THEOSOPHY, Vol. 59, No. 10, August, 1971
(Pages 308-311; Size: 11K)

THE PURPOSE OF REINCARNATION(1)

HOW man has come to be the complex being that he is and why, are questions that neither Science nor Religion makes conclusive answer to. This immortal thinker having such vast powers and possibilities, all his because of his intimate connection with every secret part of Nature from which he has been built up, stands at the top of an immense and silent evolution. He asks why Nature exists, what the drama of life has for its aim, how that aim may be attained. But Science and Religion both fail to give a reasonable reply.

What then is the universe for, and for what final purpose is man the immortal thinker here in evolution? It is all for the experience and emancipation of the soul, for the purpose of raising the entire mass of manifested matter up to the stature, nature, and dignity of conscious god-hood. The aim for present man is his initiation into complete knowledge, and for the other kingdoms below him that they may be raised up gradually from stage to stage to be in time initiated also. This is evolution carried to its highest power, it is a magnificent prospect; it makes of man a god, and gives to every part of nature the possibility of being one day the same; there is strength and nobility in it, for by this no man is dwarfed and belittled, for no one is so originally sinful that he cannot rise above all sin. The old view makes the universe a vast, complete, and perfect whole.

Each human being has developed himself to a certain degree, and therefore can only appreciate and reflect that amount of wisdom which has fallen to his lot. As he passes again and again through the form of man, he slowly develops other various powers of appreciating more truth, and so at the last may become one with the whole -- the perfect man, able to know and to feel completely his union with all.

The Adept is the fruit and perfection of the highest qualities in man, conjoined with entire union with spirit; this is the triumph of all that is best in the human being; it is the conscious union with the divine -- the embodiment of union, harmony, and love.

In every age and complete national history these men of power and compassion are given different designations. They have been called Initiates, Adepts, Magi, Hierophants, Kings of the East, Wise Men, Brothers, and what not. But irrespective of all disputes as to specific names, there is sufficient argument and proof to show that a body of men having the wonderful knowledge described above has always existed and probably exists today. The older mysteries continually refer to them. Ancient Egypt had them in her great king-Initiates, sons of the sun and friends of great gods. These great Egyptians were Initiates, members of the one great Lodge which includes all others of whatever degree or operation.

The story of Apollonius of Tyana is about a member of one of the same ancient orders appearing among men at a descending cycle, and only for the purpose of keeping a witness upon the scene for future generations.

Abraham and Moses of the Jews are two other Initiates, Adepts who had their work to do with a certain people; and in the history of Abraham we meet with Melchizedek, who was so much beyond Abraham that he had the right to confer upon the latter a dignity, a privilege, or a blessing. The same chapter of history which contains the names of Moses and Abraham is illumined also by that of Solomon. And thus these three make a great Triad of Adepts, the record of whose deeds can not be brushed aside as folly and devoid of basis.

All along the stream of Indian literature we can find the names by scores of great adepts who were well known to the people and who all taught the same story -- the great epic of the human soul. Their names are unfamiliar to western ears, but the records of their thoughts, their work and powers remain. Still more, in the quiet unmovable East there are today, by the hundred, persons who know of their own knowledge that the Great Lodge still exists and has its Mahatmas, Adepts, Initiates, Brothers.

And if the teaching of this Great Lodge is, as said, both scientific and religious, then from the ethical side we have still more proof. A mighty Triad acting on and through ethics is that composed of Buddha, Confucius, and Jesus. The first, a Hindu, founds a religion teaching centuries before Jesus the ethics which he taught and which had been given out even centuries before Buddha. Jesus, coming to reform his people repeats these ancient ethics, and Confucius does the same thing for ancient and honorable China.

All these great names represent members of the one single brotherhood, who all have a single doctrine. And the extraordinary characters who now and again appear in Western civilization are agents for the doing of the work of the Great Lodge at the proper time.

The Elder Brothers of Humanity are men who were perfected in former periods of evolution. The possibility of arriving at perfection so that one becomes godlike -- or the doctrine of Adepts and Mahatmas -- is common to Buddhism and Brahmanism, and is not contrary to the teachings of Jesus. He said to his disciples that they could, if they would, do even greater works -- or "miracles" -- than he did. To do these works one has to have great knowledge and power. The doctrine assumes the perfectibility of humanity and will destroy the awful theory of inherent original sin which has held and ground down the Western Christian nations for centuries. But far from being out of concordance with the religion of Jesus, it is in perfect accord. He directed his followers to be perfect even as the Father in heaven is perfect. They could not come up to that command by any possibility unless man has the power to reach to that high state.

Evolution demands that such beings should exist or there is a gap in the chain. And this position is held by a man of science like Prof. Huxley, who made the assertion that there must be beings in the universe whose intelligence is as much beyond ours as ours exceeds that of the black beetle, and who take an active part in the government of the natural order of things.

A Mahatma endowed with power over space, time, mind, and matter, is a possibility just because he is a perfected man. Every human being has the germ of all the powers attributed to these great Initiates, the difference lying solely in the fact that we have in general not developed what we possess the germ of, while the Mahatma has gone through the training and experience which have caused all the unseen human powers to develop in him, and conferred gifts that look godlike to his struggling brother below. All that the Mahatma may do is natural to the perfected man.

There are those who, although now inhabiting bodies and moving among men, have passed through many occult initiations in previous lives, but are now condemned, as it were, to the penance of living in circumstances and in bodies that hem them in, as well as for a time make them forget the glorious past. But their influence is always felt, even if they themselves are not aware of it. For their higher nature being in fact more developed than that of other men, it influences other natures at night or in hours of the day when all is favorable. The fact that these obscured adepts are not aware now of what they really are, only has to do with their memory of the past; it does not follow, because a man cannot remember his initiations, that he has had none. But there are some cases in which we can judge with a degree of certainty that such adepts were incarnated and what they were named. Take Thomas Vaughan, Raymond Lully, Sir Thomas More, Jacob Boehme, Paracelsus, and others like them. These souls were as witnesses to the truth, leaving through the centuries, in their own nations, evidences for those who followed, and suggestions for keeping spirituality bright -- seed-thoughts, as it were, ready for the new mental soil.

As Mind is being evolved more and more as we proceed in our course along the line of the race development, there can be perceived underneath in all countries the beginning of the transition from the animal possessed of the germ of real mind to the man of mind complete. This day is therefore known to the Masters, who have given out some of the old truths, as the "transition period." Proud science and prouder religion do not admit this, but think we are as we always will be. But there are evidences that the race mind is changing by enlargement, that the old days of dogmatism are gone and the "age of inquiry" has come, that the inquiries will grow louder year by year and the answers be required to satisfy the mind as it grows more and more, until at last, all dogmatism being ended, the race will be ready to face all problems, each man for himself, all working for the good of the whole, and that the end will be the perfecting of those who strive to carry out their whole duty "on the journey back to the Sacred Seat."


COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:

Knowing should be identified with growing. Intellectual acquisitions without spiritual growth are like flowers that die without producing a fruit. 


--F. Hartmann

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(1) NOTE.--This article is collated from the writings of William Q. Judge.
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