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The gates of the temple
by Rev. Howard Ray Carey

Have you heard the inspiring anthem sometimes sung in Christian churches: ''Open the Gates of the Temple, and the King of Glory shall come in?''    It seems to be based on a stirring passage in the 24th Psalm: ''Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in.''

Prior to studying the Ageless Wisdom I presumed this referred only to a temple made with human hands, such as Solomon's temple in Jerusalem. Now, however, I get a glimpse of a metaphysical or esoteric meaning. In Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, in the third chapter, he asks a poignant question: ''Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwells in you?''

Now if one's body is a temple of God, what are its gates or doors? In the dense physical body these would be the eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth, plus the anal and urinary orifices. But we know now that the dense body is not the sum total of our physical nature; for that includes also the important etheric counterpart, designated variously as the etheric body, etheric double, vital body, or energy body. It has many minor doors or etheric centers. And, of vast importance, seven major centers or chakras.

Five of these are in the etheric spine, and two in the head. Some writers list these seven centers as follows: the base center, spleen center, solar plexus, heart center, throat center, ajna or third eye center, and head or crown center. In such a listing the center at the base of the spine and the one just above it, the sacral center (related to the sex glands) are lumped together as if they constituted but one chakra. But the Master DK, writing through Alice Bailey, makes a clear distinction between the base center and the sacral center. So His listing is: base center, sacral center, solar plexus, heart, throat, ajna and head centers. How about the spleen center, then? He recognizes it as an important chakra for receiving and distributing pranic (1) energy. But He does not list it as one of the major seven because it is not so vitally related to the transmutation of our energies as we develop spiritually. There is a long process of the gradual lifting of energies from the three centers below the diaphragm to the four above the diaphragm.

Now let us look at the biblical references already given, in relation to these centers. And we may well ask: ''Was the writer of the 24th Psalm clairvoyant?'' If so he no doubt could see the vast difference between the individual who is not developed spiritually, on the one hand, and a person on the path of discipleship, with regard to the condition of those chakras. For teachers of the Inner Wisdom tell us that, to clairvoyant vision, an unopened center appears like a closed bud, with the unopened flower bending downward. But when a center is vivified an open lotus is seen, pointing upward. What an appropriate esoteric phrasing then is the Psalmist's word: ''Lift up your heads O ye gates, and be ye lifted up ye everlasting doors.''

Then comes the statement: ''And the King of Glory shall come in.'' In response to the question ''Who is this King of Glory?'' the answer comes: ''The Lord of Hosts. He is the King of Glory.'' So, who is the King of Glory in your life and mine? Obviously our own higher nature, our true being. This is first seen as the Soul, and later as the Monad or Spirit, the divine ever-living Spark.

So here we have an example of a biblical passage with significant meanings on at least two levels of understanding. To the usual worshipper this Psalm about opening the gates of the temple and the King of Glory coming in carries an inspiring thought about a temple or church opening up wide so that ''whosoever will may come.'' The climber on life's mountain might appreciate this level of meaning as being of value to many. But in addition he may perceive the much deeper meaning of the chakras or centers opening in a beautiful way to admit the light and love and power of the higher nature ---- right here on the physical plane.

Quite a number of groups and individuals, thinking of the wonder and beauty of the light which can enter when the centers are properly opened, are these days concentrating on the base center, seeking by diligent effort to raise the serpent (kundalini) fire up the spine to the head center. Here is where we need a strong word of caution. For if the opening of the centers is forced, either through drugs or meditation on the centers, much harm can be done. For the kundalini can rush up to the brain before there is readiness for it, and thus cause brain damage; or it can rush into the sex glands and produce the extreme kind of sexual pressure which no amount of sex can satisfy. And drug abuse often produces so many holes or tears in the protective etheric web that the individual falls prey to a great variety of entities on the lower astral planes which may decide to come in and take up residence, sometimes taking over control of the individual's thoughts and actions in ways which produce most distressing consequences. Such damage is extremely hard to repair.

Let us take note of just a few of the many urgent words of warning which the Tibetan Master issues through the Alice Bailey books: ''The whole subject of the centers is dangerous if misunderstood; the centers constitute a menace when prematurely awakened or unduly energized.'' (The Rays and the Initiations, p. 336)

''I sound here a solemn word of warning. Let a man apply himself to a life of high altruism, to a discipline that will refine and bring his lower vehicles into subjection, and to a strenuous endeavor to purify and control his sheaths. When he has done this, and has both raised and stabilized his vibration, he will find that the development and functioning of the centers has pursued a parallel course, and that (apart from his active participation) the work has proceeded along the desired lines. Much danger and dire calamity attends the man who arouses these centers by unlawful methods, and who experiments with the fires of his body without the needed technical knowledge. He may, by his efforts, succeed in arousing the fires and in intensifying the action of the centers, but he will pay the price of ignorance in the destruction of matter, in the burning of bodily or brain tissue, in the development of insanity, and in opening the door to currents and forces, undesirable and destructive...

"In these matters concerning the subjective life, it is the part of discretion to move with caution and with care. The aspirant, therefore, has three things to do:

  1. Purify, discipline and transmute his threefold lower nature.
  2. Develop knowledge of himself, and equip his mental body; build the causal body by good deeds and thoughts.
  3. Serve the race in utter self-abnegation.

"In doing this he fulfills the law, he puts himself in the right condition for training, fits himself for the ultimate application of the Rod of Initiation, and thus minimizes the danger that attends awakening of the fire.'' (A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, p. 162)

Again in this same Psalm we find indication of needed preparation for the opening of doors and the coming in of the Lord of Glory. Verse 3: ''Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place?'' [High consciousness ---- HRC] Verses 4 and 5: ''He who has clean hands and a pure heart; who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from the God of his salvation.''

So let us be grateful that we have both warning and promise. Warning of the dangers of opening the centers through drugs or through concentration on the centers. And assurance of the beauty of the higher way, as we take the path of discipline, of dedication to the highest we know, of prayer and meditation, and of evoking Soul love and light for the serving of humanity. Then the doors of the temple will be properly opened from within, under divine direction of the Soul and the Hierarchy. And the indwelling King of Glory will come into the physical temple. Then the results will be health, fulfillment, light and joy, and eventually bliss. September 1982

1. Pranic/Prana ---- energy streaming from the sun which imbues all life with vitality.

This article is a chapter from The Joy of Christ's Coming This book by the late Rev. Howard Ray Carey was published by Share International Foundation in 1988. It is not currently available in hard copy form. Copyright © Share International Foundation.  Biblical quotations are taken from the Revised Standard version unless otherwise indicated. 

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First published April 1999, Last modified: 15-Oct-2005