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Table of contents
In addition to this, how many of us, today, are constantly acting in a manner which we know will have bad effects, and refusing to alter, until after a great waste of time and energy the pain produced by our opposition to the law proves too great to withstand, and we resign the fruitless struggle — perhaps after many lives that ought never to have been entered upon. Let us now apply the doctrine of stored-up Karma to our last quotation from The Secret Doctrine, respecting the fate of the lower human principles at the death of a personality.
We are now in a position to estimate the difference in aim between the desires of the inner and personal Egos, the latter constantly wishes to act in accordance with the welfare of its own narrow self, regardless of the good of others, whom in its blindness it fails to recognise as other parts of self, whilst the former seeks, as we should expect from the nature of its expanded, transcendental consciousness, the welfare of all beings, in conformity with the essential law of Unity.
Egotism is thus the motive of the personal man, whilst Altruism is the law of the Higher Man, as Du Prel says: — "So through our whole life is protracted the strife between our earthly phenomenal form, and our true transcendental being. What is beautiful from the point of view of the subject is not beautiful from that of the person, and therefore remains caviare for the multitude; and actions, ethically valuable from the standpoint of the subject, are worthless and unintelligible from that of phenomenal Egoism.
Nay, life itself, from the standpoint of earthly consciousness a vale of tears, is from the standpoint of transcendental consciousness a valuable possession, not in spite of suffering, but on account of it. But we who are to participate in the transcendental order of things should not surrender ourselves to the illusions of the earthly consciousness, this veil of Maya; we should bring the earthly will to silence in the aesthetic contemplation of nature, in the ethical formation of our life, and should regard this earthly existence as a transitory phenomenal form in correspondence with our transcendental interest".
The transcendental advantage of the earthly life appears even on two sides to be greater, the more evil we experience. Necessity is the mother of inventions, but also of Christian sympathy ; so that necessity advances both the historical progress of the race and the moral progress of the individual", [ Ibid , p ] The great aim of the inner Ego being to unite the personality to itself, we must regard as evil all the actions of the latter which tend to retard or hinder that result, and those as good which are in harmony with it.
Hence there is no absolute evil in the world, and evil is relative to good. There could be no law of Good, Harmony or Unity in the Universe, had not differentiation first existed, as the necessary counterpart of the other, duality being the law of manifested being. We now approach the old problem of Free Will and Necessity, and must show a solution. The factors involved in the question and to be reconciled are as follows. Every act has a cause, and the latter is in turn itself the effect of a cause, and hence we can construct a beginningless and endless chain of causes and effects; this being undoubtedly true, how then can Free Will be introduced — and we all feel that we have such a thing — [Page 17] into this iron circle of necessity?
But let us note at the outset, that what we call causes and effects take place in phenomenal space and time, and are therefore subject to those forms of the mind, whilst, on the contrary, the will of our Ego wells up from the deepest planes of being. This being so, can we then at the same time preserve the freedom of the will and yet recognise an unalterable sequence of events in the phenomenal world? Kant sets his great intellect to work on this problem, and we may now see the conclusions at which he arrived, and then compare them with the solution that the Esoteric Philosophy can give on this point.
He says, after his examination of the conditions:—. All of us, at each moment of time, are busily engaged in contracting or expanding our further spheres of freedom of action according to the [Page 18] character of our present thoughts, words, and acts. Therefore it can be said that the inner Ego is free, and the personality partially free and partially self-bound, obtaining more and more freedom, from the bonds of matter, the closer it unites itself with its own free and better self, and thus partakes of the latter's transcendental divine nature. Another point now arises for discussion. Seeing the great influence for good or ill that physical heredity and parental training must exercise upon the incarnated Ego, it will be well to enquire what power the latter possesses over these factors, and how it can be brought to bear on them, Some Theosophical writers have said that the Ego selects the family and circumstances best fitted for working out its Karma.
No doubt this is true, but the method by which this is effected has not been much gone into. Speaking of certain dead and dying-out races, The Secret Doctrine says :—. It is difficult to justify marriage from the standpoint of pantheism, but from that of materialism, which regards love and marriage as only physical, it appears positively as a sin of which opinion also Alexander Von Humboldt seems to have been ; for parents have no right for their own satisfaction to bring into this existence a new being — a fraud upon it, if it has no metaphysical background.
Only if love is identical with the transcendental act of will of the being pressing into existence, if marriages 'are made in Heaven' are they also justifiable". The principal cause of this, being "the failure of the Ego to acquire a body which will furnish the instrument or apparatus in and by which the meditation or thoughts of previous lives can have their effect and be ripened. We may now consider Karma as effects in connection with motives and acts, in cases, where either one or the other, but not both, are opposed to the law of harmony.
Supposing, for instance, that I do an action which is bad in itself, but with a perfectly right motive; then the action being wrong, the effect will be also bad on me, the actor, but the motive being right the effect will also be good, and I must experience this also, hence it will sometimes happen that such dual results arising from a differentiated source of actions and motives will exactly balance each other, and the effects on the actor thus completely nullified.
If, on the contrary, we assume the motive to be bad and the act good, then the reverse results to those before given will ensue, causes and effects being necessarily always similar to each other, and it will follow that ordinary human nature being a mixture of good and bad qualities, in varying proportions, produces mixed motives and acts, neither of them hardly ever quite pure or quite bad, hence mixed results. Speaking on this question of Karmic results arising from the differences between the actions and thoughts of ordinary men and occultists, Light on the Path says:—.
Well, indeed, is it for most of us, that our bad acts have so little force behind them, although this also tells against us when we do good; for few of us can concentrate our entire energies in either direction, whilst the true occultist can, and hence reaps to the full the Karmic results of his potent acts. We may here enquire why it is that the majority of mankind constantly repeat acts, which they know must have bad effects upon themselves and others.
I think that this refusal to learn from experience shows a terrible Karma, the effect of past misdoings, for it seems certain that an act, however bad, will be repeated again and again until the lesson is learnt. How many of us today are revolving in this vicious circle, refusing to advance in harmony with the great law of unity even one step. A sage has said, to do a wrong act once is an experience; twice, folly; three times a sin.
Let us ponder this matter well. A great occultist was asked by a student, not very long ago: —. The freedom from the bonds of matter just mentioned, cannot be obtained by any of us, by producing good Karma. For if we constantly act from the motive, that by doing good to others, pleasant consequences will ensue to ourselves, we deliberately attach ourselves to the results of our actions, and although the consequences will be necessarily agreeable to us in this and future lives, yet the fetters being golden will be none the less fetters for that.
It is against this subtle form of selfishness that Krishna so often warns Arjuna, speaking as the Higher Self to the lower, in the Bhagavat Gita , constantly telling the latter to be proof against pleasure and pain and all the other pairs of opposites, and to fight the battle of life, regardless of gain or loss, victory or defeat, keeping his mind fixed on the Supreme Spirit alone. Thus also it is said: —. The problem of evil in humanity now claims some attention.
According to Esoteric Philosophy, as we have seen, the differences between men are due to Karma operating to place Egos in just such physical circumstances, and with just such mental and moral characteristics as each has made for itself, therefore the existence in what we consider the most advanced nations, of those whom we call the criminal classes, shows that through some particular Karma, both national and individual, certain poorly developed entities — that is imperfectly developed in comparison with the general mass of the nation in which they are incarnated — appear therein.
