Dark Robes, Dark Brothers by Hilarion

(Please buy the book, it is very good.)

Chapter One
The Background

The purpose of this small booklet is to show the nature and the purpose of what has been called the Dark Brotherhood, and to discuss some of the techniques which they are permitted to utilize in order to draw human souls away from their purpose. The dark ones do not seek to cast any soul "into hell", as the popular religious notion has it. Rather, they act as testing agents for the race of man, as forces whose task it is to weed out from among the human flock the souls whose dedication, wisdom and insight are not developed enough to allow them to move forward into the higher ground of spiritual achievement.

This can be compared to the effect of the wolf on a herd of caribou. Among the caribou are the old, the sick, the congenitally weak specimens. The wolf attacks only these defective caribou, and would never think of wasting its energy trying to chase or bring down healthy specimens. By weeding out the weaker ones, the wolf ensures that the herd remains strong.

So it is with the Dark Brotherhood. They know that many human souls would not be taken in by their seductions, that many individuals can perceive clearly whenever attempts are made to draw them away from the light. But they know too that multitudes of incarnated individuals on the earth have allowed the attractions of pleasure and materialism to sway them, have permitted the negative emotions of hatred, resentment, grief, worry and self-pity to cloud their days. And it is against these stragglers that most of the Dark Brotherhood's efforts are directed. They can only influence those who allow them the necessary access, and they would not waste their energy on souls who remain firm in the truth.

We will speak first about the origin of the entities which we call the Dark Brothers. The early phase of the human race is far different from that which is believed by scientists. Man thinks that he evolved upwardly from unicellular creatures which appeared in the primaeval swamps of a slowly cooling earth many hundreds of millions of years ago. It is true that a number of the simpler animal life-forms were allowed to develop through natural selection from such primitive beginnings, but we stress that the evolutionary process as outlined by Darwin and others is an extremely limited technique for the development of life-forms. Almost all of the forms that evolved through natural selection from unicellular creatures are now extinct, and those that have continued to the present are mainly of the lizard variety - all being cold-blooded creatures of relatively simple metabolism and with no prospect of ever evolving into forms capable of the emotional or mental experiences of man.

By contrast, all warm-blooded life-forms on this planet have been "seeded" onto the surface of the planet and originate   in other parts of the galaxy. In many cases, specimens were deliberately brought to earth in space vehicles, and left to procreate on their own. This was the case for most of the early root-races of man, although in at least one case a root-race was developed on the earth itself by genetic engineers who were from another star-system, using certain techniques now recognized by man and called "cloning".

We have digressed briefly in order to sketch the real beginnings of man on this planet, because it is important to realize that man has been the recipient of many additions and inputs from other levels and other parts of this galaxy. One of the most significant additions to humanity occurred hundreds of thousands of years ago, when entities from a higher plane - an astral one - came to the earth, took on certain - physical forms, and interbred with man as he then was. As a result of this miscegenation between the groups, a number of mutations occurred in the offspring, some times giving rise to creatures which would be looked upon now as quite fantastical. Among the mutations was one change which had extremely profound consequences for the human race: this was what Edgar Cayce referred to as the acquisition of the soul. To explain that concept, we must point out that, until this time of cross-breeding, the human group did not know death. This too will seem quite incredible to many readers, but it may help to understand that mankind then did not have the same dense corporeality as the animals did and still do. It was not necessary to go through an aging process similar to that which man now knows, because the bodies were capable of deriving from the ambience itself all the necessary energies to sustain life indefinitely. This was aided to a considerable extent by the -presence, in the atmosphere of the earth at the time, of a large quantity of the inert gas Xenon amounting to some 3% of the total. The rejuvenation of all bodies was also made possible by the fact that the human race was not then subject to the many negative emotional states which are now common. Greed, self-pity, hatred, anger, remorse - all of these were unknown. The damage which these negative emotions do to present physical bodies is incalculable. If man only understood that the aging and premature death now so prevalent is largely due to his negative emotions, he would surely make some attempt to stop them. But humanity has blinded itself to this truth, as to so many others. Most individuals think it is "right" to bear resentment against someone they believe has harmed them, that they ought to hate someone who hates them, and that they have every justification to feel sorry for themselves, or to worry excessively, or to grieve when parted from a loved one - never realizing that not a single positive effect can ever flow from such negative emotional states. For example, not only does hatred not harm or debilitate one's "enemy", it actually causes damage to the one doing the hating, while feeding strength to the opponent. The only way to disarm one's so-called enemy is to love him, for only in this way can the feud be sapped of the emotion that was feeding it. Without the negative feed-back, the enmity disappears for want of sustenance. So it is too with the other dark emotions: all of these harm the person harboring them; none of them produces any positive result whatever.

Again we have digressed, but we did not wish to miss the opportunity to stress the true explanation of man's physical ills, in the hope that some readers of this small book will be encouraged to change the patterns of negativity and despair with which their lives are marked. We have said previously that one of the most significant results of the time of cross-breeding between man and the group which came to the earth from the astral planes was the acquisition by man of a soul. This requires a further explanation, relating to the idea of permanence.

One of the qualities which is sought by all entities through the experience of incarnation on the physical plane is the ability to exist apart from any need for a body. This ability was not possessed by individual human beings at the epoch in question. It was a characteristic of the human family as a whole, but not of the individual fragments into which- the human life-stream had divided itself. In order to allow the individual fragments to acquire this quality of permanence without a physical body, there had first to be an experience of the body itself. By living for an extended period in a physical body (even one of less density than the present vehicle), the individual fragments of the human life-stream would learn to gather their essence, their uniqueness, around the body itself - in a sense to rectify their individual essence with reference to the physical body. It was intended that the human life-stream - which prior to its appearance on the earth as man was far more "amalgamated", far more homogenous and blended together than it is now - should learn through this initial phase to differentiate itself into separate but coherent individuals. Up until the time of the cross-breeding already mentioned, the process had not been completed. If the different fragments of the human life-stream had given up their physical bodies simultaneously, they would all have been drawn back together into a single unit of spirit-stuff, because they would not have acquired the necessary self-picture or self-realization to enable them to remain apart from each other.

The matter can be compared to the physical substance, water. If a cup of water is tossed high into the air, it will disperse into thousands of individual droplets and come down to earth as a spray. But if all these droplets were again to be collected in another container, they would amalgamate into a single mass of water, and thus lose their individuality.

However, if during the trajectory of rising and falling, a cold blast of air should suddenly freeze the individual droplets into particles of ice, then they would not merge together when again collected. It is a process comparable to that freezing into ice which was intended to take place for the human life-stream.

The parallel can be carried a step further. The freezing of the droplets into ice particles causes them to become colder. In an analogous sense, the first effect of the "freezing" of individual human fragments was to make them emotionally colder toward each other. The warmth of emotional affection and love would have promoted a "melting" of the now more rigid self-ness of each individual, and there fore this had to be avoided until a stronger cast of individuality could be moulded.

