Chapter IV - The Third Initiation - The Transfiguration on a High Mountain
The Third Initiation - The Transfiguration on a High Mountain
Arjuna said: "The word which Thou hast spoken through love of me, the supreme mystery named the Oversoul - through it my delusion is gone.
"For the birth and the passing of beings have been heard by me at lenth from Thee, whose eyes are lotus petals; I have heard also of the Great Spirit, which passes not away.
"So I would see that Self as it has been spoken by Thee, Mighty Lord; that divine form of Thine, O best of men!
"If Thou thinkest it can be seen by me, Lord, Master of union, then reveal to me the Self everlasting!"
- Bhagavad Gita, XI, 1-4. 
Another period of service is ended. Christ faced another interior crisis, and this time, according to the story, one which He shared with His three favorite disciples, with the three people closest to Him. His demonstrated self control, and henceforth His immunity from temptation, as we can understand it, had been succeeded by a period of intense activity. He had also laid the foundation of the kingdom of God which it was His mission to found, and whose inner structure and skeleton outline were built upon the twelve apostles, the seventy disciples whom He chose and trained, and the groups of men and women everywhere which responded to His message. So far He was successful. Now He faced another initiation and a further expansion of consciousness. These initiations, to which He subjected Himself on our behalf, and to which we may all in due time aspire, constitute in themselves a living synthesis of revelation which it may profit us to study before we consider the detail of the stupendous revelation which was accorded to the three apostles on the mountain-top. Three of these crises are perhaps of greater significance than has hitherto been grasped by humanity, which is prone to lay the emphasis mainly upon one of them only, the Crucifixion.
One wonders sometimes whether the other tremendous experiences through which Christ passed would have been relatively overlooked in favor of the Crucifixion had the  Epistles never been written and had we only the Gospel story upon which to base our Christian belief. This is a point to consider, and worthy of serious speculation. The bias thrown on Christian theology by St. Paul has perhaps over-balanced the structure of the presentation of Christ as we were meant to get it. The three initiations which, in the last analysis, may mean the most to the seeker after truth, are the birth into the kingdom, that august moment when the entire lower nature is transfigured and one realizes the fitness of God's sons to be citizens of that kingdom, and the final crisis wherein the immortality of the soul is demonstrated and recognized. The Baptism and the Crucifixion have other values, emphasizing as they do purification and self-sacrifice. This may surprise the reader, in that it seems to belittle the Christ, but it is profoundly necessary for us to see the picture as the Gospels present it, uncolored by the interpretations of a later son of God, no matter if brilliant and sincere, as was St. Paul. In dealing with the subject of Deity, we have always been told that we know God through His nature, and that nature is Spirit or Life, Soul or conscious love, and Form intelligently motivated. Life, quality, and appearance - these are the three major aspects of divinity, and we know no others; but that does not mean that we shall not contact other aspects when eventually we provide the mechanism of knowledge and the intuition to penetrate deeper into the divine Nature. We do not yet know the Father. Christ revealed Him, but the Father Himself remains as yet behind the scenes, inscrutable, unseen and unknown, except as He is revealed through the life of His sons, and by the revelation given peculiarly to the Occident by Jesus Christ.
As we consider these initiations, the three mentioned above stand out clearly. At the Birth in Bethlehem we have the appearance of God, God is made manifest in the flesh. At the Transfiguration we have the quality of God revealed in its transcendent beauty, whilst at the Resurrection initiation the life aspect of divinity makes its presence felt. 
In His earthly life, therefore, Christ did two things:
- He revealed the triple nature of Deity in the first, third, and fifth initiations.
- He demonstrated the expansions of consciousness which come when the requirements are duly met - purification and self-sacrifice.
In these five episodes the whole story of initiation is told; birth, subsequent purification in order that right manifestation of Deity may follow, revelation of the nature of God through the medium of a transfigured personality, and finally the goal - life eternal and unending because decentralized and freed from the self-imposed limitations of form.
These three major initiations, the first, the third and the fifth, constitute the three syllables of the Word made flesh; they embody the musical chord of Christ's life, as they will be embodied in the life of all who follow in His steps. Through reorientation to new modes of living and of being we pass through the necessary stages of adaptation of the vehicles of life, up to that mountain-top where the divine in us is revealed in all its beauty. Then we pass to a "joyful Resurrection," and to that eternal identification with God which is the everlasting experience of all who are perfected. We might depict the process as follows:
First, man and God must be fused and blended into one functioning whole. God, made flesh, must so dominate and control the flesh that it constitutes no hindrance to the full expression of divinity. Such is not the case with the average man. With him divinity may be present, but it is deeply hidden. However, today, through our psychological investigations, much is being discovered as to this higher and lower self, and the nature of that which is called at times the "subliminal self" is emerging through a study of the reaction of the outer active self to the activities of that inner subjective guidance. That man is dual has been recognized everywhere, and this in itself presents a problem with which psychologists are constantly confronted. Personalities seem to function in a "split" manner; people are distraught because of this cleavage. We hear of multiple personalities, and the necessity for integration, for coordination of the different aspects of man, and the fusing of his nature in one functioning whole becomes more and more urgent. The recognition of man's reach and the constant pull of the world of transcendental values have produced an acute problem for the world. The primitive and the transcendental; the outer conscious man and the inner subjective subliminal man; the higher and the lower self; the personality and the individuality; the soul and the body - how are these to be reconciled? Of the higher values, man is ceaselessly conscious. Of the man who wills to do good, and of the nature which in opposition causes him to perform evil, all the saints testify.
The entire human family today is split on the rock of duality. Either the personality is dual and therefore  unmanageable, or groups and nations are divided into opposing camps, and again duality emerges in intense dynamic difficulty.
It is integration which Christ so fully exemplified, thus resolving the dualities of higher and lower in Himself, making "of twain one new man," (Eph. II, 15.) and it was this "new man" which shone forth at the Transfiguration before the startled gaze of the three apostles. It is this basic integration or unification which religion should aim to produce, and it is this coordination between two fundamental aspects of human nature - the natural and the divine - which education should effect.
This problem of the two selves, which Christ so strikingly synthesized in Himself, is the strictly human problem. The secondary self, in contradistinction to the divine self, is a fact in nature, however we may try to evade the issue and refuse recognition of its existence. The "natural man" exists, as does the "spiritual man," and in the interaction of the two the human problem is focused. Man himself makes this clear. In speaking of man, Dr. Bosanquet says that:
"...his innate self-transcendence, his ineradicable passion for the whole, makes it inevitable that out of the superfluity which he cannot systematize under the good, he will form a secondary and negative self, a disinherited self, hostile to the imperative domination of the good which is, ex hypothesi, only partial. And this discord is actually necessary to the good; for it sets it its characteristic problem, the conquest of the bad. And the good is necessary to the evil, for beyond rebellion against the good, the would-be totality of the disinherited self can find no other unity."
- The Value and Destiny of the Individual, by B. Bosanquet, p. 210.