Accepting this view, the duty of any community towards these belated Egos is clear. Society whilst legitimately entitled to protect itself against their action, and narrow the sphere of their influence as much as possible, should attempt no punitive measures, and ought to use every endeavour to reform and bring them forward. In so far then as our present system of treating criminals is reformative, it is right, whilst so far as it is punitive it is wrong. For consider for a moment the actual position on both sides, when a community places a person in the dock for an offence against itself, we all know, although physical science has made too much of it, the enormous influence that early training and surroundings exercise on individuals for good or ill, therefore the first question that society should ask itself in such a case is, has everything possible been done to make it easy for everyone to do right and difficult to do wrong, as J.
Mill somewhere says, for if not, then to just that extent society is itself responsible for the act of the criminal. Further, the existence of criminal classes in any community shows that the latter furnishes just the field required for the manifestation of such beings, and I should be unable to explain their existence in any nation which lived as a body, up to its highest capabilities.
Shortly defined, [Page 22] evil is the intrusion of the past into the present, the abnormal survival of past phases of human evolution, and the consequent predominance of certain principles which have had their day, and fulfilled their proper functions, but are therefore now out of adjustment with the general scheme of things. I do not wish it to be supposed that I hold, however, that great differences in human character, considered only from the moral standpoint, should not exist together at any period.
For such a state of things is naturally unavoidable, but between this and the far too common existence of those who appear to be nothing but brutes in human form, there is a great gulf fixed. As humanity, according to occultism, having passed the lowest point of its great life cycle, is now returning up the arc towards pure Spirit, this factor should now show itself in humanity as superior to matter, or in other words, material civilisation ought now to give place to spiritual civilisation — I leave it to you to say what is the fact today. I had intended this evening to devote some time to the important question of national Karma, but at this late hour it is obviously impossible to do more than just refer to it, and I will therefore offer a few remarks on it to conclude.
In the case of nations and races, the inevitable reaction following on their departure from the law of unity in action can be plainly seen, because the field of the force exerted is so extended to our view. Taking the case of international war, we can always see the bad effects flowing therefrom; for instance, Europe today is weighed down with taxation and oppressed commercially through the existence of huge standing armies, all this being the outcome or Karma of international rivalry in the past. In the commercial world, the insane idea almost universally prevails that one nation can become richer by blocking up the channels of its trade with others by means of taxation, forgetting that each nation is but a part of a greater whole, and has special functions to perform for humanity at large, and which no other can perform for it so well, and that therefore the highest welfare of the whole human race depends upon each nation, as well as each individual, performing its own part or duty properly.
This truth, as all others, applying on every plane of life, whether moral, mental, commercial or physical. It is taught that. Before beginning and without an end, As space eternal, and as surely sure, Is fixed a power divine which moves to good — Only its laws endure. Such is the Law which moves to righteousness, Which none at last can turn aside or stay; The heart of it is Love, the end of it Is Peace and Consummation sweet.
But all these phenomena would be impossible, were not the transcendental subject at the same time the organizing principle in us". A free sample copy of our bilingual magazine can be sent to you. This offer is only good for a mailing to a Canadian address. You have to supply a mailing address. If you are a resident of Canada send a note to enquirers theosophical. Shalt thou be saved and hear the whole world cry?
Thou shall attain the seventh step and cross the gate of final knowledge but only to wed woe—if thou wouldst be Tathagata follow upon thy predecessor's steps, remain unselfish till the endless , end. Thou art enlightened—choose thy way. The choice which accepts incarnation till the Race has reached its consummation is the crown of the Master, of the perfected Man. His wisdom, His powers, all are thrown at the feet of Humanity, to serve it, help it, guide it on the path Himself has trodden.
They become the saviours of the world, the blossom and the glory of their Race. Reincarnation builds up the perfect septenary being, and his individual triumph subserves the redemptioii of Humanity as a whole. The fundamental cause of Reincarnation as of all manifestation, is the desire tor active life, the thirst for sentient existence. Some deep-lying essence of nature, obvious in its workings, but incomprehensible as to its origin and reason, manifests as the " law of periodicity.
But the reason for it escapes us; we cannot say why things should be so; we can only see that so they are. And in the Esoteric Philosophy this same law is recognised as extending to the emanation and reabsorption of universes, the Night and Day of Brahma, the out-breathing and the inbreathing of the Great Breath. Hence the Hindus have pictured the God of Desire as the impulse to manifestation.
When spiritual Intelligence comes into contact with this thirst for sensation, its first action is to intensify it. Says the Stanza: " From their own essence they filled intensified the Kama. The Hindu and Buddhist Scriptures are filled with reiterations of this truth. Thus in the Bhagavad Gita we read:. He whose Buddhi is everywhere unattached, the self subdued, dead to desires, he goeth by renunciation to the supreme perfection of freedom from Karma. So in the Udanavarga, a Northern Buddhist version of the Dhammapada, translated from the Tibetan, the same note is struck:.
It is hard for one who is held by the fetters of desire to free himself of them, says the Blessed One. The steadfast, who care not for the happiness of desires, cast them off, and do soon depart to Nirvana ,3. Again and again seeking for it existence they again and again enter the womb; beings come and go; to one state of being. It is hard to cast off existence in this world; he who has cast off lust, who has pulled up the seed of existence , will no more be subject to transmigration, for he has put-an end to lust,1.
In the Scriptures of the Southern Buddhist Church stress is continually laid on the same idea. The disciple is bidden not to be confident till he has " attained the extinction of desires," and after describing the way in which desires and passions tie men to earthly life, the Dhammapada proceeds:.
He who has reached the consummation, who does not tremble, who is without thirst and without sin, he has broken all the thorns, of life: this will be his last body. He who is without thirst and without affection, who understands the words and their interpretation, who knows the order of letters those which are before and which are after , he has received his last body, he is called the great sage, the great man. And so there is the triumphant apostrophe, when Gautama attains Buddhahood:.
Looking for the maker of this tabernacle, I shall have to run. But now, maker of the tabernacle, thou hast been seen; thou shalt not make up this tabernacle again. All thy rafters are broken, thy ridge-pole is sundered; the mind, approaching the Eternal, has attained to the extinction of all desires. Rockhill, p. But its fetters must fall off one by one as the Ego reaches the perfecting of its tabernacle, for desire is personal and therefore selfish, -and when desire prompts action the purity of the action is tainted.
And here two warnings against misunderstanding are necessary. First: personal loves are not to be. Loves are to be levelled up, not down. The heart is not to be frozen, but to be aflame for all. The failure to realise this, and the tremendous difficulty of the task, when realised, have led to the stifling of love instead of its growth. Overflowing love, not lovelessness, will save the world. The Mahatma is the Ocean of Compassion; He is not an iceberg. It is easy to see why this widening out must precede the attainment of Mastership, for the Master holds His powers for the good of all and not for the elevation of any particular family or nation.
He is the Servant of Humanity, and the way to His help must be need, not kinship. To superhuman powers He must needs join superhuman impartiality, and personal affection must never be allowed to weight the scale of Justice. Beyond all other men He must be a slave to duty, for any swaying from its line would bring about results proportionate to the greatness of His height. He is to be a force for good, and the good must flow in the channels where it is most needed, not in those cut by personal loves or racial predilections.
Hence the long training, the personal asceticism, the isolation, which are the conditions of chelaship. Second: action is not to be stopped because the disciple no longer seeks the fruits of action as reward. Not so shall gain thy soul her freedom. A good deed must be done for the sake of its helpfulness, of its use to others, not for the sake of praise either of others or of self, nor even for the subtler longing for self-improvement. Here again the failure to realise the distinction between action and desire for the fruits of action has led to the stagnation and passivity characteristic of Eastern nations,.
