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The Initiate in the New World
By Cyril Scott
Samuel Weiser, Inc.Copyright © 1991 The estate of Cyril Scott
All rights reserved.
Some twelve years had passed since I last saw my Master (known by the name of Justin Moreward Haig). In his farewell letter to me he had written: "In future another kind of work is allotted to me, and you and I will not be able to meet in the flesh for sometime to come, though whenever you need my help I shall be aware of it and shall answer to your call." And certainly he kept his word, though my own faculties are such that I was not always able to reap the full advantage of his promise. There came in fact a time when it seemed as if I were losing those few faculties I had slowly come to possess. The reason for this has since been made known to me, but at the time I was, to say the least, puzzled. To lose the vision of one's Master is indeed a tragedy to those who are in a position to realise what a Master really means to one's entire life. Nevertheless I will do myself the justice of saying that the loss in itself of my meagre faculties failed to trouble me. For he had often impressed on me that the desire for psychic powers proved a stumbling-block on the path to Spiritual Consciousness; unless desired for totally selfless purposes, so I had never made any special effort to develop them. Indeed, although a spiritist friend, suggested that I should "sit for development" in a little circle she had formed, I was unwilling to comply, and argued that if my Master intended me to "see," my powers, such as they were, would be re-awakened in due course.
And then one day I received a type-written envelope with a United States' postage stamp. This caused me no surprise, as I possess one or two acquaintances in America from whom I occasionally get letters. But my astonishment was considerable—I will not mention my other feelings—when on opening that envelope I discovered the following:—
Now that this incommensurable and blood-thirsty piece of childishness (to which mankind gives the pseudo-dignified name of war!) has reached its end I would suggest that you make the necessary arrangements to come over here, at least for a period of a few months, and to come as soon as possible. I have a proposal to make to you which concerns your evolution and without which I hardly think it feasible for you to progress much further in this particular incarnation. Although for these few latter years you have not been fully aware of me, I on my part have watched and followed you in your inner life, and may tell you without reserve that you have to thank your own faith for making possible what I now suggest. True, there may be difficulties in your way, but I ask you only to retain that faith which so far has stood you in good stead, decide to take the voyage, and I promise you assistance will be forthcoming.
My friend, I send you my blessings and await your answer. May you choose wisely, for that is the hope of
J. M. H.
P.S.—Excuse type written letter—but time is at a premium in this country.
No comment is necessary. There were difficulties to be overcome; financial ones which at the time seemed insurmountable; and yet circumstances so arranged themselves that something in the nature of a windfall occurred. To me the Master's word is law, and having in the exuberance of my feelings read and reread his letter several times, two hours had not passed before I had replied to him. How I was to come, exactly when I could come, I was unable to see, but come I would—thus I wrote to him. And within three weeks I was on an Atlantic liner, and what is more, with a larger balance to my credit in the bank than I had had for some years.
I sailed into Boston harbour on a wonderfully crisp sunny autumn morning; and after all the stories that my fellow-passengers had told me, did not look forward to my encounter with the formidable custom-house officials. But almost the moment I disembarked, a buoyant clear skinned young man accosted me. "Pleased to meet you, Mr. Broadbent."
Puzzled, I shook hands with him, and was about to ask to whom I had the pleasure of speaking, when he enlightened me.
"My name is Arkwright," he said. "I am a Chela of Master J. M H., and have come to offer you any assistance I can. The Master expects you for lunch at one o'clock. In the meantime I'll see you through all this business," pointing to the piles of luggage, "and then take you to your hotel."
"It is extremely good of you to come and meet me," I said warmly, "to tell the truth I was feeling a bit at sixes and sevens. You know how it is when one arrives in a strange place."
"I guess I do," he assented. "Pardon me," and he darted off to some official he had caught sight of, said a few words to him, then returned.
"Now," he assured me, "we shall soon be through; it's only a matter of waiting till they bring your boxes off the boat."
"Tell me," I asked, while we were waiting, "how did you manage to recognise me? There is nothing the least distinctive about my appearance."
"Ask me another," was his unelucidating reply, made with a twinkle, "or ask Master. Maybe he'll tell you—or maybe he won't."
I laughed. There was something distinctly humorous about this young American with his matter of fact manner. I wondered how advanced he might be, and what line of occultism appealed to him most, and—
"Your trunk, I believe," he said, indicating a porter crossing the gangway with my property, on which my name was painted.
After that it was all plain sailing. His "friend," the official, made so few difficulties that I suspected some strings had been pulled, but thought it best to ask no questions.
