All people ask themselves what is the evil and what is the good in life. Evil is needed in life as well as in nature, but it is not a necessity. When connected with the negative forces in nature, evil becomes a necessity. It represents the lowest frequency of vibrations of the good. In life the bad, that is the evil people, are drains through which impurities pass. It is said in the Scriptures that there exist impure and pure vessels. The impure vessels are the bad people, while the pure are the good people. Realizing what service they perform, the evil people begin to suffer, gradually improve, and change their way of life. While they are not yet able to improve, they are dissatisfied with the good people and say that they suffer because of them. This is the reason evil people don't have a good disposition toward good people. Knowing this, you should be understanding toward evil people. This is the occult view of evil. Such an understanding does not encourage evil, but rather sheds light for the understanding of its deep meaning as a law in nature, as a temporary necessity. As long as there exist impurities in the world, there must also exist drains, vessels through which these impurities can flow.
In the world, good and evil represent two schools with completely different programs and methods. The student of the first school should not pass into the second one, because he will lose the place which nature has destined for him. As long as he is in the first school, i.e. the School of the Brothers of Light1, he will work with his head and his chest. Once he enters the second school, that of the brothers of darkness, he will work with the stomach and the liver where inevitably he will ferment. Therefore a man can live either in his head and lungs or in his stomach and liver. In this way he will work according to the laws of the Brotherhood of Light or in accordance with those of the brotherhood of darkness.
These two laws are apparent everywhere in life. When someone raises only one finger, the index, for example, he wants to indicate with this gesture that he is serving the Brotherhood of Light. The index finger is the flag of the Brotherhood of Light. When someone lifts two fingers - the index and the middle fingers, this indicates: I serve both brotherhoods, or I am blessing in the name of both brotherhoods. This also indicates that I will speak the truth when needed, when not - I will hide it. The two fingers are a sign of contradiction. This is dual morality: when the question is about God, I will work according to the first morals; when the question is about evil, I will work with both morals. In the first case I will work with the head and the chest, in the second - with the stomach or the liver. It is up to you which rights a man should use - the rights of the brothers of Light or those of the brothers of darkness. When you raise both fingers and look at them this indicates that your subconsciousness is warning you to be careful in your actions and which of the two methods to choose. By choosing the first method you will gradually learn to think correctly, you will learn that evil is not a punishment, nor is it superfluous. You can not change evil.
One thing is expected of you: to be careful not to disturb the balance which exists between good and evil. The ratio, the proportion between good and evil is determined by nature: of one hundred good people ten will be bad; in the opposite: among one hundred evil people ten will be good. This is the first ratio, which is also the best. There exist also further proportions: for one hundred good people fifty will be evil, and the opposite, among one hundred evil people fifty will be good. The third proportion: among one hundred good people seventy five will be evil, or among one hundred evil people - seventy five good. If in the span of a century the first situation exists, among one hundred people to have ten evil ones, a beneficial influx in all aspects will be noticed in the world; if it should happen that among one hundred evil people ten are good, there will be a receding tide. For example, when a spiritual or religious wave comes into the world according to the ratio in the first case for every one hundred people will appear ten irreligious people, in the reverse case, for every one hundred irreligious people ten will be religious, spiritual, good people. In no case can the number of the good people fall below ten percent. There will never be a time when the good people will disappear from the world. The number one and ten are equivalent numbers. The number one represents the power of the good people.
Know thus that the positive and negative powers, i.e. good and evil are necessary for you but you should cope with them in the most rational way. In this case you should not criticize each other, not look for your negative qualities, because you will infect yourselves by them. When a student makes a mistake and strays from his path the others should be careful and see in what lies this mistake, because they too can undergo the same trial. You cannot be judgmental about people's mistakes before you come to know Truth.
How many are the ways in which one can speak the truth? The way is only one. If you use a second way it will not contain the truth. For example, you visit a poor family. You sit there one, two hours and it becomes dark and the host lights up a candle so that you may see each other better and continue your conversation in the lit up room. After one hour the host extinguishes the candle. "Why did you blow out the candle" - "Sir, I am a poor man, my earnings are limited. If I let the candle burn out I will not have the money to get another one. Therefore when I light it up for short time it will last longer." This man speaks the truth. You visit another poor family, here too the host extinguishes the candle. "Why did you blow the candle?" "Because, as you can see we have a window to the street and everybody can look into the room through the window." This man does not speak the truth. He points to the window to the street as an excuse for blowing out the candle. In reality the reason was poverty.