As the aeons passed, the individuality of each fragment did become stronger, but only in the last few thousands of years has it solidified - to the point where it is no longer dangerous to allow true love and affection to flower between members of the human family. That is why the major teaching of the most recent Way-Showers, including Jesus of Nazareth, has been that of Love for all. But we have got ahead of our story, for we have not explained in detail how the step of "freezing" the individual fragments of the human life-stream was accomplished. It is this process which has been called the "gift of the soul".

When the cross-breeding between the human and the other group produced offspring with a parent in - each group, the offspring all had the one capability which human beings then lacked: the facility to remain focused and individualized without the aid of the physical body. This was due to the fact that the entities that ensiled the offspring were not part of the human life-stream, but rather were beings from another star system who had asked for and received permission to incarnate on the earth through the mutant bodies that were then created.

For reasons which can now be explained, a decision was then taken by the guides of the human life-stream - to allow a speeding up of the individualizing process for human beings, to bring them quickly to the point where they could exist apart and separate from their physical bodies. One of the reasons was to allow the beginning of the reincarnation scheme, in which human entities would live repeated lives in different bodies and would sojourn in the astral realms between earthly lives. However, until each human entity became capable of retaining a separate existence   apart from the physical body, without allowing itself to be drawn back and absorbed by the life-stream as a whole, it was not possible to allow the death experience to begin. And of course, without death, rebirth into the physical level could not take place.

The reason for wishing to initiate the death/rebirth pattern was related to the various effects which the astral group was having upon mankind, both during and after the cross-breeding. These entities were of many levels in terms of their understanding of the cosmic laws, and some of them were extremely base in vibration, motivated solely by selfish concerns. These latter proceeded to teach to the more innocent human group many techniques relating to the manipulation of others, hypnotism, and selfish pursuits - so that the original purity of mankind was rapidly becoming debased. It was recognized by humanity's guides that the only way to short-circuit this downward spiral which had been initiated by the astral group was to cut off the physical lives of men through death, to take them into the astral realms for higher teachings and a purging away of the dross of selfishness and materialism resulting from the physical existence just ended, and then to arrange for rebirth into the physical plane with the loss of complete memory regarding the earlier lives.

Once the decision was taken, it remained to decide how the necessary additional individuating force could be applied to mankind. Because of the part which the fallen astral entities had played in the Temptation of man, it was decided that a portion of each of the ones who had engineered the debauchery would be removed from them, and then distributed among all of the human beings, in proportions which were just sufficient to allow each human entity to hold itself together as an independent unit. Although this distribution did succeed in bolstering the self-picture of humans to the necessary degree, it also had a negative effect: by incorporating into each human being a small part of one of the fallen beings, there was planted in each human a seed of negativity that could, unless purified and cleansed, lead to a downward spiral for that human entity.

The plan was explained fully to the human group before it was implemented, and all human entities agreed. It was promised that, in order to compensate for the addition of the negative "seeds" to mankind, other members of the astral group ones that had not taken part in the cross breeding - would act as guides and guardians for human beings up until the end of the reincarnation arrangement. Among the astral beings whose vibrations were particularly low were several that could not be fragmented in the manner just described. They were the main instigators of the debauchery and the evil teachings that were conveyed to mankind, and for the part they played, the karmic burden was very heavy. These beings were allowed to "serve" the advancement of the human race in another way: by directing a Brotherhood whose duty it would be to try again and again to tempt man away from purity and spiritual advancement. The function of these entities would be to draw the weaker specimens off the path, so that those who remained strong could constitute a group of uniformly dedicated entities - who had passed through the tests of selfishness and materialism and had won. The Brotherhood is that which we have called the Dark Brotherhood.

Although the worst of the fallen astral beings did not contribute fragments to the individuating of the human race, there were others whose vibrations were also extremely low, and who did contribute. There was then a problem as to how to decide which of the human group would receive these particularly dark fragments. It was realized that any who allowed such darkness into themselves ran a greater risk of failure because of the darkness within. It was decided   that any who volunteered to accept the darkest fragments   would be helped in two ways: 1) they would also receive a fragment from one of the astral beings who had not fallen and Who had remained pure, and 2) they would be given special help throughout their series of incarnations.

There are still human beings on the earth now who were these special volunteers. They are generally those who appear to have more "essence" or "spirit" than others. Often they are responsible for the greatest good - and the greatest evil. Some among them lost the battle which they had assumed, and became the worst of men. Others succeeded, and became the best.

The Black Brotherhood drew its members mainly from the astral entities who had fallen but some of them are souls who were originally human, who had received the powerful dark fragments along with the light, and who had allowed the temptations of materialism and selfishness to draw them into the downward spiral. They had enough unified essence (as a result of the extra contributions) to remain individualized even in the very difficult vibrations where the Dark Brotherhood are confined - an environment which most human souls could not bear. We have mentioned the confinement of the Dark Brother hood, and this will be explained in the next chapter.

Chapter Two
Where They Are

There are many regions in the astral realms which are distinct from one another. Some levels are full of light and the warmth of spiritual wisdom; others are permeated by the darkness of despair and the chill of hatred and revenge. The latter regions are small in comparison with the former, and are the locations where the coarsest souls and entities are either drawn or confined.

The darker levels are all akin to the earth plane in vibration. Because of this vibrational similarity, the influence of the dark inhabitants upon those in incarnation on the earth is particularly strong. For example, many souls who die after a life of drunkenness and debauchery are attracted to the lowest of the astral areas, and from there can influence and, in a sense, obsess those who are still alive.

Their victims are only those who suffer from the same weaknesses, and who frequent bars, brothels and other locations of coarseness and debauch. The discarnate souls attach themselves to their victims, from the astral side, and are enabled to participate vicariously in the old habits by urging these unfortunates to indulge as they also had once done.

However such human souls are not confined to the lowest and darkest astral levels. If at any time they are able to raise their vibrations and spiritual insight high enough to gain access to the lighter and warmer levels, then they are welcomed into those levels. We stress here that the matter is automatic. The darkened soul of low vibration literally could not gain access to the higher astral realms while he remains at a base vibration. To place him in such a high frequency would cause him great pain and suffering - due to the mismatch between his basic nature and that of the higher astral realm. Therefore, he would immediately return to the darker abodes, where the pain is less. It is only by raising one's vibrations to match those at the high er astral levels that any soul can gain access to them.

In the case of the Dark Brotherhood, however, there is an important difference. The entities in that brotherhood are able to shield themselves from the pain of existing in a field of light and love, because of certain mental techniques which are known to them. These techniques would allow them to have access to all of the astral realms as well as to the physical plane, if there were not some law restraining their movements. There is such a law, and it had to be decreed because of the danger which these entities represented to the vulnerable human souls on the earth plane and those sojourning between lives on the astral. In the case of these dark entities, a superior force was brought into play which normally does not permit their free movement, but which can be suspended under certain circumstances. This force fully restrains all of the dark brothers, and is such that they cannot annul it. We have spoken of the suspension of the restraining force under particular circumstances, and we now wish to explain this concept further.