As this general desire for sentient existence is the cause of reincarnation universally, so is the determining cause of each individual reincarnation the renewed longing for the taste of existence on the physical plane.
The Law of Karma
When a long life on the earth plane has been lived and a store of experiences has been gathered, this longing for physical existence is satiated for the time, and the desire turns towards, rest. Then comes the interval of disembodiment, during which the Ego, re-entering as it were into-himself, ceases to energise externally on the physical plane, and bends all his energies to internal activities, reviewing his gathered store of experiences, the harvest of the earth-life just closed, separating and classifying them, assimilating what is capable of assimilation, rejecting what is effete and useless.
This is the work of the devachanic period, the necessary time for assimilation, for gaining equilibrium. As a workman may go out and gather the materials for his work, and having-collected them may return home, sort and arrange them, and then proceed to make from them some artistic or serviceable object, so the Thinker, having;. He can no more be always busied in the whirl of earth-life than a workman can always be gathering store of materials and never fabricating from them goods; or than a man can always be eating food and never digesting it and assimilating it to build up the tissues of his body.
This with the rest needed between periods of activity by all forms of being, makes Devachan an absolute necessity, and rebukes the impatience with which ill-instructed Theosophists chafe against the idea of thus " wasting time. We have not the energy needed for taking up the burden of the flesh again until this period of refreshment has enabled the forces of life, mental and spiritual, to store themselves up once more in the spiritual man.
It is only at the approaching close of the cycle of rebirths that the Ego, grown strong by his millenniums of 1 The Key to Theosophy, pp.
One kind of progress—outside the necessary process of assimilation just spoken of, which is a condition of further progress—may be made in Devachan. Blavatsky says:. This may explain the marvellous infantile genius sometimes shown, especially in music, going far beyond any point known to have been reached before in the history of that art in the Aryan race. However that may be, it is well to remember that the resolute following of abstract thought, of idealistic longings, gives a trend to the devachanic state that will make it a state of active, as well as of passive, progress.
While Devachan is essentially the world of effects, yet, to this extent, it borrows from the world of causes, though it is also true that 1 The Key to Theosophy, p. In Devachan is no initiation of cause, no origination of endeavour, but it allows of continuation of efforts aimed at the highest planes of being that man can reach from earthly life.
Why there should be this possibility it is easy to see, for the abstract and the ideal heights are illumined by the manasic radiance, and that brightens, it is not dimmed, when Manas-Taijasi the shining or resplendent Manas soars unfettered to its own plane. An interesting question arises at this juncture: when the rest period is over, the forces that carried the Ego out of earth-life are exhausted, the longing for sentient physical existence is reviving, and the Ego is ready to cross " the threshold of Devachan " and pass to the plane of reincarnation, what now guides him to the special race, nation, family, through which he is to find his new tabernacle of flesh, and what determines the sex he is to wear?
Is it affinity? Is it free choice? Is it necessity? No questions fall more readily from an inquirer's lips. It is the law of Karma that guides him unerringly towards the race and the nation wherein are to be found the general characteristics that will produce. Karma, with its army of Skandhas, waits at the threshold of Devachan, whence the ego re-emerges to assume a new incarnation. It is at this moment that the future destiny of the now rested Ego trembles in the scales of just retribution, as it now falls once again under the sway of active Karmic law.
It is in this re-birth which is ready for it, a re-birth selected and prepared by this mysterious, inexorable, but in the equity and wisdom -of its decrees, infallible LAW, that the sins of the previous life of the Ego are punished. Only it is into no imaginary Hell, with, theatrical flames and ridiculous tailed and horned devils, that the Ego is cast, but verily on to this earth, the plane and region of his sins, where he will have to atone for every bad thought and deed.
As he has sown so will he reap. Reincarnation will gather around him all those other Egos who have suffered, whether directly or indirectly at the hands, or even through the unconscious instrumentality, of the past personality. They will be thrown by Nemesis in the way of the new man, concealing the " old, the eternal Ego. The new " personality " is no better than a fresh suit of clothes with its specific characteristics,, colour, form and qualities; but the real man who wears it is the same culprit as of old.
Thus, say, through a militant personality in one incarnation the Ego would set up causes tending to draw him for rebirth to a race and nation passing through a militant period in its history; the Ego of a Roman of the combative colonising type would be drawn, e.
Another strand in the rope of Karma, and one of the strongest, is the dominant tendency and trend of the last-closed life. Dominant tendencies and the resolute following of any line of thought and action, reappear as innate qualities. A man of strong will, who steadfastly sets himself to acquire wealth, who follows this resolve through his life relentlessly and unscrupulously, will in another incarnation be likely to be one of those men who are proverbially " lucky," of whom it is said, " Everything he touches turns to gold.
If they are selfish, base, material, our next incarnation will bring us into an environment in which they will fall into our grasp. As an iron will compels fortune here, so it stretches its mailed grasp across the gulf of death and rebirth, and grips the end it is resolute to gain; it does not lose tension and force during the devachanic interlude, but.
As a man sows so he reaps; he is the master of his destiny, and if he wills to build for temporal success, for physical luxury, none can say him nay. Only by experience he will learn that power and wealth and luxury are but Dead-Sea fruit; that with them the body may be clothed, but the Ego will be shivering and naked; that his true self will not be satisfied with the husks that are fit food but for the swine; and at last, when he has full-fed the animal in him and starved the human, he will, though in the far country whither his wayward feet have carried him, turn yearning eyes towards his true home, and through many lives he will struggle thitherwards with all the force once used for dominance now yoked to service, and the strong man who built his strength for mastery of others will turn it to mastery of self and to training it into obedience to the Law of Love.
The question, "What determines sex? The Ego itself is sexless, and each Ego, in the course of its myriad reincarnations, dwells in male and female bodies. As the building up of the perfect humanity is the object of reincarnation, and in this perfect humanity positive and negative elements must find complete equilibrium, it is easy to see that the Ego must by experience develop these characteristics to the fullest in their appropriate physical subjects, and therefore that an alternation of sexes is necessary.
It is also noticeable, as a matter of observation, that at this stage of human progress advance is being made in the synthesising process, and we meet noble types of each physical sex showing some of the characteristics historically developed in the other, so that the strength, the firmness, the courage evolved along the male line are welded to the tenderness, the purity, the endurance, evolved along the female, and we catch some glimpse of what humanity shall be when the " pairs of opposites" divorced for evolution are once more united for fruition.
Meanwhile it seems likely that sex-experience constantly redresses the balance of the evolutionary process, and supplies the qualities lacking at any given stage, and also that the karmic consequence of the. Thus Karma traces the line which forms the Ego's path to the new incarnation, this Karma being the collectivity of causes set going by the Ego himself. In studying this play of karmic forces, however, there is one thing that ought not to be left out of account—the ready acceptance by the Ego, in his clearer-sighted vision, of conditions for his personality far other than the personality might be willing to choose for itself.
The schooling of experience is not always pleasant, and to the limited knowledge of the personality there must be much of earth-experience which seems needlessly painful, unjust and useless. The Ego, ere he plunges into the " Lethe of the body," sees the causes which ultimate in the conditions of the incarnation on which he is to enter, and the opportunities which there will be therein for growth, and it is easy to realise how lightly will weigh in the balance all passing griefs and pains, how trivial, to that piercing, far-seeing gaze, the joys and woes of earth.