Here lies man's problem, and here lie his triumph and the expression of his essential divinity. The higher self exists, and finally and inevitably must gain the victory over the lower self. One of the things that is happening today is the  discovery of the existence of this higher self, and many are the testimonies to its nature and qualities. Through a consideration of the self in every man we are steadily approximating an understanding of divinity.
Behind the manifestation of Jesus Christ lay aeons of experience. God had been expressing Himself through natural processes, through humanity as a whole, and through specific individuals, as the ages slipped away. Then Christ came, and in process of time, as a definite fulfilment of the past and as a guarantee of the future, He synthesized in Himself, in one transcendent Personality, all that had been achieved and all that was immediate in human experience. He was a Personality, as well as a divine Individuality. His life with its quality and its purpose has set its seal upon our civilization, and His demonstrated synthesis is the inspiration of the present. This consummated Personality, synthesizing in Itself all that preceded in human evolution, and expressing all that immediately may be, is God's great gift to man.
Christ, as the Personality that healed the division in human nature, and Christ, as the synthesis of the higher and the lower aspects of divinity, is the glorious heritage of mankind today. This is what was revealed at the Transfiguration.
However, it is useful to remember that only at a certain stage in human development does the expression of the indwelling Christ life and consciousness become possible. The fact of evolution, with its necessary distinctions and differences, is incontrovertible. All men are not the same. They vary in their presentation of divinity. Some are really subhuman as yet. Others are simply human, and still others are beginning to display qualities and characteristics which are superhuman. The question might justifiably arise: when does the possibility come to man of transcending the human, and becoming divine? Two factors will at that time control. He will have transcended the emotional and physical natures, and, entering the realm of thought, he should be responding in some way to ideals as they are presented to him by the  thinkers of the world. There must come a time in the progress of each human being when the development of the triple human nature - physical, emotional and mental - reaches a point of possible synthesis. He then becomes a personality. He thinks. He decides. He determines. He assumes control of his life and becomes not only an originating center of activity but an impressive influence in the world. It is the coming in, with power, of the mind quality, and the capacity to think, which make this possible.
It is this insistence upon thought, and this determination to handle life from the angle of mind and not of emotion, which distinguish a "personality" from the rank and file of human beings. The man who thinks and who acts upon the resolutions and incentives which have their origin in duly considered thought-realities becomes, in time, a "personality," and begins to sway other minds. He exercises a definite influence upon other people. Yet overseeing the personality is the inner spiritual man, which we might call the "individual." It is here again that Christ achieved success, and the second duality, which He so significantly resolved, is that of the personal self and the "individuality." The finite and the infinite must be brought into a close relation. This, Christ demonstrated in the Transfiguration, when, through the medium of a purified and developed personality, He manifested the nature and the quality of God. The finite nature had been transcended and could no longer control His activities. He had passed in His consciousness to the realm of inclusive realization, and the ordinary rules governing the finite individual, with its petty problems and its small reaction to events and persons, could no longer influence Him nor determine His conduct. He had achieved contact with that realm of being in which there is not only understanding, but peace, through unity.
Rules and fixations and considerations Christ had surmounted, and consequently He functioned as an individual and not as a human personality. He was governed by the  rules which control in the realm of the spirit, and it was this which the three Apostles recognized at the Transfiguration, and which led to their submission to Him henceforth as the One Who represented to them Divinity. Christ, therefore, at the Transfiguration, unified in Himself God and Man, His developed Personality blending with His Individuality. He stood forth as the perfect expression of the uttermost possibility to which humanity could aspire. The dualities, of which mankind is so distressingly the expression, met in Him, and resulted in a synthesis of such perfection that, for all time, He determined the goal of our race.
There is a still higher synthesis, and this Christ also summarized in Himself - the synthesis of the part with the Whole, of humanity with the ultimate Reality. Man's history has been one of development from the state of mass unconscious reactions to that of a slowly recognized group responsibility. The low-grade human being or the unthinking individual has a collective consciousness. He may regard himself as a person, but he does no clear thinking as to human relations or as to the place of humanity in the scale of being. He is easily swayed by the mass or collective thought, and is regimented and standardized by mass psychology. He moves in rhythm with the mass of men; he thinks as they think (if he thinks at all); he easily feels as the mass feels, and he remains undifferentiated from his kind. Upon this, orators and dictators base their success. Through their golden-tongued oratory or through their magnetic and dominant personalities, they swing the masses to their will because they work with the collective, though undeveloped, consciousness.
From this stage we pass to that of the emerging personality who does his own thinking, makes his own plans and cannot be regimented or beguiled by words. He is a thinking individual, and the collective consciousness and the mass mind cannot hold him in thrall. These are the people who pass on to liberation, and who, from one expansion of awareness  to another, gradually become consciously integrated parts of the whole. Eventually, the group and its will (not the mass and its feeling) come to be of supreme importance, because they see the group as God sees it, become custodians of the divine Plan, and conscious, integral, intelligent parts of the whole. They know what they are doing, and why they do it. In Himself Christ blended and fused the part with the whole, and effected an at-one-ment between the will of God, synthetic and comprehensive, and the individual will, which is personal and limited. In a commentary on The Bhagavad Gita, that supreme argument for the life of the whole as fused and blended in divinity, Charles Johnston points out that:
"The truth would seem to be that, at a certain point in spiritual life, the ardent disciple, who has sought in all things to bring his soul into unison with the great Soul, who has striven to bring his will to likeness with the Divine Will, passes through a marked spiritual experience, in which the great Soul draws him upward, the Divine Will raises his consciousness to oneness with the Divine Consciousness; for a time he perceives and feels, no longer as the person, but as the Oversoul, gaining a profound vision of the divine ways of life, and feeling with the infinite Power, which works through life and death alike, through sorrow and joy, through union and separation, through creation, destruction and recreation. The awe and mystery which surround that great unveiling have set their seal on all who have passed through it."
- The Bhagavad Gita, translated by Charles Johnston, p. 128.
This realization is far from the average man, and still further from the undeveloped.
The divine is the Whole, informed and animated by the life and will of God; and in utter self-surrender and with all the power of His purified nature and His divine understanding and wisdom, Christ blended in Himself the collective consciousness, the human realization and the divine Totality. Some day we shall understand this more clearly. It is as yet something which we cannot grasp, unless for us the Transfiguration is a reality and not a goal. 
