THE INITIATE LIFE – A REVIEW BY PETER URBAHN
The Initiate Life: A Guide to the Path of Hastened Unfoldment
Theosophical Publishing House, Auckland, 2018
272 pages, hardcover
Highest quality archival materials
$85 from the NZ Theosophical Society, Auckland, New Zealand
The Initiate Life, by Geoffrey Hodson, is a comprehensive introduction and guide to the path of hastened spiritual unfoldment or what is referred to in Christianity as The Strait and Narrow Way. Credit must go to the dedicated members of the New Zealand Theosophical Society who knew Hodson personally and who have compiled this book from notes he left after he passed to a higher life in 1983.
Geoffrey Hodson was an outstanding spiritual teacher of the 20th Century. Throughout his long life, sharing his first-hand knowledge of the path of hastened unfoldment formed one of his fundamental teachings. For students looking for a way to advance their spiritual knowledge and development, Hodson always made it clear there was a path to tread. For dedicated students, he explains that the path is structured, has many steps, and is available with guidance along the way.
Those of us privileged to know Geoffrey Hodson regarded him as a kind friend, an inspiring speaker with a matchless style, and as a teacher of the highest distinction. I am honoured to present this review.
The book consists of 230 individual talks and study notes, each averaging two to three pages on a broad range of topics. The majority of the material is unique and includes original research by Hodson, many of the notes having never previously been published. In my opinion, the book contains excellent material for group discussions, debates, study classes and for anyone wishing to pursue individual study.
The Initiate Life summarises numerous fascinating and timeless articles into one handy compilation while continuing to share the light on Hodson’s expansive knowledge and experience. Without The Initiate Life,many of the writings would never have been made available nor their existence known. Without Hodson’s dedication and foresight, his thoughts and insights could have been lost to present and future generations of students of theosophy.
Throughout his writings, Hodson stresses the urgent need for humanity to deepen their realisation of unity including selflessness in motive and deed and regular meditation or contemplation of the Divine. By studying The Initiate Life, the reader will develop an enhanced knowledge and awareness that the oneness of things is the natural order. Through study of Hodson’s book, a student will acquire the knack of active, perceptive mental stillness, enabling them to more fully participate in the wondrous world of the hidden Inner Life.
The Initiate Life primarily addresses members of the Theosophical Society. However, the content will appeal to a broader audience including enquirers, aspirants, candidates, disciples, and students of the Ancient or Ageless Wisdom. Those with an interest in the Masters of the Wisdom, occult science and meditation will find Hodson’s work particularly relevant and inspiring.
The lucid writing style makes the articles easy to understand for both novice and advanced students. Clear explanations without the use of technical language are scattered through the book. Any unfamiliar words and phrases are explained in the form of an excellent 26-page glossary including a list of synonymous terms. The glossary and terms alone provide a basis for serious study while the explanations and descriptions in the articles follow a logical well-reasoned pattern. A unique guide for the student who has already acquired an understanding of the existence and role of the Masters, The Initiate Life provides those with more modest knowledge and awareness, the opportunity to awaken their consciousness and stimulate their mental development.
Chapters in The Initiate Life address the path of discipleship in an informative and logical way. The book commences by giving an introduction to the Path, the essential qualities to be accepted as a pupil by a Master, and how a student may prepare for the journey. The importance of the Masters and the effect of karma are explained. Aspirants, disciples and initiates will find plenty of practical advice and guidance including personal comment on entering the spiritual pathway. Hodson also explains the five great initiations as well as the importance of the Path in humanity’s evolution.
Geoffrey Hodson describes discipleship as a highly privileged spiritual and occult relationship of a pupil with a Master of the Wisdom, through which the Master assists and guides the unfoldment of the Godhead within the pupil. He says that discipleship is the highest of all ideals and the most sacred and beautiful of all relationships. Hodson provides advice for the reader on how to take up an active interest in occult philosophy and discipleship without compromising existing relationships within the family or work commitments. Also, according to Hodson, our current obligations must come first.
Hodson encourages those planning to enter the Path to study books on the spiritual life. Some examples include books by Blavatsky, Leadbeater, Beasant, Krishnamurti, Taimni as well as the letters and writings of the Masters. Students developing a relationship with the Masters may also wish to study Hodson’s book Light of the Sanctuary which has many interesting references to his interaction with the Masters.
To comprehend The Initiate Life, it is important to appreciate a little of Hodson’s life. An internationally known lecturer and writer, he devoted his life to spreading the principles and applications of the Ageless Wisdom. Having written more than 60 books on spirituality, extrasensory faculties, the invisible world, theosophy, religion and similar fields, he advocated world peace, animal welfare and vegetarianism.
A mystic, a highly developed clairvoyant and a healer of the sick, Hodson possessed extraordinary talents though he rarely spoke about himself or his abilities. Since his passing in 1983, several books have been published based on his research and writings. Much of his published work, including his earlier books, is based on spiritual knowledge he acquired from his own direct personal experiences.
On a personal note, I last met Geoffrey Hodson and his wife Sandra in 1981 when he visited my parents at their home in New Zealand. Over a period of 20 years, I was fortunate to hear many of his lectures and talk to him. I am deeply grateful for having met him and will always maintain great respect and awe for this distinguished, wise, and gentle man.
For me, this book written by an exceptional man, is rich in spiritual knowledge, wisdom and practical guidance. Hodson was highly inspirational, his knowledge and awareness unique and enlightening. By studying the knowledge and understanding what is contained within The Initiate Life, the reader will feel more fully supported to set goals along the spiritual path to which they may aspire.
All Theosophical Lodges would greatly benefit by having a copy of The Initiate Life available for their members to study.
Reviewer: Peter Urbahn is a member of the Theosophical Society, Sunshine Coast Lodge, Queensland, Australia. Peter knew Geoffrey Hodson personally.