Retrogression in Rebirth
Theosophist, April, 1883
Letter to the editor, by H. | Note by H.P.B.
In his able review of Mr. Oxley’s “Philosophy of Spirit,” concluded in the current number of your journal, Mr. Subba Row criticising the author’s views of the hierosophic doctrine, remarks:
“The second proposition (there is no rebirth in the material human form, there is no retrogression at any time) is opposed to all the ancient traditions of Eastern nations and the teaching of all the Eastern adepts.”
The italics are mine. The proposition is certainly not on union with “all the ancient traditions of Eastern nations,” but is the portion of it which I have italicised (there is no retrogression at any time), though certainly opposed to ancient Hindu traditions, really at variance with the “teachings of all the Eastern adepts”? Unless I am mistaken, you have all along strenuously maintained it as one of the truths of occult philosophy that rebirth in a lower state is impossible, that there is no going back in the scale of existence, that |nature invariably shuts the door behind her;” in other words, that there is no retrogression. Exactly the proposition advanced by Mr. O. and objected to by Mr. S. R.!
Will you or the learned reviewer kindly explain this?
BOMBAY, 2nd December, 1883.
Editor’s Note.: We have “strenuously maintained” and still maintain that there is “no retrogression” in the dead letter sense as taught by exoteric Hinduism—i.e., that the rebirth of a man in the physical form of an animal was impossible on this earth. But, we never affirmed that there was no moral retrogression—especially in the interplanetary spheres; and that is what is combated by Mr. T. Subba Row, for Mr. Oxley means “retrogression” in that very sense, we believe.