Below are selections from HPB's article, "Chelas and Lay Chelas."  

A relation can most likely be found in the on going "Art of Living" themes as conversations and discussions cast philosophical light upon practical living and self-study.   One might consider the following selections be somewhat of a capstone to the moral teachings and the struggle of Arjuna found within the Bhagavadgita;

"Now there is a terrible law operative in nature, one which cannot be altered... No man or woman knows his or her moral strength until it is tried. Thousands go through life very respectably, because they were never put to the pinch. This is a truism doubtless, but it is most pertinent to the present case. One who undertakes to try for Chelaship by that very act rouses and lashes to desperation every sleeping passion of his animal nature. For this is the commencement of a struggle for the mastery in which quarter is neither to be given nor taken. It is, once for all, "To be, or Not to be"; to conquer, means ADEPTSHIP; to fail, an ignoble Martyrdom: for to fall victim to lust, pride, avarice, vanity, selfishness, cowardice, or any other of the lower propensities, is indeed ignoble, if measured by the standard of true manhood. The Chela is not only called to face all the latent evil propensities of his nature, but, in addition, the whole volume of maleficent power accumulated by the community and nation to which he belongs. For he is an integral part of those aggregates, and what affects either the individual man, or the group (town or nation) reacts upon the other. And in this instance his struggle for goodness jars upon the whole body of badness in his environment, and draws its fury upon him...

But in this moral battle, if the Chela has one single hidden blemish--do what he may, it shall and will be brought to light. The varnish of conventionalities which "civilization" overlays us all with must come off to the last coat, and the Inner Self, naked and without the slightest veil to conceal its reality, is exposed...

He is now in an atmosphere of illusions--Maya. Vice puts on its most alluring face, and the tempting passions try to lure the inexperienced aspirant to the depths of psychic debasement.... For the strife is in this instance between the Chela's Will and his carnal nature, and Karma forbids that any angel or Guru should interfere until the result is known.

Chelaship was defined, the other day, by a Mahatma as a "psychic resolvent, which eats away all dross and leaves only the pure gold behind." If the candidate has the latent lust for money, or political chicanery, or materialistic scepticism, or vain display, or false speaking, or cruelty, or sensual gratification of any kind, the germ is almost sure to sprout; and so, on the other hand, as regards the noble qualities of human nature. The real man comes out. Is it not the height of folly, then, for any one to leave the smooth path of common-place life to scale the crags of chelaship without some reasonable feeling of certainty that he has the right stuff in him? Well says the Bible: "Let him that standeth take heed lest he fall"--a text that would-be Chelas should consider well before they rush headlong into the fray...

If they persist, well for them, well for us all: the odds are fearfully against them, but still "there is no Impossibility to him who WILLS." The difficulties in Chelaship will never be less until human nature changes and a new sort is evolved. St. Paul (Rom. vii, 18, 19) might have had a Chela in mind when he said "to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good I would I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do." And in the wise Kirátárjuniya of Bharávi it is written:--

The enemies which rise within the body,
Hard to be overcome--the evil passions--
Should manfully be fought; who conquers these
Is equal to the conqueror of worlds. (xi, 32.)

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T. Subba Rao in "Occultism of Southern India";

"...the talisman which ensures safety; this talisman is a perfectly unselfish, self-forgetting, self-annihilating devotion to the religious good of mankind, a self-abnegation, which is not temporal, but must have no end for ever, and the object of which is the religious enlightenment of the human race. Without this talisman, though the progress of the chela may be very rapid for a time, a point will come when his upward advance will be arrested, when real moral worth will tell; and the man who progressed along the slow and steady path may be the first to merge himself in the light of the Logos.

This school recommended as the best path for all, a devotion to virtue, a gradual withdrawal from the grosser material concerns, a withdrawal of the life forces from the outward world and its interests, and the direction of these forces to the inner life of the soul, until the man is able to withdraw himself within himself, so to speak....

It is, therefore, wiser not to seek the path of chelaship; if the man is fit for it, his Karma will lead him to it imperceptibly and infallibly; for the path of occultism seeks the chela and will not fail to find him, when the fit man presents himself."

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That's a great passage and text of TSR - really insightful and timeless - here's another related text by our old friends Judge and Niemand on the tricky business of Chelaship:

http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/lthhm/lthhm-2.htm#letter12

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Good letter sir. 

We read; 

We become chelas; we obtain that position in reality because our inner nature is to that extent opened that it can and will take knowledge: we receive the guerdon at the hands of the Law.

Very true. Yet we read further;

"As a general thing a person of European or American birth has extreme difficulty to contend with. He has no heredity of psychical development to call upon; no known assembly of Masters or Their chelas within reach. His racial difficulties prevent him from easily seeing within himself; he is not introspective by nature." 

This generality has always bothered me. I have read in many texts that what is learned (assuming it is applied) by any given individual is woven into the constitution of the Inner Man- rather becomes the inner nature of the individual.  This is one of the mysteries of Prajñâ, lifetimes of stored knowledge from all schools of philosophy one has been in contact with become deeply embedded into ones essence-kāraṇaṣarīram. 

Question;

What then, does external body- European or American, or any other- have to do with the Inner Nature of the individual? Is this to say that all Egos incarnating into new racial forms will be hindered in their occult development because the form has not been exposed to occult training?  What about spiritual involution?  What about the Spiritual Will of the individual?  Does lifetimes of study vanish upon taking up a European or American body?  

Physically, one race is interconnected with many other races.  I do not believe there to be a pure race which wasn't broken off from another parent race, and defiantly not an "American race" other than the Native (First Nations, but even this is debatable as being an original)- which has profound psychic understanding.  I am an American, but have not one drop of "American blood" as most of it is Middle Eastern and Mediterranean (according to 23 and Me Genetics).