For what is each life but a step in the. Perpetual progress for each incarnating Ego, or divine soul, in an evolution from the outward into the inward, from the material to the Spiritual, arriving at the end of each stage at absolute unity with the Divine Principle. From strength to strength, from the beauty and perfection. And with such a destiny, what boots the passing suffering of a moment, or even the anguish of a darkened life? The proofs of reincarnation do not amount to a complete and general demonstration, but they establish as strong presumption as can, in the nature of the case, exist.
The theory they support affords the only sufficient explanation of the growth, and decay of natio'ns, of the facts of individual evolution, of the varying capacities of man, of recurrent cycles in history, of unique human characters. I am content—despite my own certain knowledge that reincarnation is a fact in nature— to present it here as a reasonable working hypothesis, rather than as a demonstrated theorem 5 for. I am writing for those who are seeking evidence in the facts of human life and history, and for them it cannot at first rise beyond the position of a reasonable hypothesis.
Those who know it to be true need no arguments from me. There are some living persons, as well as some not at present in earth-life, who remember their own past incarnation, and can recall their incidents as they can recall those of their present lives. Memory—which is the link between the varying stages of experience of the conscious being, and which carries with it the sense of individuality and of presonality alike—stretches for them through the gateways of past births and deaths, and the nights of death no more break the chain of memory than the nights break it which separate the days of our ordinary life.
Occurrences of their past lives are as real experiences of their living selves as though they had happened a few years ago, and to tell them that they did not have these experiences is a view to them as foolish as if you persisted that the events they passed through ten years ago happened to somebody else and not to their same selves. They would not debate the question with you, but would just shrug their. On the other hand, a man's testimony to facts within his own knowledge cannot demonstrate the reality of those facts tc a second person, and therefore this evidence is not conclusive proof to any one but the experiencer.
It is the final certainty of the truth of reincarnation to the person whose memory bears this witness to his own past; its value to the hearer must depend on that hearer's opinion of the intellectual sanity and moral worth of the speaker. If the speaker be a person of not only ordinary sanity in the affairs of everyday life, but of supreme intellectual strength; a person of not only ordinary morality, but of lofty moral purity, veracity and accuracy; under such circumstances his deliberate statement that he remembers incidents of his own life happening, say, some centuries ago, and his relation of these incidents with their local surroundings in detail, would probably have considerable weight with those familiar with his integrity and ability; it is second-hand evidence, but good of its kind.
The vegetable, the animal, the man, all show signs of the working of the "law of heredity", of. The oak, the dog, the man, are recognisable, under superficial divergences, all the world over. All are generated and grow along definite lines; from two cells, a male and a female, each proceeds, developing along the lines of the parental characteristics.
The offspring reproduce the specific parental marks, and however widely families of the same type may differ, we yet recognise the uniting peculiarities. We unite under the name of" dog " the St. Bernard and the toyterrier, the boarhound and the Italian greyhound, as we unite under the name of" man " the Veddah and the Englishman, the Aborigine and the Rajput. But when we come to deal with intellectual and moral capacities, say in varieties of dogs and of men, we are struck with a'significant difference.
In the dog these vary between comparatively narrow limits; he may be clever or stupid, vicious or reliable, but the difference between a clever and a stupid dog is comparatively small. But in man how huge is the distance which separates the lowest from the highest, whether intellectually or morally! Some can only count " one, two, three, many," while others can calculate. In man, and in man only, among all the races that people the earth, do we find such great physical unity and such vast intellectual and moral divergence. I admit physical heredity as explanation of the one, but I need some new factor, not present in the brute, as an explanation of the other.
Reincarnation, with its persistent intellectual and moral Ego, learning by experience, developing through millenniums, offers a sufficient cause; and a cause which also explains why a man progresses while animals remain stationary, from the mental and moral standpoint, save as artificially bred and trained by man. As far back as records reach, wild animals have lived as they live now, beasts of prey, herds of buffaloes, tribes of monkeys, communities of ants; they live and die, generation after generation, repeating parental habits, slipping along ancestral grooves, evolving no higher social life.
They have physical heredity as man has, but physical heredity-does not-—for it cannot—give them the accumulated experience which enables the persistent human Egos to climb onwards, ever building great civilisations, gathering knowledge, rising higher and higher so that none can trace a limit beyond which Humanity. It is this persistent element, lacking in the animal and present in the man, that explains why the animal is comparatively stationary and the man progressive.
There is no individual store-house for the experience gathered by the animal: but man, storing the essence of his experience in the immortal Ego, starts life after life with this store as his possession, and so has the possibility of continued individual growth. For how can intellectual experience be transmitted, save by consciousness? Physical habits, which modify the organism, can be physically transmitted, as the tendency to trot in the horse, to point in the dog, and so on; in animals and in men alike, these facts are notorious. Equally notorious is the fact of the intellectual and moral stagnation of the animal as compared with the progressiveness of man.
Another noteworthy fact is that no outside influence can impress on the brains of less developed humans the elementary moral conceptions, which the brains of the more advanced assimilate almost immediately on presentation. Something more than the brain-apparatus is necessary for an intellectual or moral perception, and no training can give this something; training may render delicate the.
Nor does it tell against this truth that a European child, shut out of all human companionship, was found to be brutish and scarcely human on his release; for the physical organ needs the healthy play upon it of physical influences, if it is to be used on the physical plane, and if it is disorganised by unnatural treatment it cannot answer to any promptings from the Ego, any more than a piano, left to damp and rust, can give out melodious notes from its injured strings. Within the limits of a family there are certain hereditary peculiarities which continually reappear, aud a certain " family likeness " unites the members of a family.
These physical resemblances are patent, and are looked upon as evidences of the law of heredity. So, far, good. But what law explains the startling divergences in mental capacity and moral character that are found within the narrow limits of a single family circle among the children of the same parents? In a family of quiet, home-loving people, settled on the same spot for generations, is born a lad of wild and rowing spirit, that no discipline can tame, no lure can hold.
How can such. Or a " black sheep" is born in a pure and noble family, wringing the hearts that love him, dishonouring a spotless name; whence comes he? Or a white blossom of saintliness unfolds its radiant beauty amid sordid and gross family surroundings; what dropped seed of that exquisite plant into soil so evil? Here, in every case, reincarnation gives the clue, placing the mental and moral qualities in the immortal Ego, not in the physical body born of the parents.
Strong physical likeness is found between brothers whose mental and moral characters are as the: poles asunder. Heredity may explain the one; it cannot explain the other. This same problem is presented even more strongly in the case of twins, in which the children have not only identical ancestry, but identical pre-natal conditions. Yet twins often unite the most complete physical likeness with strong. And another matter of significance in connection with twins is that during infancy they will often be indistinguishable from each other, even to the keen eye of mother and of nurse.
Whereas, later in life, when Manas has been working through his physical encasement, he will have so modified it that the physical likeness lessens and the differences of character stamp themselves on the mobile features, v. Infant precocity demands some explanation at the hands of science. Why can a Mozart, at four, show knowledge in which none has trained him? Not only taste for melody, but " instinctive " ability to produce settings for melodies given him, settings which break none of the complicated laws of harmony that the musician has to learn by patient study.
How could effect so mighty flow from cause so inadequate? And many another case might be quoted in which the child outran its teachers, doing with ease what they had accomplished with toil, and quickly doing what they could in no wise accomplish. Infant precocity is but a form of manifestation of genius, and genius itself needs explanation. Whence comes it, harder to trace than the track of birds in the air? They spring from mediocre families, the first and the last to make the name immortal, families whose very obscurity is the definite proof that they possess but average abilities; a child is born, loved, caressed, punished, educated, like all the others: suddenly the young eagle soars aloft to the sun from the house-sparrows' nest beneath the eaves, and the beat of his wings shakes the very air.