It is interesting to have in mind another at-one-ment which Christ made. He unified in Himself the past and the future, as far as humanity is concerned. This is significantly typified in the appearance with Him upon the Mount of Transfiguration of Moses and Elias, the representatives respectively of the Law and of the Prophets. In the one figure we find symbolized the past of man, with its summation in the Law of Moses, setting the limits beyond which man may not go, defining the injunctions which he must set upon his lower nature (the desire-nature), and emphasizing the restrictions which the race as a whole must set upon its actions. Careful study will reveal that all these laws concern the government and control of the desire-nature, of the emotional, feeling body, to which we have already had need to refer. Curiously enough, the name "Moses," according to Cruden's Concordance, means "taken out of the water." We have already seen that water is the symbol of the fluidic emotional desire-nature in which man habitually dwells. Moses therefore appeared with Christ as typifying man's emotional past, and the technique of its control is to be later superseded when the message of Christ's life is duly understood, pouring through man's consciousness in ever greater fullness. Christ indicated the new synthetic commandment which is "to love one another." This would render needless all the Law and the Prophets, and would relegate the Ten Commandments into the background of life, rendering them superfluous, because the love which will flow out from man to God, and from man to man, will automatically and positively produce that right action which will make the breaking of the commandments impossible. The "shalt not" of God, spoken from Mount Sinai through Moses, with its negative emphasis and its punitive interpretation, will give place to the radiance of love and the understanding of goodwill and light which Christ radiated upon the mount of Transfiguration. The past met in Him and was superseded by a living present.
Elias, whose name means "the strength of the Lord," stood  beside Jesus Christ as the representative of all the schools of the Prophets which had for centuries foretold the coming of the One Who would stand for perfect righteousness and Who, in His Own Person, would embody, as He does today, the future achievement and the goal of the human race. That the future holds reaches of consciousness and standards of achievement as much beyond those of Christ as His expression is beyond ours, is entirely possible. The nature of the Father remains still to be known; some of its aspects, such as the love and wisdom of God, have been revealed to us by Christ. For us today, and for our immediate goal, Christ stands as the Eternal Prophet, to whom Elias and all the Prophets bear witness. Therefore, as He stood upon the mountain top, the past and the future of humanity met in Him.
That He at-oned in Himself certain basic human cleavages is thus apparent, and to those above enumerated we can add one already considered, the blending in Himself of two great kingdoms in nature, the human and the divine, making possible the emergence into manifestation of a new kingdom upon earth - the kingdom of God, the fifth kingdom in nature.
When considering the Transfiguration it is necessary to realize that it was not simply a great initiation, in which God revealed Himself in His radiance and glory to man, but that it had a definite relation to the medium of revelation - the material physical nature, which we call the "Mother aspect." We saw, when studying the Birth initiation, that the Virgin Mary (even when recognizing, as we do, the historicity of Christ's existence) is the symbol of the form nature, of the material nature of God. She typifies in herself that which preserves the life of God, latent yet with infinite potentialities. Christ revealed the love-nature in the Father. Through His Person, He revealed the purpose and objective of the form-life of man. 
In this mountain experience we see the glorification of matter as it reveals and expresses the divine, indwelling Christ. Matter, the Virgin Mary, reveals God. Form, the result of active material processes, must express divinity, and the revelation of this is God's gift to us at the Transfiguration. Christ was "very God of very God," but He was also "flesh of our flesh," and in the interplay and the fusion of the two, God stood revealed in all His magnetic and radiant glory.
When we, as human beings, realize the divine purpose, and come to regard our physical bodies as the means whereby the divine, indwelling Christ can be revealed, we shall gain a new vision of physical living and a renewed incentive for the proper care and treatment of the physical body. We shall cherish these bodies, through which we temporarily function, as the custodians of the divine revelation. We shall, each of us, regard them as the Virgin Mary regarded her body, as the repository of the hidden Christ, and we shall look forward to that momentous day when we, too, shall stand upon the Mount of Transfiguration, revealing the glory of the Lord through the medium of our bodies. Browning sensed this and gave us the thought in the following well-known phrases:
"Truth is within ourselves; it takes no rise
From outward things, whate'er you may believe.
There is an inmost center in us all
Where truth abides in fullness; and around
Wall upon wall, the gross flesh hems it in.
...And, to know
Rather consists in opening out a way
Whence the imprisoned splendor may escape
Than in effecting entry for a light
Supposed to be without."
- Paracelsus, by Robert Browning, Oxford Edition, p. 444.
Thus, for humanity, Christ stood revealed as the expression of God. There is for us no other goal. Yet let us remember with humility and awe that the stupendous words spoken by Krishna, in The Bhagavad Gita, remain also true  as an ultimate statement concerning the transfiguration of the whole world:
"Nor is there any end of My divine form, O consumer of the foe; this I have told thee for thy instruction, as an enumeration of My manifold forms. Whatever being is glorious, gracious or powerful, thou shalt recognize that, as sprung from a fragment of my fire. But what need hast thou of this manifold wisdom, O Arjuna? With one part of My being I stand establishing this whole world."
- The Bhagavad Gita, Book X, 40, 51, 42.
Under the impact of the evolutionary urge God moves towards fuller recognition. "Purification" is the word generally used to cover the process whereby the medium of divine expression is prepared for use. The Galilee experience, and the daily effort to live and meet the eventualities of human existence (which appear to grow more drastic and disciplinary as the great wheel of life turns, and, turning, carries humanity onward), bring man to the point where this purification is not simply the result of life itself, but is something which is definitely imposed by man upon his own nature. When this process is self-initiated, then the speed with which the work is carried forward is greatly accentuated. This produces a transformation of the outer man of great significance. The caterpillar becomes transformed into the butterfly. Deep in man lies this hidden beauty, unrealized, but struggling for release.
The life of the indwelling Christ produces the transformation of the physical body, but deeper still, that life operates upon the emotional-feeling nature, and through the process of transmutation converts the desires and feelings, the pains and the pleasures, into their higher correspondences. Transmutation has been defined as "the passage across from one state of being to another, through the agency of fire." (A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, p. 476.) It is appropriate in this connection to remember that the threefold lower man, with whom we have been dealing so often in these pages, is a dim reflection of  Deity Itself. The physical body is related to the third aspect of divinity, the Holy Ghost aspect, and the truth of this can be realized if we study the Christian concept of the Virgin Mary over-shadowed by the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is that aspect of divinity which is the active principle in matter, and of this the physical body is a correspondence. The emotional, sentient nature is a dim and distorted reflection of the love-nature of God which the cosmic Christ, the second Person in the Trinity, is engaged in revealing; and this aspect (transmuted through the agency of fire, the will or spirit of God) produces the transformation of the physical body. The mind in its turn is therefore the reflection of the highest aspect of deity, the Father, or Spirit, of Whom it is said that our "God is a consuming fire." (Deut., IV, 24.) The releasing activity of this form of God's spirit eventually produces that radiance (as a result of transformation and transmutation) which was the distinguishing characteristic of the Transfiguration initiation. "Radiation is transmutation in process of accomplishment." Transmutation being the liberation of the essence in order that it may seek a new center, the process may be recognized as 'radio activity' as far as humanity is concerned." (A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, p. 478.)