When you have been asked something, you too as disciples answer either in the first or the second way. Some of you say: I extinguished the candle because I cannot afford to purchase a second one. The rest of you say: I extinguished the candle because people from outside look through the window to see what is going on inside. In other words, when one of the students makes a mistake he is ready to say the truth as it is in reality. He says: "I committed the crime, I am guilty because I don' t have enough moral strength to endure the trial." The student whom I compare to the second host says: "It is true that I have made a mistake but the fault lies with my friend who caused me to fail." I ask what kind of a student is he who follows his friend's lead. The disciple can follow only the lead of his Master.
In order for you to come to know your Master I will describe to you the distinctive qualities of the Master of the Brotherhood of Light, as well as those of the one from the brotherhood of darkness. How does the good teacher differ from the evil teacher? The master of the brotherhood of darkness does not know truth and for this reason he pays great attention to the exterior: he dresses well in the best and most fashionable clothes, wears expensive jewelry, rings with different precious stones. He says to his students: "Remember that you can find truth only with me." The Master of the Brotherhood of Light dresses modestly yet always clean and neat, and without any rings or other decorations. He says to his students: "Do not expect too much of me!" Therefore in order not to fall in error the disciple should know his Master not externally but internally. When a disciple of the School of the Brothers of Light visits his Master and starts to recount about some teacher that he is very advanced, that he knows many things, the master will not start attacking this teacher calling him names, but will say: "You are right, this teacher knows many more things than I. He can accomplish certain things I would not dare attempt to do. In this respect he stays above me." "In such case I could go to him." "Go to him, you may learn something." He does not restrict but rather gives full freedom to his disciples. By going to the new teacher immediately the disciple changes his place: from the head he goes down to the stomach and the intestines where the impurities are, after which he ends up in the liver. When he sinks in these dark factories he starts to understand his first teacher and says: "I wish no longer to remain here. I wish to leave this prison as soon as possible. By not wearing any external decorations such as rings and other adornments, the Master of the Brothers of Light wants his disciple to find the inner wealth and purity of his teacher, his inner and not his external radiance. Realizing his inner poverty and dryness the teacher of the brotherhood of darkness says: I will dress myself in rich clothes with fine adornments to be able to show my students what great wealth is in my possession." These are things of external value. He who has the desire to exhibit external wealth from within he is poor. On the other hand, he who seems to be externally poor from within, he is rich.
Guard against external delusions and remember that whenever a lot has been promised, little is given; whenever little has been promised the giving is generous
In the first situation you will run into beings of different levels of development in respect to intellect and emotions and if you attempt to criticize them you will come under their influence, This is what it means for man to fight evil. Whoever has tried to fight evil has always been defeated. All initiate and master who have tried to fight evil have failed. Evil never submits, is never defeated nor can it be brought under control. As an initiate Apostle Paul said: Defeat evil through the good. In this sense good can only partially restrain evil, so that these two powers can be balanced.
Besides these two kinds of teachers there exists also a third one. These teachers make use of the methods of both brotherhoods but belong to none of them. Many of the teachers of the brotherhood of darkness have completed the school of the Brotherhood of Light, know all the methods and use them for the brotherhood of darkness. After having finished the school of the Brotherhood of Light some of the Masters of that school have also attended the school of the brothers of darkness, so that they, too know the methods of the one as well as of the other brotherhoods. They use the methods of the one or the other school according to the occasion. They take the liberty to do so because they are of a higher hierarchy than the other. The Masters of the Brotherhood of Light use the methods of their own school. The teachers of the brotherhood of darkness, who know the methods of both schools often use the methods of the Brotherhood of Light for the benefit of their school. You need to know this because when you study the occult you may run into great difficulties and conflict. As disciples of a school of the occult you need to know your powers, because at the present state of your development, with your present knowledge, at your present moral strength it is impossible for you to handle certain powers of nature. Why? - Because you cannot withstand their inner pressure.