Within less than half an hour, our taxi stopped before a hotel in B—Street where a room had been engaged for me. Here I unpacked a few of my belongings while my light-hearted companion regaled me with his conversation. Then we set out—to keep my momentous appointment.
My re-meeting with the Master was one of those great moments in life to which my descriptive powers fail to do justice. I had expected much from the long-awaited reunion, but I received even more. The feeling of love and welcome which he managed to convey to me without any great exuberance of words or actions moved me so deeply that, joyful though my emotions were, I was almost relieved when he, realising my embarrassment, dispelled it by adopting a more matter-of-fact tone.
"You stood the test well," he said, "and I am pleased with you."
"Test?" I repeated.
"My son—in an age when psychic powers are rare and hence so greatly desired, it is laudable to view them, or rather their loss, with such philosophic indifference. A child weeps more bitterly over the loss of a new toy than over the loss of an old one."
And then I understood.
In the pause which ensued, I observed my surroundings more closely. J.M.H. was living in a tastefully furnished house in one of those old English-looking squares of Boston. Why a solitary man should require so spacious a residence surprised me at the time; but the reason became apparent in the course of our conversation.
"Not much changed," he resumed, scrutinizing me, "a few more lines, perhaps—"
"Needless to say you have not changed at all—except that your hair seems a bit more luxuriant."
He laughed. "All the same, you will find me changed when you get to know me in my American edition."
"What may that mean?"
"Merely the process of adaptation."
"I am not very much the wiser yet," I smiled.
"The methods, the teaching, and even the external manner suited to one country are not suited to another. I must not only adapt my methods to the nationality and the temperament of my pupils, but I must even adapt myself. Externally I am not the same man I was in London. Another type of work has been allotted to me, as I wrote to you twelve years ago when I said good-bye."
"It seems curious at first," I commented, "but merely, I suppose, because such an idea never occurred to me before."
"It is absolutely necessary," he emphasised, "and you must not be surprised or disappointed if I say and do things over here which seem at variance with what you knew of me over yonder in Europe. So I give you this little warning at the outset—it is always well to be prepared."
For the remainder of that interview he talked tome of matters concerning my own evolution, which I do not wish to set down here. But of one thing I may write, since it will be dealt with later on in its proper place.
There was a particular course of action which my Master desired me to pursue. "You have not come all this distance," he said, "merely to be near me and receive tuition at my hands. There is something very definite that I wish you to do, as I hinted in my letter. It will mean a great sacrifice on your part—but it is worth it. What I have in view for you, I will tell you when the time is ripe; but that is not yet. In the meanwhile you will meet most of my pupils. They congregate here every Wednesday evening, when I talk to them. We wish that the spirit of love and brotherhood should exist amongst us all, and by this means we hope to encourage it. After the talk, questions may be asked; we have conversation, refreshments and smokes. With regard to the latter, we are not fanatical ascetics. With a few exceptions, everyone here has perfect freedom in such matters. We don't believe in interfering with people's comparatively harmless idiosyncrasies—only the taking of alcohol is prohibited. No wine or spirits are served; against their use I strongly advise my chelas. So now you know how things stand. And as to-day is Wednesday, we shall expect you at 8.30."
As it was evident that M.H. was busy, I took my leave, and spent the rest of the day exploring Boston, with a feeling of exhilaration, and a brain busy with many thoughts. What was it that M.H. wished me to do, and which would entail such a sacrifice? A multitude of conjectures presented themselves, but the one which I came later to know was the right one, was not among them.
With regard to that change in himself to which the Master had alluded, so far I had been unable to perceive it. He was dressed in the same faultless taste as when in London, and the crease down his trousers denoted, if not the same, at any rate an equally painstaking and efficient valet. But of course it was early in the day to form opinions—I had only seen him for a short time. What the future had in store, I could not say, but that it held for me a much intensified interest in life, I was certain.
When I returned to the Master's house that evening, I found there some thirty people chatting before settling down for the discourse. M.H. himself moved among them, talking first to one and then to the other; but on seeing me by the door he came forward and introduced me to a young woman and her neighbour.
"This is just to give you a start in," he smiled as he pronounced our names, "but the rule here is that everybody talks to everybody else. What's the good of all being One unless we behave like it?" he added with humour.
I had, however, little time to profit by my new acquaintanceship, as M.H., going to a chair placed upon a diminutive platform at one end of the room, gave the sign that the talk was about to begin.