Did such a thing happen on the physical plane we should not murmur, " Heredity and a curious case of. And so, when the strong Ego stoops to the mediocre family, we must seek in that Ego the cause of the genius, not look for it in the family genealogy. Will any one venture to explain by heredity the birth into the world of a great moral genius, a Lao-Tze, a Buddha, a Zarathushtra, a Jesus?
Is the divine root whence spring these blossoms of humanity to be dug for in the soil of physical ancestry, the sources of their gracious lives the small well of commonplace humanity? Whence brought they their untaught wisdom, their spiritual insight, their knowledge of human sorrows and human needs?
Men have been so dazzled by their teaching that they have dreamed it a revelation from a supernatural Deity, while it is the ripened fruit of hundreds of human lives; those who reject the supernatural Deity must either accept reincarnation or accept the insolubility of the problem of their origin.
If heredity can produce Buddhas and Christs, it might well give us more of them. We are led to the same conclusion by noting the extraordinary differences between people in the power of assimilating knowledge of various kinds. Take two persons of some intellectual power, clever rather than stupid. Present to each the same system of philosophy. One swiftly grasps its main principles, the other remains passive and inert before it. Present to the same two some other system, and their relative positions will be reversed. One " has a bent" towards one form of thought, the second towards some other.
Two students are attracted to Theosophy and begin to study it; at a year's end one is familiar with its main conceptions and can apply them, while the other is struggling in a maze. To the one each principle seemed familiar on presentation; to the other, new, unintelligible, strange. The believer in reincarnation understands that the teaching is old to the one and new to the other; one learns quickly because he remembers, he is but recovering past knowledge; the other learns slowly because his experience has not included these truths of nature, and he is acquiring them toilfully for the first time.
Closely allied to this rapid recovery of past knowledge is the intuition which perceives a truth as irue on its presentation, and needs no slow process of argument for arrival at conviction. Such intuition is merely recognition of a fact familiar in. Its mark is that no argument strengthens, the internal conviction which came with the mere perception of the fact; arguments demonstrating its reality may be sought and built up for the sake of others, but they are not needed for the satisfaction of the believer himself.
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That work has been done, so far as he is concerned, in his own previous experience. Reincarnation solves, as does no other theory of human existence, the problems of inequality of circumstances, of capacity, of opportunity, which otherwise remain as evidence that justice is not a factor in life, but that men are the mere sport of the favouritism of an irresponsible Creator, or of the blind forces of a soulless Nature.
A child is born with a brain fitted to be the instrument of all animal passions, " criminal brain", the vehicle of evil desires, brutal instinct; child of a thief and a harlot, his life-blood flows from a foul and poisoned source; his surroundings educate him to vicious courses, train him in all evil ways. Another is born with a nobly moulded brain, fitted to manifest the most splendid intellect, with small physical. The one by organism and environment is foredoomed to a life of crime, or at best, if the Divine in him should make itself felt, to a terrific struggle against enormous odds, a struggle which, even should it end in victory, must leave the victor exhausted, maimed, heartbroken.
The other by organism and environment is foredoomed to a life of beneficent activity, and his struggles will be not against the evil that drags him down, but after the higher good that allures him upwards. Whence such diverse fates, if these human beings enter for the first time on life's stage? Shall we say that some conscious and overruling Providence creates two lives, banning the one to uttermost degradation, blessing the other to loftiest possibilities?
If so, then a wailing and helpless Humanity, in the grip of a fathomless Injustice, can but shudder and submit, but must cease to speak of Justice or of Love as being attributes of the Deity it worships. In getting ready, the light of Atma which is Bliss, the love of Atma which is Wisdom, the Labour of Atma which is Sacrifice, has to be seen as superior to the pleasure, the knowledge, and the activity of the lower self. With this perception comes the strenght to "slay," that is, regenerate the animal-man. The alchemical power to transform the baser metal of the lower self into the gold of the higher abides in the Heart of man.
This mighty Shakti -Power lies dormant and asleep--a coiled Dragon of Wisdom. Elsewhere in the human constitution is the venomous snake of self, that eternal foe of every aspirant to Wisdom and Altruism. But snake and Dragon are of the same species and so the injunction - "be merciful to the foe; against its treacheries be on guard. The two characteristics necessary for this enterprise are a sense of humour for the foibles of the lower self, and a never-failing watchfulness over its insidious ways.
In this holy war of regeneration the purifying power of knowledge has to be used. This is where Theosophy, as a body of knowledge, sure and infallible, founded and reared on the accumulated experience of the sages, proves useful. Every decent-minded individual wants to better his life; many an enthusiast is willing to practise rules of conduct which will bring success to him. But very few indeed study the science of the soul, even theoretically, for the law of reliance on Atma by the denial of ahankara frightens or discourages them.
Those who mentally understand the teaching often lapse into old ways and modes of denial of Atma and p. Time is not allowed, such is the rushing nature of our race, for the assimilation of what is studied. The spontaneous generation of the Dragon of Wisdom in the cave of the Heart can take place only in the passage of time. If in that period we are disturbed by events or are wearied to disgust with things, we identify ourselves with those events and things.
Thus yoga with Time is achieved. Knowledge in the passage of time will purify the lower self of its dross and give birth to compassion by the aid of which others can be truly helped. Compassion replaces Knowledge with Wisdom, makes all actions sacrificial, all existence blissful. To be blissful, to be compassionate, to be discerning-these constitute the eternal triad of preparation for the life of Spiritual service.
In this attempt, speaks the Teaching, "Beware of settled security; it leads to sloth, or to presumption. There are various motives which prompt students to serve the Cause of Theosophy. The nature and extent of that service are according to the motive. The avenues of service are definite and limited just as the motives of service are. Some students are moved to service by the desire of self-growth; others are inspired to be altruistic by the compassionate longing to better the lot of their fellow men.
Some serve to work out the surplus energy of their natures; others energize themselves so that service may result. Whatever the starting point, a little study reveals a supreme fact -- service of Theosophy, irrespective of time, place, circumstance, as well as friends, relatives and strangers, is imperative, not only for growth but for very existence. Students of Theosophy prepare themselves by study and otherwise to serve humanity; they seriously endeavour to fit themselves to be better able to help and teach others.
Theosophists do not make propaganda for the purposes of gaining power, popularity and prosperity for Theosophy, but for bettering men and women, for enlightening human souls and leading them on to peace and wisdom. Our philosophy discourages proselytism and advocates the inner conversion of each by himself.
When by dint of study an individual has remade himself he is, in a sense, as one who is newly born. The great Initiations of the Ancient Mysteries have their projections in the hearts of mortals. As we learn to be born again and again we come nearer to the Great p. Just as daily bathing of the body is the reflection of the Baptism by Water, so is seasonal renovation of the mind and heart a symbol of the Baptism by Fire.
For the health of the body elimination of waste matter is a necessity, and there is a corresponding elimination of the moral and mental dregs of our consciousness. Service of Theosophy is the avenue whereby students of Theosophy are reborn. It is the great clearing house of energies and ideas -- eliminator of false notions and retainer of the true. Thus students of Theosophy do not confer any benefit on the philosophy or on the Movement by their service; they oblige and benefit themselves. Columbus did not confer any benefit on America by his discovery; he and his fellows have been bettered thereby.
