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Chapter I. Theosophy and the Masters
Chapter II. General Principles
Chapter III. The Earth Chain
Chapter IV. Septenary Constitution of Man
Chapter V. Body and Astral Body
Chapter VI. Kama—Desire
Chapter VII. Manas
Chapter VIII. Of Reincarnation
Chapter IX. Reincarnation Continued
Chapter X. Arguments Supporting Reincarnation
Chapter XI. Karma
Chapter XII. Kama Loka
Chapter XIII. Devachan
Chapter XIV. Cycles
Chapter XV. Differentiation of Species—Missing Links
Chapter XVI. Psychic Laws, Forces and Phenomena
Chapter XVII. Psychic Phenomena and Spiritualism
Robert Crosbie, the Founder of The United Lodge of Theosophists and of the magazine Theosophy, was for many years a devoted pupil of H. P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge.
The Ocean of Theosophy, written by Mr. Judge, was regarded by Mr. Crosbie as the perfect condensation of H.P.B.’s great work, The Secret Doctrine, and therefore the best possible book to put in the hands of students. During the life-time of Mr. Crosbie a study class in the Ocean was inaugurated for the education of the earnest-minded in the fundamental teachings of Theosophy. A portion of each session was devoted to questions and answers, which were preserved in stenographic records.
Selections from the questions asked and the replies made were published in the magazine Theosophy after Mr. Crosbie’s death in 1919. Since then study classes in the Ocean have been maintained in the various U.L.T. Lodges year after year, and much use has been made of Mr. Crosbie’s answers, as each new student necessarily faces much the same problems. Repeated requests for the issuance in book form of these valuable materials have inspired the present publication.
No other editing has been attempted than the correction of the typographical errors in the original magazine publication. In this way the simplicity, the directness, the spirit no less than the letter of Mr. Crosbie’s Answers to Questions, is best re-presented to theosophical students who, with each succeeding generation, are all too apt to rely solely on the printed word, and so fail to come in touch with the living Presence which animates all true teachings and all true teachers of no matter what era or degree of the Theosophical Movement. Mr. Crosbie’s replies were in all cases oral and
spontaneous, not from the storehouse of memory but from living the Life; not to display his learning, but to provide a focus for thought. His was the voice of devotion, speaking in response to the aspiration of the questioner. His tone is not that of one “speak by authority,” but the heart conviction of one who has proved for himself the validity of what he had heard from the lips of the great Teachers. His utterance is ever that of the disciple, who, while he tries to express him, never forgets that he is but the pupil of a beloved, revered and great Teacher. Following in his steps as best he can, he endeavors to lead others along the path he knows, that they in turn may realize and profit others—all links in the great chain of “the saviors of men.”
It should be remembered that while the answers are given from the standpoint of many years’ experience and application, they are not to be taken as hard and fast definitions, nor as authoritative; but may be used as explanations and applications of the philosophy of Theosophy as related to the particular phases presented in the various questions. The student, being “the final authority” for himself, should not accept any statement by any being whatever unless he himself perceives its truth.
Beginning with Chapter I of the Ocean, the succeeding Chapters are taken up seriatim, each being preceded by Mr. Judge’s epitome of contents. Following the conclusion of the questions and answers on the various Chapters, a series of general questions and answers on the philosophy is given.
Theosophy generally defined. The existence of highly developed men in the Universe. These men are the Mahatmas, Initiates, Brothers, Adepts. How they work and why they remain now concealed. Their Lodge. They are perfected men from other periods of evolution. They have had various names in history Apollonius, Moses, Solomon, and others were members of this fraternity. They had one single doctrine. They are possible because man may at last be as they are. They keep the true doctrine and cause it to reappear at the right time.
Q. Why is it that Mr. Judge calls attention at once to Masters in Chapter I of the “Ocean?”
A. Because without the fact of the existence of Masters as men perfected in experience and wisdom, who are the possessors and custodians of all Their experience through past civilizations as well as this one, Theosophy would be but a speculation instead of the truths as to Man and Nature gained through observation and experience. Without such Beings there could be no such knowledge as Theosophy.
Q. “Masters investigate all things and beings.” Does this imply that They did this in physical bodies?
A. To become a full and complete septenary being, physical existence must be undergone and understood.
Q. Which is nearer the truth, our science or religion?
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A. Neither is near the Truth, because both are based on materialistic conceptions of Man and the Universe. What we know as science and religion are antagonistic and have no common basis, and their field of operation is extremely limited and hence misleading. The Truth must show that true science, religion and philosophy are complementary aspects of the One Truth.
Q. Can one convey the truth to another?
A. One can help another to see the truth in himself.
Q. How would one come into the realization of Masters as being ideals and facts in Nature? Is not “fact” and “ideal” a contradiction?
A. Facts and ideals are not contradictions because every fact is the resultant of a pre-existing ideal. Striving for an ideal brings about the fact of its accomplishment. Masters are facts in Nature, being the accomplishment of an ideal striven for. They are ideals to those below Them who recognize that They are facts, and follow the path They show.
Q. Is there a difference in degree between a Master and a Nirmanakaya?
A. A Nirmanakaya is one who having reached the goal refuses its fruition, but may remain on earth as a Master. This he may do in or out of a body, for the body is but a point of contact with earthly concerns. If he leaves the body entirely, he retains every other principle but the kamic, which has been crushed out beyond resurrection, and remains a member of that Invisible Host which ever protects and watches over Humanity as the Karma of the latter permits.
Q. It is said that the germ of all powers of the Masters is in every being. How does this “square up” with the fact that divinity is acquired? The statement is made that man is essentially perfect. Is it not true that we are gods, but have lost the consciousness of it?
A. The mistake here made by the questioner is in
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the assumption that “Divinity” means the same as the One Spirit. The “germ” is the “One Spirit.” It contains the potentiality of growth in every being, and growth is acquired. The power to learn is not the learning. Effort has to be made. It is true that we are gods in essence—in “germ,” and that from that germ we have developed many powers and much knowledge on higher planes; but what good are they to us here, if we have lost consciousness of the fact? The Masters have regained and maintained that consciousness in full.
Q. It speaks of Masters having certain powers. They could not use those powers if They did not know how to use them, could They?
A. Masters use all their powers. To have a power and not use it for good is to lose it. To use it for evil is also to lose it in the long run, for by such use, conditions are produced in the individual that prevent any use and bring about an atrophy. Indeed, that is the case with all of us. In earlier races we had many powers; we misused them and produced the conditions, mental, moral, and social, that exist today and hamper us. W. Q. J. once said at the conclusion of an article: “Arise, O Atlanteans, and undo the errors of the past !“
Q. Will the Philosophy always remain unfathomable?
A. If it is a recorded Philosophy it is not unfathomable, for it comprises a statement of principles, together with illustrations of their applications and workings universally and particularly. The real meaning of the word “Philosophy” is “love of wisdom”; esoterically, “The Wisdom of Love,” or Compassion. That can neither be recorded nor have any limits. The sentence speaks of “knowledge” as being unfathomable, which might be understood as infinite extensibility.
Q. Can we gauge spiritual progress intellectually?
A. Spirit alone can understand spirituality. Intellects are but “weighing-machines,” with as many
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standards of weight as there are so-called intellects.
Q. It speaks (page 5) of the Masters always making history, and that the visible heroic figures in the successive dramas may have been nothing more than Their puppets. If this is true how can we know when we are acting, or when we are acted upon? Are not these men made use of by the Adepts and Masters?
A. Yes, consciously or unconsciously. When consciously it is doing for another what the other cannot do. When unconsciously it is when the nature and the Karma of the one so used permits. It does not interfere with the integrity of the individual; it stimulates him to use his highest faculties. With our present acquired nature and defects, there is more likelihood of our being acted upon by the evil than by the good. We need to be able to determine what is really good and what not; then we will be true actors.
Q. Can the Masters “do for another what he can not do?” That seems contrary to the assertion of the “Third Fundamental”—self-induced and self-devised efforts?
A. It is not; because in such cases the individual must have advanced by self-induced and self-devised efforts to that point where his whole nature affords a point of contact with Higher and Wiser Beings, which contact not only enables him to use his own powers and knowledge more strongly and wisely but also supplies the right direction along which his self-induced and self-devised efforts may further proceed. When he is used unconsciously, his nature must be self-induced and self-devised to make him a possible instrument, and the stimulation of his qualities opens up further avenues for self-induced and self-devised efforts, till he, in turn, becomes a Conscious Agent. The whole course of occult teaching is suggestion, based upon right knowledge.
Q. What is the meaning on page 2—in speaking of “the rule of Law which is inherent in the whole”?
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A. Law is not to be understood as something externally imposed upon us by any being or beings, but as due to our own ideas and actions as the creative sources and causes of the effects that we feel. Therefore Law is inherent in ourselves.
Q. On page 12—it speaks of “ true doctrine’ as being “impacted in the imperishable center of man’s nature.” Does that mean as memory?
A. It is not memory in the sense of the word as we use it. It is all that we are, in every one of our constituents, by reason of our past experience and its application, regardless of whether we remember the experience or not.
Q. Do the affairs of the present appear to the Masters as new experiences, or do They see the future as it will be?
A. They have been through all experiences, and can judge of the future by the past and present. We must not think that our experiences in this are different from those in any other age. The material surroundings—the ideas, no doubt—were very different from ours; but human feelings have always been the same, no matter what the form might be that excites them. The Masters do not regard the character of the external stimuli, but the effect produced on the human being’s inner nature. Experience is what one feels.
Q. But the “Soul” is distinct from any experiences?
A. Surely, if it were not, it could not experience. The Soul is distinct from its experiences in the sense that it is the sum-total of its experiences, just as a house is different from the materials put into it. The Soul is the resultant of all its experiences; the house is not any of the materials, but is an ideal made up of the materials. We idealize our experiences. Our experiences are worthless unless they give us a basis in ideal. Soul is the idealization of experiences—the idealization of Spirit, or Consciousness. We move from ideal to ideal. The spirit is constantly constructing ideals until it fin-
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ally realizes that all ideals are comprehended in the One. It just means that all is Consciousness and Spirit.
Q. I have always thought of “Soul” as a sort of abstraction.
A. It is strange that we think of the Real part of us as the unreal. There is That in us which sees, hears, feels—quite irrespective of body, quite irrespective of mind—the Real Man. Buddhi is the Immortal Ego. Buddhi cannot be described. It is feeling, the accumulated experiences—all our experience is in feeling. Manas is the Higher Mind, that part of Buddhi which is in action; the creative power of Buddhi. There is a continuing line of experience as Perceivers—all which that perception comes.
Q. In the “Voice of Silence” [page 2] it speaks of the Mind as the “Slayer of the Real.” Why is that?
A. The “mind” is just a “lens” through which we look, and according as we have made the glass we look through do we see the world. We see everything reflected in the mirror of the mind—it is a reflection always—reflection colored and distorted by our own thoughts and feelings—characterized by the mirror we have. Anything that is said to us is always mixed up with the experiences we have already had, consequently is not true unless our minds are true. Images are reflected on the retina reversed, the same as they are in a mirror, but we have learned to correct the reversions psychically and unconsciously. That corrects the physical lens for external reflections. But we need a metaphysical lens that will correct mental reflections. That can be brought about by metaphysical concepts based upon the eternal verities, based upon the essential nature of all things.
Q. Is not the thing for which man is striving what we would call perfection? Is that not the goal, or to become a Mahatma?
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A. The object of all evolution is not individual salvation, but that the whole shall be lifted up, raised to higher and higher degrees. A Master is One far, far ahead of the rest. He became a Master by doing service, and now remains with all His glorious powers devoted to the service of not only Humanity, but all the kingdoms of Nature. Those of us who have in us the possibility of becoming Masters in time, should imitate Their example.
Q. On page 7 of the “Ocean” it speaks of the existence of those Wise Men, and that They probably exist today. Surely there is no doubt of it! Why was the word “probably” put in there?
A. The word “probably” was used in order to show the ordinary reader, with Western ideas, that the evidence of the existence of such Beings in the past points to the strong probability of Their existence today; to avoid any appearance of dogmatism, and to call for a decision on the part of the reader—to arouse thought.
Q. “Ocean of Theosophy” has a tone of settled conviction, and appears to be authoritative. Is it to be so accepted?
A. As Mr. Judge said himself, in the Preface, “The tone of settled conviction which may be thought to pervade the chapters is not the result of dogmatism or conceit, but flows from knowledge based upon evidence and experience.” It is not conceit nor assumption of authority, because it is only a handing on of what has been known before.
Q. In speaking of a true basis, do you think it would be possible for a Theosophical society to have one for the promulgation of the true teachings of the Masters, without the Three Fundamental Propositions of the Secret Doctrine? Could it be taught without these?
A. A working knowledge of the Three Fundamentals is essential for an understanding of all that follows
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in the Secret Doctrine. One might be able to repeat all that is written in the Secret Doctrine and elsewhere, and have no real understanding of the Philosophy. There are many in that position.
The Secret Doctrine says in regard to the Three Fundamental Propositions, “Once that the reader has gained a clear comprehension of them and realised the light which they throw on every problem of life, they will need no further justification in his eyes, because their truth will be to him as evident as the sun in heaven.”
Q. The number of Masters is not augmented during the Kali-Yuga, is it?
A. As a Master is a perfected septenary being, and men in general are far from perfect, though having a septenary nature, there can be no absolute barrier in any age to the attainment of perfection, or that degree of wisdom and power which marks a Master. In the present age no doubt the difficulties are very great, but so also are the opportunities. It is safe to say that every civilization adds to Their number.
Q. How does such an age come about? It is some times called the “Foundation” age; why is that? And why is its “momentum” spoken of, and how can much be done in it?
A. Kali-Yuga means “Dark Age”—that is, “spiritually dark.” It is the culmination of man’s descent into, and identification of himself with, gross matter. It represents and contains the mingling of different lines of individual and collective thought and action (individuals, nations and races) necessarily antagonistic because of personal selfishness, due to a loss of the knowledge of spiritual identity. Nature’s processes are first, homogeneity; then differentiation; then amalgamation—when all the differentiations are mixed together; then precipitation—or separation of the true ideas from the false. This is Kali-Yuga, during which a choice be-
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tween true and false ideas must be made. It is the “Foundation Age” because the experiences gained through the Golden Age, the Silver Age, and the Bronze Age, become crystallized in the Iron Age. Then all the “momentum” of these ages is there, and as it is the turning point, it forms the “foundation” for subsequent progress. We have been descending step by step through the previous ages. All the efforts made and experiences gained during those vast periods have to be conjoined and brought into play in controlling and rightly using our terrestrial powers. We cannot do anything against Kali-Yuga, but we can do everything in it.
Q. What do cycles have to do with the comings of these Masters?
A. This is like asking “What has day-time to do with our waking up?” Universal Law shows that periods of non-manifestation are followed by periods of manifestation; periods of Light, by periods of Darkness. So there are periods when spirituality becomes more and more eclipsed, and intellect and materialism reign; and these again are followed by a dawn and increase of spirituality. It is at the beginnings of such a period as the latter that Divine incarnations take place. It is not the period of years that compels the appearance of a Divine Incarnation, but the condition of humanity. It has been observed, however, that periods of and conditions of men coincide; just as waking pertains to the day-time and sleeping to the night. This is due to the collective action. When the whole mass gets to whirling, the unit has to go with it; but one may be on the hub of the wheel, so to speak, and will not get the motion of the rim. In like manner, the more we depart from our own center, the more are we involved in the general motion; we get into a current of ideas and feelings and are carried along with it because we identify ourselves with it.
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Q. Are any of those Beings who have all this knowledge in physical bodies now?
A. It is stated that They are, and further, that They live upon this earth. While Their bodies are shaped like ours, the physical substance of which they are composed is a very high degree of physical matter; it might he likened to radiant matter, strongly electric and magnetic, for if They possess the high powers spoken of, Their bodies would necessarily be of a kind that could stand the impact of and convey those powers. Masters could not visit an ordinary man without creating such a disturbance in his physical body as would prevent ordinary perception and action. When They do come among mankind, They take the necessary precautions both to conceal Themselves, and also insulate Their powers by assuming an ordinary body of physical matter. By such means They are able to obviate external disturbance, and prevent supervision or obstruction. As Their work is upon the inner nature of Man through men’s personalities, this borrowed body, so to speak, serves every purpose. If on the other hand, They should take extraordinary pains to avoid any possible injury or disturbance to ordinary bodies, and appeared in Their own natural bodies, Their powers over Nature and Their appearance would be such as to cause worship on the part of some, and superstitious antagonism on the part of others, either of which would be subversive of the end in view, which is to arouse to activity the divine nature of Man. So worship is not required, and companionship is neither wise nor possible for us as physical beings; it is necessary that we should know within ourselves those truths They teach and pre-eminently express.
It is stated that the Masters are preparing the minds of men, through Their Message of Theosophy, for Their actual presence among us; when that will be depends upon humanity as a whole and ourselves in particular.
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Q. Do you think that there is a universal law back of our choice, whether it is right or wrong?
A. Law is the realm of action and its continuation, re-action. From the beginning of manifestation, each action by any being affects all beings to a greater or less degree, who in their turn react upon the institutor of the action. It is these re-actions that act as barriers when we see a better way and cannot immediately act as we would like. We can, however, make the choice, hold to it, and work towards it. The barriers will pass; the choice will remain with all its potentialities. Mere liking or disliking, however, are not referred to in the foregoing; these are within the power of the individual to remove. The barriers spoken of are those presented by external conditions, circumstances and events which for the time being prevent our taking a course seen, felt and known to be the best.
Q. Just why is that Theosophy “will not over whelm the understanding of a child?”
A. Perhaps because children have more intuition and fewer false ideas than adults. Children are nearer the Devachanic condition than adults; their minds are as yet unspoiled by the false conceptions that prevail, so the eternal verities are readily grasped and applied as these are very simple in themselves. Children readily grasp the idea of Karma—sowing and reaping—and perceive and admit the justice of it, and naturally put the idea into practice in their little fields of experience. Once that idea is firmly implanted in their minds, it remains, and is applied to their ever-widening ranges of experience. It is easy for them to grasp the idea that they are Life, beginningless and endless, and that they have lived before and will live again. A child has no idea of death, nor has he any fears for the future; he lives in the present and readily grasps the simple truths of life and being.
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Q. Would you assume from the first half of the paragraph (page 1) that there are other beings besides “sentient” ones?
A. In Theosophy, the Wisdom-Religion, all forms are shown to be animated by some degree of intelligence; everything is soul and spirit. Because we are not able to see the action of intelligence in a form of matter, that is no sound reason for denying its existence. Granting One Spirit as the source and root of all manifestation, there can be no such thing as “dead matter.”
Q. On the first page it reads: “it is wisdom about God for those who believe that he is all things and in all, and wisdom about nature for the man who accepts the statement found in the Christian Bible that God cannot be measured or discovered, and that darkness is around his pavilion.” Does that cover the First Fundamental Proposition of tile Secret Doctrine, and what is the distinction of Nature there?
A. The statement indicates the First Fundamental, but does not fully cover it. Those who believe that “He is all things and in all” necessarily accept the One absolute Principle as the cause and sustainer of all that was, is, or shall be; this includes the unmanifested as well as the manifested. It is wisdom about Nature for the man who is concerned only about the manifested universe and realizes that its source and sustenance are undiscoverable. There is That which must ever remain unknown, because It is the Knower in every body. It cannot be known because Its potentiality of knowing is Infinite. There is That in ourselves which is our very Self and which is unchanged and exhaustless through infinitudes of experiences; it is the unknowable in us as well as in all Nature; from It all manifestation proceeds. We learn what is Self by seeing what is non Self. The most occult of the Upanishads is called the “Mundakya,” the word meaning the “shaving” or paring off of everything that is riot Self on our plane of
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perception, as well as on all other planes. Anything seen or known in any way is not the Self; all are perceptions by the Self; the Self ever remaining unchanged, while at the same time the receptacle of all perceptions and experiences. No matter what experiences we may have, what knowledge or power we may gain, we are not the experience, the knowledge or the power—they are our possessions. The whole process of growth is one of realization of the Oneness and eternality of Self in us and in all creatures and forms of manifestation.
Q. Are we not then all Masters inside?
A. While we are inherently perfect, meaning the potentiality of becoming more and more perfect in power and expression, we are far from that degree of perfection that the words “Masters of Wisdom” imply. We may in the immense past have reached degrees of perfection on higher planes of our being, but it is very evident that we have not co-ordinated our present plane of consciousness with those possible perfections. A Master implies a perfectly co-ordinated instrument on all planes of being, in other words a perfected septenary being; that task is still before us. Potentially, we are All; actually, we are what we are able to manifest.
Q. But are we not perfect on higher planes?
A. The words “perfect” and “perfection” to most minds mean some finality. It should be understood that “perfection” is relative to our “imperfections”; some imagine that if they were rid of their presently known imperfections they would be perfect; it would be an interesting experiment for them to mentally eliminate their known imperfections and then see what was left in the way of perfection. In an infinite universe, the possibilities of becoming are infinite, hence to say we are perfect on higher planes would only mean that the “inner” is more perfect than the “outer,” but saying it does not help us. It is certain that as Egos, with the acquired wisdom and power drawn from past experiences,
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we would appear as gods to our personal limitations, but the karmic conditions we have produced upon this physical plane prohibit us from realizing or expressing our Egoic natures. While the Ego is—so to speak—commingling with the elementals, he is bound by, and limited to, that action which his understanding of the nature of the combination permits. We may know all about “the music of the spheres” and have to use a pick and shovel; we may be “pillars of light” within, and have to work in the trenches, covered with mud and other things. This should show us that our work is here and now in the conditions that surround us; when we have eliminated our defects on this plane of existence, we will be able to avail ourselves of our inner knowledge in a bodily existence and not before; although progress in that direction is always possible in degree.
Q. Where does perfection come in? Is the Self not perfect and are we not the Self?
A. As said before, “perfection” is relative to “imperfection”; the ideal of “perfection” that we may have held and finally attained to, would only disclose further “perfections” to be striven for. “Perfection” is an ever-receding goal; “we can always approach the light, but we can never touch the flame,” because It is our very Self, the Perceiver and Knower. The Self is neither perfect nor imperfect for It includes all perceptions; there could he no knowledge of any degree of perfection or imperfection unless the Perceiver could see both and distinguish between them.
Q. But it is said that Man is inherently perfect?
A. The inherency is the illimitable power of ever-becoming. Whether the becoming is small or great, the power of “becoming” remains ever the same. Man, as the Self, is beyond change, and in that sense alone may be called “perfect”; only that which is exhaustless, unchangeable, unimprovable, can be called perfect. When we speak of “perfection” we mean wisdom, understanding,
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power, all of them acquisitions, not inherencies; we therefore confuse unconditioned potentiality with conditioned, yet ever-increasing potency and are thus led into mental confusion. Metaphysically and philosophically, it is incorrect to apply terms that indicate a “state” or “condition,” to the Unconditioned One Reality, the Self of All.
Q. But Man is perfectible, is he not?
A. Certainly. Perfectibility means the ability to be come perfect; but perfect in what? This question opens up a vital fact that has been lost sight of in some of the previous questions, and that is, all beings of every grade are products of Evolution. This first chapter in its first sentence speaks of “the evolution of sentient beings” and the chapter is devoted to a presentation of the fact and logical result evolution in the existence of Masters of Wisdom. these great beings present to us the idea and fact of Spiritualized Individualities that have become so through observation and experience. Knowledge does not exist of itself, it is acquired; and there is no knowledge unless there are the Knowers of it. An understanding and application of the Three Fundamental Propositions would have answered all these questions for us. This particular question is answered by the Third Fundamental Proposition which says, “the pivotal doctrine of the Esoteric philosophy admits no privileges or special gifts in man, save those won by his own Ego through personal effort and merit throughout a long series of metempsychoses and reincarnations.” That which perceives in every form and being is the Self; as perceptions increase, the need of a better form of instrument is realized and in course of time and effort is evolved; thus, as the range and power of perceptions increase, better and better instruments are evolved. The “perfectibility” is in range and power of intelligence, as well as instruments in use. The Self may be likened to “the point” within the circle which ever remains unchanged, however much the circles
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which proceed from It and rest upon It may be enlarged; the “circles” represent acquired knowledge and power and constitute “being.” The Self is the point—is the root and container of being, yet ever remains un changed in Its infinite possibilities.
Q. What is meant by “all-knowingness”?
A. “All-knowingness” means that stage of perfection and co-ordination of all “sheaths of the soul” composed of the most ethereal substance, terrestrial substance and all degrees between, which enables the Divine Ego or Perceiver to know all that is to be known in regard to any state of consciousness or any plane of substance whenever such knowledge is necessary or desirable.
Q. It is said on page 10, that the Masters or Elder Brothers are generally reviled, or classed as imposters. Why is that?
A. Because the all-inclusive philosophy They set forth tends to destroy the accepted ideas of science, philosophy and religion which rule the world at any time; naturally, the adherents of these and especially the proponents, use every weapon avail able to frustrate the spread of that knowledge which if generally accepted would leave them with impaired reputations and take away their present means of subsistence. The unthinking public accepts without question the statements and judgments of those who stand in their eyes as “authorities.”
Q. it says in the Chapter that sometimes Masters do not incarnate to work but just to discover what is going on?
A. Where does it say that? It says, “They have always existed as a body, all knowing each other, no matter in what part of the world they may be, and all working for the race in many ways.”
Q. What are the ultimate divisions of time? (page 4.)
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A. It has been said that he who knows Karma, knows the ultimate divisions of time; it is further said that this knowledge is possessed only by the highest beings. While it is both impossible and unnecessary for us to have the exact periods stated in our conceptions of time called “years,” we may grasp what is included in the expression, “the ultimate divisions of time.” Every planet or solar system is a re-manifestation of one that preceded it. All the beings concerned in any solar system are linked together in one evolutionary inter-dependent stream, the totality of their karmic requirements constituting the Great Cycle within which all lesser cycles are contained. While the Great Cycle includes the possibility of manifestation of all the beings concerned, the lesser cycles within that greater one are determined by masses of beings, classes of beings, and units of consciousness, each in exact accord with its karmic range and necessity. It should be remembered that cycles are not arbitrary divisions of time which limit action, but are the results of the periodic return of impression and action by beings of every grade concerned in any evolutionary stream. (See the Second Fundamental Proposition.)
Q. It is stated on page 4 that Masters have a knowledge of the very foundations of nature. Is not our science endeavoring to reach that knowledge?
A. Our science is the result of the labors and research of men of high intelligence in the direction of an understanding of the combinations and correlations of elements, substance or matter in forms. They disregard the fact that if intelligence can perceive a form and ascertain the various elements so-called and substances which compose it, intelligence is above and beyond form or substance and is neither produced by these nor limited by them, and that necessarily all kinds of substances and elements, in their simplicity or in complex combinations, are the results of differing degrees of
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intelligent manifestation; in other words that the manifested universe is embodied consciousness. As a rule scientists deride metaphysics, thus limiting their perceptive faculties to physics alone, and failing to investigate the field of metaphysics, are unable to entertain, or even suspect the fact that with out metaphysics there can be no physics. At the same time they use metaphysics in their ever-changing “hypotheses,” quite inobservantly. The search for the truth in regard to the “foundations of nature” among physical observations of matter, substance, elements or forces can never by any possibility succeed. It is like digging deeper and deeper into the earth in order to find the source of sun light.
Q. What is the nature of the Master’s knowledge of things and beings as compared with science?
A. The answer can be found on page 2. “But Theosophy knows that the whole is constituted of the visible and the invisible, and perceiving outer things and objects to be but transitory it grasps the facts of nature, both without and within. It is therefore complete in itself and sees no unsolvable mystery anywhere; it throws the word coincidence out of its vocabulary and hails the reign of law in everything and every circumstance.” In regard to science it says, “our science as yet ignores the unseen, and failing to admit the existence of a complete set of inner faculties of perception in man, is cut off from the immense and real field of experience which lies within the visible and tangible worlds.”
Q. it is said that the Masters investigate all things and beings [page 4]; would They need to do this if They know what man is in his innermost nature, and what his powers and destiny?
A. Granting that They know man’s innermost nature, and what his powers and destiny; the question is
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really, “what does man know of his innermost nature, powers and destiny?” The answer is, “practically nothing.” At the same time man is creating his own destiny and bringing upon himself pain and sorrow in his ignorance. Masters may know at any time what They desire to know; and what They may find necessary to “investigate” might very well be what man is doing with his inherent powers, what the mistaken ideals he is pursuing, and when and how he may be helped.
Q. Why is Theosophy called a religious science and a scientific religion?
A. Because true science and true religion must be complementary aspects of the Truth. Theosophy presents a scientific basis for the ethics taught, as well as a scientific knowledge of the nature of all beings, forms, substances and forces, and these all in relation to Soul and Spirit as the creator and sustainer of them.
Q. How can we obtain this inner knowledge? Will we know more of the Philosophy as we apply it?
A. The inner knowledge is to be gained, first by a recognition of the inner powers and faculties of man and the One Self in all beings, and second, by basing our thought and action upon that recognition. If we live the life, we will know the doctrine. A mere intellectual assent to the philosophy will not bring knowledge; we must live what we know or feel to be true, then we will know. The Three Fundamentals of the Secret Doctrine not only give us the key to all existences, but to the root and sustainer of these, the One Self in all; we must act for and as the Self in every direction until we lose the personal idea of self in the Universal Self; the more we supplant the lower self by the Higher, the more universal does our view-point become, and the powers that belong to each succeeding step towards universality unfold themselves and find their field of action. Together with the philosophy, the devotional books, the Bhagavad-Gita and the Voice of the Silence
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in particular, should be read and pondered upon, for they tend to arouse the Soul perceptions, without which all intellectual acquisitions are mechanical, barren and subversive. “Realization comes from dwelling upon the thing to be realized.” We must think, and in thinking try, for whatever the measure of success or failure from our standpoint may be, it is the effort that counts.
Q. What would you say is “Nature” and what “Soul”?
A. Our understanding of Nature is comprised in the sum total of manifestations of matter, forms, elements and forces that we are able to perceive, all of these being effects of causes not generally understood. In reality the word “Nature” should be understood as including the Cause and causes of what we perceive, as well as the effects. “Soul” applies to intelligence, the numberless kinds of which are the causes which produce the external effects perceived and sensed. There are many kinds of “Soul” which may be roughly divided into mineral, vegetable, animal, human and beyond. The Universe is embodied consciousness. Nature, in its widest sense, can only be comprehended by a realization that the universe, as manifested, is an expression of many degrees of intelligence or soul, and that the universe exists because of the “Soul,” and only for the “Soul’s” experience. An ancient writing says, “There is no room for grief or doubt in the heart of him who sees and knows that all spiritual beings are the same in kind and differ only in degree.”
Q. Then Divine, Human and Animal Soul refer simply to the kind and degree of experiences acquired?
A. Yes. These are simply qualifying terms used to designate degrees of acquired experience and intelligence. The sense of “being” comes from perceptive power in action; as the range of perception and reflection increases, the realization of “being”
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becomes stronger. The self of all beings is the One Supreme Self; it is the center of perceiving power in every form; from this center all growth of intelligence and form proceeds in ever-widening circles.
Q. What is the difference between Spirit and Soul?
A. Spirit is universal. It cannot be said to belong to anything or anybody. It is like the air, universal and everywhere. It cannot know Itself except as Soul. Spirit is the “power to become”; Soul is “the becoming.” Spirit is the power to see and know; Soul is the seeing and knowing. Soul is the accumulation of perceptions and experiences by means of which Spiritual Identity is realized.
Q. In what way does the theosophical teaching of Law differ from the ordinary understanding of it?
A. The ordinary idea in regard to Law implies a Law-Giver, which Theology imagines to be a Supreme Being, who by his arbitrary will creates and establishes all nature, the laws of nature, and all beings. Materialistic Science seeks for and recognizes Law in the observable processes of Nature, but goes no further than what may be visibly determined and demonstrated. Human Laws consist of enactments designed presumably to express the general sentiment and desires of the people as a whole, and to restrain individuals who do not share the general sentiment. Such laws are based upon the necessities of the time, and are changed as the general sentiments of the people change and as necessities compel such changes. Neither “the laws of God” so called, the laws of matter so far determined, nor ever-changing human laws, present any universal basis upon which a true conception of Law can be founded, for these three conceptions differ widely in their bases and applications, and are readily perceived to be mere expedients. The highest attribute of Law is exact justice, and only that conception which presents Law as incontrovertible justice can be said to be a true one. The
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Theosophical statement in regard to Law exhibits and provides for exact justice to every being and in every way. There is but one law for all beings; it has been called the Law of Laws, and is known under the name of Karma. This word means “action,” without which there is no re-action; it is also known as “Cause and Effect” or “Sowing and Reaping.” It is taught that there is no action unless there is a being to act or feel its effects, and as any action affects other beings, these must obtain their adjustment at the point of original action. Thus Justice and Mercy are provided for in the inherent nature of all beings, for both in their last analysis are one and the same.
Q. Is not Justice considered to be inexorable in condemnation, and Mercy to be that which tempers Justice?
A. No doubt they are so considered, but we should remember that the human idea of justice includes punishment for injustice, and the power to punish being self-assumed and admittedly prone to misjudgment, arouses the human quality of Mercy from the very uncertainty in regard to exact justice, and perhaps from a knowledge of the scriptural saying, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” True justice must be a complete re-adjustment of any and all disturbances, and at the same time bring about full compensation. Mercy as ordinarily understood lies in the non-exercise of the power to punish, and in itself in that relation is a tacit recognition of the fact that perfect justice, humanly speaking, is unattainable. We should be able to see that perfect justice and perfect mercy are not opposed to each other, but are in reality two aspects of one and the same thing, namely, exact and full compensation in every case and every direction. Compassion and Compensation are a perfect blend, and express what we call Justice and Mercy.
Q. This seems to point to justice and injustice as things apart from those affected by them?
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A. It may seem so to those whose minds still hold to the idea of external law or causation; but there could be neither justice nor injustice if there were no beings to produce or feel them. Theosophy presents the point of view that every state and form of matter is the embodiment of a spiritual and psychic degree of intelligence. The form neither exercises nor feels justice nor injustice, but That which animates and uses it does. It is the thought, will, and feeling of the animating intelligence that affects other animating intelligences through their embodiments, and necessarily the reactions of those effects must be adjusted by the intelligence who originated the action.
Q. This would seem to indicate an unending repetition of good for good and evil for evil.
A. Not if we have understood that the animating intelligence is a being who, from experiencing the effects in himself resulting from evil action, refrains from evil causation and sets in motion only that which brings good.
Q. But does not that present a selfish motive?
A. No doubt the desire for reward and for the avoidance of punishment is there, and it is selfish; but it is the first step in the direction of feeling responsibility, and responsibility is the beginning of selflessness. The being sees and knows in ever increasing degree that evil is overcome only by good, and hatred by love, and finally that there is no lasting good save the good of All. Justice is not possible without consideration for all others, and consideration for others is charity towards their weaknesses leading to Mercy and Compassion. The first step in the right direction contains all the other steps.
Q. Does intelligence initiate Law, or is it Law that initiates intelligence?
A. As said many times, Law simply represents the power to act which is inherent in every being of every
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kind. There is no action unless there is a being to act or feel its effects. The Law is Action which brings its exact re-action. The Gita says that Spirit and Matter are without beginning. Spirit is “the power to perceive”; what is called Matter represents action and its results. The power to act is inherent in all beings; Law is the use of that power.
Q. It has been said that knowledge exists as an abstraction, which would seem to imply that knowledge exists of itself, regardless of its Knowers?
A. What we know is our knowledge; what Masters know is certainly an abstraction to us, although it has been acquired by those Great Beings. In the statement that knowledge exists as an abstraction, it undoubtedly refers to the illimitable power to know which becomes individualized through diversity, and finally arrives at a perception and realization of the Unity of All. Also, perhaps, because there is no end to progress in knowledge.
Q. Why does it say (page 5), “The precise condition of their success was that they should never be supervised or obstructed”?
A. The words are Their own statement, and if we believe in Their knowledge, have to be accepted as true. We can however see that the prevailing passions and desires of men would resent and obstruct any known attempt that would militate against the pursuit of their desires. But if, step by step, little by little, better ideas are instilled, then self-induced and self-devised efforts along these higher lines will be perceived and acted upon. No doubt there are many other means used, but what ever these may be, they are of the nature which stimulates the higher ideality of man through his inner being.
Q. “The major and minor yugas must be accomplished . . . And we, borne along the mighty tide, can only modify and direct some of its minor currents.” [page 5] What is meant by this statement?
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A. While the Masters are Law, in that They express it fully and universally, They have arrived at that perfection of universal perception and power of action through Evolution from stage to stage of being. This perfection was obtained through an exact fulfillment of the inherent spiritual Law common to all beings. Each being expands in accordance with his comprehension and use of the inherent power of action; he acts and receives the results of his action, during which process he arrives at a perception of being, or That which acts and is acted upon. His perceptions expand in ever-widening circles as does also a recognition of his responsibility for his actions. In this way each being must develop—from within, outward. The Masters, who express and fulfill the Law, would not if They could, interfere with that growth which can only come from accumulated and varied experiences on the part of individuals; but They can by reason of Their knowledge of when, where, and how to act, enable mankind to avert disasters, if it will serve the better progress of all, and the condition permits. Also, having knowledge and control of the invisible forces of nature, They may use these to obstruct a wrong course on the part of any people, or assist progress in the right direction. The “Voice of the Silence” says, “Teach to eschew all causes; the ripple of effect, as the great tidal wave, thou shalt let run its course.”
Q. That explains why Masters, though so powerful, do not interfere to prevent the present crisis.
A. Granting Their great power and knowledge, and taking into consideration the fact that knowledge only comes through observation and experience, we can see the reasonableness of the statement. Individuals and the collections of individuals called nations, must learn through pain and suffering, because joy and pleasure arouse the desire to
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maintain the conditions that bring these; neither knowledge, power, nor the strong qualities are gained in ease, comfort or temporary happiness. So, when the cycle of time has arrived for a settlement of Karma between races, the adjustment must be accomplished and the lessons learned, on the part of all the races involved, so that Humanity may go forward.
Q. Since reincarnation applies to all planets, should not the term be re-embodiment? It speaks of Venus as being the habitation of still more progressed entities, once as low as ourselves, but now raised to a pitch of glory incomprehensible to our intellect. Does Venus affect us?
A. The term reincarnation refers to us as in habiting bodies of flesh; re-embodiment would perhaps be a better general term, but there must be on other planets that which corresponds to our bodies. Venus, as a planet, is very much farther ahead in development than our earth, and its inhabitants are also, as stated; but however far ahead or behind this earth other planets may be, all are related to each other and necessarily affect each other in some degree, all of them being parts of the one great evolutionary stream.
Q. How long will we have to incarnate on this earth?
A. Until we have done our whole duty towards all beings concerned in our evolutionary stream, and fully understand our own natures. Why should we want to escape from all that makes up our perceptions of life? It is our karmic duty to raise the whole mass up to a higher degree, a new world in fact, in which we will share.
Q. Will a man who has gained a high perception of truth in this life, and who does good, be ignorant again?
A. The Gita says, “Never to an evil place goeth
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the man who doeth good.” What we will bring with us into our next life will be the tendencies that we have acquired in this one, be they good or bad. Each life affords an opportunity to correct evil tendencies and establish good ones.
Q. Does our progress upward involve the progress of matter?
A. What we call matter is the embodiment of many kinds of “lives”; we use it continually in our bodies through the food we take. We impress those lives with our feelings during the time these lives form parts of our bodies; when they return to their own kingdoms they carry the impulse we have given them whether good or bad; when they again are drawn into other forms, they still carry our impress. No small part of our physical karma lies in this direction.
Q. Would you consider a man, evidently materialistic, but who works for the good of mankind, a Master?
A. A materialist, no matter what good he might try to do for the physical welfare of his fellow men could not be thought of as a Master. Though ignorant of the true nature of all mankind, his desire and effort to alleviate suffering would remain with him, the good karma of which would bring him into contact with those who in the world of men had some knowledge of the true; from this point onward he might strive in the right direction with greater knowledge. A Master of Wisdom is one far beyond the ordinary human conception.
Q. The chapter speaks of Masters and Adepts; is there a difference?
A. There is a great difference: an adept is one on the way to Mastership; there are many degrees of Adeptship. Masters are, in consequence of evolution and great effort continued through many lives, now at the point, physically, mentally and spiritually where
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adepts, and others striving, will be in the distant future. They are living men, only higher and holier than we are. While They are truly living men, They may not be understood to be like ourselves. They have bodies, but these bodies are made of the most highly re fined and spiritualized matter—matter of which we have but slight conception. In those bodies all of the forces belonging to man, and these mean the very highest expression of the great forces of nature, constantly play, and must have corresponding effect upon anyone who may come in Their direct range. With such a conception of the nature of Their bodies, we may be able to dimly perceive to what a pitch of power and glory Their inner natures have been raised. If we thus dimly grasp the nature of Masters, we will be able to reverence Them in our hearts, and to endeavor to draw near to Them in our innermost being; nor will we be deceived by claims made by, or for, this or that person, nor take it for granted that books written with the purpose of defining Masters’ powers, place, or imagined individual characteristics, have any value whatever. All such are mere speculations and an attempt in fact to drag those great Beings down to our plane of terrestrial conceptions—“a misuse of sacred names,” as H.P.B. wrote in the “Key to Theosophy.” Masters are facts in Nature, facts however which our highest ideals will not fully encompass. Let us therefore endow Them with the highest we can conceive of, try to assimilate that “highest” within ourselves, endeavor to draw near to Them in our heart of hearts, and thus form for ourselves that line of communication which They have said They are always ready to help establish; and let us keep that ideal as a sacred thing in the repository of our hearts, not to be lightly thought of nor spoken of, but as a shrine of our highest aspirations, safely guarded from all intrusion, sacred and secret. and thus only, may we in time come to know Them face to face.
