An Introduction to the Trans-Himalayan Teachings - Jon Darrall-Rew
All spiritual traditions are custodians of a transmission. Essentially, that transmission embodies an assertion as to the wonder, goodness, and power of Reality. The Trans-Himalayan tradition is no exception. Over the course of its near 150 year history, it has played a significant role in awakening humanity to the wonder of the living, sentient universe of which it is a part; to the birthing of a world spirituality that is able to truly honour all paths; to the multidimensional nature of kosmos; the cosmic Purpose at the heart of the Earth; and to the Reality of the One Life.
The tradition is understood by many to have three primary phases of expression, the last of which is emergent, and yet to fully express. The Tibetan Master Djwhal Khul, in his work with Alice Bailey described this unfolding of the tradition over time in most detail,[i] though Helena Blavatsky also hinted in her greatest work, The Secret Doctrine, that there would be a continuity to the release of the teachings.[ii]
Hierarchy: The Community of Earth’s Awakened Beings
The three phases are understood to embody a continually unfolding revelation concerning the deepest mysteries of Reality, kosmos, the earth and humanity. They have been transmitted to humanity by a community of enlightened and liberated saints, sages, and bodhisattvas, described in the teachings as “the Hierarchy” or just “Hierarchy”, dwelling principally in the Himalayas, and who are understood to represent one branch of an ageless planetary community of wisdom and awakening. This community of awakened beings is understood to have existed upon Earth as long as humanity has existed here and even before, and to have preserved the wisdom concerning the True Nature of Reality, the multidimensional nature of the kosmos, the mysteries of spirit, soul and matter, the path of initiation, and the cosmic purpose of the Earth.
While the beings who have transmitted the core of the Trans- Himalayan cannon are understood to based in the Himalayas, branches of this planetary community exist, and have existed, all over the world, from not just the Himalayas, but other places of power such as those in Central and South America, Southern India, Ancient Egypt, China, Europe, Africa and Australia. Those who participate in this community are understood to be beings who awakened through the gates of all traditions and none in ages past, and who collectively form a planetary community of enlightened beings, working principally from the subtle soul planes so as to empower and guide planetary awakening and evolution.
The existence of enlightened beings operating on the soul planes who together form Hierarchy, who choose to remain within the aura of the Earth to stimulate and empower planetary awakening and evolution, is described in all the traditions, and in the experience of more and more human beings and groups. This is the ‘Rijjall ul Ghaib’, or the ‘invisible world government’ of the Sufis; the Ancestors of the Shamanic and Earth-centred traditions; the Gyanganj or Siddhashrama of the Hindus; “the spirits of just men made perfect” of the Bible (Hebrews 12: 22-23); the liberated buddhas and bodhisattvas of the Buddhists; the ‘Tzadikim Nistarim’ or ‘Hidden Righteous Ones’ of mystical Judaism; the ‘Xian’, or Immortals of the Taoist – the Hierarchy of the Trans-Himalayan teachings.
The “Ageless Wisdom” that these beings represent is understood to have been the living seed at the esoteric heart of every global wisdom tradition. It is important to note here that when we are speaking of an utterly different kind of lineage to the often mentally separative and dogmatic religious traditions within humanity. The planetary community we are speaking about here is one participated in by beings who have journeyed so deeply into the Mystery of Reality that they no longer operate through mind and mental forms of knowledge as we know them, but rather through a form of wisdom-insight that flows naturally from direct awakening to Reality once mind has been transcended. In this respect, we honour the distinction made by Djwhal Khul in his most recent set of teachings with Bruce Lyon, between wisdom and knowledge.[iii] Knowledge is something that changes and evolves as the mind of humanity evolves. Wisdom is rooted in insight into the nature of Reality and kosmos as they are revealed in the spaces of becoming deeper than mind. Knowledge evolves. Wisdom is, and always has been.
As such, the teaching found in the Trans-Himalayan transmission can be understood to have two sources. The first is the open release into the world of teachings that have likely been held secret and shared only with the innermost initiates of the global wisdom traditions owing to them being of such an esoteric nature. The existence of teachings that remain secret to those outside the initiated circles of a tradition, and about which those who have been initiated are forbidden to speak of, is very real, even in our modern age in which so much of the Eastern wisdom has become known to the West. Many of the Vajrayana and Hindu esoteric teachings, for instance, are written in what is called “twilight language” (sāṃdhyābhāṣā); a polysemic system of language composed of symbols and images incomprehensible to those not initiated into their meaning. And there are still understood, additionally, to be a vast number of untranslated Tibetan and Chinese Buddhist texts.
