The Spiritual Hierarchy
The idea of a secret organization of enlightened mystics, guiding the spiritual development of the human race, was pioneered in the late eighteenth century by Karl von Eckartshausen (1752-1803), a German Catholic mystic, author, and philosopher, in his book, “The Cloud upon the Sanctuary”, a work of Christian mysticism which was later taken up by occultists. In it Eckartshausen called this body of mystics, who remained active after their physical deaths on earth, the Council of Light. Eckartshausen's proposed communion of living and dead mystics, in turn, drew partially on Christian ideas such as the Communion of the Saints, and partially on previously circulating European ideas about secret societies of enlightened, mystical, or magic adepts typified by the Rosicrucians and the Illuminati.
So who were these dead mystics? According to theosophical writings, which did not appear until after 1875 (the founding date of the Theosophical Society) those who attained the fifth initiation became masters of wisdom and entered the fifth kingdom, the kingdom of the soul. This kingdom is born out of the human kingdom. However, the beings that make it up function as part of a planetary government or hierarchy, working on behalf of all beings and the planet Earth itself (which is the life form). One of the functions of the hierarchy is to oversee human evolution. The other is to support the plan for the spiritualization of all beings and matter on Earth.
Following H. P. Blavatsky's writings on the subject, other Theosophists progressively elaborated on the reputed spiritual hierarchy. Its members are presented as guardians and guides of Earth's total evolutionary process, known in Theosophical cosmology as the Doctrine of Planetary Rounds. In Theosophy, evolution includes an occult or spiritual component that is considered more important than the related physical evolution. The hierarchy is said to consist of spiritual entities at various evolutionary stages; lower ranks are populated by individuals who can function more or less normally on the physical plane, while the highest known positions are occupied by beings of the purest spiritual essence and consciousness.
The term “Ascended Master” was first introduced in 1934 by Guy Ballard with the publication of “Unveiled Mysteries”. He states that the book was dictated by the Ascended Master Saint Germain. Other teachings of the Ascended Masters are to be found in movements such as “Bridge to Freedom” (1951), “Summit Lighthouse” (1958), (also known as the Universal Church and the Victorious Acerius Society) (1955), (1995), “I AM University” (2004), “White Eagle Lodge” (1936), and “Aquarian Christine Church Universal” (2006).
Additionally, various groups and teachers claim that the Ascended Masters serve as teachers of humanity from the spiritual realm. According to these teachings, the Ascended Masters are always attentive to the needs of humanity and work to promote the spiritual growth of humanity. In many traditions and organizations, Ascended Masters are considered part of the Earth's Spiritual Hierarchy and members of the Great Brotherhood of Light, also known as the Great White Lodge, Great White Brotherhood, or Universal White Brotherhood.
There seems to be some agreement amongst the various “sources” that the head of the Hierarchy is Sanat Kumara, with Buddha, Maitreya, and Maha Chohan forming the upper echelons beneath his overall authority.
The Hierarchy is, according to Benjamin Crème, “made up of the Masters and Initiates of all degrees and whose purpose is to implement the Plan of God.”
Sanat Kumara – Lord or Regent of Earth and Humanity
According to Theosophical writings, Sanat Kumara is regarded as the “Lord” or “Regent” of Earth and of Humanity. He is thought to be the physical incarnation of the Planetary Logos (the living being that ensouls this planet).
Sanat Kumara is said to have dwelt in an etheric body for the past 18.5 million years in Shamballa. Floating above the Gobi Desert in the borderlands of Mongolia, Shamballa is described as a city invisible to the naked eye, as it exists only on the etheric plane. Known as the City of Enoch, Shamballa has been designated as the spiritual centre of Earth “where the Will of God is known”.
“Shamballa is a centre of energy, the major centre in the planet. It corresponds to the crown centre in the head in man, and from it and through it flows the energy we call Will. In fact, all the energies flow through Shamballa, but the specific energy we call the Shamballa Force, is the energy of Will or Purpose, which embodies the Purpose or Plan of God -- God being that great Being who ensouls this planet, and who is reflected on the physical plane (because Shamballa is a physical centre, in etheric physical matter) as Sanat Kumara, the Eternal Youth.” (Benjamin Creme, “The Reappearance of Christ and the Masters of Wisdom.” (1980)).
Also according to Theosophy, Sanat Kumara founded the Spiritual Hierarchy on Earth. Composed of Masters of Wisdom, the Hierarchy makes up an enlightened, planetary government that is presently headed by the Teacher of the World, Maitreya.
The website, thepranichealers.com, reiterates that Lord Sanat Kumara is an “Advanced Being” at the ninth level of initiation who is regarded as the “Lord” or “Regent” of Earth and humanity, and is thought to be the head of the Spiritual Hierarchy of Earth who dwells in Shamballa (also known as the City of Enoch).
