Trial by fire

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A scene from the Ramayana: Sīta undergoing the trial by fire watched by Rāma, Lakṣmaṇa and Hanuman (c. 1820)

The trial by fire is another word for the Day of the LORD’s Judgment. It is the weighing of the soul for Light, for Darkness, accrued. It is the karmic summing up, chapter by chapter of each one’s Book of Life. Having passed through all of that, the soul will be ready to meet her Lord in his Second Coming.

Saint Paul on the trial by fire

The trial by fire is an initiation that comes to everyone. The words of Saint Paul outline the tests of the trial by fire we will face in this life.

For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

Every man’s work shall be made manifest: For the day shall declare it because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: But he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.[1]

Karma and initiation

The trial by fire is not simply karmic initiation—although in some of its aspects it is delivered through returning personal and planetary karma. The trial by fire is an initiation that takes place when an individual is ready to shed the snakeskin of the former self and is simultaneously able to receive an increase in the fire in his chakras, an increase in the light of the heart, and a greater balancing of his threefold flame.

The trial by fire comes to an individual when he can withstand the purging that is necessary to receive a greater increment of fire in his being. The goal of the devotee passing through the trial by fire is to become permanently endowed with sacred fire and fused to his Holy Christ Self.

Prior to arriving at the point of this initiation the devotee on the Path may day by day balance karma, invoke the violet flame and serve life, growing in grace and in the wisdom of the mysteries of Christ. When he has “shown himself approved unto God, as a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth,” when he has fulfilled the requirements of discipleship and magnetized the love of God in his being, he will reach the moment when he is ready for the trial by fire.

The trial by fire is entered into by those who love God with the full fervor of their being. Only those who love God with all their heart and soul and mind and their neighbor as themselves have the courage to pass through the gates of the trial by fire. They are willing to bear the cross of this initiation in order to receive the crown of everlasting life. When such a devotee emerges from this experience, which may take days, weeks or lifetimes, he is consumed with the desire to convey to other souls—drop by drop and cup by cup—portions of that fire which he has now become.

The initiation of the trial by fire may precede or be concurrent with the crucifixion. But it must be accomplished before the individual can enter the initiations of the transfiguration, the resurrection and the ascension. These three initiations are gradually making permanent by increment the fire of one’s being. The transfiguration and resurrection transmit increments of sacred fire until the final trial, the ascension, when the soul is assimilated unto the I AM THAT I AM.

The imagery of the trial by fire has come down to us in two very graphic stories—one in the Hindu epic the Ramayana and the other in the Old Testament.

The trial by fire in the Ramayana

The Ramayana recounts the adventures of the hero Rama, the seventh incarnation of the Hindu God Vishnu.

Deprived of his rightful kingship, Rama is forced into a long exile with his wife, Sita. During their exile, Sita is abducted by the demon king Ravana. She is forced to live in the evil king’s house. Rama vows to annihilate his enemy and commands the intervention of heaven. He wages a mighty war and rescues his beloved. Swami Prabhavananda summarizes the next episode from the Ramayana:

In the very moment of their triumph, Rama and Sita had to face a new ordeal. Murmurs were heard among their followers touching Sita’s virtue. “How do we know,” they questioned, “that Sita continued pure during all the time she lived in the household of the demon king?” To this Rama replied, simply: “Sita is purity and chastity itself.”

But the complaints of the people were not stilled. “We want the test,” they cried. Finally, to meet their demand, Sita plunged into sacrificial fire. No sooner did this happen than from out the flames there rose up the god of fire himself, bearing on his head a throne—and there, seated upon the throne, was the slandered Sita, unharmed.[2]

Hindu lore calls this Sita’s “Ordeal by Fire.” Her virtue and purity sealed her from harm. The light and fire already in her aura was her saving grace.

The fiery furnace

Main article: Rex and Nada, Bob and Pearl

In ancient Israel we see the fiery trial of the three Hebrew youths taken into captivity by the Babylonians. The Book of Daniel tells the story that the three youths Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to fall down and worship a pagan image. The Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar arrested them and cast them into a fiery furnace.

When the king looked in the furnace, he was astonished to see the youths unscathed. Not only that, but he saw four figures instead of three walking in the midst of the fire. He said, “The form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

The king bid the youths step out of the furnace. Not a hair of their head was singed, nor did they smell of smoke. The king issued a decree prohibiting any of his subjects to speak against the Hebrew God.

The Ascended Master Rex has lifted the veil on the karmic record of this event. In a dictation delivered in October 1989, Rex said that in that episode he was the fourth figure the king saw in the furnace and that he was overshadowed by the Son of God.

Rex revealed that the reason he and the three Hebrews had to undergo the initiation in the fiery furnace was that in a previous life they had stoned Enoch while he knelt in prayer. From the moment of his stoning, Enoch became their sponsor, profoundly praying for them.

For many lifetimes they received initiations under Enoch’s sponsorship in preparation for the time when they would be required to undergo the trial by fire in the physical octave. The trial in the fiery furnace was the way they could receive back, measure for measure, their serious karma for the persecution of Enoch. That fiery trial was also the consuming of that karma.

Rex said the reason he and the three youths remained untouched by the fire was that their chakras were balanced and they had immersed themselves in the service of God. Rex told us to remember in the hour of our own trial by fire that we, too, have received much preparation. But, he said,

If you have not been quickened by the Holy Spirit and if you have not quickened yourself to your Christhood and your I AM Presence, you may come to that trial by fire not fully prepared and therefore suffer loss and pay the penalty.

Passing through the trial by fire

The trial by fire that takes place as you accelerate spiritually involves first the highest vibrating of the four lower bodies, the etheric body. When purified it becomes a chalice of the body of Christ and the body of the I AM THAT I AM.

To proceed with the ongoing initiations of the trial by fire you must establish an equilibrium amongst your four lower bodies as these are the four sides of the pyramid of being and denote the four elements—fire, air, water and earth.

The lesson of the trial by fire is this: To transcend the circumstances of your karma, you need to meet fire with fire. You need to bank the sacred fire in your chakras and your aura. You need to literally swallow up the darkness with light before it even touches a hair of your head.

See also

Last Judgment

Rex and Nada, Bob and Pearl


Elizabeth Clare Prophet, “The Phoenix Mystery,” February 17, 1991.

  1. I Cor. 3:11–17.
  2. Swami Prabhavananda, The Spiritual Heritage of India, p. 84.