The Externalisation of the Hierarchy Hardcover – 1 Jun 1957
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From the Publisher
The books of Alice A. Bailey, written in cooperation with a Tibetan teacher between 1919-1949, constitute a continuation of the Ageless Wisdom-a body of esoteric teaching handed down from ancient times in a form which is always suitable to each period. Intended to precede and condition the coming era, the Alice A. Bailey writings offer an unparalleled spiritual approach to such subjects as the teaching on Shamballa and the Path of spiritual evolution; the spiritual Hierarchy; the new discipleship and training in meditation as a form of service; the teaching on the seven rays and the new psychology of the soul; the teaching on esoteric astrology; and the new world religion, which emphasizes the common thread of truth linking all the major world faiths.
From the Author
An extract from the Tibetan teacher, written in 1934 briefly explains the intent of these teachings: "The books that I have written are sent out with no claim for their acceptance. They may, or may not, be correct, true and useful. It is for you to ascertain their truth by right practice and by the exercise of the intuition. Neither I nor A.A.B. is the least interested in having them acclaimed as inspired writing, or in having anyone speak of them (with bated breath) as being the work of one of the masters. If they present truth in such a way that it follows sequentially upon that already offered in the world teachings, if the information given raises the aspiration and the will-to-serve from the plane of the emotions to that of the mind (the plane whereon the Masters can be found) then they will have served their purpose. If the teaching conveyed calls forth a response from the illumined mind of the worker in the world, and brings a flashing forth of the intuition, then let that teaching be accepted. But not otherwise. If the statements meet with eventual corroboration, or are deemed true under the test of the Law of Correspondences, then that is well and good. But should this not be so, let not the student accept what is said."See all Product description
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The Alice Bailey books are complex and difficult. Many good things, and even some great ideas, are to be found in them. On occasion, in the past, I have recommended them to people searching for an esoteric vision of the Christian teaching. I would no longer recommend them to anyone. There are many serious problems with the Bailey books, and there there are far better spiritual teachings to be found elsewhere.
A list of some problems of these books, and their possible resolutions, follows:
1. Alice Bailey, and her (frequently over enthusiastic) followers insist that her books are a universal teaching for the New Age. But they are actually a neo-Gnostic Christian teaching dressed up with with some Theosophical Society terminology and some terminology derived from the mysticism of India. Behind the facade of that terminology, the strongly Christian orientation of her youth (she was a missionary in India), comes through in all her books, but now strongly influenced by Gnosticism. For instance, this short quote from `Rays and the Initiations' p.637: "The decision anent the Jews is one of hierarchical importance, owing to the karmic relation of the Christ to the Jewish race, to the fact that they repudiated Him as the Messiah and are still doing so, and of the interpretive nature of the Jewish problem as far as the whole of humanity is concerned."
Resolution: For those who are sympathetic to Christian Gnosticism (repudiated, for good reason, by every Christian denomination I know of), you might find Bailey's books an interesting experiment in neo-Gnosticism.
2. Despite the claims that the books were dictated telepathically to Bailey, who was living in NJ, by a Tibetan lama called Djwal Khul, who was in Tibet; there is no Buddhism to be found in the twenty-four books that Bailey wrote. That discrepancy leaves a core claim of the books, i.e. their origin, totally unsupported.
Resolution: For those who are willing to spend years of their life studying a series of esoteric books which make claims of fact that are not rationally supported by anything, these books are for you. And because of the nature of the books it will take you years.
3. The ideas found in the books are difficult to understand because in addition to the dry writing style, her ideas are peculiar. It is quite likely they have virtually no relation to any ideas with which you are familiar; unless you are familiar with the of Theosophical Society writings of Helena Blavatsky, particularly with `The Secret Doctrine'. There is a certain similarity to the Blavatsky books. However, the Theosophical Society has publicly repudiated Bailey, and in fact Bailey was kicked out of the Theosophical Society at the time she started to write her books. There are many long passages, sometimes continuing for dozens of pages, which are incomprehensible. One of her closest co-workers (who I knew personally) admitted that neither he nor anyone else can explain the meaning of many of those passages. For me, this brings to mind the comment that Robert Browning made about one of his early poems, "When I wrote it only God and I knew what it meant, now only God knows."
Resolution: For those who enjoy being puzzled by long dry passages, that may not have any meaning at all, the Alice Bailey's books may be just what is wanted.
4. If you do buy an Alice Bailey book, and get confused trying to understand what it means (if anything), there is help available. You will find in all the books a message directing you to contact the Arcane School, an organization founded by Alice Bailey as a way to promote her teaching. There are now also a number of other groups giving such help, including the School for Esoteric Studies, and the University of the Seven Rays. You will find that the people at the Arcane School, and the other groups, are very nice, very helpful, even well educated; and you will probably like them. They will be anxious to help you. But if you express doubts about anything that is contained in the books, no matter how problematic that content is, or how absurd it seems; you will be told (nicely at first) that you are wrong and that what you think is an incorrect, or absurd, statement are actually the words of the Master Djwhal Khul, who has an understanding that is above human understanding. In other words, they consider the content of the books divinely inspired, and that every statement, in every sentence, is correct and can not be questioned. So although it is called a New Age teaching, it is actually completely authoritarian and fundamentalist at its heart.
Resolution: For those readers who are looking for fundamentalism and authoritarianism in New Age dress, the Alice Bailey teaching may be just what you want.
5. There are also the well known accusations of Alice Bailey's antisemitism. Sorry to say that those accusations are not only true, but that her antisemitism is woven through the books in such a way that they become an integral part of her teaching. Also, since every statement in the books is considered the divinely inspired word of the Master, you are not allowed to question claims such as, for example, Bailey's view that Jews brought a force she calls "cosmic evil" to this world from another world where they previously existed, and that Jews are the exponents of "materialism" and "separatism" on this planet. In fact, these views are very similar to what Hyam Maccoby describes as the view of many Gnostic sects, "that the Jews are representatives of cosmic evil, the people of the Devil."
Resolution: For those readers who dislike Jews, and have also an interest occult esotericism, the Alice Bailey books may offer just the combination of those two that you have been looking for.
Conclusion: For those who are looking for a good teaching, a teaching which is a Way to become a better person through living a more ethical life, a teaching which is a Path that will make it possible to contribute positively to the world, and which is based on a systematic teaching; what I would suggest is to study the writings of those great individuals who were living examples of their philosophy and their religion as a way of life. Such writings can be found in the schools of Greek or Roman philosophy, in the writings of the great Christian theologians and philosophers, and in the books from similarly helpful teachers that are found in Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Confucianism, and Judaism. Why waste time on the absurdities of the Alice Bailey cult writings when there are so many better options?
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