We now take up the definition of the word “quality,” which embodies the second ray aspect. This second aspect is the determining ray or the second manifesting aspect of divinity. It is the Christ or Vishnu aspect; it is the sentient consciousness aspect of deity in form. I stated also that we would consider its expression in the world of phenomena, meaning by this the world of external appearance and of tangible forms.
The quality that emerges through the process of manifesting, and under the impulse of the divine Life, is love, which functions through the medium of the Law of Attraction, with the aim of producing an ultimate synthesis in consciousness. Let us not forget that the objective of our present evolutionary process is the unfoldment of conscious awareness. The entire process is directed towards that consummation.
Quality, in the last analysis, is neither more nor less than the nature of that awareness, and the response in terms of quality to sentient contact. Through the gradually unfolding mechanism of contact (itself the result of active quality, determining the life of the unit cells which compose the form) the range of contacts extends indefinitely, and the response of the living entity to contact becomes more vital, more understanding in its capacity, and more synthetically comprehended. This response develops in two directions:
- It leads to a comprehension of the response apparatus and to a wise use of the mechanism of contact.
- It leads also to an understanding of the response of the individual consciousness to the consciousness contacted. This is brought about through the medium of the response mechanism. This other response apparatus may be either more developed or less developed than the one that does the contacting.
It is this interplay between the consciousness using the mechanisms that confers an understanding of quality. This interplay confers an understanding of the activity underlying the appearance, and motivating it. Exoteric science enables the activity aspect of the phenomenal forms to be apprehended and studied, and all the many manifestations of the many schools of human thought, which enlarge through their researches the range of human knowledge, have the same objective. At the same time, they increase our capacity to grasp the intense activity of every form in every kingdom in nature, and of every atom and cell within those forms. Science has led us on from pinnacle to pinnacle of achievement, till today we are lost in a world of energies. We have been taught to picture to ourselves a world of vibrating points of force which constitute in the aggregate all forms of life, and which present to our astonished and bewildered intellects a planetary life which is the sum total of all known forms. Each form is a universe in itself, and all forms are alive, vibrating with divine activity. We use the word “energy” to express this activity, and beyond that we are as yet unable to pass. Energy is life, and energy is also death. Activity is to be sensed and known in the organic and in the inorganic, – a vast series of atomic lives built up into structure after structure and found to be in ceaseless motion. A vast series of living structures, built up into still greater and more inclusive forms, are all found, again, to be in equally ceaseless motion. These greater structures, in their turn, are found to be vibrant organisms, and so there unfolds before man’s conscious vision nothing but life and activity, naught but motion and energy, and always a coherence, an ordered purpose, a growing synthesis, a Plan, and a Will. To this, science sets its seal, for scientific knowledge is the indication of man’s response, through the collective response apparatus of humanity as a whole, to the mechanism of awareness of the great Life in which we live and move and have our being, the planetary Logos of our Earth.
The esoteric sciences carry us within the form or forms, and enable us to penetrate to the quality aspect. Students would do well to remember that occultism may be the study of forces, and that the occultist moves in the worlds of force, but these are also the worlds of quality and of those qualifying energies which are seeking to manifest through the world of appearances. As they achieve this, they will dominate the activity of the form units which constitute the phenomenal world. There are energies which lie behind the phenomena produced by the activity of the atomic structures; these are latent and unseen and often unfelt; they are subjective. The esoteric sciences have one purpose in view, and that is to produce the gradual emergence of these energies, so that the skilled occultist can eventually work in a dual yet unified world of force, and be the creative will which guides, blends and utilizes the world of appearances and the realm of qualities. These two types of active creative energies must be controlled by the creating Will or Life aspect so that they function as one.
Therefore the aspirant is taught to turn within; to study motives; to acquaint himself with the qualities which are seeking expression in the outer world through the medium of his outer mechanism. As he learns to do this, the nature of that outer world of mechanisms alters, and he increasingly becomes aware of the qualities struggling for expression behind the outer forms. Thus the range of his conscious contacts extends, and he passes (through scientific research) from an exoteric understanding of the world of phenomenal appearances to an esoteric comprehension of the world of qualities. Never forget, therefore, that this dual apprehension must be emphasized, and that as a man learns to “know himself,” he automatically learns to know the quality underlying all appearances. Look therefore for the quality everywhere. This is what we mean when we speak of seeing divinity on every hand, of recognizing the note sounded by all beings, and of registering the hidden motif of all appearing. The unawakened man or woman sees the form, notes its forms of activity, and “judges by appearances.” The awakening aspirant begins to sense some of the beauties that lie unrevealed behind all forms; the awakened disciple lays the focus of his attention upon the emerging world of qualities, and becomes steadily aware of color, of new ranges of sound, of an inner evolving and newer response apparatus which is beginning to enable him to contact the unseen, the intangible, and the unrevealed. He becomes aware of those subjective impulses which condition the quality of the life, and which are slowly and gradually revealing themselves.
