The World Teacher – part 1

One thing that we should say from the very beginning is that the World Teacher whom the Christian knows as Christ is known by other names too. We’re not talking about an individual or an entity that’s coming just for a particular group of people, and that’s really important to understand. He is, after all, the World Teacher—he comes to the world.

Robert: Hello, and welcome to Inner Sight. Our theme for today is the World Teacher. “The whole system of spiritual revelation is based on this doctrine of interdependence, of a planned and arranged conscious linking, and of transmission of energy from one aspect of divine manifestation to another. The scriptures of the world are full of the intervention of some Being, originating from some source higher than the strictly human. Always the appropriate mechanism is found through which divinity can reach and communicate with humanity. With this, the Doctrine of Avatars, of Coming Ones, has to do.” And that’s a quote from Alice Bailey; all of our dialogue emanates from the writings of Alice Bailey. Who is the World Teacher? 

Sarah: Well, there’s a great deal that can be said about this Being. The problem is to present the whole topic in a way that strikes intelligent people as plausible. Maybe some of our listeners are familiar with the teaching or the concept of eschatology. It’s a concept from theology that has to do with the final judgment or reckoning; the Day of Reckoning, the Day of Judgment, when Christ is said to return and everyone, the quick and the dead, will be judged. There’s a very powerful thought form built up around that of Judgment Day, of The End, of Reckoning, which has in my opinion, brought a lot of confusion and a lot of misunderstanding to the concept of the World Teacher, because to me the idea of the World Teacher’s return is a beginning and a new opportunity. One thing that we should say from the very beginning is that the World Teacher whom the Christian knows as Christ is known by other names too. We’re not talking about an individual or an entity that’s coming just for a particular group of people, and that’s really important to understand. He is, after all, the World Teacher—he comes to the world. He’s known and expected by people in a number of different world religions, including Buddhism. They expect the Bodhisattva. That’s the Buddhist parallel for the Christ, sometimes called the Lord Maitreya. Some of our listeners might know that term. He’s the one that’s looked for by devout Muslims who know him as the Imam Mahdi and Hindus expect this entity as the Kalki Avatar. Jewish people look for the Messiah. All of these names describe a being, an entity who is both human and divine. He’s sometimes called the Lord of Love and Compassion, just as Buddha is called the Lord of Wisdom, because through this World Teacher, it’s said the love of God pours into the world. He’s the embodiment or the example, the representative, the vehicle for the love of God. And at the same time, he represents for humanity something that is potential within every human heart. So, the World Teacher is one who comes periodically, cyclically to teach us by example, by evoking from us some like response, because “like attracts like.” 

Dale: Right. And the fact that he’s referred to as a World Teacher is very significant, at this time especially, because it indicates that he’s not coming specifically for the followers of any particular religion or sect, but for humanity as a whole. That is, a world-oriented humanity in its thinking, and it assumes a level of thinking that is universal in scope and is not focused on any sectarian doctrines. It’s a thinking which sees and accepts the value of all religious expression, a level of mind that is able to transcend all religious differences and is open to a relationship to God that is entirely new. This is what the World Teacher will provide—an entirely new perspective on human divinity, on humanity’s relationship to God and our responsibility in the world. 

Sarah: One of the things that I find especially interesting about the World Teacher: two of the names given to this Being, which are Christ and Messiah, both mean the same thing, the “anointed one.” I believe the word Christ is derived from the Greek term Christos, whereas Messiah may go back to Sanskrit, I’m really not sure about that. I once researched the etymology. They both mean the “anointed one” who is consecrated, dedicated, or set aside for a particular task. And I think the fact that there is that similar connotation to their role implies a recognition that this Being does come for all humanity, although he is known by different names, and expected in terms of the culture and the religion of the time. But the doctrine of a World Teacher, of Christ and Messiah, an Avatar, runs like a golden thread throughout all the major world religions and scriptures. In fact, one of the most ancient scriptures, the Bhagavad Gita of Hinduism, speaks of this teacher. It’s a very familiar passage to people who know the Bhagavad Gita. It says: “Whenever there is a withering of the Law and an uprising of lawlessness on all sides, then I manifest Myself. For the salvation of the righteous and the destruction of such as do evil, for the firm establishing of the Law, I come to birth in age after age.” This is from the Bhagavad Gita, and it could very well apply, I think, to today’s time. I think plenty of us would agree there’s a withering of the Law, and lawlessness on all sides. 

Dale: Yes, and it’s important to emphasize again that this teacher, whatever his name, will be a product of this time and age and not an imitation of the past. And his emphasis will be on what lies ahead in the future for mankind, and it won’t be a reiteration of past doctrines. He’s not coming to restore any of the ancient religions, including Christianity, but he comes to simply restore man’s faith in God’s love and the fact of the livingness of our innate divinity. And so, he comes to advance the revelation, which is a continuously unfolding revelation that’s brought about by all these great Avatars down through the centuries. 