I speak to you now about these things in order for you to learn to differentiate who speaks the truth and who does not speak the truth. The Master of the Brotherhood of Light, the Master of truth brings with himself three things: freedom for the soul, light for the mind, and purity for the heart. The teacher of the brotherhood of darkness brings with himself: enslavement for the soul, darkness for the mind, and impurity, defilement of the heart. These are the distinctive qualities of the schools of Light and of darkness, which every one has experienced. If you come across the school of darkness, immediately you will be prescribed a number of laws and rules which you simply must obey. As soon as you start to be obedient to them you will notice that you fall into slavery, into confinement. Before you may be freed, a long time may pass. It is difficult to escape from the iron hoops of slavery. Who can free you? - Truth. What will bring enlightenment to your mind? - Wisdom. What will purify your heart? - Love.
What is Love? - Love is the most dangerous power in the world. Wherever it goes, it takes everything away: it opens and empties the purse of the rich, it carries away the filled granaries of the farmers, it takes away the masters' servants. How does Love do it? By removing the servants' head-stall. For a while it seems as if the connection between the master and the servant is severed with free will prematurely, but after that without the head-stall the servant goes to help his master with free will. In this case either you accept love, or if you think that love has come prematurely, refuse it. - No, all need to open widely their arms for love: the rich will empty their purses, the farmers - their granaries; the masters free their servants. What ought the state, the government give to love? One of the first forms of governing was monarchism, conservatism, i.e. repression. I am using this form of government as a symbol, for clarification. I use these explanations as a first degree, by examining the symbol as it reflects upon the nation. After that I will use another symbol figuratively, i. e. as a second degree. Such a symbol is the extinguishing of the flame of a candle. In this case the candle symbolizes life. Therefore every symbol must be treated first in its closest, most recognizable form as the people use it and after that in its figurative sense.
This year I wish that a proper, sensible harmony should be created among you by good will and not by force. I will not say that you ought to tolerate everybody, but, knowing the law, at least not to criticize each other. This does not mean to be blind to evil but rather to know that it is needed in this world. As soon as you see it you can distance yourselves from it. Once needed the evil has the right to exist. If it was not needed, it would not exist. You sit somewhere entranced and suddenly an evil thought comes to your mind. Why did this evil thought come? It came in order to take you out of this stupor. You need to be alert and not to be carried away.
And so, good and evil, the positive and negative powers in nature, are as necessary as the floods and tides of the ocean. For example, you sit on a rock contemplating about God's Love, unknowing that the conditions where you sit are not obedient to this love. A child goes with a stone in its hand and throwing the stone it hits you and injures your head. This is a rising tide of the evil which was aimed at you. Immediately you jump from the rock and start chasing the child. This way you are saved. As you have been carried away on the rock if you did not run after the child you would have fallen into the precipice and lost your life this way. Unwittingly the child has helped you escape this situation. Behind it are hidden intelligent beings which have directed him to throw the stone at you. In this case you say: " Come evil, it is worse without you (Bulgarian proverb)".
Therefore when someone injures your head and causes you sorrow remember that the rational beings did this through the child wanting to tell you that you have not come to this world to live blissfully. It is not a world of felicity. Therefore as long as you are in this world you need not be enraptured. Once you go to heaven you can be entranced, sing, dance as much as you wish. Besides high tides of the evil there exists also influxes of the good. Again you sit on the rock, but this time you are desperate, discouraged, ready to commit suicide. The same child passes by, throws the stone and fractures your skull. In this moment you drop the gun from your hand, touch the injury on your head and forget to commit suicide. Good people come to your aid in this moment. They bandage your head saying some encouraging words. You relax and start to think reasonably and say: "Thanks to the child, which injured my head, because if this had not happened I would have lost my life." Many such cases happen in life to good as well as bad people to free them from the evil. When an evil thought comes to your mind its purpose is to remind you that the world in which you live is not yet the Kingdom of God, that you need to be alert. When a good thought comes to your mind its purpose is to advise you what good deed to perform. As students of the occult you need to keep in mind such contemplations. You may have many other philosophical contemplations, this is good too. This way you will be able to decide to what degree the given rules are plausible.
By evil and good, by negative and positive powers I understand those which work in two opposite directions: the evil operates in the roots, the good in the branches, in the blossoms. Yet both the evil and the good are necessary for life's development. Their service is strictly distributed. One day when you complete your evolution the Great Brothers which guide both schools as well as all humanity will arrange a different way of living, completely different from the present. In the present conditions of life the plant lives like a plant with its head stuck in the ground; the animal lives like an animal; man - like a man, Whatever effort man makes he cannot yet live like an angel. In the future man will pass through the favorable conditions of the angels, this however is not possible today.