It was these processes, carried on in the form nature, which led eventually to the revelation to the Apostles of the essential nature of the Master they loved and followed, and it is this aspect of Christ - the inner radiant reality - to which the mystics of all times bear testimony, not only in connection with Christ, but in lesser degree in connection with each other also. Once the world of the senses has been transcended, and the higher correspondences have become active, revealing the inner world of beauty and truth, there will come to the mystic a realization of a subjective world whose characteristics are light, radiance, beauty and indescribable wonder. All the mystical writings are attempts to describe this world to which the mystics seem to have access, with  its forms varying according to the period, race and point of development of the seer. We know only that the divine stands revealed, while the outer form which has veiled and hidden it dissolves, or is so transformed that only the inner reality is registered. The temperament and tendencies of the mystic - his own innate quality - have also much to do with his description of what he sees. However, all are agreed on the essentially transcendent nature of the experience, and convinced of the divine nature of the person concerned.
Great indeed was the power and mystery of divinity which Christ revealed to the astonished gaze of His three friends upon the Mount of Transfiguration. In one of the ancient scriptures of India, quoted by Dr. Otto, there is an attempt to express or reveal that divine essential Spirit manifested at the Transfiguration:
"Finer than the fine yet am I greatest,
I am the All in its complete fullness,
I, the most ancient, the spirit, the Lord God.
The golden-gleaming am I, of form divine.
Without hand and foot, rich in unthinkable might,
Sight without eyes, hearing without ears,
Free from all form, I know. But me
None knows. For I am Spirit, am Being."
- Kaivalya, II, 9. Quoted in Mysticism, East and West, by Rudolph Otto, 98, 99.
The mass of literature that has been written in an attempt to portray the wonder of the transfiguration and the vision of God, is an outstanding phenomenon of the religious life, and one of the strongest testimonies to the fact of the revelations.
The very simplicity of the story as related in the Gospels has a majesty and a
convincing power of its own. The Apostles saw a vision and they participated in an
experience wherein Christ Jesus stood before them as perfected Man, because fully divine.
They had shared with Him His service; they had left their various vocations in order to be
with Him; they had gone with Him from place to place and  helped Him in His work, and
now, as a reward for faithfulness and recognition, they were permitted to see the
Transfiguration. "When the mind," says St. Augustine, "hath been imbued
with the beginning of faith which worketh by love, it goes on by living well to arrive at
sight also, wherein is unspeakable beauty known to high and holy hearts, the full vision
of which is the highest happiness."
- Psychology and God, by L. W. Grensted, p. 75.
"After six days Jesus taketh Peter, James and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them; and his face did shine as the Sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
"And behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
"While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud over-shadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only."
- St. Matt., XVII, 1-8.
A consideration of the various unifications which Christ had made in Himself will have prepared us for the stupendous phenomenon of the revelation which forced the three disciples to their faces. Three kneeling kings or magi attended the birth initiation. At this crisis there were three disciples prostrate upon the ground, unable to look upon the glory which had been revealed. They thought that they knew their Master, but the familiar Presence had been transformed, and they stood before The Presence. The sense of awe, of wonder and of humility is ever an outstanding  reaction of the mystics of all time to the revelation of light. This episode is the first one in which we contact the radiance and the light which shone from the Savior, and which enabled Him to say with truth "I am the Light of the world." Contact with God will ever cause a light to shine forth. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, his countenance was so irradiated that men could not look upon it, and history tells that he had to use a veil to shield that radiance from others. But the light which was in Christ shone forth in fullness from His whole Person. Increasingly, I believe, as the evolutionary process goes forward, we shall come to a deeper understanding of the significance of light in relation to humanity. We talk of the light of knowledge, and towards that light and its furtherance all of our educational processes and institutions are consecrated. We desire profoundly the light of understanding, which expresses itself in wisdom, and characterizes the sage and the wise upon earth; this light marks them off from the ordinarily intelligent person, making their words of moment, and giving value to their advice. We have been led to believe that there are in the world the illuminati, working quietly and silently behind the scenes in world affairs, shedding the light when needed into the dark places of the world, elucidating problems, and eventually bringing to light that which must be eradicated and that which is needed. We have also learnt to recognize the Light-bearers of all time, and we feel that in Christ the light of the ages is focused, and the light of God is centered. His disciples came into the radius of this light for the first time on the mountain-top, after six days of work, so the story runs, and could not bear the sight of so much brilliance. Nevertheless, they felt that "it was good for them to be there." Yet in our consideration of the light which was in Christ, and the rapture of the Apostles at its revelation, let us not lose sight of the fact that He Himself tells us that there is in us also a light, and that it too must blaze forth for the helping of the world and the glorification of our Father which is in  Heaven. (St. Matt., V, 16.) To this light the mystics testify, and it is this light into which they enter, and which enters into them, revealing the light which is latent and drawing it forth to potency. "In Thy light shall we see light." This is the outstanding fact of scientific mysticism. God is light as well as life. This the mystic has proved, and to this he eternally testifies.
This awareness of the fact of divinity is established in our consciousness first of all through the recognition of the wonder latent in every human being. That man who sees no good in his fellowmen is he who is unaware of his own goodness; that man who sees only evil in those around him is he who is seeing them through the distorted lens of his own warped nature. But those who are awakening to the world of reality are constantly made aware of the divinity in man, through his unselfish acts, his kindness, his spirit of enquiry, his light-heartedness in difficulty, and his basic essential goodness. This awareness deepens as he studies the history of the race and the religious inheritance of the ages, and above all when he is brought face to face with the transcendent goodness and wonder which Christ revealed. From this realization he passes on to the discovery of the divine in himself, and starts on that long struggle which carries him through the stages of intellectual awareness of possibility, and of intuitive perception of truth, to that illumination which is the prerogative and the gift of all the perfected sons of God. The radiant inner body of light is present both in the individual and in the race, unseen and unrevealed, but slowly and surely emerging. At the present hour a large number of mankind are engaged in the activities of the six days which precede the transfiguration experience.
It is important here to study briefly the place of the disciples in the story of this experience. Down through Biblical history we meet this triplicity. Moses, Aaron and Joshua; Job and his three friends; Shadrach, Meschach and  Abednego, the friends of Daniel; the three kings at the cradle in Bethlehem; the three disciples at the Transfiguration; the three Crosses on Calvary! What accounts for this constant recurrence of three? What does it symbolize? Apart from their possible historical appearance, does there lie behind them some peculiar symbology which can, when understood, render clear the circumstances in which they played their part? A study of their names and the interpretation of them as given in the familiar Cruden's Concordance may supply a clue. Take, for instance, the meaning of the names of Job's friends. They were Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. Eliphaz the Temanite means "my God is gold," and also "the southern quarter," the opposite pole to the north. Gold is the symbol of material welfare, and the opposite pole to spirit is matter, therefore in this name we have symbolized the tangible outer form of man, actuated by desire for material possessions and comfort. Zophar the Naamathite means the "one who talks," and his theme is pleasantness, which is the interpretation given to the word "Naamathite." Here we have the desire body typified, with its longing for pleasantness, for happiness and for pleasure, and an indication of the constant and ceaseless call and voice of the sentient nature, to which we can all testify. Bildad the Shuhite represents the mental nature, the mind, signifying as he does "contrition," which becomes possible only when the mind is beginning to be active (including the conscience). Shuhite means "prostration or helplessness," signifying that alone and unaided the mind can reveal but cannot help. Remorse and sorrow, involving memory, are the result of mental activity. Thus, in Job's three friends the three aspects of his lower nature stand revealed. The same is the case when we study the names of Daniel's three friends. Abednego means the "servant of the sun," the server of the light; in that significance the whole duty and purpose of the physical outer man is summed up. Shadrach's name has a definitely emotional sentient connotation, for it means  "rejoicing in the way," and wherever we find reference to the basic dualities of pleasure and pain we are considering the emotional-feeling nature. Meschach means "agile," quick moving, which is in itself a very good description of the mental nature. Arjuna, in The Bhagavad Gita VI, 33, 34, points this out in his words to Krishna: "This union through oneness which is taught by Thee, ...I perceive not its firm foundation, owing to the wavering of the mind; for the mind wavers, Krishna, turbulent, impetuous, forceful; and I think it is as hard to hold as the wind."