America, undiscovered, would have continued to live on, till human necessity compelled some Columbus to discover it. So with Theosophy. Let us rid ourselves of the idea that by our helping the Cause we are obliging Theosophy. We are helping ourselves. Further, that helping is a necessity of existence, of our own existence.
All of us have three great possessions - Energy to Create, Wealth to sustain, and Time to renew ourselves. These are our three jewels. We make ourselves by work, we preserve ourselves with wealth and we better ourselves in time. Work, Wealth, Time are interdependent. In time work begets wealth; wealth in due season energizes us to labour; time compels us to work so that we may enrich ourselves; work whiles away time and time checks the destructive and wearing power of toil.
One without the other two, nay, even two without the third would end in man's ruin and annihilation. In the service of Theosophy, Time, Wealth and Work p. We must create ourselves by study; we must grow through regeneration, in the passage of time. Nature labours and is born; her bounties sing of her existence ; her ever continuing changes are an indication of her subservience to the God of Time Kala.
The Theosophical Movement, in all eras and climes, is created by the work of the Masters, is sustained by the Wealth of Their Wisdom, and is regenerated from corruption, century by century and cycle by cycle. The Movement never dies because this threefold process is kept up by the Great Ones and Their faithful servants. The visible and organic incarnation of the Immemorial Movement decays and perishes because its work, wealth and time through friction come to a close.
When those who belong to that visible expression of the Movement cease to work, poverty overtakes them; famished, they cease to exist. When they labour and toil but fail to share their earnings with the body through which they enriched themselves, they perish and the body with them. When they create by work and nourish by wealth, they sometimes fail to renew friendship with the Ever-Green Source and suit themselves to the Motion of the Stars and then they live on, corpses or shells, while the Life creates elsewhere the body of Truth.
Minor cycles are but replicas of major ones. The Law of Correspondence and Analogy works perfectly everywhere and all the time. What is true of previous ages and other bodies is true of this and the Lodge to which we belong. As a voluntary association of students p. We exist to serve the Cause and are responsible for keeping it going as the visible incarnation of the Invisible Movement.
This can be done by Work, Wealth and Time and in no other way. Work which creates for the self is selfish; that which creates for Self is Sacrifice. Wealth which preserves the self causes poverty; that which preserves the Self leads to Wisdom. Time which renews the self begets pain; that which renews the Self is Bliss.
Therefore we must obtain the wherewithal for creative work, for preserving wealth, for regenerating time. We must gain the faculty of sacrifice on the plane of action, of labour, of work. This means that we should toil for the Great Sacrifice, exert ourselves by the power of the Great Actor. We must come to possess the wealth of Wisdom on the plane of mind, of study, of contemplation. This means that we must teach and instruct and inspire by the power of the Great Teacher, offer the boon and the blessing of the Great Contemplation.
We must obtain the energy of Bliss on the plane of life, of heart, of being. This means that we should grow by giving, giving by the power of the Great Renovator, thus bestowing the Joy of the Great Birth. Thus Sacrifice builds, Wisdom sustains and Bliss renovates life for ever and ever.
The sacrifice of all we have, the wisdom of all we are, the bliss which is our Selfthis is the triple offering which every student of Theosophy should make on the altar of the Sacred Movement. We create ourselves theosophically by work which is Sacrifice. Egotism is the one source from which spring p. Often the desire to work is wrongly identified with capacity to serve. The latter really belongs to the second aspect: wealth. Most students fail to work not because of lack of capacity but the absence of the desire to serve and help.
The one sure sign of theosophical birth is the Will to Work , which seeks out "him who knows till less than thou. This false humility is more subtle and therefore more insidious. It was not through lack of capacity that Arjuna. He who in the daily affairs of life loves and sacrifices gains the great opportunity to enter the Path of Compassion, the Way of Altruism. To be born is to manifest the power of the Inner Ruler however restricted in scope and small in quantity.
It is only when we desire to serve and begin to work that lack of knowledge is truly perceived. When people complain of their lack of knowledge or their poor capabilities and refuse to work on that score, they are not really aware of either. Only when we begin to teach do we truly find out what we have to learn; only when we lift a weight do we know what burdens we cannot bear; it is only by expressing what we do know that we become aware of what we do not. It is work, the first aspect, that brings to us our wealth of wisdom, by revealing to us how very poor we are.
When the spirit of service encounters the fact that we are poverty stricken it sets about accumulating wealth. If each of us made the right and adequate use of what we have of I money, 2 health, 3 knowledge and 4 devotion, we would get more of these and the Cause of Theosophy would flourish. Spiritual poverty is the cause of all poverty. Poverty and impurity go hand in hand and work side by side, and there is a very close connection and interdependence between 1 bodily ill-health, 2 vital impurity, 3 emotional deformity and 4 mental weakness.
Once again we actually know how poor we are only when we have found out how rich we are. Lack of time is a very general complaint and as an excuse is very commonly offered. But there is a universal saying to the effect that he who is the busiest has time always at hand.
Time and laziness are enemies and he who uses time is ever the friend of Time. It is when our time is not used to the best of our strength that stagnation sets in and death results. Time, the third aspect, is the initiating power which brings to birth new and newer aspects of the God within, the Inner Ruler immortal. Thus work which is sacrifice creates the wealth which is the capacity to serve wisely, and thus serving all the time we radiate joy for all, and help in establishing the Kingdom of God, of Righteousness, of Theosophy.
Soul builds body. The nature of the one is occult, as that of the other is phenomenal. Of unchanging reality is, life, while form is but the evanescent maya that is non-existent in fact. From to Wisdom was energizing in the inner planes of being propelling toward the outer world. Then H. Among these were esoteric and esotericism, exoteric and exotericism. She was the first since the days of the Alexandrian Neo-Platonists who unhesitatingly and emphatically declared that a secret body of Teaching and Teachers existed. From the very start she claimed a somewhat intimate acquaintance with both.
She laboured in the cause for which those Teachings and Teachers stood, for 20 years-from to Among the important missions entrusted to her was the drawing of the attention of the world to the existence of the Teaching and the Teachers; only a part of the former, under instructions from the latter, was put forward in discreet instalments. This process was affected by the growth or the hindrance, especially among the aspirants to Chelaship, in recognizing the truth of the esoteric nature of both the knowledge imparted and its Wise Custodians.
It is apparent to the insight of the student of H. She also had to prepare a band of student-servers of the Sacred and Secret Wisdom, who were capable of transmitting the same Charge to succeeding generations, and thus purify by life and labour the mind of the race till her successors in arrived before the public to complete that which she began.
Men's minds had to be prepared for the reception of the Teaching. Grades of students is what she aimed at; those knowing less, learning from the group who knew a little more, till there would be two or three who in direct contact with the perfected Adepts remained also in touch with the world through their co-workers and helpers. A veritable Antahkarana-Bridge was planned to be erected between the World of Masters and the world of mortals. For this purpose and towards this aim she advised that the esoteric nature of matter and man be truly recognized by her students and especially by her intimate pupils.
The public which perused her writings was callous to her hints and suggestions in proportion as her intimate associates and students were heedless of her direct and unequivocal injunctions. Indiscretions about the esoteric nature of the Lodge of Masters and Its Wisdom among other things, led to the collapse of the almost complete Bridge.
A very small end of it which extended from the side of the Masters' World remained and will ever remain intact. As modern students purify themselves by the energy of study and ensoul themselves by the power of service, more of the Bridge will be restored. Devotion and intelligence which create are the necessary requisites and the few builders look, watch and exclaim-"Who is on our side? Who will help us? Pythagoras termed it the gnosis of things that are and spoke of it in secrecy to his inner circle while Confucius refused to explain publicly his " Great Extreme.