Further, what constitutes a race body?  Where one was physically born, or the heredity and genetics of the parents?

I would be very interested if a topic regarding the esoteric connection with blood, genetics and karma- as this I feel is far more important (heredity) regarding the operations and molecular constitution of the physical body and organs (including mind).

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Hi Kristan:

"What then, does external body- European or American, or any other- have to do with the Inner Nature of the individual? Is this to say that all Egos incarnating into new racial forms will be hindered in their occult development because the form has not been exposed to occult training?  What about spiritual involution?  What about the Spiritual Will of the individual?  Does lifetimes of study vanish upon taking up a European or American body?  "

These are truly fascinating questions.  I wish I know more to respond intelligently.  There is something to be said about cellular memory.  I type in many different passwords on my computer without ever thinking;  it is stored in my cells.  Using my mind to remember is much slower and sometimes it is even a deterrent.   If we do this with such simple tasks,  imagine the power and memory stored in our cells.

I believe there is karma involved with whatever type of vehicle we assume.  The difference in racial forms, perhaps, lies in - propensity.  Very broadly speaking and in my opinion, it may be easier for some racial bodies to fall into mediumship than others because of its history and with not an overly developed ego. There are spots in the world where herd consciousness are still dominant, which is one reason why it is so difficult to change some traditions.  When I was in China, I noticed these features and  wondered about the forces behind the Chinese racial consciousness.  It made a lot of sense to me when I learned many of the oriental races are descendants  of the Atlanteans.  They are more polarized in the astral rather than in the mental vehicle.  One interesting thing is when races migrate to another area, their racial consciousness also changes as a result of acclimation.  There is always an interplay between traditions/ customs, conditioning, and racial consciousness.   Going back to your questions, I think the tendencies are inherent in different types of racial vehicles, but it does mean that it can not be overcome or developed. 

 

 

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I think you are quite right about cellular memory, I think this has much to do with the physical development of any race body. However cells require a guiding entity to formulate and adhere to a body.

HPB has a great article, "transmigration of life atoms" where this process is described fully.

"Nothing can be other than what it's nature is" says the Bhagavadgita. Our inner development, to my understanding, attracts the proper cells- saturated by past individual experiences and karmic ties- when a body is to be taken. This first occurs in the subtle regions, weaving the grades of the astral body.

Because matter, cells included, retain impulse, each is karmically wedded to the parent individual. We use the same matter life after life, such is ones responsibility. So again, how can something so pithy as race effect ones development?

I think you have some great observations, by the way.
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I believe the point is that there are tendencies that one has to contend with due to the racial vehicle we inherited.  I would say the same for the oriental races as well.  I inhabit an oriental body, so I am familiar with some of the benefits and drawbacks.  It is easier for me to sit for a long time because my body is more flexible and my mind is more steady than an average westerner, but using the intellect in a vigorous way did not come naturally nor independent thinking was never encouraged.   We have to work with what we have and our vehicles along with the racial consciousness is a part of our constitution.

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I understand what you say.  And for the most part agree.  We are obligated to take on the karma of the race we are born into, hence the taking of a body to which race belongs.   

What I am getting at, or hope to discuss is the fact that a body doesn't by any means belong to a linage of philosophical thought.  What does however, is the Inner Nature of the individual, sometimes called the Permanent Astral.  I'm not interested inaverages, nor satisfied with generalities, as I wouldn't have started this conversation if I were.

(http://blavatskytheosophy.com/the-permanent-astral/)

We are told our duty is to set the impulse of Self-Knowledge into matter, i.e., to impress all the "lower" lives and guide its evolution by proper moral and ethical action, selfless thought, and altruistic deed.  On what grounds has one to act accordingly ?!  With each life, if one were to whole heartedly try the Theosophy presented (under what ever name), there must be something that weaves the permanent astral and transpires lifetime after lifetime.

There is a deep and inherent philosophy that is the substratum of every individual of any race.  We are constantly told that the Master Soul is One, again;

""As a general thing a person of European or American birth has extreme difficulty to contend with. He has no heredity of psychical development to call upon; no known assembly of Masters or Their chelas within reach."

With all do respect, how does this make any sense? This is all I'm wondering- I just don't understand this the slightest.  We are Ancient Being belonging to a Timeless Linage, how can a physical race shut one off from ones blessed Mahatma whom is always Present within ones Heart?

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Again, as a quick after thought;

I do truly understand what you say about advantages and disadvantages of a race body/mind.  I can see this when I speak to people and watch them analyze specific things.  Some more abstract in mind than others,  some with better physical flexibility, etc. etc.

However, we also see people who may appear to be "western" but have an "eastern" mind.  This is exactly what I am proposing, how does this happen?  We might see it in ourselves, a specific leaning and quick adaptation of a philosophical system, a deep adoration for a region or culture, or a sense of homesickness to a place one has never set foot in.  Or sensing something  subtle in some cases within us, or others. 

The physical (including genetic) constitution is very deep and complex.  It can't be just described in only generalities, at least so I feel. 

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Kristan:

I know exactly what you mean.  I have known many people who are in an European physical sheath but with a deep, mystical Eastern mind.  They are more oriental than most Asians I know.  People are born and bring over their skandhas into their present incarnation.  We are composite beings with different vehicles and each vehicle has specific leanings, but these are only vehicles, not the Self.   

" We are Ancient Being belonging to a Timeless Linage, how can a physical race shut one off from ones blessed Mahatma whom is always Present within ones Heart?"

I agree.  The way I read the quote, it is not saying one is debarred but there are tendencies stemmed from heredity that some of us have to contend with.  As you alluded, the physical is just one of the many vehicles and does not determine our inner nature.