Thus in the three friends, and in the various triplicities which we find in the Bible, we discover a symbolism which is vitally illuminating. The three aspects through which the soul must express itself, and through which it must shine, are thus portrayed. It is the same in connection with the three friends of Jesus Christ. I cannot here touch upon the friendships of Jesus Christ. They are very real and very deep, and universal in their inclusiveness. They are timeless and eternal, and the friends of Christ are to be found in every race (Christian or otherwise), in every clime and in both hemispheres. And be it remembered, it is only the friends of Christ who have any right to be dogmatic about Him, or who can speak with any authority of Him and His ideas, because theirs is the authority of love and of understanding.
We find also this basic triplicity in the persons of Peter and James and John, and in their names we find the same essential symbolism working out, thus giving us the clue to the meaning of this wonderful story. Peter, as we well know, means "rock." Here is the foundation, the most concrete aspect, the outer physical form, which, at the Transfiguration, is transformed by the glory of God, so that the outer image disappears, and God Himself shines forth. James, we are told, signifies "illusion," distortion. Here we have reference to the emotional-feeling body, with its power  to misrepresent and to deceive, to mislead and to delude. Where emotion enters in, and where the focus of attention is in sensitive and sensuous reaction, that which is not true rapidly appears, and the man becomes the subject of illusion. It is this body of illusion which is eventually transmuted, and so changed and stabilized that it provides a clear medium for the revelation of deity. John means "the Lord hath spoken," and herein is the mind nature typified, because it is only when the mental aspect begins to manifest that we have the appearance of speech and of that thinking, speaking animal which we call "man." So, in the apt symbology of the Scripture, Christ's three friends stood for the three aspects of His human nature, and it was upon this integrated, focused and consecrated personality that the transfiguration made its impact and produced revelation. Thus again the essential duality of humanity is revealed through Christ, and His threefold personality and His essential divinity are portrayed for us in such a way that the lesson (and the possibility) cannot be evaded. The Apostles recognized God in their Master, taking their stand upon the fact of this divinity, as have the mystics of all time.
They "knew Whom they had believed." (II Tim., I, 12.) They saw the light which shone in the Person of Jesus Christ, and for them He was more than the Person they had known heretofore. Through this experience God became a reality to them.
In the synthesis of the past, the present and the future, Christ and those who were immediately His friends, met with God, and so potent was this combination that it evoked from God Himself an immediate response. When feeling and thought meet in a moment of realization, there is a simultaneous precipitation of energy, and life is forever after different. That which has been believed is known as fact, and belief is no longer necessary. 
The Transfiguration scene was the meeting-ground of significant factors, and since that moment the life of humanity has been radically changed. It was as potent a moment in racial history as the Crucifixion, of more potency perhaps than even that great and tragic happening. Seldom do such moments come. Usually we see only faint glimpses of possibility, rare flashes of illumination, and fleeting seconds wherein a synthesis appears and leaves us with a sense of fitness, of integration, of purpose and of underlying reality. But such moments are rare indeed. We know God is. We know reality exists. But life, with its emphasis directed on phenomena, its stresses and its strains, so preoccupies us that we have no time, after the six days' labor, to climb the mountain of vision. A certain familiarity with God's nature must surely precede the revelation of Himself which He can and does at times accord. Christ's three friends had been admitted to a degree of intimacy with Him which warranted their being chosen as His companions at the scene of His experience, wherein He staged, for the benefit of humanity, a symbolic event as well as a definite experience for which arrangement had duly to be made, with the participants correctly chosen and trained, so that the symbolism which they embodied might appear, and their intuitive reactions be rightly directed. It was necessary that Christ should have with Him those who could be depended upon to recognize divinity when it appeared, and whose intuitive spiritual perception would be such that - for all time - the inner meaning might be made apparent to those of us who have followed later in His steps. This is a point at times forgotten. Inevitably "we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." (I St. John, III, 2.)
But to bring about this likeness two things are necessary to the consecrated and dedicated disciple. He must be able  to see clearly, meanwhile standing in the illumination which radiates from Christ, and his intuition must be active, so that he can rightly interpret what he sees. He loves his Master, and he serves with what faithfulness he can; but more than devotion and service are needed. He must be able to face the illumination, and at the same time he must have that spiritual perception which, reaching out beyond the point to which the intellect can carry him, sees and touches reality. It is love and intellect combined, plus the power to know, which is inherent in the soul, which recognizes intuitively that which is holy, universal and real, and yet which is specific and true for all time to all people.
Christ revealed the quality of the divine nature through the medium of matter, of form, and "was transfigured before them."
"The Greek word here used is 'metamorphosed,' the very word used by St. Paul to describe the transmutation of the mortal body into the resurrection body; for on the day of fulfilment, when the perfected disciple has attained masterhood, the 'Robe of Glory' shines forth with such splendor through the garment of the flesh that all the beholders perceive it, and, their eyes and ears attuned to finer subtle vibration, they behold their Master in all His divine humanity."
- The Mystery Teaching in the West, by Jean Delaire, p. 121.