- • The mineral kingdom has the quality of activity primarily emphasized, and its two extremes are the tamasic quality, or the static inert nature of the mineral world, and the quality of radioactivity, of radiation which is its beautiful and divinely perfected expression. The goal for all mineral atomic forms is this radioactive condition, the power to pass through all limiting and environing substances. This is initiation, or the entering into a state of liberation, for all mineral appearances, and the organizing of all forms in this kingdom under the influence of the seventh ray.
- • The vegetable kingdom has the quality of attractiveness, expressed in color, and its liberation, or its highest form of activity, is demonstrated by the perfume of its highest forms of life. This perfume is connected with its sex life, which has group purpose and which calls to its aid the initiating wind and the insect world. This is not just a pictorial way of portraying truth. The very nature of perfume, its purpose and intent, is to affect those agencies which will produce the spreading and the continuity of the life of the vegetable kingdom. The “aspirants” in the vegetable kingdom, and the most evolved of its forms, have beauty and perfume, and are susceptible to the hidden influences of Those to Whom is confided the initiating of the life-forms and their bringing to a desired perfection. Hence the influence of the sixth Ray of Devotion upon this kingdom, and the application of the Ray of Devotion which (symbolically expressed) “fixes the eye upon the sun; turns the life ever to the rays of warmth, and causes the blending of the colors and the glory of the perfumed radiance.”
- • The animal kingdom has the quality of growing instinctual purpose which – in its highest form – works out as the domesticity of the more evolved animals, and their devotion to man. Behind the appearance of the animals is to be found a steady orientation towards understanding, and a consequent gravitation towards the forms of life which evidence that which they desire. Hence the influence of the fifth Ray of Concrete Knowledge, which pours through the human family upon the third kingdom in nature. Man is the initiating factor here, and to man is committed the task of leading the animal kingdom towards liberation – a liberation into the fourth kingdom, for that is the sphere of its next activity. The vegetable kingdom is liberated into another evolutionary process altogether, and its lives pass into the so-called deva, or angel, evolution. Hence the wind and the insect world are its agents, just as man and the agency of water are the initiators of the animal world. The secret of release for the animal nature is hidden in the “watery nature;” this is the blood aspect, and in the shedding of the blood, esoterically understood, lies the clue to the liberation of the animal kingdom. Hence certain initiatory processes are working out on a large scale in the shedding of blood through the slaughter of the animal form of the human being in the Great War, for instance. In the war the blood of thousands was poured out upon the soil, and from the standpoint of living purpose, certain esoteric results have been achieved. This fact is a difficult one for man to understand, for his awareness is as yet primarily that of the form and not of the quality of the life. It is difficult for men to comprehend the divine purpose working out behind the evils of animal slaughter and the shedding of blood down the ages, prehuman and human. But through the “pouring out of that water which is of the color red” there is eventuating a liberation which will initiate the life of that kingdom into new states of consciousness and of awareness. The whole problem of slaughter, whether in the animal or the human kingdom, originated in events which occurred during the original “war in heaven,” when Michael and his angels were cast down and our planetary system came into being. Until a man’s consciousness is such that he can, through an inner mechanism as yet unevolved in the majority, respond to the planetary consciousness and “enter into the secrets of the Ancient of Days,” the problem of pain, of bloodshed, of war and of suffering must remain an inscrutable mystery. It will be solved – and this is the keynote of most importance – only when man has himself changed the initiating process for the animals from that of bloodshed to that of domesticity and of mutual love. When the mentality of the race is more developed, then man can, by arbitration and the right use of speech, settle all differences, and thus change the mode of animal initiation, whether this refers to the animal kingdom or to his own animal body.
- • In the fourth kingdom, the emerging quality is that aspect of synthetic love or understanding which is the intuition. This intuition is a quality of mental matter and of the “chitta” or mind stuff. Man is also intended to be radioactive; the incense or the perfume of his life must ascend, and thus attract the attention of the initiating factors which wait to lead him to liberation. These factors are the fire and the members of the fifth kingdom in nature. The growing purpose of his animal form must give place to the dynamic will of the spiritual entity, released from form limitations by the fire of life and of initiation. Thus he harmonizes in himself all ways of approach and of release, and all achievements, and synthesizes in his life the aspirations of the other three kingdoms.
Radioactivity, the perfume of the aspirant, the devotion to other human beings (the sublimation of domesticity), and the “shedding of blood” or the sacrifice of the life, the expression upon earth (the mineral kingdom) of the devotion and sex life of the vegetable kingdom, plus the sacrifice through blood of the animal kingdom, bring man to the portal of initiation. There the fire awaits him with its purifying uses, and thus earth, air, fire and water (the four elements) prepare him for the great liberation and for the release of that quality of synthetic apprehension of the underlying truth which we call the intuition. This is after all the response of the mechanism to the symbolic appeal of divine quality, expressed in the whole and seen as illumination. Thus the qualities emerge and appear in their full glory as man develops himself and unfolds within himself the needed apparatus of response, training himself to recognize the subjective realities or the divine qualities as they seek to manifest. The processes of manifestation produce results upon and in the gradually awakening consciousness of man.