Previously in this dissertation we pointed out that the Dark Brothers had an important function to fill with regard to the human race, namely to test and weed out the weaker specimens: those without the resolve and insight to allow them to advance to higher spiritual realms by increasing their vibrations. We emphasize that, at the time of the setting up of the Dark Brotherhood, human beings were by no means all equal in characteristics. Some had developed great wisdom and insight through the efforts put forth in the long experience since their beginning on the earth; others had never bothered to investigate the purpose and goal of their sojourn in the material plane, and were possessed of very little insight or discrimination. The function of the Dark Ones was and is to facilitate the division between those wishing and able to advance and those who have doomed themselves to failure.

In order to allow the Dark Brotherhood to carry out its function, it is necessary to allow its members under certain conditions - to gain access to other planes and regions that are normally denied them. The permission, however, must be properly requested and then granted. The matter is never solely up to the Dark Brothers themselves. When the Dark Brotherhood asks to be allowed into a given plane, it must present its reasons, and it must offer something in return to the White Brotherhood, which is the broad term defining the Spiritual Hierarchy of this planet. For example, we at this level are a part of the White Brotherhood.

Generally, any specific request coming from the Dark Brotherhood and which involves actions or access normally not allowed them, must be accompanied by an offer of equivalent advantage for the White Brotherhood. These offers are then considered by the Hierarchy, which may or may not give its assent to the exchange. The final decision is made at a very high plane, effectively beyond the level of any commitment to one side or the other. To be specific with an example, there was a point during the early development of this channel, back when it was still largely a pendulum technique, that the Dark Brotherhood decided to attempt to destroy the channel. They knew that it was our plan to upgrade the channel into a telepathic one, and they knew too that we had planned to write several books through this instrument. At one of the meetings between the White and the Dark groups, held usually every full moon, the Dark Brother who was then the spokesman proposed that they be given access to the channel exclusively for a period of three weeks, so that they could attempt to steer the channel away from his spiritual direction. In return they offered to allow us to speak directly through several of their channels, thus giving us the opportunity of affecting a number of souls who had allowed themselves to become mesmerized by certain earth personalities who were of negative purpose. We had no concern over the dedication of our contact, and for this reason we accepted the offer at our level - even though we knew the odds against fully rescuing the trapped souls were great. However, the final determination had to be made from the higher level mentioned before, and therefore the plan was submitted for a decision. The exchange was allowed, and as a result, the pendulum channel was handed over to the Dark Brotherhood to do with what they wished, without informing our contact. The agreement stipulated that the Dark Brotherhood could not do any thing to the substance of the channel, i.e. the fine material from which the link was at that time forged. They could only act through the information which the channel carried. In order to protect the various bodies of our contact from the negative vibrations available in the astral region of confinement for the Dark Brothers, a filter was attached to the linking conduit along which the information travelled.

At first, our contact was confused by the answers which were being given. The Dark Brotherhood attempted initially to sound like us, but could not fully accomplish that deception. After a few days, it occurred to our contact that the control of his channel might have shifted, and so he asked directly the nature of the source then manipulating the other end. It had been agreed that in answer to a direct question, the Dark Brothers would have to admit to their identity, and this occurred.

We were interested to observe that, rather than simply cease to use his channel, our contact decided to take advantage of the opportunity to learn as much as he could about the Dark Brothers, by asking questions of the one who was responsible for the other end of the link. Because the Dark Brothers realized that there was now no hope of succeeding in their attempt to steer him away from the light, they went along with his wishes and provided all of the information he wanted. Our contact had rightly-concluded that the turning over of his channel to the Dark Brothers had been part of an agreement of some kind, and assumed that at a later point the link would be re-established with us. This did happen some three weeks later, but in the meantime many pages of notes had been collected through the willingness of the dark entity to co-operate.

Another instance of an exchange between Dark and Light Brotherhoods is recounted in Other Kingdoms, in relation to a letter which our contact attempted to write to another person who had been channeling the messages of a mischievous and malevolent entity belonging to the Dark Brotherhood. The entity was one who had been responsible for so much pain and destruction at the time of the Temptation of humanity, that it had been forced to undergo the suppression of its own mental faculty. It is thus incapable of rational thought by itself, and can only think clearly when it has attached itself to the mind of someone in incarnation who has allowed it in. This parasitic arrangement had been in effect for some years by the time the victim became aware of the writings through this channel. Because of a similarity between the name to which these writings are attributed and the name claimed by the evil entity, the entity's victim decided to send to our contact certain of the writings which the dark brother had transmitted. After weeks of receiving this unsolicited information, our contact finally decided to write to the other channel and explain his misgivings about the information coming through.

When the evil entity became aware of the plan to write such a letter, it immediately petitioned for permission to make a direct attempt to stop him, requiring the right to invade the home in which he lives. This request was considerable, and amounted to more than is usually either asked for or granted. Because of what was being asked, the White Brotherhood required a substantial offer in return. We are not permitted to explain what was offered, but it was accepted, and has allowed us to reach many thousands of souls which we otherwise would not have been able to influence. Again in this instance we were not concerned about our contact. Even if the entity had managed to put a halt to the letter, we were certain that it would not be able to deflect our contact from his path. In the end, our contact was able to complete the letter, after commanding the entity, in the name of the Christ, to begone. The remaining details are available in the book, Other Kingdoms.

In the next two chapters, we will describe the main areas of influence which the Dark Brotherhood exerts upon those incarnate on the earth.

Chapter Three
Preying Upon the Average Person

The influence which the Dark Brothers have upon average individuals is very widespread. It reaches from the depths of the depravity which is found in brothels and drinking dens, all the way to the boardrooms of large companies and the highest levels of government.

In essence, what the Dark Brothers are able to do is to fan into life the red embers which were taken into each human being at the time when the "gift of permanence" was conveyed. This we have already explained. Because the gift entailed adding to each human entity part of the essence of one of the fallen beings, these same beings, now of the Dark Brotherhood, are readily able to tune themselves to the vibrations of any human soul that has allowed itself to be colored strongly by the negative qualities of the "seed" which was taken in.

Through this attunement between a human being and a Dark Brother, a magnification of the effect of that negative seed can take place. This is the origin of the concept that, just as each human soul has its guardian angel, so too it has its own "demon" or fallen angel. Strictly speaking this is not true, since the essence of a given one of the fallen beings is distributed between a large number of humans. However the notion that a given human soul is more susceptible to the influence of one particular evil entity than of others is in general true, for the reason that we have now explained.

When the plan to distribute fragments of the fallen beings among humans was adopted, it was expected that the human entities would strive to purify and cleanse the dark seeds that were then implanted. Many have indeed accomplished this purification, and such individuals are far less susceptible to the whisperings of the Dark Brothers than are their fellows who have never attempted to eradicate the darkness within.

The whisperings we have just mentioned fall generally into three categories. Each attempts to spur the human soul toward a particular action or thought which leads away from soul-advancement, and which, followed far enough, would lock that human being into a downward spiral from which it could not escape.