It is interesting to note that, in spite of their recognition of the significance of the event in which they were participating, the three Apostles, speaking through the mouth of St. Peter, were able to do no more than express their awe and their bewilderment, their recognition and belief. They could not explain or understand what they had seen, nor do we find any record of their ever having done so. The meaning of the Transfiguration is something which has to be wrought out in the life before it can be defined or explained. When humanity as a whole learns to transform the flesh through divine experience, to transmute the feeling nature through divine expression, and to transfer the  consciousness away from the world of mundane living into the world of transcendental realities, the true subjective values of this initiation will reveal themselves to the minds of men. Then will come a deeper expression of that which has been intuited. Dr. Sheldon tells us with truth that "all of the finest human thought and feeling is carried for generations, probably for ages, in intuitional minds, long before it becomes articulate." (Psychology and the Promethean Will, by W. H. Sheldon, p. 116.) Not yet are we articulate where this experience is concerned. We sense dimly and distantly its wonder and its finality. We have not yet, as a race, passed through the new birth; the Jordan experience is only attained as yet by the few. It is the rare and developed soul which has climbed the Mountain of Transfiguration, and there seen and met with God in the glorified Person of Jesus Christ. We have looked on at this episode through the eyes of others. Peter and James and John, through another apostle, Matthew, have told us about it. We remain as onlookers, but it is an experience in which we shall some day share. This we have forgotten. We have taken to ourselves the language of the fourth great event in Christ's life, and many of us have attempted to share and enter into the meaning of the Crucifixion. We have looked on at the Transfiguration, but have not attempted to become actively transfigured. But that must some day happen to us, and only after the Transfiguration can we dare to climb Mount Golgotha. Only when we have achieved expression of divinity in and through the lower personal nature shall we have attained to that of worth and value which can be permitted, under the divine Plan, to be crucified. This is a forgotten truth. Yet it is all part of the evolutionary process whereby God is revealed through humanity.
The great and natural phenomenon which humanity will some day - through self-expression and also under the law - reveal in itself includes the beauty which shone forth from Christ as He stood transfigured before His three  friends, was recognized by God His Father, and received the testimony of Moses and Elias, the Law and the Prophets, the past and that which bears witness to the future.
One point might here be brought out. In the Oriental correspondence to these five crises in the life of Jesus Christ, this third episode is called the "hut" initiation, and the words of St. Peter as he suggests that they should make three "huts," one for Christ and one for Moses and one for Elias, link up this Christian happening with its ancient prototype. Always, in these rarely occurring events, God has been glorified by the light, ineffable and effulgent, shining forth through the raiment of flesh, and this mountain experience is not uniquely Christian. But Christ was the first to gather together into one sequential presentation all the possible experiences of divinity made manifest, and portrayed them for our edification and inspiration in His life history, and in the five Gospel episodes. More and more men will pass through the birth chamber, enter the stream and climb the mountain, furthering God's work for humanity; and Christ's example is rapidly bearing fruit and bringing results. Divinity cannot be gainsaid, and man is divine. If he is not, then the Fatherhood of God is but an empty form of words, and Christ and His Apostles were in error when They recognized, as They constantly did, the fact of our sonship. The divinity of man cannot be explained away. It is either a fact or it is not. God can be known in the flesh through the medium of His children or He cannot. All rests back on God, the Father, the Creator, the One in Whom we live and move and have our being. God is immanent in all His creatures, or He is not. God is transcendent and beyond manifestation, or else there is no basic reality, purpose or origin. Probably the growing recognition in men's minds that He is both immanent and transcendent is true, and we can take our stand upon His Fatherhood, knowing ourselves to be divine because Christ and the Church of all ages have borne testimony to it. 
This time the Word spoken differs from the previous one. The first part of the pronouncement made by the Initiator Who stands silently behind the scenes as Jesus takes initiation after initiation is practically the same as that at the Baptism initiation, except for one expressed command. He said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," but added this time, "Hear ye him." At the first great episode, God the Father, of Whom the Initiator is the symbol, did not make His Presence known. The angels spoke the word, embodying Christ's mission on His behalf. At the Baptism He accorded recognition, but that was all. At this Initiation, God commanded humanity to pay attention to this particular crisis in the life of Christ and to listen to His words. The power and the right to speak is now conferred upon the Christ, and it is interesting to note that the major part of the teaching (as given in St. John's Gospel and in many of the parables) was given by Christ only after He had been through this experience. Again God gave evidence that He recognized Christ's Messiahship, which word is man's interpretation of the recognition. At the Baptism, He recognized Him as His Son, sent into the world, from the bosom of the Father, to carry out the will of God. That which Christ had recognized in the Temple as a child was later endorsed by God. This recognition is repeated, and the endorsement is strengthened, by the command to the world to hear the words of the Savior, or perhaps from the esoteric and spiritual standpoint, to hear that Word which was God made Flesh.
"There is in fact an inward connection between the Baptism and the Transfiguration. In both cases a condition of ecstasy accompanies the revelation of the secret of Jesus' person. The first time the revelation was for him alone; here the Disciples also shared it. It is not clear to what extent they themselves were transported by the experience. So much is sure, that in a dazed condition, out of which they awake only at the end of the scene (St. Mark IX, 8.) the figure of Jesus appears to them illuminated by a supernatural light and glory, and a voice intimates that he is the Son of God.  The occurrence can be explained only as the outcome of great eschatological excitement."
- The Mystery of the Kingdom of God, by Albert Schweitzer, pp. 181, 182.
The same writer goes on to point out:
"We have therefore three revelations of the secret of messiahship, which so hang together that each subsequent one implies the foregoing. On the mountain near Bethsaida was revealed to the Three the secret which was disclosed to Jesus at his baptism. That was after the harvest. A few weeks later it was known to the Twelve, by the fact that Peter at Caesarea Phillippi answered Jesus' question out of the knowledge which he had attained upon the mountain. One of the Twelve betrayed the secret to the High Priest. This last revelation of the secret was fatal, for it brought about the death of Jesus. He was condemned as messiah although he had never appeared in that role."
- Ibid., pp. 217, 218.
This evokes in its entirety the question as to the nature of that mission which Christ came to forward, and what constituted the Will of God which He came to fulfil. Three major points of view usually held by the orthodox Christian might be enumerated as follows:
- He came to die upon the Cross to appease the wrath of an angry God, and make it possible for those who believe in Him to go to Heaven.
- He came to show us the real nature of perfection and how, in human form, divinity might be manifested.
- He came to leave us an example that we should follow in His steps.
Christ Himself laid no emphasis upon the death on the Cross as being the apex of His life work. It was the result of His life work, but not that for which He came into the world. He came that we might have "life abundantly," and St. John tells us in his Gospel that the new birth is  dependent upon belief in Christ, when power is given to us to "become the Sons of God, even to them that believe on his name, which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (St. John, I, 13.)
Is it not reasonable for us to gather from these words that when a man reaches the point of recognizing and believing in the cosmic Christ, "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," (Rev., XIII, 8.) then the new birth becomes possible, for the life of that universal Christ, animating every form of divine expression, can then consciously and definitely carry the man forward into a new manifestation of divinity? The "blood is the life," (Gen., IX, 4.) and it is the living Christ that makes it possible for all to become citizens of that kingdom. It is the life of Christ in each of us which makes us sons of the Father, not His death which makes us sons. Nowhere in the Gospel story does an opposite statement find support. Christ, at the communion service, gave His disciples the cup to drink, saying "This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." (St. Matt., XXVI, 28.) But these are His only references to blood in its remedial aspect, so strongly emphasized in the Epistles, and He Himself nowhere correlates blood with the Crucifixion. He speaks in the present tense, and does not relate the blood to the new birth or to the Crucifixion, or make it a factor in the exclusiveness which has so deeply colored the presentation of Christianity in the world.
