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CHELAS & LAY CHELAS--summy.doc

Sep 27, 2003 12:01 PM
by W. Dallas TenBreoeck

CHELAS AND LAY CHELAS -- by H. P. Blavatsky
H P B Articles I 308 - 314


[ This is a document of the THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY as it was published in
Vol. 13, p. 390_)

The following phrases seem to be most important:


P. 310	…the Theosophical Society, one of whose arduous tasks
is…to re-awaken in the Aryan mind the dormant memory of the existence of
this science and of those transcendent human capabilities

A Guru

P. 308	The spiritual teacher …the real Guru is always an Adept
in the Occult Science. A man of profound knowledge, exoteric and
esoteric, especially the latter; and one who has brought his carnal
nature under subjection of the WILL; who has developed in himself both
the power (Siddhi) to control the forces of nature, and the capacity to
probe her secrets by the help of the formerly latent but now active
powers of his being:--this is the real Guru. 

An Adept

P. 308	…to develop into an Adept the most difficult task any
man could possibly undertake…

P. 308	…a natural-born Adept…we hear at rare intervals of one
who has an extraordinary innate capacity for the acquisition of occult
knowledge and power, yet even he has to pass the self-same tests and
probations, and go through the same self-training as any less endowed
fellow aspirant. In this matter it is most true that there is no royal
road by which favourites may travel. 

P. 311	The Mahatmas are the servants, not the arbiters of the
Law of Karma. 

A Chela

P. 308	A "Chela" then, is one who has offered himself or
herself as a pupil to learn practically the "hidden mysteries of Nature
and the psychical powers latent in man." 

P. 308-9	For centuries the selection of Chelas… has been made by
the Himalayan Mahatmas themselves from among the class… of natural
mystics. [ Exceptions have been in the cases of Western men like Fludd,
Thomas Vaughan, Paracelsus, Pico di Mirandola, Count St. Germain, etc.,
whose temperamental affinity to this celestial science …forced the
distant Adepts to come into personal relations with them, and enabled
them to get such small (or large) proportion of the whole truth as was
possible under their social surroundings. ]

P 309	From Book IV of Kiu-te, Chapter on "the Laws of
Upasans," …the qualifications expected in a Chela were:-- 

1. Perfect physical health; 

2. Absolute mental and physical purity; 

3. Unselfishness of purpose; universal charity; pity for all animate

4. Truthfulness and unswerving faith in the law of Karma, independent of
any power in nature that could interfere: a law whose course is not to
be obstructed by any agency, not to be caused to deviate by prayer or
propitiatory exoteric ceremonies; 

5. A courage undaunted in every emergency, even by peril to life; 

6. An intuitional perception of one's being the vehicle of the
manifested Avalokitesvara or Divine Atman (Spirit); 

7. Calm indifference for, but a just appreciation of everything that
constitutes the objective and transitory world, in its relation with,
and to, the invisible regions. 

P. 309	Such, at the least, must have been the recommendations
of one aspiring to perfect Chelaship. With the sole exception of the
1st, which in rare and exceptional cases might have been modified, each
one of these points has been invariably insisted upon, and all must have
been more or less developed in the inner nature by the Chela's UNHELPED
EXERTIONS, before he could be actually put to the test. [Additional
qualifications in H P B Art., Vol. II p;. 93 ]

P. 309	…the self-evolving ascetic--whether in, or outside the
active world--has to place himself, according to his natural capacity,
[and[ make himself master of, his (1) Sarira--body; (2) lndriya--senses;
(3) Dosha--faults; (4) Dukkha--pain; and is ready to become one with his
Manas--mind; Buddhi--intellection, or spiritual intelligence; and
Atma--highest soul, i.e., spirit…. and,…to recognize in Atma the highest
ruler in the world of perceptions, and in the will, the highest
executive energy (power), then may he, under the time-honoured rules, be
taken in hand by one of the Initiates. 

P. 309-10	He may then be shown the mysterious path at whose
thither end the Chela is taught the unerring discernment of …the fruits
of causes produced, and given the means of reaching …emancipation, from
the misery of repeated births and thus of avoiding …transmigration. 