The first category we wish to discuss relates to violence, aggression and loss of temper. In its ultimate manifestation, this category of influence brings war on a large scale. It is not an inherent part of the human make-up, as originally created, to feel the hostility and hatred that are now seen so often in the world. These feelings have been introduced due to the combined effect of the dark seeds taken in at the time of the "gift of permanence", together with the influence of the planet which man calls Mars. We have already explained, in The Nature of Reality, that the red planet harbors an immense thought-form of hatred and aggression which can strongly overshadow thoughts and events on the earth whenever it comes to a close approach to this planet. These two factors, spurred by the constant efforts of the Dark Brotherhood to fan the flames of bitterness and hostility between men, have been sufficient to allow warfare and violence on an unprecedented scale to sweep over this earth. In some countries, notably Iran and Iraq, the hostile attitude has put its foul roots down into the very heart of the nation, darkening almost every citizen with its poison. There is little hope that the bloodshed and horror can be stopped in countries such as these. Only in the final death throes of the evil world-system will the inhabitants of those unfortunate lands perceive the wrongness of their ways. But by then, it may be too late to snatch them from destruction.

The second category of temptation relates to the idea of the self. While it was always intended that humanity should develop a strong and stable image of the self, there was never any intention that such development should lead to a permanent coldness between humans. Nor was there the aim to allow the selfishness now rampant on the earth to permit one soul to control or manipulate others for purely personal reasons. Vain, glory, pride, haughtiness, and other manifestations of selfishness have developed only since men learned to think of themselves as better than others, more deserving, more powerful, or whatever. These attitudes poison the relationships between souls, and lead to permanent estrangement - producing a coldness and distance which can last over many lives in the joint experiences of souls who have allowed this to happen.

The last category we wish here to discuss relates to materialism. This is a very broad topic, but can be summed up under two headings: possessions and atheism. The lust for material possessions has been abetted by the rich life-style of twentieth century living, at least for countries in the west. However, even in the so-called "have-not" lands, there is a great desire for material possessions among those who have been exposed to the kinds of goods which are available in other places. This arises because, in most cases, the souls who are born into the have-not countries are there because, among other reasons, they must learn not to covet material things for their own sake. When these individuals again see the kinds of goods that might be available, they re-kindle the old covetous streak which they have brought over from a previous incarnation, and they suffer because their desire to possess these things cannot be fulfilled.

The idea that atheism is related to materialism may seem strange to some, but perhaps we can explain by pointing out that the surest way to lose sight of the higher realities is to fasten one's attention on the things of the earth to an extent that one forgets the truth that the material possession is only one realm of experience, and that earth life is but a passing phase lived on a plane which is not really the "home" of the human race. If the mind becomes too obsessed with things and possessions, there is a great likelihood that the truths of the spirit will be forgotten. For many souls, this is precisely what has occurred. How is one to combat temptation? The answer is simple: Love. It is love alone that can surmount the barriers of distrust and hatred which man has thrown up due to his violent and aggressive ways. It is love alone which allows one to perceive that selfishness and the manipulation of others are not noble or spiritual paths to follow. And it is love alone which can displace the lust for possessions in the mind of one who is caught in that dreadful trap. For only love can broaden the understanding to the point where the soul sees that the purpose of life is not to collect but to give, not to hinder but to help others, not to aggrandize the self, but to place it into the service of the creative forces that have made this realm of earth, man, and all the myriads of creatures which inhabit its many planes and sub-realms.

In the next chapter we will show how the Dark Brothers have laid their most subtle traps for the very person to whom these books are directed: the Seekers after a Higher Wisdom.

Chapter Four
Attacking Those on the Path

Among mankind there are many souls who know instinctively that there is a "Path" somewhere - a route which, if followed diligently, will allow them to achieve spiritual progress and a true grasp of the meaning and purpose of life. But these striving souls are not all of the same discernment. Many are very "young" in the sense of experience. Perhaps an example will show what we mean.
Imagine that a soul has had many lives of a common kind, living within the various traditions into which it has been born, adopting the attitudes of the region, including all of its prejudices and narrow thought-patterns, never awakening fully to the realization that life has a purpose entirely different from that which conventional wisdom maintains. Then, suppose the soul lives a recent life in which its experience is touched deeply by another person, someone who had this special awareness of the higher truths, someone who demonstrated the beauty and love which could be manifested by one who is on the path of spiritual achievement.

In some cases, though not all, the soul who had previously been following a conventional series of lives might suddenly become inspired to strive harder, to climb out of the common mold, to gain a deeper understanding of the meaning of existence.

So the soul is born into the current life-pattern. Because of that previous contact with the spiritually advanced person, the soul is born with a goal. It watches, keeps looking. It feels that something is just around the corner - some clue which will give it the understanding it lacks, the grasp of meaning which is not there. Then it happens: a chance meeting (or so it seems) introduces the soul to a different way of living or thinking, some teacher takes the soul into his circle of influence, some book seems to contain the signposts that are sought.

But here is the test of discernment, of the inner recognition of truth. There are many false teachers upon the earth at present, many so-called gurus and sages who hold out a certain philosophy of living and acting. These may attract the new seeker for a time, but if the teachings are not fully in tune with the higher truths, or if the teacher himself does not behave in accordance with the philosophy he proclaims, then the seeker is expected to see the dichotomy and to become aware that perhaps this mode of thought is only a half-way house, a way-station on the path to a better and broader wisdom.

But many souls do not recognize the trap into which they have fallen. They embrace the teachings, join the movement and become devotees of their supposed "master", defending him against all attack by those who have become disillusioned, often cutting themselves off from family and former friends - never realizing that any movement that produces division, coldness and estrangement between human beings - even though it does not openly espouse these attitudes - must be impaired in some way.

There are many movements now on the earth which fall into this category. Because of the Cosmic Law governing the operation of these testing factors, we are not permitted to name specific groups, teachers or movements, nor do we wish to do so. However we can list the kinds of teaching and activity which identify such forces, and the reader can form his own conclusions as he examines the various movements which are now on the earth.

The most obvious traps are set by the movements which claim to be spiritual, but which are headed by individuals whose personal life-style is clearly the opposite of the teachings that are held out. An example is the self-proclaimed guru who sends his devotees out to sell flowers to raise money, and who then pockets a large part of the proceeds of these sales. Even if the teachings of the movement are in the direction of spirituality, the seeker is expected to be able to discriminate, i.e. to take only that which is in accord with his own feeling of the truth for him, and to reject that which is not in accord. Most of the so-called gurus who fall into this category are counting on the inability of the new convert to discriminate. They expect the convert to swallow everything about the movement, on the grounds that some of the teachings are in accordance with the cosmic truths of love and light. As an example, a body of teaching may include an insistance that love between mankind is the only hope for the salvation of the race, or it may refer to the functions of the guides and teachers on other planes, or it may stress the need to subjugate the self and undertake service to others. But each of these teachings can be perverted to an unworthy cause. For example, the love between souls may be used to require the neophyte to love the guru or teacher unconditionally, or to give all of his possessions to the movement to demonstrate his love. Or again, the reference to guides on other planes may be used to convince the new seeker that the body of teaching provided by the movement must be correct because it comes through direct revelation from such guides. Finally, the subjugation of the self can be carried to the point where total self-abnegation is required, so that the neophyte will be willing to work 18 hours a day to raise money for the movement - to be dipped into freely by the leader.