Ammonius Saccas obligated his disciples by oath not to divulge his higher doctrines, except to those who had been "exercised. She gathered in her writings the radiant jewels of the many minesthe diamond of India, the sapphire of Buddhaland, the ruby of Persia, the opal of Chaldea, the emerald of Egypt, the amethyst of Greece, the moonstone of Judea and set them all in the exquisite platinum of our own era which she secured from her Masters. She made this necklace for the daughter of time named the 19thth century.
They p. Whence did Ariosto, in his Orlando Furioso , obtain his conception of that valley in the moon, where after death we can find the ideas and images of all that exists on earth? How came Dante to imagine the many descriptions given in his Inferno of his visit and communion with the souls of the seven spheres? The dark secrets of the Wisdom were allowed to see the light of day as people learnt to use them with genuine discrimination, with selfless dispassion.
It is personal selfishness that develops and urges man on to abuse his knowledge and power. Thus during the last few centuries, as human selfishness grew, the Light of Wisdom diminished and those few Elect whose inner natures had remained unaffected by the march of the world became the sole guardians of the Esoteric Knowledge, passing it only to those fit to receive it, and keeping it inaccessible to others. It was not poetical imagery, nor symbolic tales nor dramatized versions of Esoteric Truths.
She wrote in the language of precision, simple and clear cut, as one having authority. She appealed to those around her to preserve inviolable secrecy in regard to certain information and teaching and await her cue from time to time to declare exoteric that which hitherto was given to the few to learn and assimilate. Her wise injunctions were disregarded; followed desecration of the sacred; that which was holy was given unto the dogs of the press and the pearls were cast before the swine of an egotistic, selfish public; press and public trampled them under their feet, turned on H.
In this world of maya, Spirit and Matter are looked upon as two different things and so are Esoteric Wisdom and exoteric Knowledge. Nature is one and so is Theosophy. The secret of Nature is in particles of dust and in constellations of stars and both are visible and yet invisible. The writings of H. Their occultism is perceived only by those whose inner natures have unfolded.
One of the qualifications unfolding that inner faculty which reveals the hidden side of the known phenomenal world is the power to keep inviolate the secrets entrusted to us by Nature or otherwise. Often in the enthusiasm to help and serve our fellows we scatter on the highway the seeds gathered from our study of Theosophy and our meditations on the facts of the philosophy.
This is due to egotism, often of a very subtle type. To train them in the art of keeping secrets, many a wise teacher has devised ways and means whereby innocuous facts and fictions were given to students for the practice of keeping them private and learning how to avoid revealing them directly and indirectly in answering questions and in conversations. It is a wise practice to impose on oneself the obligation of secrecy in reference to certain metaphysical and psychical teachings or spiritual and mystical practices. In doing so care must be taken that the student does not fall prey to the assuming of a mysterious attitude, which is still another form of egotism.
Corpses exist, but a living body has always a soul. Corpses of knowledge exist, but the Science of Life has the Master-Soul behind. The mystery of the living body, the mysteries of the Science of Life, are esoteric; these mysteries show themselves mystically in the visible body, in the recorded Teachings of the Master-Souls. The esotericism of the Gita is within the eighteen discourses and there is no need to look for a nineteenth discourse.
In the recorded message of H. Her students and pupils will discover in her teachings that which is esoteric; silence and secrecy preserved will lead to further and nobler knowledge of the Inner Temple. To gain entrance every student has to become the Path which is Life Eternal. He has not only to find the Path but to make the Path. Between the student and the Golden Wisdom of the Masters which he is seeking there exists a gulf the abyss of separation. The existence of Soul, which is, in fact, the Real Man, leads us to accept the fact of its unfoldment.
The growth of the Soul naturally leads us to the fact of the existence of the Masters- Mahatmas , Great Souls, who unveil the Glory of Greater Souls in ever-ascending scalethe ladder above, as also the ladder of souls descending which has its base in the lower kingdoms of nature. Then comes the realization of Brotherhood of all Souls. In the work-a-day world of commerce, business, profit, pain,, many forget the Soul vision; a few earnestly materialize that vision, and often they enquire about the Great Souls so that they may feel Their nearness.
Master's are essential facts in our soul-evolution, and unless the conviction is born in us that without Their aid and intermediation we as human souls cannot realize our identity with the Universal Soul, we do not make practical effort at hastening our evolution. Many are the questions asked about the Masters. It is often forgotten that we cannot find Them by merely asking about Them, nor by geographically travelling to where They in Their physical bodies.
They must be found by an altogether different process. Nor are They to be found by the comparative study of philosophy, religio, and science, which takes us into the intellectual world, for Their habitat is not the intellectual world, either. But we can purify our intellectual nature and control our desires, and if we consecrate this body of ours so that it becomes a Temple of the Living God we are, then we shall be able to know the Masters.
The method is that of Self-realization. Therefore, all our studies, all that we do, all our life must be put in its entirety at the feet of the Masters that They may make use of it, as They alone know how to do. Do not think that because we have weaknesses and demerits we cannot be made use of. Masters are great alchemists. They know how to transform seeming evils into powers for good. So, we must offer Them not what we have butall we are.
People are willing to give part or the whole of what they have, but there are very few who are courageous enough to give themselves to the Masters. Fearlessness is required. That fearlessness comes when we believe ourselves to be immortal, and not mortal, not as people coming and going, living and dying, but as gods in the makinggods who are unfolding their powers slowly and steadily, but-surely. When we have gained an unshakable belief in our own powers, then we shall have that first necessary virtue-fearlessness.
At the present moment, mentally, morally, and physically, we are all afraid of what may come to us from without. That is so because the warrior within has not been recognized. When we see ourselves as gods, willing to fight all evil, then we will not be afraid of what comes from without, but remain steady in the midst of great storms. Therefore, we must believe in ourselves, not in someone else; we must know ourselves, and remember that knowledge comes from within, that peace and power abide within.
It is the Inner Power that we needthe Power that "fears no more the heat of the sun, nor the furious winter's rages. We are to study the teachings of Theosophy while having to live the life, thus making continuous, not spasmodic, effort at every hour of the day to keep the Masters and Their Messengers alive in our minds till we ourselves become disciples possessed of the ardour of the Messenger.
Such is the high destiny that awaits every son of man. But it means acting like a man, by the control of our lower nature and the showing forth of the glory of the higher. That serious attempt makes it possible for the Masters to show Themselves to us ; but They will come into our life on the one condition that we fit ourselves to be able to reveal this Life to others.
For unless we have made ourselves channels for Their Life in order to help others we cannot touch that Life for ourselves. One quality of the Masters' Life is its power of motion, its capacity to move on and on. If we do not become channels through which the Life can pass on to others, then that Life cannot flow into us; if it did, it would break us. The Masters are the Masters of Compassion, and They give the gift of Their Life to enrich and not to disturb our existence. And They speak to us through all men; They also speak to others through us.
As we walk the streets, as we greet our friends, as we do our common task and go our daily round, as we read, as we write, as we speak, They act through us, if we will only let Them. Our own spiritual strength and bliss flow therefrom. They are Great Souls as we are lesser soulsbut both are souls. To live as souls, to help as souls, to toil as souls, to serve as souls other souls, is to recognize the Soul of Souls in all places and at all times.
Thus rivers and streams and oceans reveal the splendour of the Soul; flowering shrub speaks its own message as the giant mountain its; small and great lose themselves in the identity of the One Spirit. The peace and power of realization arise in the knowledge that Masters live and work and help by the Way of that Love which is Compassion. Prepare thyself, for thou wilt have to travel on alone.