P. 310	…the rules of Chela selection have become slightly
relaxed in one respect. Many members of the Society…pressed to be taken
as candidates…it would be an interference with Karma to deny them the
chance of at least beginning--since they were so importunate, they were
given it. 

P. 310	The results have been far from encouraging…All expected
to have hidden things taught, extraordinary powers given them
because--well, because they had joined the Theosophical Society. Some
had sincerely resolved to amend their lives, and give up their evil
courses; we must do them that justice, at all events. 

P. 310	All were refused at first, Col. Olcott…was not formally
accepted as a Chela until he had proved by more than a year's devoted
labours and by a determination which brooked no denial, that he might
safely be tested. 

P. 311	At last, the word came from the higher authorities that
a few of the most urgent candidates should be taken at their word…Each
candidate was warned that he must wait for years in any event, before
his fitness could be proven, and that he must pass through a series of
tests that would bring out all there was in him, whether bad or good.
They were nearly all married men and hence were designated "Lay Chelas”

P. 311	A Lay Chela is but a man of the world who affirms his
desire to become wise in spiritual things. Virtually, every member of
the Theosophical Society who subscribes to the second of our three
"Declared Objects" is such…he has yet the possibility of becoming one,
for he has stepped across the boundary-line which separated him from the
Mahatmas, and has brought himself, as it were, under their notice.

P. 311	The joining is… the introduction; all the rest depends
entirely upon the member himself, and he need never expect the most
distant approach to the "favor" of one of our Mahatmas, or any other
Mahatmas in the world--should the latter consent to become known--that
has not been fully earned by personal merit. 


P. 312	…as to the result: his good thoughts, words and deeds
will bear their fruits, his evil ones, theirs. 

P. 312	To boast of Lay Chelaship…is the surest way to reduce
the relationship with the Guru to a mere empty name…we have been
teaching everywhere the maxim "First deserve, then desire" intimacy with
the Mahatmas. 

Laws of Chelaship under Karma

P. 312	…there is a terrible law operative in nature, one which
cannot be altered… "Let sleeping dogs lie"? No man or woman knows his
or her moral strength until it is tried. 

P. 312	One who undertakes to try for Chelaship…rouses and
lashes to desperation every sleeping passion of his animal nature. For
this is the commencement of a struggle for the mastery in which quarter
is neither to be given nor taken. It is, once for all, "To be, or Not to
be"; to conquer, means ADEPTSHIP; to fail, an ignoble Martyrdom…

P. 312	…to fall victim to lust, pride, avarice, vanity,
selfishness, cowardice, or any other of the lower propensities, is
indeed ignoble…

P. 312	The Chela is not only called to face all the latent evil
propensities of his nature, but, in addition, the whole volume of
maleficent power accumulated by the community and nation to which he
belongs. For he is an integral part of those aggregates, and what
affects either the individual man, or the group (town or nation) reacts
upon the other…his struggle for goodness jars upon the whole body of
badness in his environment, and draws its fury upon him…If he is
innately strong he shakes it off

P. 313	…in this moral battle, if the Chela has one single
hidden blemish…it shall and will be brought to light…the Inner Self,
naked and without the slightest veil to conceal its reality, is exposed.
[all conventional] restraints [will be] broken through under the strain
of chelaship.

P. 313	He is now in an atmosphere of illusions--Maya. Vice puts
on its most alluring face, and the tempting passions try to lure the
inexperienced aspirant to the depths of psychic debasement…For the
strife is…between the Chela's Will and his carnal nature, and Karma
forbids that any angel or Guru should interfere until the result is

P. 313	Chelaship was defined… as a "psychic resolvent, which
eats away all dross and leaves only the pure gold behind." 

P. 313	"Let him that standeth take heed lest he fall"--a text
that would-be Chelas should consider well before they rush headlong into
the fray! 

P. 314	"there is no Impossibility to him who WILLS." 

P. 314	And in the wise Kirátárjuniya of Bharávi it is

The enemies which rise within the body,
Hard to be overcome--the evil passions--
Should manfully be fought; who conquers these 
Is equal to the conqueror of worlds. (xi, 32.) 


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