The soul caught in such movements is not left without guideposts. He is not abandoned by his own guides, who are anxious to move him on to a broader perspective on reality. This can only happen when he sees the sham of the movement which has trapped him, and this perception can come if the seeker watches the signs and clues which come his way. The easiest way to discern the truth of any movement is to study its leader or founder. If he is living richly off the sweat of the converts, then he is a false guru. That is the most obvious way to detect fraud. However for those who understand the cosmic laws there are other ways. For example there is a law that any individual on the earth plane must show on his physical form some sign or characteristics which identifies his true essence. The law is in conformity with the assertion that those who have "eyes to see" can always find the truth by direct observation. Look at the face of the leader; look at this bodily build. Does he have a serene and loving countenance, or is there something sinister about him? Is he grossly over weight, or crippled in some way? Does his appearance give you any reason to doubt that he has only the best interests of the race at heart? There are other areas to study as well. Has the leader ever been hounded through the courts, or banned from any country? Have any of the followers ever developed mental aberrations or schizophrenic traits as a result of their exposure to the movement? Do the spokesmen for the group want you, first and foremost, to give an appreciable sum of money or to take some expensive course as an introduction to the teachings? Does the movement offer mainly success in the physical world (money, business, love) rather than a deepening of the understanding or spiritual wisdom?

We have dealt with the groups and movements which are intended to trap the unwary seeker. Most of these things are abetted and encouraged by the energies of the Dark Brotherhood - which is not to say that the leaders or main instigators are themselves mere puppets of the dark ones. In some cases this is true, but in the majority of such movements, the Dark Brotherhood merely spurs on the innate negativity of the leader prompting him to seek wealth in the movement, or control over others, or fame. As to the souls who become entrapped by the movement, they too are influenced wherever possible by the Dark Brothers, who are attempting to keep them locked up in a movement where they will not be able to use their enthusiasm and energy in reaching directly out to their brothers living normal lives. The idea is to trap the unwary seekers in a "backwater", to take them out of the mainstream, and (in many cases) to bring about estrangement between the seeker and members of his own family, so that the energies of the seeker will be tied up in the emotional struggle and thus be unavailable to help his brothers. There is another phase, however, to the efforts of the Dark Brotherhood to deter the advancement of the race through side-tracking seekers. They know that those who are impelled to find a spiritual path through life are the best hope of the world, for these souls have the possibility of reaching many many other souls through their words and deeds. Because such souls are so pivotal to the salvation of mankind, the Dark Brotherhood desires above all else to cause them difficulty, to side-track their energies, and to sow confusion and contention between them. Let us deal with each of these in turn.

In terms of causing the seeker difficulty in his life-pattern, the Dark Brothers are permitted to insist that certain karmic burdens which such souls carry be discharged at a time convenient to the Dark Brotherhood. In most cases, the petitions by the dark ones are granted, and the karma is allowed to fall upon the seeker. The exceptions are made when the seeker is at a sensitive phase of his quest, and has placed himself in a position from where he could accomplish much which would lead others to seek a higher way through life. Aside from these exceptions, as we say, most such requests are allowed. This is why certain souls who are closely aware of higher truth will from time to time be visited by misfortune that does not seem to be tied directly with lesson-learning, and which is not even indicated by the planetary positions.

We have already dealt with the question of side-tracking the energies of the seeker, and have explained that most of this is accomplished through the various movements now on the earth and which act as "backwaters" into which the seeker can be trapped.

Finally there is the question of the attempts by the Dark Brothers to sow confusion and dissention between seekers. This is accomplished primarily through the telepathically or psychically transmitted material which has found its way into books. Naturally we realize that our writings too must be scrutinized in the light of the comments we are about to make, but we have no doubt that the careful seekers will be able to make their own determination as to which source they feel is the more "right" for them.

There are certain specific kinds of teaching which are precisely calculated to confuse the unwary. To explain the most important of these we must first point out what many seekers already well know: that the person and mission of the individual who was called the Christ should be regarded as the very summit of revealed truth for mankind thus far. Because of certain of His teachings - indeed, the simplest of the teachings - He represents a direct frontal attack upon the Dark Brotherhood and all which they have attempted to accomplish in the millennia since the rebirth scheme was initiated. Specifically, by asserting that one should love one's enemies, Christ presented the single most effective way to overcome the temptations of earth lite and to confound the whisperings of the Dark Brotherhood. By looking on one's enemies - or better, on all of creation - with pure love in one's heart, all of the negative emotions, all of the enmities and frustrations of life, simply fade away. And without these annoying factors, the Dark Brothers cannot succeed in their declared aim of dragging human souls down to destruction.

The Dark Brotherhood knows full well that the Christ's teachings in this regard are the single most effective means for gaining higher ground spiritually, and therefore they seek in any way possible to undermine the reality of the figure of Christ and the validity of His message. This they do in two ways: the first is to cast doubt upon whether He ever lived at all on the earth plane. There are certain so called "messages" from other planes which contend that He was a reality on certain planes but not on the physical. Now, any who can understand that all of Creation is one, can surely perceive that if Christ was a reality on one plane, He must have manifested on all planes. To do otherwise would detract from the completeness of the message which His life represented.

Other transmissions contend that He was merely a man, and that there was nothing special about Him aside from the wisdom which He had attained through revelation or study. Again, this is intended to undermine the importance of His life, and to sow doubt as to whether He represented some special factor which had entered the earth realm to live and walk with mankind.

In short, any contention that Christ was less than a manifested special being whose life was dedicated to the spiritual uplift of the human race, and who was overlighted during the ministry years by the pure Glory of the Father, must be carefully scrutinized to see whether there is a deliberate attempt to detract from the importance of the Christian message.

Other supposed teachings from other planes are also directed to undermining the certainty and understanding of the seeker. For example, some sources contend that the passage of time is an illusion, that all lives are lived simultaneously, and that there is no real distinction between past, present and future. Now, in a certain sense which can only be understood from a vantage point which is outside of the physical plane, this contention may be looked on as true. However the result of trying to fully grasp this philosophical notion from within physical incarnation can only be confusion. The consciousness of man has been given to him in order to allow him to perceive time as a flow, so that he could understand the great Law of Cause and Effect, or Karma. Man does X, and Y is the result. This concatenation always takes place in that order, and is intended to allow a perception of the truth that man, by virtue of the thoughts and emotions he harbors, makes his own reality. If this latter idea can be grasped, then the even higher purpose can be served, namely to allow each incarnated soul to understand itself.