Q. Do Masters come alone?
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A. As “the will of the Masters is one,” the word “alone” has but a superficial meaning as regards Them. But whether there are one or more of these exalted Personages in the world at any given time, the influence and force of the Lodge flows through its one or several representatives in the world of men. Whether there is one, or more, depends upon the period and the nature of the mission to be performed.
Q. Was Moses a Master?
A. There is evidence pointing to Adeptship in this case as in numbers of others in the distant past; men who were reformers and showed themselves to be possessed of power over the forces of nature. Pharaoh’s magicians were adepts of a kind, but Moses was more powerful. There is no evidence of Mastership, however, in his teaching.
Q. Can Humanity go down? On page 11 it speaks of India and China as being in a backward state!
A. If by “humanity” is meant a civilization or progress in certain directions, it had its beginning and will have its ending; the vast civilizations of the past have disappeared, as the present one will, to be succeeded by another. Any civilization is composed of many egos of different degrees of development. As the progress reaches its zenith, higher classes of egos find conditions suited to their development; but as the mass of mankind reincarnates from life to life with very little change in knowledge and ideal, and the wealth and luxury of a nation increases, ancient ideals are lost sight of and the moral strength decreases; egos of less and less development find conditions suited to them in the descending civilization; developed egos do not incarnate; and the civilization finally dies out. The more developed egos incarnate in another civilization more suited to their natures. There are civilizations at the present day, some in the last stages of
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dissolution, some passing through the throes of birth, some young and some at maturer age. Progress and stability do not depend upon any form of civilization, but upon the egos which compose it at any given time.
Q. What was the scope of the mission of Jesus?
A. The conditions of any period determine the nature and extent of any mission, but it must be remembered that the Teacher’s knowledge cannot be gauged by what the disciples were able to understand. It is evident that his mission was an extremely important one for the West, for the ethics he taught remain throughout the centuries since. A knowledge of the law of cycles, as expressed in the rise and fall of civilizations, shows that Jesus came at the time of a descending cycle and that he concealed far more than he revealed; he taught the multitudes in parables, but to his disciples taught the “mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.” These “mysteries” are not recorded. Christian theology is composed of Jewish exoteric conceptions of Deity and dead-letter text interpretations of the recorded sayings of Jesus. The only record made by Jesus himself was “written upon the sand.” It is the ethics that he taught that constitute the real basis of his mission, and these ethics differ in no way from the ethics of all past ages and previous divine incarnations. It has been said that Jesus came to be “a witness upon the scene” to the reality of spiritual knowledge and power, during the centuries of material advancement and spiritual darkness which were to come.
Q. Was the work of Confucius something of the same nature?
A. Confucius was a reformer; his work was of a moral nature among his people in the East.
Q. What is meant by keeping “A Witness on the scene” for future generations?
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A. If there was not a fresh statement of such portions of the ancient Wisdom-Religion as the minds of the people could understand—especially on a descending cycle—when materialistic conceptions prevailed in regard to religion and life, as it did at the time of Jesus, and to a great extent does yet—human spiritual conceptions would be gradually lost sight of in the material and intellectual struggle for existence as physical beings. When an age of transition arrives, when peoples, governments, religions and sciences are changing, as they now are, the time arrives for an incomparably greater revealing by Those who Know, of the nature of Man and the laws that govern the evolution of all beings. The one who imparts that knowledge to Humanity is much more than a “witness on the scene.”
Q. Why should India and China have retrograded if they still have these old truths?
A. We must not forget that the India of the past is not the present India. Once the true knowledge existed there, as in China. In India especially the ancient writings have been preserved more than in any other nation; but the caste system based upon physical heredity which was later established by egos of a lower grade than those of the earlier days of India’s greatness, and the selfish withholding from the lower castes of such knowledge as the Brahmins possessed, in no long time caused ignorance and superstition to prevail. From this cause there arose hundreds of sects; religion became a matter of ritual, ceremonies and many degrading customs, and the power of India to influence the world was lost. Both India and China present living examples of the rise and fall of civilizations.
Q. What brings this knowledge back?
A. The Lodge of Masters who preserve it and present as much as can be assimilated again and again at different periods all down the ages. Theos-
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ophy is one such presentation and the most complete on record.
Q. On page 12 it speaks of hypnotism as being known to Theosophy long ago: what is hypnotism?
A. Hypnotism is a modern name for a power known for ages. By means of this power, one who has it and uses it on his fellowmen, paralyzes that channel in the brain of his subject through which the subject, as Ego, operates and controls his brain. This action prevents the subject from receiving any other impressions than those suggested by the operator, in ordinary cases. One of the peculiarities of this hypnotic state is that the subject does not know what occurred while in it, and has no memory of what transpired, nor is he aware that any time has elapsed. In this state the subject may be impressed to perform any kind of action at some subsequent time, and will do so. Crimes have been committed under such suggestions, the subject being ignorant of the fact that the suggestion of the operator led to and impelled the act. Occasionally the subject gets beyond the control of the operator and may disclose what are called different “personalities.” These may be memories of past experiences, or as is more likely, contacts with other beings constituting an obsession; for the state is a defenseless one. This practice is considered to be Black Magic by the Ancient Schools because it is an interference with the free-will of the Ego as regards his bodily instrument. The continuation of the practice upon any subject brings about an increasing tendency to be swayed and thrown off his normal balance by the feelings and suggestions of others about him, as well as by invisible beings, the existence of whom is not yet admitted by Western science. The one who practises this black art, is on the high road to become a Black Magician.
Q. Are Hypnotism and Mesmerism the same?
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A. No. They are the opposite of each other. In hypnotism, the operator actually passes into the subject some of his ethereal substance which carries with it the qualities good or bad of the operator; this acts upon the capillary veins and nerves from without as a repression—which is one of the characteristics of sleep and death. Whereas in Mesmerism so-called, the effect is from within outwards, an opening up, instead of a contraction and repression; no suggestion is used, and the subject can move in accordance with his own nature and qualities. In neither of these states is any knowledge possible, although subsequent effects may flow uncontrolled and unsuspected by the subject. Self-control is the great desideratum and neither of these states leads to it, but on the contrary tends to destroy it. There may be rare exceptions, where one knows the nature of Man and the effects that will be produced by any operation upon the subject; then either of these operations may be used for the benefit of the subject, but never for control or out of curiosity.
Q. Mr. Judge speaks of carbon being in suspension everywhere [page 12]. I thought that carbon had its place in the mineral kingdom and always remained there?
A. Carbon, like all other precipitated elements known to us, is in suspension everywhere. None of these elements are perceptible to us until in precipitated form. Carbon is a specific form of embodiment for a certain class of intelligence—which is true of all forms. Carbon is carbon, whether in the precipitated form, the vegetable or animal, in solution, or in the air about us. There being an intelligence of a certain kind in carbon, that intelligence has its own specific range of action in its contact with other forms and intelligences. The use of carbon in the human form, for instance, is not because it is carbon so-called, but because of its qualities—in reality, because of its intelligent action. Because of the
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oneness of source of all beings and forms of matter, there are transmutations going on all the time; the mineral elements might be called “crystallized intelligence”and in that state be dormant, but in commingling with other elements many possible degrees and kinds of activity are released and find play. The dormant or inactive state might be classed as a kind of “devachan” for that kind of consciousness, and the commingling as a period of “manifestation.” In all these comminglings the action of one or more kinds of consciousness upon others imparts to them other trends toward a fuller expression of intelligence through form. Through the commingling of two forms of intelligence a third form for both may be produced; for instance, two parts of Hydrogen to one part of Oxygen—both gases—will, by being fused by the electric spark, produce a third element—entirely unlike the original constituents. This transmutation is continually going on in the evolution of form or embodiments of beings of every grade, and is the result of the Evolutionary impulse given to substance by intelligent beings of every degree. The Universe is embodied Consciousness.
Q. Mr. Judge speaks of Telepathy [page 11]: when is that possible?
A. Telepathy is possible when two people are attuned to the same thought, will and feeling at the same time. In such case the thought of one will reach the other wherever he may be.
Q. So many people who read the “Ocean” say that it is hard to understand: why is this, when the book is written in such simple terms?
A. It would be difficult to write a book that would give an outline of the Universal Science in simpler terms than those used in the “Ocean.” The difficulty in understanding does not lie in the modes of expression used in the book, but in the minds of
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would-be students, whose hard and fast conclusions as to men, things and methods stand in the way of their grasping the meaning of the ideas so simply expressed. No doubt those who find the “Ocean” difficult would call themselves intelligent people, but the intelligence usually displayed is merely an acquaintance with what scientists, religionists, materialists and others have said or written, and is not a direct use of thinking power; the minds of such are simply store-houses for the thoughts, ideas and acts of others. In order to really understand Theosophy, all that has been stored up in the way of previous conceptions and prejudices has to be laid aside for the time being, especially during the time of reading or study, in order that the meaning of the Teacher may be fully grasped by the mind. In order to gain knowledge of that Science which is a synthesis of all Life and Nature, the mind must be clear and clean, free from all preconceptions and prejudices, and devoted wholly to the acquisition of the Science, if one would learn and know it. As a preliminary to this study, the Three Fundamental Propositions of Theosophy should be well learned, understood, and applied to the problems of life, as well as to the detailed philosophy ‘which the “Ocean” presents.
A brief summary of the first chapter presents certain facts: (a) that Evolution is from within out wards and is the inherent law and tendency that rules the development of all beings; (b) that Those referred to in the chapter as Masters of Wisdom have become so under that law, and have reached a stage of perfection in wisdom and power far beyond ordinary ideas of human possibility.
These Masters reached Their high estate during past civilizations, and have consciously retained and carried forward all the knowledge gained through
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immensities of time. Many citations are given in the chapter in order to point to the existence of such Beings at certain periods of human history, the object being to clear the mind of the student from any idea that may exist that Theosophy is a theory or speculation of human beings, and to emphasize the idea that the knowledge presented in the following chapters is to be regarded as emanating from the Masters, representing statements of fact in regard to the evolutionary processes through which all beings have passed or must eventually pass.
While students may mentally appreciate and accept the statements made in this book as records of law and fact, it would be well if in addition they should try to understand the nature of Masters, and draw near to Them in their hearts, and so open up a channel for themselves between them and the Masters which will permit of that inner help which is always ready to be given when the student is in that relation which will permit it.
The chapters following give first, Fundamental principles; then, those principles applied to our Earth in particular; then, the same principles as applied to Man and his various constituents as an evolved being. Students should note this consecutive treatment which proceeds from Universals to particulars, and should apply those laws to every statement made in the book, for it was published as a preliminary preparation to a study of the Secret Doctrine. The intention is to arouse in Man a knowledge of himself, a knowledge which is absolutely barred by false ideas in regard to Life and its great purpose.
A view of the general laws governing the Cosmos. The sevenfold division in the system. Real Matter not visible and this always known to the Lodge. Mind the intelligent portion of the Cosmos. In the universal Mind the sevenfold plan of the Cosmos is contained. Evolution proceeds upon the plan in the Universal Mind. Periods of Evolution come to an end; this is the Night of Brahma. The Mosaic account of cosmogenesis has dwarfed modern conceptions. The Jews had merely one part of the doctrine taken from the ancient Egyptians. The doctrine accords with the inner meaning of Genesis. The general length of periods of Evolution. Same doctrine as Herbert Spencer’s. The old Hindu chronology gives the details. The story of Solomon’s Temple is that of the evolution of man. The doctrine far older than the Christian one. The real age of the world. Man is over 18,000,000 years old. Evolution is accomplished solely by the Egos with in that at last become the users of human forms. Each of the seven principles of man is derived from one of the seven great divisions of the Universe.
Q. What does it mean on page 14 when it says “ until all the units of the race which are ready are perfected”?
A. If we have understood that “all is soul and spirit ever evolving,” every form that exists is the embodiment of an acquired intelligence. Before our earth began there were present all the beings of
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every grade who had reached their various stages of development on the previous “earth.” Among those beings would be some who had reached a stage of spiritual development and perfection of knowledge of the evolutionary stream from which they had emerged; such beings would pass out of the system to higher planes or worlds perhaps; whereas those who had not reached that stage would have to continue with beings like themselves and all others below them (who in their totality constitute the earth—or field of experience) until they in their turn had reached the highest point. Evidently those who had so far progressed as to reach the highest stage “were ready.” One would not expect the incipient human units which emerged from the animal kingdom when the period of the preceding planet had closed to have had the same experience as those who were self-conscious when that preceding earth began. There are always those who pass out of any system through advancement in knowledge and wisdom, and those who remain to perfect their experience, while still others come up from the kingdoms below.
Q. Do not all the Egos of this Manvantara have to be ready before we leave this earth?
A. As before said, there are beings at the end of every pralaya and before re-manifestation who have progressed far enough to pass out of that system; this implies that they have performed their whole duty towards the particular evolution from which they emerge. It would be natural to suppose that when there are others in any system who arise to the place held by the highest units, the latter should move on to wider fields in a higher system. The conclusion would be that all the Egos do not “have to be” perfected. An Ego is self-conscious, and must progress by self-induced and self-devised efforts; the period of earth manifestation might
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close before perfection was reached, and likely will for most.
Q. Then this earth will last until there is no one here to use it?
A. It will last as long as there is a Man to need it. The period of the earth’s duration is greater than that of any entity or race upon it. The Moon still exists although decaying, while Man, whose habitation it was, has now the present earth as his field.
Q. “The universe evolves from the unknown, into which no man or mind, however high, can inquire, on seven planes or in seven ways or methods.” [page 14] Will you state the meaning of the “seven ways”?
A. Theosophy shows that all evolution is septenary in its nature and processes; it is the understanding of this septenary nature that gives us the key to a comprehension of the evolutionary processes, the nature of Man, and of all beings and forms. All planets, as well as all solar systems, have a beginning and an ending, and all of them are the products of progressive intelligences of innumerable degrees of development. Our earth is the resultant of a previous earth and its beings, whereon the course of septenary evolution had reached the limit of its possibility. Each septenary evolution has as a starting point all the knowledge and experience gained in previous evolutions, and of necessity in the succeeding evolution proceeds in a septenary manner, method, or way. As examples we have the seven “globes” of the earth; seven principles; seven great races of men; seven sub-races of each; seven sounds; seven colors, etc. (See S.D. Vol. I, pp. 289-292, Original Edition.)
Q. When a being is perfected on this earth, does he begin at the bottom on a higher sphere?
A. When a being is perfected he is at the top. It should be borne in mind that evolution does not
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begin at the bottom, but at the top always. The process is one of the action of intelligence gradually working downwards in more and more concrete productions and expressions. When the lowest point has been reached all that has been gained there in experience and knowledge is raised up one step of the “stairway of descent,” is then fully assimilated there, then raised to the next highest step, and so on up to the “top” which forms the basis for the next evolutionary effort.
Q. The chapter [page 14] speaks of the seven-fold divisions of the Universe as being “The Absolute, Spirit, Mind, Matter, Will, Akasa or Æther, and Life”; can their relation to each other be defined?
A. The Absolute is the Causeless Cause, the Root and Sustainer of All. Spirit represents consciousness or intelligence arising from and within the Absolute. Mind is the intelligence of all beings in action—the creative or constructive power. Matter is substance, from the most ethereal to the most concrete: products of the interaction and inter-relation of the various classes of beings involved. Will is the force of any and all degrees of intelligence; it is inherent in consciousness as “the power to act”; determination to act makes it operative. Akasa is an element, a form of substance, a production of the creative intelligences. Life is the power to perceive, and give expression of any degree of intelligence, upon any plane of substance.
Q. Why is it impossible for the mind of man to understand the Absolute? That does not mean that we can never understand it, does it?
A. The Ocean says [page 14], “The universe evolves from the unknown, into which no man, or mind, however high, can inquire.” The statement stands as one made by a Teacher and should have full consideration. Nevertheless, we should be able to understand why it is correct. The Absolute is the opposite of the Relative; the Absolute includes all things and all beings, and being the sub-
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stratum of all, past, present or future, cannot be inquired into by any being who exists in It, not from It.
The word Absolute denotes that which is without qualities or attributes of any kind, therefore how can any being understand That which has no form and exhibits no qualities whatever?
We are familiar with the word Life, and can understand that it is expressed in all forms whether visible or invisible to us; we use the term “the One Life” to indicate Its presence in all things and everywhere. As beings, we cannot inquire into that power of infinite expression which each one is; each can only express It according to his range and quality of expression. No being can express Life, without being in essence Life Itself.
We can say of the Absolute only that “It is,” as we can say of ourselves only, “I am.” How can we inquire into That which does not depend upon any expressions great or small, but upon the fact of Its Universal Presence?
We should also be able to perceive and understand that each one of us is both Being and Non-Being; our power to perceive is Non-Being; our assimilated and embodied perceptions constitute Being.
The Absolute is a name for the One Reality, the Infinite, Unchanging basis of All. All the rest is “Maya”—that is, the ever-changing modes, expressions, degrees of intelligence and their forms, ever approaching the Light, but never touching the Flame; for the Real in each being is the Flame itself.
Q. “The first differentiation—speaking metaphysically as to time—is Spirit” [page 15]. What does “metaphysically as to time” mean?
A. Time can only be reckoned by action and reaction, and until there is action there is no time. Before there can be action there must be those beings who are in pralaya awaiting the dawn of the new Day of manifestation. Spirit is the emergence from inactivity into
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activity of the intelligences; from the first “action” Time begins. (See Stanza I, S.D. Vol. I.)
Q. What is meant by “real matter”?
A. The Wisdom-Religion teaches that Spirit and Matter are without beginning; in other words, there exists together with Spirit or Consciousness, homogeneous substance—primordial matter. It is from this primordial substance that all subsequent states of matter are produced by the action of the mass of beings involved. This homogeneous primordial substance is what is called “real matter.”
Q. Why is our terrestrial plane of matter of so much importance?
A. Because we are at the bottom of the arc of descent, and at that point where Spirit, or Consciousness, and concrete Matter meet. It is the turning point where all past efforts and adjustments of the downward cycle from homogeneity to heterogeneity meet and have their field of rectification and co-ordination. We cannot avoid these adjustments; the work must be done before we can go forward. In the struggle there is but one place of calmness and steadiness—the unmoved and unchanging Self—the Higher Self of each who is the real Warrior, and Who from his innermost seat of wisdom must be free to conduct the battle, the lower self being but His soldier in the field.
Q. What is meant by the words “The plan was laid down in Universal Mind” [page 15]?
A. “Universal Mind” includes all the various kinds of intelligence that were evolved in a previous planet or solar system. When manifestation ceased, each unit of intelligence had reached its own particular degree and kind of development under the inter-relation and inter-action of all the beings involved. From this general advance a co-ordination is brought about which provides the succeeding lines along which further evolution will proceed.
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Q. What does it mean by “Great Being”? (page 16).
A. By “Great Being” is meant the sum of all beings, the totality of all intelligences involved.
Q. How can there always be matter in the lowest grade to be evolved, and where does it come from?
A. An understanding of the evolution of beings can only be had by bearing in mind that Spirit, or Consciousness, with Its “power to perceive,” is the producer of all degrees of substance and the cause of all changes. During manifestation evolution is going on all the time and consequently from the first glimmerings of perception there must he a corresponding substantial or material expression of it. Substance, or Matter, is a product of Spirit, or Consciousness, and this includes all the elements of Nature—so-called, known or yet to he known or produced.
Q. What becomes of the forms used by lower intelligences after these intelligences have risen higher?
A. Every form, high or low, having been established, remains as a matrix in the astral substance and can he availed of by such intelligences as have arrived at a point which makes such use possible. The Unity of all beings and the economy of progress demands this; “no effort is lost, no labor is in vain.” Just as the line of physical heredity reproduces itself from parents to children, and conditions of various kinds are brought about and Egos incarnate under the conditions provided according to their karma or “fitness,” so with the lower kingdoms in advancing to higher forms of expression, they assume the established forms used by their predecessors. The matrices of all forms that have ever been still exist in the Astral Light.
Q. On page 17 we have mention of the British inch and Piazzi Smyth; to what does that refer?
A. Piazzi Smyth was a F.R.A.S. who investigated,
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studied and measured the Great Pyramid. Being a very patriotic Englishman, as well as a very Orthodox Christian, he evolved and promulgated the theory that the geometric measurements of the Great Pyramid proved that the scientific basis of its construction was to demonstrate that the British inch, and not the metric system, is the true standard of linear measurement; and further, that the religious purpose in building the Pyramid was to enforce the Orthodox idea of the Sabbath and a warning against the Continental Sunday.
Q. Why is it said [page 16] that “with the Orientals is the truth” about the age of the world?
A. Because the conceptions of the West in regard to the age of the world have been based upon theological deductions drawn from the misunderstood and unrelated manuscripts which make up the Christian Bible. The idea that the world is some few thousands of years old has been generally accepted by Christendom, and geologists who are the creatures of their generation have found themselves restricted in their speculations as to actual age. It is true that within the last century a greater freedom of expression and speculation has been indulged in, for discoveries of various kinds keep throwing farther and farther back such speculations, so that from a hundred thousand to a million years have been stated as the possible age of the earth. All those making such statements consistently admit that they are but guesses and matters of opinion. Where Western Science fails by reason of the basis of its thinking, Eastern Science, based upon the records of past ages and ascertained laws of the evolution of the earth and Man, possesses not only the ancient records, but a knowledge of the laws by which the records themselves can be substantiated. In Theosophy, a knowledge of these laws and their workings is attainable by every student who takes
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advantage of the opportunity and pursues the necessary course. In secret places among a living people these records are sacredly preserved; Theosophy as given to the world is a portion of that accumulated wisdom and knowledge.
Q. Why is it that we are so much behind spiritually what we were thousands of years ago?
A. Because the consciousness of mankind be came so immersed in external terrestrial pursuits that the intellect, the power of reasoning from premises to conclusions, grew at the expense of the spiritual perceptions. The desire for an accentuation of physical sentient existence leads directly away from the consciousness of being spirit. Unless we regain the consciousness of spiritual being—a purposeful existence in spirit, not matter—we will remain bound by our self-created conditions of physical existence. Intellect comes from seeing differences and comparing them; once gained, it may be used to perpetuate material existence with all its disadvantages, or as an instrument of the spirit in guiding and controlling the lower lives that constitute the kingdoms below Man.
Q. What were the “materials” that “had to be found, gathered together and fashioned in other and distant places” [page 20]?
A. At the end of a Great Period, like that of a planet, all coarser forms of matter have been resolved back into the primordial substance from and within which they were formed; the experiences of the many classes of evolved beings are retained. At the next “going forth,” new combinations and correlations arise from the greater knowledge acquired during the previous period of evolution, and a new construction of evolution of forms begins, based upon the advance already made. Necessarily the experience gained by the various classes of beings in fashioning form remains, and as the “ma-
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terial” is in a homogeneous state, formation begins in that state and is made more and more concrete as the ages roll on. All this in general. Theosophy teaches that our Moon was the planet upon which our evolution had its immediately previous field, and that as the Earth has been built, the Moon has shrunk and disintegrated. From this we may imagine that “material” from the Moon has been and is being used in the building of the Earth and Earth forms, and that this will go on until our Seventh Round when the Moon will have disappeared. This may be taken as one of the “distant places”; and others may be understood if we bear in mind that in this vast universe of which our planet forms a small part, and under the law of Unity which pervades the whole, our planet is related to and connected with all other planets in our system. As the great purpose is the Evolution of Soul, the great reservoir of ethereal substance must be available to those Intelligences whose knowledge and power can select and guide.
Q. If we have seven planes of being, is Karma made on all of them?
A. Karma operates on all planes and upon every being. Consciousness and Life on any plane imply perception and action, and these mean Karma. There are three lines of Evolution: the Spiritual, Intellectual and Physical, and these are inter-blended at every point. Progress on all planes is possible only by action. It is incorrect to imagine that Karma pertains only to the physical plane.
Q. Why is it said that Masters express Karma?
A. Because They know the ultimate results of all the actions They institute, whether these be spiritual, psychical or physical, and because all Their efforts are for the advancement of the whole mass of beings.
Q. On page 19 it is stated that “When this day
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opens, cosmic evolution, so far as relates to this solar system, begins and occupies between one and two billions of years in evolving the very ethereal first matter before the astral kingdoms of mineral vegetable animal and men. are possible. Can this be explained?
A. There must be for each Manvantara a specific primordial substance from and within which the subsequent differentiations are formed. Each beginning of a Manvantara must have as its basic substance what might be called a differentiation within. the One Infinite Universal Substance, as a result of the operation of Intelligence upon it; this is brought about by the inter-action and inter-relation of all the beings involved in the previous evolutionary stream, and as a preliminary to further differentiation.
The First Chapter treats of the Masters of Wisdom who are the results of Evolutionary progress, and the custodians of accumulated wisdom of the past. The Second Chapter presents the general principles that govern the cosmos. The seven-fold differentiation of the system is shown to be universal in its operation, every atom as well as every being having seven principles, either latent or expressed as the case may be. Mind, or Intelligence, represents the acquired knowledge of the totality of beings involved, the higher intelligences being the guides and impellers of the lower. Each great period of evolution has its specific beginning based upon past achievements, and has its ending in order to co-ordinate the general advance and form a new basis for another great period; these periods are called the Days of Brahma, each such period being followed by a Night of similar duration for assimilation and readjustment. Evolution is accomplished solely by the self-conscious Egos within, who guiding and impelling the lower lives—the builders of form—finally
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occupy these forms when they are ready. The story of the building of Solomon’s Temple is that of the evolution of Man “wherein no sound of hammer, nor voice of workman is heard.” Each of the seven principles of Man is derived from one of the seven great Divisions of the Universe; he therefore is directly connected with and related to every state of substance and every plane of being through these principles. Man is not his principles: they are his instruments or embodiments. “For the Soul’s sake alone the Universe exists.”
The doctrine respecting the Earth. It is seven-fold also. It is one of a chain of seven corresponding to man. The whole seven are not in a chain separated as to members, but they interpenetrate each other. The Earth chain is the reincarnation of a former old and now dead chain. This old chain was one of which our Moon is the visible representative. Moon now dead and contracting. Venus, Mars, etc., are living members of other similar chains to ours. A mass of Egos for each chain. The number, though incalculable, is definite. Their course of evolution through the seven globes. In each a certain part of our nature is developed. At the fourth globe the process of condensation is begun and reaches its limit.
In our study of the “Ocean,” we must ever bear in mind the sequence of its chapters. The First Chapter presents the fact, as well as evidence of, the existence of Masters of Wisdom, the results of evolution of past civilizations. It is from this body of perfected human beings that all Divine Teachers and Reformers have come; all great religions of the world have sprung from teachings of one or more of Their number. What They have given out to Their disciples and to the people of any period, was necessarily limited to the power of assimilation and use by the minds of the time, but the basic ideas and
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principles have ever been the same. That which is now given out by Them is known as “Theosophy,” and has been recorded in books accessible to every one, and is in fact a more complete revelation than the world has any record of. Because of the general intelligence of this present period, it was possible to so present the knowledge the Masters desired to convey to humanity—in books, a fact which avoids the danger of intermediaries and interpreters, with their assumed authoritative statements and perversions, and places, the enquirer face to face with the “message” itself.
The Second Chapter, as we have seen, deals with the general laws governing the universe as a whole; and the present Third Chapter deals particularly with our Earth, its nature and formation; its relation to other planets, its present stage of development, and that of the human egos who people it and are definitely connected with it, as well as the several stages yet before us and it.
Under the general laws governing all manifestation on Earth is shown to be of a seven-fold nature, its evolution or unfolding proceeding from within—from the finest substance by successive stages to the most dense and concrete forms of matter. We will therefore understand that all forms and all beings unfold in a similar way, and that in, each case all the stages of densification, are present and intermingle at every point; in other words, the first state of substance is not destroyed or changed by the formation of the more concrete stages; the second stage is contained within the first, the third stage within the first and second and so on; at the same tine these stages must not be conceived of as being separate like the layers of an onion, but as being ever, present one within the other at every point, intermingled and interblended. And we have further to remember that it is consciousness and in-
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telligence that are the producers of every form and state of substance or matter; from the smallest atom to the most highly evolved being, every form is an expression of the degree of intelligence within.
Q. The chapter speaks of “Egos” coming from the Moon chain, should we not rather call them “Monads”?
A. Why should we call them monads when the Teacher says “Egos”? Ego means a self-conscious being, the triad Atma-Buddhi-Manas, and “Monad” refers to Atma-Buddhi, the universal spirit and the consciousness unfolded in every kingdom and every class of being. “Monad” applies to the mineral, vegetable, animal and human—as well as other kingdoms not under consideration.
Q. What is meant by the Earth “is an entity and not a mere lump of gross matter” [page 23]?
A. There is no such thing as gross matter existing of itself. All forms of matter are the productions of different degrees of intelligence. The earth is an entity because it is a combination of many degrees of intelligence in their evolved forms. Our bodies are entities; they are composed of many small lives, all working coordinately for the benefit and use of the greater intelligence which brought them together—the ego—and who has trained them in their separate modes of co-ordinate action.
Q. Has the Earth a synthetic consciousness, a ruling intelligence?
A. Not in the sense of any particular being. The so-called Rulers of the earth and the seven planets most directly connected with the earth—such as Venus, Mars, Mercury, etc.,—are classes of beings, each class constituting a hierarchy, the influence of which acts as a whole upon other classes. Each hierarchy has its own specific quality and kind of influence. The synthetic or binding power is that of the spiritually self-conscious beings; the universe is ruled and guided from within.
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Q. In the Secret Doctrine (Vol. II, page 87) it says: “There was a spiritual, a psychic, an intellectual, and an animal evolution, from the highest to the lowest, as well as a physical development—from the simple and homogeneous, up to the more complex and heterogeneous . . .” Then the physical and animal are not the same?
A. Evidently not. The word “animal” in this case means the evolution from below, from the mineral and vegetable kingdoms to the animal; whereas “physical” here means a form evolved from the matter (lives) of the three lower kingdoms by self conscious beings (egos) for their occupation, use, and as instruments on the terrestrial plane. The physical evolution is the link which affords contact for self-conscious entities with the lower world.
Q. What is a Round?
A. As the Secret Doctrine discloses, there are seven states or conditions of our Earth united in one mass. Evolution begins in the highest state of substance and works downward upon and through three further more condensed stages, making four in all; having reached the fourth or lowest stage, evolution works upward through the stages produced and worked in during the descent, all the experience gained in the descent being carried into the higher stages. Each time the evolution begins in the highest stage and returns to it again is called a “Round.”
Q. What does each Round produce?
A. To give the Sanskrit words which designate the elements produced would not be useful at present, but we can understand the significance of such words as Fire, Air, Water, Earth as correspondences. Each Round develops One Element and a nature and humanity corresponding to it. The Earth, such as we know it now, had no existence before the Fourth Round. The earth was fiery, cool and ra-
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diant, as were its ethereal men and animals during the First Round; luminous and more dense and heavy during the Second Round; watery during the Third; earthy during the Fourth Round. With the evolution of the elements comes the development of the senses. Each element adds to its own characteristics those of its predecessor—thus:
Sound and Touch.
Sound, Touch and Colour.
Sound, Touch, Colour and Taste.
Sound, Touch, Colour, Taste and Smell.
Ether corresponds to Sound-vibration, and precedes the differentiated elements. Air properly comes next, for it is everywhere felt; the others follow in natural sequence.
Q. Why is it that while we are in the Fourth Round only we have Five Senses?
A. We are past the middle point of the Fourth Round, but we are in the Fifth Sub-Race of the Fifth Root Race. Animals have five senses as well as Men.
Q. Why is it that animals have keener senses than Men?
A. Animals depend upon their senses for selecting food, avoiding dangers, etc. In their wild state these senses are very keen because of that dependence; domesticated animals lose much of that keenness. Man depends upon mind and desire, the senses being largely auxiliaries to desire, and also being dulled by excessive and abnormal variety of usage.
Q. What is a Round? Would circling around the seven centers of consciousness on one plane of substance be a Round?
A. The answer to, “What does a Round produce?,” in a previous question should be thought over. The latter part of the question is ambiguous. Each unit is a center of consciousness. All units pass through seven states of substance, beginning with the
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most ethereal to the most concrete (the fourth stage, the physical) then ascending from that stage through and back to the most ethereal again plus the experience gained. Each Round repeats this “circling” in a more condensed way until the middle point of the Fourth Round, when the process tends towards an etherealization in each succeeding Round, until at the end of the Seventh Round all units have arrived again at the starting point plus the experience gained. (See Diagram, page 153, S.D. Vol. I.)
Q. What is the “Fourth Dimension”?
A. The term is a mistaken one: there are not “four dimensions,” but “three”—viz., length, breadth and thickness. What scientists are endeavoring to postulate in the use of such a term is a perception of the characteristics of matter beyond the generally recognized three-dimensional one. The following from the Secret Doctrine is on this subject:—“Matter has extension, colour, motion (molecular motion), taste, and smell, corresponding to the existing senses of man, and by the time that it fully develops the next characteristic—let us call it for the moment PERMEABILITY—this will correspond to the next sense of man—let us call it ‘NORMAL CLAIRVOYANCE’; thus, when some bold thinkers have been thirsting for a fourth dimension to explain the passage of matter through matter, and the production of knots upon an endless cord, what they were really in want of, was a sixth characteristic of matter. The three dimensions belong really but to one at tribute or characteristic of matter—extension; and popular common sense justly rebels against the idea that under any condition of things there can be more than three of such dimensions as length, breadth, and thickness. These terms, and the term ‘dimension’ itself, all belong to one plane of thought, to one stage of evolution, to one characteristic of matter . . . from the time the idea of measurement first occupied a place in the human understanding, it has been possible to apply
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measurement in three directions and no more. But these considerations do not militate in any way against the certainty that in the progress of time—as the faculties of humanity are multiplied—so will the characteristics of matter be multiplied also.” (S.D. Vol. I, pages 251, 252.)
Q. Are the preceding Globes contained in the ones that follow?
A. Neither the primordial substance from which all other grades are produced, nor these other grades themselves disappear during the concretion of matter. All that has been accomplished in the way of manifestation remains as lines of communication, step by step from the highest to lowest. The globes are united in one mass of septenary substances, interpenetrated and interbended All substances and forms of matter are produced by the “Soul” and exist for Its purpose, and are parts of a continuous process. Just as the elements “fire, air, water and earth” are interbended in our bodies and constitute them, so with the earth we live on.
Q. You spoke of the internal power being all the power there is. Is there not an external power between the planets in their rotary motion?
A. The external power of anything springs from and is maintained by the internal power at the center of everything. We speak of the centrifugal and centripetal forces as being those which maintain the equipoise, but forces do not exist of themselves, they are the exhibitions of “energy” and energy is always produced by beings, either singly or in mass. Consciousness is at the root of all beings.
Q. What is meant (page 23) by “The earth is one of seven globes, in respect to man’s consciousness only”?
A. As before explained, the earth is composed of seven states or degrees of substance. Man also has seven principles or “sheaths of the soul,” corresponding to and in relation with the substances of which the earth
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is composed; in other words, the various embodiments or principles of Man are drawn from the various substances which compose the earth as a septenary mass. When Man is functioning through the physical body, he is conscious of the physical plane, or physical state of the globe. The others not being perceived are non-existent as far as his physical perceptions are concerned. When he functions on a higher plane of consciousness and substance, he sees that the state of the globe and not the physical, and so on with all the rest. He does not go anywhere in order to function on higher states of the globe, but uses a higher principle within “himself.” So, while there are seven states of our globe, they are only existent for Man when he perceives them. In the S.D., pages 604, 605, Vol. I, the following statement is made: “When, therefore, the Secret Doctrine—postulating that conditioned or limited space (location) has no real being except in this world of illusion, or, in other words, in our perceptive faculties—teaches that every one of the higher, as of the lower worlds, is interblended with our own objective world; that millions of things and beings are, in point of localization, around and in us, as we are around, with, and in them; it is no metaphysical figure of speech, but a sober fact in Nature, however incomprehensible to our senses.”
Q. Can Man be conscious on more than one plane at a time?
A. He cannot be fully conscious on more than one plane at a time; attention divided between two planes would give a mixed and divided perception of both.
Q. How could a perfected man, being consciousness itself, be unconscious on any plane?
A. There is some confusion in this question. “Consciousness itself” indicates the power, or ability to perceive, regardless of its application to any particular plane or thing. Being conscious on any
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plane means the applying of one’s power to perceive, to the objects of that plane,
Q. We speak of the Lunar Pitris as our physical progenitors. Does that mean that they were devoid of intelligence?
A. Intelligence is at the root of all forms, but there are many degrees of intelligence. The Lunar Pitris are that form of physical embodiment which was evolved on the Moon and used by incarnating egos on that planet. They represent and are the Physical line of evolution; as the Secret Doctrine says, they are our physical progenitors; our bodies are the continuance of that line.
Q. The moon is said to be a dead planet, and the statement made that it affects the earth. How can a dead planet affect the earth or its organisms?
A. The Moon is the former habitation of the stream of evolution now going on this earth. As a congeries of progressive beings, it is disintegrating; its higher beings and principles are now proceeding on this planet and constitute it as it now is. Yet the Moon as a decaying world still exists, as a corpse exists after the departure of the living person who inhabited it. The corpse decays and the lives which compose it tend to separate and enter into their respective kingdoms. In this separation of lives and elements, an effect is produced, some of which is beneficial to the living organisms and some deleterious. If we remember that the Moon represents the Kama Rupa, as well as the physical body of that planet, and apply what we know of the Human corpses and Kama Rupas to it, we may obtain a better conception of the effects.
Q. What sets limits to the number of Monads that enter the human kingdom?
A. Simply the number of monads that have progressed far enough to enter it. The middle point of this stream of evolution being passed, and incipi-
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ent humans having to begin as such on the highest plane of substance, and human evolution having reached its Fourth stage in this Round, and also the middle point of the Seven Rounds, monads from the animal kingdom cannot—in the nature of time and opportunity—reach the incipient human stage until the Seventh Round. This is no detriment to them, for their intelligence has not reached that point where they are sensible of the difference, and their progress towards the human point of entrance is not barred in the meantime.
The constitution of man. How the doctrine differs from the ordinary Christian one. The real doctrine known in the first centuries of this era, but purposely withdrawn from a nation not able to bear it. The danger if the doctrine had not been withdrawn. The sevenfold division. The principles classified. The divisions agree with the chain of seven globes. The lower man is a composite being. His higher trinity. The lower four principles transitory and perishable. Death leaves the trinity as the only persistent part of us. What the physical man is, and what the other unseen mortal man is. A second physical man not seen but still mortal. The senses pertain to the unseen man and not to the visible one.
This fourth chapter deals with the Septenary Constitution of Man; shows how the doctrine differs from the ordinary Christian one; gives the septenary constitution of Man; points to the intimate relation between the Septenary nature of the Earth and the Seven Principles of Man; explains what the real Man is as a being under the terms of Atma, Buddhi, Manas, the trinity or three higher principles; and classifies the transitory four lower principles as aspects of the three higher principles during Man’s connection with the terrestrial world. From this treatment it should be clear that Man uses the four lower principles for the benefit of the lives thus used, as well as for his own purposes.
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Q. Mr. Judge refers to the necessity of care of the Self (page 29). If the Self is the cause of all, how could there be care of it?
A. The words referred to are not as stated in the question; they read, “the care of soul, which is the Self.” It is through the Soul—the acquired experience—that Self perceives and acts; it is by means of Soul that Self learns to know Itself as of another nature than its experience, perceptions or embodiments. In the sense that there is no Soul possible without the Self, or, in other words, there are no perceptions or experience possible without the Perceiver—the Soul is the Self; therefore the growth of soul depends upon the more and more full realization of the unchanging Self: this involves for us a “care” that we understand the nature and purpose of existence.
Q. On page 30, the chapter speaks of “rational and irrational” soul. Could you explain the phrase?
A. “Rational soul” means that stage of evolved being which is self-conscious, and “irrational soul,” those stages which are conscious, but not self-conscious. There is a gulf between the highest conscious animal and the lowest self-conscious man in respect to the sense of responsibility; man is responsible for his thoughts, words and deeds; the animal has no such perception, and thus is called irrational. Manas is active in Man whether in its higher or lower aspect; in the animal it is latent. The term “irrational soul” has also been used to designate that class of human mentality which is wholly engrossed in physical existence.
