In 1665, Moliere the great humanist French playwright, outraged French society with his play Don Juan, in which he recounts the story of a infamous serial womaniser who is ultimately dragged off to hell for his sins of debauchery. In fact, Moliere was forced to withdraw the play after only 15 performances because the religious authorities of the time accused him of attacking "the interests of heaven" and insulting the king, despite the fact Louis XVI attended the play and gave him a pension afterwards!
The character, Don Juan, despises all things religious and thumbs his nose at God at every opportunity. So when a beggar approaches him for money "for the love of God" Don Juan responds by giving him a coin and grandly saying, "I give it to you for the love of humanity".
As one considers the story of Don Juan, one cannot help but think that God had the last laugh as it is clear that he was closer to the heart of God than he thought, as we know loving humanity is the same as loving God.
It was the love of humanity which prompted our solar angels to "descend" in Cancer to "clear the ocean of matter which flows around the soul of man" so that we too might achieve a similar level of consciousness that they have as serving souls, and become functioning world saviours in Pisces, esoterically described as "the fish who swim free in the ocean of matter". i
This sacrificial service is expressed beautifully in the Old Commentary as follows:
Those who are demanding to be saved have cried aloud. Their voices penetrate into the formless world and there evoke response.
"Those who in distant aeons have pledged themselves to save and serve respond. Their cry too rings forth and, ringing, penetrates into the dark and distant places within the worlds of form.
"And thus a vortex is established and kept alive by that constant dual sound. And then a touch is made and for a space and during time, the two are one-the Saving Souls and the Units to be served.
"Slowly the vision of the Saving One becomes a light which guides the Crying Ones into the place of light.
The Wisdom teachings suggest that we consider this dynamic in terms of the law of rebirth and reincarnation although they are misleading terms in themselves as cyclic impulsion, and intelligent purposeful repetition and conscious in-breathing and out-breathing would describe more accurately this cosmic process.…….Esoterically speaking, the point of greatest interest lies in the fact that it is group (emphasis mine) rebirth which is taking place all the time and that the incarnation of the individual is only incidental to this greater happening. This has been largely ignored or forgotten because of the intense and selfish interest in personal experience and living, evidenced in the speculative details anent individual return given in the current so-called occult books, most of which are largely inaccurate and certainly unimportant." ii
The fact that reincarnation is a group event is the reason why Cancer is regarded as the birthplace into the life of form, the door to physical incarnation (as opposed to Aries which deals with the spiritual incarnation) because "it is the sign where humanity, as a whole integrated unit, is born and mass instinctual consciousness comes into being". iv
In order to understand this aspect of reincarnation, it is important that we have an intelligent understanding of the Plan of God.
The Plan is the embodiment of spiritual purpose and direction for human and world evolution and it is described in different ways. Some see it as a process of achieving international unity and brotherhood. Others may see as the highest expression of God's light, love and power, while others present it as the force of evolution that compels the development of consciousness. Lucille Cedercrans says the Plan is "a state of consciousness referred to as The Christ. This is the Plan for humanity, the evolution of each individual member of humanity into conscious identification with The Christ, the development or unfoldment via experience and self-initiated effort of every separated unit of consciousness into the Being of Christ". Alice Bailey describes it as:
- the illumination of the mind
- the revelation of love
- the evocation of the will.
and she notes in her books that human history reflects our response to those goals.
While countless books and articles have been written to enhance our understanding of the Plan, briefly it concerns the bringing together of the Mother and Father or Matter and Spirit aspects of Deity in a Divine Marriage by way of the Son or Consciousness. Furthermore, it is through humanity that the Divine Plan must work out and this is one of the key points of revelation that is gradually developing within the human consciousness as it steps forward and actively and consciously manifests its divinity within the divine circulatory flow of energy (as opposed to the past when it actively fought against the divine tide).
This process is undertaken by groups of souls which come into incarnation cyclically and together in order to further the Plan and permit that interplay to proceed between spirit and matter which makes manifestation possible and which extends the working out of the divine ideas as they exist in the Mind of God. As the Plan becomes more familiar in its objectives and its mode of functioning upon the outer plane of life, we shall see a complete change in the presentation of the teaching concerning the Law of Rebirth, part of which will be an understanding of the demonstration of the Plan as it works out in groups, and a greater understanding of the energy of Cancer.