But the Dark Brothers do not wish man to fully understand all of the ramifications of Karmic Law, and they attack the possibility of such a grasp by trying to confuse the seeker with regard to time. For, if one concludes that the flow of time is an illusion, and that "all lives are lived simultaneously", then how can karma from one life possibly affect another? But karma does pass from life to life, and at the level where these karmic results manifest, it is quite correct and certainly adequate to consider that one life precedes another in an orderly sequence. The reconciliation of the earth-based point of view with the higher grasp of time as a single instant which is "pulled out" into a stream by man's consciousness, must wait until the seeker has reached the spiritual lane from which these ideas can be seen in their full light.

One other example of misleading teachings will be given. There are sources which contend that the galactic observers now in the region of the earth are not all friendly to mankind. There is the suggestion that some are distinctly alien and even hostile, and that certain of these beings kidnap humans and kill animal life for experimental purposes. It is difficult for us to present a line of argument which will fully set aside the fears that such messages engender, but we will attempt to do so.

Firstly, it is true that not all of the civilizations in this galaxy are highly evolved in a technical and spiritual sense. Some are comparable to earth civilization, which presently is at the very bottom of the scale due to the self-annihilation which mankind practises through war, violence and murder. However, the present phase of evolution of the galactic entity itself is such that only those civilizations which have attained a state of awareness of the cosmic laws and who have overcome the base passions which lead to war, tyranny and self-annihilation are allowed to develop the technical means which are necessary to permit them to move to other parts of the galaxy. The ones who remain imprisoned in their own negativity and violence must also remain prisoners of their own planets. Hence, the other unevolved civilizations in this galaxy are also confined to their own local region of space, because they are not allowed to develop the technological means for escaping. In the case of man, the minor successes in terms of reaching the moon are the maximum which can be achieved using the current technology. The secret of energy-free space flight will not fall into man's hands so long as he threatens to pollute the rest of space with his hatred and his uncontrolled passions.

It thus follows that those civilizations that are able to make the journey to this part of the galaxy must be of an evolved nature, and this is true. If they were not, then with their vastly superior technology they could easily decimate this planet, kill all life, or set themselves up as absolute dictators. No force known to humanity could stop them. But they are stopped . . . by their own spiritual evolution. The galactic observers would never dream of attempting to interfere with man's path on his planet. They adhere to the law of separate development, which requires them to respect man's right to do what he wishes upon this planet. That law is over-ruled only when a planetary civilization has descended so far into self-destruction - as man will have done within a few short years - that it threatens not only to destroy itself, but to poison or damage other regions of space into the bargain. Because man has been allowed to develop nuclear energy, there is a serious danger that, during the coming nuclear war, the explosions could actually damage the fabric of space itself. It is for this reason that the observers are here in such numbers. They have a duty to the Galactic being, namely to preserve it from damage committed unknowingly by humanity as it unleashes centuries of hatred and violence upon itself in the last death throes of the evil world-system which has been erected upon the earth. And at the same time, the observers understand that they must be prepared to step in and rescue the noblest fraction of the race from the holocaust which man's unevolved passions will unleash. Without the possibility of such a rescue, there is a danger that man really could accomplish the complete annihilation of himself and all other life-forms on the earth.

The above instances of misleading and confusing information will suffice to illustrate the efforts exerted by the Dark Brothers to detour seekers from their path. Only one further area remains to be explained, and that relates to the direct attempts to physically interfere with the projects that seekers undertake in the service of their brothers. We must emphasize first of all that direct access to the physical plane of manifestation is extremely limited for the Dark Brothers, as it is for the other more positive brotherhoods as well. The law in this regard is that both they and we must primarily work through those who are in incarnation. Hence, the good that can be done in the world must ultimately depend on the willingness of incarnated individuals to put their time and energy into the endeavor. Likewise, the energy that manifests on the earth plane must do so through the agency of those in bodies who are prepared to do the work of the Dark Brothers. If all who were attuned to darkness should cease to inhabit physical bodies, the evil afflicting the earth would disappear, because there would be no more "instruments" through which the Dark Brothers could accomplish their aims.

Now, the rule that governs direct influence in the plane of matter is simple to state: the energy required to accomplish a given interference within the three-dimensional material plane is directly proportional to the amount of good or evil which that interference can accomplish. For example, if a given interference is directed to producing a clearly negative action - like a murder - the energy required from the Dark Brothers to accomplish it directly (without one of their disciples being used) is enormous. Usually, unless they considered such an act indispensible to their cause, they would not be prepared to lose that amount of energy. However, the force required to cause a fire to suddenly emit a shower of sparks, for example in order to jolt or frighten those sitting around it, is not nearly so great. The main point which needs to be understood here is that they - and we - are under the law of economy of Energy. This means that neither we nor they have access to limitless amounts of energy with which to seek our respective goals. If only one side were restricted in this way, and the other had access to as much energy as it required, then the battle would not be balanced. If both sides were given all of the energy they wanted to use, the earth plane would turn into an arena in which discarnate forces battled ad infinitum, leaving no room for man to pursue his spiritual pilgrimage. Hence the only workable scheme is to limit both sides equally.

The Dark Brothers utilize the following means to directly bring about events on the earth plane:
a) They can create robot-like entities at the aetheric level programmed to directly interfere with reality. For example if the Dark Brotherhood wished to delay the publication of a book, they could send such entities to the location where the actual printing is to take place, after programming them to cause break-downs and mistakes during the printing process. (Now, if the printer were subject to a particularly heavy karmic burden, then the Dark Brothers would also have the right to call for certain portions of the karma to be met at times and in ways favorable to their own wish to interfere with the printing. Alternately, if the person responsible for the running of the press were subject to fits of temper or became rash when annoyed, it might be possible for the Dark Brothers to irritate him to the point where he would make errors in his work, thus ruining the job. However, these last two processes do not fall into the category of direct physical manipulation).

In order to create robots of the kind mentioned, the Dark Brothers must actually donate a part of their own essence. When the job is completed, the essences are re-absorbed back into those who donated them. However, if the material going to create the robots should be destroyed by means known to certain seekers, before reabsorption can take place, then the re-combining cannot occur and the contributing Dark Brothers permanently lose the respective parts that sustained the destroyed aetheric robots.

The technique for destroying such aetheric entities is to command them, in the name of Jesus Christ, to disappear and to cease to exist. Being far lower on the scale than a man, such entities must obey the command. It is important not to direct them merely to depart, since that does not entail disintegration.

These robot-like aetheric beings are the source for the old tales regarding gremlins. Even today, there remains the notion that if some machine is constantly breaking down or malfunctioning, it must be full of such "gremlins". It will now be understood that these entities are quite real and serve a very definite purpose - even though it is one which falls on the dark side.

b) The Dark Brothers can also manipulate many of the currents and elementary forces which are most attuned to them in vibration. For example, although the element fire is a great purifying power on the earth plane, it is also attuned to the notion of karma, the trial by fire, and the destruction of that which is consumed. Especially when the fire is burning coal (coming from the darkness beneath the surface of the earth) the Dark Brothers are enabled to manipulate it to their own ends. We should emphasize that such use of fire cannot be allowed to step outside of that called for karmically, but the karmic burden of the race as a whole is still so great that the Dark Brotherhood has great latitude in terms of how they may wish to use this elemental force.