It is the Christ life in all forms which constitutes the evolutionary urge. It is the Christ life which makes the steadily unfolding expression of divinity possible in the natural world. It is deep within the heart of every man. The Christ life brings him eventually to the point where he transits out of the human kingdom (when the work of normal evolution has done its part) and leads him into the  kingdom of spirit. The recognition of the Christ life within the form of man makes every human being, at some time, play the part of the Virgin Mary to that indwelling reality. It is the Christ life which, at the new birth, comes to fuller expression, and from crisis to crisis leads on the developing son of God until he stands perfected, having achieved "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." (Eph., IV, 13.)
We shall see later that upon the revelation of the risen Christ must the new world religion take its stand. Christ upon the Cross, as will appear when we study the next great crisis, showed us love and sacrifice carried to their extreme expression; but Christ alive from all time, and vitally alive today, is the keynote of the new age, and upon this truth must the new presentation of religion be built and, later, the new theology be constructed. The true meaning of the Resurrection and the Ascension has not yet been grasped; as a divine subjective reality those truths still await revelation. The glory of the new age will be the unveiling of those two mysteries, and our entrance into a fuller understanding of God as life. The true Church of Christ is the assembly of all who live through the life of Christ, and whose life is one with His. This will be increasingly realized and will bring forth into clearer and more radiant light the wonder and glory which lies, unrevealed as yet, in God the Father.
It is only the man who has understood something of the value of the Transfiguration initiation and the nature of the perfection then revealed who can follow along with Christ, to the vision which was accorded Him as He came down from that high point of achievement, and can later share with Him an understanding of the nature of world service. This world service is rendered perfectly by those whose inner perfection is approximate to Christ's and whose lives are controlled by the same divine impulses and subordinated to the same vision. This stage connotes that complete spiritual freedom which we must eventually reach.  Now the time has come for human beings to leave off believing, and pass on to true knowledge, through the method of thought, reflection, experiment, experience and revelation. The immediate problem for all who are seeking this new knowledge, and who desire to become conscious knowers instead of faithful believers, is that they should achieve it in the world of everyday. After each expansion of consciousness and each unfoldment of a deepened awareness we return, as Christ did, to the plains of everyday life, and there subject our knowledge to the test, discover its reality and truth, and find out also wherein lies for us our next point of expansion, and what new knowledge must be acquired. The task of the disciple is the understanding and the use of his divinity. The knowledge of God immanent, yet based on a belief in God transcendent, is our endeavor.
This was the experience of the Apostles upon the mountain top. We are told that "when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only." (St. Matt., XVII, 8). The familiar appeared to them again. It is of real interest to compare a somewhat similar story related in The Bhagavad Gita, wherein Arjuna has had revealed to him the glorious form of the Lord. At the close of the revelation God, in the person of Krishna, says to him, with tenderness and understanding, "Let not fear nor confusion overcome thee, beholding My form so terrible! Behold my former shape once more, thy fear gone, thy heart at rest!" and then he goes on to tell him:
"This form of Mine which thou hast seen is hard indeed to see! Even the Gods ever desire a sight of this form! Nor can I be seen thus through Vedas, penances, gifts, sacrifices, in the form which thou hast seen. But I can be known thus through single-hearted love, Arjuna, and seen as I truly am, and entered, O Consumer of the foe!"
- The Bhagavad Gita, Book XI, 49, 52, 53, 54.
The Word of Recognition had gone forth, and the command to hear the Christ had been given. Jesus having returned  "to His proper form," the descent from the mountain had to follow. Then occurred what might be regarded as a great, sad, spiritual reaction, inevitable and terrible, expressed by Christ in the following words:
"The Son of Man shall be betrayed into the hands of men, and they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again." (St. Matt., XVII, 22, 23.)
Then comes the simple comment that the disciples "were exceedingly sorry." This vision of Christ's, if we trace it in the records, fell into two parts. First, He had a vision of achievement. The mountain-top achievement, a great spiritual experience, lay behind Him. Now He has a vision of a physical consummation in the form of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. But this is accompanied by a presentiment or a prevision of the culmination of His life of service upon the Cross. He saw clearly, perhaps for the first time, what lay ahead of Him, and the direction in which His service to the world was leading Him. The via dolorosa of a World Savior stretched out before Him; the destiny of all pioneering souls climaxed in His experience, and He saw Himself rejected, pilloried and killed, as have many lesser sons of God. World rejection always precedes world acceptance. Disillusionment is a stage on the way to reality. The hatred of those who are not yet ready to recognize the world of spiritual values is ever the lot of those who are. This, Christ faced, and yet "He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem." (St. Luke, IX, 51.)
As we consider these happenings, the particular test which Christ now encountered becomes clear in our minds. It was again a threefold test, as was that after the Baptism initiation; but this time it was of a far subtler nature. He was faced with the test as to whether He could endure and handle worldly success, and pass along the triumphant way of His entry into the Holy City, without deviating from  His purpose, without being attracted by material achievement and by being acclaimed King of the Jews. Success constitutes a far more drastic disciplining, and produces many more opportunities to forget God and reality than do failure and neglect. Self-pity, a sense of martyrdom, and resignation are potent and effective ways of handling one's failure. But to rise upon the crest of the wave, to be accorded public recognition, and to seem to have achieved the earthly goal are far more difficult factors to face. These Christ did face, and He faced them with spiritual poise and with that farsighted wisdom which produces a correct sense of values and a proper sense of proportion.
The second phase of the test lay in His prevision as to His end. He knew He had to die, and He knew how He would die, and yet He went forward undeviatingly upon the course assigned Him, although prevision of disaster was His. Not only had He to demonstrate the power to endure success, but He had also to demonstrate the power to face disaster, balancing the two against each other and seeing in both of them simply opportunities for divine expression and fields for the demonstration of detachment - that outstanding characteristic of the man who has been born again, purified and transfigured. To these tests was added the one which He had before encountered in the desert, the test of utter loneliness. The power to endure success! The power to endure disaster! The power to stand utterly alone! This, Christ had to show the world, and this He did. He stood triumphant before the world, at an intermediate stage on His way to the Cross. The agony of loneliness in the Garden of Gethsemane was probably a far harder moment for Him than the publicity on Mount Golgotha. But in these more subtle tests the quality of God Himself was revealed, and it is God's quality and meaning which save the world - the quality of His life, which is Love and Wisdom and Value and Reality. It was all of this which Christ accomplished.
