AGE OF THE SOUL
Although generally speaking, spirit essence is ageless and eternal, it is possible to classify souls in terms of its evolutionary unfoldment or development. Here we do not speak of the origin of the soul, for from a certain occult point of view, not all human souls originated at the same “time” or from the same imaginary point in space. According to this viewpoint, not all humans are of the same spiritual race. Our many racial conflicts have its source in the very depth of our souls where our metaphysical blueprints are diverse and heterogeneous. In the channeled teachings of the New Age, our points of origin are associated with certain constellations in the starry sky.
The so-called age of the soul may be determined in various ways and there are many forms of classifications. These methods of determining the evolutionary stage of the soul assists us to greatly understand the behavioral patterns and mental/spiritual differences in human beings.
We call some of the various methods of classifying soul development, “the Caste-System,” “the Planetary Initiatory System,” and “the Chronological-Aging System.” Each system has its own method of delineating soul-progress. We believe that psychology would improve its understanding of the human psyche if it took the issue of soul-age under consideration.
The Caste System
According to the Hindus, thousands of years ago Manu, the progenitor of humanity, instituted the caste system called jati in Sanskrit. In this system there are four classes called varna. The highest varna is the Brahmin, the priests and scholars. Next in rank is the warrior/ruler-caste, called Kshatriya. Below this are the merchants and the farmers–the Vaisyas. The lowest class is that of the Sudras, the laborers. Outside of the class systems are the “Untouchables.” These are the Dravidians, the original inhabitants of the land colonized by the Aryans. This caste-system is still in existence today, however, its rigidity has caused a great amount of civil problems and unrest; fortunately though, numerous political and social reformers have caused positive changes and abolished many of the caste-system strict rules.
According to the exponents of the caste system every soul is born into the caste in accord with its karma. If one is born in a lower caste, it is because of its karma. Only if it ameliorated its karmic condition would it be born in a higher caste in a next life. Members of a certain caste were not allowed to marry those of another class. In such a strict system the opportunity to progress was not provided. The lower class eventually became the slaves of the higher.
Although the physical form of the caste-system is abhorrent to the fine, sensitive nature of the evolved soul, its essence has a basis in truth. Spiritually speaking, every person belongs to one of the class of the caste system. In other words, our soul functions at a certain caste-level and it eventually evolves through all of the castes. At present we may function at a Sudra-consciousness level, or a Ksatriya-consciousness level, etc. From the spiritual point of view, there are also classes above the Brahmin level. These are the great souls, men and women who have reached the state of perfection.
Briefly, the soul begins its evolutionary journey as an Untouchable, this is the soul-stage where one simply struggles to survive. One has no concept of sin at this stage, one simply lives according to the basic instincts. The Untouchables are simple, ignorant people. Their mentality and spirituality are not yet awakened. At the next stage, as a Sudra, the soul has evolved an egoic sense and begins to work for self-aggrandizement and self-centered purposes. As a Vaisya the soul becomes very ambitious and materialistic and seeks money for its sake alone. The Vaisya cares for none but for self alone. Everything that exists the Vaisya seeks to own. The Ksatriya on the other hand has evolved a sense of responsibility. He seeks to serve humanity, however, his attempts are still tainted by his ego which is now functioning in a subtle manner. The Brahmin has commenced to renounce the many vices and negative traits that acted as hurdles towards his spiritual progress. There is now little ego left in him. He often has a mystical disposition. In his mind and heart he often feels that he has “seen it all” and “have known it all.” This results in his distaste for the mundane world, and he usually becomes a renunciate. The Brahminic soul finds more pleasure in things of the spirit rather than in worldly pleasures.
From the above we can see the hypothetical situation where a Vaisya, spiritually speaking, is born into a physical Ksatriya caste, or becomes president of a country. This results in a ruler with tyrannical tendencies. Someone who misuses the trust that people places upon him. He exploits his position in order to own and acquire the riches of the world for self-centered purposes.
We can see the difference in soul development as related to class by an individual’s understanding of the concept of power. Each class has its own characteristical understanding of the word “power.” Ask someone with a Sudra soul-development what his understanding of power is. He will show you his muscles–“muscle-power.” The Vaisya on the other hand, will declare that money is power, or even that psychism is power. To the Ksatriya, position, rank, or office is power . . . perhaps his sword too. Brahmins would maintain knowledge to be power. The person who said that the pen is mightier than the sword was a Brahmin. The higher spiritual classes without doubt would declare love to be the highest power.
Though the Caste-system has four, five, or even six classes, they are not clearly distinct. In some cases we have an overlapping of classes. For instance, a soul may be a Sudra-Vaisya, or a Vaisya-Ksatriya, etc. Or a much more precise way of classifying this is to consider each class as having four sub-classes. The following is an example: Sudra-Sudra, Vaisya-Sudra, Ksatriya-Sudra, and Brahmin-Sudra. The next set of sub-classes would be Sudra-Vaisya, Vaisya-Vaisya, Ksatriya-Vaisya, etc. This would make 16 sub-classes in all, and each sub-class would have its own characteristics.