All of you aim toward the specific peak but need to remember that the way to this peak is only one. The Master who is leading you stands on that peak and says: "This way is only one but there are turns to one side or other. Whatever diversion you may take, at the end of all ends you will see that the path is only one, the peak is only one." When you conclude your evolution, i.e. when you reach the peak you will meet your Master, who will show you a wide open field and will say: "Now you can go wherever you wish, you are free." Until you reach the peak you will walk on one way toward your Master. As soon as you reach him many ways open up and you may freely make the choice. As long as you are on the plane of the earth there exists no freedom. Freedom exists high above, on the peak. Gaining freedom implies completion of one evolution and entering another, completely new one.
At your present state you need to guard yourselves against delusions, thinking that another way besides the one pointed out to you, other easier methods for work may exist. One is the way, many are the methods, but remember that there are no easy methods in the world, Do not delude yourselves thinking that being young you have the power to change the world. As long as they are students the young people think that they will write a book with which they will improve the world or that they will give a talk which will cause a radical change in the people's way of thinking. Many of the prophets and teachers also have the same idea, but the Great Teachers who rule the cosmos know that everything will happen according to a completely new plan. When? After the end of this era. Knowing that avoid criticism, do not occupy yourselves with your negative qualities. This is a requirement of the science of the occult. When you stumble into one of your negative qualities immediately replace it with a good one. Do the same also with your friends and brothers. Pay attention to the good in yourselves as well as in the good of your neighbors. Try as much as possible to avoid thinking about your shortcomings. You do just the opposite as if consciously you have made it your aim to occupy yourselves with your shortcomings. What happens in this case? Unknowingly you find yourselves in the brotherhood of darkness. The opposite happens too: if a student of the brotherhood of darkness is occupied with the positive qualities of his character he becomes a student of the brotherhood of light. Therefore I recommend you to work with your positive qualities. Regard your negative qualities as remnants of the past. I am not interested in the negative qualities of a disciple. I care to hear from him the truth. A doctor for example questions the sick person about his condition not because he is interested in his stomach or heart, but he wants to know where the sickness is located.
When I point out your faults I want to help you free yourselves from them. In order to achieve that you need to know which virtue corresponds to the given fault. In this way you will influence yourselves. The good will chase out the evil. I am not searching the evil in you in order to reprimand you but rather to show you methods which cultivate the good instead of the bad. As students of the school of the occult you ought to act judiciously. I will not be telling you to be good, judicious but I give you methods according to which you will act right, judiciously. The mind must be fed with food appropriate to rationality. You may say that one needs to read books to feed his mind. - Do you know, however, what books you need to read? Do you know how you need to read? I would recommend you to read Shakespeare, Goethe, Kant. or the lives and deeds of the prophets and apostles.
Many of the students read indiscriminately any book that finds its way into their hands and as a result their mind becomes cluttered. They spoil their taste for the truly beautiful and consider this or that not worthy. They become great critics, highly opinionated about their own knowledge. Seeing that you know much you will be invited by the Brotherhood of Light or darkness to do some service. These schools need knowledgeable, educated people. If you are invited by the Brotherhood of Light, you will be sent as a preacher to a large church in America. After ten years you will be evaluated in what category of preachers you fall as well as about the character of your sermons. If the brotherhood of darkness invites you, you will be sent as prime minister of Bulgaria and you will be instructed that these people cannot be governed with goodness and morality, but with an iron fist, with prisons. Thus you start sentencing one after the other until you make many enemies and accumulate heavy karmic debt. All those whom you have jailed will create for you a number of misfortunes. This is what happens when someone knows much. If someone knows much both schools will put him to work for their own benefit.
It is advisable for a student for this reason to have positive knowledge and science. It is advisable for a student to be humble. The student must know every moment with certainty the source of every feeling, every action, every impulse if it comes from the right or from the left. Every thought can have only two results, either good or bad. At the beginning a thought may have good consequences yet at the end, bad ones. In contrary, at the beginning it may have bad consequences and at the end - good ones. The same can be said also about feelings and actions.