Here is an opportunity to mention another process at work in relation to fire: the manner in which human beings provide the energies which manifest in many of the fires which destroy property. Fire is the phenomenon which most closely corresponds to rage and anger. "Fire in the blood", is one expression. "He was all fired up over that", is another. These connections of fire with anger come not by accident. When any two persons indulge in a fierce argument, with much shouting and anger - but without giving full vent to the anger in a physical way, there is created at the aetheric level a seething cloud of fire-like energy which seeks expression on the earth plane. If it cannot find expression in violence between the two persons who created it, then it will, given the right circumstances, release itself in a destructive fire. Naturally some spark must be present to allow the fire to start, but once it is initiated its full fury will manifest. Many readers will be familiar with stories about house fires which burn ferociously and spread great damage in only minutes - burning much more intensely than would normally be expected. It is likely that such a fire would be the mechanism for release of an aetheric cloud of pent-up anger like that we have described.

c) Finally, the Dark Brothers are able to literally take over certain persons for brief periods of time, and through them carry out specific actions. This can even happen to those who are normally of a spiritual nature, if such persons open themselves up to the dark forces. Such opening up comes most typically through the over-indulgence in alcohol. When one takes alcohol into the system, in any form, an access opens up at the back of the head, through which the darker forces, if they put enough effort into it, can gain access. Because this process requires great energy on their part, it happens only rarely. Moreover, the time of the actual control of the body is usually short. However, much can be accomplished in a short time by one properly placed, and the Dark Brothers will normally only undertake this procedure if it promises to yield rich dividends for them.

Whenever a seeker is confronted with another human whom he suspects has been taken over, however briefly, by a darker enemy, there is only one proper way to deal with the situation. Address the entity that is in the body, say to it that it does not belong there, and then, in the name of Jesus Christ, command it to depart the body. It will in every case do so almost immediately.

Although we have set forth the main techniques by which the Dark Brothers seek to influence humans in incarnation, we must point out that there are many instances which do not fall into the categories we have described. In every case, however, the seeker whose intuition is open, and who asks for the power to be able to decide for himself when the Dark Brotherhood is behind any particular manifestation on the earth plane.

In the next chapter we wish to explain the five main tests for those who are on the Path, because an understanding of these experiences - which almost all seekers are called upon to undergo at some time - will enable the reader to find his way with greater certainty through the temptations and difficulties which befall him.

Chapter Five
The Five Tests for Seekers

We have spoken in earlier books about the symbolism of various areas of the human hand, and in particular about the five fingers. We have explained these symbolic body parts as they relate to the average person, i.e., one not on the Path. However for seekers, the five fingers have a particularly important meaning in terms of the tests which they must undergo, and it is our purpose here to elaborate on these tests.

While the Dark Brotherhood does not play a direct part in bringing these tests to bear upon those who have tackled the Path, they do try to drag the seeker away from his resolve, and to lead his steps into error as he undergoes these particular trials. For this reason the inclusion of this material in the present book is, we feel, justified.

The main meaning of the fingers - as they apply generally are as follows:
Thumb - Energy, will, the self, with the basic lesson being the ability to "turn the other cheek" when presented with aggravating circumstances or provocation.
Forefinger - The area of faith, not only in a God, but in the whole concept of realities higher than the material plane.
Middle Finger - The self-image or self-picture, this being normally tested by throwing the individual "on his own" in terms of his personal relationships.
Ring Finger - The area of money.
Little Finger - The area of sex.

Now, the tests for seekers are in several cases directly derivable from the foregoing list. For example the tests of sexual indulgence and of money are almost always presented to the seeker at some point on his Path. Let us be more specific. When one embarks on the Path, there is a phenomenon which tends to lend to him a greater "allure" or attractiveness than he might have had previously. In most cases the attractiveness is not directly from any increase in personal magnetism of a sexual nature, but rather because the fact of having taken up the Path automatically calls into the person's aura an additional power and knowledge.

It is this additional power which others sense, but because people today are so accustomed to interpreting this kind of impact in sexual terms, they mistakenly see the seeker as desirable for this reason. Indeed, there is an enhanced attractiveness but it is by no means at the sexual level. This problem arises most often with men who are not on the Path, and who become hopelessly enamoured of women who are. In most cases the woman will sense that the suitor has somehow misjudged some quality of hers, but few women will fully understand the dimensions of the situation, and just why they appear so attractive. We hope that what we have now explained will allow greater insight into this kind of problem.

Naturally, the test is for the seeker - the one who has acquired the enhanced magnetism. For with this greater attractiveness to others, and the propensity of others to read their own reactions in sexual terms, there is often an abundant opportunity for the seeker to indulge himself sexually if he wishes to. Of course any exaggerated indulgence of this kind would pull the seeker off the Path, because it would side-track his energies into exhausting pursuits and draw his attention down to the purely physical level of indulgence. Many, many potential seekers have succumbed to this elementary trap and have been lost to the hierarchy as really useful instruments for the salvation of the human race of man.

The test of Money, as represented by the ring finger, is again a straight-forward one. As the seeker acquires more and more ability in terms of helping his brothers, the opportunity invariably presents itself to make money from his spiritual endeavors. The main point here is not how much money should be charged for spiritual help, but what are the true desires in the heart of the seeker. For some seekers, because their services require them to assume certain expenses, a relatively large levy is justified, and does not represent a failure in this test. For others, even a small charge would represent taking personal advantage of a gift from God which was meant to be shared freely with all, just as God gave the gift freely, and therefore this levy represents failure. Each seeker must look into his own heart on this matter, for it is his own judgement which is written down in the scrolls of heaven. Each knows full well the motives in his own heart, and whether he has failed the test of money.

An interesting sidelight on the two tests which we have just described relates to the "vows" which monks and priests of many religions have traditionally taken through out the centuries. Two of the most important vows have always been that of chastity and that of poverty. Now, by having an individual undertake these two vows, the church or religious organization was allowing the soul to side-step the temptations which would surely be placed in his path. By subscribing to these two abstinences, the soul effectively makes a promise which it feels is very binding upon it, and because of this feeling of being bound, the soul tends to be less likely to fail in these ways. Of course for some whose resolve and self-control are insufficient, even these vows fail to keep them from transgressing. But for the majority, the result of a life lived in the cloister or the trappings of formalized religion is to put off the running of tests till a later life. Now in many cases this is precisely what the soul needs. Perhaps there has been great over indulgence in sexual pleasure, say, through a series of previous lives. But the soul wished fervently to be allowed to begin a path of service to mankind so that it could prepare for even greater service later. So the decision was taken to have the soul project a personality into conditions which made it likely that he would be attracted to the cloister or pulpit. This would allow the soul to get an early taste of the devotional life, without the danger of being pulled down by the old temptations. Thus, the taking of the religious vows discussed above is in most cases not a final solution. It is merely a suspension of those particular tests until the time when the soul feels better able to meet the temptations and overcome them.