Sarah: So, in a sense, He’s a prototype, an example, a forerunner, of something that is latent but potential in human beings. And that falls into line with what one of the great spiritual writers, Manly Palmer Hall, wrote of Christ or Christos, to use the Greek name. Manly Palmer Hall said that since the Christos was the God-man imprisoned in every creature, it was the first duty of the initiate to liberate or resurrect this eternal one within himself. And he said one of the most profound doctrines of the Pagan philosophers concerned this universal Savior-God, who lifted the souls of regenerated men to heaven through his own nature. That’s echoed by Jesus in the New Testament, who said: “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.” Well, that’s another way of describing the power of the soul or the Christ principle within every human being. The World Teacher exemplifies or demonstrates a realization, a revelation, that then humanity as a whole has to fulfill. If you think back to the time of Christ’s mission on Earth two thousand years ago, His great teaching was of love: “Love one another as I have loved you.” We’re still trying to master that lesson, but it’s potential within all of us. And you could say that all World Teachers are endowed with a particular quality of God or of deity that is latent within every human being. Something that Manly Palmer Hall wrote that really finally clicked within my mind concerned the idea of being saved—which has always puzzled me and it’s such a central doctrine to Christianity. He explains this Christ principle, or this divine potential within every human being, is latent, but when it’s awakened, we, in a sense, unite both parts of ourselves and achieve, by doing that, a kind of immortality. We are thus saving ourselves from death, from destruction, because we are regaining our immortal nature. 

Robert: What do you mean by uniting both parts of ourselves? 

Sarah: Well, another way of putting it would be the personality or the outer form, the individuality, the body, that so many of us think is our total self, is really only the material form nature of our beingness and our soul. Our spiritual aspect is much more subjective, more latent and in many of us, not so visible. It’s there in potential but may not be very visible in demonstration. And the whole spiritual path, for a very long part of the way, concerns the reconnection of the soul with the form or outer nature. In doing so—in regaining or rejoining one’s immortal self with one’s outer visible self—one achieves a kind of immortality and thus saves oneself. We save ourselves by reconnecting with the Christ principle within us. 

Robert: And referring to something you said before, religion has so often divided mankind and there’s been religious wars. Would it be reasonable to conjecture that perhaps all of these religions that you mentioned, that have a Messiah, who are looking for a Christ or an Avatar of some type, that perhaps they’re all looking for the same Being? 

Sarah: I think they are and I think one of the great tragedies of human experience is that, being so self-centred, being so separative in our view of the world and of other human beings, we have time and again convinced ourselves that a particular great Being belonged to our group alone and would come and serve the needs of our particular little group within humanity. And then we see all believers of other traditions as “the other” and go to war with them. It’s terrible. 

Robert: The Coming One then may serve to unite religions and unite mankind. 

Sarah: That would be his intention. Surely it would be to serve the whole of humanity; I can’t imagine a World Teacher caring and being devoted to only a portion of humanity. 

Dale: Yes, not just to unite them all so much, as to provide a model or an archetypal pattern for something entirely new. I think it’s a possibility that there could eventually be a new world religion that will be based on many of the fundamental principles of the major world religions but will have a more universal appeal that can be recognized by anybody, regardless of what their religion is. 

Robert: In the Alice Bailey quote that we mentioned earlier, she refers to an Avatar. What is an Avatar? 

Sarah: Well, it’s going to take quite some time to explain it, but I can make a start. An Avatar is, I suppose, an Eastern word for the World Teacher. It’s a word that originated in Sanskrit, and I think it means something to the effect of, “one who comes down from far away”. The root meaning implies the idea of protection that comes from a higher source. Avatars include the greatest representatives, the Christ and the Buddha, but there are many avatars who have come to particular peoples. For example, I think the Mexican people viewed Quetzalcoatl as an Avatar, as a savior of their people. All we really know is that these avatars, as Dale said, demonstrate something that is potential and that has a future possibility that needs to be brought to life within humanity. And it involves a transmission of energy, you could say from God, from Deity, to humanity. In a sense, an Avatar is a kind of link, a mediator, or an intermediary, between pure spirit and the human family. All Avatars or World Saviours have two goals in mind. One is the need of God to make contact with humanity and to establish relationship with humanity, and the reciprocal need of humanity for our contact with God, with Deity. And so, they fulfill this bridge or this link by their presence on Earth, and you could say that the greatest of them are not just Beings, you might say they’re events, and that history develops as a result of their presence; a historical epoch follows. 

Robert: What I think of now as an Avatar, based on what you were saying before—and see if I’m right about this—an Avatar throughout history has been an individual who seems to have some sort of an advanced spiritual talent manifested, which lies dormant within humanity, and he has reached the pinnacle of that spiritual talent. Would that be right? 

