Attributes of the disciple -- Devotion
by Aart Jurriaanse

Each individual, from whatever sphere of life, has some particular
devotion -- some purpose for which he lives, although there are those
to whom their life objective does not yet stand out clearly, and who
live rather aimlessly from day to day. Others vaguely discern some
nebulous goal, which for some persons becomes more distinctly
outlined as life advances and greater knowledge, and sometimes
wisdom, is being gained. To many this devotion is still purely of a
physical or emotional nature, and largely focused in the flesh, such as
satisfying sensual lusts, or a greed for money or possessions. Other
lives are again mainly emotionally centred, and devotion is displayed
as love of family, of popularity, pride of nation, love of animals, or a
combination of similar variations, to which a large part of the man's
energies may be devoted. Or the devotion may be lifted to mental
levels, and be exhibited as a love of science, philosophy or religion, to
which the physical, astral and mental energies may be dedicated.
In the case of the disciple there should also be devotion, but care
should be exercised to lift this from emotional to mental levels. The
inclination is to develop a personal devotion towards a Master, but this
should be superseded. The Masters do not want or need personal
devotion; all they are striving for is to direct the disciple's energies to
his specific task or service on behalf of humanity. An intelligent worker
who can walk independently in the light of his own soul is of far more
value to the Great Ones than a devoted follower of their personalities.
Care should be exercised that the devotion, to whatever high ideal it
may be consecrated, does not become a glamour, obscuring the wider
vision, and even leading to fanaticism. The necessary balance must
always be retained.

To summarize, it can therefore be said that devotion as an expression
of the personality is apt to engender fanaticism, which is separative,
unbalanced and frequently cruel. On the other hand devotion that is
expressed under influence of the soul will be evinced as inclusiveness
and loving understanding, and will correspond with the objectives of
the Plan as a whole, instead of placing undue emphasis on only some
limited aspect.


It might be of help to differentiate between the shades of meaning
attached to the words 'happiness', 'joy' and 'bliss', as used in the present
Happiness is interpreted as being the product of the emotions and is
therefore a personality reaction.
Joy denotes a deeper, inner reaction and is evoked by the soul.
Bliss is a spiritual effect and is that indescribable experience which is
only realized when the soul merges with the Monad, the Father, and is
therefore a sensation which lies beyond the conceptions of the average

Those who seek to live as souls will, however, have experienced what
is meant by joy, and the difference which exists between joy and
happiness. There is the joy of reaching the objective after struggle,
strain and pain; the joy of revelling in the Light after seemingly endless
struggling in the dark; the joy of achievement and subsequent
temporary peace, after striving and wrestling against opposing forces;
the joy of achieving soul contact with a kindred spirit; the joy of self-realization;
the joy of hours well spent in helping the fellow man, and
the solacing of a needy world; the joy of every selfless and non-acquisitive
action performed on behalf of others; the joy of being able
to distinguish the first faint outlines of the Plan, and the subsequent
even greater joy of contributing a small share towards its

Yes, the spiritual life is full of joy, and joy should be the keynote of the
disciple; the joy of the soul will make its presence felt even during
periods of profound personality distress and unhappiness. Joy lets in
the light, dispels glamour and misunderstanding, and evokes strength
for the task that lies ahead. Joy in the recognition of inner strength
leads to the tackling of tasks which previously seemed insuperable, and
ensures their successful accomplishment. Joyfulness therefore becomes
the hallmark of the server.

"Esoteric sense" is not a generally known expression, but is a useful
term to denote the power which is gradually unfolding in every disciple
endeavouring to live and function on subjective levels; it denotes that
inner contact and at-one-ment with the soul, which is manifested in the
outer life as goodwill and loving understanding; it is expressed as
wisdom in daily decisions; it becomes apparent in the capacity of
synthesis and of identification with all that breathes. It therefore
denotes that interior attitude of mind of the soul-infused individual
which can orient itself at will and at need in any direction.

By means of the esoteric sense the disciple gains complete control over
his own emotional life, and simultaneously also exerts a considerable
influence on those with whom life brings him into closer contact. It will
furnish the disciple with greater discrimination, and will accentuate his
sensitivity to impression, and will thus mould him into a more efficient
instrument in the hands of the Masters and in service of the Plan. It will
enable him to become a purer channel for the transfer of hierarchical
concepts, and to better clothe the inspired ideals with thought-matter to
make it more readily recognizable to those still moving in the everyday
world of men.

The esoteric sense must become part of the normal equipment of every
disciple. Actually it is but another way of expressing the degree to
which soul contact has already been established. Esoteric sense may be
promoted by steady spiritual orientation, by holding the attitude of the
Observer, and by study, meditation and service. The degree to which it
has been developed will also determine the disciple's true capacity for
invocative and evocative living.

Reticence and silence

It is essential that the disciple should display a measure of discreet
reticence with regard to his inner spiritual experiences. This is mainly
because comparatively there are still so few who are able to understand
these spiritual happenings, with the consequent danger of
misunderstandings. The position is of course quite different where co-workers
meet and where there is unity of thought; here spiritual matters
will be understood and may therefore be freely discussed.

As a general rule it is wise to retain silence with regard to mental work
that is still in the creative process; untimely words may tend to shatter
delicate thought-forms which are still in the formative stage, and the
work may thus be rendered abortive.

Instinctive reticence becomes part of the necessary equipment of all
who are struggling along the Path, but at the same time there should be
the discrimination to share knowledge and certain experiences with
fellow disciples.

The disciple should develop the judgement to recognize for himself the
stage that he has attained on the Path. Recognition of status is,
however, purely a personal matter; it is something that he should
accept, and for the rest he should keep silence and calmly proceed with
his activities. Generally speaking it may be regarded as axiomatic that
more harm is caused by injudicious speech than by undue reticence.

Aart Jurriaanse, wrote a number of compilations from the books of Alice A. Bailey. Among these are: Of Life and other worlds; Prophecies; Ponder on this; Serving Humanity; The Soul; The Quality of Life; and he is also the author of Bridges which is a Commentary on these teachings.   

"Almost anything you do [to help humanity] will seem insignificant, but it's very important that you do it."  Mahatma Gandi

Directory of articles by Aart Jurriaanse


 Top of page