Other spiritual teachers have articulated the tie up between the Plan of God, evolution and the collective consciousness and the new impetus the synergy of the three is receiving.
In 1937, the French Jesuit palaeontologist, Teilhard de Chardin wrote the following, "there is now incontrovertible evidence that Mankind has just entered upon what is probably the greatest period of change that has ever been known. The ills from which we are suffering have their seat in the very foundations of terrestrial thought. Something is happening to the whole structure of human consciousness. A fresh kind of life is starting. In the face of such an upheaval, and actually shaken by it, no-one can remain indifferent. Swept along by the tide of affairs, what can we do to see clearly and to act decisively?....... vii
Along with Sri Aurobindo in India, Teilhard outlined the significance of the new story of evolution; an evolution which is inextricably identified and one with the sacred. Both men arrived at the same basic vision of the unfolding of the universe as both a physical and spiritual evolution, the consciousness of which has profound significance for the future of humanity.
At the same time as these two great men were developing new paradigms with respect to evolution and humanity's role in the evolutionary process, Alice Bailey and Lucille Cedercrans were re-presenting the Ageless Wisdom teachings for the new age. In her last book The Rays and the Initiations, Alice Bailey spoke about changes in the evolutionary process that were the result of the progress made by humanity and the inflow of Will energy from Shamballa as well as the progress made by Sanat Kumara Himself made as He journeys the Cosmic Path. This resulted in "reorganisations in the Plans at Shamballa and, in a unique conference, in that far greater Council Chamber over which our Solar Logos presides, greater opportunity was presented…….." viii The changes were "a cause of deep joy to the Hierarchy and the great lives in the Council Chamber of Shamballa, for they indicate the strength and potency of Sanat Kumara's success and the incredible progress made in the consciousness of humanity made as a consequence…………" ix
It is not just spiritual writers who are drawing attention to the new consciousness that is manifesting in humanity. Founder of the Communitarian Network, Amitai Etzioni says in his book From Empire to Community, "economist and Nobel laureate Robert Fogel shows that throughout history, periods of affluence are followed by what he calls Great Awakenings, which entail an examination of life's purposes and their priority over instrumental matters, and he predicts that the world is due for another one in the near future. Accordingly, we would expect that more and more people, especially in affluent parts of the world, are likely to realize that the pursuit of wellbeing through ever higher levels of consumption is Sisyphian, and that when it comes to acquiring material goods-where enough is never enough-the project in the end is inherently unsatisfying." x
Etzioni goes on to say that , "in China it is now fashionable to refer to a 'moderately well-off society," a concept drawn from Confucius. It denotes a level of material success in which basic needs are sated with something left to spare, but contains no ambition for still-higher levels of consumption. Instead, the ambition is to move toward another concept of the great philosopher-a great community: a society without crime, selfishness, war, or social divisions. The concept far from dominates Chinese thinking, but the very fact that it is popular and promoted by the government shows the appeal of a project different from maximizing wealth, work, and consumption." xi
People like Bailey, Cedercrans, de Chardin, Sri Aurobindo and Etzioni help to create the necessary consciousness within humanity for the coming changes to be precipitated and embodied by humanity. Indeed, this is the specific task of all disciples and one of the ways to do this is to promote the ideals of truth that will lead humanity into the future by helping to inform public opinion.
Once again, the energies of Cancer assist in this process as they symbolise the will of the mass which in turn conditions mass response and mass psychology. This takes place through the mechanism of public opinion and Alice Bailey indicates the potential work for disciples when she says, "a trained and enlightened public opinion is an unknown thing on a world-wide scale, though enlightened groups are rapidly appearing. Out of public opinion will emerge the mass will-to-good, inherent in every individual; for this humanity must work and wait". xii
We have seen ample evidence of public opinion becoming more enlightened in recent years (eg protests against war, world hunger, greed, political selfishness etc) and can take heart that official policy can be changed as a result of organised and intelligent public comment.