The second stream of content composing the Trans-Himalayan teachings could be described as information not rooted in any human tradition as yet, esoteric or exoteric. Rather, these are realisations concerning the nature of kosmic reality, penetrated into by those beings described above whose levels of evolutionary development are so advanced in comparison to our own that it is beyond our capacity to imagine. These kosmic insights exist as the basis of their collective culture of shared wisdom and interrelationship.
The Three Phase of the Trans-Himalayan Teachings
The first of the three phases of Trans-Himalayan teachings involved the work of Helena Blavatsky principally, and the founding of the Theosophical Society. It also included the work of such individuals as Alfred Sinnett, W. Q. Judge, Annie Besant, Charles Leadbeater, Mabel Collins, Francia La Due and Rudolf Steiner. This phase of work entailed teachings concerning the expression of Absolute Reality into all cosmic Form; a spiritual perspective on the evolution of the cosmos and humanity; as well as the first modern spiritual and cultural exchange between Eastern and Western paths of spirituality, cosmology, philosophy and scientific thought. Indeed, the prevalence of Eastern philosophy in Western culture today, as well as the increasing interface between science and spirituality, certainly stems in large part from the pioneering work of these early Theosophists. That Blavatsky was also clear that the transmission she was bringing had been shared with her by a community of liberated masters – beings whose level of development far transcended anything spoken of even in the Eastern texts that the Western orientalists were just beginning to translate – was a point that bore significant impact on world culture.
Figure 1. The seal of the Theosophical Society – the primary embodiment of the first phase of the Trans-Himalayan tradition.
The second phase involved the work of Alice Bailey, a former theosophist who went on to work with the Tibetan master Djwhal Khul, one of the beings whom Blavatsky had come into contact with during her phase of work. Djwhal Khul contacted Bailey telepathically in 1919, when she was 35, with the communication that she might be able to make a contribution to the evolution and awakening of humanity through their collaboration on a series of books. Bailey refused initially, as she had no interest in what she perceived to be lower psychic activity and at the time didn’t know the identity of this mysterious contact. He persisted, however, and after a trial period in which she was allowed to weigh up whether what came through was genuine and of benefit to humanity, she agreed to serve as his amanuensis. This began a telepathic relationship that continued for 30 years, until Alice passed on in 1949.
It is important to note here that the mode of communication was telepathic rather than channelling. Bailey did not ‘give up’ her mind, but rather was trained to align it via her soul sufficiently with that of Djwhal Khul’s for the transmission to flow cleanly. Together they collaborated on 24 books of esoteric philosophy and science, while Alice and her husband, Foster Bailey, established the Lucis Trust, which still today holds under its umbrella the Arcane School – one of the most respected esoteric schools of meditation, study and service in the world; Lucis Publishing, which still publishes the Djwhal Khul / Alice Bailey teachings; and World Goodwill, an educational initiative that seeks to promote right human relations over the globe.
Figure 2. Symbols associated with the works of Alice Bailey (left), Helena Roerich and the Agni Yoga material (centre) and the Lucille Cedercrans material (right) – three of the most prominent expressions of the second phase of the Trans-Himalayan tradition.
The second phase also involved the work of other disciples such as Helena and her husband Nicolas Roerich. Helena worked with another master of Hierarchy known as the Master Morya to put out the Agni Yoga books, while her husband, Nicolas, remains one of the foremost spiritually influenced artists of the 20th Century. Lucille Cedercrans is another worker of definite note to the second phase. She worked with the Master Rakoczi on what they called the “New Thoughtform Presentation of the Wisdom”, in much the same way that Bailey worked with Djwhal Khul and Roerich worked with Morya.
Figure 3. The Shamballa School symbol – an expression of the emerging third phase of the Trans-Himalayan tradition
In his work with Bailey, Djwhal Khul suggested that the third phase of the teachings would emerge around the year of 2025,[iv] but that teachings preparatory to the third phase would emerge in the early part of the 21st Century.[v] In this connection, he suggested that the third phase of teachings would have the non-dual Reality of the One Life, Shamballa, the power aspect of divinity, and the universal story of becoming, within which humanity finds its place, as the primary focus. These teachings began to emerge in the form of a 10-year collaboration between Djwhal Khul and Bruce Lyon between the years 2000-2010, and they have been, and continue to be, an inspiration to Shamballa School, a community founded by Bruce in 2001.
