THEOSOPHY, Vol. 23, No. 1, November, 1934
(Pages 8-12; Size: 15K)
(Number 25 of a 57-part series)

STUDIES IN KARMA

THE PROGENY OF MAN

MANY a difficult problem in understanding would be quickly resolved were we to take seriously and think out to their full implications certain simple but fundamental statements. Many seemingly abstruse phrases of Karma, for instance, would become lucid, if we realized what is implied in the statement that "all Karma is carried from life to life in the form of mental deposits." Mostly we do not avail ourselves of this doctrine because, being so bound in the illusions of matter that thought seems like impuissant smoke, incapable of affecting matter by its own power, we simply cannot take it seriously. We realize not that all matter is crystallized thought. Concurrently, our own minds and characters, even our bodily configurations, are of necessity the crystallization of past thought; likewise, the unconscious reactions which draw us into the midst of this, that, or the other set of circumstances, are all living lines of our own thought, now perhaps buried from our conscious perceptions, nevertheless vital and powerful.

But there is more in it than this; the tenet is true as to whole racial periods; it is true as to planetary cycles; it is true of the vast sweep of life-experience from Manvantaric dawn to close, and back again. In understanding it, lies not merely the key to our personal Karma, but to our relations with Great Nature, and particularly with animal life; comprehension of this last meaning the solution of our own past and prevision of our future.

That the phrase "when we were animals," or even the question "why were we not once animals?" can even arise in the mind of a student shows the deadly hold which the inverted ideas of Darwinism have on the race mind.

It is clearly shown that all the mammalian animals owe their existence to Man himself; not in the way of a direct physical descent by procreation, but in a manner incomprehensible to those who see things only from the material side; a manner which must seem like pure insanity to the orthodox scientist.

FROM THE DROPS OF SWEAT; FROM THE RESIDUE OF THE SUBSTANCE; MATTER FROM DEAD BODIES OF MEN AND ANIMALS OF THE WHEEL BEFORE; AND FROM CAST-OFF DUST, THE FIRST ANIMALS WERE PRODUCED. (Sloka 28, Stanza VIII, The Secret Doctrine, 1888, II, 19.)
Now what does this farrago mean? Incredible as it may seem, it becomes no longer nonsense once three simple postulates, the first of which has now become respectable if not accepted in science, are admitted. First, the living nature of all matter. Second -- necessarily implied in the first -- the susceptibility of matter to thought impressions. Third, implied in the second, the selective action of affinities in the building of organic bodies. Does it occur to us to wonder why, of all the twenty-five to forty tons of substance ingested in a lifetime, most is immediately rejected; some remains in the system for a few days or months; but only a small part stays long enough to be called a really constituent part of our organism? Dieticians and biologists learnedly classify these reactions along lines of chemical affinity; they do not explain the radical and striking differences in the digestive affinities of different persons, than which nothing could be more marked. The simple fact is that atoms of matter, generically alike and classifiable like species of animals, differ really from one another as much as do individual animals. Those differences arise from the impacts of consciousness upon matter. And those differences are the basis of "affinities," speaking for the many forms of invisible matter in our constitutions as well as for the visible. Thus the stay of substance in a given field of force -- in the environment created by the bio-magnetic conditions of any living organism -- is governed by whether it is attracted or repelled by that organic form -- which in its essence is a mental and emotional pattern. Substance -- physical, mental, astral -- is attracted to us by these affinities -- our conscious tastes, likes or dislikes; a further sieving is undergone by it through our deep-seated half-conscious or unconscious reactions. Our thought, will, and feeling is momently affecting everything we contact, is affecting forms of substance, currents of feeling and vitality, in every direction, undreamed-of by us. These effects embed certain traits in the substances affected, this being the exact process of evolution on all planes.