Q. How does “This three-fold scheme of the nature of man” contain “the Theosophical teaching of his seven fold constitution,” as stated on page 30?
A. The answer is in the context, “because the four other divisions missing from the category can be found in the powers and functions of body and
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soul, as I shall attempt to show later on.” The whole of the chapter is devoted to the answer practically; the last paragraph in the chapter gives a recapitulation, which if thought over will help to clarify, and explain.
Q. In what sense am I “my brother’s keeper”?
A. Each being is of the same essential nature—Spirit; each evolves from within outward, and each at any given period occupies that place in the great community of souls which his degree of attainment provides. As all are from, and of, the same Source, and all are proceeding towards the same goal, the more progressed are in nature bound to help the lesser; the law of Karma inherent in each being provides for the adjustment of effects to causes. A general answer would imply that we are our brother’s keeper in every sense; the more we know of the common source, nature and purpose of all, the better able we are “to keep our brother.” -
Q. How is it that “Behind will, stands desire” [page 46]? It seems as though it should be reversed.
A. We do not act until there is desire or intention to do so; Will is the force of consciousness in action. Will, being the force behind action or desire, is colorless; it is colored by the nature of the desire or feeling. No desire, no action. It is the motive or desire behind the use of our colorless will power that qualifies the action of our thought, word or deed.
Q. Why is it that we cling so to bodily existence?
A. Because of our desire to so do, knowing no better. Our desire sets in action our Will in that direction, and by our desire and desires, we make attractions and attachments that hold us. As all our powers spring from and rest in the Self—or Spirit, and as we use those powers for sentient physical existence, the bondage is strong. Release comes from a full and true understanding of our own and
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all nature, when the powers of Spirit will be employed for all, and in all directions, and not exercised as they are, in one direction only, physically and in pursuit of personal desires.
Q. What is the difference between the individuality and the personality?
A. “Individuality,” theosophically defined, is the Higher Ego; “personality” is the false ego: that aspect of the reincarnating ego which is connected with, and immersed in, terrestrial existence and imagines itself to be the senses, qualities, and faculties which it possesses physically.
Q. What would you call “soul powers”?
A. All powers of every kind are soul powers; those powers we use—or rather misuse—in our every-day existence are soul-powers. It is the misuse of “soul powers” that brings karmic retribution.
Q. How can thought be so powerful?
A. Because every form seen by us, or unseen, is endowed with intelligence in some degree; because thought precedes action and institutes it, and because the effects of thought are consciously or unconsciously felt by beings near and remote, arousing them to some kind of action. Thought does not exist of itself—it is always the product of some Thinker; every thought is in regard to some thing and produces an image of that thing; the concentration of the Thinker upon the matrix he has created draws into it the lives that swarm in the terrestrial atmosphere, energizes them and gives them direction, according to the motive and desire of the Thinker; this matrix, made a living force, can insidiously impel to action other Thinkers whose natures and desires are similar, or who have the seeds of such desires within them, and all this whether the creator of the matrix is conscious of the results or not. “Thought” or more correctly, the ability to think, is the most powerful creative, de-
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structive, preservative or regenerative agent that any beings possess; it acts weakly and strongly, according to the knowledge and power of concentration of the Thinker. In occultism, “thought” is the real plane of action; what we see or perceive physically are merely the effects of thought.
Q. Unity is spoken of; how can there be unity in all these separated or different principles?
A. All the principles are merely aspects of the One Principle; more or less conditioned modes and bases of thought and action. Unity lies in the fact that all temporary differentiations proceed from, and rest in, the essential spiritual nature of all beings. There could be no diversity without unity as a basis. We all live, and life in all of us is a unity, but our use and expressions of life present great diversities.
Q. Will we always have an earth and an earthly body? Or will we ever get above this altogether?
A. It is not a question of earthly, or what we now perceive as physical matter. Wherever we exist, it must be in some form of substance as an embodiment, and that then will be as objective to us as is our present earthly matter. So long as manifestation endures, experience of any kind implies objectivity on every plane; if there is no basis for experience, there is no experience. The trouble is not with the earth as it now is or ever will be, it is with ourselves, imbued as we are with false conceptions of every kind. We have the power to understand our nature and the nature of all beings, and through that understanding to purify our own natures, and in so doing raise up and purify the natures of others like ourselves, as well as the beings below us. We cannot leave the earth until we have done our part to the full, and then it will be so different that perhaps we will not want to leave it, although we will have earned the right to choose. Read the Voice of the Silence.
Q. What is meant by “each principle is correlated to a plane, a planet, and a race” (page 30)?
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A. The Root and substratum of all that is, is Spirit, Self-existing and All-pervading. It is the Unity within which all differentiation takes place. The Unity is not destroyed because of any number of diversities that may be evolved from and within It; an efficient Cause is not eliminated as long as there is a basis in which effects may be produced. Manifestation means differentiation from and within the Unity; the statement of the Secret Doctrine is that manifestation or differentiation proceeds in seven ways or stages, that this applies to all degrees of substance and all forms, and all kinds of beings. Man is shown to have seven principles; He derived these principles one at a time, as differentiation of the planet proceeded; therefore each principle of Man is correlated to a particular stage of differentiation of the planet. Each planet, again, in our solar system has seven principles, so that Man, planets and solar systems have as their constituent parts similar principles, and each principle in Man, planets or solar systems, is co-related to the others; there is therefore an active or latent relation between each and every form and being, which, as we grow in knowledge and wisdom, may be availed of. Humanity, as a whole, proceeds also in seven stages, concurrently with the conditions of the planet, and thus at each stage is called a Race, each of which, again, has its seven subdivisions expressed again in a number of septenary ways. So, from top to bottom and in every direction, there is a channel, plane and relation between every form and being and every other, from highest to lowest; and this relation exists, whether any being in any particular state of perception is aware of it or not. Knowledge of this great fact, and the arousing within ourselves of the necessary conditions, will enable us to use and direct the seven-fold occult forces. All nature is before us and within us; we must therefore take and use what we can, and wisely; the steps necessary are shown in Theosophy and no one of these may be overpassed.
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Q. Do the principles exist independent of each other?
A. Each principle is derived from and exists within the One Supreme Principle; as the lowest principle is so derived, and depends upon the chain of principles above it and from which it was directly derived: the principles are interdependent. For instance, we may take the body as the lowest principle; there are bodies on earth all the time as long as humanity lasts, but our present bodies had their beginnings and will have their dissipation. The reason why we have the present body is because we occupied bodies before, having established the “principle” of sentient bodily existence. When we leave the body, it returns to the elements from which it was drawn, but the “principle” of bodily expression remains in us and will be expressed in another body at some future time. The principles remain, although the operation of those principles and the tendency to repeat is periodical.
Q. What is a principle?
A. A principle is a basis for thought and action in connection with a specific plane of substance. To be conscious on any plane of being, implies that one is acting in, and with, that principle in himself which corresponds to that particular plane of being.
Q. Why is Prana, the Life principle in the body, called transitory? It would seem as though Life must always be.
A. The Sanskrit term for the One Life which permeates and sustains all the principles is Jiva. Prana is that aspect of the One Life which sustains and permeates the physical body. When that aspect is withdrawn the body disintegrates. That aspect being withdrawn from the body is used in the remaining principles or those which the late bodily occupant is conscious in and upon.
The body and life principle. The mystery of life. Sleep and death are due to excess of life not bear able by the organism. The body an illusion. What is the cell. Life is universal. It is not the result of the organism. The Astral Body. What it is made of. Its power and functions. As a model for the body. It is possessed by all kingdoms of nature. Its power to travel. The real sense organs are in the astral body. The place the astral body has at spiritualistic séances. The astral body accounts for telepathy, clairvoyance, clairaudience, and all such psychical phenomena.
Q. What is it that causes us to identify ourselves as the body?
A. One of the forms of ignorance that Theosophy is intended to destroy, the most ordinary of which is the idea that “we” are our bodies.
Q. What other forms of ignorance are there?
A. It would be impossible to enumerate them; all forms of ignorance spring from lack of true knowledge, and are almost infinite in kind. The beginning of knowledge lies in a true conception of the essential spiritual nature of all beings, aside from all forms, faculties and expressions; in other words the permanent, unchanging basis which is the Causeless cause and sustainer of all is the center of every being, and is the Self in each. Then follow the various steps in unfolding—or evolution, seven in number and the general law which governs all, as well as the subsidiary laws or op-
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erations which govern every step or plane of descent and ascent. Any conception which leaves out the whole of Nature is based on ignorance.
Q. Is matter just an aggregation of lives?
A. What we call “Matter” is made up of the forms of innumerable kinds of beings, each of them conscious in its own degree; these we perceive only partially with our limited five senses. Matter is what we are able to perceive. As we rise higher in the scale of perception, that which is now invisible to us will become objective and will also be “matter.” The real Man is the Perceiver.
Q. It would seem as though we had degraded or stupefied these lower lives by our use?
A. The degradation is in ourselves—we are responsible; the lower or lesser lives are not—they act according to the impulses we give them and react upon us.
Q. What would be the mode of ingress and egress of these lives?
A. Through the openings in the body; the pores of the skin; by endosmosis and exosmosis; by means of food, drink and breathing; even the hairs of the head and body are channels.
Q. Why is it that Man attracts certain kinds of lives to him, and animals different kinds?
A. Each being “attracts” according to its nature.
Q. Can the “electron” be defined?
A. The word “electron” is a name given by scientists to something which they realize makes up the atom. The scientists have no idea of the nature of what they have discovered, some imagining that the electron is not matter, but a form or forms of energy; but all are as much in the dark as when they supposed that the “atom” was the ultimate division of matter.
Q. How about the nature of the drunkard? He is always desirous of taking something detrimental into his body.
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A. He has so trained the “lives” in his body that they call for certain stimulants. There is a verse which says that “it is not what goeth into the mouth that defileth, but what cometh out of it.” We may not be physically drunken with wine, and be drunken with ignorance and self-righteousness. A drunkard can stop drinking more easily than the generality of people can stop their selfishness and desires.
Q. Would not an understanding of our septenary nature tend to change a diseased body into a normal one?
A. We might understand a great deal, and not use our understanding; no results would flow from non-application of what we know. We must live what we know, and this includes all departments of our nature. When our inner natures are pure, sweet and true, the body will respond; but our bodies are the least of our disabilities.
Q. Do you think that with a proper care of the instrument, we could work out our past karma in a present body? Could not one live in the same body for thousands of years, building up new tissue all the time?
A. The length of life in any body is determined by the past karma of the Ego who enters it; this climacteric may be overpassed by one who knows, but the process necessitates the gradual death of the body before the time, also conditions that modern ideas and surroundings do not furnish. Our first need is to know and express our real nature; after which there are many possibilities. We must know Life as it is, and from within, before we can give more than ordinary care to the body; the latter is not our immediate concern.
Q. Is there not such a thing as overcoming the limitation set on any particular life?
A. The previous answer covers that sufficiently for our purpose. There is too much thought in regard to bodily existence; the body is an instrument obtained by
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us through our own karma, as are our tendencies and surroundings; we can only obtain better conditions by meriting them, and our present conditions are the means by which that merit can be attained. It is not the body or its environment that is the real cause of trouble, but our attitude towards them.
Q. As we now stand, we would make better progress by using the bodies we have to the best advantage, in the hope of deserving to get a better one in a new incarnation?
A. If getting a better body, now or in a future incarnation, is our object, we are still “bound fast in the web of illusion.” Make the best use of what we have should be our course, and the best use requires a knowledge of the philosophy of life—Theosophy.
Q. Won’t Nature make it easy for us sometime?
A. When we make it easy for Nature. We embody Nature; Nature is a product of ourselves and other beings. When we establish harmonious relations between all parts of our own nature, it will be “easy” for us. But to talk of ease, when effort is needed, is folly.
Q. What is the relation between the Individuality and the Personality?
A. “Individuality” is a conscious existence in spirit whether in or out of the body. “Personality” is a congeries of constantly changing qualities and conditions which the “Thinker,” or Ego, mistakes for himself; thus “the illusion of objects” is self-produced.
Q. Is the Astral body full-sized at birth? The statement is made that it is perfect at birth (page 40).
A. There is no such statement made as that the Astral body is perfect at birth; what is said is that “the model for the growing child in the womb is the astral body already perfect in shape.” The Astral body grows apace with the physical; the phrase “full-sized at birth”
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has no meaning, since all bodies vary in size and dimensions from birth to old age. The model of the oak is in the acorn. A small photo can be magnified a thousand times, perfect in every detail.
Q. What is meant by the “privative limits of a cell” [page 37]?
A. There is no physical cell as something existing separately; our bodies are entities, but they are made up of smaller entities. Each center of every entity has its own radius of action, causing a whirling or vortex around it; it is the lives drawn within this radial vortex that constitute the “cell”; the central attraction draws them in and holds them at their respective distances so to speak; it is this balance between attraction and repulsion that constitutes the privative limits.
Q. Would you explain the meaning of the phrase “The Highest looks out through the eyes of the lowest”?
A. Every cell in the body has its own life and powers or range of perception, and cells differ from each other in this respect. It is through the many kinds of lives in our bodies that we have contact with and perception upon the physical plane; hence it can be said that we look through the eyes of the lowest. The same is also true of beings higher than we. Our contact as “perceivers” with any plane of substance is only possible by means of an instrument made up of the “lives” of that plane. Each of such lives is a sensitive point, and reflects the plane to which it belongs to some degree. Sufficient of these lives drawn together on a particular plane will give an embodiment of “sensitive points” capable of reflecting everything on that plane; so that on any plane, “the highest sees through the eyes of the lowest.” “Highest” and “lowest” here mean differences in range of perception, understanding, wisdom and power.
Q. Is the “permanent astral” the Spiritual body?
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A. It is not. It is a body formed of astral substance during a life-time by the reincarnating ego; when so formed it remains with all its powers and functions as the astral form for succeeding lives. In ordinary cases, a new astral is projected for each birth, with nothing but the acquired tendencies as a starting point.
Q. Is the Astral body affected by insanity?
A. No “body” of any kind is either sane or insane. Insanity is a break in the connection between the Ego and the body in use, and may be partial or complete; such a break is due to the karma of the individual and may be from physical, astral or psychic plane causes set in motion by the individual involved.
Q. Would a Master’s assumption of a body be of the nature of an immaculate conception?
A. If a Master should desire to use a physical body of the race, He would either take an available one which was being discarded by its original tenant, or would “ensoul” one, produced in the ordinary way. The physical line of evolution is maintained by the union of the sexes in, this age.
Q. On page 36 it says, in sleep we are absorbing life; and later on in the paragraph it says that when we fall asleep we are more full of life than in the morning. This seems a contradiction to me?
A. If the paragraph had been read with attention no contradiction would appear. In sleep we are absorbing and not resisting the Life Energy; when we wake we are resisting it; when we fall asleep we are more full of life than in the morning because our power to resist becomes less and less during the waking hours; we become “charged” with the Life Energy, until, no longer able to resist it, sleep supervenes.
Q. Didn’t H. P. B. say that Devachan was a fool’s paradise?
A. It is a question whether H.P.B. used the
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phrase in exactly that way, but admitting that it was used, is it not true that each being makes his own paradise, his own Devachan, according to his idea of bliss; and as Devachan, an illusion of the personality, cannot be called a state of the wise, the phrase “a fool’s paradise” as a colloquialism might very well apply. Is it not fortunate that even one whom we consider a “fool” can have his paradise? The spiritual nature of “being” provides all these compensations, each according to its kind.
Q. It is said that the astral body was evolved long ages before the physical body; then Man was using the astral body long ages before the physical was evolved.
A. As was specifically stated in previous chapters, evolution proceeds from homogeneous substance to more and more concrete states of substance or matter, the lower states being evolved from the higher, each stage taking immense periods of time; it follows therefore that the evolution of the astral body preceded that of the physical form by many ages; in fact, at each birth, the same process is rapidly gone through; even the early stages of physical evolution are repeated during gestation.
The fourth principle. Kama Rupa. In English, the Passions and Desires. Kama Rupa is not produced by the body but is the cause for body. This is the balance principle of the seven. It is the basis of action and mover of the will. Right desire leads to right act. This principle has a higher and a lower aspect. The principle is in the astral body. At death it coalesces with the astral body and makes of it a shell of the man. It has powers of its own of an automatic nature. This shell is the so-called “spirit” of séances. It is a danger to the race. Elementals help this shell at séances. No soul or conscience present. Suicides and executed criminals leave very coherent shells. The principle of desire is common to all the organized kingdoms. It is the brute part of man. Man is now a fully developed quaternary with the higher principles partially developed.
This chapter speaks of the “balance principle”—Kama or desire; it is the fourth principle counting from above or from below, so numerically it stands as the balance of the Seven. It is also the principle which is most developed and in use among men in general, and forms the basis for their actions, and here again it is the “balance” from which the ways go up and down. Being the active principle, desire will be for physical existence and possessions as all in all, or for a, life in spirit and true perception and understanding; it is in these directions that
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“ways go up or down,” the choice resting with each human being, and the results following the choice and effort.
When the human being leaves the body to return to its elements of the physical world, he still possesses the Kamic or desire body of astral substance and for a longer or shorter time according to the intensity of the physical life passed, he thinks and acts in a world of his own creation. When he discards the Kama Rupa, or in other words, dies out of it, as he did from the physical body, it remains coherent for a time and begins to disintegrate, although its coherence as an automatic coherent body may last for a great many years. It is this Kama Rupa which is the chief actor in spiritualistic séances, and whose disintegration is delayed and existence prolonged by mediumistic practices. After “dying” out of the Kama-Rupa, the Real Man ascends to the Devachanic state, a state which may be called the divine personal state, and after exhausting its possibilities, returns to earth-life. This is the general course of mankind; the exceptions are those who, through knowledge and a life in accordance with that knowledge, pass beyond illusion.
Q. The chapter speaks [page 46] about the desires and passions having two aspects, one higher and the other lower. What would be the higher?
A. The higher is the identification of the being with the higher nature, Atma, Buddhi, Manas, and the “lower,” with the physical body, and desires pertaining to physical existence.
Q. If the Kama Rupa is but the mass of desires and passions of the incarnated being, and he has no concern with the people left behind, who would be responsible for the scattering of those evil thoughts and deeds?
A. We might ask ourselves, who is responsible for the contaminating effects of a decaying physical
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body? It could not be the one whose karma carried him out of it, but those who are living upon the plane of “body.” So with the “astral remains”; those who are ignorant of the real nature of man and who make the desire nature the basis of their thoughts and action are liable to that kind of infection, There is also a phase of collective karma involved in the question; the “living” can be affected by the “dead” and the “dead” by the “living”; knowledge and right living—spiritual, intellectual and physical “hygiene”—are the safeguards.
Q. Is that Karma?
A. It is. Effect follows cause, and as the causation proceeds from each being, the effects perceived and felt will be of the nature of the causes set in motion by each one.
Q. I should say it would be terrible?
A. Nothing is terrible that is avoidable. There are destructive as well as constructive forces in the universe; we have to know these in order to live wisely even on this plane; knowledge is also necessary on the hidden side of nature; we are here to learn.
Q. What each incarnating being brings back with him when he enters a body are the skandhas?
A. That is the Sanskrit word for the tendencies of an earthly nature that the being has acquired; they cannot be expressed on any other plane than that of body and Kama, therefore when earth-life is resumed, the being will naturally act along the lines he did in previous lives.
Q. What good then has the vacation in Devachan done him?
A. That depends upon himself. In Devachan the being experiences all that was unselfish and noble in the life last passed, and undoubtedly carries back with him something of this—perhaps much, but falling into the field of passion and desire which he had not conquered
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while in a body before, he too often falls a victim to his weaknesses. Devachan is an effect of the life last lived; whatever of rectification is done must be done while in a body.
Q. What is meant by the master power of imagination? [page 46.]
A. Imagination is the Master Power. This whole universe is due to the image-making power of the beings who compose it. Everything exists first in idea and then is produced concretely. The image-making power lies at the root of all productions and all occult phenomena.
Q. If the principle of desire be not strong, then the master power of imagination cannot work?
A. There must be an image or object to be produced, and the desire to produce must remain until the work is accomplished; this calls for concentration and effort as well as a knowledge of ways and means. But selfish desires never fail to work evil to others as well as to one’s self, so our image-making power should be used for unselfish and high aims.
Q. The “Voice of the Silence” says to desire nothing. Does not that mean personal desires?
A. It means, desire nothing for one’s self. To live to benefit mankind is the first step.
Q. Does the power of the imagination, backed by a strong desire, form an astral body?
A. The power of imagination, backed by a strong desire must produce a form of what is imaged, in some kind of substance, or it could not be perceived as a form in the mind. Even a fleeting thought produces a form, but these, like soap bubbles, soon dissipate; the more the concentration upon a given idea or form, the more lasting and concrete it becomes.
Q. In what is the matrix formed?
A. In the ethereal substance—Prakriti, or some of its densifications; there are several states above the physical. The action is from the Manasic plane,
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the creative. All these states of substance are present everywhere, and are used according to the kind and quality of the idea.
Q. If a Kama Rupa takes possession of the medium’s mind, then it can give forth knowledge that occurs after the death of the person?
A. The Kama Rupa cannot give anything, but impressions are received from it by the mediumistic person; these may he perceived by the medium as ideas, sights, sounds, odors, tastes, etc. The Kama Rupa is—with some exceptions—an automaton, and has neither foresight nor foreknowledge, and is absolutely irresponsible.
Q. The chapter says that the Kama Rupas of suicides or executed criminals can incite others to evil doings?
A. When the body is forcibly destroyed by a legal execution or by suicide, the man is not dead and will not he until his natural life-term is ended. Such an one would seek earthly expression which can be had only through some living body. It is such Kama Rupas that obsess people of like tendencies, and are the most active at spiritualistic séances.
Q. Does such a Kama Rupa act with a conscious knowledge of what he is doing?
A. He acts as he feels and on the line of his desires through whatever channel may be open to him. He wants what he wants and takes it wherever he can get it. I would say that he is conscious of what he wants, but not of any responsibility.
Q. At séances mediums cannot know the nature of the being who controls them?
A. A medium is passive and is subject to any kind of control; such an one provides a channel for anything that may come along. Of course the nature of the mediumistic person has to be taken into account, for according to that will be the kind of attraction afforded.
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Q. Would the reincarnation of a person who longed for death be delayed?
A. Not necessarily. The longing for death might only be when the immediate or prolonged conditions seem to offer death as the only release; where as during the life in question there might have been quite other conditions. The whole life of the person has to be taken into consideration; but who can judge of the karma of another?
Q. It has been said that we were self-conscious when and before this world began?
A. If by “we” is meant the Perceiver, with the accumulated experiences of many lives in other worlds, the statement must be correct; each personality is but a transient and incomplete expression of the Real Man due to the past karma of bodily existence. Our work is to realize more and more our own real nature as spiritual beings, and use the forces we now have in the service of the Higher nature—and that means the service of Humanity in its highest sense.
Q. Then a small portion of our nature has blinded us?
A. Yes—a small and transitory portion which men mistake for the real, and succeed through cause and effect in becoming so immersed in physical existence, while in a body, that all perception of their real nature is lost.
Q. I understand Memory to be a return of impression?
A. It is exactly that. In understanding this return of impression we should consider and apply the Second Fundamental proposition; it states the rule of Law in everything and every circumstance. So many students do not apply this Law of Karma universally enough; it is generally thought of in regard to physical conditions, and perhaps mental, but its operation is found in everything; every fleeting thought or feeling, every cas-
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ual motion, is a cause and must bring about its commensurate effort. All these causes bring their return of impression outwardly and inwardly, and this whether we recognize the impression or not. Many thoughts, feelings, and actions which appear to most people as springing up spontaneously, are in reality due to previous causes set in motion. What we call Memory is a re-collection, re-miniscence, or re-membrance of a very few of life’s impressions, yet all of them go to make up the sum-total of the life’s karma—all of it established by ourselves. In our present condition the prime necessity is to scrutinize our motives, and know why we think, say, or do anything, even the most ordinary. If this course is faithfully followed, we will find ourselves getting control and guiding our thought, words, feelings and acts, as well as preventing the recurrence of many detrimental returns. There is more to the regaining of the “memory of the past,” but as an efficacious step towards knowing ourselves under Theosophical principles, it is recommended.
Q. Does Theosophy speak of prophecy?
A. “Prophecy” is the power to foresee effects, the causes of which have already been established.
Q. In the Chapter it says, “Even a Buddha or Jesus had first to make a vow.” (Page 46) Please explain.
A. We know that if one desires to accomplish anything he must determine to do it and persistently follow the steps that will bring it about. There was a time when Buddha or Jesus was an erring, sinning mortal; the time came when he learned about “the Self within,” and feeling the stirrings of his higher nature, vowed to make that the living power in his life. The motive in such case is not merely that he shall attain, but that he may be the better able to awaken and raise up a humanity which in ignorance creates its own misery. The Masters of Wisdom did the same, and through the Theosophical Movement point out the steps that
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must be taken by all who would follow in the foot steps of the Saviors of Men.
Q. What is the difference between the Astral Plane and the Astral Light?
A. The Astral Light is the invisible plane or region that surrounds our earth—as it does every other; it is a subtle essence visible only to a clairvoyant eye, and the lowest but one (the physical) of the Seven Kosmic Principles. Being the lowest envelope in which the earth floats, and by which the latter is permeated, it is the receiver and container of every evil influence; it can only give out what it receives; it is the “storehouse” so to speak of the moral and physical emanations of humanity; these converted into their subtlest essence, are radiated back intensified and become epidemics, moral, psychic, and physical. It corresponds to the Linga Sarira, or Astral Double, in Man, which is the storehouse of the individual’s moral, psychic and physical tendencies.
A “plane” is a field of action; we speak of acting on the physical plane, astral plane, kamic, manasic, or spiritual planes.
Q. Does it affect mankind as a whole?
A. The general effect is ever present; each being is affected according to the attractions he sets up either consciously or unconsciously; the unconscious is due to past karma, the conscious to the setting up of new causes.
Q. If a man thinks high ideals would he attract high ideals?
A. High ideals do not exist of themselves; they are aspirations of individuals, so it would not be a true concept to imagine that there is a storehouse of high ideals somewhere which we can draw upon; we have to perceive, create and act towards high ideals, in which case our aspirations are re-inforced by the ideals of others upon the same plane of thought and action, due
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to the interdependence and common spiritual nature of all beings.
Q. Is there any special effort indicated in making a vow or pledge, as stated in the chapter?
A. A vow must he in some direction and for some end in view; this implies special effort. In the Preface to Patanjali’s Yoga Aphorisms, Wm. Q. Judge speaks of “a firm position assumed with the end in view of union with the Higher Self.” To take this position one must understand the principles of Man and of Nature; our study of the “Ocean” and other works of the Teachers leads in the direction of this special effort, which is in reality the end in view of all our study.
Q. The statement is made [page 49] that “God within begins with Manas, or Mind”; what does that mean?
A. There is no action unless there is a being to act or feel its effects; Manas is the manifesting or creative power of the being, the active potency or creator. So far as manifestation is concerned it is the “God within,” for manifestation begins with that principle.
Q. Can we work on this physical plane without the principle of Kama?
A. We are at that stage of evolution where the principle of Kama, or Desire, prevails generally; this is because “the God within” has become involved in sentient physical existence and while in that transitory existence sets the causes in motion that inevitably bring the being back to a similar state and condition. In physical existence the state of any human being may be Buddhi-Manasic, or Kama-Manasic; it is Manasic action in both cases, but in the former the action is of the nature of the Spiritual Self, while the latter is action performed from a basis of personal desires and selfishness. We can and should act on this plane from a better basis than personal desire; the object of all our studies is to accomplish this and help others to do likewise.
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Q. If the Masters can work without the principle of Kama on this plane, why can’t we?
A. Because we continue acting from the basis of personal or physical desire; “Freedom from bondage comes from renunciation of self-interest in the fruits of one’s action.” There is a gulf between the motive of self-interest and that which seeks the good of all creatures and nothing for self. The Masters have the knowledge and power to act on any plane because of Their selflessness. Kama is not a means by which action takes place on this plane, but the motive which governs the action.
Q. How can any being contact matter without the principle of Kama?
A. As said before, Kama is not an instrument or means by which the action or contact takes place; it is a basis or motive in use by the actor; the instruments are the astral and physical body. The astral body is a transitory aspect of the substance of the Inner Man in all cases where the “personality” has not been reduced to a cipher as a basis for conscious action. The exceptions are where the being has formed a “permanent astral.” It may be conceived that the Masters have a permanent astral and something more, by which any kingdom of nature or state of matter may be contacted.
Q. When we conquer the tendency to have “the blues” have we lost that Karma?
A. We must get the fact clearly in mind that Karma is Action with its consequent re-action; that the re-action is not something different or separate from the action but a continuation of it. Karma therefore includes all action, good or bad, remedial or otherwise. When we remedy a defect, we do it by some action and we receive the consequent re-action; Karma is the Law of “sowing and reaping”; getting the exact results of our thoughts, words and deeds. We never lose the power to act, so how could we lose our Karma? We are Karma.
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Q. Then holding the idea of joy instead of despondency is an affirmation, is it not?
A. No, it is not. It is a holding to the happiest moment of one’s life, an actual experience that we have had and not an affirmation of something we imagine.
Q. Then you do not deny “the blues”?
A. Neither affirmation nor denial is used. It is folly to deny what we have actual experience of; such denial is simply lying to ourselves and brings us nothing but ignorance and misery in the end. What is needed is knowledge, and knowledge comes only by experience; we must learn to discriminate between that which makes for the highest good and that which holds us back; we could not know pleasure without having known pain; good, without evil; health, without sickness, etc.; it is only through the “pairs of opposites” that we know anything. Knowledge is acquired only through experience; it cannot be “affirmed”; nor can any “denial” take away from an individual what he actually knows.
Q. Can anyone save another?
A. No being, however high can do that. But one with knowledge can show another how to obtain the knowledge he has gained; by following the path that leads to wisdom the ignorant become wise. There is no other way.
Q. In the state of Kama Rupa we have to overcome and throw off all those desires that we have in the physical body. Is that correct?
A. Presuming that it is well understood that the Kama Rupa is only formed after death, and is, as the name implies, the “body of desire,” the prevailing action is along the line of desire in that body while the being is tied to it; but just as we died out of the physical body in which we created the tendencies of the Kama Rupa, so we in time die out of the Kama Rupa and ascend to the Devachanic state or condition. Neither
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in Kama-loka, nor in Devachan, have we the power to throw off the tendencies we have created during our lifetime in the body; in one, we experience the evil effects, and in the other the good effects of “the life last lived.” The only time we have in which to establish good causes is during life-time in the body.
Q. Does dying out of the Kama-Rupa end those desires?
A. It does not. If we have not corrected or eliminated those “desires” during our life-time, we will have the tendency to do as we did before, when we once more enter a new physical body. These “desires” are not caused by the physical body, the astral body or Kama Rupa, but by ourselves as conscious beings while occupying a body. There is no salvation after death.
Q. In the process of evolution we rise by means of this lower principle of desire, and then we have to crush out that same principle. Am I right?
A. No, you have a wrong conception of Evolution, it would seem. Evolution, properly speaking, is the unfolding of a growth of consciousness. All beings begin as, let us say, a spark of consciousness. Growth or unfolding comes from conscious experience, beginning in the highest state of manifested matter and by the action of consciousness producing more and more concrete states of matter until the physical is reached. Evolution begins from above and descends to the lower; then when the lower is conquered, that is to say, is known in its true relation to the being involved, and use is made of the lower instruments according to the behests of the Spirit, the ascent is made plus the experience gained. Personal, selfish desire is the outcome of ignorance of our real nature and goal; because of this ignorance we set in motion those causes which reproduce the desire for sentient existence with all its selfish expressions. We do not rise by selfish desires; we do not progress by means of them; we become in-
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volved in them. Knowledge and effort in the right direction will alone free us from our self-made bonds.
Q. How long does the Ego stay in Devachan?
A. As Devachan is an effect of the life last lived, even if the “effect” is that of the highest and best of that life, the stay in that state varies in kind, quality and duration with each Ego. It may vary from thousands of years, to a very short period; but it must be remembered that “time” to the “departed” is not measured by the earth’s rotation, but by the changes in consciousness experienced; “a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
Q. I think it is very discouraging to say the least.
A. It ought not to be when we realize that it is altogether in our own hands. Whatever comes to us whether good or bad arises from our own thoughts, words and deeds. Discouragement might be felt by those who would like to get what they have not merited, but those who see the truth and do their whole duty see no discouragement anywhere.
Q. What does it mean by the bridge between the Higher and Lower Manas!
A. Any bridge has to be constructed. Manas is the power to think and create. “Higher” means thought and creation from a spiritual basis; “Lower” from a personal, physical, and selfish basis. The real basis and cause lies in the “Higher”; it should be the nature of the “Lower” to express the “Higher” and we, who are now in the self-made bonds of the “Lower,” have to begin to act in accordance with the nature of the “Higher.” We do this by thought and effort acting for and as the One Self in all that we think, do or say; in this way we make the “bridge” that joins the “Lower” to the “Higher.”
Q. Can you say that you have formed this bridge?
A. I can’t say, because a categorical answer would do no good, but I think this may be said, that every-
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one who studies and applies Theosophy, from the very first begins the building of this bridge; every thought in that direction supplies material for the building, and the time must come—if persistent effort is made—when the “builder” will by means of the bridge have one domain instead of two; will live a conscious life in Spirit, even while occupying temporary bodies of flesh.
Manas the fifth principle. The first of the real man. This is the thinking principle and is not the product of brain. Brain is only its instrument. How the light of mind was given to mindless men. Perfect men from older systems gave it to us as they got it from their predecessors. Manas is the storehouse of all thoughts. Manas is the seer. If the connection between Manas and brain is broken the person is not able to cognize. The organs of the body cognize nothing. Manas is divided into upper and lower. Its four peculiarities. Buddha, Jesus, and others had Manas fully developed. Atma the Divine Ego. The permanent individuality. This permanent individuality has been through every sort of experience in many bodies. Manas and matter have now a greater facility of action than in former times. Manas is bound by desire, and this makes reincarnation a necessity.
Q. How can we arouse Intuition?
A. Intuition means “Direct cognition and comprehension,” without reasoning from premises to conclusions; it is a power that every human being has, either latent, or operative in some degree. It is beyond or above the reasoning faculty; the bar to its operation is our tendency to depend upon our reasoning powers, based as they are upon our superficial and incomplete common knowledge. This common knowledge is based upon our personalities in their relation to the external world, and does not take into account the spiritual na-
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ture of Man, who is the real Seer and Thinker. To arouse the Intuition, the false views of Man and Nature so generally held have to be replaced by the knowledge of these that Theosophy imparts. Not only has the mental perception to be gained, but all our thinking must be based upon this right knowledge. We will then stand as the Immortal, changeless Thinker, who witnesses all appearances as changing expressions of conscious beings, and can see beyond any and all expressions to the essential spiritual nature of every entity. Each and every manifestation, physical, psychical or otherwise, is an expression from within outwards; the “eye of Spirit” is not limited to, nor deceived by, the manifestation, appearance or expression, but with that “inner sight” turned upon the whole nature within and without of the being gazed upon—so to speak—has a full comprehension of the purpose and value of the appearance or expression. This is not a reasoning from premises to conclusions, but is a direct and instantaneous cognition of all the facts and factors as well as their contingent expressions on all planes. The perfection of this divine faculty can only be attained when the aspirant is neither attached to nor disturbed by any externalities whatever, and when he has that additional knowledge that living the higher life implants. A Master once wrote, “The more unselfishly one works for his fellow men and divests himself of the illusionary sense of personal isolation, the more he is free from Maya and the nearer he approaches Divinity.”
Q. If the Perceiver notes all the changes and is constant through all the changes, why is it that He does not know the change of death from physical existence?
A. We are all Perceivers; the question is what do we now perceive or know of the changes antecedent to birth? Each can answer for himself. If we were conscious of the change called “birth,” how have we come to forget it? The answer is naturally that the conditions brought about by the “change” have so absorbed
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our perceptions that the new conditions are for the time being “our life.” We are conscious during the state of the body called sleep, but are we conscious of the “change” from the waking state? We are all Perceivers it is true, but there are two great classes of Perceivers, namely, those who are conscious of all changes, and those who are not. The Life of the Perceiver is continuous and is not dependent upon physical, astral or other expressions of it. While in the body he is occupied with the physical objective world; when he leaves the body, he is still occupied with the thoughts, feelings and desires of that physical world and continues to be so until the force of these dies out; he is continually surrounded by and occupied with a world of his own making, and in his conception he is still the same person as in life; he is still the same person when he enters the Devachanic condition, only in that state, he is in that condition of bliss which, while living, represented to him the highest, noblest and most divine state desirable. Such are the states of all those who while in a physical body do not know, realize and express their real spiritual nature. They are the effects of the life last lived. Quite different is the case of one who during any life has united the purified lower mind to the Divine Triad; he lives a conscious existence in Spirit, not in matter, even while occupying bodies of temporary duration; he knows the purpose and value of each terrestrial embodiment, and gladly leaves its limiting conditions when that purpose is fulfilled; what we call “death,” to him is but a welcome relief, for he then can resume his spiritual life and activity unhampered. His rebirths from that time on will be conscious and chosen ones and for the purpose of aiding those who are still lost in the clouds of illusion; he will have no Kama Loka, no Devachan, nor any illusion or predilection for physical existence; for him there is no death nor sense of it, for he lives in full consciousness all the time.
Q. Would such an one be conscious in the body?
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A. He would be conscious all the time, whether entering a body, living in it, or leaving it temporarily or wholly.
Q. On page 53, it is stated that mind is given to the mindless monads by others who have passed through the same process. It does not state how that is done?
A. No doubt much is left out that might be said, in occult teaching, one reason being that with our present knowledge and conceptions no explanation could be offered that we would understand, and another is, that in all Theosophic teaching there is an endeavor to arouse the Intuition by presenting universal principles, processes and analogies, which the student shall apply and thus find the answer to his questions. There is an old occult maxim which says, “As above, so below”; the reverse is also true, “as below, so above,” for the “below” is a transformed and conditioned expression of the “above.” Taking this into consideration, and remembering that all beings are septenary in nature, and that in the case of beings below Man the principle of Manas is latent and must in the course of evolution be energized and lighted up by those who had become active Manasic beings in previous periods of evolution; taking all these facts into consideration, what can we find within our experience that would give us an idea of how “mind” is given to the “mindless.” In taking any example within our experience we should understand that the word “mind,” as used in the text, refers to the active, operative, Manasic principle, and “mindless” to the same principle, neither active nor operative, but latent. Now take the case of an infant born into the world—so far as this plane of perception and expression is concerned, the child is “mindless”; those who are its parents or guardians by degrees arouse into action the latent power of understanding, the mind, and give to the child as much of their knowledge as the growing mind is able to receive. Can we not conceive of an incipient humanity in its early stages of instructibility
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being given by degrees the knowledge of those with “mind”? And is it not true that while we as an incipient humanity were so instructed in those early periods, we are still in need of further instruction, and are receiving it through the sacrifice and effort of those who gave Theosophy to the world in general?
Q. Is Manas a changeless principle?
A. Manas is the third principle of the Triad—Atma, Buddhi-Manas, which constitute the Ego; as a principle it is changeless; its possibilities of manifestation are endless.
Q. The Secret Doctrine states in effect that those with minds, entered into and ensouled the “mindless”; this implies contact rather than instruction, does it not?
A. It implies both, for instruction requires some kind of contact, psychical, mental or physical. The analogy may be found in the case of the infant: the infant body is a mindless entity; the incarnating ego is a manasic entity who needs the help of egos in bodies in order to gain a knowledge of the physical world as it exists at the time of birth, and to the degree that its Karma permits. On the other hand the responsibility of the parents or guardians is great in that the budding perceptions should be rightly guided; especially is this so with Theosophical parents.
Q. Then “lighting up” is a matter of thought?
A. In occultism Thought is the plane of Action. Everything flows from Thought; according to the nature and kind of thought will be the action. Right thought is accompanied by right feeling, and will to perform. So when we think of a thing, there is Will and Feeling present to some degree. All human beings think, their thoughts being founded upon their ignorance or their knowledge; the term therefore of “a matter of thought” would be misleading to those who imagine that by thought “they can add one cubit to their stature,” or dodge their karma. Everything depends upon the char-
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acter of thought, the motive, and the knowledge possessed. “Lighting up” means the arousing of the thinking faculty, which is probably what the question intended.
Q. Are not thought” and “intellect” one and the same?
A. It depends upon what we consider to be the meaning of the words. Everybody thinks and therefore uses “thought.” but we would not consider everybody to be intellectual. From a theosophical point of view “intellectuality” pertains to the brain—mind and denotes a facility in mental technique, rather than a soul perception and understanding. Intellectuality per se is hard, cold and mechanical, but as an instrument used by the real Man within, it is of the greatest value; in the former case it is a prideful expression of the personality; in the latter an instrument of the soul subserving the highest interests of humanity. In the Gita, a foot-note describes Buddhi as the highest intellection, in other words “divine intellection”; its opposite would be Kama, the lowest intellection, or that which is based upon personal desires and physical existence. The word “thought” is abstract and universal, and therefore has not the conditioned meanings that the word “intellect” presents.