The Teacher can but point the way. The Path is one for all, the means to reach the goal must vary with the Pilgrims. Students of Theosophy, having grasped the tenets of Reincarnation, Karma, and the Path to the Masters, naturally endeavour to make practical application in their own lives and circumstances. They want to live. Earnestly they attempt to manifest in their daily actions the results of their mental acquisitions of the great teachings.
Theosophy : Reincarnation by Annie Besant : :
Seeing the sweet reasonableness and merciful justice of the laws of manifested Nature, they desire to co-operate with the Divine Will in evolution. Let us apply Theosophy, they say, and forthwith they begin. A dozen things instantly overpower their budding enthusiasm. A hundred small things of life conspire to defeat their earnest purpose.
Girding their loins and more determined than ever they stand up, Arjuna-Iike, resolute to fight. Between petty triumphs and many failures, blaming their own Karma and doing what they can, most of them spend their days hugging small satisfactions and hoping that something sure will happen some dayand they add, if not in this life, then in the next.
Long experience and continued observation of such Theosophic efforts of earnest and devoted individuals enable us to answer, albeit partially, the question that is sometimes asked: "What is wrong with us? That the Spiritual Path is uphill and steep, that it is the Path of Woe, that the gateway to it is strait and narrow, that it is sharp as the razor's edge and can shave human natures all too fine, is not fully comprehended by the enthusiastic neophyte.
All have read p. When the Buddha instituted shaving the head for his mendicants, he did not make himself an exception, nor say to his favourite disciple, "Ananda, thou mayst retain thy lovely locks.
That great Law is at once the expression and the gauge of spiritual unfoldment. It sings its perfect song in the Hearts of Compassion of the Great ;Ones. Next, naturally, it envelops men and women who desire to be Their disciples and servants. We who are resolved to tread that Path must expect not to be exceptions; if our path is all smooth for us then it is not the Path of Woe.
Each one on the Path gets his share of woe, and it is an equal share; for all those who are aspirants to Wisdom, who have resolved to tread the Path, have to learn the initial lesson that there is but one melting-pot of Karma in which all the Karma, good, bad and indifferent, of every true aspirant is thrown. To "stand alone and isolated" but at the same time to "kill out all sense of separateness" is a truth to be practised , and this is not grasped.
If at the very beginning the above is understood, many unnecessary heart-burnings will be avoided. The way is difficultthe Path is the Path of Woe. We need not take it if we do not desire. Thus we learn so to behave that the quantity and quality of Karma in the great melting-pot of aspirant-ship may react to the benefit and advantage of all, including ourselves. In this connection let us remember the admonition in the Gospel of St. Matthew xviii: 7 : "Woe unto the world because of offences! We gain a new confidence when we see that there is a common woe and a common weal, that we affect and are affected by comrades as weak as ourselves and as virtuous, too.
We are united by the bonds of brotherhood and the woes are our common property. Thus spiritual life begins at once to unfold its basic Law-Brotherhood. As we practise yoga, union, with the energy and activity of that Law we succeed. The moment we give up the practice we are thrown out of the Occult world into the visible world. Here is the first step-Recognition of the Law of Brotherhood as it touches the woes of devotees, sacrificers, warriors for the Kingdom of the Spirit.
In our last article we spoke of the Path of Woe which all must tread without exception, and indicated that it is a common and a universal experience. But why, oh why, a Path of Woe? Why not share our joys and our lights and calI it a Path of Weal? It is the Path of Woe because what we have gathered in the past are seeds of anguish from which pleasure and peace do not sprout forth.
The Path of Woe is the other half of the Path of Pursuit; to give up what we gathered with pain, labour and mighty effort is a Karmic retribution and in proportion as we pained others in gaining our ends, in securing our possessions, and using what was gained and secured, pain now comes back to us. There is, however, another factor; our sincere desire for spiritual living, being an energy of the Occult World, where Life is eternal and immortal, forces into smaller fields of space and shorter spans of time the process of quick payment of debts incurred during generations of lives, all over the world.
Spiritual birth is attended with its pangs, and inner growth has its pains of teething, walking and all the rest. For the earnest and enthusiastic aspirant these uncomfortable experiences are crowded together, and thus the sum total of previous Karma shows the balance in the currency of woe on our debit side. The method of the payment of past debts is mercifully devised by Wisdom; it enables us to transform woes into joys in the very process of payment.
That method, to be pursued as we tread the Path of Woe, is living the life of self-expression. In fact, the debt. Deliberate practice at living differently than we have hitherto done has to be undertaken. Leaving alone the life of the senses and the mind, refusing to be energized by feelings and emotions, ever watchful, continuously heedful, to live in terms of the soul is the high enterprise in which we are engaged.
To pursue that task by the old method of haphazard and ever-moving, ever-changing existence is an error many of us commit. Self-collectedness is the watchword of the new method.
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To move in a deliberate manner from within, which is the region of the Soul, to the without, which is the sphere of sensuous existence, is the first necessary qualification. To collect together the scattered forces, and to reflect on them by the aid of the Light of the Higher Self, so that they are animated and enlivened by it, is our Dharma. All of us understand this in some measure, but what most of us do not seem to grasp is the fact that this process has to be regular, persistent and continuous.
They are not religious ceremonies to be performed periodically nor are they like sacred festivals which fall on a few occasions in the year. They are not even like unto heroic acts which men perform to their glory and renown once, perhaps twice, in their lives. This watchfulness and this self-collectedness have to be observed and applied every hour of the day, fifty-two weeks in the Year; they must manifest their power in all our labour undertaken for profit or pleasure, in work or recreation, in small activities or in important ones. All the while to energize our environment by the Power of Wisdom within us is the first step which aspirants have to take.
This no doubt is irksome, exhausting to the feelings p. To persist successfully is to pass the first great test that the Wardens of the Portals of the Occult World present to us; they do so, because of our resolve, our enthusiasm, our earnestness, our sinceritybecause we ourselves put ourselves on the Path, and are attempting to "force" the Masters to accept us as their pupils and servants. We should so live and act, so love and labour that every experience is perceived by our Inner Ruler and is forthwith assimilated by him.
All our experiences ought to be flowers from which the bee sucks the honey of knowledge and stores it away for feeding in sweetness and in strength the hungry and the weak. Here is another factor to be noted. Aspirants miss assimilating their experiences. How many of us truly assimilate what we contact in the world? To assimilate in as full a measure as possible what we contact, is a necessity of the spiritual life ; thus the life of self-expression begins. Be our joys three-parts pain! In these lines from Robert Browning's "Rabbi Ben Ezra" we come across the gospel of self-expression which is a requisite of the spiritual life.
Pondering over them we see how mistaken are the notions in people's minds who glibly talk of self-expression. It is not a matter of one of the fine artsit is a matter of daily life, which people name drudgery, and desire to run away from. The life of self-expression is Drudgery made Divine. Our fitness or otherwise to enter the Occult World and maintain our position therein is tested definitely at an early stage of our inner Life.
The significance of this process can be understood by a correct reading of a few verses in the Gospel of St. Luke Chapter 9. To different types of aspirants Jesus gives different answers. He rejects one eager to "follow thee whithersoever thou goest" by a diplomatic answer that.
Are we only lip-professors, and is our earnestness rooted in selfishness or egotism, and our devotion energized by personal ends and personal motives? For us, then, there is no place in the Occult World.