We can also see how the pattern of the caste-syetem corresponds with the four-fold personality of the microcosm: Sudra–physical body; Vaisya–astral or emotional body; Ksatriya–the lower mental (concrete mind); Brahmin–the higher mental (the abstract mind).
The Planetary Initiatory System
In order to understand the planetary initiations and its relationship to the stages of soul-unfoldment, we should first discuss briefly the meaning of initiation and the institution behind it.
Initiation may be defined as the “act of inducing, introducing, or instructing.” It is often ritualistic in nature and is to be found in various social ceremonies. Fraternal organizations often extend an initiation to their member-candidates to impress upon their minds the importance of the step that they would be taking. There are many forms of initiation related to the life of a human being; for instance, birth, adolescence, adulthood, parenthood, etc.-all of these are stages of growth and in certain cultures they are marked by certain initiatory rituals. These rituals are often called rites of passage. Initiation in that sense, is an announcement or revelation of what one has attained, or reached.
In schools of esotericism, initiations are given to candidates requesting occult wisdom. In such initiatory ceremonies, mystic instructions are often conveyed to the one being initiated. Often the candidate had to undergo certain tests and trials to prove his worthiness. In the Initiatory schools of Ancient Egypt, for instance, the candidate had to face the challenges of the four elements. These trials would reveal whether the candidate had the necessary qualifications, such as sincerity, courage, determination, perseverance, etc., in order to progress in the occult teachings and to preserve them from misuse. When these arduous tests had been completed the candidate would be led to a special chamber where he or she would be caused to experience what has been called, “dying while living.” Through mystic methods the high priest conducting the initiation would release the ka, the “soul” from the candidate’s corporeal form. In these initiations yogic instructions are given to the initiated one to practice. In most initiatory systems, there are three stages of occult advancement–each stage represented by an initiation. In the initiatory systems of ancient Egypt, these three steps are referred to as the initiations of Osiris, Isis, and Serapis.
Planetary initiations are quite different from what we have discussed thus far. Man is in a state of evolution, and every stage of his unfoldment is marked by an initiation. Often these initiations are ritualistically conducted by the members of the Planetary Spiritual Hierarchy. This Spiritual Hierarchy is the unseen government of this planet.
The Spiritual Hierarchy, according to the Ancient Wisdom, was established about 18 million years ago by an interplanetary being from Venus called Sanat Kumara. This exalted entity is the god or president-director of planet earth. It was he who sent many beings to appear on the world scene to instruct humankind on the Path of Truth, Love and Wisdom. These beings are our avatars, saints and prophets. Many of these entities now hold important positions in the spiritual government headed by Sanat Kumara.
The purpose of the Spiritual Hierarchy is to guide and assist humanity’s evolutionary struggle towards higher levels, towards the fifth kingdom–the kingdom of the gods and even beyond. Their goal is to release humanity from all of its self-imposed limitations and false beliefs preventing the attainment of god-hood, divinity, and immortality. The members of the Hierarchy teach every person the way out of the cycle of reincarnation, and the elimination of karma.
As mentioned above, the many initiations that the Spiritual Hierarchy conducts relates to the various stages of humanity’s evolution. These initiatory ceremonies are either formally or informally given. They usually take place in the higher dimensions, those above the astral planes. The candidates of these initiations experience them in the Out-of-the-Body state, and is normally recalled during the waking state as a “lucid dream.”
The consciousness of life begins at the mineral level. It progresses to the plant kingdom, moving on to the animal kingdom, and finally enters the human stage. The human kingdom is marked by various evolutionary phases. Most people have passed the early primitive stage of humanity’s collective evolution–and when we say “primitive,” we refer to the consciousness aspect and not to form. The Hierarchy’s consideration of mankind, therefore begins with the stage of the average person. When the average person begins to awaken spiritually, he is considered an aspirant. This is analogous to the stage of novice in any religious institution. After this stage comes the grade of discipleship.
After many tests, a disciple qualifies for his first initiation. There are 9 initiations associated with this planet. At each stage and initiation there are certain soul qualities that the person has to develop, certain traits and habits that has to be eliminated, and certain tasks carried-out. It is a person’s soul-development or expression that gives us a clue as to where he or she stands on the evolutionary scale or spiritual path as reckoned by the Hierarchy. Most saints and prophets are third and fourth degree initiates. The fifth initiation marks the level of the “Perfect Man.”
Generally speaking, the initiate of the first degree strives to overcome and balance the physical appetites and instincts. The second degree initiate works upon purifying and harmonizing the emotional nature. The third degree initiate has the onus of purifying, developing, and transcending the mind. The human ego would have to be eliminated or transcended in the fourth initiation. Perfection is attained in the fifth initiation. What lies above that, the sixth-ninth degree, is beyond the understanding of the lower degree initiates and the average person. Between two initiations there are several minor ones, not all of which are celebrated in a ceremonious manner. The various events in the life of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament represents the planetary initiations. This is a hidden truth not yet understood by orthodox Christianity. The gospel stories are actually narratives of our own soul-journey and development.