Q. Cannot spiritual self-consciousness be attained after death when the soul is relieved from the struggle of life?
A. The states after death are but the effects of the life last lived; they therefore present a continuation of that life in its different degrees, and an interim between lives; the only basis that the “departed” has to work with is what was obtained and held to during life in the body; spiritual self-consciousness and release from the necessity of re-birth can only be attained while occupying a body.
Q. The chapter speaks of Manas as being the principle
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which carries forward the memory from day to night and night to day, and from one life to another. I understood it was Buddhi?
A. Man is a Triad; the three principles which compose the Triad are named as Atma-Buddhi-Manas; there is no Manas without Buddhi, no Buddhi without Atma. If we do not materialize the idea too much, we might conceive of Buddhi as a specialization of Atma, and Manas as a specialization of Buddhi. Buddhi is the Spiritual Ego; Manas is the Higher Human Mind, the creative manifesting aspect of the being. Buddhi is the store-house of Wisdom, Manas the use of it. As memory implies action and Manas is the aspect employed in action, it is correct to say that Manas carries forward the memory of that which it instituted and experienced.
Q. Animals have memory apparently; is it the action of Manas in them?
A. The animals have not arrived at self-consciousness, therefore Manas is latent in them; what they possess is Instinct—or established habit, which will repeat itself under proper stimulation or conditions. Habit is memory in the cells and organs of the body; animals, especially the higher ones, have a strongly marked memory of this kind, but it is far from the human kind with its re-collection, re-membrance and re-miniscence.
Q. On page 59 the statement is made that the inner body of Man is made of thought?
A. No doubt this statement was formulated—like many others in the book—in order to make students think. The word “thought” may be used in two ways, one, the abstract—the power to think—without any exercise of the faculty, and “thought” in regard to one or many things. It has been stated that Thought is the plane of Action; all actions flow from thought; also, it is clear that there can be no thinking unless there is something to think about. Any body, inner or outer,
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is formed from substance, the higher states of which are more responsive to the power of thought than the lower, and we can conceive of a state of substance so homogeneous in its nature as to respond instantaneously to any thought projected by the Thinker, the Real Man, the more concrete states of substance of course requiring persistent concentrated thought in order to effect changes, especially in what we call “matter” of which our physical bodies are composed. We have to remember also that every state and plane of substance is composed of homogeneous lives, or those that have become more or less differentiated; each of those lives is a conscious center, whatever its particular differentiated expression may be; this conscious center is the same as the conscious center of Man and may be called “Thought” in the abstract sense. It is through this inherent power to perceive on the part of all lives, that direction or impulse can be given or received. When we consider all these things we may obtain some conception of what was in the Teacher’s mind when he wrote the statement referred to.
Q. Is speech a product of the Mind?
A. What else could it be? The desire to communicate with others must have arisen first in the mind; then the means by which that could be brought about had to be worked out in sounds having agreed meanings—all arising from desirability perceived by the Mind.
Q. Why is it that when we are awake we can remember the waking state, and know it and compare it with the dream state; yet in the dream state we cannot remember the waking state?
A. When one says “I dreamed,” he is in the waking state and is surrounded by the external conditions that go to make up that state of consciousness; he is therefore comparing the state in which he finds himself with another state whose surroundings are not then
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present or evident. On the other hand in the dreaming state, all that made up his waking state is absent from his perceptions and he is surrounded by a world of his own creation, which for the time being is objective and real to him; his perceptions are “awake” to the dream and immersed in it, so he has nothing before him to compare the states of waking and dreaming with. Should he be able to make comparisons, the dream state would cease and he would be awake. There are many kinds of “dreams” so-called, the highest of them being recollections of the activity and real awakeness of the Inner Man, but these are not ordinarily translatable into terms of bodily consciousness.
Q. How can Lower Manas be united to Higher Manas?
A. There is but one Manas in reality; what is called Lower Manas is a temporary aspect of the One Manas, connected with, and conditioned by, physical existence under Karmic re-action. In this relation it produces the illusion of separateness, from which flow desire and selfishness. Ignorance of our real spiritual and egoic nature produces a separate and personal basis of thought and action which bring their karmic results. Knowledge and understanding of our real nature, together with thought and action based upon it consistently and persistently, make Manas one again; the lower temporary “self” disappears. The “Voice of the Silence” says, “The self of Matter and the Self of Spirit can never meet; there is no place for both.”
Q. Have the Egos a universal language?
A. Not in the ordinary sense of the term, that is, some special mode of speech, or mode of communication, common to all egos. It is more nearly described as communication of ideas and experiences by means of pictures. In the Secret Doctrine [vol. 1, page 293] “Kriyasakti” is described as “the mysterious power of thought which enables it to produce external, perceptible, phenomenal results by its own inherent energy.” This is an egoic
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power which has no need of language in our sense, that is, sounds and corresponding signs, but can use a “living picture” exhibiting all the qualities contained in the idea which it represents. This question brings up an important point: we have to learn the “language” of the Inner Ego, so that we can make proper translation in terms of our thinking. For at all times the “language” of the plane through which the Ego floats nightly is a foreign one to the brain we use; on this higher plane a sound may be pictured as a color or a figure; a historical event may not only be shown as a picture, but as a light or shadow, etc. We need to be able not only to perceive and record in the physical memory these impressions, but to understand their meanings; this is only possible by making ourselves porous, so to speak, to the influences from the higher Self, and by living and thinking in such a manner as will be most likely to bring about the aim of the soul. This leads us unerringly to virtue and knowledge, for the vices and the passions eternally becloud our perception of what the Ego tries to tell us. The hindrance is found in our own daily life and terms of speech, thought and feeling which form the basis of our personal existences.
Q. What is Polarity?
A. Everything in Nature has its own kind of Polarity; that is, each object or element is attracted by certain other objects or elements, and is repelled by still others. The normal polarity of our bodies causes them to remain on the earth, the latter being positive to our bodies and our bodies negative to the earth. Yet there are many attested instances where the polarity of the body becomes so changed as to cause it to be held in suspension some little distance above the earth; this change is called “levitation”—a misnomer, for it presupposes that the body becomes lighter and therefore floats in the air; the condition is due to a change in polarity whereby the body becomes more positive to the earth’s positivity, the two positives repelling each
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other to a greater or less extent according to the degree of positivity aroused in the body. Polarity is a state which includes the two poles—positive and negative.
Q. Page 57 speaks of memory presenting pictures to Lower-Manas and therefore Higher Manas is obscured. Please explain?
A. Lower-Manas is that aspect of Manas which is connected with, and interested in, physical existence; the astral-physical brain is the instrument of registration and expression of the memories of physical life, the storehouse, so to speak, of personal experiences. When the person is not occupied actively in thought and action with some subject or object, the astral-physical brain presents pictures of past scenes, thoughts and feelings; herein lies the cause of most dreams. Even when awake and active, there underlies our mental activity this memory stratum of personality which colors what we think, say and do. In all ways, in the generality of human beings, this automatic resurgence obscures the action of the Higher Mind, the Real Ego.
Q. Would Nature impel us under a working of the Law of Periodicity?
A. It should be understood when using the term “Nature” that it means “the collective action of all beings of every grade.” It is not a guide or overseer who will look after us and propel us in the right, or any direction. The Law of Periodicity brings back that which had been; the individual is either prepared through right ideas to go forward, or he is not, because of false conceptions; he feels the effects of the Law of Periodicity according to his advance or retrogression; he takes his own place in the general grind of the wheel of Collective Karma.
Q. Would it be desirable to live nearer the Sun?
A. It is not a question of desirability with any being; it is always a question of karmic affinity. The
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law of our own being places us where we belong, and from the point of view of progress, we cannot start from any place than where we are. If the question intended to ask if planets nearer the Sun are inhabited by more advanced humanities, it is stated that they are.
We have concluded the Seventh chapter; it might be well to run briefly over the ground that has been traversed and grasp something of the sequence of the chapters. The first chapter deals with the existence of living beings who have become perfected in wisdom, knowledge and power during past vast periods, to whom the title of “Masters of Wisdom” has been given. This chapter is largely devoted to pointing to the fact of the existence of such beings making Their presence felt among men at certain periods; that what is called Theosophy is a portion of the knowledge of those perfected beings, and that They are the custodians of all knowledge gained through the vast periods that have passed. It is important for the student to grasp and hold to these facts, for on the one hand they point to the Masters as ideals and as facts, as well as the goal towards which mankind should aspire, and on the other, to Theosophy as Their Message to Mankind, as a knowledge gained through observation and experience, and not a theory or dogma invented by man. There is also another fact known to older students and one which beginners would do well to hear in mind, namely, that the student’s acceptance and recognition of Theosophy and the Masters as stated brings about a subtle connection between the inner nature of the student and those Masters, and renders help from Them possible through that inner nature.
The Second chapter begins, as all study should begin, with a statement of general principles, the general laws governing the Cosmos and the seven-fold division throughout manifestation. It also gives the real age
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of the world as well as that of Humanity, and shows that Mind is the intelligent portion of the Cosmos, and that the process of becoming is under the Law of Perodicity, that is, the return of that which was, plus the intelligence gained; for evolution is accomplished by the Egos within, who at last become the users of human forms.
The Third chapter deals with our Earth, showing it to be also seven-fold in composition and nature, and to be subject to the general laws governing the Universe. Applying the Law of Periodicity to the Earth, it is shown as a re-embodiment of a planet which preceded it—the Moon in fact; that a mass of Egos belong to each planet—such as Venus, Mars, etc., and that they constitute the evolutionary forces behind and within each of these planets; that our Earth is in the fourth stage of evolution, other planets being more or less advanced than we.
Chapter Four treats of the Constitution of Man, giving his seven-fold principles, divided into the three higher principles which constitute the Real Man, and the four lower ones which are the transitory aspects on earth of the three higher principles—the Real Man.
Chapter Five treats of the Body and Astral as the lowest of the classification given. The physical body is shown to be an illusion in the sense that its component parts are constantly undergoing change; that Life is not the result of the bodily organism, but that our perceptions proceed from, and are received by, our sense organs in the Astral body, so far as the physical experiences are concerned, the Astral body being in fact the point of physical contact for embodied creatures. There is also shown the part that the Astral body plays at séances, and that it also accounts for telepathy, clairvoyance, clairaudience, and all such psychical phenomena. There is no particular chapter devoted to Prana, because it is an aspect of the One Life, which flows from and is the expression of each degree
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of acquired intelligence—or power of perception and action.
Chapter Six considers the fourth principle, Desire or Kama. It is called “the balance principle” because according to the nature of the desire will the trend of the entity be, either towards the spiritual, or the earthly. This principle is in the astral body and is the cause for the physical body; the body does not give rise to it, but only affords a means for its physical expression. Desire has both a lower and higher aspect.
Chapter Seven treats of the Fifth principle—Manas, the first from below of the Real Man. During incarnation Manas, the thinker, is connected with and immersed in physical existence; this connection is called Lower Manas as distinguished from Higher Manas, that aspect of the Thinker which relates to His real spiritual nature. As long as Manas is bound by desire, reincarnation is a necessity. As Higher Manas, it is the permanent individuality which carries the results and values of all the different lives lived on earth and elsewhere. As Lower-Manas it interferes with the action of Higher Manas, because at the present point of evolution, Desire and all corresponding powers, faculties and senses are most fully developed, and occupy the attention of the entity while in the body, thus obscuring the action of Higher-Manas, the spiritual and permanent individuality. Lower-Manas uses the human brain to reason from premises to conclusions, but this is the lower aspect of Manas and not, as many suppose, the highest and best. The higher aspect of Manas is the intuitional, which knows, and does not depend upon reason; in this case it is Manas lighted by Buddhi; in the other, Manas involved in Desires.
Why is man as he is and how did he come? What the Universe is for. Spiritual and physical evolution demand reincarnation. Reincarnation on the physical plane is re-embodiment or alteration of form. The whole mass of matter of the globe will one day be men in a period far distant. The doctrine ancient. Held by the early Christians. Taught by Jesus. What reincarnates. Life’s mysteries arise from incomplete incarnation of the higher principles. It is not transmigration to lower forms. Explanation of Manu on this.
This chapter and the two following deal with reincarnation. While the word “reincarnation” is in very general use these days, having filtered into the public mind from Theosophic teachings, there still exists a lamentable ignorance in regard to its scope and meaning. A very common idea is that the “personality” reincarnates, but there could hardly be a more unphilosophical, illogical and obviously incorrect one. Some spiritualists, dogmatic Christians, and even minds of a materialistic bent have adopted the word and given it their own peculiar applications, so that when one of these says “I believe in reincarnation,” little or no knowledge of “What reincarnates” is most likely to be found. The world therefore needs students who learn correctly and apply their knowledge, so that ‘in time by their numbers and knowledge, the true under-
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standing may filter through to those less learned. We are students, it is true, but from the very first we can and should be teachers to those who know still less than we do; we can tell what we know, but we should be very careful that we are so well informed that we will not convey false impressions. Chapters VIII, IX and X, are devoted to Reincarnation, and Chapter XI, to Karma; these two doctrines are what the world most needs and we as students should devote ourselves to a full understanding of them for the sake of others, as well as our own understanding and progress.
Q. If the law of reincarnation is just, why is it that the Jewish race has been so persecuted?
A. In considering any question of experience we have first of all to take into account the Law of Karma—action and re-action, or sowing and reaping; this on the face of it cannot be anything else but exact justice. Reincarnation is the result of karmic action, and also offers the opportunity to set better causes in motion. If selfishness rules in any one life, evil causes are set in motion the results of which must be adjusted either in that life or a following one. The tendency of selfishness is to increase with each incarnation, and if a people or individuals continue in that course, they will continually injure others and bring about their own re-actions at the hands of those injured. So if we find any people particularly marked out for persecution, we may be sure that as egos in other times they had been the offenders and are reaping what they sowed.
Q. What was it that began evolution?
A. The course of Being is an ever-becoming. Ever-becoming is endless, therefore beginningless. This solar system and its planets of course had a beginning and will have an ending, but every manifestation is but a further becoming of that which had been. Periods of Manifestation and Non-Manifestation succeed each other in Infinite Space, to which neither beginning nor
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ending can be applied (see the Second Fundamental Proposition of the Secret Doctrine). The ancient way of stating any beginning is, “the Desire first arose in It”: IT referring to Spirit, which is the cause and sustainer of all that was, is, or shall be. There is a beginning to the first glimmerings of external consciousness, which ever tends to widen its range of perception and manifestation until it encompasses and becomes at one with All; Potential Spirit having become Potent Intelligence. The ending of the process results in a new beginning based upon the totality of intelligence attained. Whatever begins in time ends in time. Time is clue to perceptions of Consciousness; as the Secret Doctrine says, “Time is an illusion produced by the procession of events before our consciousness”; beginnings and endings pertain to that “illusion,” and not to the beginningless and endless Spirit which is the Perceiver. As the Gita says, “The Spirit in the body is called Maheswara, the great Lord, the Spectator, the admonisher, the sustainer, the enjoyer, and also the Paramatma, the highest soul”; itself without beginning or ending, it makes beginnings and endings in manifestations, which as manifestations are beginningless and endless in their turn.
Q. What does it mean on page 68 where it says, “And as all the matter which the human Ego gathered to it retains the stamp or photographic impression of the human being, the matter transmigrates to the lower level when given an animal impress by the Ego?
A. Mr. Judge had been explaining how the erroneous idea of the transmigration of souls to the animal kingdom had arisen. The substance which composes our astral and physical bodies is the embodiment of innumerable small “lives”; while we use these “lives” as points of contact with the astral and physical world, we at the same time impress them with our feelings, whether these be low or high, and when the “lives” depart from our bodies to be replaced by oth-
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ers, as is continually being done, the impress we have given them will carry them to whatever kingdom the impress is related to. According to the impress we give these “lives” we advance or retard evolution.
Q. If there is an inharmonious condition of the lives in the body, do they attack proportionately every life within that body, or only certain organs?
A. Any inharmony in the body disturbs the whole. There is not only obstruction, but a vitiation of the bodily processes in a progressive way if the cause of the diseased condition is not found, and causal and remedial measures are not adopted.
Q. It has been found in post-mortem examinations that every tissue in the body is affected.
A. That would naturally follow because of the circulatory system. The blood is representative of and carries with it an essence from all the organs; any unhealthy organ distributes vitiation throughout the body.
Q. The lives of the lower kingdoms go back to their own kingdoms on the dissolution of the body. Would that not be retrogression? What is the Karma of those lives?
A. It would be a mistake to suppose that the lives which compose our bodies go back to their respective kingdoms only on the dissolution of the body; there is a constant coming and going during our lifetime, through the food and in other ways. The “lives” are not the same when they go as when they come; they may remain on the human plane or may go to lower kingdoms according to the impress given them by the human being. It is the impress given them that determines their destination; the Karma is that of the human being who gave the impress and impulse; the retrogression—if it may be so called—is due to the human being. The “lives” having no sense of responsibility nor volition are not karmically responsible; their nature is action, but action under impulsion; their degree of consciousness
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is not changed, but their modes of action may be. Retrogression applies to consciousness, not to form; for example, a being in human form may ascend to divine heights or descend below the brute in consciousness.
Q. Does Man use the same material or lives over and over again?
A. He uses the same kind of lives, those that are of the same nature as his tendencies. “Lives” that he has used and impressed may be in other forms of the human kingdom, or in lower kingdoms as the case may be. There is a constant interchange going on, like attracting like.
Q. Then Man really can change the nature of the lives which compose his body?
A. If he could not, he would be at the mercy of his body—subject to its condition. We know that good habits can be acquired through thought and effort in those directions; similarly with bad habits; these changes are due to the impress given the lives in our body by Thought, Feeling and Effort. But the body is the least of our troubles. Were our thoughts based upon the Eternal Verities, our efforts would be for true understanding and right purpose; the bodily conditions would follow in due course. If our thoughts are concerned with the body, the possibilities are very limited, because of the limitation of thought to the bodily plane.
Q. The chapter speaks of the “personality”; will we have the same personality again?
A. The word “Personality” comes from the Latin word “Persona”—a mask, by means of which we conceal or express our inward feelings. It is the inner ideas, and feelings, the general character—that is meant by the word “personality”: the latter is in a constant state of change, whether that be great or small. The “way we used to think and feel” is not “as we feel now or think.” The personality in the next
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life will he made up of tendencies engendered in past lives with the addition of those of the present one, subject to the conditions into which those tendencies have brought us; those conditions may include change in sex, condition and environment. The feeling of “identity” that all have is not due to the body or its environment, but to the Egoic nature of each.
Q. Why do they condemn reincarnation in the Christian churches?
A. Because they have followed the lead of the Church Fathers who anathematized the doctrine in the early centuries of the Christian Era. There is evidence throughout the Old and New Testament that Reincarnation was a doctrine generally accepted; the Jews were constantly expecting “the return” of their prophets, that is, the re-embodiment or reincarnation of one who had occupied a body before. In the New Testament there are a number of allusions to it such as that when the disciples asked where is the prophet Elias who was expected to come before Jesus, and Jesus replied that Elias had been with them, but they knew him not, and the disciples knew “that he spake of John the Baptist.”
Q. What did Christ mean when he said he brought not Peace but a Sword?
A. It is stated in the New Testament that he said these words. We must remember all the time that the one known as Jesus left no writings, and that all we know of him is contained in writings of men who are presumed to have heard the words and correctly inscribed them. We are therefore not in a position to know that anything written about Jesus is correctly transcribed; we can only interpret such sayings on the basis of the general character of the teachings of Jesus. It is evident from the records found, that some One in the world of men had uttered the doctrines generally ascribed to Jesus; there is no historical evidence, however, of the existence of such an one at the time agreed
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upon by the Christian world. None of these things militate against the truth and merit of such sayings as are reputed to have been uttered by him; the truth and the merit must lie in the sayings themselves, and not in the identity of the one who said them. We have to compare, for instance, the statement that Jesus came to bring “peace on earth and good-will towards men” with the one which says he came not to bring peace but a sword, and endeavor to reconcile them. If, as the teachings ascribed to him show, he taught Charity, Forgiveness and an all-inclusive Altruism, together with a recognition of the divinity in all, what could he have meant by the “sword,” an implement of destruction? The records regarding his sayings and acts point to a struggle against the false religions of the day; the overturning of the tables of the money-changers in the temple; the violation of the prevailing ideas in regard to the Sabbath day and other acts bespeak a war against false conceptions. Further—as a divine incarnation—he must have known what would follow from a misunderstanding and misuse of his teachings, for he spoke of that generation as perverse and wicked, and that while his mission was intended to bring peace, its misunderstanding and misuse would bring its opposite, the sword. In connection with this, is it not a fact that wherever Christianity has gone, a sword has accompanied it? And is it not before our eyes at this time that the world-war was brought about by and fought between so-called Christian nations? We must conclude then that the saying was a true one, and that while his mission was one of peace and good will, mankind has done and is doing to his teachings what they did to his body and his clothing: They “divided his garments among them, and for his vesture cast lots.” His “garments” is a symbol for his teachings, and his vesture for “his name.”
Q. The Gita says there is no existence for what does not exist, nor is there any non-existence for what
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exists. Everything must have existed at all times surely?
A. Whatever is has become what it is; whatever is to be will also be a “becoming.” Evolution is the process of becoming, an unfolding from within outwards; having “unfolded” there is no non-existence for it, but an extension of unfoldment. The great Ocean of Life contains infinite possibilities of existence, but itself is not ex-istent, for the word means to emerge, to stand forth, to stand out (ex-sistere). The Ocean of Life is the source and sustainer of all existences; that which has emerged exists; that which has not emerged has no existence.
Q. There being the One Life and the One Law, it would appear that all would start at the same time?
A. We are confronted by the fact of the kingdoms of beings below Man and that of Man himself; the present state of these kingdoms shows that there was a difference in the beginnings of them as beings—or existences. What we need to do is to study and apply the philosophy of life as it is given to us, so that we may know why things are as they are and what the real purpose of existence is. Law rules in all this, not sentiment.
Q. If Consciousness—the Perceiver, never changes, what is it that evolves?
A. The Perceiver has the power to perceive and to increase his range of perceptions. His power to perceive is not changed by reason of any perceptions gained; he can always continue to increase his field of perceptions. As his perceptions increase in range, he evolves a better instrument through which to give and receive impressions. An ever-increasing Intelligence and a betterment of form constitute the evolution.
Q. But if the Perceiver never changes, what is the link that binds him to his evolutions?
A. His knowledge of them; he cannot unknow
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what he knows. Upon the basis of his acquired knowledge further knowledge can be acquired. The universe is evolved, ruled and sustained by Intelligence.
Q. What is the Will?
A. Will is the energy of Consciousness expressed in action, on any plane of manifestation. There are many aspects of the Will, from the ordinary one which is “the will to live” and is expressed in the automatic physical action, such as the heart-beat, digestion, etc.; that of the actions following on ordinary thought, desires and wants; that which is developed by various forms of practice; to the highest phase, that of the Spiritual Will. This phase is developed by true unselfishness, a sincere and full desire to be guided, ruled and assisted by the Higher Self, and to do that which, and suffer or enjoy whatever, the Higher Self has in store for one by way of discipline or experience.
Q. Mr. Judge says that the entrance to incarnation is through food [page 68]. What is meant by that?
A. A hint is given in the chapter in regard to the actual physical processes which have to be undergone by the Ego in passing from the unembodied to the embodied state. It is clear that our bodies are formed from and sustained by food from conception to the death of the body. This food is drawn from the physical kingdoms of nature and is transmuted into the various elements that go to make up and sustain the body and its processes. Reproduction is going on all the time in the blood, cells, organs and finer constituents of the body, and is necessarily influenced and characterized by the ideas and feelings of the conscious entity inhabiting the body. It is not difficult to conceive of a transmutation of all these reproductions into one synthetic condition, such as will provide a point of contact for the astral body of the reincarnating entity, and a means for the gradual concretion of the physical body, organs and processes before birth.
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Q. On page 66, the chapter says that Atma-Buddhi Manas is not yet fully incarnated in this race. What does this mean?
A. The statement is that the Divine Triad, containing as it does the knowledge gained through all past lives, has not reached the point where this knowledge is available on this plane. Atma-Buddhi-Manas is the Triad. The entering wedge, so to speak, which makes the connection between the Inner Man and the physical world, is Manas, the Thinker and Mind. The long course of evolution necessary to transmute the physical elements into a responsive tenement for the indwelling Ego has so centered the attention of the Ego upon the body and its surroundings—the external physical world—that while using a body in its periodic incarnations, it is bound by its previous thoughts and actions under the law of Karma, reaping what had been sown in previous lives, and sowing similar seeds for the future. This only permits of Manasic operation on the physical plane, because the ideas held are based upon that plane and relate to it, thus leaving the vast store of past and inner experiences unavailable. This is the condition of Humanity as a whole; yet there never has been a time when a gaining of full knowledge and control was impossible to the individual. It is because of this incompleteness of incarnation that we find so many psychological mysteries among human beings. Personal psychological experiences are usually taken to be communications from higher beings, the nature of the supposed being varying with the personal ideas held; whereas, with few exceptions, such experiences are due to imperfect conceptions of the nature and powers of the Inner Man. Experiments in hypnotism have shown several so-called “personalities” speaking through one person, and each of them different in character from the others and the person experimented upon. The explanation may be found in the fact that in many cases the abnormal condition
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which hypnosis produces permits fugitive and unrelated experiences of past existences to be perceived, and adopted as present actualities. As the present cycle moves on, more and more of these and other psychological “mysteries” will become evident; these will always remain mysteries to present-day Western Psychology, but the Ancient Wisdom of the East solves them all.
Q. What is it that prevents our psychologists, scientists and religious teachers from knowing these things?
A. Ignorance and pride. Ignorance of the real nature of Man and the purpose of existence, and pride in their own personal predilections and pursuits. Centuries of materialistic conceptions of religion, science, and life in general, have served to close the intellects of men to any true perceptions of the nature of the very intelligence they are using in these pursuits. Beliefs take the place of knowledge, and theories the place of understanding, because both belief and theory proceed from the basis of terrestrial existence instead of the spiritual real and permanent source of all manifestation.
Q. Surely Religion is not materialistic?
A. The word “religion” is said to be derived from the Latin “re-ligere,” to re-tie, or bind back, to the source of all. There is true Religion; there are also false religions. A false religion is one which is based on materialistic conceptions of Deity and Life, such as a Personal God, existing apart from the universe; a Personal Savior; a Personal Heaven eternal in its duration; a Personal Hell also eternal; all of these misconceptions based upon physical existence and separateness are therefore wholly materialistic.
Q. Would you say that our modern science and psychology are also materialistic?
A. Fully as much as present-day religions. Science is content with an examination of physical forms and elements and their attributes as observed separ-
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ately and in combination. To account for the “facts” thus established many theories have been deduced, such as the “atom” the “electron,” the “ion,” and the latest “vitalism”—scientists are evidently unable to discard their ideas of a material basis for all that was, is, or shall be. Western Psychology is as bad or worse, for its groundwork is research into the ideas, feelings and emotions of the human brain-mind, which itself is founded on physical existence. No spiritual knowledge can come from such methods; they resemble those of Bunyan’s “Pilgrim” with his muck-rake, expecting to find the Soul of the world amidst the purgations of matter.
Q. Have we not the Word of God in the Christian Bible?
A. There is no such claim in the Bible itself, and further, we know that every word in that book was written by men, from Genesis to Revelation. The various manuscripts that compose the Bible were also selected by men on their own judgment, and the statement that the compilation is the word of God was also invented by men. There is no reason to believe that human nature was any less fallible in ancient times than it is now; it is therefore the part of wisdom to judge every book on its own intrinsic merits, and not on any pretended authority. Once the Bible is read in the light of the facts, and a comparison is made between the vital statements therein and those of ancient religions it will be found that “there is nothing new under the Sun,” as Solomon said. Every so-called Revelation has been presented by men and in each case has been but a transmitting of what was known before. Whatever any man accepts or rejects, he does so of his own choice and is therefore his own authority: he should always use his best discrimination in the examination of everything presented to him for his acceptance, at the same time making certain that he has all the facts. Authority on such matters has been the
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bane of humanity for ages, for it is certain that all that a man can know of the Supreme is what he knows in, through, and by himself.
Q. What would you say is the reason that men in general adhere to their religions?
A. The ethics that are contained in every religion worthy of the name. These ethics are the same in all religions, and are recognized as true and essential by all thinking people because they make for true happiness and progress, and because they are perceptions of the spiritual man within. Men differ as to the source of the ethics only, some esteeming them as commands or revelations from some God, prophet, reformer or what not, while the more intelligent perceive them to be expressions of spiritual law and inherent in every spiritual being. The existence of the same ethics in the various religions contravenes the promulgated differences of extraneous sources. There is but one source, the spiritual and essential nature of Man himself.
Objections urged. Desire cannot alter law. Early arrivals in heaven. Must they wait for us? Recognition of the soul not dependent on objectivity. Heredity not an objection. What heredity does. Divergences in heredity not recognized. History goes against heredity. Reincarnation not unjust. What is justice? We do not suffer for another’s but for our own deeds. Memory. Why we do not remember other lives. Who does? How to account for increase of population.
Q. On page 71 is stated, that as we progress in this life, so also must we progress on leaving it, and it would be unfair to compel the others to await our arrival in order that we may recognize them. It seems there is progress after death, more so in fact than during life in the body?
A. The context on that page shows that the Teacher is replying to objections of those who expect to recognize their friends who have gone before by their physical appearance and general characteristics, an expectation which is really based upon a stoppage of progress. It is also known that the Real Man who passes from existence in a body into other states and returns again from time to time, is really blending his experiences of any one state with his experiences in other states and consequently is making progress after death much more rapidly than bodily conditions could possibly permit. The degree and kind of progress made depends
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upon the nature of his thinking during life, and may be small or great in one direction or another. Technically speaking, Lower-Manas is the reservoir of the life thoughts and feelings. Those that are assimilable with Higher Manas are absorbed and become an addition to Higher Manas; while those that are of the nature of earth, earthy, remain as tendencies to be met, and either intensified or transmuted during the succeeding incarnation. The progress referred to is that of the Higher Ego; the personality and earth-life is the field wherein the Ego works; after death, the harvest being garnered, the wheat is separated from the chaff.
Q. Then there would be no sowing during the after-death states?
A. The harvest was sown during the earth life last past; during the life time there was a reaping all the time of causes sown in a previous life, and during the life being lived; at death, the sum total of all the thoughts, feelings, desires and tendencies held during life remain as the basis or cause for the subjective kama-lokic and devachanic states; the effects of these are then worked out subjectively, these “effects” of the earth-life becoming then the “cause” of the “effects” experienced subjectively in the after-death states. Sowing and reaping in the field of objective existence provides the “seed” for the subjective after-death states, karma operating continuously in all states.
Q. Then different individuals would have different after-death states, and have each one his own period between incarnations?
A. It could not he otherwise; for just as each one’s personal existence in a body differs from every other—is peculiarly his very own in fact—so the after-death states differ in exact accord with the life as lived in a body. Some live their lives with much of good and little of evil; others with much of evil and little of good, each one bringing about his own proportion of these; it is the proportion in each case which determines the
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period between incarnations. We must remember in considering these matters that time and space are not the same subjectively as they are with us in bodies; our days and nights, months, years and duration of physical existence are governed by the revolutions of our planet, but in the case of removal from such conceptions of time, ideas of that and of space differ greatly on the subjective plane of being. When we are happy, time passes without notice; when we are miserable, time drags; in both cases the hours of our mortal time may be the same, but the sense of the procession of events before our consciousness will make the hours seem fast or slow according to the state we are in. If we are able while in bodies to realize such a conception of time while there is everything about us to remind us of terrestrial time, we should be able to comprehend some thing of a state where such reminders are entirely absent.
Q. Will a person in his next reincarnation express what he has assimilated?
A. No one can express what he has not assimilated; that is,—has made a basis for action. But the question should be amended so as to read “Individual” instead of “Person.” The “personality” is in any one life but a temporary aspect and action of the Individuality, and differs in each life, in the environment and in such changes as have been brought about in previous existences—in character, disposition and understanding; these may produce in the next incarnation a change of social relation, mental capacity, nature of body, physical environment, and even of sex. The personality does not re-incarnate; the Individuality at each re-birth projects a new personality, the qualities and tendencies of which are drawn from the sum-total of all past lives—not only the last one. All the past experience is within and behind each personality and can be reached and realized, yet may remain entirely latent or partially so, according to a more or less in-
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tensive conception of personality as a thing in itself and of physical existence as the only reality.
Q. If the physical life and experience controls the after-death states, it would seem as though the higher planes were controlled by life on the physical plane?
A. They would be so controlled, if the after-death states could be called “higher planes,” but as the after- death states of Kama-Loka and Devachan are the effects of the life last lived, and are both personal in experience, they cannot properly be called higher planes. Kama—Loka and Devachan represent respectively the “low” and the “high” subjective states of the life last lived as a person. The higher planes of being pertain to the triad of Atma-Buddhi-Manas, the real Individuality, who, as the immortal being, possesses all the knowledge gained through all past experiences.
Q. In the case of a nation that engages in war, thus encouraging the lower instincts, would it not draw into incarnation lower egos?
A. In the case of each ego in a body, the results will depend upon the motive which actuated him in engaging in war or in any other direction. A nation is composed of individual units, the nature of the action in any given case depending upon the ruling motive of the individual. If the motives of the units engaged in war were for justice and freedom, regardless of the necessary war-like acts, then when the objects were obtained and peace resumed, those units would still be actuated by the same motives and would draw egos of like nature. The condition of war may equally provide greater opportunities for self-sacrificing righteous action, and for selfish license and debasement; which it shall be depends upon the nature and choice of the unit. A nation has no existence apart from the units which compose it. A selfish peace will result in greater perversions than any number of wars waged for righteous purposes; selfishness lies at the root of all sin, sorrow and suffering.
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Q. What difference does it make what kind of a family an ego is drawn into; it might as well have its experience in one way as well as another?
A. The question implies a denial of individual karma, and in fact karma of any sort; it leaves out of consideration the fact of the needs of the Soul by way of discipline and experience. The entrance into birth of an ego, together with the conditions connected with that birth, are pre-determined by the individual merit or demerit of previous lives. The ego cannot enter birth until such conditions as meet its needs are present. Law rules in all such matters, or nothing could be predicted as a resultant of any course of thought and action.
Q. The ego might in some cases have a very long time to wait, might he not?
A. Time with the ego is not what it is with our limitation of conceptions; he is self-conscious and active on higher planes, and “time” as we know it does not affect him as ego; it is only when the culmination of conditions which he while in the body helped to produce is consummated, that he is unavoidably drawn back to rebirth. Rebirth is due to our unremedied defects, not to our virtues.
Q. Is there any place in nature in which there is a ruling law of Heredity?
A. Heredity prevails on all planes of being; we inherit the resultants of our activities on all planes. We may know our earthly pedigree, but who of us has ever traced all the links of heredity, astral, psychic and spiritual which go to make us what we in reality are? The Secret Doctrine speaks of three general lines of heredity, the Spiritual, the Intellectual, and the Physical, and says that these three are intermixed and interblended at every point.
Q. The trend of the Gita is in the direction of freedom from rebirth. Is not a righteous and happy existence in a body the chief end of Man?
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A. That would imply that the whole trend of evolution was toward a material existence, whereas all the facts point in the direction that the Real Man is in essence Spiritual, and has in the immensity of his past accumulated vast stores of knowledge, by means of which He has contacted and is working with, what is generally called Matter, but which in reality is the intelligence and embodiment of entities of a much lower kind. His object is not to seek and make permanent a perfect physical embodiment for Himself, but by his contact and use of these lower lives to gradually give them the impulse toward self-consciousness, which alone can arouse to action the latent spirituality in all these lower intelligences. The word Spirituality does not mean a hazy, indefinite condition, as many regard it, but “an intimate knowledge of the ultimate essence of every thing in Nature.” The Real Man—the Triad of Atma Buddhi-Manas—therefore descended into “matter”—to use such a misunderstood term—in order to contact, understand it as the embodiment and expression of the innumerable intelligences of which it is composed, and give these lives impulse and direction towards self-consciousness. That He has failed to carry out—as He might have done—the initial self-sacrificing purpose, is due to the illusions pertaining to sentient existence, in which He has become involved by setting up causes which inevitably under karma keep him fluctuating between Birth, Death, Kama-Loka and Devachan in a continuing series. The freedom from rebirth of which the Gita speaks, is obtained by setting up causes born from an understanding of Man’s real nature and mission, and action on the basis of that understanding while in a body. Once the chain of lower causation is broken by Him, He is free to choose, and moreover has brought into play on all planes the sum-total of his knowledge. From then on, His field is the whole of Nature, visible and invisible; He will then live a conscious existence in Spirit, not in Matter, and can, while
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occupying bodies of temporary duration, maintain and use His spiritual self-consciousness, knowledge and power on that plane of existence, without detriment or hindrance. Such are the results of “freedom from rebirth”; instead of loss, as so many imagine, it means immeasurable gain; the goal is worthy of all effort.
Q. How can we in our ignorance make that effort?
A. The Masters of Wisdom have supplied us with the necessary means. Ignorance is destroyed only by Knowledge. Ignorance is composed of false conceptions, and actions on the basis of false conceptions can only lead to more ignorance and its results in sin, sorrow and suffering. The Theosophical Philosophy, as given by Those who brought it, must be learned, studied and applied in all our relations with our fellow-men; this must be done by each of us, no one can do it for us. This implies that our predilections and prejudices acquired from an adoption of the ordinary views of life must be given up, and the basis of thought and action that the Philosophy indicates must take their place. The Devotional books, such as the Gita and the Voice should be constantly read and meditated upon, for they tend to arouse spiritual perceptions. With the means supplied, and an effort to act for and as the Self of all, channels will be opened up within our selves that will lead to Inner knowledge. As the Master said, “All Nature is before you; take what you can.”
Q. Then the after-death states would be the building-in of the experiences gained?
A. It should be understood that the after-death states of Kama-Loka and Devachan are wholly personal in their nature. The sloughing off of the purely terrestrial desires and passions is Kama-Loka; the assimilation and enjoyment of all that was best in the life last lived, is the Devachanic condition. Both states are Subjective, that is—the being in both states is occupied with his own thoughts, desires and feelings; is not aware of the
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presence of other beings, nor in contact with them. The world he lives in is peopled by his own creations, which are as real to him as were the physical beings he moved among during his bodily existence. Having had his varied experience in the physical world, he leaves the body which served him as the means of contact with physical beings and lives in the desires, feelings and thoughts which his contact with the physical plane had engendered. At death—of which the being is not aware, being still his conscious thinking self—the thoughts prevailing are those that sprung from his relations with others in bodies and necessarily relate to his desires—this is Kama-Loka, the place or state of Desire. As his purely physical desires are not reinforced or stimulated by contact with other beings, they gradually die out, and his higher ideals and attributes remain as the basis for the Devachanic state, a state where no thought of sin, sorrow, suffering or death can enter, or even that such things exist. In both states he feels himself to be the same person, obtains his compensation for the sorrows of life in Devachan and assimilates in that state the best of his life last lived, adding the result to his inner egoic nature. Then a new birth based upon the unexpended causes generated during previous lives.
Q. What is meant by “unexpended causes”?
A. If—as is shown—we have lived many lives and have affected other incarnated beings in a way that requires adjustment by us, and the co-ordination of our lives heretofore has not been such as to bring us in contact so as to make that adjustment possible, these unexpended causes will have to be met as effects In some life and either adjusted, or strengthened as further causes. We may be meeting in this life the effects of causes set in motion many lives back as well as those of a more recent causation. As we think over the contacts with others in this present life, we will find some that were friendly for a time, and others that were inimical, but both of which are but memories now, our
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external connections with those persons having ceased. These friends or enemies of ours are still what we made them, and although the feelings then engendered have no present means of manifestation, nevertheless they remain as unexpended causes in our nature, and in the natures of those friends and enemies, the effects of which will be experienced when we meet again in this or future lives. The lapse of time does not change the power or nature of the cause. We should therefore make friends for the future as Jesus advised in saying, “Forgive your enemies; do good to them that despitefully use you and persecute you.”
Q. It would seem then that we are bound by an endless chain of cause and effect to earth-life?
A. It would be, and is an “endless chain” if we persist in setting causes in motion that bind us to rebirth; but this we need not do, and would not, if we knew our real nature. It is to point the way to freedom from rebirth that Theosophy was given to us, to relieve us from the dire necessity which the operation of the Law of Karma in ourselves compels us to undergo. The Gita says “Freedom comes from a renunciation of self-interest in the fruits of our actions.” Not that we should desire to escape, but that we should so think and act as to bring about the purposes of Soul. This we can do when we know and realize our real nature and act in accordance with It, for in It lies the source of all power, and with It the freedom of choice.
