The Difference between Eastern and Western Initiation and Rudolf Steiner's Initiation

This is the only shot that portrays Rudolf Steiner in the state of profound clairvoyant perception during an Esoteric Lesson in 1907.

This article aims to shed light on the diversity of the path between the Eastern theosophical and Western anthroposophical way, also through its precursors, the esoteric Christianity and the Rosicrucian way.

To begin with, it is necessary to describe first what came first: the Eastern initiation of Theosophy was present from the very beginning of the ancient Indian era, but the content of this tradition comes even from Atlantis.

But just as the Sun rises in the East and sets in the West, so the Eastern initiation has given way to the Western initiation. Western initiation was born on the shores of the Mediterranean through the incarnation of Christ and the subsequent Mystery of Golgotha, became esoteric Christianity and then came to Europe as a Rosicrucian initiation.

Let us now see the details.

Initiation in Theosophy

In Theosophy thirteen initiatory levels are distinguished, mainly outlined by Alice Bailey, based on the writings of the founder of the Theosophical Society, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Human beings proceed along the initiatory scale through successive earthly incarnations, what is reincarnated through various personalities is the individuality that through the causal body has the power to implement good or evil. Causing negative karma slows down the process of evolution, which must be gradually compensated for. The first four levels are attainable by human beings before they reach Enlightenment. The purpose of initiation is to expand the consciousness to higher and higher levels, and the wisdom thus gained can be used for the good of the world. In fact, beyond the fourth level there is the possibility of becoming one of the Masters of Ancient Wisdom who are also known as Ascended Masters, human beings who have been freed from karma but who help those human beings who are left behind. Blavatsky recognized seven of them, while according to Bailey they reach about sixty.

Bailey's initiation levels are an extension of Blavatsky's theosophical levels. They begin with level zero, the "probation" to which most of humanity belongs and continues ascending:

  1. Spiritual birth: it is the total experience of the physical and etheric body.

  2. Baptism: is the total experience of the astral body.

  3. Transfiguration: it is the total experience of the mind, therefore the initiate becomes clairvoyant and clairaudient.

  4. Crucifixion (or Enlightenment): it is the experience of previous lives (karma) and gives the degree of Arhat, detached from the necessity of incarnation. Spiritual powers are also manifested that have effect in the physical world (siddhi).

  5. Resurrection: it confers the first degree of Ascended Teacher, which is manifested to help humanity. The Arhat possesses spiritual powers such as teleportation, bilocation, and levitation, but only in a certain space. According to Leadbeater and Bailey there are 43 Masters at this level of initiation including Master Jupiter.

  6. Ascension (or Mastership): gives the second degree of Ascended Master, in this category are gathered the seven masters of which theosophy speaks. They are also called the Chohans of the Seven Rays, they direct the powers of the rays on Earth: Koot Humi, El Morya, Paul the Venetian, Serapis Bey, Hilarion, Jesus and Saint-Germaine, to which is added the catalyst Djwal Khul who brings the Seven Rays to the seven Chohans. They possess spiritual powers such as teleportation, bilocation and levitation anywhere on Earth.

  7. Bodhisattva (or Avatar or Christ Consciosness): at this level we find the Maitreya (the Master of the World) whom the Hindus call Kishna, the Zoroastrians Peshotan, the Jews Messiah, the Islamic Iman Mahdi, the Christians Christ. There are also two leaders of the seven "radical races", Chakshusha Manu progenitor of the Atlantis Race and Vaivasvatu Manu progenitor of the Fifth Root Race (ours). As well as Maha Chohan, head of the Seven Chohans.

  8. Buddhahood: at this level of initiation there are the Three Pratyeka Buddha who direct the impulses of the Seven Rays (i.e. planetary archetypes) from Sanat Kumara to Djwal Khul towards Earth, they do not interact with humanity except by channeling the Seven Rays. They communicate entirely with telepathy, they can move in interplanetary space and the nearby interstellar space, having activated the transpersonal chakras or chakras above the seven microcosmic.

  9. Deity: the being at this level is Sanat Kumara, the "Lord of the World", the deity who presides over life in our cosmos. He is called both the Eternal Youth and the Ancient of Days, because he brings together all the opposite and opposite polarities. His consciousness is one with life on Earth. He is omniscient within the Earth and capable of manipulating great quantities of matter, materializing it and dematerializing it, through fohat, the foundation of existence of matter itself. It is responsible for the cyclical destruction and creation that takes place on the planet, but it can interact even outside our planetary chain influencing other solar systems to a certain extent.

  10. Planetary Logos: also called the Spirit of the Earth, is Gaia, the living planet. It is the voice that speaks through Sanat Kumara with whom it is in constant telepathic communication. Previously at this level he was a Deva from another solar system, before incarnating as Earth at the beginning of the Creation of the Earth itself.

  11. Solar Logos: also called the Spirit of the Sun, Helios gives his vital impulses to the Earth. From him flow the Seven Rays, diffused by the light of the Sun in its spiritual aspect.

  12. Galactic Logos: it is the being that maintains the existence of our galaxy, coordinating more Suns among them. It is known by the name of Averran.

  13. Cosmic Logos: also known as "Alpha and Omega", it is the being that maintains the existence of all created universes. It can also be called God.

Initiation in theosophy

A further expansion of these levels can be found in the writings of Bailey's disciple, Benjamin Creme. These same levels can also be found today in the so-called "Teachings of the Ascended Masters", an integral part of contemporary New Age through Elisabeth Clare Prophet. However, we will not consider them here, since this concept of the Masters does not add anything essential to the theosophical knowledge, and rather water it down with simplistic notions, to say the least.

In this series of initiatory levels we can note a first group of six levels which concern initiation proper, while the next six concern the evolution towards new forms of existence on the scale of being. The seventh level of initiation (Bodhisattva) is the link between initiation proper and spiritual evolution. The relationship between the levels of initiation and those of spiritual evolution is shown by the first three of the Seven Cosmic Rays, the archetypes of cosmic evolution (which in Anthroposophy are called Seven Metamorphoses of the Earth).

The Solar Logos (eleventh initiatory level) is divided into:

  1. First Appearance: Will, represents the Father.

  • Sanat Kumara: Lord of the World (9th initiatory stage)

  • Manu (7th)


  1. Second Aspect: Wisdom, represents the Son.

  • Buddha (8th)

  • Maitreiya (7th)


  1. Third Aspect: Activity, represents the Holy Spirit.

  • Maha Chohan (7th)


Divided into the Three Main Rays, we find the Seven Masters of Ancient Wisdom:

  1. First Ray:

  • Master El Morya (6th)

  • Master Jupiter (5th)


  1. Second Ray:

  • Master Koot Humi (6th)

  • Master Djwal Khul (6th)


  1. Third to Seventh Ray:

  • The Venetian Master (6th)

  • Master Serapis (6th)

  • Master Hilarion (6th)

  • Master Jesus (6th)

  • Master Saint-Germain (6th)


The Seven Rays and the Masters of Ancient Wisdom

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