Helena Blavatsky asserted that Sanat Kumara belongs to a group of 30 beings called the “Lords of the Flame”, who were originally from the planet Venus. (In the Judeo-Christian tradition, these same beings are presented as Lucifer and the angels who fell from the Godhead to Earth). It is said that the governing council of the planet Venus – the Seven Holy Kumars – sent one of themselves, Sanat Kumara, to Earth to help Humanity grow spiritually mature. (Venus, unlike the Earth, is identified as one of the spiritually advanced planets of this Solar System. The beings living on the etheric plane of Venus are said to be hundreds of millions of years ahead of Humanity in their psychological and spiritual development.)
In the Bible, Sanat Kumara is called “the Ancient of Days”. Sanat Kumara has also been described in ancient myths as a great being embodying the age, experience, and consciousness of a cosmic, interplanetary deity, someone whose very being far exceeds the hard-to-attain qualities of even the Masters of Wisdom (i.e., those who are said to comprise Earth's Fifth Kingdom, the kingdom above that of humanity, the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms).
There is so much more regarding Sanat Kumara on the internet, as you would expect, but a good place to start is en.dharmapedia.net/wiki/Sanat_Kumara.
Siddhartha Gautama Buddha – Lord of the World
Much has been written about Siddhartha Gautama's spiritual journey to enlightenment, and most people are so aware of it, that to repeat it here would serve no useful purpose. However, for those unfamiliar with his story please visit tricycle.org/magazine/who-was-the-buddha.
According to Elizabeth Clare Prophet, in 1956 Gautama Buddha succeeded Sanat Kumara, who had held the office for tens of thousands of years. His is the highest governing office of the spiritual hierarchy for the planet -- and yet Lord Gautama is truly the most humble amongst the ascended masters.
She relates that, at inner levels, he sustains the threefold flame, the divine spark, for those lifestreams who have lost the direct contact with their I AM Presence and who have made so much negative karma as to be unable to magnetize sufficient Light from the Godhead to sustain their souls’ physical incarnation on Earth. Through a filigree thread of light connecting his heart with the hearts of all God’s children, Lord Gautama nourishes the flickering flame of Life that ought to burn upon the altar of each heart with a greater magnitude of love, wisdom, and power, fed by each one’s own Christ consciousness.
Further, she states, “The Lord of the World receives the divine blueprint for the world from the planetary Silent Watcher and guards the threefold flame on behalf of angels, elementals and men, serving to externalize the flame of the Christ in the planes of Spirit and Matter. He also focuses all of the planes of God’s consciousness, including those of the five secret rays. Having mastery in both the inner planes (the planes of the five secret or passive rays) and the outer planes (the planes of the seven colour or active rays) of the Great Causal Body, he holds the balance of peace in the four lower bodies of the planet.”
Maitreya – World Teacher
The Tibetan Buddhist Encyclopaedia (tibetanbuddhistencyclopedia.com) has this to say about the Maitreya: “The Maitreya or Lord Maitreya is described in Theosophical literature of the late 19th-century and subsequent periods as an advanced spiritual entity and high-ranking member of a hidden Spiritual Hierarchy, the so-called Masters of the Ancient Wisdom. According to Theosophical doctrine, one of the Hierarchy's functions is to oversee the evolution of humankind; in accord with this function the Maitreya is said to hold the so-called Office of the World Teacher. Theosophical texts posit that the purpose of this Office is to facilitate the transfer of knowledge about the true constitution and workings of Existence to humankind. Humanity is thereby assisted on its presumed cyclical, but ever progressive, evolutionary path. Reputedly, one way the knowledge transfer is accomplished is by Maitreya occasionally manifesting or incarnating in the physical realm; the manifested entity then assumes the role of World Teacher of Humankind. The Theosophical concept of Maitreya has many similarities to the earlier Maitreya doctrine in Buddhism. However, they differ in important aspects, and developed differently. The Theosophical Maitreya has been assimilated or appropriated by a variety of quasi-theosophical and non-theosophical New Age and Esoteric groups and movements. These have added, and advanced, their own interpretations and commentary on the subject.”
According to the later Theosophical texts, Maitreya's position in the current stage of planetary evolution is reputedly below only two others in the current hierarchy: at its apex, Sanat Kumara (referred to as “The Lord of the World”), followed by the Buddha. Maitreya is additionally described as having among other duties overall responsibility for humanity's development including its education, civilization and religion.
In some Theosophical texts, Maitreya is said to have had numerous manifestations or incarnations: in the ancient continent of Atlantis; as a Hierophant in Ancient Egypt; as the Hindu deity Krishna; as a high priest in Ancient India; and as Jesus during the three years of his Ministry.
Alice Bailey (1880–1949), left the Theosophical Society in the 1920s to establish the quasi-theosophical Arcane School. She expanded Leadbeater's work and his Christology, and referred to Maitreya as the Cosmic Christ, claiming his Second Coming would occur sometime after the year 2025.