Q. Then a Master who occupied a body for the benefit of Humanity would not pass through the Kama—Lokic and Devachanic states after the death of the body?
A. No. He would occupy the body without being attached to it. He would be living a conscious existence in Spirit, while being “in all things like unto us” as far as appearances go. He would know how to balance Cause and Effect in all that He did, having no attachment to either and acting only for the good of all. Op-
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erating through a body with full knowledge, He would have no illusions and therefore no personal subjective states like Kama-Loka or Devachan, and on leaving the body, would exist in His own true nature as He had been existing all the time. As an ancient saying is: “He loves, and He understands,” and He serves Humanity as best He can.
Q. In returning to birth does the Ego have to pass through the same experiences in Kama-Loka that he passed through after the death of the body?
A. He does not pass through the same experiences for they were those of that personal life, and in rebirth a new combination of the Ego’s past lives, consisting of such unexpended causes as the particular period of re-birth permits, makes up the new personality. The Ego, however, finds awaiting him those Kamic tendencies which he had not overcome; at the same time he will be strengthened by his Devachanic assimilation.
Q. An Ego who had exhausted his Devachanic experiences and required re-birth but found nothing that suited his requirements would be in a miserable state would he not?
A. We must remember the nature of the Ego. He is not any of his personalities; they make up the field of his earthly experiences. When the best effects of the life last lived are exhausted in Devachan and the sum of them added to all past experiences of the Ego, be they great or small, all personal illusions have vanished. He exists as Ego, and—to use a phrase—reviews the past and sees what must follow under Karma. Our conceptions of time have no effect upon the Ego; karmic conditions alone move him; when these are ready he sinks into re-birth in that race, period and family that will give him the requisite environment according to his individual karma.
Q. Two lines at the foot of page 73, that the divergences
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from physical heredity are vastly greater than the transmitted traits, would indicate that physical heredity is not a law?
A. Physical heredity is a process by which the Law is fulfilled. There is necessarily a karmic connection between the ego entering birth and the parents and family into which he comes. The parents furnish the embodiment with those tendencies that best meet the incoming ego’s requirements for that life. There are Three lines of evolution, the Spiritual, the Manasic or Intellectual, and the Physical, and these three are intermixed and interblended at every point.
Q. Please explain Spiritual Heredity?
A. According to the Secret Doctrine there are Seven great hierarchies of spiritual beings; every human being is a descent from one or another of those Seven great classes of being. This question however requires special study before any attempt at a comprehensible reply could be made; the Secret Doctrine will give all the information available.
Q. The earth is such a small planet in the vast assemblage of planets, would that not indicate that people incarnated here from other planets?
A. Not if we understand the workings of Karma. We are connected spiritually, intellectually, astrally and physically with the beings which constitute the evolutionary stream of this earth, and can no more separate ourselves from them than we can separate our physical heart from our head and exist as physical beings. We are karmically indebted to all the kingdoms connected with the earth for every vehicle of consciousness that we possess; our minds also are colored and limited by the mind of the race to which we belong. The same is true of the humanities of other planets; they must reap where they have sown, they cannot reap where they have not sown. As we rise to Egoic consciousness we will transcend all ideas of par-
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ticular localities, and be sensible of varying conditions rather than places or planets.
Q. Well, after having reached all knowledge there would be no need of reincarnating?
A. Perhaps not in this race; perhaps not on this earth again; but all-knowledge is useless unless it is used; all-knowledge implies the knowledge gained by all beings, it does not contain that which has not been gained. Progress is continuous in possibility and in an infinite universe there is no stopping-place; to cease to progress is to stagnate. The ancient saying is that we can always approach the light, but we can never touch the flame, for that flame is our Self—the Self of All.
Q. Can one tell whether a soul is progressing by any one incarnation?
A. One can realize for himself his own ignorance and quickly or slowly gain real knowledge. He may realize what past lives must have been from the nature and strength of the difficulties he encounters in the struggle. It is enough if he sees the real goal and ever struggles towards it, and it will be well for him if he thinks not at all of his own progress but of what he can do to help others progress. “To live to benefit mankind is the first step.”
Q. In the chapter it says that people are incarnated together who have been together in other incarnations. Would that necessarily be continuous?
A. We must remember that what we call “people” are Souls that we have met in bodies before, and in bodies have karmically connected ourselves with them for good or for evil. The bodily connection is brought about by the mutual karmic connection and from wise or foolish choice. The continuity of such relations depends upon our desires, but we cannot control the de sires of those who do not want what we do. As long as we hold to “likes and dislikes” as our basis, we will
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meet with those who occasioned them, while the latter in their turn may have changed from “like” to “dislike” or the reverse. We can “come out from among them” by not permitting our likes or dislikes to govern us, while being friendly and helpful to all. “The wise man seeks that which is homogeneous with his own nature.”
Q. Since we are in our present form as Humanity for eighteen million years, it would seem that if there were no wars there would be no room for all of us?
A. Let us take another view of the question: if the earth has lasted for eighteen millions of years and there is no record of its being overcrowded at any time, why should we fear any such condition? It has been stated that while the number of reincarnating egos connected with the earth is very great, the number is limited in fact, there having been no increase of egos since the middle point of the seven rounds. Further, as those egos had no small part in the formation of the earth, there can be no doubt that it will accommodate in their proper periods all egos connected with it. The Law of Compensation or Karma adjusts all things to the need of the beings in manifestation. And while we are considering the question do let us not forget that our earth is in reality composed of six degrees of substance besides that which we perceive through our physical senses—the lowest of all.
Q. It is said that by living according to the dictates of the Soul, the brain may be made porous. Can that be explained?
A. It has been often stated that the body and brain are formed from the food, the brain being more plastic than any other organ of the body. Naturally the characteristics of our brain will be in accordance with our modes of thought and feeling. If our ways of thinking are purely personal, selfish and physical, the brain will only respond to such impressions; but by thinking on high ideals and acting in accordance with them the brain will gradually become impressionable
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by them. When the change has been brought about, the brain will record all that goes on during sleep of the body, and we will be in touch with all our past existences and our whole inner nature. The “high ideals” spoken of are not the so-called high ideals of mankind which are based upon physical existence, but those which the Secret Doctrine shows to be concerned with the real Spiritual nature, its laws, and the real meaning of Evolution on all planes.
From the nature of the soul. From the laws of mind and soul. From differences in character. From the necessity for discipline and evolution. From differences of capacity and start in life at the cradle. Individual identity proves it. The probable object of life makes it necessary. One life not enough to carry out Nature’s purposes. Mere death confers no advance. A school after death is illogical. The persistence of savagery and decay of nations give support to it. The appearance of geniuses is due to reincarnation. Inherent ideas common to man show it. Opposition to the doctrine based solely on prejudice.
Q. Why is it that so many people, the majority in fact, reject the idea of reincarnation?
A. Largely from prejudice, either based upon a materialistic conception of life, or due to belief in a dogma which inhibits the exercise of the thinking powers. The majority of people do not do their own thinking, but accept one or other of the various kinds of ideas formulated and held by others; that which is accepted and held by large numbers of people is to very many prima facie evidence of truth. Few go below the surface and enquire into the bases upon which the various beliefs are founded, yet the seeker after truth must prove all things and hold fast to that only which is self-evidently true.
Q. Theosophy teaches that there are other humanities on other planets; is it not possible for an ego to go to some other planet after this life?
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A. When we consider that the inherent law of Karma rules all beings; that we reap as we have sown; that our birth and environment in this life is the result of previous lives on this planet, we cannot fail to see that our re-embodiment must be here, where we moved and worked before. The involved entity cannot transfer itself to another scene of action before it has over come all the causes drawing it here, and without its having worked out its responsibilities to other entities in the same stream of evolution.
Q. On page 80 the chapter says that “Each human being has a definite character different from every other human being.” Is not a large part of such character derived from the physical heredity?
A. Man, who now inhabits physical bodies, is also the conscious entity who evolved and established them. Every family trait, tendency and characteristic is due to the use of physical bodies in that line of physical heredity by numbers of egos, and all are karmically drawn to that physical family line which each one had a part in establishing, thus coming into his own inheritance. Karma not only includes our individual sowing and reaping, but also the effects of our thoughts, words and deeds upon others, and especially upon those who are the most closely related. Each ego in incarnation has the opportunity to eliminate family defects in himself, and by so doing benefit the physical line.
Q. Please explain the second paragraph on page 87; it seems a little contradictory to me.
A. Mr. Judge is there speaking of the musician Bach, whose family had none of his genius and pointing to the fact that it was not derived from physical heredity, but was peculiar to the incarnating entity. The coming of idiots or vicious children to parents who are good, pure and highly intellectual is not due to the physical heredity, but to the nature of the Ego incarnating. In such cases there must be some strong karmic connection between the parents and the deficient
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Ego, a connection incurred during past lives wherein some error of commission or omission had occurred and had contributed to the deficiency of the one so born. Such incarnations fulfill two purposes: (1) they provide a better opportunity for the deficient ego at the hands of those who were contributory to that deficiency, and (2) the karmic effects are felt by the parents, and the opportunity afforded for such adjustment as is possible by them. “Karma is an unerring tendency in the universe to restore equilibrium and it operates incessantly.” Karma is made by the Egos, not by the bodies they inhabit.
Q. Why is it that an ego will bring over one particular predominating factor?
A. Because the attention and effort of the Ego in other lives were exerted in that particular direction. It is well known that geniuses in many cases are eccentric in character, and occasionally abnormal to a marked degree; this is due to a one-sided development; right development should be all-round and balanced, not special in any one direction and neglectful of others.
Q. On page 86 the chapter says that the old Aryan races will rise again to their height of glory. Does this mean that they will be always in existence?
A. The chapter says, “Of all the old races the Aryan Indian alone yet remains as the preserver of the old doctrines. It will one day rise again to its old heights of glory.” We are of the Aryan race, but Mr. Judge is speaking of the Aryan Indian race which alone has preserved the old doctrines, because of which it will rise again to its old heights of glory. Speaking generally, the Aryan is the Fifth Race; when its course has been completed, the egos composing the present Fifth Race will constitute the Sixth Race.
Q. On page 87 it is said that the bee builds a cell on the rules of geometry, and that its intelligence is the effect of reincarnation either in the mind or the physical
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cell. Do the lower kingdoms follow the human kingdom?
A. The statement referred to reads as follows, “And whether we look at the new-born babe flinging out its arms for self-protection, or the animal with very strong instinctual power, or the bee building a cell on the rules of geometry, it is all the effect of reincarnation acting either in the mind or physical cell, for under what was first laid down, no atom is devoid of life, consciousness, and intelligence of its own.” The passage does not say that the intelligence of the bee is the effect of reincarnation in the mind or cell. It says that in the new-born babe, the animal, or the bee all that there appears is the effect of reincarnation, either in the mind, or in the physical cell, according to the kind of intelligence expressed and its particular form; “no atom is devoid of life, consciousness, and intelligence of its own.” The human kingdom impresses and impels the lower lives for good or for evil.
Q. On page 80, “Even the doctrine of the survival of the fittest should show this, for the fitness cannot come from nothing but must at last show itself from the coming to the surface of the actual inner character.” Please explain that.
A. The explanation seems quite clear in the paragraph from which the quotation is taken. Each individual has a definite character, the result of previous lives; whatever “fitness” there may be is due to previous existences. There are assemblages of individuals that we call nations; these nations have their distinguishing characteristics; the individuals composing these nations are drawn together because of similarity of distinguishing characteristics which constitute their peculiar “fitness” for any particular nation. All this is clue to karmic affinity—”like attracts like.”
Q. Will those who are killed in this war follow the line of anger and battle when they incarnate again?
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A. “Every human being has a definite character different from every other human being,” and this is true whether in war or peace. As the character and tendencies are in peace, so they will be in war, for both peace and war are conditions and do not in themselves change character. The question is, “Does war of necessity change an individual’s character?“ There is no reason to think so. One of good character and tendencies would be likely to have these strengthened by the trials and self-sacrifice entailed by the conditions of war; in another in whom character and tendency were not good, the same conditions might afford opportunity for intensification of evil tendencies. It is all a question of the individual character and motive and the lessons learned, that form the basis for future incarnations.
Q. Could a savior bring Russia out of the chaos in which she now is?
A. The chaotic conditions of Russia are an extreme example of the world-wide conditions; in no case is it possible to change such conditions save by a change of mind on the part of the people involved. A divine incarnation could do nothing unless the people would be willing to follow the lines such an one laid down. It is apparent that even in our own free country conditions are approaching a situation not so very far removed from that of Russia, for we are beginning to experience the results of selfish class interest, the sole basis of which is money and the power that it gives its possessors. Those who have, desire to hold and increase possessions; those who have not, would take from the present possessors and become in their turn the possessors of the future; in both cases the rank principle of personal selfishness prevails; there is nothing to choose between them.
Q. Surely the intelligence of our people will prevent any such catastrophe as that which has befallen Russia?
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A. Intelligence, based upon high principles and true knowledge cannot fail to make for justice and right living, but intelligence founded upon personal selfishness can go to any lengths in the way of destruction. Ignorance and selfishness have brought Russia to her present pass. Intelligence and selfishness can do much worse. The question really is, “Upon what is the intelligence founded?” Is it a material, a moral, or a spiritual conception? It is very evident that the prevailing idea among Western peoples is material in conception and practice; the more intelligence used along this line the more certain, rapid and destructive the results.
Q. But Western peoples have the Christian religion to guide them; they believe in the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man?
A. There is no doubt that the principles enunciated by Jesus of Nazareth would make the world a better and a happier one, but who among all the people follows them in his daily life or in his dealings with his fellow-men; we profess “belief” in those principles and promulgated ethics and daily and hourly contravene them; of what avail is our religion or our belief, if we do not live it? Ancient history affords us examples of the same principles and ethics promulgated by divine incarnations in the ages gone by, but the people of those times professed acceptance of the teachings and following the path of materialism went down to extinction. Unless we change our ideas of life, and live according to the eternal verities, our Western nations with their materialistic civilizations will die out and disappear.
Q. What is meant by “The Eternal Verities?”
A. “The Eternal Verities” are based upon the Spiritual nature of Man; his evolution under Spiritual Law from the lowest form of intelligence to the highest; that the Law is inherent in each being and that
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each reaps what he sows without possibility of evasion; that physical existence is the lowest and least permanent of all the forms and is conditioned by Man himself in accordance with his recognition or denial of his Spiritual and Moral nature as the true basis of all life.
Q. You mean an understanding and living of Theosophy?
A. Just that. Man must save himself; no one, how ever high in intelligence and spiritual power, can do it for him. He must learn and exercise his Spiritual perceptions and powers and make the material expression of them conform to that Spiritual nature. In fact, he will have to learn even if through untold lives he brings upon himself inexpressible suffering; for when he has suffered enough he will see the error of his ways, and then, perhaps through many lives, make restitution for wrongs done, or duties left undone.
Q. If the entire world today adhered strictly to Theosophy, would there be competition?
A. There would be emulation, not competition. The latter is an endeavor to benefit at the expense of others, while emulation is an effort to excel so as to be of greater benefit and service in the world of men; this service, however, must be based upon the needs of the Soul and not upon the imaginary physical requirements born of materialistic conceptions.
Definition of the word. An unfamiliar term. A beneficent law. How present life is affected by past acts of other lives. Each act has a thought at its root. Through Manas they react on each personal life. Why people are born deformed or in bad circumstances. The three classes of Karma and its three fields of operation. National and Racial Karma. Individual unhappiness and happiness. The Master’s words on Karma.
Q. With regard to “the persistence of savagery” [page 84]; are those in savage tribes souls of lesser experience?
A. In the nature of evolution—an unfolding from within outwards—there must be souls of lesser experience, whose bodies and environment correspond to their so-far acquired nature. On the other hand there are diminishing physical tribes of which the Australian aborigines are an example, where the more advanced egos have incarnated in other races, leaving the use of that physical line to the less advanced. As the latter in due course leave the physical race, those remaining, being less capable, cause the physical strain to deteriorate, so that only the lowest class of intelligences of that tribe or race occupy such bodies. Finally, the physical race dies out through sterility, the egos connected with it having incarnated in other races.
Q. What about the Mexicans?
A. There are many classes of egos among the Mexcans as there are in every present-day race; the fami-
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lies are mixed, and races are mixed. In Mexico there are to be seen the results of a mixture of European blood with that of the decadent remains of ancient American civilizations; necessarily under karma, those who came from European strains and mixed with the native ones, are caught in the lines of their own causations and have to work it out by either eliminating the defects of the strain, or going down with it from bad to worse.
Q. But the Mexicans show strong patrioism?
A. In that respect they are no different from people of other races. Patriotism does not come from mere birth into any race, but from the karmic affinity of the ego for that race; the feeling is there in all such cases, but the actions that flow from that feeling are not often understood, not wisely applied; the sense of separateness rules there, as in all more or less ignorant “personalities” of every race.
Q. Is there then such a thing as Intelligent Patriotism?
A. There must be, as the opposite to unintelligent patriotism which can he seen on every hand.
Q. Could a definition of Intelligent Patriotism be given?
A. The question is one of Intelligence as applied to patriotism. A very ignorant man may have a strong patriotic feeling which may be aroused to inconsiderate action by himself or through the incitement of others. A more intelligent man would have a wider range of perception and action and yet concur in national sentiment and action against other nations with what he as an individual would consider wrong as against another individual; both of these cases are basically wrong. A truly intelligent patriotism would consider the individual as an integral part of the nation to which he belonged; the nation as an integral part of the assemblage of nations which constitute humanity as a
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whole. As every individual is born into a physical body through parents of some race or nation, and thus into the world of men, the karma of each such birth indicates the opportunity of one so born to eradicate in himself the defects of the family through which he came, and through the family the defects of the nation, for national defects are the sum total of all the individuals composing it, and the eradication of these defects begins and ends with the individual. Intelligent patriotism would therefore consist in doing our whole duty in that station where our karma has placed us, to our family, and to humanity as being made up of individuals, families and nations, while recognizing all as being the same in kind and differing only in degree. If our family duties are well and wisely per formed, our duties to the nation and to humanity would to a great extent take care of themselves. By “family duties” and “national duties” is not meant false attachments to family or nation as a means of pride, pleasure—hunting or sensuality, but cultivating and elevating the higher sentiments and emotions of ourselves and of our family and utilizing them for the performance of our duty to the nation and humanity in general.
Q. It seems to be a hopeless task?
A. It seems hopeless because individuals will not apply the remedy in themselves; we would like to wait until the race has improved and then we would fail into line with it, but never has a race or people improved without strong and continued efforts by individuals who have seen a better way and exemplify and impart it. It was said of old that “a little leaven soon leaveneth the whole lump;” those who have the “leaven” must first apply it in themselves before it can begin to work in others.
Q. The chapter speaks of a deficient or bad ego [page 87]; what does that mean?
A. There are many classes of egos. We should re-
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member all the time that egos are evolving; that some were self-conscious beings when this world of ours began, and that others have become human beings since that beginning and up to the middle point of the Third Race. Besides, the fact that there are bad and deficient men in physical existence points to badness and deficiency in egos, for it is the egos who incarnate.
Q. I have understood that the ego is immortal and spiritual in nature?
A. The ego is spiritual and immortal in essential nature, but as he possesses the power to perceive and to act and exemplifies the law of action and reaction in himself, as he works from higher to lower planes of substance he becomes involved in the lower planes through attachment to them and suffers accordingly until he overcomes his unwisdom and asserts and uses his real nature on the lower planes. As egos, we are only partially operative in bodies; Manas is not yet fully employed by us as a race; each incarnation is but one aspect of our past existences, we have to make the link between higher and lower, while we are in a body.
Q. What would be the outcome if an ego while in a body continued a course of degeneracy and evil for life after life?
A. In such a case, the force of the tendencies set in motion would in time break the link between the ego and his instrument during some life-time, and the instrument with the momentum given it would be an entity without a human soul. There are such creatures in the world, human in form, but soul-less.
Q. Are we drawing on all our Karmic store during any one life?
A. In the life of worlds, races, nations, and individuals, Karma cannot act unless there is an appropriate instrument for its action, and until such instrument exists, that Karma related to it remains unexpended.
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While a man is experiencing phases of his past karma through body, conditions and environment, his other unexpended karma is held reserved until body, conditions and environment permit the unexpended karma to operate. Lapse of time does not cause any lessening of the force of karma, nor does it change its nature.
Q. Must each life express only one phase or class of Karma?
A. Not necessarily. Changes may occur in the instrument during one life so as to make it appropriate for a new class of karma. This may take place in two ways; (a) through intensity of thought and the power of a vow to think and do differently, and (b) through natural alterations due to the complete exhaustion of old causes.
Q. What determines the karmic tendency of any one life?
A. Birth into any sort of body to obtain the results of any sort of Karma is due to the preponderance of tendencies existing.
Q. When one is born into the world with certain tendencies that are seen to be undesirable, what can be done to change them and what would be the effects of such effort?
A. Measures taken by an Ego to repress tendency, eliminate defects, and to counteract by setting up different causes, will alter the sway of Karmic tendency and shorten its influence, in accordance with the strength or weakness of the efforts expended in carryng out the measures adopted.
Q. Different sorts of Karma were spoken of [page 93]; what was meant by the statement?
A. Karma may be of three sorts; (a) that which is presently operating in this life through the appropriate instruments; (b) that which is being made or stored up to be exhausted in the future; and (c) that which is held over from past lives and not operating
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yet because inhibited by the inappropriateness of the instrument in use by the Ego, or by the force of the Karma now operating.
Q. Is the body and its circumstances the field of operation of Karma?
A. There are three fields of operation of Karma, (a) the body and the circumstances; (b) the mind and intellect; and (c) the psychic and astral planes. As body, mind and soul have each a power of independent action, any one of these may exhaust, independently of the others, some Karmic causes more remote from or nearer to the time of their inception than those operating through other channels.
Q. Are any beings free from Karma?
A. None whatever; Karma operates on all things and all beings from the minutest conceivable atom up to the highest being. No spot in the manifested universe is exempt from its sway, for manifestation means action, and action brings its exact results. Karma is the inherent law of power to act in every being of every grade; in each case the power to act is exercised according to the degree of intelligence acquired. The Universe is embodied Consciousness.
Q. Race-Karma, National Karma, and Family Karma have been spoken about; what do these terms mean?
A. As all beings are the same in kind—that is, spiritual in essence and source—all are connected on inner planes, and each one affects all the rest in a helpful or hindering way. Race Karma influences each unit in the race through this law of cause and effect by distribution. National Karma operates on the members of a nation through the same law more concentrated. Family Karma governs only with a nation where the families have been kept pure and distinct; for in any nation where there is a mixture of family—as obtains in every Kali Yuga period—family karma is in general distributed over a nation. All men, having
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the same principles as constituents of their nature, are connected by both inner and outer principles of their being; they therefore affect each other in subtle and unperceived ways, as well as by the external ways which are ordinarily perceived.
Q. If all beings of every grade are affected by the dynamic power of human thought and feeling, we, as human beings, must aid the lower kingdoms which constitute the earth upon which we live?
A. Such is the teaching. Cataclysms of nature are brought about by the separative and destructive effects of selfish and wrong thinking by human beings. A cataclysm may be traced to a physical cause such as internal fire and atmospheric disturbance, but these have been brought on by the disturbance created by the dynamic power of human thought. Some hint of this is to be found in the writings of St. Paul when he speaks of the whole of creation groaning in travail because of the iniquities of man.
Q. Do all human beings have to suffer in such cataclysms?
A. No. Egos who have no Karmic connection with a portion of the globe where a cataclysm is coming on, are kept without the latter’s operation in two ways: (a) by repulsion acting on their inner nature which induces them to move elsewhere, or (b) by being warned by those who watch the progress of the world.
Q. How can the actions of men produce convulsions of nature (p. 96)?
A. Through their cumulative effect upon the psychic nature of elemental beings. Karma is the key-note of all conditions, for it governs the smallest atom as well as the highest spiritual being. The elementals of the mineral kingdom, and of the kingdoms below that (the elementals proper) are “psychic embryos.” Every thought of man upon being evolved passes into the inner world, and becomes an active entity by coalescing with
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an elemental—that is to say, with one of the semi-conscious forces of the kingdoms. It survives as an active intelligence—a creature of the mind’s begetting. Thus a good thought is perpetuated as an active, beneficent power; an evil one as a maleficent demon. The automatically acting brain stores up only brute energies, and begets correlations that are unfruitful of benefit, at last bringing about convulsions in nature. It is analogous to combinations of chemicals produced by scientific minds—antagonistic elements held in leash, which at last a spark suffices to release and bring about terrific explosions.
Q. And similarly, man’s actions or Karma can bring about beneficial effects in the lower kingdoms of nature?
A. It is man who is the real motive and directing power in this universe, for he is at the head, being self-conscious, with the power of acquiring qualities, of understanding the natures of all beings, and of manipulating the lower natures. It devolves on him so to use those natures as to bring about the best results for all the beings concerned in the stream of evolution which makes up this earth and solar system. Man has produced many combinations and transformations in the lower kingdoms, not possible to them of their unaided powers, which are beneficent.
Q. Then man is a creator in a far wider sense than we are accustomed to think?
A. Undoubtedly. The impulse to action in the lower kingdoms originally proceeds from him. The conscious action of the lower kingdoms all proceeds from man. After the action there is always the reaction. The elements, the “air, water, fire and earth,” or any portion or combination of these, all have their reactions upon us. We experience those reactions from the elements because of our attitude towards them and use of them, for we are the ones who induce them to act whether in a beneficent or maleficent way. Tornadoes, earth-
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quakes, sufferings of any kind such as wars or strife, either in the elements or amongst men, are all produced by man.
Q. You spoke of the “automatically acting brain”; is there another kind of action possible with our brains?
A. Certainly. In the one case there is but brute force stored up and flung out without any transmutation of that brute energy into higher forms of dynamics. In the other, the intellection of the truly scientifically occupied brain, there is the evolution of a sublimated form of spiritual energy which, cosmically speaking, is productive of illimitable results for good. The human brain may be used as an exhaustless generator of higher forms of energy from lower. The adept does not create anything new; he only transforms the materials in nature. The one wastes and debases the creative power; the other conserves and elevates the natures of all.
Q. There would seem to be no limit to any one’s responsibility?
A. There isn’t. Whenever and whatever any one thinks or does, he cannot do so without affecting other beings, whether human beings or beings below or above, as every action is felt throughout the whole of the universe in some degree. He gets the reaction in his own moral nature from the lines of his mental action; and at the same time he will be physically acting along the same lines, affecting others for good or evil both on the inner and the outer planes of action; then he gets the physical reaction.
Q. Then there is never any injustice?
A. There is no injustice. What we see as apparent injustice seems so because we do not see the causes which have produced the present ill effects. If we have no knowledge of our own real nature and the Law of Karma that is inherent in it, then the feeling can only be that we have received injustice, and we harbor hatred and resentments. What prevents our under-
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standing these things is mainly that we do not know what we are here for. We look at things from a one-life basis, and finding ourselves in this life we imagine it is something we had nothing to do with. Seeing others, according to our view, more fortunate than ourselves, we want to know why, and no answer being possible on the basis we have assumed, we assume that we are receiving injustice. If Karma is the doctrine of responsibility, Reincarnation is the doctrine of hope. The two go together. The reason we are on earth, according to the Occult teaching: we are not here because of our virtues; we are here because of our defects. The “personality” is really the working off of defects. If we do not learn what the object of life is, and don’t do the work, then we are only creating more defects to adjust, and more trouble for ourselves.
Q. Who is to be the judge of a man’s motives in what he feels and what he does?
A. The man himself. But he must forget himself if he is to judge truly. No judge can be impartial if he has any self-interest in his own decisions. So if we have any self-interest in our decisions we cannot judge our motives; we can only judge them aright when we seek nothing for ourselves. The best guide and the greatest protection any man can have is a firm desire to benefit humanity and seek nothing for himself.
Q. By punishing those who have earned punishment, do we not aid Karma, and become an agent of justice?
A. No. The Bible has many occult sayings. You know the one which says, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord (Law). The Law takes care of its own. We do not have to make ourselves instruments of vengeance. We have in our modern civilization our means of taking vengeance; but as a matter of fact our means are errant, imperfect, and injurious. The taking of the life of a fellow being for having killed another, is no more justified when done by a
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number of men than was the first murder. That is wrong, but to sequester the murderer so that he can not continue to injure others, is quite another story.
Q. Do we injure others with our hatred?
A. No man can feel hatred and not injure others.
Q. But if our own thoughts are such that there is no hatred in us, we would not be affected by the hatred of another?
A. That is the whole story. If a man thinks and feels toward his fellow-men without either hatred or revenge in him, nothing of that kind can touch him.
Q. If one affected by the action of another has no desire to injure that other, does that mitigate the action for that other?
A. Of course it does. But there are two propositions there. The one who has been injured is reaping what he has sown or he could not have been injured. But he may, by his change of nature and attitude and his desire to cease injuring others, refuse to do any evil in return. But the one who inflicts or still holds the injury gets all the reactions that flow from that attitude. He has not changed; he is still the same nature; still has the same desire. Oftentimes when one does injury to another and gets no return in kind, he is more incensed than ever. You cannot make another feel differently unless he wants to. So, while we may be thinking kindly of another, we cannot change his feelings. He alone can do that. So we might help him and we might not; but at all events we get the benefit of the effect of our own beneficent attitude. If we do not affect the other favorably it is because he is so infected (not affected) that we cannot help him. It all depends on the nature of the recipient; on the “nature of the beast.” Take a rattlesnake. No man, however kind his feelings, could change that snake’s nature.
Q. But if it is our Karma to have bad and revengeful feelings and thoughts, then we cannot help acting that way?
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A. Yes we can. Karma is present action as well as the present effect of former acting. While we may not always be able to affect the attitude of another, we can, as just said, always affect our own attitude. If we could not we would be mere machines, mere creatures of our past, not Creators in the present. We ought to know that, for anybody knows better than to inflict injury. He recognizes what is harmful to another, but if he is so selfish that he does not care, he becomes a destructive force, not a creative one; and must take the reaction. “Evil must be in the world, but woe to him by whom evil comes.” Woe to those who make themselves the agent through whom evil Karma acts, because it is their own nature that is played upon in that case.
Q. What does it mean to be Karma-less?
A. All that is Karma-less is that in us which lives and thinks, the Perceiver, the Real Man. He is the institutor and the experiencer of all Karma. There is no Karma unless he makes it. He is not changed by Karma, neither made greater nor less; but while attached to action (Karma) or in a body and circumstances created by him, he experiences all that flows from the actions to which he is attached, until he ceases from the attachment to that kind of action. He gets whatever experiences his actions in that body bring him.
Q. The OCEAN says that certain entities through wickedness are annihilated [page 106]. Does that refer to the Ego?
A. How could it, if the Ego, the real Man, is not affected permanently by action? Let us look at it in this way: An Ego, or spiritual being, has been so wholly wicked in his actions for many incarnations that there is not a kind thought or feeling of any kind; nothing but brutal and selfish thoughts, producing only pain and suffering in the world. His works are destroyed: the personality built up by that kind of thought and feeling. Nothing of that personality can be attached to or assimilated by the spiritual being. His attitude having been wholly against the rest, the motion of the whole must at
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last crush that kind of works (Karma) out of existence. That does not destroy the Ego, but it destroys his works, his accumulation of experiences. It throws him out of his place, and he has to start again from where he was before his evil courses began, for that is where he belongs. The Ego cannot be annihilated; but his incarnations may be of such a nature as to be lost and he be thrown out of a certain stream and have to go back to the place where he left the line and begin again. But the real Man remains and his real works; that is, the acquired wisdom and the acquired experience. He may lose a lot of leaves out of the Book of Life, but He remains.
Q. But there must be Karma to bring that Ego back again?
A. He gets the Karma of having to go back to the mental deposits stored up in long previous incarnations, whether on this globe or some other, and starting afresh on a line based on those mental deposits. He has lost a vast amount of time and effort, and experienced a vast amount of fruitless suffering—fruitless of good, that is, its only effect being destructive of all his works. And he has to overcome the tendencies he has engendered, when he comes into incarnation again—the tendencies to repeat.
Q. This seems somewhat confusing.
A. There should be no confusion if you keep in mind the idea of the Individuality—the permanent spiritual being, the reincarnating Ego, which is the Triad of Atma-Buddhi-Manas. Lower Manas—the personality—is the outlook upon physical existence which Higher Manas has, as the result of his thought and action on the physical plane of life. He may change that outlook, or he may lose it, and begin a new series of efforts; or in some cases he may be thrown out for that incarnation or for a great period and have to incarnate in a new period, under conditions of ignorance instead of knowledge. That, too, is his Karma; the evil results en-
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gendered by his own former actions. The only basis he would have would be the tendencies he had engendered; and these he would have to conquer.
Q. Cannot this fate be avoided?
A. Only by a change of basis; the adoption of a better course of action. Any attempt to “avoid” the results of our own actions only results in a stronger reaction; because by attempting to avoid, we merely store up or hold back that force which would naturally have exhausted itself in its own period.
Q. What really is the cause of Karma?
A. Karma is first, last and all the time, action; and we cannot understand Karma until we grasp the idea that the whole of the universe is intelligence, expressing itself in myriads of forms and in many ways. It is the action of intelligence that produces all the effects perceived on this plane of existence.
Q. How does that statement apply to the individual?
A. Individually each one is Karma, for he is both the actor and the one who receives the results that proceed from his action. Karma is never an outside force, nor any being nor beings; it is the collective actions of beings with which we have placed ourselves in some relation, but that relation is wholly individual on our part. We set certain causes in motion and are bound to experience the results that flow from those causes, for every motion in the universe affects other beings in every direction, and there is always the reaction upon the point of disturbance. We must of necessity be the adjuster.
Q. Then Karma is the force that moves the individual’s action?
A. We make a mistake in thinking that “forces” do anything of themselves. Forces are operative all the time; but no number of forces will set us right when we are acting wrongly. Intelligence, moved in proper or improper directions, is the real actor, and we ourselves are that intelligence. If our intelligence
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is not operated rightly, then no other intelligence can help us. If there are beneficent and powerful forces, the only way we can work with them and benefit from them is by raising ourselves up to their plane of operation. So with malignant and destructive forces: the only way we can get into the line of their power is by ourselves being malignant and destructive.
Q. The Lipika are mentioned in the Secret Doctrine as Lords of Karma, as recorders of Karma. It would seem as if they were outside beings.
A. No, the Lipika are not personal beings, although that idea has been given currency by many “theosophical” students who have entirely misapprehended the statements in the Secret Doctrine. That such beings practically “manipulate” Karma is foreign to the whole teaching.
There are as component parts of every human being, principles, which are drawn from the seven great hierarchies of being. Action, whenever taken, is taken with, through, and felt by one or the other or all of these principles, and there is registration of the general and individual effect produced—all that is good and all that is bad—among those hierarchies to which the principles belong. The action finds its own place and focus of reaction. Each hierarchy has its own individuality as a mass; individuality is not characteristic of the units. Hence, the Lipika may be regarded as the recording points of the general and individual effects of Karma; though this statement requires as a mode of explanation, geometry, which is an expression in form of the reaction of all the forces in nature.
Q. How, then, can we become Karma-less?
A. We can never become Karma-less, in the sense of being free from Karma, for Karma operates on every being from the smallest atom to the highest being in the universe. But when we cease acting in any way for personal benefit, when the cause is always universal in its action, then the effects are commensurate
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with the law. We are Karma-less because we are not dispensing the law; we are only agents of it and focuses of it.
Q. Could an individual eliminate himself from the national Karma of a selfish nation?
A. A nation is made selfish by the individuals in it, and selfishness will make war between individuals, classes of men, or masses of men since war begins within the man, not outside of him. But if an individual does not assent to the selfish ideas that rule his nation nor to the methods pursued in accordance with them, and if he protests against them wherever he can, then he is not connected with them. He is amongst it all under Karma, and whatever Karma is due him from his connection in the first place he will receive, but he has cut the connection with the national idea so far as any future Karma is concerned.
Q. Are not all the workers in socialism, in labor unions and in similar lines helping to mitigate the national Karma?
A. Doubtless they are all sincere in their devotion and self-sacrificing for it, but what permanent betterment can come if they are working for wrong things in a wrong way? Their motive is wholly concerned with physical existence, prosperity, ease, comfort. No attempt along those lines can ever bring any lasting benefit, as witness various so-called reforms that have come and gone—reformers with them. Where are their sacrifices? We all proceed from the same Source and are all traveling toward the same goal; but we shall not get right methods and right relations until we understand our own natures, and act in accordance with them. That is the only way we can mitigate either national or individual Karma.
Q. But if every one had an education he might be able to understand these things?
A. One’s education makes no essential difference.
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Any man can understand justice. He can understand that merit is the only thing that can bring merit, and he can understand enough to do his duty to his family and to all others. Generally speaking, men think the world owes them a living, opportunity, education. All that we need to consider is that we owe the world our service. The situation of every man depends on what his nature actually is. If a man is good and just and noble in his mind, he doesn’t require better conditions to bring it out. The mere living under educational advantages does not mean knowledge, or understanding of the causes of oppression. Moreover, no person, with the disposition to learn will fail to find a way to learn, regardless of conditions.
Q. What, then, prevents men from understanding right and wrong, and this justice we call Karma?
A. They take the position of irresponsibility, by resentment at supposed injustice; they expect to reap where they did not sow; they are looking for something for themselves. So they are ready to listen to any or all of the various panaceas offered, and go after whatever promises something for nothing. They do not look within; they are not humble; they do not ask what is the purpose of the Inner Man; how is it they are as they are, and not in some other place under other conditions.
Q. Do you feel that the understanding of these ideas of Karma and Reincarnation alone can save the nation from internal troubles?
A. It is the only way out. Until men understand that they are here not for once, that whatever they receive they have merited, we shall have just as much and worse trouble than that we have already had, for the longer it goes on the more intense will be the reactions. But, perhaps men will listen to these obvious self-evident truths only when there has been such an absolute subversion and destruction that they have to stop and think.
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How the Masters would if They could, save humanity! They have done all they can. The Message is here, and it is our only hope. Jesus said, “O, Jerusalem, how I would have gathered thee under my wing as a hen doth her chickens, but ye would not.” And Jerusalem was destroyed. We need not think there is not the same danger for us. There is nothing in our civilization that is enduring—of railroads, books, buildings—not a single relic would be left after a hundred years. So if there are those who have eyes to see, who have ears to hear and who can understand, let them work in season and out of season to put these ideas before their fellow-men, that the ideas may spread and make others think.
Q. Then the understanding of a comparatively few individuals would make for right conditions?
A. Let them try it out. Right conditions can only come where individuals will “follow the Path.” Who, then, is going to do it? There is no one holding any one back from exhibiting a true Theosophic life. But what is first needed is the understanding of the Theosophic life. It can be lived anywhere, alone or in crowds, for it is a life of right ideas. The only way to better conditions is through better ideas. Bettering conditions without bettering ideas merely puts men in a place more favorable for acting on wrong ideas and gives them opportunity for exploiting their selfishness.
Q. Would not the mere desire to aid suffering humanity finally open a door for action?
A. If we really desire to help humanity and forget ourselves, working for others with no thought of success or failure or reward, the doors will open to us as soon as we are ready. That is Law.
Q. If one desires benefit for the whole, he himself benefits by that desire?
A. We should remember that a desire is not a condition. A mere desire does not go very far unless we
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establish the conditions that cause the desire to be potent or active. If we desire to benefit humanity, the question is, What are we doing to produce that benefit? What we have to do is to stop thinking about ourselves, stop figuring for ourselves, stop thinking how we are going to come out. For this “we” is personality, which is always changing, from year to year, month to month, from day to day.
Q. When our Karma does not permit us to take any active part in ameliorating the stress of world conditions, what should he our attitude of mind toward them?
A. It is to maintain a cheerful, calm, confident attitude, realizing that the mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly small; that Karma is causing adjustments to come about which must bring a realization, in some degree at least, of universal brotherhood, not possible under any other conditions. But if we sit despondent and say there is nothing to do and no use in doing anything, because people are selfish and never will see, nothing can be done. We must always be confident in the greatest determination to hold the right attitude on the basis of thought which Theosophy presents, working always for right, for principle, for freedom of Soul.
Q. Yet working on that basis does not bring good Karma, as judged by the Karma of Jesus on the cross.
A. The question is not whether we are working for good Karma or bad Karma, but are we trying to do the right thing. In the case of a Being like Jesus, it is necessary at times to take a body of the race, that He may communicate with the people, teach them and help them as only can be done through a body similar to their own. He takes the body of a family, necessarily, and fulfils his Karma as a member of that family, physically considered. He mitigates the family or the race Karma, merely by experiencing their bodily Kar-
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ma, and in correcting family defects lifts so much the higher that family Karma.
Q. He ended that Karma. then and there?
A. So far as that body was concerned. But even the highest Being who enters into a physical body to deliver a message, by His very attitude and by His very action, and by the Message He is to bring, finds Himself at variance with the established order of things, and reaps insult, slander, vilification, and maltreatment from all those who oppose Him. Does He earn this? No; it is not His Karma, but the Karma of those who persecute, slander and maltreat Him.