Not all of the initiations are attained in one incarnation. It takes many lives to pass through them. Because of this a person may be born as a second or third degree initiate; a first or fourth degree initiate; or even as an average person who has not yet set his foot on the path of spiritual unfoldment. Our children may be more advanced than us, spiritually speaking, just as candidates may be more highly developed than their seniors when they are first accepted or initiated into a spiritual organization.
The Chronological Aging System
Another method of gauging the soul’s age is what we personally call the Chronological Aging System. This method has attained some publicity when the manuscript, “The Michael’s Handbook” was published; however, this system is not new and have been taught by mystics throughout the ages.
Basically, this system follows the same chronological stages that an organism goes through in its life. An organism begins its life as an infant and progresses in the following stages: baby, youth (young), adult (mature), and the aged (old). Now the soul also undergoes all of the above stages in its development, and even more. Those souls that have passed the stage of “Old-soul” may be said to be Transcendent and Infinite souls. At each stage or age there are seven sub-stages or levels. At every level and every stage, the soul has identifying traits and characteristics, and these have positive and negative aspects. Generally speaking, by knowing the traits of someone we may tell their soul age, and hence, where they stand in their evolution. Below is a table of the soul stages and their basic traits as described in the book “Michael’s Handbook,” written by Jose Stevens.[Please visit our website for the table]
Generally, Infant souls are more concerned with survival issues than anything else, and they often live far from the complexities of technological societies. It is said that Infant souls tend to congregate in the equator for survival is much easier and simpler there. Negatively, Infant souls are aggressive, animalistic, fearful, superstitious, and ignorant. Their redeeming qualities are simplicity, child-like, psychical, and instinctive.
Baby souls are those beings that strictly play the rules of society. They are unshakeable in their beliefs and they have a tendency to succumb to fanaticism, whether it be religion or some other. Baby souls are comfortable with formal rites and ceremonies and are strict conformist to the tenets of theological dogmas. The good aspects of Baby souls might include loyalty and obedience, while their negative aspects dogmatism, pettiness, and brutality.
Young souls are struggling to express their innate identity, their divinity; however, they mistakenly do this by asserting their false ego, by misusing power, and by manipulating others. Hence, with such tactics, they are often the conflict-makers. They are possessive in nature and are deeply concerned with power issues. They love to be known and worshipped and are often the success-hunters. Young souls are ambitious and competitive and ever seek to be prominent in their field of expertise. They are great winners but sore losers. They are materialistically and atheistically oriented, and are greatly fearful of death. They love luxury and the many comforts of life. Positive traits of Young souls are productiveness and industriousness. Negatively, they are competitive, self-righteous, manipulative, and given to exploitation.
Mature souls are less materialistic than their younger brethren. Relationships, cultural and intellectual pursuits are of more importance to Mature souls than the lower activities of the personality. This is the stage where the soul commences to search for a meaning in life. The soul begins to feel an emptiness in its heart for all the mundane things that it sought after in the early stages offered no lasting enjoyment. Mentally, it begins to be open-minded, is introspective, and commences its inquiry into the nature of Truth. Mature souls have a sense of caring, they are perceptive, and are open to others-these are their positive traits. Negatively, they can be over-attached, over-emotional, and neurotic.
Old souls are the teachers and guides of the younger souls. Having experienced life and its many facets, spiritually speaking, they are the ones among human souls most qualified to show others the Way. Usually, they possess not mere intellectual knowledge of Universal Truths, but have experienced them personally through soul-perception. Old souls enjoy their freedom and have a sense of inter-relatedness. All things to the Old soul are inseparable from itself, and are but aspects of itself. They see and feel God in everything. From the perspective of Young souls, old timers are sometimes hard to fathom. The Old ones seem to lack any powerful ambition, motivation, and enthusiasm for earthly life. They appear to be detached, reticent, and aloof. Old souls enjoy unorthodox spiritual practices, and alternative forms of healing. They are esoterically inclined–always searching for the inner truths in religion rather than conforming to its formalities; they are more spiritually aware than the soul groups of any other soul stage. Old souls are adept in choosing and expressing any of their past-life personalities according to the situations that they face in life. They might appear authoritative one moment, and at another they may act docile, sweet and innocent. Old souls know that life is a play and that they are merely actors playing roles. From the viewpoint of Baby and Young souls, the Old ones with their spiritual vision and mystical understanding are simply heretical. Old souls have often been persecuted and executed by the ignorant younger souls. The Young ones tend to attack what they fear and do not understand in the Old ones and thus create unnecessary karma. The Old soul is easygoing, eccentric, kind, gentle, loving, insightful, intuitive, and harmless, these are just some of their positive traits; Old souls have very little negative traits and ego left, although there are some “species” that can seemingly be obnoxious for certain karmic reasons. Old souls are at times lazy, weird, and unmotivated.
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