THEOSOPHY, Vol. 22, No. 2, December, 1933
(Pages 73-76; Size: 12K)
(Number 23 of a 57-part series)
STUDIES IN KARMA
ROADS OF AGGREGATION
THE glib antinomialism of the materialist, who speaks of "law" and "chance" as co-existent -- or even, marvelous to relate, of "the laws of chance" --is not for the Theosophist. His laws are not iron-hard, like those of material science; or rather, they are iron-hard only in those regions of activity dominated either by pure matter, which has no choice, or by pure intelligence, which has no doubts. The Karmic liens are elastic, capable of being stretched by perverse human will to almost unbelievable lengths; but they are eternal, unbreakable, insistent; they wait their time for the cessation of puny strivings -- and then in-gather all things to ultimate equilibrium.
Thus there is a reason for every slightest happening: an eternal reason, for all causes lead back to others in light of which they themselves are effects; even the free Monad, manifesting, must submit itself to these eternal fluxes, altering them only by understanding and compliance. The mysterious growth of a living body from a spacial pin-point proceeds on the material plane by the aggregation of matter of all kinds. Some of that matter has demonstrably been part of man, animal, vegetable and mineral in far-distant parts of earth; all of it certainly has been through the mysterious cosmic changes of the passing æons.
The teachings of Theosophy, buttressed by facts, are that every atom in manifested space is a repository, a mirror, of every contact it has ever made. Every atom is likewise seven-principled -- astral matter differing from physical only in the nature of the activity of its inner principles; and thus these crystallized atomic histories include happenings mental, spiritual, psychic, in the degree of receptivity of the particle at the time of occurrence. When we learn that certain organic chemicals, injected into the blood in drops of a solution of one in a billion parts, can transform a man's nature or kill him, what can we say of those intensely more potent forms of matter unknown to the scientist; those forms in which the higher principles have been awakened to quasi-human intelligence; those forms, in short, spoken of as the human Kama and Kama Manas, but whose manifestations are by no means confined within the human form? When we realize that every contact with earth life is through those potent and largely self-willed Principles, and that our every chance to perceive spiritual realms depends upon our mastery, our understanding, our purification, of those substances -- can we not see that our destiny is in fact dependent upon the past history, made by ourselves, of the particles on all planes which we draw to ourselves from the moment of conception? That our only liberation from an evil destiny depends upon the energy, the purity, with which we exert the will in daily action? For it is through that action of the will that the nature of these substances is altered; through it that some are expelled and others, better or worse, as the case may be, attracted.
It is not for nothing that what is one man's meat is another man's poison. It is not for nothing that one man's life is so ordered that he eats meat from the scrub of Australia, while the steak on another table hails from Montanan plains. It is not for nothing that one man can eat pleasurably in a certain restaurant, while another carries away each time therefrom an indigestion, however savory the food, however well-ordered the service. All these are the outward and visible signs of unbreakable bonds between the Ego of man and the materials of which he constructs his instruments of action and perception. That every man has his own peculiar ties with every atom in Nature, is as certain as that none save Adept can consciously venture to extract and disentangle any great part of his own real body; that body which lies over the globe, entangled in the earth, air, fire and water thereof as the fibres of the mango lie within the fruit. For all any of us know, the insufficiency, the weaknesses, the deformities, the anemias and lacks of substance from which we suffer, result from our having alienated by misuse that which belonged to us; and which in other bodies is undergoing unknowable transformations during our absentee landlordship.
So with the lacks, the hiatuses, the solutions of continuity, the inconsistencies and irrationalities in our emotional and mental natures, all of which depend upon the aggregations and fluxes of invisible substances.
Of what nature, and where lie those ties, those channels of inflow and outflow? The material channels are visible enough -- albeit there are many mysteries about them at which science has not yet guessed. But in what way are they expressions of mental and moral causes? In what definite ways can the Karma be traced? Let us remember that the material aspect is but a shadow. The reality lies within the inner principles of the substance -- and those inner principles are not subject to the laws of time and space as we know them. We have but to refer to the common experience of the dream-region, to see that, each for himself. And in fact, while from below in all these matters we can see but fragmentary, broken trains of consequences, from above we would see that there are no ties, or liens; there are identities. No man knows the real construction of matter, even on this plane; and beyond our brief glimpses, beyond our time and space, lies most of its being. The matter of a man never lets go its hold on him, either in life, in Kama Loka, or Devachan. His immersion in it is unbroken, but inactive in certain stages, just as the body in sleep is inactive though present. And what seems to us a re-aggregation, is, from a higher point of view, no set of translations in space, but instead a revivification of correlative activities: the resumption of planetary circulations like the reawakening of bodily functions at the end of night. The apparent destruction and rebirth of the physical body is but an incident; the transformations of a small nucleus of matter in the midst of countless masses which form our real material empire.
It is all a recapitulation. In former times the physical self was unicellular, globular, having nothing about it of the physical human as we know him. Matter was in evolution, fluidic, plastic, half-astral, in its most material aspects; and aggregation was by channels as simple and direct, as free from the necessity of fatherhood and motherhood, as is the collection of cosmic dust by a planet in birth. The ancient mode of reproduction remains unchanged today; but its real nature is wholly obscured and concealed by the elaborate protective and subsidiary machinery which has evolved about it, and without which no Ego could find birth on this gross sphere. The materials for the body are no longer drawn direct from fructifying Space; so unamenable to direct action of mind and soul are they that they perforce have to pass through the mollifying processes of organisms already on the ground.
Should the thread of physical life, the incessant entail of germ-plasm, be broken on this globe by some cosmic catastrophe, there would be no re-evolution. That thread was never developed out of the blind and inert matter which we have now, but has been inherited direct from other ages; and with its rupture a lifeless planet would roll on through endless space until some catastrophe or gradual disintegration released its atoms to other spheres. A mankind homeless in space could but enter Pralaya until some distant day when skandhas of some far-past Manvantaric evolution awoke under Karmic cycles. Such has happened often enough to individual human egos, and is happening today; no one knows but that it has happened many times to failed planetary evolutions in the depths of Space.
There is before us the immeasurable task -- consciously entered upon by but few, although long overdue -- of spiritualizing matter on all planes, and therewith ourselves; of re-ascending the long ladder of evolution, with each foot at a corresponding stage placed upon one rung higher, until man has become once more a Dhyani, and his matter once more "astral," -- luminous of itself, and responsive to mind as the water is to wind.
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:
THE PATH TO FULFILMENT
The fundamental doctrines of Theosophy are of no value unless they are applied to daily life. To the extent to which this application goes they become living truths, quite different from intellectual expressions of doctrine. The mere intellectual grasp may result in spiritual pride, while the living doctrine becomes an entity through the mystic power of the human soul.
--William Q. Judge
Our philosophy of life is one grand whole, every part necessary and fitting into every other part. Every one of its doctrines can and must be carried to its ultimate conclusion. Its ethical application must proceed similarly. If it conflict with old opinions those must be cast off. It can never conflict with true morality. But it will with many views touching our dealings with one another. The spirit of Theosophy must be sought for; a sincere application of its principles to life and act should be made.... This will then raise in our hearts the hope that at least a small nucleus of Universal Brotherhood may be formed before we of this generation are all dead.
STUDIES IN KARMA
THE DECREE OF ORLOG
(Part 24 of a 57-part series)
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