The true passing of these tests, of course, results when one meets the temptations squarely and does not allow his experience in either area to draw him off the path of service. The solution to the sexual temptation is to see sexual reality in its true light, and to allow it to be part of the life pattern if such appears called for. To deny the physical expression of affection between two souls when such is a natural outlet for love energies is, in many ways, just as much of a contortion as the over-indulgences in sex for its own sake purely for pleasure motives. The trick is to find balance, and to experience all facets of life with an understanding of their essence. Remember that God did not make pleasure with the intention that man should turn his back on it. This is like refusing to gaze upon a beautiful sunlit scene because the joy of beholding it is somehow wrong. No - joy, laughter and physical pleasure all have their place. The important thing is not to deny or avoid them, but to participate in the right circumstances and for the right reasons. It is like the analogy we have given several times before: God does not make anything that is inherently evil or inherently good. It is man that determines the way in which the gifts of God shall be treated. He can use a hammer to build and he can use it to destroy; he can use a knife to heal and to kill. The determining factor is the motive in man's heart, and thus it is man that determines the good and the evil in the world.

So it is with both money and sex. It is man who determines whether they shall become sullied and negative, or whether they shall be made into tools for serving creation and love.

Turning now to the middle finger, we have explained previously that this digit represents the area of the self-image. Many souls do not have a strong or positive self-picture. They are unhappy with their own essence, and this reflects in the personality, which tends to develop feelings of inferiority or worthlessness. Now, it is unsuitable in the extreme for any seeker to lack a positive self-image. He must be happy with himself, for the simple reason that the Path which he is electing to tread is often a lonely one. He will be called upon to walk it alone for certain periods and if he cannot find contentment merely being with himself with no other company, then he will in all likelihood break down in his resolve to serve the race, and his dependability will be in doubt. When the guides of the human race decide to entrust an important task to a soul in incarnation, they must first be satisfied that the vagaries of earth life will not throw him off the Path, that the loss of friends or a separation from a loved one will not break down his determination to continue on the high road. So the guides test the soul severely in this area. The most common testing procedure is one which arises almost naturally very soon after any individual places himself on the Path: it is the breakdown or severe testing of whatever personal relationship the individual might have had at the time of the decision to serve.

Many seekers reading this book will attest to the accuracy of the point just made, for many of them will have seen their personal relationship whether a marriage or some other close inter-connection - founder or nearly founder on the rocks of disagreement as to the importance of spiritual advancement. Typically the other partner will sense that the seeker has somehow placed spiritual matters above the relationship, and usually this is so. If that other partner is unable to accept such a state of affairs, then he/she will often present the seeker with an ultimatum: "It's me or all this spiritual stuff", is a typical refrain - one which many seekers will instantly recognize.

If the seeker gives in for the sake of preserving the relationship then his path will be different from what might have occurred if he had adhered to his resolve. Neither choice is "better" than the other. The karma that would come to the seeker if he chose to abandon the partner who could not co-exist with the spiritual commitment would not be great enough to deter the seeker. Indeed, it usually happens that, even though the karma must quickly descend and be met, the rewards of having chosen the spiritual path would more than make up for the hardship of meeting that particular karma. We cannot be more specific here, since the "extras" which are given to seekers are highly individual, and are exactly tailored to the preferences of the individual.

The next finger is the forefinger, which refers generally to faith. However for the seeker, who presumably already has an abundance of faith, the forefinger designates a different kind of test: It is the test of glamour. This particular test is extremely important, because many unwary seekers are drawn off the Path by it. Let us try to characterize the attitude of mind that represents having failed the test. There are those who, upon first discovering a channel to one of the higher planes, or upon first developing their own "source" of information, become overly fascinated with the information for its own sake. They become excited to too great a degree. They think: "Isn't this wonderful! We can see all these past lives; we can talk to entities on other planes; we can find out things nobody else knows!" Or they might find themselves drawn into the circle of influence of a teacher or psychic on the earth plane whom they consider to be very special. The person of that leader may take on a heightened importance for these seekers, and they might "glamourize" him out of any proportion to what he is really trying to do. Of course some leaders do allow their students or followers to glamourize them, and this is a serious failing on the part of the leader. But the truly discerning seeker will be able to see through such silliness, and realize that what is important is the service he can render to others, and the understanding he can attain in terms of the great spiritual and cosmic laws. The pursuit of the spiritual Path has no other legitimate justification.

Finally, the test represented by the thumb will be quite clear to all seekers, for it is the test of self. Many souls, upon first becoming part of a group following spiritual goals, will be tempted to think of themselves as special, as somehow being better or more spiritual than their brothers who are still living normal lives. No thought could have a more insidious result, because the very fact of putting oneself ahead of others has the precise reverse effect: the guides who watch the progress of seekers with special care will immediately relegate to the bottom of the list any individual who presumes to think of himself as holier or more spiritual or more worthy than any of his brothers, no matter how low the vibrations of those brothers have descended. The truth of the matter is simple: God loves all of His children equally. God has no favorites, for in a sense all are His favorites. And it is here that the admonitions of the Christ take on their true dimensions: He who would be first must be last; Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Any who meditate upon the real significance behind these apparent riddles will surely see that they express the greatest of all the truths in terms of seekers: namely that the purpose of the Path is to teach one to serve, not to lead; to give, not to take; to love, not to despise. Those who fail in this greatest of all the tests, must lose the right to be among those to whom is given the great privilege of serving the salvation of the race of man.

Chapter Six

Out of all the billions of planets and satellites strewn through this galaxy like cosmic dust among the living bodies of the stars, a crucial drama is being enacted on a single one: the earth on which you are living. The drama is that of separation: the separation of the nobler from the baser fraction of humanity.

When the final decision in the heart of each individual can be put off no longer, when each must make his choice either for or against his own spiritual advancement, that is when the race of man will crack in two. It will be a wrenching experience deep in the soul of billions of humans, for they will be the ones who must be separated forever from others whom they have loved through many lives.

The time of that choice fast approaches. In the few years that yet remain, much can be done, many can be salvaged from the dissolution which awaits those who cannot set their feet upon the upward path. That dissolving, though it will not obliterate the essence of any soul, will remove the uniqueness that so many lives and so much effort have created. And the ones that are drawn back into the common pool will never see their more advanced brothers again out of the same eyes.

The Dark Brotherhood wishes to promote the split so that the greatest number will have failed to move forward into spirituality and light. We are seeking to bring as many as possible into the love and radiance of the New Age of man. You who are reading this book can throw your energies behind either side, for that is your choice. But it is now that you must decide. It is now that the human race cries out for help. It is now that the dedication and pluck of the seekers is being tested.

Do not fail the race; do not fail your brothers; for then you have failed yourself. May the peace and blessing of all the higher beings who care for humanity's struggle be with you forevermore.