it may be most convenient for the work They wish to do, so that we need not attach any special importance to the nationality of the bodies which They happen to be wearing at any particular time. Just now, several of those bodies are Indian, one is Tibetan, one is Chinese, two at least are English, one is Italian, one Hungarian, and one Syrian, while one was born in the island of Cyprus. As I have said, the nationality of these bodies is not a matter of importance, but I mention these in order to show that it would be a mistake to think of the ruling Hierarchy as belonging exclusively to one race.
End of excerpt.