The Coming Third Phase
In terms of the teachings that are projected to emerge around the year 2025, a number of us in Shamballa School have come to understand that the new teaching will not be given through any individual, but through a group initiate. And it has become increasingly clear also that it will be a trans-lineage group initiate. In other words, souls who have penetrated into the mysteries of divinity beyond any tradition, through their hearts, souls and bodies, and yet who also recognize each other as a unique expression of it.
In terms of the purpose at the heart of this third phase that is to come, it is understood that this is analogous to the ultimate destiny of the soul depth of our being. Over its great cycle of untold numbers of incarnations, it is the role of the soul to stand between and mediate the relationship between embodied personality and divine spirit until such dynamic fusion occurs between the two that the soul is consumed in the flames of its own sacrifice. Correspondingly, so also is it said that the Trans-Himalayan teachings are already that which they seek to teach – a space of relationship both between multiple fields within humanity, but also between humanity and other, sub- and super-conscious kingdoms of life.
As such, the purpose of the tradition has been to bring Humanity, the Earth and the Fire of kosmic Purpose held in reservoir and transmitted by those super-conscious communities of awakened Being into such fusion that it is eventually consumed in the flames of global awakening. As Djwhal Khul describes it, this sacrifice will allow an even greater revelation to break like a wave upon humanity’s consciousness and the whole of the Earth;[vi] a revelation concerned with the emergence of a global culture of the One; with Humanity's identification as a single being of kosmic origin; and with the cosmic Purpose that it is the destiny of the Earth to transmit in and through kosmos, once every particle of matter here is radiating as recognized Godhead.
Whether this will be the end of the tradition is open to speculation. No form is destined to last forever, and what better way to go out than by action of the Fire of realized Purpose. Indeed, it is this transmission of essential Life and planetary Purpose that abides at the heart of the entire Trans-Himalayan transmission, and must be recognized as more important than any of the words or concepts through which it is expressed. In the lead up to this, however, and with reference to the next phase of the teachings being transmitted to and through a trans-lineage group initiate, it is important to point out that only such a diverse group drawn from all traditions and backgrounds could be a true representative of humanity, and thus open a door to that which is to come. For such beings, the choice to stand together as one will come not from shared systems of belief or methods of work, but because it is the irrefutable call of their free and awakened hearts to do so.
The Purpose of the Three Phases
In one of the books published as a result of this recent collaboration between the Djwhal Khul and Bruce Lyon, Occult Cosmology, they review the Trans- Himalayan tradition until the present day in each of its phases, and suggests that each can be understood to play a particular role in the awakening of those who work with them.[vii]
The first phase, which expressed itself in the Theosophical movement, is described as orienting the individual to the spiritual realities, and this can be clearly seen to be the case with the work of the early and present day Theosophists.
The second phase is described as providing a body of teaching that allows the individual to learn to participate in the evolution of consciousness and the working out of the sacred process that is occurring on Earth. This can be seen in the incredibly detailed picture of the evolving soul, planetary and solar ecologies within which we find our place given in these teachings, and the methods whereby we can enter into relationship with that process.
The keynote of the third phase is described as incorporating a set of teachings whose power may allow the full liberation of the individual, so that they may begin to consciously work with and transmit the creativity, love, wisdom and divine Will of Reality, in enlightened relationship with beings of all kingdoms, both pre- and post-human, from and through multiple planes of kosmos.
Djwhal Khul lets us know to erect no barriers of separation between the three phases. He notes that souls with varying dharmas will be attracted to work with one, two or all three phases, as is their calling.
[i] Alice A. Bailey, The Rays and Initiations (New York, NY: Lucis Publishing Company, 1960), 255.
[ii] Helena P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine (London, UK: Theosophical Publishing House, 1928), 22.
[iii] Bruce P. Lyon, Occult Cosmology (Palmerston North, NZ: White Stone Publishing, 2010), 2.
[iv] Alice A. Bailey, Discipleship in the New Age Volume 1 (New York, NY: Lucis Publishing House, 1944), 778.
[v] Alice A. Bailey, Discipleship in the New Age Volume 2 (New York, NY: Lucis Publishing House, 1955), 261.
[vi] Lyon, Occult Cosmology, 10.
[vii] Ibid, 7-16.