*How many would-be disciples are convinced of their worthiness to receive direct training from a Master of the Wisdom? How few are able to absorb the intense pressures of the experience and to profit from the opportunity! Included in these two volumes of "Discipleship in the New Age" are the series of personal instructions given to a small group of chelas over a period of 15 years, with related teaching on a number of subjects. When the group effort was finally discontinued, the Tibetan Master remarked that while his purpose in establishing the group for Ashramic training had proved unsuccessful, the instructions and teaching given as a result of forming the group would prove of great and continuing value to increasing numbers of aspirants to discipleship; and certain important concepts were anchored in human consciousness through the group channel, including particularly the vital fact of the reappearance of the Christ.
As the interplay between Hierarchy and humanity strengthens, many young disciples approaching the periphery of an Ashram are profiting from the experience of this group brought together for training by the Tibetan, and from the wealth of careful teaching and spiritual stimulation made available to them. The requirements facing a disciple in the new age are drastic and heavy; they involve as a first prerequisite, the need for personal decentralisation, the relinquishment of individual preferences and emphasis of every kind, and absorption into a group for service purposes. "The entire subject of group interplay is far deeper and more significant than you suspect or appreciate" we are told. The development of group consciousness is a matter of often painful experience in self-forgetfulness, requiring also a sensitive response to the purpose and plan of the Master through some Hierarchically inspired area of work. The obvious and the subtle glamours and illusions which deceive the disciple and limit his consciousness, must be clearly identified, seen, known and transcended. The disciple must recognise himself as he is, and move on towards the next spiritual objective.
In the first part of Volume I of "Discipleship in the New Age" some of the requirements of the Hierarchical Plan and the place of service of discipleship groups are clearly shown in relationship. The "Six Stages of Discipleship" in the final part of the book show the sequence of growth in consciousness towards the centre of an Ashram so clearly, that only the self-deluded can fail to identify his own place and his resulting opportunity. Between these two parts of the book, training and teaching hints and personal instructions are given to each of 41 disciples and applicants for discipleship. In these direct and outspoken comments any sincere aspirant to discipleship can find himself and his own need understood and met, sometimes in drastic terms, from the deep spiritual insight, the knowledge and the love of a Master of the Wisdom. So this pioneering group training effort is perpetuated for those who tread the Path of Discipleship today.
*Alice A. Bailey, (1880-1949) From her conservative British background, Alice Bailey's life led her in many directions, but always in one direction--towards the time when through drastic personal experience of many kinds she had acquired a synthesis of outlook and understanding, and an absolute conviction that one divine life pervades and animates the one humanity; that the Plan for humanity requires the cooperation and service of trained and dedicated human beings intelligently informed about world affairs, in collaboration with those who form the spiritual Hierarchy, the inner government of the planet. Her life work became an integral part of this synthesis and this realization. Without in the least losing any of her very human qualities and involvement, her soul took up its commitment to her Master, and her personality provided full cooperation in the field of her accepted service. Basically her work developed as a duality--her discipleship service which included the establishment of an esoteric school; and her initially reluctant agreement to work with the Tibetan, Djwhal Khul, in the writing of a series of books presenting the next phase in the continuity of the Ageless Wisdom teaching for the present and the immediate future. An extract from the Tibetan teacher, written in 1934 briefly explains the intent of these teachings: "The books that I have written are sent out with no claim for their acceptance. They may, or may not, be correct, true and useful. It is for you to ascertain their truth by right practice and by the exercise of the intuition. Neither I nor A.A.B. is the least interested in having them acclaimed as inspired writing, or in having anyone speak of them (with bated breath) as being the work of one of the masters. If they present truth in such a way that it follows sequentially upon that already offered in the world teachings, if the information given raises the aspiration and the will-to-serve from the plane of the emotions to that of the mind (the plane whereon the Masters can be found) then they will have served their purpose. If the teaching conveyed calls forth a response from the illumined mind of the worker in the world, and brings a flashing forth of the intuition, then let that teaching be accepted. But not otherwise. If the statements meet with eventual corroboration, or are deemed true under the test of the Law of Correspondences, then that is well and good. But should this not be so, let not the student accept what is said."