Q. Would a Theosophist fear to do evil on account of the bad Karma coming to himself?
A. He would fear to do evil, not because of the bad Karma that would come to him, but because he knows better than to do evil. He knows only to do good, and if he does evil he must necessarily fear, for the consequences are sure, and the fact is before him that the evil is not only at his own expense, personally considered, but must reproduce itself upon other un suspecting persons who are inclined that way. Was it not Jesus who said, “As ye mete unto others, so shall it be meted unto you, so measured unto you again, heaped up, pressed down and running over?” If we are Theosophists, then we know how to count the cost, and we are able to figure up beforehand the compound interest that goes with evil actions. Nor, on the other hand, should we be looking for protection for ourselves against evil doing, but so think and act that no protection is needed; nothing but right can touch us if we think right, act right, and feel right. Wrong comes to us in no other way than by our thinking evilly and selfishly.
Q. The spiritual nature of man is never affected by Karma?
A. No; the Unchanging Spirit in man is not affected in its nature, or changed by anything it may ex-
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perience, but it has its increase of power and knowledge through various phases of evolution and advancement. Let us not make the mistake of looking for any finality but rather from the point of view of continuous progression. A state of perfection as a finality would be stagnation. In an infinite universe there are infinite opportunities, and whatever heights of knowledge or power may be attained, there must always be further fields beyond.
Q. Is it the tendency of Karma to always restore equilibrium, so that at the end of a Mahamanvantara the whole of the Karma between beings would be adjusted, or equilibrium absolutely restored?
A. There is not so much a complete readjustment, in the sense that all beings are individually readjusted, as there is a stoppage of interaction of the whole mass. Just so, when our physical action ceases by reason of the death of the body, Karma is not yet readjusted, but awaits our return into a body again where we may go on with it. There must always be for any evolution effects not yet adjusted. The rate of progress of any being is in accordance with the progress of the whole mass during the manvantara; so his progress is shared or controlled by the universal Karma of which he is a part. At the end of a manvantara, then, there may be said to be a period of assimilation, rather than one of entire adjustment, which, however, enables an other basis to be taken by the whole mass of beings involved.
Q. Then Karma is just suspended for the time?
A. Yes; for time is not a factor in the adjustment of Karma. It is a question of conditions.
Q. But is it not possible to find the time of reaction from a cause previously set up?
A. Purely physical reactions can, of course, be so checked up, but when we come to mental reactions, the time involved is affected by the conditions in which we put ourselves or find ourselves. We make the favorable
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condition for reaction. Karma may be existent, in the sense that the causation has gone forth and the effect felt by others, but we may not yet be in that condition where we can make the adjustment, because other Karma is operating so strongly as to hold this particular reaction back.
It is said that he who understands Karma understands the limits of time, and he who understands the limits of time understands Karma, but that understanding will not be ours until we understand the operation of causes, nor is it necessary. If we could now know exactly when the rebound of an action would come, we should probably spend all our time figuring just what we could do to dodge it, to improve it, or to arrange just the right condition in which to receive it. The thing to do is to meet anything and everything exactly as it comes. We should not take the position of providing money for a rainy day, which is just a figuring for ourselves. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Take care of today. Never mind the next hour. Take care of this one. Take care of every moment, every hour, as it comes along, fearing nothing, doubting nothing, in full confidence, relying on the Law of our own natures. If we feel our responsibility and acquit ourselves as best we can for the good of all with out taking any thought as to what the effect will be to ourselves, then we shall be adjusting and working out Karma in the best possible way.
Q. Can not very good Karma quickly overcome the effects of evil?
A. No, it cannot; the effects of each must run their course, although two classes of Karma, equally strong, if of opposite nature, would neutralize for the time being and permit the operation of a weaker class of Karma. But if we are talking of the effects felt through a body, we may know that they are only a small portion of Karma. No matter what the Karma, however bad or detrimental, however good, if the attitude of
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the one going through it is right, it comes as an opportunity. The only way we can lessen the effects of bad Karma is to take the right attitude toward it. When good times come, we can sow good causes; when bad times come, we still can try to sow good causes, using the opportunity to gain strength, courage, and understanding of life. We seem to be always trying to avoid evil Karma, and get good Karma for ourselves, where as what we should do is to make use of everything as it comes. In this way, we pay our debts to a debtor we cannot avoid—ourselves. We don’t put effort into trying to avoid anything, but go right to work on what is before us. Then the soul begins to act, the will begins to act, and the power of the will is increased. There is no will operating with a shifting, veering personality, afraid of this, and of that, fearful that it won’t be able to stand this or that. Only the feeling of responsibility will lift us out of those personal considerations.
Q. The very best Karma would be working off bad Karma, then?
A. Well, let us say nothing is good and nothing is bad, but all is opportunity,—the very best opportunity, because the soul knows what it needs for increasing its powers and keeping its energy. We sometimes do not recognize our opportunities, for they are occurring every moment of the time. Every single event is an opportunity—even the passing of people on the street and the thoughts and feelings they stir up in us; what ever we feel toward others, our relations with them, our touch with them, our family relations, our social, our business, and our national relations,—all these are opportunities to be taken advantage of in every way; every one of them constitutes Karma. Our touch with Theosophy is a Karmic opportunity.
Q. It seems to be possible to distribute Karma over a long period of time?
A. Again, that is dependent upon the attitude we
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hold. We may distribute Karma over a long period of time, or we may hurry it, because we are self-conscious beings, and that fact always means we have the power of choice. Our very different attitude towards life because of our study of Theosophy has the tendency to hasten Karma; or we may say, as we hasten, we meet Karma.
Q. Can Karma be precipitated too heavily?
A. No one of us, perhaps, would have either the disposition or the courage to push so far ahead that we should be unable to bear the burden of Karma. We shall never have a burden we can not carry, although it may seem too heavy. We must clear up that in us which is not righteous, which is not just, and which does not permit us to act as we ought to act. The faster we do that, the better, but we hasten only just as much as we can take care of. We hasten beneficial as well as bad Karma, of course, but the man who won’t trust his past Karma for either good or evil can not make very fast progress.
Q. Does unexpended Karma remain inherent in the being in the form of mental deposits?
A. It is impressed or burned into his own imperishable nature. That is why we say a man brings his own conditions with him, whatever they may be. How could he come forth from his rest in Devachan, or after a manvantara, and go on with evolution again, if there was nothing to go forth with? Karma, it must be remembered, is cause, as well as effect.
Q. When returning to earth-life, does the ego thoroughly understand the justice of reincarnation and undertake the task willingly?
A. Certainly. After leaving Devachan, and before rebirth, the ego has an opportunity by his own nature to perceive exactly what the results of the coming birth must of necessity be. Then he plunges in to work it out through the conditions in which Karma has placed him; he can not work it out from the egoic condition.
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It is bad Karma to be thrown into the care of people whose ideas are absolutely erroneous, but if our intent has been to do the right thing, and we hold to that course, then always something within us will prevent our receiving anything as truth which is not self-evident.
Q. Is not, then, fate closely connected with Karma?
A. It depends on how you look at it; that is, if you put your finger in the fire, the “fate” is to have a burn. The time to have decided the fate was before you put your finger in the fire. The only “fate” is that which comes from our own decisions.
Q. Does not all Karma start on the mental plane, no matter where the effects are felt?
A. Karma begins and is felt on the Manasic plane, as is easily seen by considering that no matter what happens to one, physically or in any other way, unless he thinks about it, it makes no difference to him by way of happiness or unhappiness. If felt at all, then, Karma starts and ends on the Manasic plane, and therein lies the reason for maintaining the right attitude; for seeing that Karma brings us what we need to remedy defects in our nature and strengthen our efforts. And it is the efforts that count. Success or failure is of no consequence, but the effort stays with us, a part of ourselves; the energy put into the effort never leaves us.
Q. Do we not shift the Karma from lower to higher planes?
A. We do not shift Karma, but we shift our personal thought; that is, we get Karma in the place where we stand. It cannot hit us in the place where we are not. We ourselves are the variants, not the things that occur.
Q. Is it not a man’s duty to comply with the laws of his country, whether he approves them or not? Is not that duty Karma?
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A. Born under those laws and compelled by them, since they are made according to the ideas of our fellow-men, we should have nothing to worry about but doing our duty to our fellow-men. Why should we claim a superiority over our fellow-men which we have not, since we are dependent upon them for our very existence? Even though they have determined to move in a certain direction not in accord with our thinking, and we cannot come out of the crowd, yet all the time each one can be the spiritual being. A soldier may do whatever his superiors tell him to do, but that cannot prevent his thought, will, and feeling from working in the right direction, and so he has his opportunity—a greater one, perhaps, in war then he would have had in peace, because of the very difficulties presented him to conquer. It matters not whether we work in war or in peace, for all things, if we look at them aright, work for good and for righteousness to those who fulfill the law.
The present war has thrown us out of the hard ruts of thinking. If by the destruction of millions of men, other millions are brought to think as they never thought before, if they are made to sacrifice, to see the use and benefit of sacrifice, then much will be gained for the world. If, too, a new basis is established, then those who have died as a vicarious atonement for us will come again at a time infinitely more favorable than it has ever been before for mankind. There is nothing lost; no labor is in vain.
Q. What is the significance of the "Guardian Wall” spoken of in the “Voice of Silence” [page 74]?
A. The Masters are the great Guardian Wall. While those great Beings have no control over the choice of human beings, They have control over the minor beings and the minor forces of nature, and can hold back catastrophes which would crush us, coming on us unchecked from the kingdoms below us, visible and invisible, where in our ignorance we have aroused
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many inimical forces. While the Masters as a matter of reason and fact take no active part in the war now going on, in so far as They can control climatic conditions and other material interferences, which might affect badly the right side, that They do.
Karma is the key-note to all conditions, for it governs the smallest atom as well as the highest spiritual being; it governs men, animals, worlds, and periods of evolution, in their individual actions and in their collective interactions. In its broadest sense, Karma is action; every effect flows from some action, from some cause precedent, and the reaction is but the continuance of that action. Karma is the basis of evolution; the ocean of life separating into its constituent drops, after pralaya, is action, in continuance of past actions which entered into that assimilative period, and go forth from it as a cause. Karma is the means by which evolution proceeds. The benefit of understanding Karma, however, is not to be experienced so much from following the world, race, or national Karma, as in the study of our own personal lines and lives, and the application and relation to them of universal laws. We are Karma; we represent Karma; as we think, we are the creators of Karma. There is no Karma unless there is a being to make it or feel its effects, and as each being in its degree has the power to act, to perceive and receive the effects of action, it must be realized that Karma is not a law imposed on man by gods, devils, men or beings of any kind, but is inherent in all beings; hence, it is the law of absolute justice, and each man is responsible for his own external affairs, conditions, and circumstances, for his character, qualities and tendencies, for his mental, moral, psychic and spiritual nature, upon every plane of consciousness. He is likewise responsible for the effects of his thought and action on his fellow-men, and on the kingdoms below man; he cannot save himself at the expense of any other being, nor can he have true
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happiness so long as any of his fellow-men suffer. As he is a self-conscious being with the power of acquiring qualities, and of manipulating the lower natures, it devolves upon him to understand the nature of all things that he may use them beneficently. Only when the feeling of responsibility which is the beginning of selflessness moves men to clarification of their minds, and to conformity of feeling, thought, and act with the true rationale of life, can this understanding be had.
The laws and principles of existence—the true rationale of life—are presented by Theosophy; hence, each man’s contact with it is alike an opportunity and a responsibility, to which he has been brought under Karma. He can make the most of it, or he may neglect it so as to fail to obtain or extend benefit. His refusal to take advantage of it now will make him less determined in some other life to carry out the purpose of his nature, which is defeated presently if he neglects, under any circumstances or pressure, that which he sees to be leading him in the right direction. But always there are those who will test Theosophy out in their own lives, and learn what it is, and will carry on the work to the last end. They in their good time must come to be the leaders and pioneers of humanity, which must learn, even though the learning takes centuries of suffering. If the light of pure Theosophy is kept burning clear, it will be the saving light of the whole world. That must be. But the question is, who will be the light-bearers?
The first state after death. Where and what are heaven and hell? Death of the body only the first step of death. A second death after that. Separation of the seven principles into three classes. What is Kama Loka? Origin of Christian purgatory. It is an astral sphere with numerous degrees. The Skandhas. The astral shell of man in Kama Loka. It is devoid of soul, mind and conscience. It is the “spirit” of the séance rooms. Classification of shells in Kama Loka. Black magicians there. Fate of suicides and others. Pre-devachanic unconsciousness.
Q. The chapter [page 100] speaks of Kamaloka as a place; is it a place merely in a metaphysical sense?
A. It is a place “physically” in that it is a degree of substance—the astral substance or atmosphere which surrounds the earth to an appreciable distance—composed of the physical and psychical emanations of the earth. But it is a metaphysical “place” so far as the consciousness of the person involved in it is concerned.
Q. Then the Kamalokic plane is the astral plane?
A. It is. We don’t go to any particular locality to reach it, any more than we go anywhere in our dreaming state. Simply, we are in that state. And Kamaloka is like the dreaming state, in that it is temporary; when the energy that caused the dreams, whether good or bad, is used up, the man goes into his own nature as a person.
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Q. If the Kamarupa is devoid of consciousness, how can Kamaloka be likened to the dream-state, wherein the consciousness is active?
A. It is not stated that Kamaloka is devoid of consciousness. We are, or may be in Kamaloka right now as we feel, but we are not Kamarupas. A man plunged into a state of gloom is in Kamaloka just as much as though he had disposed of his body. We should not confuse the body, or vehicle, with the consciousness employing it. Let us remember all the time that we, as Consciousness, are working in and upon substance; we are not to mistake the forms produced by Consciousness for the Consciousness itself.
Q. How soon does the Real Man leave the Kamalokic state?
A. The Real Man is for only a short time after the death of the body connected with the Kamarupa; during that time, he is tied to it much as he may be to the physical body at the present time; but he almost immediately lets go of this Kamic body, just as he has let go of the physical. The Real Man, in ordinary cases, goes practically at once into the Devachanic state. The Kamarupa begins to disintegrate immediately, and continues to disintegrate very quickly, if it is not reinforced by mediumistic and other practices.
Q. Could there not be some cases in which the Real Man would be detained in Kamaloka?
A. The higher principles of an absolute materialist, or of one who has taken the first steps toward black magic, are still actually connected with the Kamarupa, but, otherwise, only some sort of an internal desire for something, strongly held, could detain the Ego. This would not generally be the case, for when the body dies, the seats of the desires, that is, the organs, lose their power of excitation. The memory of every cell and every organ fades out, when they are no longer part of an organic being, and so no further desire arises. There might be a period of only five min-
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utes, fifteen minutes, or a year, when our desires would run along the lines that we had held during life, but they cannot renew themselves very well, since there is no seat for their operation. Only some very strong unsatisfied desire holds a Kamarupa in being for a long time, and the desire body maybe renewed only by some extraneous pressure. Even if a Kamarupa existed as a coherent mass of tendencies for hundreds of years, it would not mean that the Ego was connected with it. If he were connected, he would have some control.
Q. Does the Kamic body exist then as an entity separate and apart from the man who left it?
A. Let us remember first, last, and always, that the Real Man has his visible and invisible constituents. The visible constituents are in the body; the invisible constituents are in the astral body. When the body is occupied the man is there—the controlling power. When he drops the body, the body remains what it was. When he drops his astral body in Kamaloka, it remains just as he left it. He is not himself detained in Kamaloka, but his remains are there, as are here his remains on the physical plane, for a longer or shorter time or duration. The remains are not conscious in any way; they are useless to the man and uncontrollable by him. Even though they may have some effect on him, yet he is not conscious of the fact. If he were so conscious, he would have control over them; his will would be operative. But, in fact, he is not there at all.
Q. Is there any suffering in Kamaloka?
A. Not for the Ego. The desires and passions that make up the Kamarupa go back to their own natures rendered all the happier for the change. They belong to the animal or Kamic world, not to astral matter.
Q. But are we not still responsible for the Kamarupa, even when we have left Kamaloka?
A. Yes; that Kamarupa is like a machine which
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we have not known how to operate and control. If it does damage to others, we are still responsible for the damage. We have to take charge of that old machine and keep at the task until we know how to control it.
Q. Would you say that the Kamalokic condition is merely a continuance of the physical existence, in the sense that so many of our dreams are?
A. In the majority of cases, one who dies a natural death has a Kamalokic existence analogous in time to the dreaming state which precedes deep sleep, but feelings and desires, along the lines of envy, revenge, anger, lust, are left there as forces, which keep on operating after the man has no further touch with them. He meets the results of these operations when he returns.
Q. Could we call the Kamarupa a thought body?
A. No, not a thought body; it is the residuum of thought—the effect of thought upon substance, or upon those lives which compose the substance. Every thought we have coalesces with some small life and gives it direction and impulse, but while that life, of itself, is not conscious, it will repeat the impulse given it until that energy dies out. Congeries of this kind of lives will be coherent for some time after the death of the body, and even after the person has gone to Devachan. The Kamarupa exists after the personality has left it, just as the physical body does after the soul departs from it; it still exists as a body, in its lives, and has its effect on other organisms.
Q. Do the Kamarupas really affect or move us astrally?
A. They exist absolutely devoid of consciousness or guidance of any kind, blown about by every attraction or repulsion. They have no will nor consciousness, and can affect us only as we attract them by strong feeling, exhibiting lust, anger or envy.
Q. Are the three classes of Skandhas the lives of the various planes?
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A. The Skandhas are the lives plus the impulsions that have been given those lives. The lives all belong to the one who evolved them, and all they know is the direction given them. They have no power of choice; they cannot initiate impulse, but merely receive it. So the Skandhas are our tendencies, the quality of force which we have imparted to the various lives in the various planes or departments of nature, physical, mental and psychical. We impel the physical lives in our bodies; we impel the astral counterparts which make physical expression possible; we impel the lives that have to do with our thought processes. As they have been impelled by us, they are connected to us by magnetic or electrical attraction, and when we return to earth we draw them back to us again, or energize the Skandhas of the three classes, which, we may see, make possible the operation of several classes of Karma at the same time.
Q. Then the whole teaching concerning the Skandhas is merely another illustration of cause and effect?
A. Yes, we cannot think, feel, say or do anything without starting some of the infinitesimal colorless lives, with which the whole atmosphere pulsates everywhere, in a given direction. We are responsible for those lives because we created them as that kind of life. If the force put into our thought was very little, the direction may be short-lived, but strong thoughts and feelings energize strongly. The total of these lives is always existent on the physical and astral planes, and we draw them back to us as an aggregate because we were the creators and originators of them.
Q. How is it that the person leaving the body makes the review of his past life after the heart has stopped beating and the breathing is over, when a drowning person makes that same review still alive?
A. One drowning is on the very bridge of death, and according to the length of time he is on the
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bridge will be the extent of the review, which necessarily comes from the letting go—or the partial letting go—of the physical life. Although the doctors may have pronounced the death, so long as there is a spark of animal heat in the body, the brain still thinks. Because one cannot go forward, he must go back, and so the scroll is rolled up from the time of death or approaching death, and one reads the record of all his thoughts, words, deeds and impressions from the last moment back to the events of childhood.
Q. Would this review take place in one killed by an explosion?
A. Such a death is not completed. The man is still alive physically, mentally and morally, just as much as he was before the body as blown to pieces. He is minus the physical body, only, as are suicides and executed criminals. All those thrust suddenly out of life in such ways are really not dead; they have their tastes, desires and passions of every kind, which they can gratify only through a being occupying a physical body. One result of capital punishment is an increase in crime, because these bodiless men stimulate with their passions the minds of men already evilly inclined.
Q. What is the difference between the permanent and the ordinary astral body?
A. The ordinary astral is constructed on the basis of the skandhas, while the permanent astral is constructed during life on the basis of the aspirations and self-induced efforts, out of astral substance, but not exactly of the earthly astral substance. If one building a permanent astral gives way to anger or evil feelings in any direction, he spoils his building, but the old skandhic astral body is left in full play. One with a permanent astral never has a Kamaloka, nor a Devachan, for he knows too much, and cannot be drawn into those conditions. Then he comes back, working
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not only with tendencies, but with aspirations, knowledge and effort, which are permanent.
Q. What is the process by which the lower kingdoms are affected by our thoughts and aspirations? Is it possible to raise the lives in our body from the animal to the human plane?
A. The lives from the lower kingdoms, which we use in our bodies, are coming and going all the time. While they are within our sphere of influence, they are impressed by us, and carry those impressions back into the lower kingdoms. Thence they are attracted to a human body again which has within it similar kinds of lives. Some lives, or those impressed by good, remain on the human plane, while lives impressed by evil go back to the lower kingdoms. We borrow our bodies from the earth, and keep renewing them all the time, so that the lives we impress with a right impulse will come back to us.
The meaning of the term. A state of Atma Buddhi-Manas. Operation of Karma on Devachan. The necessity for Devachan. It is another sort of thinking with no physical body to clog it. Only two fields for operation of causes—subjective and objective. Devachan is one. No time there for the soul. Length of stay therein. Mathematics of the soul. Average stay therein is 1500 mortal years. Depends on psychic impulses of life. Its use and purpose. On the last thoughts at death the devachanic state is fashioned. Devachan not meaningless. Do we see those left behind? We bring their images before us. Entities in Devachan have a power to help those they love. Mediums cannot go to those in Devachan except in rare cases and when the person is pure. Adepts only can help those in Devachan.
Q. Do beings in devachan contact one another?
A. There is no contact whatever among beings in the devachanic state; otherwise it would be an objective rather than a subjective existence. There would also he no possibility of the soul’s experiencing the heavenly condition, were there contact with other beings, since such contact is the source of most of the troubles we have.
Q. Is not, then, devachan a selfish state?
A. It is not any more selfish than the earth-life. but it is the best kind of selfishness that we know. It is heaven considered from a point of view as per-
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sons, in accord with personal existence, but the energies worked out there are those concerned with such high ideals and aspirations as have been held in life, and perhaps hindered in expression. In devachan, when those principles which occasioned the hindrance to high aspirations are removed, then, as persons, we begin to work upon them. There is no obstruction; we go on functioning according to our ideas and feelings; we make our own place according to our desires.
Q. Then the personal view-point is not lost until rebirth?
A. The personality is not dropped until the Ego comes out of devachan; it is only then that the Ego resumes its own nature. The end of the devachanic period is the finish and completion of the personality.
In the case of a child dying before the Ego has been completely united with the physical body—before the age of six or seven years—there could not, of course, be any devachan, as it would in reality have been worked out after the previous life. Such an Ego retires into its own state, awaiting conditions for rebirth.
Q. What determines the length of one’s stay in devachan?
A. Entities are kept in devachan by the very force of their blissful state; they have no incentive to come out of it; only when the force of their life’s aspirations is exhausted, do they emerge from it. Such is the case with the generality of beings, but if an entity of strong and clean nature enters the state with the desire to be of help on earth in a body, he may be aroused from his sleep to assume a body by those Adepts whose function it is to perform such services. These Adepts are beings free from all delusion and themselves not in the devachanic state, but able to act consciously on any and all planes of being. Hence they, and they alone, can come in actual contact with beings in devachan.
Q. Would you say that there is no contact with the
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real Ego in the devachanic state, so far as this physical plane is concerned?
A. The physical plane has no bearing whatever on the devachanic state, although, just as Kamaloka is anywhere, devachan is anywhere. While we speak of coming and going to devachan as if it were a matter of space and distance, there might be devachanic beings right where we are now. But, not belonging to this plane, they do not disturb us and we do not disturb them. The constituents of the astral plane vary as do the constituents of our earth, and as do the other finer elements. The finer nature and element of devachanic bodies could be here without receiving any detriment, or receiving any of the coarser elements of the Kamalokic plane.
Q. Surely, then, if we could raise ourselves to the devachanic state, we could be with those loved ones who have gone?
A. We should then be in the same state of vibration with them, and, undoubtedly, experience some thing of their bliss, as their happy dreams would include us. The strength of the bond of love cannot be limited. In our nightly passage into deep sleep, on the plane corresponding to their devachan, something of this occurs—the memory of which is brought back in dreams.
Q. Suppose two who loved each other beyond all else in life died within a short time of each other; could not they be in actual contact?
A. Two sympathetic souls will each work out their own devachanic sensations. Each would make the other a sharer in its subjective bliss, yet each is dissociated from the other as regards actual mutual intercourse. What companionship could there be between purely subjective entities?
The matter of dying within a short time of each other has no relation to devachan, where the element of time plays no part; all sense of time is lost there.
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The death of one, of course, might weaken “the will to live” of the other yet on earth, and hasten his departure.
Q. But if devachanes do not return to earth, as Mr. Judge states in the chapter [page 115], what is it, seen at séances, that is identified as the departed person?
A. It is not the Ego; no materialized form is the form of the spirit claiming it. All such forms are merely electro-magnetic shapes—merely reflecting surfaces—modeled on images seen in the astral light, and built from material, drawn sometimes from kamarupic remains, and largely from the very vital forces of the medium and sitters present. Séances, it may be inferred, are full of danger to sitters, both physically and mentally.
Q. There seems to be a great revival of interest the past few years along this line of “spirit” communication—some indirect, through mediums, and others direct, via the ouija-board. Is there likelihood of obtaining any knowledge in this direction?
A. Absolutely not. The psychology to be found in this chapter on devachan alone should show the folly of placing any reliance on “spirit” communications, direct or indirect. Present-day communications through mediums exhibit the same ignorance, the same lack of consistency and value as were common to the communications of the last quarter of the nineteenth century. We look in vain among them for any knowledge of principles and laws applicable to daily life; we look in vain for any rationale of continuous existence, apart from the physical body.
As for the so-called direct communications of the ouija-board, where, of course, the sitter makes himself a passive medium (the black and dangerous aspect of the practice), we have but to suggest to ourselves an analogy, to bring home their absurdities. Supposing it were possible in exceptional cases for a waking person to communicate with a person who is dreaming,
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the report received would be nothing but the visions of the dreamer, and would convey no knowledge of the condition or experience of other dreamers. Those who have passed into the individual spiritual stage are beyond the reach of any mediums whatsoever, and those still in the personal astral stage had better be left undisturbed by nefarious meddlers. It is absolutely futile to endeavor to open up communication with “dreamers” in the hope of gaining knowledge of after death states.
Q. What provision would there be for those people who have no particular belief in regard to “heaven,” no particular attachments to people or pursuits, but are naturally benevolent in a large way?
A. They would pass quickly through the kamalokic state into their heaven, where the formulation of abstract ideas and the consideration of general principles would fill their thought.
Q. Does the soul require this particular period for rest, or for assimilation?
A. The soul of the one who has been constantly experiencing in life, with no opportunity to assimilate, needs rest from his vicissitudes and freedom from opposition, such as devachan affords for the purpose of assimilation. But it is not necessary for everyone to have a devachan. Some can assimilate their experiences right here, and that is the better way. In fact, one who does not desire rest, but rather to work in the world for his fellow-men, could not have a devachan. He finds his rest in his work, and the more modes of work he undertakes, the more rest he gets.
Q. The place of power, then, is the physical body?
A. The place of power is absolutely within our reach now. After we have dropped the physical body, the old personal machine still goes on. First the bad is strained off, as it were, and then we have the good. When that good is exhausted, we come back to physical life again. In devachan we are limited to the one
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state; in physical life we can be in any of the heavens or hells.
Q. When we go to sleep at night, we go into deeper states—the states of our real being. Why, then, should we need to go into the devachanic state on the death of the body?
A. Every night we go, as well as into our real being, through the intermediate states of kamaloka and devachan, in an intensified degree. It is an intermission for the Ego from earthly perceptions, but nevertheless the Ego is still connected with earth-life and the physical body. The effort during physical life is that of the Ego. The progress gained is the harvest of the Ego. It is in earth-life he establishes his chain of causes. The personality is merely the field in which the Ego works. During life, there is an intermittent coming and going through the states of sleep for the Ego, but on the death of the body, there is a long period which represents a general cleaning up, so to say, of all the personal states of the life last lived, and a limitation to effect states. The personal thoughts have to be worked out, and not until devachan is exhausted does the Ego again enter into its own state and know what is to come from what has been. In life, every night he enters that spiritual state, his own true nature. Connection between Lower and Higher Manas must be made during life in a body; it can not be made at any other time. After death, it is only the effects naturally ensuing from the life last lived that must be worked out to their residuum, and in these the Ego is detained from his own true nature, which, however, before returning to earth life, he resumes for a time.
Q. What is meant by resuming “his own true nature” during deep sleep?
A. “His own true nature” is the spiritual, divine nature, which includes all the experience and faculties and knowledge of all the past. That is the nature of the “perfected” man, for whom there is no breakage
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of consciousness from plane to plane, to whom his true nature is the ever-present reality. For us, while consciousness is operative all the time and in different ways, we identify ourselves with the vehicle or instrument of each state, and do not consciously pass from one to another.
Q. In coming out of devachan, is it the previous existence which provides conditions for a new birth?
A. Not necessarily. The predominating effect of the Karma of any given life into which we may enter may be drawn from half a dozen previous lives, whereof the Karma had not been expended.
Q. Do the skandhas lost over more than one incarnation?
A. They are whatever they may have been made from one incarnation to another, and belong always to the plane of incarnation. They are the consummation and the essence of all the tendencies. Some of the tendencies which we have acquired in past existences may not have had an opportunity to expend themselves, but we have them. Wherever there is evil, or tendency to evil of any kind in the race, every human being in the race possesses the germs of those evils, and needs only the conditions to make them sprout. If we are clear-eyed enough to see the nature of these things, we can prevent the conditions for sprouting.
One of the most important doctrines. Corresponding words in the Sanskrit. Few cycles known to the West. They cause the reappearance of former living personages. They affect life and evolution. When did the first moment come? The first rate of vibration determines the subsequent ones. When man leaves the globe the forces die. Convulsions and cataclysms. Reincarnation and karma intermixed with cyclic law. Civilizations cycle back. The cycle of Avatars. Krishna, Buddha, and others come under cycles. Minor personages and great leaders. Intersection of cycles causes convulsions. The Moon, Sun, and Sidereal cycles. Individual cycles and that of reincarnation. The motion through the constellations, and the meaning of the story of Jonah. The Zodiacal clock. How the ideas are impressed and preserved by nations. Cause for earthquakes, Cosmic Fire, Glaciation, and Floods. The Brahmanical Cycles.
Q. How are cycles instituted?
A. Cycles are not, of course, established by some great being for human beings. Let us consider the cycles of the earth revolving on its axis, of the moon revolving around the earth, of both revolving around the sun, and of the sun revolving around a central body, passing through the various constellations in the course of 25,868 years. All these cycles were instituted by the force and intelligence of those beings who were present at the beginning of evolution of
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this universe and of this solar system; it is the recurrence and reappearance of those beings from time to time that establish the great cycles; cycles mean the return of that which was before.
Q. How would you say that Karma is connected with the law of cycles?
A. In the last analysis, cycles really mean Karma. We can see that we have brought ourselves into our own relations with the changes of the sun through the various constellations. The signs of the Zodiac under which we come, when read aright, give us an index as to what the state of civilization will be at any given time, because the beings who established particular relations in the immense past have merely returned again, and resumed those previous relations and similar conditions.
Q. Then we are subject to cycles as we are to Karma?
A. And as we are to reincarnation. Again, reincarnation means the same as cycles. Through incarnation we bring ourselves into relation with all physical things—the earth upon which we are, the conditions on that earth, the relation to other planets and to other systems. All these are conditions we have brought about; we experience these conditions in a body on earth, and are subject to them because of our thinking and action.
Q. But are we compelled to let the cycles work upon us?
A. We certainly must experience them, as we are the cause of them. We must operate under them, but we need not be subject to, or controlled by the conditions presented. The real causes always lie back of the physical effects. It is the spiritual nature of man that is the driving force, the sustaining force—Life itself, Consciousness itself—behind all that has been brought about. So whatever is on earth has been established on higher planes of being by
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the innumerable actions of various intelligences. We find ourselves physically and exteriorly under the conditions, but internally we have the power to rise above them.
Q. Can man come to a place where cycles will not work upon him or interfere with him?
A. In only one sense. Man is always subject to cycles. When the time for sleeping comes, for instance, he can not help retreating within. But the consciousness may be of such a state of activity that no break or lack of memory exists between the various states. Ordinarily, man does not know what his conscious activity is while the body is asleep. Hence, he is subject to the cycle of sleeping in a far greater degree than is an adept.
Q. If we fulfill cyclic law, then we may be said to be working with the cycles?
A. Knowledge is acquired in just that way. Cycles will run their rounds whether we are conscious of the fact or not, but, by being conscious of cycles, we are able to take advantage of them. To hold on strongly during a falling cycle is as necessary as to make the proper advance during a rising cycle. The fact of the return of impressions or the return of events of every kind is an opportunity whereby we may reach a higher state with each succeeding cycle.
Q. Please explain the following on page 122,—“It is not claimed that the conjunction causes the effect, but that ages ago the Masters of Wisdom worked out all the problems in respect,” etc.
A. The conjunction of the planets does not produce the effect; it merely marks the hour, as does the zodiacal clock, or as do our ordinary clocks. It does not produce the effect, but indicates when the effect of a certain cause will be.
Q. What is meant in the last clause of that same
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sentence—“by imprinting in the minds of older nations the symbology of the Zodiac”?
A. In the beginning of the earth there are present, first the older or the more advanced Egos from the past earth. There also come in, following the advanced Egos, those who are less advanced, until all who are self-conscious are occupied, let us say, in the earlier state of the globe. In addition come those Egos who represent incipient humanity—a humanity analogous to such as the present higher animals of this round will evolve into in our seventh round. The higher Egos, then, having worked in the first globe and established it, pass on to the second, while the later stream of Egos is coming into the first state. It is the higher or more advanced Egos who imprint on the subsequent or less developed Egos the knowledge in regard to these laws; it is a passing on of what has been known before.
Q. On the basis that man is a spiritual being and can always change his course, I do not see how Masters could work out cycles unless people necessarily act very much alike.
A. They figure out cycles according to the average of the mass of mankind, not on the basis of the individual’s position in regard to the cycle. An individual may take a very different position from that of the mass toward some cycle, but none the less he moves with it and is bound to that cycle; he has to move with that race, either above it or below it. No one can escape from the race to which he belongs.
The effect of cycles upon us, however, or the use of the cyclic return, depends upon the individual. Should there be, let us say, a revolution all over the world, all forms upset, all ideas of valuation and property destroyed, how would men be affected? Some would be affected terribly; others, very little. It would depend altogether on the individuals—on the measure
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of their attachment to the results brought about by such a course of events. Freedom comes from lack of self interest in the results of anything we do. If we work with things, not for things, for the best of all, without being attached to either success or failure, then we are not struck by such catastrophes. They cannot touch us. We are interested in their effects upon others and not upon ourselves.
Q. Then masses of people must learn as the individual must, to act regardless of self-interest?
A. That is the position. If every man did all that he could for every other man, then no one would suffer. There would he no poverty of any kind.
Q. Might we expect a cyclic return of the Reign of Terror?
A. Undoubtedly. The same conditions that brought it about in France might bring the same upheaval in any other country. It is significant to note that many years before the Revolution, a certain great personage known as Count St. Germain was on the scene in France. He performed many diplomatic missions for the potentates of the time, and warned them over and over again of what would come, as soon as certain changes were made and certain safeguards put up. There, an attempt was made by One who knew to hold back that Karma. His effort all the time was in the line of truth—of true fraternity in its highest sense.
Q. But the watchword of the French Revolution was “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.”
A. Yes; that very watchword was taken to help bring about revolution and bloodshed—used for destructive purposes, rather than in line with the spiritual constructive basis which the words truly represent. An interesting parallel might be observable in this country. As early as 1886 [“Another Theosophical Prophecy,” The Path, May, 1886] Mr. Judge said that this great and glorious country will not long be at rest, that the people will rise—for what,
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who can tell? He said that if our legislators knew what was coming about and could bring about contravening effects, they would do so; but that no legislation and no efforts of any patriots would avail when the hour strikes, when Karmic readjustments among the people have to take place.
Q. Why do men not listen to warnings of this kind?
A. Many take the position that, of course, no such thing could occur here. They are obsessed with the idea that we are spiritually far advanced beyond the times when those conditions were possible. But are we so far advanced, as a whole? Are we not, as a whole, seeking self-interest, personal greed, personal fame, and possessions of every kind? There is no real understanding among men in general, particularly among our politicians and so-called “men of intelligence,” as to what the purpose of life is; consequently, there is no application of the only knowledge which would help. What is behind the league of nations now in process of establishment? Self-interest on the part of each nation. It is absolutely useless to dodge the issue. We have got to see what is the real trouble with mankind. The fact is, we have no real ideals; it is every man for himself—individualism, self-interest, selfishness. Yet we are connected with other individuals, and with other nations. What comes upon them we are bound to feel in a greater or less measure.
Q. If all men held the ideal of Brotherhood, as Theosophy presents it, should we see any marked difference in conditions?
A. Everything depends upon the ideals that men hold. If people as a whole could be brought into the position of listening to the message of Theosophy, and applying it, the misery and suffering and hardship that now exist in the world would practically cease to exist. But it is beyond the reach of any power whatever to get men to listen and to apply. They must first desire and choose to listen.
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Q. Then we are very much limited in our power to help?
A. Being “limited” does not give us any excuse for not doing all that we can, and that is all that anybody can do. If there are among a large class of beings those who hold a certain ideal and make the necessary effort for it, they are not really of the same class as the others, and do not operate under the same conditions. But if they remain constant in helping others, the greatest help accrues to the rest in time. Such we might call a league of individuals which would grow in knowledge and in power and become all the time better able to help all the rest.
Q. You say that the only hope of any nation is to listen to right ideas? Then how about Russia?
A. In Russia they have listened to leaders. That is what is the matter there. Some leader has promised them the property of those who have it, no work, and plenty to eat. That is what they wanted. So they listened to his promise and as they listened he managed to get them under such discipline that no one of them dare say nay. They need a leader who knows the right and who will rule with an iron hand in the cause of right. Then all would be made to do right for the sake of the rest. That is the only way it can be done in Russia.
Q. Generally speaking, high ideals would develop a true line of energy?
A. Every human being is a ceaseless dynamo of continually produced energy which will finally affect the very earth on which we live. The brain is a dispenser; none of the energy we put in any kind of thought is lost, but becomes a part of the energy of the earth. If that energy is devoted more to disintegration than to good and constructive ideals, then destruction will be brought about not only of the civilization but of the very earth itself. There is no separateness between us and the other
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kingdoms. We are all bound to each other. We live upon the lower kingdoms; we gain our instruments from them, and we affect them either beneficently or maleficently. In the energy we put into self-interest we are generating maleficent influence, which finally, in cyclic course, will culminate in some disaster. The energy generated by high ideals will likewise culminate, but in some great benefit.
We have to learn Theosophy, but more, we have to make it a living power in our lives, in order to have it of beneficent effect and spread beyond our own narrow horizon of thought and feeling. We have to supply that dynamic power, not for any one channel, but for all. It is the power of Consciousness when freed from self-interest; it is Spirit, freed from self-interest.
Q. On page 125, “These Four Yugas are: Krita, or Satya, the golden; Treta; Dvapara; and Kali or the black.” The nature of the two middle ones is not explained. What would be the nature of those two cycles?
A. The cycles are called the Golden, the Silver, the Bronze, and the Iron. The nature of each cycle would correspond somewhat to the nature of the metals, their values, and their constituents. The first Age corresponds to childhood—a cycle of innocence and purity. Then comes youth with its exuberance of life; then manhood, when all the forces are in action,—the intellect tending to outrun the spiritual nature. The Iron Age always comes as a result of the whole force of the intellect being expended in the trend of material things, rather than along the line of spiritual perception.
Q. What follows the Iron Age?
A. When the Iron Age has run to the completion of its cycle, then follows in regular succession the Golden Age. But that is yet a long time off. We have finished only the first five thousand years of Kali-Yuga, which leaves us something over four hundred
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thousand years yet to run. Let us say that in fifty thousand years all the civilizations of the earth outrun their possibilities as such. Then comes a great disturbance, such as the geological changes apparent on any planet show have taken place. These disturbances are the re-actions of the forces that man has restrained so long, and cause a re-distribution of continents. Suppose for a moment that a great catastrophe over whelmed the earth; that the land went down, as it does in such periods, and lands came up where the sea was before; that a remnant of the people escaped and settled on those lands. Those who survived would be concerned with the first necessities of existence—food, clothing and shelter. The arts and sciences that had existed would have no place, but would become merely a tradition to the children born under those conditions. Their children would have a tradition still further removed from the ancient arts. Thus an entirely new phase of existence would be established. The in coming generations, heavy with the burden of sustenance, would learn only those arts and sciences applicable to their surroundings, and the cycle of the return of the ancient arts would be long in coming.