And so all thoughts which cause constriction to the mind and deprive it of purity come from the left side and should without fail be eliminated. You have nothing to do with them. All thoughts on the other hand which bring purity, light, and freedom come from the right. Welcome these thoughts in yourselves and allow them to grow. Speaking of purity I mean living purity. This purity is mobile as the colours of the spectrum. When you place a glass prism over a white cloth it will be colored according to the colours of the spectrum but only while the prism is exposed to sunlight. As soon as the rays of the sun stop passing through the prism, the cloth turns white again as it was before, Truth acts in the same way: it colours, beautifies things without staining them. As long as the prism of truth acts upon a certain object it colours it red, blue, green or any other colour; as soon as the prism is removed, the object turns back to its original state. You complain that someone has tainted you. This is an easy matter. It is enough to remove the prism of truth from you in order for you to become again pure. In the Brotherhood of Light you can be tainted and you can become pure again. However in the brotherhood of darkness once you are tainted you cannot return to your pure state. Their colouring cannot be removed. The people of darkness are tainted with the colour from the brotherhood of darkness. Thousands of years must pass before they can remove this stain. Therefore in the Brotherhood of Light as well as in the brotherhood of darkness a cloth is tainted but with the difference that a cloth tainted with the prism of the Brotherhood of Light can instantly become pure again, whereas in the brotherhood of darkness this is impossible.
Living purity is connected with the law of love and with the law of wisdom. As long as you take into consideration these two laws you are pure. As soon as you make the slightest deviation you loose your purity. Living purity is not a constant quality of man. It is mainly a quality of love. This means that as long as love is present in a person's heart he or she is pure. Purity is a quality simultaneously of the mind and of the heart. Light is a quality only of the mind. As soon as light disappears from the mind darkness and gloom set in. This is the diagnosis which defines the state of your mind and of your heart. These conditions further determine what path you will take. I wish you to have this living purity. When it is present in your mind and heart you are joyous and cheerful. Man is not born pure, he becomes so later. The light appears instantly. It takes a long time to prepare but light manifests itself and disappears instantly.
And so living purity is a quality of rational love. He who wishes to have this purity needs to be connected with love. Love excludes impurity, suffering, envy, hatred. It excludes all negative manifestation of life. Wherever love is absent there all negative qualities exist. Wherever love enters there peace, joy, gladness, growth, freedom exist. When someone says that he suffers because of love he does not understand the law of love. We deny this statement absolutely. One cannot suffer because of love. One suffers only when losing love. This is a completely different question. For as long as love abides in a man and illumines him he is joyous and glad. When love abandons him he starts to suffer. Why? There is no one to light him up. Therefore suffering and sorrow indicate that you have lost your love, that your candle has gone out, and that the object of your love has moved away from you. This may be contrary to your concept about love but you may accept it as a new attitude. In the future when you will write new literary works you will need to use a new language. At present you write: "This person is weeping for his lost love". Then you will write: "This man weeps because his candle has gone out". Or "He or she suffers for the blown out love for the extinguished truth." Sometimes you say that when one is in love one becomes absent minded. In reality one becomes absent minded because of fear not to lose his love or because he has lost it. He resembles a man who has lost his money.
Love awakens in man the most sublime feelings and thoughts. If someone is weak, cowardly, hesitant, and if his mind is wanting, he lives without love. He who wishes to be intelligent, talented needs to acquire love and live with it. I do not speak about that which people name love. These are feeling, passion which make a person unhappy. The disciple works with the common, the human love, and the Master with the sublime love. When the Master speaks he uses every word appropriately. He knows why he uses a certain word, he knows what an effect it will produce. When a student speaks he does not know why he uses one or the other word.
The Master's Love is tried, it cannot be tested. The love of the disciple is not tested, it needs to be tried.
The knowledge of the Master is tried, it need not be further tested. The knowledge of the disciple is not tried and needs to be tested.
The purity of the Master is tried. He has passed through this test. The purity of the disciple is not tried, it needs to be tested.
Therefore the love, knowledge, purity, compassion of the disciple need to be tested. This is necessary, and proper. Do not think that you can go a different way. This is the path through which all your teachers have passed, this is the path through which you will also pass. If you are tempted to criticize, you will delay your evolution.
Write down these thoughts and work on them throughout the whole year.
Without fear in the boundless love!
1st lecture of the Master held October 4th, 1922 in Sofia, in the 2nd year of the Youth Class of the Occult.
1 In the original Bulgarian text the terms are: The White Brotherhood, White Brothers, and The Black Brotherhood, black brothers, which have no racial connotation but refer to good and evil, Light and darkness.