by Torkom Saraydarian
Reviewed by Robert Constas
This is the book that makes very practical the teaching of Alice Bailey and the Tibetan Master on the stages of spiritual growth. Saraydarian makes the AB/Tibetan teaching on initiation come alive with clear and understandable descriptions of what the initiation process really is and what is needed to take the next step.
He dispels many of the glamours surrounding this topic, showing what the truth really is. The author presents a hope and vision that not only is initiation attainable, but also that we absolutely need to strive for it in order to fulfill our purpose and mission during this cycle of evolution. Initiation is the path to expansion of service in this world and beyond earth to other planetary schools, the university of the solar system and throughout our galaxy. Service and growth continue into higher and higher levels of existence and beingness. The author says that space is filled with invisible worlds in various densities of spirit-matter.
Initiation has a ceremonial aspect to it, but this is similar to a graduation ceremony. The student graduating already has achieved what there is to achieve at that level of knowledge. The ceremony only authorizes the graduate to proceed further along the path of higher education and to contact higher levels of instructors.
What I especially liked about Saraydarian’s presentation is that it made spiritual growth and initiations seem possible to achieve by every sincere disciple on the Path. Even so, the process requires very hard work and some of the grace from the higher worlds, especially as to timing. AB/Tibetan teaching states that the first and third initiations seem to develop as a natural growth process, but that the second and fourth initiations are painful and require hard work. It is encouraging to learn that all the suffering, bitterness, disappointment, rejection and loneliness that life often brings throughout our lifetimes prepares us to take the fourth initiation of total renouncement of the ego in the service of humanity. No matter where we are on the Path, every act of generosity, no matter how small, every sacrifice of time and energy for the sake of others – all this accumulates and enables us to complete the process of the fourth initiation.
It is useful to have some idea of where we are on the Path. That knowledge helps to focus on the next step ahead and to more efficiently and consciously to work on developing those qualities that are needed for the next level of achievement. Initiation in some respects is giving up one level of friends for a better group of friends and contacts that enable us to expand our service.
The author explains something that to my knowledge no author has ever previously mentioned. Our level of initiation may be blinded from our awareness for our own safety and mission in life. For example, if we knew that we were at a certain level it might make us have spiritual pride or make us spend too much time in spiritual study when we needed to spend most of our time in politics, education, science or finance. There is the danger of wanting so much to have experiences with the Higher Worlds that it might abstract us excessively from our duties and responsibilities in this world, thus making us inefficient in our service to humanity.
Saraydarian gives a clear overview and summary of the sixth through ninth initiations. Also included is an overview of the seven cosmic paths of evolution that start with the sixth initiation. This is summarized from The Rays and the Initiations.
Among all the theosophical and neo-theosophical books on this subject this is the foremost to begin with and of the most practical value. Ideally this book should be read before studying the AB/Tibetan book titled The Rays and the Initiations in order to obtain the greatest benefit from The Rays and the Initiations. Saraydarian’s book contains nothing about the rays, as does the AB/Tibetan book. Therefore, it is more understandable to someone unfamiliar with the Tibetan’s works.
I studied with Saraydarian for thirty years. This book of his has all that we will ever need to know about the process of initiation.
Robert Constas, M.D. is a board certified child and adolescent psychiatrist with the Phoenix Indian Medical Center in Arizona, USA. He has extensive experience with parapsychological phenomena, and the application of the Ageless Wisdom in the field of child and adolescent treatment and child rearing. He was raised in the Ageless Wisdom tradition and worked with Torkom Saraydarian beginning in the 1960’s.