While we must be careful not to overstate the importance of public opinion in the rise of the new global consciousness, Etzioni has some encouraging comments, "To argue that there are evolving trans-national shared moral understandings that in turn affect what the public is willing to accept as legitimate acts and institutions is not to suggest that global public opinion is all-powerful or even that it is highly effective. Military force still plays a key role and can be applied in defiance of worldviews. Economic factors also play a key role, as evidenced when national governments change direction after they are promised large amount of loans, grants, foreign aid, tariffs, concessions, and the like. Still, public opinion is one significant factor that affects how much normative power a nation-state commands and which acts and institutions are considered legitimate. Flying in the face of this opinion has both short- and long-term costs. Moreover, if the developments of global institutions follow their current course, the effect of world public opinion on the future direction of global public affairs will grow further in importance.
"Followers of what might be called the Madison Avenue school believe that public opinion can be manipulated through a series of clever ads, Voice of America broadcasts, and colorful brochures. Advocates of this view for instance "believe that blitzing Arab and Muslim countries with Britney Spears videos and Arabic-language sitcoms will earn Washington millions of new Muslim sympathizers. Ads can be used to change people's attitudes from favoring one brand of consumer goods to another, say from favoring Pepsi to Coke, especially when the difference between them is minimal and many millions of dollars are spent on such campaigns. But when it comes to moral issues, many factors drive public opinion, including religious upbringing, education, communal pressures, and independent media sources. True public opinion sometimes can be misled and misdirected. However, a superpower, or for that matter any power that proceeds on the assumption that it can shape public opinion by Madison Avenue devices, often will find to it chagrin that people's views have an independent force of their own. xiii
Alice Bailey tells us that the 1st ray will energy will make itself felt through the voice of the masses of the people throughout the world through the expression of sound just as consciousness or love does through light. She tells us that the sound of the nations has been heard as a mass sound for the first time and the voice is unmistakably expressive of the values which embody human betterment; it demands peace and understanding between men and it refuses - and will steadily refuse - to permit certain drastic things to happen. This "voice of the people," which is in reality the voice of public opinion is, for the first time and with no recognition of the fact, being determined by the Will of God.
Educating public opinion is one of the foremost tasks of disciples. And if we wonder how to go about it, Cedercrans adds that there is no consciousness on the planet today that cannot accept the new teaching but it is up to disciples to create suitable forms for this to be understood. She notes that this activity is not only a 3rd ray activity but it is also a 1st ray activity as well for the process of creating new forms for the new consciousness is ceremonial magic as ceremonial magic that is behind every tradition that exists on the planet. We are urged not to draw away from forms as they are the expression for the soul but rather we must use them to reach all levels of conscious and in so doing educate and uplift public opinion according the will of God and the plan for humanity.
According to de Chardin, every member of the universe has always participated in the construction of the cosmos but the significant difference now is that we have the awareness that we are doing so. That is our glory and significance as human beings. And it is also our divine responsibility. As one intelligently studies the ageless wisdom, new science and modern day prophets, it is clear that we are not an accidental event occurring by chance on one of the smallest stars in the galaxy. Humanity represents the culmination of the whole movement of matter and life, and is now consciously working towards continuing the work of creation with one heart, one mind and one soul.
As we close, let us consider the prophetic and hopeful words of de Chardin:
"Progress, if it is to continue, will not happen by itself. Evolution, by the very mechanism of its syntheses, is constantly acquiring greater freedom. In practice, what steps must we take in relation to this forward march? I see two, which can be summarised in five words: a great hope, in common.
a. First, a great hope. This must be born spontaneously in every generous soul in face of the anticipated work, and it also represents the essential impetus without which nothing will be done. A passionate love of growth, of being, that is what we need. Down with the cowards and the sceptics, the pessimists and the unhappy, the weary and the stagnant. Life is ceaseless discovery. Life is movement.
b. In common. On this point also the history of Life is decisive. There is only one way which leads upwards; the one which, through greater organisation, leads to greater synthesis and unity. Here again, then, we must leave behind the pure individualists, the egoists, who expect to grow by excluding or diminishing their brothers-individually, nationally or racially. Life is moving towards unification. Our hope will only be operative if it is expressed in greater cohesion and human solidarity. xiv
As one surveys the future of humanity, and shares a great hope in common, one cannot help but identify with that great lover of humanity, Henry David Thoreau, when he said, "if I seem to boast more than is becoming, my excuse is that I brag for humanity rather than for myself".
May we all work together to give humanity something to brag about as we manifest the Divine Plan of God during our coming years of service and usher in the new age of unity, peace and love.