Such would he the story of our present Western civilization. All our landmarks would be gone in two hundred years or more. Then perhaps in some other life, on some other continent risen from the sea, we should be wondering what people left this or that small relic of civilization. This civilization will go through the same phases as any other; it merely presents the embodiments of souls who have come through past civilizations. For we are the second race, the third, and the fourth race; the second blended into the third, the third into the fourth, the fourth into the fifth, and so the blending into future races must go on. In all those races has been the living of life in an age of innocence and purity, followed by an age when purity and innocence de-
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creased through the growth of the intellect along physical lines, and then the physical rush of civilization went on in all its complexity until extinction.
Q. Did the Golden Age begin after we had acquired the present bodies?
A. No: our bodies were not then so concrete; they were more plastic, of a finer state of matter. There were giants in those days, that is, forms very large compared with the present forms. Those forms have become more and more concrete.
Q. What class of Egos would bring in the Golden Age?
A. The class we now represent, for we must have lived in the Golden Age. It is just the cycle of the rebirth of nations, analogous to our rebirth into another body: first comes childhood, then youth, manhood, decay, and death. At the present time, we are in our “manhood” as a race, in our Kali-Yuga.
Q. Are all nations now passing through Kali-Yuga?
A. Not necessarily. Other nations might now be in their age of innocence and purity, but, of course, Kali-Yuga tends to become more and more general. As long as nations are unknown to each other, separated by land and sea, and consequently in intelligence, the various cycles may run their rounds quite independently, but as soon as intelligence begins to spread all over the globe and there is almost instant connection, the Kali-Yuga begins to become uniform.
Q. Then cycles overlap and do not end abruptly?
A. Cycles always overlap. There is no direct breaking off point. There could not be a short stoppage, and then an immediate beginning again. There is always a merging from one thing into another, just as night merges gradually into day. The cycles have their morning, noon, their twilight, and their definite darkness, each period merging imperceptibly into another.
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Q. What establishes the twenty-four hour cycle including day and night?
A. So far as the earth is concerned, the twenty-four hour cycle is governed by the revolution of the earth on its own axis, which in its moving around the sun presents to us the appearance of day and night. But so far as we are concerned, this cycle, as all others, is established by, and in exact accordance with the needs of, the beings who fall within the influence of this cycle.
We should remember that in the beginning, the sun, and all the planets belonging to this solar system, established, through their relations and inter-relations, an order of motion, or a certain rate of vibration, which is the key governing all motions. Take the nineteen year cycle of the moon, spoken of by Mr. Judge, for illustration, remembering that all occult cycles affecting the earth are reckoned by the moon. There are four weeks and thirteen lunar months. Now multiplying the thirteen by four, and the result by nineteen, we shall get a number that will add up to seven. So with the sun cycle of twenty-eight years. Multiplying the 4xl3 and then by 28, we get an answer in which the total of the numerals also comes to seven. That same seven repeats itself in almost all of the cycles.
Q. Is that due to the fact of our seven-fold nature?
A. It is clue to the fact that everything is seven fold; that is why there are seven rounds, seven races, seven sub-races, seven clays of the week, seven colors. seven sheaths of the soul, etc.
Q. Does the seven-year period in man’s life have any particular significance?
A. Yes. The first seven years will give a determining inclination to the next seven; the next seven years have a determining influence on the seven ahead, and so on. Then there is another significant cycle—the 9
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cycle. Whenever we have passed the five, and have certain things in motion, the next four will follow the same lines, because the five is the balance. So nine makes the perfect number, and as well as being the number of perfection, it is also the number of death,—that is, when there is perfection in one direction, comes a destruction of that perfection and the beginning of a new nine. The number ten is called the completion of perfection, because seven and three make the ten. The seven is the manifesting side of nature—the visible; the three are hidden—the Atma-Buddhi Manas cycle.—the Spirit, the Self, and the acquired wisdom, and the active creative potency of that wisdom. The three hidden and the seven manifest applies in every direction, as with numbers, colors and sounds, which have their correspondential meanings in all of life and manifestation.
Q. Are there any hundred-year cycles?
A. There are. In every one hundred years an attempt has been made by the Masters of Wisdom to bring about something better in the way of ideals such as the men of the time can take, with their then existing ideas. Such an attempt may be seen in the formation of this Republic. There were several persons living at that time, some of whom we know in history, and others of whom we know nothing, who had the idea of a Republic of Brotherhood and carried it forward. The one who did more than any other person for the ideas that were to prevail was Tom Paine; yet no man was more excoriated by the early theologians. Then there was George Washington. What was it that sustained him during that almost impossible fight against one of the most war-like and strongest of people; against the dissensions, ignorance, and selfishness of the people for whom he fought and who supported him so meagerly? Well, he had support. There is a greater significance than appears in the fact that Lafayette came from
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France and brought him a sword. Many records, besides the higher Masonic records, show that this Republic was intended to be a Republic based on Brotherhood. But we have fallen away from that ideal and drifted into individualism.
Q. May not an individual have his own Golden Cycle in Kali-Yuga?
A. Certainly, yes, in this sense: All the good Karma of the past of various lives might come to fruition in one. Then he would have a Golden Cycle for that life, but a vast amount of less fortunate Karma would remain unexpended, and the next life might bring a cleaning up of all that had not been cleaned. What is seeming good is not always good, but very often bad. If a man of possessions, riches, culture and everything that seems desirable in the world, should use these advantages to the detriment of his fellow-men, he would only increase the misery he has to undo. In reality, we need not envy those men who are in high place and getting much reward from the systems they run. They are in the worst position imaginable, and their turn must come. None can get away from the Law, without serving the rest with his earnings. In this age there is a mixing of the castes, for we must remember that castes do exist everywhere—the Brahmins, the Warriors, the Merchants, and the Servants,—when many Sudras at heart are in high places, and the Brahmins in lowly places.
Q. Will there be a cyclic adjustment of the castes?
A. There is always such adjustment; that is, persons are continually being brought into different positions, high and low, but, in any cycle, all the collectivity of men contacting one another in the different kinds of experience has to be reckoned with. If the Sudras, when in power, use that power beneficently, they keep their high place; if they use their power against the welfare of all the rest, they must inevitably resume their places as Sudras.
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Q. Is there any possibility of shortening the Iron Age?
A. None whatever. The question was once asked of Mr. Judge, “Can we do anything against Kali-yuga?” He said, “No, but you can do a whole lot in it.” For in a time like Kaliyuga the energy expended has four times as much power as in any other age. The very rapidity of movement in Kaliyuga makes it possible to do much more than in any other age.
Q. Most of us are under the necessity of reincarnating, but the Great Beings who come to us incarnate of their own choice. What determines the cycle of their appearance?
A. If the spiritually perfected men who come as divine incarnations at different periods of the world’s history do not have to come, yet there must be conditions on earth that draw them here. The nature of the Egos on the earth at any given time is what brings about the appearance of a Great Being. Then, too, such Beings appear at the intersections of great cycles, as occurred between 1875 and 1898 when three great cycles intersected. The first five thousand year period of Kaliyuga, which began at the death of Krishna, the Teacher of the “Bhagavad-Gita,” was completed in this time. The hundred year cycle, when in the last twenty-five years of every century an effort is made by the Great Lodge, through Teachers or their disciples, to place better ideas before mankind was also in operation. The sun, during this period, passed from Pisces into Aquarius, and there, too, was a sign. The intersection of these three cycles, then, meant several things, but one signification was that in or about that period a Great Personage would appear on the earth, with such knowledge as the civilization and the mind of the time would allow. If we want to know who that Being was, we have only to think along the lines of our studies. The being known to the world as H. P. Blavatsky was known to the Masters by quite another
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name, as They stated, and the knowledge put forward by Her, or by Him, is what we know as Theosophy.
Q. Did any marked changes take place among men in general, at the intersection of these cycles?
A. Religions, sciences, governments, and peoples were all changing. For that very reason the Great Personage came. The conditions were such as to permit that visit and make possible the greatest benefit from it. When old forms are changing, men’s minds are more open, and then is the time for the work that only great Beings can do.
Q. Why was the work begun in this country in 1875?
A. Because the cycle has brought again that which was before. Here among this people the old Egyptians have come again; old Persians, too; old Hindus and those of other ancient nations you may find incarnated among us, if you know how. Lower down in the scale are those who in previous incarnations were the Red Indians of America; their Karma permits them to be reincarnated in the race which mistreated and supplanted them. In this country, too, is an aggregation of individuals from almost every country of the globe, so that a mixture of physical strains is going on which in time will produce a body of quite a different nature from any precedent physical bodies. At the same time, the psychic nature of these old peoples moves forward, increasing in sensitiveness, and has its influence on the physical strain. Altogether then, we have here a class of Egos with a wider range of ability to understand and perceive than has existed in previous classes of Egos.
All these are considerations which bring back Saviors, and they point to one thing which we ought and need to understand—that the One who began the work in this country is second to none. If we will study the teachings of that Being and of that Great Lodge with
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this idea in mind, the better will be our understanding. The more we can understand from that point of view, the more we shall receive—the closer shall we reach to wisdom. The status of that Being is one great lesson which an understanding of the law of cycles should teach us.
Q. Why is it that the teachings of Jesus which were to a limited people receive so much more consideration from these Western nations than the teachings of Theosophy which were written in black upon white, with an appeal to all the world, inclusive?
A. Is it not a fitting Karma that the now incarnated Egyptians who enslaved the Jews of old should he enslaved by the dogmas of the Jewish religion? For it is not the teachings of Jesus which are put generally into practice by so-called Christian peoples. The true teachings of Jesus were the teachings of Theosophy. Jesus taught the same things that Buddha taught some six hundred years before him; He but repeated the same teachings to a smaller people, to the Jews, who were His mission, as He himself said. That mission spread to a people unprepared for knowledge, but prepared rather for all sorts of superstition and dogmas. Jesus came in a lower cycle than that which brought Buddha. An age of mental and spiritual darkness was beginning, and instead of knowledge being given out, it had actually to be withdrawn from the ignorant class of Egos then existing. Even in India where much of this ancient knowledge was held, and was a matter of record, it was maintained apart from the masses. This is why Jesus taught the multitudes in parable.
Q. If the law of intersection of the cycles points to the fact of a very great Being appearing on the earth, it would also obliterate any idea of a successor, would it not?
A. The fact of the intersection of three cycles pointing to a very extraordinary event in the coming
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of a certain Personage lies at the root of an understanding of the whole philosophy. If we do not grasp the fact that the source of the philosophy is an actual knowledge, and realize that the Being who presented that knowledge knew it, and gave out all that could be given at this time, we have not got the first clue. With that clue, we can get more and more light in every direction; we can see what these things mean, for it actually tends to open what you might call the spiritual eye.
Q. In this chapter [page 120] it speaks of a coming Avatar who will combine the qualities of two of the greatest of the past Ones. What would that mean?
A. Of course, we need to recognize that we have not gotten to the end of our orbit yet, and there is much yet to occur before then. There will be no end of the attempts to further and spread the ideas that must arouse men’s minds. Like the striking of rapid hammer blows, these attempts will precede whatever and whoever is to come, Now Krishna was warrior, not in the military but in the true sense; He was an administrator, while Buddha was ethical intelligence. The next great Avatar will be the uniting of administrative and ethical intelligence.
Q. I have heard some Theosophists say that another great Savior is coming very soon.
A. He will come when we are ready, but the Masters have not given the cycle of His coming, for a very good reason. Many of the Jews who were promised a Messiah did not recognize Him when He came and are still looking for Him, Just so, many Theosophists knew Him not, and have had Him incarnating in various bodies, proclaiming Him.
Q. Would the cycle of Theosophy depend upon the work of the students?
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A. If every effort is made to carry on the work as the Masters left it to he carried on; if it is promulgated, not speculated upon, it will have a much wider influence, and in the next Coming a body of people will be found ready for the Teacher.
Q. Are these general efforts made at a time when the destruction of some of the great civilizations is imminent?
A. Yes; but we must remember that the destruction of a civilization does not mean the destruction of the Egos. It means the destruction of the system previously followed. Then individuals, who follow the old system, in one manner or another die out, or are destroyed physically. It is a matter of the Great Choice for all, and a question as to which side, as to which path we shall take.
Q. Does the ignorance of man change his evolution, or does the law of cycles change his ignorance?
A. The ignorance of the man keeps him ignorant. That is his evolution. If he wants to stay ignorant, no cycle and no person can change him.
Q. What are the cycles of destiny?
A. All are cycles of destiny. Applied to ourselves, it is we who make our own destiny—we fix it for ourselves. The hole we fall into is the hole we dug. That is our destiny.
Q. Will you explain something as to the application of this law of cycles, in the formation and breaking of personal habits?
A. The doctrine of cycles applies everywhere. There is not a single impression of any kind that we have that will not return; not even a thought that we think that will not return; not an act that we do that will not return. We are going through regular cycles all the time—self-established cycles. Now, the way to correct habits is to recognize that wrong thoughts will return, that even unwelcome thoughts
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are bound to return under law. So then, set up an opposite thought—a thought of an opposite nature, or a feeling of an opposite kind, or start an act of an opposite kind. Keep on doing that as best you can, and finally you will destroy the old cycle and establish a new one.
There are people who have the “blues”—their days of despondency. Mr. Judge once said, “I have other things, but I never have the blues.” Most people, however, do have them. The blues come on and seem to take complete possession of the person; but they can be cured, if he will take the opportunity of establishing a different cycle. He must note the fact that they come at about a certain period, that usually a certain interval elapses between periods of blues, and knowing that they are coming be prepared for them. Then he begins to think of the happiest day or the happiest moment or the happiest association he has ever had, and hangs on to that happiness as best he can. He won’t succeed the first time, nor even the second time, perhaps, but if he keeps up the effort, each time he will find all the strength put into the previous efforts, until by and by, instead of the period of despondency there will be a period of happiness.
So it is by watching the return of impressions that we can correct these habits. Habits of any kind are instituted by repetitions. The first time we do a thing, it is not yet a habit; but we repeat the action and keep on repeating it and finally it becomes automatic. With the knowledge of cycles, habits are within our intelligent control.
Q. What are the principal factors entering into the period of time which elapses in the case of individual returns of impression?
A. The cause itself. The first impression has within itself its own limitation, for the return of an impression is in accordance with the quality and strength of the first causation. For instance, if we look at a light
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for a little while and then close our eyes, that light will he seen on the eye within, changing a little, coming and going, until the impression fades out. This takes but a few seconds; other causes take longer for ripening, according to their nature and the nature put into them.
The subject of cycles is of the utmost importance and value, both for man, considered personally and individually, and for nations and civilizations, considered as large bodies of units. There are two points in this chapter which, particularly, should give the student a perceiving view. One is, that it is man, spiritually considered, who holds all the other kingdoms together. When his work is done on the earth, he leaves it,—his force is withdrawn, and the disintegration of the various lives that compose the globe begins. The cataclysms, in fire and flood, by means of which this disintegration proceeds, are not causes, but the result of man’s withdrawal.
Another point is, that cycles are not the return of impressions forced upon us. We are those cycles. Cycles are the returns of causation that we had set in motion before, as individuals, as a people, as a race, and as the whole of humanity. We are all bound together with every other being in the universe in which we are moving. All the returns in the Zodiac, in the orbits of the planets, in the course of the sun, and in any other direction are ever the return of causes set in motion by those who are feeling the effects. If we find ourselves in existence in a dark age, in a time of physical and psychological epidemics, it means that we are related to it. We should begin to see the cause in the effect, and if the effect is wrong, come out from among that kind of effects to a true basis in thought and action, while remaining with our brother pilgrims, and going through with them. Thus the Masters have done.
Ultimate origin of man not discoverable. Man not derived from a single pair, nor from the animals. Seven races of men appeared simultaneously on the globe. They are now amalgamated and will differentiate. The Anthropoid Apes. Their origin. They came from man. They are the descendants of off-spring from unnatural union in the third and fourth rounds. The Delayed Races. The secret books on the question. Human features of apes accounted for. The lower kingdoms from other planets. Their differentiation by intelligent interference by the Dhyanis. The midway point of evolution. Astral forms of old rounds solidified in physical rounds. Missing Links, what they are and why Science cannot discover them. The aim of Nature in all this work.
Q. If scientists will admit the existence of the astral plane, would they not be able to make great strides in their investigations?
A. Unfortunately, those scientists of the present day who do admit it relate it only to post-mortem existence. With them, it is a mere sentimental consideration. If they would give the astral plane true scientific consideration, they would discover a great many truths. They will never understand evolution, for instance, until they admit the astral plane, as all the “missing links” are to be found there.
Q. In what state of matter do the monads from the former chain begin work on this chain?
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A. They begin in the first or highest state of matter, but that first state is quite different from the subsequent states. It is a state of amalgamation which pertains to Globe I of the earth chain in the first round, and in the early part of the second round. Then begins a differentiation. All the kingdoms begin their work along the lines they had been following on the moon. Condensation begins and consequently the first solidification of the human form also begins here.
Q. Why do we find the fossil relics of mammals, and not of man?
A. The mammals are caught, as it were, in the solidification. Fossils are the real astral forms.
Q. Is “the alteration of the forms” by the Dhyanis, spoken of on page 132, done by thought?
A. Certainly. With knowledge and wisdom comes the power to add to, or subtract from, any given form, and this is done chiefly in the astral period of evolution. The kingdoms coming over to the earth chain would remain just what they were on the moon, if it were not for the beings who have become perfected spiritually, intellectually, and physically, and who guide the whole evolution. They map out the field, as it were. The lower kingdoms begin their work as such, with no connection between them, and no touch with the higher beings. They are all working for themselves, on their own basis. Then comes the time when the whole evolutionary scheme is brought into tune through the forms of the higher beings. When once all the kingdoms have become fully amalgamated, then comes solidification, and the beginning of the general earth cycle.
Q. Are the organs of perception formed by consciousness?
A. They could not be formed in any other way. They do not make themselves. They are evolutions.
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We must remember that the seven classes of beings who deserted the moon as a worked-out planet, so far as they were concerned, had their own organic forms, and carried forward the type of humanity. They represented the humanity of the moon, and the highest expression, according to the class, of all the other classes. All were in the finer state of matter. The seven classes work first each in its own way, that is, there is a separation into classes; then with the guidance of the higher classes, they come to work together, that is, there is a gradual amalgamation. Finally, comes perceptive differentiation, that is, each to its own class again, plus all it has gained from the other classes. Thus Consciousness progresses, by contact with others and spreading the knowledge of the whole.
Q. What is meant in the last paragraph of the chapter [page 134] by “inorganic material”?
A. We must remember that the Master in talking to us uses the words with which we are familiar, such terms as are in common use among scientific men. All Their teaching declares that there is nothing unconscious, and matter may be inorganic only in the sense that it does not have the same organs of perception which other life has. So, here it is not meant that the power of consciousness is not present in “inert material,” which is “inorganic” only to our perception, and “inert,” as compared with the power of thought and action possessed by the higher kingdoms.
Q. Is there, in reality, any sharp line of demarcation between the vegetable and the animal?
A. The line of demarcation may be observed in the power of locomotion. The vegetables do not move about consciously. When they have their own motive power in any given element, they are no longer classed as vegetables. They come into the animal kingdom.
Q. Is there any object in evolution?
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A. Intelligence is always reaching out, and it makes its own object. It is its own object. And that object is unattainable, because that which is itself is unattainable. We can never encompass our own consciousness, no matter what we might be able to do on this or on ten thousand other planets.
Q. Please explain the meaning here?: “The varieties of character and capacity which subsequently appear in man’s history are the forthcoming of the variations which were induced in the Egos in other and long anterior periods of evolution upon other chains of globes.” [page 128]
A. It means that all exhibitions of the power of knowledge, or progress, or qualities are the coming out in man of qualities and powers acquired long, long ago. It is conditions which make possible their coming out. If we were conscious, as in fact we were, when we began this earth, we must have had inherent all those qualities that we now possess. They have been added to and changed, but the qualities were there. We simply make the conditions wherein the qualities may manifest.
According to this chapter, let us bear in mind the fact that we have come down the stairs of seven grades of substance, and that each grade of substance has been formed by the beings operating in the previous grades of substance.
Q. What is meant by the moment of choice for humanity as a whole?
A. It is the old story in the Bible of the separation of the sheep from the goats. The time must come in the progress of humanity when there are two divisions,—that of the right-hand path, and that of the left, or, when, as the Secret Doctrine says, one part of humanity goes north, and the other south. Beings of the same kind move by themselves. When that division comes, there are many earthly cataclysms which serve to make physical disruptions of humanity, such as the disappearance
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of old continents, and the establishment of new ones.
The moment of choice exists all the time for every individual. In that moment he may take any path but when the general moment of choice comes, he takes the path to which he has become addicted by his nature and disposition. We are constantly following the line of separateness, or of unity, choosing one way or the other, and the time must come when the differences between those who take the right-hand path, and those who take the left, are so great that there is no possible conjunction between them.
Q. On page 130, it reads: With these the later Atlanteans renewed the sin of the “Mindless”—this time with full responsibility. What makes the responsibility?
A. The Atlanteans of the Fourth Race were Manasic beings, and, in repeating what was done in the Third Race by the “Mindless Men,” incurred full karmic responsibility, which, as the Chapter states, will have to be worked out at a very much later period than now. The mass of men will have to meet this karma in its full strength, but for individuals the opportunity is always present of drawing away from the mass karma, of paying our debts, as it were, as we go along, and coming out from among those who will not. If we fulfill our whole duty along the lines that the Masters have pointed out, it will necessarily follow at the time of separation that we shall not meet the full destructive karma which must come upon those who have taken the other side. For they will meet with a destruction of all their works and begin over again in the new evolution.
Q. Then they will not have in the new evolution the benefit of their past knowledge?
A. They lose the power. They may not lose the disposition. Yet they have the power to change the disposition, and they have help in the fact that they are
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thrown together with other beings of a different disposition in the period of amalgamation. Beings with the proper kind of attributes are there, and they have the opportunity of the example.
Q. Why is it that this earth has but one moon while Jupiter has four?
A. If we take a moon to mean a deserted planet, we could imagine a period in the evolution of a planet when there might be rapid births, as we might say, several kamarupas remaining instead of only one. Our moon is a kamarupa of the former earth; the four moons of Jupiter are likewise kamarupas.
Q. Does the term "races” refer to the forms or to the Egos?
A. It refers to the forms. Consciousness evolves its own form as It sees the necessity, and arrives at its own particular degree of intelligence. Now, there are seven degrees, or hierarchies, of intelligence. To which hierarchy he tends would depend upon the kind of evolution chosen, or upon the basis of thought and action taken by the Ego. He is really using all the hierarchies in his inner and outer sheaths, or bodies.
Q. Then we have to make our various sheaths homogeneous?
A. Consideration of our septenary nature should help us on this question. There is no form of nature, however low, that has not now present with it the homogeneous state. The homogeneous state is behind and within every form. It would follow, then, that we are homogeneous ourselves, in that respect, and so are in contact with the homogeneous state in everything in nature. It is through that homogeneity that we can know and understand nature, because there we are in contact with any given point. All the processes in every direction from that point can be found, whether they be those
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of a sun, of a planet, of a plant, an animal, or of a human being.
Q. Might it be said, then, that the ultimate end of man is the realization of his own nature?
A. To use a term, we may say that “the ultimate end” is the realization of man’s own immortal, eternal nature. We reach that realization only through experience, through contact of almost every kind, but we have to see that we are not the contacts, nor all of them put together, nor are we the experience gained by the contacts. Man can not realize his inmortal nature until he sees that he, as Perceiver, is absolutely separate and non-identified with all that he goes through. None of these perceptions are himself. He looks at them all, experiences from them, uses them as a basis for further action, gets results, good or bad, from them; but He is none of them.
Q. What is the meaning of the word “Nature,” as used by the Master in the closing paragraph of the chapter [page 134]?
A. In this particular sentence of the Master, written in reply to a scientific thinker in India, He used the term as the scientist would use it, but according to the philosophy, Nature does not consciously prefer anything, because there is nothing to prefer, and there is no Nature, of itself. “Nature” means merely the aggregation of an interdependence and inter-relation of all beings. It is a term for the perception of the inter-relation and inter-connection between beings and the force that springs from them; it is an aggregation of the effects of all the forces set in motion by intelligent beings of different degrees. So, we may not imagine that “Nature” is something which exists outside of mankind.
Q. By what process is Consciousness developed through the different races?
A. The philosophy shows that Consciousness is not
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developed; Consciousness always is. It is intelligence which is developed in different ways, in different degrees of substance, on different planes of being. The intelligence gained is an understanding of externalities in their relation to Consciousness itself. After the completion of the rounds of any globe, the intelligence that has been gained in every kingdom is what remains as the type for the next planet. This acquired intelligence is the basis of the Archetypal World, in which types are formulated; in which, let us say with reference to this earth, all the intelligence gained on the moon is formulated, in which all the various degrees of intelligence are contained and are existent before the world is formed. When the day for manifestation comes again, and when the dawn appears, then each form of intelligence differentiates and moves forward until it reaches that state where it can manifest on the basis already gained in the past evolution. So, it is Consciousness first, last, and all the time at the root of all manifestation. Always the Perceiver is behind every form. What is learned in regard to externalities or any instrument is the amount of intelligence gained, and as that intelligence increases it becomes the basis on which better instruments are formed.
Q. Are the seven races each seven-principled?
A. Certainly; everything is seven-principled.
Q. Then, only one or two principles were fully developed in the earth races?
A. Let us look at it this way. The Egos—Atma-Buddhi-Manas—have the septenary basis in themselves, but they work with other grades of intelligence lower than themselves. They existed as Egos, but their work was with the various types which constituted their physical expressions, and that work was done on the seven-principled basis. To illustrate. I now have a physical body, but there was no physical body in those earliest races. What was to be worked out was not then present. The
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principles were in embryo, or latent, until the seven-principled basis was brought to bear upon whatever bodies were to be evolved during the process of the world growth. The body itself, as now evolved and constituted, has its seven divisions and is the lowest principle.
Q. As seven-principled beings, were their bodies of the same general type?
A. Yes, for differentiation had not then begun. When differentiation does proceed, however, it is in a septenary way—one principle evolving from the other, one principle following the other. Let us say, then, there was only one principle, but the possible differentiations were seven. From that highest principle the second principle was evolved; from these two, the third; from the third, the fourth, and so on. As a matter of fact, there is just one Consciousness in all of us, and there is just one highest form for all of us, which might be called homogeneous matter; with these two in conjunction the septenary division goes on.
Q. Why did the seven races appear at the same time?
A. There is a septenary division as soon as differentiation occurs. All the classes of Egos that were self-conscious at the conclusion of the moon’s cycle differentiated into seven classes, or degrees, as did all the other classes of beings connected with that evolution. Together these constitute the seven great hierarchies of being, which furnish the Ego his seven classes of instruments, for we are connected with those hierarchies through our instruments.
Q. Mr. Judge says [page 131]: “By methods known to themselves (the Dhyanis) and to the Great Lodge they work on the forms so brought over, and by adding here, taking away there, and often altering, they gradually transform by such alteration and addition the kingdoms
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of nature as well as the gradually forming gross body of man.” Why could not this transformation be left to the natural impulse of the kingdoms?
A. The differentiation of the animals and other species began and was carried on to a certain point within their experience. But that experience is limited. Hence, at the point of that limitation, intelligent interference from a mind or mass of minds is absolutely necessary, if old types are to be changed for better types. If old types remained, there would be no external progress, and no better instruments would be brought about. Intelligence must be active to produce evolution.
Q. Is not intelligent interference going on now?
A. Of course, it is. How did Luther Burbank produce the spineless cactus? First, he found a cactus with very few spines, and obtained seeds from it. From the cactus grown out of that seed he took one with the least spines and continued to work out the elimination of the spines. There, human intelligence was brought to bear upon that cactus—its forces used to produce quite another variety—the spineless cactus.
The higher beings are able to work in another way than this with the lower kingdoms. The very forms man started with are not the forms we have now, but, in fact, quite different. The physical forms of the earlier races of men were apelike and gigantic in size, but they have been worked upon by man until they have become what they now are, and more usable in every way, though still far from perfect.
There is one statement in this chapter which we should particularly note [page 130]: “As man came to this globe from another planet, though of course then a being of very great power before being completely enmeshed in matter, so the lower kingdoms came likewise in germ and type from other planets,
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and carry on their evolution step by step upward by the aid of man, who is, in all periods of manifestation, at the front of the wave of life.” It is the self-conscious Egos through whose efforts all these forms are brought about, taking the basis that the form had attained on the preceding globe, and having the intelligence to know that improvements could be made. After building one house, we know how to build a better one next time. So, change goes on. The beings in the lower kingdoms could not finish their evolution in the preceding globe chain before its dissolution; that is, they had not arrived at the stage of self-consciousness.
By “man” being at the “front of the wave of life,” Mr. Judge means the Perceiver, which is at the root of our being, and which is our very selves. What we have to remember all the time is that, whether in the mineral, the vegetable, the animal or the human kingdom, or in the kingdoms above man, it is always the Ego, the “I,” which is the moving power, the evolving power. This consideration of the Perceiver, and the various processes through which He has come, the various conditions of substance and experience gained therein really demands a study of “The Secret Doctrine”—a study very different from that of the physical, or astral body, or Kamaloka or Devachan, which have to do with the personal.
Q. Then the purpose of evolution is to build up the physical body?
A. So that the Real Man may contact the lower forms of nature. He could not help them unless he were in contact with them. And it is our contacts on this earth that hold us here. We like it, and so we have brought it about that we keep coming and going.
Q. Should not man strive to make a perfect instrument and so improve the lower kingdoms?
A. Man should use whatever instrument he has
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to its best advantage, and that can only be by growth from within outwards. For instance, if we use our sense of seeing, our sense of hearing, our feeling, in the right way, those senses may be extended, and we can see further, hear further, and feel more deeply. It doesn’t require a particular kind of body to do that. Any kind of a body will do, because through it we contact the lower kingdoms. The physical body is made from food, is sustained by food, and returns to the earth when we are through with it. There is a constant coming and going to and from our bodies, in endosmosis and exosmosis, of lives charged by whatever our thoughts or feelings or emotions may have been while they were in our sphere of influence. These lives go into other bodies, and finally, back to the lower kingdoms again, completing the cycle from above to below, and carrying with them the impression they have received, which appears in the mineral, vegetable, or animal kingdom as a beneficent or a maleficent force. So, we may best help nature by our thoughts and feelings.
Q. What is the real determining factor in our thoughts and feelings?
A. The motive behind them. Now our scientists do not realize that the plant, for instance, has sentient life; yet, if plants and minerals are treated from the basis of a regard for the life in them, and with feeling prompted by that regard, a higher perception may be aroused in them.
Q. Is it a fact that flowers will do much better for those who love them?
A. Certainly, it is a fact. The impulsion of the mind of the higher being is communicated to the consciousness of the plant. Some people can not even handle plants without harming them, while others can handle them with benefit.
Q. If we gain full knowledge with regard to this
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physical existence, should we be able to dwell in some higher sphere?
A. The object is not so much to escape this state on earth as to amend it, which should be our duty and our pleasure. Unless we recognize our own nature and the nature of the lower kingdoms, we can not do our duty by our own nature, nor by the nature of the kingdoms below us. When we gain this knowledge, however, we bring about a better instrument for ourselves, and for all other beings, and then there is no escape necessary. As we are, because of our ignorance we are under the necessity of reincarnating. We have to adjust our relations to other beings while in a body, and until that work is done in the body we shall have to return to earth. We are here to help, and we can not help unless we know and learn the nature of the lower kingdoms in which we are embodied, and which we are using either for their good, or for our own selfish purposes.
No true psychology in the West. It exists in the Orient. Man the mirror of all forces. Gravitation only a half law. Importance of polarity and cohesion. Rendering objects invisible. Imagination all powerful. Mental telegraphy. Reading minds is burglary. Apportation, clairvoyance, clairaudience and second-sight. Pictures in the Astral Light. Dreams and visions. Apparitions. Real clairvoyance. Inner stimulus makes outer impression. Astral Light the Register of everything.
Q. What is the purpose of this chapter in the book?
A. To acquaint Theosophical students with the explanation and real facts behind commonly known phenomena, and to warn against accepting wrong ideas in regard to them. Every student, either in the life when he first begins the study of this true philosophy, or in a succeeding life, is bound to come in contact with the denizens of the various inner psychic states, and if he has in his mind an understanding of them—a knowledge of their dangers—he is able to pass through them without harm. In “The Voice of the Silence,” [page 6] the astral plane is spoken of as the Hall of Learning, of dire probations, where under every flower a serpent lies coiled. All sincere students who know the dangers of the astral plane will never endeavor to break into it by any kind of practice. They will naturally come in contact with the dangers existing there in various directions, but warned, and also protected by their
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firm desire to benefit others—to learn for the purpose of helping others. Knowledge will spring up spontaneously within the man who proceeds rightly from a sound basis of philosophy. He will have no need to try to break into any plane. Nor would a true teacher ever spur him on to the acquisition of psychic powers.
Q. It is said that one may come to the very threshold of divinity and then fall back. What is meant by that?
A. One might find himself at a certain place where the very power in him would bring about brilliant results by which he would be dazzled. Then he might drift into an exercise of power simply because he possessed it, even with the idea that he would never use it except for good. But so long as there is a selfish thought or a selfish feeling, so long as a feeling of revenge, or only of irritation, can be engendered in him, he will be in danger because the same power that works good, will work injury with equal strength.
Q. If the chances of illusion are infinitely greater in the astral world than in waking consciousness, how can we guard ourselves against deceptions?
A. There is only one safe way—by right discrimination, which, moreover, can never be arrived at by going from below upwards. We must act from the highest spiritual part of our nature—from above downwards. The astral form of substance must be guided from the higher plane of being. So, while knowing that there is this illusory realm of nature and why people can and do exhibit powers pertaining to it, what we need to do is to realize more and more the nature of the Real Man, and to work all the time from that basis. Because the highest spiritual basis comprises all, as one grows in his spiritual range of perception the whole universe becomes known; that is, one comes in contact instantaneously with every thing and every being that exists anywhere.
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Q. Is not the astral plane merely a reflection of the earth?
A. The word “astral” will some time have to be given up, as it is too general. We can say that the astral light is that phase of the whole astral plane which is in direct connection with our earth. There are many different strata of astral substance, and that stratum surrounding the earth is permeated by all the emanations, psychic and physical, which rise from the earth; it also reflects and affects all people on the earth. This astral light corresponds to the atmosphere, which scientists say exists around the earth for forty miles.
Q. What is the danger in psychic phenomena?
A. The danger of ignorance. As we are now constituted and with our present ideas, if we tried to communicate with beings which we could only partially see, whose nature we could not know in the least, we should throw ourselves open to their influence. We have our own work to do in our own place; we have our own sphere of influence within which we are protected and into which extraneous potencies can not break, unless we make an opening for them. For if we do turn our minds and feelings to them, we may open the doors to sub-human entities, or to depraved entities of the astral plane.
Q. Would there be the same objection to attracting elementals?
A. Yes. The statement is made that there are many forms of elemental lives, all with their own natural powers, qualities, modes of action and laws, but there is no explanation given further in regard to their nature, for the reason that once the key is given, the mere thinking about them attracts them to one. So, what would be the use of thinking along these lines? It is just like taking matter into our bodies which is not in any way assimilable; because it does not belong there,
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it is decidedly detrimental. Such thinking merely serves to keep that kind of action in motion, and to attract those kinds of beings which are not responsible any more than fire or water is responsible. Our thoughts should not be about external things, save in using those things for the best good of all. Much information along these lines is withheld, because if we had it, we would use it only in a harmful or destroying way.
Q. Are there not Buddhic and Manasic elementals?
A. There are lives on every plane. There are Buddhic lives, Manasic lives, lower Manasic lives, psychic, and physical lives—existing in what is known as the substance or matter of those various planes. There is no matter of itself, but always it is the creation of some kind of thought. In our evolution of forms of any plane, we use the lives of those planes and train them along the lines of our thinking,
Q. If we stop thinking of the elementals, what becomes of them?
A. When the coloring or energy that is employed in influencing them dies out and there is no further supply, they then resume their own natural uncolored disposition. The elementals will take any form which the imagination of man creates for them. It is as a man thinks that he makes the images for those lives to operate in and gives them direction. According to his thinking will he create forms of beauty, or forms of an opposite kind—forms constructive or destructive. What is imagination but thought making a form? And imagination is the “king faculty,” as Mr. Judge says, because all progress of any kind has to be imagined before being put into any operation whatever. Imagination is the power to think, practically used.
Q. If our thinking tends to energize elemental lives would we not weaken the right elementals if we do not think?
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A. But we are thinking all the time. We can not cease thinking. We are all the time training lives—coloring uncolored lives. If we fail to act in a right direction, of course, we do act in a wrong direction. If we are energizing the Tamasic quality, for instance, we are not energizing the Sattvic quality.
Q. Then. evolution would proceed much faster if we all worked from the same basis of thought?
A. Yes: the separative basis is in opposition to the whole of nature. The trouble is that though we are divine, we do not act from the divine nature. We need to understand what we are and what the purpose of life really is. Then, we will get a consensus of imagination, of thinking, and of will. Two wills or three wills, all acting on the same basis, are much stronger together than three separate wills; the more they act on the same basis, the more the power in the acting—in ever increasing ratio.
Q. What is the explanation of the fact that elementals and astral forms may be seen by some and not by others?
A. Simply, that phase of seeing has been developed in some persons and not in others. But that does not mean knowledge; nor, does it mean even a normal development. In fact, it sometimes means an abnormal condition whereby the various principles of the various bodies are disjoined, as is the case with mediums, who are subject to epilepsy. When the principles are not coordinated, there is not straight seeing on the astral plane; and when there is ignorance of causes on the astral plane, the deductions in words of this plane are generally wrong. True clairvoyance would be the power of seeing in the Akasic light. All our seeing is by reflected light from above upon the below, through the various lower principles.
Q. Can we say that all matter is luminous, in the sense that it casts a light of some kind?
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A. There is luminosity to every kind of matter, though it is not apparent to us.
Q. What degree of intelligence is radium considered to be?
A. We might say that radium is nearer the essence of the spirit of the elementals than some others. All the metals have some radiant essence in them, but the form of radium, which is very scarce and hard to get, when segregated has the faculty of shining by its own light. There is an incessant stream from the sun of its homogeneity to the homogeneous substance of our earth, of which all the other forms of matter of our earth are productions.
Q. Then metallic elementals are of another class than vegetable or animal substance?
A. They are nearer the astral kingdom, in fact. Some strange things may be observed from looking at those forms of matter. For instance, a stone will not burn, because there is more fire in it than in wood.
Q. Some scientists claim there is electricity in vegetables?
A. The same essence exactly is to be found in every kingdom. Some forms do not express it as much as some others do, but all are of the same ultimate essence and origin and destiny. It is by getting back to this very root of every form that the Adept is able to understand the laws of its evolution, as well as that of every other kind of matter of a similar degree or grade.
Q. Has not the sun a great deal of the life power?
A. The sun is the life wave of our system, but itself has every principle that man has. So, we benefit more or less from the sun according to the way we think of it. We may sit in the sun and get from it only warmth, but we can take from its higher principles; we can take all that is there. Everything is in the way
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we think. It is the way we think of a thing that puts the forces in motion.
Q. Does that statement connote with Mr. Judge’s to the effect that if he had five hundred men and women devoted to Theosophy, he would change the history of the world?
A. Yes. If there were five hundred honest, sincere, selfless men and women devoted to Theosophy, there would be the power of unity—a dynamic energy—that would move the world. Perhaps we would all like to be of that five hundred, but what hinders us? Simply the ideas we now hold, according to which our energy is spent largely in a destructive, rather than in a constructive way. When we come to live on a sound constructive basis with the highest ideals, the force will be present, for there is a force in human beings, when cleared of the color of selfishness, that is greater than the force in the sun itself—the force of direct self-conscious intelligence at work.
Q. The Chapter [page 137] says: “. . . the Adept in such dynamics is able to disperse the atoms of an object—excluding always the human body.” Why not the human body?
A. Because no human or animal body could be so dispersed without the destruction of the life of that body. But while the body can not be dispersed, it can be so changed as not to be seen, although present. This is done by an understanding of the laws of the Akasa, æther, by which the sight can be made to stop at a certain point and go no further. That is, a point might be made, taking an orbit, and stopped there. Then the body within that barrier would be invisible.
Q. I infer from Mr. Judge that Cohesion is a power in itself, and not due to either attraction or repulsion. In what way may it be distinguished from these two forces?
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A. Cohesion is that power brought about by the will, and which the will can disperse; whereas the attraction and repulsion of atoms of matter, if not disturbed by a superior force, will exhaust itself and allow the atoms to go back to their original form. You can part the particles of anything; that is, you can dissolve the solids into liquids, etc.; but if you let them take their own directions they will go back into their original form. Yet the will of man can hold together or disperse any form, and the cohesion of a sun, let us say, is due to the combined power of all the intelligences which form the sun by acting in one direction.
Q. How is the power of adhesion related to Cohesion?
A. There are some substances of different kinds, distinct bodies, as solids and liquids, that can be made to adhere, but it is by reason of either electric or magnetic attraction in those substances, which otherwise would not easily adhere. The great laws of electrical force are behind all these operations. Cohesion works on the particles of a single subject. As now constituted, there is a rate of vibration which represents the combination of the vibrations of the intelligences composing the object. In other words, the object has a mass chord which keeps it in shape. Once you know the mass chord, you can strike a tone higher, and the object will disperse.