Sarah: I suppose, yes. If you look at the life of Buddha, for example, he was the perfect expression of light within the human being. He achieved a breakthrough in terms of spiritual enlightenment in the expansion of his consciousness that forever anchored within the human family this capacity. By his breakthrough, an entry point was established and assured for the rest of us. As Dale was saying, they bring something new into the world and we could look at the life of Christ and say he was the perfect expression of love. We’ve never any of us achieved a similar expression of love, but we work toward it. And in fact, he said it was possible that “greater things than I have done, you shall do.” So, they are able to see the potential within humanity and to demonstrate it for us, and to leave that living, vibrant, magnetized example as a point of inspiration and a nucleus of spiritual energy. It’s more than just living a good life, presenting a good example. I think what they do in the spiritual sense, is they anchor a nucleus of living, powerful energy on Earth, within the human family, that then we can draw upon. 

Dale: Many of these Avatars, they’re such extraordinary Beings that they come only from time to time and they appear to change the whole face of the world and to essentially inaugurate new eras and new destinies for humanity. And they come in times of crises and frequently, in fact, they even create crises to end the old ways, the old patterns, and to establish new patterns. So, that’s why when these Avatars do appear, it’s quite often very disruptive to humanity because they’re trying to present something new and they’re trying to provide a continuity of revelation, as Sarah said. The Christ came in a time of trouble and a time when there was a “withering of the Law,” but he was a Great Avatar of love and he anchored the principle of love in the world, in human consciousness. That takes a man or a person, a Being of extraordinary depth and wisdom and awakeness. 

Sarah: One of the things that I think is so important to understand— and I’m only speaking of my own perception of this—is that when we speak of the Christ, we are not speaking of someone who expects us all to be Christians who present ourselves in church on Sunday. My understanding of Christ is, as he said in one of the Gospels, “Other sheep have I not of this fold; them also must I bring.” He did not have blinders on that said, only those people who declare their allegiance to me belong to me. He regarded the whole of humanity as under his purview, I guess you could say. And I think this is so important to understand, because I have heard people—spiritual representatives of Judaism, of Buddhism, of Hinduism—speak of the Christ as true friends of the Christ, as people who understood his teaching and his mission perhaps better than some Christians I’ve known. So, we must remember that we are not thinking of Christ as the person who expects us all to be Christians. His mission is far beyond the boundaries of the Christian faith. 

Robert: So, no one segment of humanity can really lay claim to Him then. 

Sarah: No, absolutely not. That’s right. 

Robert: That’s interesting. Is the present time a likely period for the World Teacher to return? 

Sarah: Well, if we come back to the Bhagavad Gita, which said, “Whenever there is a withering of the Law and an uprising of lawlessness on all sides, then I manifest myself,” we’d have to say now is certainly such a time. (laughter) 

Robert: Yes, there’s a lot of anarchy going on. 

Sarah: I think everybody senses that something is amiss in the world today. Even in our society, which is so blessed with material abundance, we sense the emptiness behind a lot of it, and that something has gone off track in the way human beings live their lives and relate to each other. So, if we could look at this as a productive period, rich with potential for spiritual growth because, as Dale said, sometimes these world teachers prefer a time of crisis and upheaval so they can find people receptive to a new message, this might be a very spiritually positive time. 

Dale: Yes, and as Christ said, he comes with a sword to divide and also to heal. So, it is a good time. It’s an excellent time because we’re at the end of one age and at the beginning of another. And that’s when these great Avatars and World Teachers tend to appear: at the beginning of a new age, and that’s where we are today. 

Sarah: And it’s said that God has never left himself without witness, and we have to trust the fact that never is there a time when spiritual help isn’t given out, in response to human demand and need. And if we think of this World Teacher as approaching closer to humanity, then it’s up to humanity to respond in kind and to evoke his presence and his return by the readiness of human hearts and minds. That’s a stage that I think we are reaching today as a species, in the aftermath of the many wars of the past century. We could say perhaps what prevents His coming is inertia, materialism, indifference, separatism. 

Dale: Separatism, especially that; those attitudes in human consciousness that divide us. 

Robert: And we’re going to continue with this topic next time. In closing, we invite you to ponder on this thought. Goodwill is the touchstone that will transform the world. Goodwill is love in action. It is the energy that draws us together in right relationship. There is a world prayer called the Great Invocation. It’s a call for light, love, and goodwill to flow into the world and into our hearts. Let’s listen for a moment to these powerful words. 

Sarah: Closes the program by reciting the adapted version of the Great Invocation

(This is an edited transcript of a recorded radio program called “Inner Sight”. This conversation was recorded between the host, Robert Anderson, and the then President and Vice-President of Lucis Trust, Sarah and Dale McKechnie.)

(Transcribed and edited by Carla McLeod)




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