The Theosophical Maitreya also holds a prominent position in the so-called Ascended Master Teachings. These encompass original Theosophical literature, as well as later additions and interpretations by various non-Theosophical commentators and groups such as, the I AM Activity, and Elizabeth Clare Prophet (1939–2009); however, the validity of this later commentary has been disputed by Theosophical writers. Benjamin Creme (1922 - 2016), a follower of Alice Bailey and founder of Share International, an organization whose doctrines have similarities with those of mainstream Theosophy, was a later promoter of the Maitreya. In 1975 Creme claimed to have started to telepathically channel the Maitreya, who told Creme that he had decided to return to Earth earlier than 2025. Other claimed communications from the Maitreya followed, and Creme eventually announced that Maitreya materialized a physical body for himself in early 1977 in the Himalayas and then moved to London. Creme has made a number of extraordinary statements and predictions based on reputed telepathic messages from the Maitreya that have failed to come true, and as a result, he was considered a figure of amusement in the press.
In her book, “The Spiritual Hierarchy", Alice Bailey states “The Christ, the Master of the Masters and the Instructor of the Angels, is the World teacher. He is known by other names in other religions, such as the Imam Mahdi, Maitreya, and the Kalki Avatar. He is in process of returning.
The Christ is the World Teacher and not a Christian teacher. He Himself told us that He had other folds and to them He has meant as much as He has meant to the orthodox Christian. They may not call Him Christ, but they have their own name for Him and follow Him as truly and faithfully as their Western counterparts.
The Christ Who will return will not be like the Christ Who (apparently) departed. He will not be a “man of sorrows”; He will not be a silent pensive figure; He will be the enunciator of spiritual statements which will not necessitate interpretation and receive the wrong interpretation, because He will be present to indicate the true meaning.
He has been for two thousand years the supreme Head of the Church Invisible, the Spiritual Hierarchy, composed of disciples of all faiths. He recognises and loves those who are not Christian but who retain their allegiance to Their Founders—the Buddha, Mohammed and others. He cares not what the faith is if the objective is love of God and of humanity. If people look for the Christ Who left His disciples centuries ago, they will fail to recognise the Christ Who is in process of returning. The Christ has no religious barriers in His consciousness. It matters not to Him of what faith a man may call himself.
The Son of God is on His way and He cometh not alone. His advance guard is already here and the Plan which they must follow is already made and clear. Let recognition be the aim.”
According to Benjamin Creme, “Maitreya comes as a Teacher in the broader sense of the word, not as a religious or political leader. He will not save us in the sense of solving all of our problems. This is why it is necessary that the Teacher comes, to remind us once again of the Laws of Karma, Rebirth and Harmlessness.” (The World Teacher for All Humanity)
Thespiritualcentre.net tells us that the Ascended Master Kuthumi is the World Teacher and is in the office of Christ Consciousness. It also tells us that he will walk again amongst humankind. However, there is a more general consensus that the role of World Teacher is shared with the Ascended Master Sananda (Jesus), but Kuthumi will be responsible for the re-emergence of the Ancient Knowledge in the Age of Aquarius.
Maha Chohan – Lord of the Seven Rays
The Maha Chohan is the head of the seven rays of the Great White Brotherhood also known as the Brotherhood of Light. He is responsible for the white light of the seven rays and integrates them through the eighth ray. He is the head of the elemental kingdom and is the authority over the manifestations in nature. He is the representative of the Holy Spirit and is present when each new born child takes their first breath and when each person takes their last, and is known as the ‘keeper of the (cosmic) flame’. Some people refer to him as ‘The Comforter’ because he brings comfort and peace to humankind, and also comforts every living thing on earth that is not human. Thus it is easy to see why he is sometimes linked to the Christian Holy Spirit.
According to Theosophical teachings, the Maha Chohan is the head or chief of a spiritual hierarchy known as the “Chohans of the Seven Rays.” This hierarchy consists of spiritual beings who oversee the cosmic energies of the Seven Rays, which are considered fundamental building blocks of creation and manifestation. Each Ray is associated with specific attributes and qualities, such as wisdom, love, harmony, and creativity.
As the leader of this hierarchy, the Maha Chohan acts as a bridge between the higher spiritual realms and humanity. They are said to work closely with aspiring souls, guiding them on their spiritual journeys and facilitating the development of their divine potential. Additionally, the Maha Chohan is believed to hold the keys to esoteric knowledge, serving as a guardian of ancient wisdom and spiritual lineages.
In teachings related to the Ascended Masters, the Maha Chohan is revered as a crucial figure in the evolution of humanity. These teachings suggest that the Maha Chohan assists in the process of soul evolution, helping individuals ascend to higher levels of consciousness and awareness.
Unusually, the being or entity who serves as the Maha Chohan is not given a name, but is simply referred to by his title of office. However it is said that he was once the poet Homer.
The work of individual members of the Hierarchy is described in books such as C. W. Leadbeater’s "The Masters and the Path"; Alice A. Bailey’s "The Externalisation of the Hierarchy", and Asger Lorentsen’s "Man's Inner Structure".
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