Immediately, on the descent from the mountain-top, Christ  began again to serve. He was met, as well we know, by a person in distress, and He at once responded to the need. One of the outstanding characteristics of each initiation is the increased capacity and ability of the initiate to serve. Christ demonstrated an entirely new and unique way in which to speak and to meet the masses, as well as to teach privately and personally His chosen few. His power to heal still continued, but His work shifted into a field of new values, and He spoke those words and enunciated those truths which have proved the foundation of the belief of those who have had the insight to penetrate the theological presentation of Christianity and there find reality. His service consisted primarily at this time in teaching and speaking. But such is the wisdom and the beauty of His presentation of truth, He couched divinity in forms which the average man could grasp. He bridged the old and the new, and gave out that new truth and that special revelation which Were needed at the time to unite the ancient wisdom and the more modern hope. Keyserling has grasped the wonder of what the World-Savior does, and voices it in words which I quote:
"...the great mind is essentially the Awakener. If such a mind were to utter the entirely new, the unique, this would mean nothing to other men. His social value depends entirely on his ability to utter clearly what all feel in their innermost hearts to be true - for could he otherwise be understood? - and to utter it in so universal a manner, that is, so much in tune with the objective laws in question, that his ideas become organs for the others."
- The Recovery of Truth, by Hermann Keyserling, p. 213.
Christ gave us a great idea. He gave us the new concept that God is Love, no matter what might be happening in the world of immediacy. All great ideas come forth from the world of divinity through the medium of the great Intuitives, and the history of humanity is essentially the history of ideas - their coming forth through the medium of some intuitive thinker, their recognition by the few, their growth  in popularity, and their eventual integration in the thought world, the pattern world of the thinkers of the race. Then their fate is determined, and eventually the new and unique idea becomes the popularly and publicly accepted model of human conduct. "To the question, then, whether it is personalities or ideas which decide the fate of an age, the answer is that the age get its ideas from personalities." (The Decay and Restoration of Civilization, by Albert Schweitzer, p. 82.) Christ embodied a great idea, the idea that God is Love, and that love is the motivating power of the universe. This constitutes the illumination which Christ as the Light of the World refracted upon all world events. The majesty of this realization cannot be over-emphasized. We need to realize it far more deeply and potently than we do, for it constitutes the basic, fundamental character and quality of all events, no matter what the outer appearance may be. Christ illumines life. This was one of His most important contributions to life as it is lived today. He said in effect: God loves the world; all that happens is along the line of love. If this is realized as fact and fundamental truth, it illumines all of life and lightens all burdens; cause and effect are brought together, and God's purpose and His method are seen as one. Theologians have often forgotten this as they have struggled over the more technical aspects of Christ's life. What He illumined in His function as the "Light of the World," what He received of divine Light and poured forth for the world, what He refracted, is often overlooked in the struggle to prove such doctrines as the fact that the Virgin Mary was an immaculate virgin, and Christ was therefore born through the medium of an immaculate conception. Today only a few of the younger generation care much about such points of doctrine. Let us state that quite emphatically. But we do care that the love which He expressed should be demonstrated in the world and that the illumination He carried should "lighten our darkness."
Christ sounded with clarity the note which can usher in the new civilization and the new order, and a close study of  the ideals and ideas which today, without exception, underlie every one of the great experiments undertaken by the various nations, will show that they are based, in essence, upon some definitely Christ-like concept. That their method of application and the techniques employed are frequently un-Christ-like is sadly true, but the foundational concepts will bear with equanimity the light which Christ can throw upon them. The principal difficulty has been that our intellectual grasp of the concepts runs ahead of our own personal development, and therefore colors disastrously our application of them. When these basic ideas are transmuted into world ideals by the consecrated thinkers of the race, and applied in the spirit in which Christ conceived of them, then we shall indeed inaugurate a new world order.
It is of supreme value for us to realize that what Christ really did was to usher in the era of Service, even if we are only beginning today (two thousand years after He set us an example) to grasp the implications of that word so widely used. We have been apt to regard salvation in terms of the individual, and to study it from the angle of individual salvation. This attitude must end if we are ever to understand the Christ spirit. A great Japanese asks the poignant question "What is the primary aim of a religion worthy of existence?" and goes on to tell us that it is salvation, but a salvation that "is pregnant with relief and redress of life and of the world." (Modern Trends in World Religions, edited by A. E. Haydon, quoting Kishio Satomi, p. 75.) Service is becoming more and more an objective in all human affairs. Even modern business is coming to the recognition that it must be a motivating agency if business, as we understand it in the modern sense, is to survive. Upon what is this general trend based? Surely upon our universal relation to Deity and upon our subjective relationships to each other, which have their root in our relationship to God.
That of course is the basis of service. It must be, as it was in the case of Jesus Christ, a spontaneous outcome of  divinity. One of the strongest arguments for the divine unfoldment of man is the emergence on a large scale of this tendency to serve. We are just beginning to get a faint vision of what Christ meant by service. He "carried this actuating motive of service to the extent of saying that when the common good and your personal success or welfare conflicted, you must sacrifice and not sacrifice the other man." (Modern Trends in World Religions, edited by A.E. Haydon, p. 106.) This idea of service is of course in complete conflict with the usually competitive attitude to life and the selfishness generally shown by the average man. But to the man who seeks to follow Christ, and who aims eventually at climbing the Mount of Transfiguration, service leads inevitably to increased illumination, and illumination in its turn must find its expression in renewed and consecrated service, and thus we find our way - through service to our fellow men - into the Way that Christ trod. Following in His steps, we achieve eventually the power to live as illumined and Christ-like men and women in our normal everyday surroundings.
What, therefore, is the gift that each of us can make to the world as we study the life of Christ and travel with Him in our minds from one initiation to another? We can aim at that greatness in action which will redeem our natural mediocrity and reveal progressively the divinity in each of us. Each can stand as a beacon light, pointing the way to the center from which the Word goes forth; and each can begin to express in his daily living some of the quality of God which Christ so perfectly portrayed and which carried Him in triumph from the Mount of Transfiguration down into the valley of duty and of service, and which enabled Him to go forward with staunch determination to the Cross experience, through the triumphal way of acclamation and the sorrowful ways of desertion and of loneliness.
The impulse is strong to close with some words of Arjuna, spoken to Krishna, long before the Christian era, after the revelation of the unveiled beauty to which he had been admitted. Their relevance is unquestionable. One can almost  imagine St. Peter or St. John saying them to Christ when they opened their eyes and "saw Jesus only." Perhaps they may apply to us also as we consider Christ and our relation to Him:
"If thinking Thee my comrade, I addressed Thee brusquely... not knowing this greatness of Thine, or carelessly, or through affection, or whatever I have done to make a jest of Thee, unseemly, in journeying, resting, or seated, or at the banquet, whether alone, O, unfallen One! or in presence of these, for all this I ask forgiveness from Thee, Immeasurable One! Thou art the Father of the world, of things moving and unmoving; Thou art worthy of honor, the reverend Teacher of the world. None equal Thee; how could any be greater? even in the three worlds there is none like Thee in might.
"Therefore bowing down, prostrating my body before Thee, I seek Thy grace, 0 worthy Lord! As the Father his son, the comrade his comrade, the beloved his beloved, so deign Thou, Lord, to pardon me! I exult, beholding what was never seen before, and my heart trembles with fear; show me, Lord, the former form; Lord of Gods, be gracious, upholder of worlds."
- The Bhagavad Gita, Book XI, 41-45.