MORALITY AND SUPERMORALITY
"As most of you know by now, much of the teaching I give you on these evenings is of that nature which may be passed on to those outside our particular Order. To suppose that we Masters exist merely to instruct a few disciples how to develop their psychic centres"—(M.H. used the word Chakrams)—"is to suppose a fallacy. Indeed, with the majority of you, I discourage such development as an obstacle to the goal rather than a means of attainment. What we do exist for is principally to guide mankind at large and to give forth such moral, spiritual, and ethical ideas as may be required at a particular time. How is this achieved? Through our chelas, who moving in the world and using their discretion, spread such portions of our teaching as they deem wise and as opportunity offers. Thus we help our disciples, and in return our disciples help us. If they are writers, some of that teaching is set forth in their books; if they are poets, it appears in their poetry; if they are musicians, the spirit of it echoes forth from their music. When I look round in this little community, I see members of various professions, all of whom help me to the best of their ability—at least," he added, looking mischievous, "I hope so! It is to them I also look for help in bringing new sheep to the fold, so to say, not only by discreetly spreading our teachings, but by persuading the incredulous of the mere fact of our existence. Of course, no doubt sensation mongers would much prefer that we miraculously appeared before our prospective pupils and said: 'I'm your Guru—come and be my disciple.' But such is not our policy and never will be. Unless the pupil were clairvoyant and thus could see us without our having to materialise ourselves, it would merely involve a waste of force, and incidentally prove us guilty of 'showing off.' One of our rules is never to do things in an extra ordinary way, when they can be done in an ordinary way. What we do after the disciple and the Master have become closely linked is another matter."
M. H. lit a cigar.
"To-night I am going to speak of practically the greatest obstacle to occult Wisdom"—he used the term Yog Vidya—"spiritual attainment and mystical progress. That obstacle is Conventionality in whatever form it may take, be it in relation to morals or religion. The New Testament writers portrayed the Pharisees as its most typical adherents, and Jesus is reported to have said that the harlots were nearer the kingdom of Heaven than these Pharisees—which, allowing for Oriental hyperbole, is in accordance with fact. If we look at the mental bodies of very conventional people we find their outlines hard and rigid, and the bodies themselves small and as it were under-nourished. When we try to impress those bodies with our teaching our thoughts cannot penetrate the barrier of that hard surface; and sometimes the only way we can endeavour to break down that barring surface is by music of a modern and rather discordant nature. That is where some modern composers are doing good work.
"From what seeds does this weed of conventionality grow? From mental laziness, fear —of what others will think; vanity—or the capacity to be hurt by what they will say; and superstition—or the false notion that what the majority think must be right. Conventionality in its relation to religion need not detain us: what I would discuss this evening is its relation to morals. As you know, conventional morality exists and is to a greater or lesser degree practised by the masses; but for the student who is on or about to tread the Path something much more elastic and elevated is required. That something we may christen with the name of Supermorality. Whereas the latter is founded on unselfishness and obtains its criterion from unselfishness, the former all too often, though purporting to be based on unselfishness, is the result of and the excuse for selfishness instead. Thus there are many reasons why people choose to be moral—but there can be only one reason why people choose to be supermoral. A man may be moral because, as I implied, he fears the aspersions cast upon him by his neighbours—that man is governed by vanity combined with cowardice. Another man may be moral because it suits his convenience—that is to say because he gets something to his advantage from so-being. But a man cannot be supermoral for any such reasons; on the contrary, what he will reap as far as the world is concerned is likely to be nothing but kicks and calumny. And this because to the individual in the street the supermoralist will often appear as an immoralist; for to the undiscriminating extremes look alike, just as the most dazzling light may be as blinding as the densest darkness."
Here the Master got up from his chair, stepped off the little platform and walked up and down for a while as he talked.
"What, then, is the distinguishing feature between morality and supermorality? It is selflessness of motive. The former comes from the brain, the latter from the heart; the former is dependent on rules and conventions, the latter is entirely dependent on the demands of circumstances. Take such a simple example as deception. Are any of you so innocent as to suppose that even I, whom you are pleased to call your Master, would not and do not deceive you when I think it is for your own good? Yet there are those who would hold up their hands in horror at such an idea. 'A Master deceive or tell a lie—unthinkable, impossible!' They little realise that in one sense a Master-needs to act—which is but a form of deceiving —the greater part of every day. Imagine an Initiate who has acquired that unconditional ever-permanent Love-Consciousness (which, as you know, is a concomitant of Adeptship) behaving in a manner consistent with that inner consciousness? Do you imagine we Initiates dare show the love we feel for everyone? Why, we should probably soon find ourselves in the lunatic asylum, and have to waste our so-called miraculous powers in trying to get out again!"
Excerpted from The Initiate in the New World by Cyril Scott. Copyright © 1991 The estate of Cyril Scott. Excerpted by permission of Samuel Weiser, Inc..
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