Q. is not the mastery of the air on the part of man a mystic power?
A. No; it is not in any way a mystic power. Man’s desire to fly and to get a machine that will enable him to do so is the only power behind the mastery of the air. Any boy who flies a kite understands the primal principle of flying—that it is the angle of the impact of the air upon a plane surface that holds the machine up. But, perhaps, the desire to fly comes from something in the past—something hitherto hidden in the
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natures of men. The Atlantean Races, it is said, fought their battles in the air. They did not use gasoline, how ever, to propel their ships. They used a solar force, and they had a solar engine which had no machinery but served as a focal point—a point of impact—for the sun’s rays in several phases of operation—as a driving force, an ascending force, a descending force, or whatever force they required.
Q. Are not the Orientals by a certain system of breathing able to overcome polarization and so to levitate the body?
A. They concentrate upon an idea until they lose all sense of bodily existence. It is not conscious levitation. They may or may not overcome the polarization of the body, for it depends upon the knowledge of the one who is using the process, and also on the condition of the astral body and the physical body at the time. They have to know the proper way to cause levitation. But what does anyone want to levitate for? What would he the use of it?
Q. Was not the knowledge of levitation put to good use by the Egyptians in building the pyramids?
A. That was in older times before we became as we now are. We must remember that we are not as good as we once were, nor so wise. We have come down the stairs further, and, to use a simile, we are working now in the cellar, instead of on the first floor. When we worked in the very early Egyptian nation, we had the knowledge which enabled us to change the polarity of the immense stones and make them easy to handle. Even the bringing of them from tremendous distances was accomplished by the knowledge of polarization. In one period we used song; that is, certain methods of chanting. In other periods, we used a metal of which we have no knowledge at the present time. This metal had the effect, when placed under any heavy weight, to prevent the attraction of the earth from
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taking place, for that is what weight is—the attraction of the earth for certain masses of substance. Break that attraction and the weight is as nothing, or just comparatively light weight.
Q. Mr. Judge speaks of us as the Atlanteans who were sorcerers. What is meant?
A. The Atlanteans misused the powers that they had. But we are not saying this about the Atlanteans; we are saying it about ourselves. The old Wisdom-Religion teaches that we are the Atlanteans, in fact. We once had great powers, and we lost them through misuse in the Fourth Race, and again in the Fifth Race, as the earlier Egyptians. Now the question is, have we reached the point where we can regain our powers by rightly using the powers in our present possession?
Q. How can Mr. Judge know, as he states, that every man of every race has the same powers?
A. First, by seeing them in many men and women of many races, and then, by knowing the common origin and nature of all human beings. If you heard one man sing, for instance, you might think that he alone could sing; but then hearing many people sing you would know that all men had the faculty of singing and the singing itself was merely a matter of training. Man is a composite; that is, his principles are composed of every element that exists anywhere in the great ocean of Life. Hence, the same possibilities exist in each and every one.
Q. Why it is that dreams are often such an absurd mixture?
A. Yet in the dreams the absurdities seem natural enough. It doesn’t seem at all strange to us if in our dreaming we are, let us say, sitting in a temple, then instantly moving in a certain direction in a city street, and then all at once finding ourselves in a boat on the ocean. In dreams, we have nothing whatever to check up with. We have our own boat, our own street,
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our own temple. We are making up our own world and our own ideas; we are following our own courses. In waking consciousness we can’t dream very well, because, either somebody else will check us up, or we can check ourselves up with our name and address and identify ourselves by the ordinary modes of thinking among people.
Q. How can we know a dream is from the higher nature?
A. By knowing the nature of the inner man. When that knowledge is applied to the dream, its nature discloses itself and there is no question as to whether the dream is from the astral plane or from the higher nature. As a rule, all that we experience of a dream from the inner man is a feeling, for the dream being strained through the brain is all broken and confused. A dream that makes a profound impression, of course, can not be a mere surface dream.
Q. Does Karma affect our dreams?
A. Karma is always in operation; it is action and re-action, whether we are awake or dreaming or in any other state. Those causes which are started in the waking state have a repetition in the astral state because we are dreaming on the basis of the impressions of our personal lives, thoughts and feelings.
Q. Dreams from the basis of the personality must be very different from those proceeding from the Inner Man?
A. Yes. We have hard work thinking in a language we are learning. We can read it, perhaps, but can not think in it. We can even figure in it, but we can not think in it. That is precisely our difficulty in dreams. We have to think in the language we are acquainted with and then translate it back again into the language of the Ego, which is not any of the forms of language used by human beings anywhere. The language of the Ego each one has to learn for himself. It is beyond
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our ordinary sounds and phrases of speech, and based upon the occult symbols of sound, color and number. It is related to geometrical forms—the circle, the triangle, the square, the various angles and counter-angles, all of which have their meaning. The four-pointed star, the five-pointed star, the six and seven-pointed stars, for instance, all have their distinctive meanings. Perhaps the five-pointed star with some would refer to man and be a means of identifying man, just as words serve in waking consciousness as a means of identification. The four-pointed star would refer to an animal, and so on. The soul’s language is all allegorical, in fact. Mr. Judge once said that the Ego might take for his own purpose a grain of sand as a symbol for a mountain, or a drop of water for a lake. Truly, the whole knowledge of the occult lies in geometrical forms and certain colors and sounds.
Q. But if each Ego has his own language, how can he converse with other Egos?
A. Each would use his own language. You know that a Chinaman and a Japanese can each read in each other’s language the characters of either. A universal language existed at one time. But, in the case of an Ego, communicating with another, you must remember that the use of sounds and phrases is not required. As soon as the nature of one is in synthetic relation with another, the ideas are interchangeable. There is a perception of the inner nature of things rather than the form. It is possible for one who does not understand English at all, hearing speech in English, yet to understand all that is said.
There is another thing. When H. P. Blavatsky was in India, she talked the language of the Hindus. Several years afterward, however, when one of the Maharajahs came over to London to see her and began talking to her in Hindustani, she said: “What on earth is the man saying?” “Why,” he said, “Madame, you talked in that language when you were in India.” “Oh,”
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she said, “that was in India.” So, there is something in the surroundings too, that carries the knowledge.
Q. Would the case of Blind Tom, who could play the piano without ever having learned, be one of mediumship?
A. No; that was not mediumship, but merely the expression of his own knowledge learned in another life, and brought into being again. Our geniuses are men who in other lives have specialized in music, in literature, in art, in poetry. They are in so many cases eccentric, as we know—sensitive, hard to get along with, “temperamental.” The reason is, they are unbalanced by having cultivated one faculty, merely, to the exclusion of the rest of the nature.
Q. Could you say that truth comes out of the ether and we absorb it?
A. No; that is an absolutely erroneous conception. Truth does not come out of the ether. Truth of what ever nature comes from intelligence and is perceived by intelligence.
Spiritualism wrongly named. Should be called necromancy and worship of the dead. This cult did not originate in America. The practice long known in India. The facts recorded deserve examination. Theosophists admit the facts but interpret them differently from the “spiritualist.” The examination confined to the question of whether the dead return. The dead do not return thus. The mass of communications are from the astral shell of man. Objections stated to the claims made by mediums. The record justifies the ridicule of science. Materialization and what it is. A mass of electric magnetic matter with a picture upon it from the astral light. Or it is the astral body of the medium extruded from the living body. Analysis of the laws to be known before the phenomena can be understood. The timbre of the “independent voice.” Importance of the astral realm. The Dangers of mediumship. Attempt to get these powers for money or selfish ends also dangerous. Cyclic law ordains the slackening of the force at this time. The purpose of the Lodge.
Q. Mr. Judge does not deny the facts of spiritualism in this chapter. Why, then, does he so utterly condemn it?
A. Does not he himself very clearly present the reasons? He shows that spiritualism is not spiritual at all; that it is not “spirits” who are communicated with, or who are in operation during séances; that its
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practice, known to the Ancients and condemned by them as necromancy, is the most injurious practice that a human being could indulge in; that it is folly to proceed on the line of spiritualism because all the spiritualistic phenomena that have taken place since the early forties of last century have not given us any philosophy, nor shown any knowledge other than what was already known.
Q. Are all mediums necessarily wicked?
A. No. But generally persons who become spiritualistic mediums are in a position where they can be deluded because of lack of knowledge of their own nature; they may not necessarily be vicious. What is necessary, to operate intelligently on the astral plane, is a knowledge of the laws that pertain to that plane of substance. Mediums have no knowledge whatever of the laws that govern, are purely passive instruments, and quite incapable of reporting back accurately what may be seen there, or even seeing what in reality exists there so as to understand it. There is something vicious, however, where there is a disposition to make use of abnormal powers for money or glory to themselves.
Q. There seems to have been within recent years a great change in the character of spiritualistic phenomena. There is now much automatic writing on the ouija-board by people who are not spiritualists at all. What is the difference between ouija-board communications and the spiritualistic communications through mediums?
A. The medium is not a responsible being and the kind of communication coming through him, from whatever source, will be in accordance with the nature of the medium. On the other hand, all that is given out by the use of the ouija-board, or any other kind of automatic writing, comes from within the person using it. Such persons could hardly be called “mediumistic,” for they usually express their own
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perception, whether good or bad, and always what is transmitted by that method is filtered through their partially or entirely erroneous personal ideas. Having no knowledge of the inner being of man, how can they transmit with any kind or degree of intelligence? The ouija-board answers because the questioner and the answerer are the same.
Q. In this use of the ouija-board might there not be a dissociation, to the extent of independent action, of some of the sheaths of the body?
A. It is quite possible, because the inner man has his own feeling of consciousness apart from that which is obtained through the body. A dissociation of the physical and astral bodies, let us say, might occur, permitting a bodily operation at the same time that the consciousness or intelligence is operating on the astral plane. Here, evidently, is a state analogous to the state of somnambulism, where the body itself acts and yet where there is a sub-conscious thinking altogether of other things than those the body is doing.
Q. Would not ouija-board practice tend to a lack of control?
A. Of course it would. And it is dangerous in the sense that there is no knowledge in it, no control gained by it, and nothing accomplished by it. Anyone can write on the ouija-board and permit himself to be fooled by it, if he is not careful. All that has ever been received through the ouija-board can be picked up in many places, and is not at all true in any occult sense. There is nothing of importance along this line; nothing but absolute folly.
Q. Could some of the ouija-board phenomena be caused by an obsession, or by some of the entities spoken of in the chapter?
A. It is possible, if one is weak or fully mediumistic, to become subject to obsession, or to those sub-human entities, by this practice. But a fairly intelli-
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gent person, fairly well controlled in every way, can by thinking about these things in a certain way cause automatic writings without being a medium or having an obsession. The writing would not be from any “spirit,” but from the same person seeing with one set of organs and reporting to another set of organs. The direction of the hand comes from a certain process in the astral brain.
Q. What causes the sensitive’s hands to vibrate on the table visibly?
A. It is incipient epilepsy, and has to do with the disorganization of the astral nature of the person. But, perhaps, the worst damage caused by the ouija-board practice is the delusion to which it leads. One supposes he is getting automatic writing from this, that, or the other “spirit,” and as the communications proceed, he becomes more and more convinced of his own importance, righteousness, power of seeing and spiritual perception, until finally he will brook no other decision than that. His psychological experiences are true, to him, but however much psychological experiences differ—and they all do differ—each one is certain of the truth of his own.
Q. What is Voodooism?
A. It is a form of black magic—certain practices that have been handed down by African sorcerers to which the New Orleans negroes are much addicted. By this system they can work injury upon their enemies or procure the things they desire. For instance, they may make an image of a person, in clay, as a picture, or in any kind of form—out of clothes, or what-not—and by addressing that image as if it were the person and using certain herbs, sounds, invocations, and practices, they bring about reactions upon the body of the one thus imaged.
Q. Is that done through the astral body of the person?
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A. It is done by the inner power of the operator through certain strong feeling and through confidence in the result of that which is being done. Certain practices give concentration to the lower will of the operator. Desire furnishes the direction. These are the powers of the dark side of nature. The use of psychic powers for selfish gain or for the injury of others is black magic.
Q. Would the Voodoo practices have any effect on an honest person?
A. An honest person would be protected, if his desire was only to benefit others. The greatest and best protection there can be is a firm desire to benefit humanity. But one who had the same kind of ideas as those of the one operating against him would have no protection, and would be open to that kind of attack.
Q. On page 150 occurs: . . . “every impression produces a picture in the individual aura; . . . by means of this a connection is established between the auras of friends and relatives old, new, near, distant.” How is that connection made?
A. Every impression produces a picture in the individual sphere or aura. By means of that picture, or impression, a connection is made between the auras of friends and relatives—between, in fact, all persons knowing any other person. The picture is like a photograph, and a medium sees it as if it were the person himself present, calling it the “spirit” who wants to make a communication. But let the “spirit” you want to communicate with be a “living person,” and the medium will give you just as good an account of the living one as is given of the dead. That test has been tried many times. It is an old mediumistic trick to tell you to hold an image of the “spirit” you want to communicate with: if you hold it strongly, a good medium will tell you all about it, as you know it.
Q. What is it that separates the living from the dead?
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A. What separates us as living beings when we go from one city to another? We are not dead, but we are not where ease of communication is to be had. It is only a matter of communication.
Q. Aren’t we all in a sense mediumistic, in that we are blown about by every belief in the air, and by the thoughts and feelings of those we contact?
A. Yes. Mediumship is passivity. We need to be positive from the spiritual side of our natures, and not positive from the physical side.
Q. Just what is meant in Chapter I [page 2] by, “All is soul and spirit?”
A. “All is soul and spirit ever evolving under the rule of law which is inherent in the whole.” Everything is spirit, everything is soul. Spirit is universal. It can’t be said to belong to anybody or anything. It is like the air—universal, abstract. It cannot know itself except as soul. Spirit is the power to become. Soul is the becoming. Spirit is the power to see and to know. The seeing and the knowing is the soul. Soul is the accumulation of perceptions and experiences by means of which spiritual identity is realized.
Q. What is meant by “Nature”? It speaks of “Great Nature,” Human Nature, etc.
A. Nature is the inter-action and inter-relation of all the beings of all kingdoms, from the first and lowest elemental kingdoms up to the highest Dhyan Chohan. It is the inter-action and inter-relation of all beings that constitute what are called “Nature’s laws.”
Q. The statement is made [page 6] that “Masters are perfected men from former periods of evolution.” Does this mean that there have been none since?
A. Every civilization adds to their number.
Q. The Third Fundamental Proposition of The Secret Doctrine [vol. 1, page 17] says that action having reached a certain point, it becomes self-induced and self-devised. What point is meant?
A. From self-consciousness on, it is self-induced and self-devised.
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Q. In Chapter II what does it mean by “Great Being”?
A. By “Great Being” is meant the sum of all being—humanity, Manu, the great Man, Humanity. A representative of the highest intelligence of a humanity is a Manu. When any unit has obtained the highest intelligence of his humanity, then he finds other fields before him.
Q. Does the word “Man” come from the Sanskrit word Manu—Thinker?
A. Certainly it does. See The Theosophical Glossary [page 206].
Q. What does it mean to see an active image of one who is gone who was very close to you—to see this image occurring always active?
A. The “Image” in mind and body during the time it was with you changed constantly. Now is it the image as you last remembered it or during any other period of its growth? Had it remained in life for a number of years longer, the image would have been different. By this fact we may see that the image remembered presents only our focus of touch and understanding with the Ego who inhabited that body. Yet, at the same time, it constitutes an actual touch with and relation to that Ego. This is a door through which influence and help can come between the two Egos involved. The nearer we come to grasping the egoic nature of all being, the greater the influx and the stronger the relation. The Image is the point of thought contact with the Ego.
Q. Does cremation give the Ego any spiritual knowledge?
A. The death of the body means a return of the lives of the body to their respective elements. In cremation this return is immediate. The Ego then has no point of physical contact with the physical world and is free to work out and assimilate the experiences of the life last lived. It has only that knowledge which it has
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already acquired. No change of state can give knowledge, for knowledge is gained only through the observation and experience of the Ego. There is great benefit to the living in the restoration of the elements with out their going through the slow process of decomposition. When considered from every point of view, cremation is beneficial. There is a psychological effect from it, too, on those who are left behind; for as soon as cremation is completed the bereaved at once feel the release.
Q. “The universe evolves from the unknown, into which no man or mind, however high, can inquire, on seven planes or in seven ways or methods.” [Ocean, page 14] Will you state the meaning of that “seven ways?”
A. At the beginning of a great period of evolution there is already existing all that was gained in the previous periods of evolution. This knowledge and power, sometimes called “the three hypostases of Atman,” manifests in seven ways. This manifestation consists of seven hierarchies of beings which express themselves successively in seven stages of substance—each stage of which has seven sub-divisions, as well as minor divisions; this septenary nature of being is expressed in every form, condition, substance and relation from the highest to the lowest.
Examples: seven globes; seven principles; seven races; seven sub-races; seven colors; seven rounds, etc. (Ref. S.D. I: 289, 290, 291, 292, orig. Edition.)
Q. What is the best way by which to study seven fold Nature and seven-principled Man?
A. By the Law of Correspondences. There is a correspondence between the high and the low through out all nature, because the Life is the same in all, and because from that Life all manifestation proceeds. The atoms as well as the highest spiritual beings are under the “rule of Law inherent in the whole”—the One Life. All alike proceed in a definite, orderly mode. This progression is known to be on a septenary scale, from
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the highest state down to the matter we know. We stand in the middle, so to say, of a great range of perceptions, aware only of that portion in which we live.
Q. If “no man or mind can inquire” [page 14] into the mystery of the great “unknown,” how, then, are we to gain realization for ourselves of the truth of what is here taught?
A. True knowledge has to be gained through an increasing perception of the universality of Law and the universal line of progress for every being of whatever grade. We have to think and practice Altruism before the higher and more recondite powers of the Spirit can be ours to use. The thought and the motive must be that which makes for the good of all beings. What is given to us in the Ocean is for the purpose of arousing the attention of that Center within us which can see, which can know, which can do, when It resumes its own nature and status. That deeper knowledge of all things is latent in the “soul” of every human being. Only as we think and act from that basis shall we realize these great Truths.
Q. in regard to septenary nature, when a being is perfected here, does he begin at the bottom on a higher sphere? in other words, there are only seven principles: is it a continuous going through them in the scale of perfectibility?
A. When you perfect yourself in the septenary degree of any evolution, then you have the basis for a septenary evolution of a much higher kind. (For example, the difference between our planet, the earth, and Venus.)
Q. It is said a knowledge of the Three Fundamental Propositions of The Secret Doctrine gives a means of solution to every problem of life. How could a knowledge of the “Fundamentals” help me to determine whether I should go to war or not?
A. The Three Fundamental Propositions show one
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thing: that the aim of existence and evolution is the right progress of all beings. Everything tending to justice, human freedom and progression is a right basis for action. Even in the first “Fundamental” one gets the general motive. Applying that motive particularly, one asks: “What is my duty in taking part in any individual or collective action?“ Our moral support should be given to every right action, even if we cannot help more actively. But, if we can actively help, we should do so. Under the second “Fundamental” there is the Law of Periodicity: that means the return of individuals who work out the effects of causes produced by them. Under this come all the karmic settlements between nations. If we belong to a nation which goes to war, that makes it our duty to act with that nation so far as its government is disposed to act for general betterment. If our nation is at peace, then our support should go to that nation which is striving to bring about the best results for humanity at large and, in this determination, the liking for one nation more than another should not enter. It is entirely a question of human progression and the best means to that end. The “Third Fundamental” indicates that the Universe is composed of beings of every grade, and that among mankind there are many degrees of development and understanding, So we must always take into consideration the general principles and ideals that govern any man and any nation.
Q. What is patience, Theosophically considered?
A. Consideration for others. An undisturbed condition of mind, a steadiness and a quietness in regard to any thing that comes to pass. This leaves our best judgment ready for action.
Q. Page 15, Chapter II, “The first differentiation speaking metaphysically as to time—Spirit.” What does that mean?
A. Time can be reckoned only by action and reaction,
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and until there is action, there is no time. Before there is any time, there must be the spiritual entities coming out of the homogeneous state into activity. The phrase means: “Time” was not until these spiritual entities began to act. Time means the beginning of action and establishes the cycles. (See S.D. I—Stanza I.)
Q. Do not all the good thoughts sent out by these people who pray for the unfortunates of the war do good, some good, at least, to those who are prayed for?
A. We are still imbued with the old fallacy of praying to some outside power or being. Neither prayers to any supposed God, nor to Masters even, are of any avail. Power either exists within, or not at all. All the power that any being exerts or can exert in any direction is what he himself is able to arouse within himself. Good and kind thoughts for others are good for those who think them, but they have no effect outside, unless the arouser of those thoughts has both the knowledge, will and power to direct them; and beings differ greatly in these. Most thoughts are like soap-bubbles and do not travel very far. Thoughts to be effective must not only be free from all selfish taint, but they must be sustained. The Masters, who of all beings are the most capable of sustained thought and have the power and knowledge, are not able to affect the minds of the people of the world, because those minds are constantly full of active, selfish thoughts. If Masters were able to affect humanity by their thoughts, they wouldn’t have to write books. If people, who can hear and read words intended to arouse the best in them, benefit so little by them, what hope is there in fugitive thinking?
The most powerful wireless, capable of sending messages all over the world, would be a most useless expenditure of force unless there were receiving stations attuned to the sending one. If we think kindly of an-
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other and that other is in a receptive mood, the thought will reach; but who is able to tell when the object of his thought will be receptive?
As the parable says, “First make clean the inside of the platter,” before we try to serve wholesome food. The best help we can give others, and the most power we can acquire, is by getting rid of our defects, by subduing the personality, and giving play to our spiritual forces and faculties. Then there will be power and knowledge as to when, where and how to act or to refrain from the action-producing thoughts.
Q. Chapter III—Why is it that we are so much behind what we ware thousands of years ago, spiritually?
A. Because the consciousness engaged in external things caused the intellect, the power of reasoning from premises to conclusions, to grow at the expense of the spiritual, direct knowledge. We were so busy learning the characteristics of matter that the consciousness of being spirit was lost. We have aroused desire for external things and these lead directly away from the consciousness of being spirit.
There is a spiritual aroma in every pleasing thing; so we seek aromas, forgetting the nature of our being, and this pursuit is purposeless and endless. Unless we attain to the consciousness of spiritual being (a purposeful existence in spirit, not in matter) we remain bound by the conditions of physical existence.
This so-called “descent” was necessary in order for us to know matter in its various divisions and phases—in other words, to understand the nature of other and smaller lives. The real purpose is not achieved by eternally living among them and upon them; and desire arises from pursuing what is pleasant among them and avoiding the unpleasant. Nature is composed of heterogeneous lives. In using them we pursue those which are homogeneous with our acquired nature and endeavor
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to avoid those that are not. From this, desire and aversion arise. Intellect comes from seeing differences and comparing them. Intellect once gained may be used to perpetuate material existence, or as an instrument of the spirit in guiding and controlling the lower lives of this plane.
Q. Why is it that animals have keener senses than man?
A. Because we have added intellect to them and dulled them by excess of use or depended on our perceptions rather than our senses. The latter become dulled by lack of dependence on them. Consider smell, for instance; we don’t smell a person out. The animals depend upon their senses; we smell so many things merely as pleasant or unpleasant, without regard to the psychology of them, that we have lost the range which comes from deeper perceptions.
Q. Would “permeability” mean that any one sense could perform the functions of all the others?
A. “Permeability” is the seeing back beyond the appearance of the thing to the nature that caused that appearance. Take a stone, for example: the first thing that strikes you in a stone is its density. For most people one stone is just like another stone. But the mineralogist knows the differences by separation of the particles. Chemistry goes still farther; it gets the different qualities in the stone and shows its constituent parts—the various kinds of elements that make it up. But all these are physical. “Permeability” not only gives all that mineralogy and chemistry give, but discloses the essential nature which is the basis of each physical expression. It determines the nature of the various conscious beings that compose the stone, and there are many such classes.
Or consider a tree, for instance: first the tree is seen with its trunk, branches, leaves and what not;
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then the tree within the bark, the veins of the tree; then the various arteries through which the sap, the blood of the tree, flows; then the pulsation of the heart of the tree in the root, which causes the circulation of the blood (sap) to flow, and then the nature of the lives that cause the expression of the tree—thus bringing gradually the sense of the feeling of the nature of the being, which we call “tree.” That is “permeability” carried to its highest point. In its lower degrees it might stop short at any point—one might see only a portion of these qualities.
Or consider the point of view of a speaker to an audience: those present are all see-ers, but while they all see him, he doesn’t see them all, and for the time being he acts as a synthetic consciousness. There is always a guiding consciousness over all the smaller lives, and the guiding consciousness which expresses itself in that way is called “tree,”—guiding all the leaves that express themselves in bark, sap, root, blossoms and fruit. “The eyes of the Highest see through the eyes of the lowest.”
If the process is once carried out with the tree, to whatever extent we may be able to carry it, the reflection of a tree upon our visual organ will always carry with it that sense of life and being which we have gained of it. Seeing, with us, has two aspects—one is the mere reflection of the thing seen, with little or no sense of its nature; the other deeper aspect,—a small, greater or full perception of the nature of the object which causes the reflection. Every object seen presents life and being in many phases. We ought, however, to apply our understanding to the hearts of men. The root of all being is the same, knowledge. Thus, in man especially, we should seek for that point where differentiation begins and trace the inevitable outcome. We can do this best in our own hearts with what we see in others as our landmarks or indications.
Q. What is a “Round”? Would circling round the
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seven centers of consciousness mean seven times on one plane of substance? Or what constitutes a “center of consciousness?”
A. A “Round” is one circling through the seven centers of consciousness. Each kind of substance is a center of consciousness, just as the physical plane is a center for us now. Though there are but four planes, on re-ascending to the next plane above where we are, our store of consciousness has been added to, through experience, so that it becomes a new and different center—although on the same plane. (A real new plane, because we have a new outlook entirely.)
The seven great centers of consciousness pertain to the seven original hierarchies of being; these, by differentiating substance, create a new center of consciousness and so on from state to state through the seven rounds or states of substance and consciousness.
On the re-ascent we work in the substance in a different way, owing to the added experience. For instance, you return to a place after being away from it. You look at it from a different point of view; so every thing in that place has a different relation to you.
Q. You say the moon is a dead planet. Has it an effect upon the earth, and if so, how is that possible, if it is dead?
A. The moon is a physical corpse of what was once a living planet like ours. The higher principles have departed from the moon, but the lower principles still hold together; for it is only half through the process of disintegration. These lower principles naturally affect lower forms of existence upon the earth, particularly those of physical conception, gestation, growth of trees, plants and anything and everything in which water is contained. The moon also affects our lower psychic nature in varying degrees—according to the activity of the spiritual nature of the being incarnated, or the lack of it.
The terrestrial lives which compose a physical body
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tend to go their several ways after the synthetic consciousness which drew and held them together has departed. A part of the process of separation is the breaking down of the cell bodies of the “lives,” producing poisons detrimental to some forms and fertilizations for other forms. So the Moon, being the corpse of our last earth, both vampirises and is vampirised by our earth, according to the nature of the earthly beings or elements, and particular phases of the Moon; this vampirising is astral primarily, producing physical effects.
Q. We speak of the Lunar Pitris as being the “fathers” of our physical frames. Does that mean that they were devoid of intelligence?
A. They have intelligence, but that in a very incipient form, such a degree as we can imagine to be the possession of the higher animals. The Lunar Pitris represent that form of life and intelligence which had been humanly used on the moon. This state of consciousness compares with the state of the astral body when deserted by the Manasic Ego.
There is always the influx of Intelligence. The animals have intelligence, but they haven’t the faculty of reasoning from premises to conclusions. In another sense, the Pitris are the kama rupas of a previous manvantara. That is the basis of our physical consciousness, plus what we may have added to it.
Q. Do you mean that the Lunar Pitris were used by Manasic Egos on the moon?
A. And left. You see, the highest beings left first. Then the next highest and so on down. The Highest Intelligences established the nature of the new chain, based upon the experience gained in the moon chain. All the kingdoms begin on the basis established by the building intelligences—the Dhyan Chohans; first, the elemental-mineral, then the elemental-vegetable, then the elemental-animal (these three precede the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms), and finally the human
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form as it was on the moon; for that represents a high degree of animal consciousness. They just establish the matrix for the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms, because that matrix was in plastic substance at that time, before it became concrete.
The elemental human form and intelligence was also a matrix based upon the development reached in a human physical form on the moon, that is, the intelligence of the Lunar Pitris, the progenitors of our human physical form on the Moon. This class of intelligences constitute what are called the “Lunar Pitris.”
Q. What is a principle?
A. A principle is a basis of thought and action on any specific plane of substance.
Q. Chapter IV speaks of “rational and irrational soul.” Would you explain that phrase? (Page 30).
A. There are three lines of evolution in man, and man works on the three lines. “Rational and irrational soul” means that in one case the being has more or less understanding of his own nature, and in the other has little or none. If you take the three terms of spirit, soul and body as commonly used, you have represented there the self, the acquired experiences, and the bodily instrument. These three lines present the field of operation of man in his process of development towards perfection.
Q. How does this three-fold scheme of the nature of man contain the Theosophical teaching of his seven-fold constitution? (as stated on page 30).
A. Man, as an evolutionary being, is connected with this earth, Atma, Buddhi, Manas, these represent spiritual soul.
The septenary nature on earth is made up of these three and the transitory connection with the body of lower manas (manas concerned with the body); prana, which is that aspect of the life of the Self which sustains
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the body; astral body, the link between the higher bodies and the physical.
The various sheaths of the soul and forms used on each plane are composed of the lives on each plane; for the form used by the entity is an aggregation of the lives of each plane. The only way we can have a body on any plane is because of our power to guide and control the lives of that plane, and that power is gained only through experience. Once some power is gained, the maintenance of a body becomes possible. Then comes improvement and knowledge and power as well as form. We try to express ourselves in a lower substance according to our higher natures. From the beginning there has been an ideal towards which humanity is working. This ideal is in the God-mind, if you wish to use that expression—and can only be brought to full expression by action for and as that God-mind, and ceasing to be controlled by the separative impulses given to the lower lives through ignorance and false conceptions.
Q. Some one said that I was responsible for my husband’s soul. In what sense and to what degree am I my brother’s keeper?
A. Each soul is a self-evolved being who is responsible only to his own Higher Self. Souls become involved in their own activities and take misleading directions. The duty of those souls who see the true path is to point it out to others. In this, discrimination, tact and non-offensiveness are necessary, so that the object of our solicitude may see the right path for himself. In these things we must be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Our responsibility begins and ends in our fidelity to the true nature of ourselves and others. If we could in reality force and control others in their choice there would never be any self-development. The Masters, who of all beings have all power and knowledge, never force any being, but point out the way, and guide and help as much as they are permitted
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by any being. The responsibility lies in the self-induced and self-devised efforts of each one. The Masters are not concerned with those who have no concern for higher knowledge, for such cannot be helped. Their interest and effort is directed to those whose aspiration and struggle tend in the right direction.
Our responsibility lies in our fidelity to our own higher nature. If that is full and true, we cannot be false to anyone or delinquent in any direction. One can’t go by rote nor by what someone else thinks is his duty. We must learn to do our whole duty and that comprises our full responsibility.
Q. I don’t see how thought can be so powerful.
A. Every thought (that is, an image formed by man) is a matrix formed by self-conscious beings, which at once energizes the elemental lives (which lives are without any directive capacity) and stirs them to action so that although the thought of the self-conscious being may be succeeded by other thoughts, the energy of the lives in that matrix will expend itself along the lines and to the degree imparted (it makes their body for the time being). So every thought we have provides a body and gives an impulse to the lives involved, and these act in whatever field of life may prove a fertile soil for them. The more we try to work from the inner side of our nature, the stronger the force we exert upon those lives. The power to make an image in the mind is the basis of thought. The human form itself is a matrix.
Q. How is it that “Behind will stands desire” [page 46]? It seems that this should be reversed.
A. That which governs thought is motive or, in other words, feeling. Will is the force of consciousness, and we do not act unless there is a desire or intention to move, and that gives energy to the consciousness—that is, Will. What we do is to use the elementals and
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we endow them with whatever force is in our own unalloyed intentions. Desire is our impulses and personal feelings, but includes the highest aspirations for universal benefit, as well as the lowest of our desires. Aspiration for universal benefit would be compassion, for that is the nature of the Self. The higher the aspiration, the stronger the will; the lower, the weaker.
Q. Why is it we cling to life in this body, and to other lives as bodies—as personalities?
A. It is that “clinging” which makes the binding force, because we do not realize that the physical is really the lowest phase of our lives. We should learn that that which makes us cling to the form on this plane is the power of life, consciousness, and attraction which comes from our inner being; for no matter how much the form may change during life, the love remains. Emerson says:
“Hearts are dust, Hearts’ loves remain;
Heart’s love will meet thee again.”
Our idea of love is fastened on a form, while that which occupied the form, is still alive and loving.
Q. What would you call soul powers?
A. Mr. Judge speaks more particularly of the latent powers of the soul as contrasted with those ordinarily used in bodily existence: for these are largely used in regard to the body and its requirements and include both the automatic and volitional activities. These latter are powers of soul, but are not generally recognize as such.
Q. You speak of Unity—the doctrine of Unity. How do you make Unity out of all these separative principles?
A. We speak of Unity and Diversity. It should be understood that there could be no Diversity without Unity as a basis. Unity consists in the common source and common essential nature of all things and beings. As all beings are inter-dependent because of their com-
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mon source and power, whether latent or expressed, this inter-dependence premises and demands a common goal for all, hence a common plan. The Source is one, the Goal is one, the Path varies with the Pilgrim. That makes the diversities. Unity is found when the Pilgrim recognizes both Source and Goal, and brings his Path into harmony with both. It is the power of Unity that makes diverse paths painful and, by suffering, forces recognition.
To be an Ego implies the power of choice. Ego is choice; no choice, no Ego. If it were not for harmony, we couldn’t have any discord. Discord is the lapse from harmony.
Q. Will we always have an earth and an earthly body? Or will we ever get above this altogether?
A. It isn’t a question of physical or earthly matter at all, for wherever we exist, we exist in some kind of substance, and that substance, of whatever degree, is as objective as is our earthly matter. So long as manifestation endures, our experience implies objectivity on every plane. The difficulty does not arise from substance or matter, but in our conceptions and use of it. This earthly matter has to be raised up in fact to higher degrees. It is said that Venus is in her seventh round and all her “lives” have been raised to a pitch of power and glory inconceivable to us, yet to her inhabitants she is as objective as our earth to us.
What we need to do is not to get off the earth, but to purify ourselves, and by purifying ourselves, purify the earth and all the lives that compose it. That can only be done by our conscious thought and action. When we change our “dirt” to luminous substance, then we will have a different kind of life and body. If you say this will take a long time, it will; but it took a long time to bring us to this condition. But all this time we are living and while living have more or less of happiness. We want bliss to be conferred upon us. We must earn it by spreading bliss to others.
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Q. In the Letters That Have Helped Me, Vol. I, it says that to disappoint the soul is a fearful deed for a man, in speaking of one man taking another’s life. Will you explain that use of “disappoint”?
A. From the soul comes the urge for all righteousness and that is constant. Perverseness of thought and action do no fulfill that urge. Disappointment is just a term to express non-fulfillment of the purpose of incarnation.
Q. Do we advance after death?
A. As ethereal beings in earlier rounds we have gained a vast store of experiences, but those who live the ordinary life of mankind with its partial ideas of existence do not in the after-death states reach this vast store. They fluctuate between the best and the worst of the lives they have lived. Devachan means the best and finest of the life last lived; Kama-Loka, the worst: both are personal. Life in the body is the cause in these two states.
Q. What is the difference between individuality and personality?
A. Individuality is a conscious existence in spirit, whether in or out of the body. Personality is a congeries of physical activities and qualities constantly changing.
Q. Why so many designations of “Soul”—human, divine, animal?
A. The word “Soul” in each and every case designates the common basis of all. The qualifying words of “divine,” “human,” and “animal” denote the degree of realization of consciousness—in other words, range of perceptions.
Q. In Chapter V. [page 37] what is meant by the “privative limits of a cell?”
A. There is no “privative cell” as a separate thing; but if we remember that every entity clothes itself with smaller entities, and that each entity, as a center, has its own radius of action, causing a whirling or vortex, we
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may be able to understand it. It is the lives drawn within this radial vortex that constitute the cell; the central attraction draws them in, and holds them—that makes the privative limits. The form of the cell is due to the attractive power of the central energy, and it is always circular or spherical.
The human being has his attractions and repulsions in accordance with the kind of energy he puts forth. The centripetal force is the nature of the being, and lower entities will be caught and held at such a distance as marks the degree of the relation of their nature to the centripetal center.
One might say that the solar system is a large cell and each planet, by its nature, is attracted so far towards the sun and no farther, because of repulsion set up due to difference in their natures.
The solar system has its own collective attractions and repulsions and each planet, as a collection, can only approach so close to the sun as its nature will allow. The personal nature has its own center, and, so to speak, forms a cell around itself and either opens up its center to the directive influence of higher states or shuts out all but the personal. These are “privative limits”; they are privative because they compel motion within their radial limits.
Everything depends upon the degree and quality of the energy sent out from the center. The physical cell has only that kind of central energy that has been imparted to it by the being in whose body it is, and as the cell has no initiative direction, the central force and range are constant; but the human being has not only the power of choice, but the power to change the direction of the cells. The centripetal and centrifugal forces are only two phases of the same thing—action and re-action—or Karma.
Q. Would you explain the meaning of the phrase “The highest looks through the eyes of the lowest?”
A. Every cell in the body has its own life and
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powers of perception; this includes all the cells of the body in their differing degrees. We as self-conscious beings perceive the physical plane through the perceptions of these collective cells. Hence we look through the eyes of the lowest. The same is true of the man as a whole in his perceiving. Higher beings than we contact this plane in part through our eyes, mental or physical, and may when necessary use a physical body on this plane of perception.
Our contact on any plane of substance is by means of an instrument made up of the lives of that plane. Each of such lives is a sensitive point and reflects the plane to which it belongs in some degree. Sufficient of these lives of different degrees gathered together on that plane will give an embodiment of sensitive points which are capable of reflecting everything on that plane, so that on any plane the Highest sees through the eyes of the lowest.
Q. Is the astral body full-sized at birth? The statement is made that it is perfect at birth. Is it present at conception?
A. The astral body expands apace with the physical. It expands with the growth of the physical matter. The astral of the Ego is drawn to the woman and there awaits the conditions that provide conception.
You can take a photograph so small that it can hardly be seen with the naked eye; but you can throw it upon a screen so it is a hundred times as great. So with the size of the astral at birth.
Q. Is the “permanent astral” a spiritual body? Are there two astrals, or does one come from the other, and which from which?
A. The “permanent astral” is formed during life from the elements belonging to the Real Man, the Ego. The ordinary astral is formed for each birth before conception. It is governed by the karma to be expended in the next life ensuing. One does not necessarily come from
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the other, but is formed from the spiritual substance—or body—of the Ego.
Astral body is merely a generic term. The term “astral” is used for everything beyond the physical. But, it should be understood that as on the physical we have earth, water, air and fire as divisions of this plane, so on the astral plane are similar divisions. The astral form that corresponds to earth remains with the physical body and dissipates with it. The one that corresponds to water is that state of astral substance which forms the kama-rupa; the one that corresponds to the air is the manasic body; and the one that corresponds to fire is the seat of consciousness, the body of the thinker. Our earthly fire is the lowest grade of divine substance.
Only those who have arrived at a certain stage of development or initiation return to incarnation with a “permanent astral.” All others form a new astral for each incarnation.
That is why they don’t bring the memory through; they haven’t established it on this plane. The permanent astral is the astral permeated, changed, refined by the fire of consciousness and thus made permanent.
Q. Is the astral body affected by insanity?
A. There are several kinds of astral body. There is the astral body which is the design for the physical body and is in fact the real physical body. What we call the physical body is composed of the earthly elements drawn into the physical-astral. Another astral is the kama-rupa, formed after death; also the devachanic body. None of these are permanent but are formed for temporary use during life and the states following death.
Insanity is a break in the connection between the being and the body in use, either partial or complete. That break may be caused by a brain lesion, or a fault karmically acquired in the astral body of that birth. All these things are questions of karma concerning the individual. Insanity may come to fruition by karmic ef-
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fects occurring after birth through defects in the lower astral, produced by causes in previous lives.
Q. Would a Master’s assumption of a body, since he has a permanent astral, be in the nature of an immaculate conception?
A. No. There were in the earlier races mind-born bodies, but they were of an ethereal substance and were not in the nature of a conception but a segregation. No one sex can be concerned in a physical conception; it takes both of the sexes. The only question that can arise is the kind of Ego that is drawn to birth by the conditions provided. There are more Egos out of bodies than in them.