Substance, leaving us or being left by us, falls into the sphere of attraction of the nearest most powerful other affinity, and is again affected, and so on and so on. At last in the long cyclic course of nature, it returns to and influences us again along the directions which we once gave it, plus any further impetus which it received in traveling in the psychic direction in which it was shot from our bow. That which is in our psychic likeness in the food we take, or in the mental and moral environment in which we find ourselves, we absorb. That which is unlike, we repel; of that to which we are neutral, we are oblivious.

The psycho-mental-astral-vital internal environment of a highly organized being is so intense, so complex, that nothing can become any permanent part of it which has not for long ages been molded to that end. Thus organized living beings are confined for nutriment, astral, physical, and otherwise, to substance which has long been influenced in the flux of conscious physical existence. (Which of course comprises far more of everything than we suspect). For that reason, the early animals had to depend upon the cast-off "garments" of forms of life already on the scene, for the nuclei of their own being.

Those forms were generically two -- man himself, and the great reptiles surviving from the last planetary "round" in the form of astral fossils. The traditional "First Creation" -- of the monstrous failures -- was the result of blind nature, prior to the awakening of the Soul of Man from within its bosom, attempting to revivify these fossils. The instinct of all matter is to aggregate into organic form around pre-existing astral images, and it will seize upon any such nucleus that presents itself. (Hence the "ideoplastic" trait in nature proclaimed by some scientists as the result of psychic research). The survival of these mixed and monstrous types was brief, coming to an end with the seizure of the reins of nature by its entelechial intelligences, evolved in former rounds -- the Dhyani, many of whom have since become -- men.

The great reptiles speedily perished with the growth of mankind -- in the Third Race, the first physical type, which developed enormous bodies, and was more numerous than the present population of the earth. The matter suitable for organic existence was exhausted by the draft made upon it by the human race; many of the giant species perished entirely and others survived as dwarfed facsimiles -- as some of them are to this day.

Meanwhile a new type of life, the mammalian, closely akin to man, was rising -- utilizing of necessity the cast-off "lives" of man himself, the -- shall we say -- "bio-potential" substance available.

Few Theosophists have sensed the deep significance of the doctrine regarding the seven primordial types of mammals in connection with the simultaneous development upon the globe of seven types of humanity. Most obviously each of the seven humanities gave rise to a special mammalian archetype, this happening when both man and animal were in the astral stage, incipiently physical. The seven humanities now being mixed together in all races, there is no mystery about the fact often noted by philosophers, and mentioned by H. P. Blavatsky -- that most men resemble in a general way the animal types.

The mammalians thus are exemplars of human traits, some one of which each type has carried to an extreme, the mixture of traits in the human being precluding such extreme differentiations in his case. The relation between the old reptilian types, and the men of the preceding Manvantara, must have been analogous. Each original mammal type must therefore have been the human form as seen through the consciousness of one of the elemental kingdoms; each such type having since become greatly modified, and having given off many branches, under evolutionary exigencies. As for instance, H. P. Blavatsky points out that the horse and cow, the pig, the hippopotamus, the antelope, the deer, the rhinoceros, and the tapir, all derive from one astral man-influenced prototype.

There is a constant flux and reflux of life between all these animals and man; speedy and direct in the case of the food-animals, devious, indirect, and extremely slow in the case of the others. In all cases a major part of it is carried by the mysterious vital-magnetic fluxes which traverse all space -- "there is a connection of all matter in the Plenum." In this way, by our exercise of thought, will, and feeling, we are creating the dispositions, and even the forms, of the animal life of a future Manvantara. We are incipiently "lighting up Manas" in them. Most Theosophists are aware of this in a theoretical way; few realize the direct and drastic bearing of it upon our own futures.

At Pralaya, when the Universe loses objective existence, the archetypal forms of both man and the then existing animals will be preserved for future use. How? In the slumbering soul of man himself, for man, alone being possessed of self-consciousness, has objective conception of form as apart from self; moreover, man alone has an immortal mind. Were it not for this immortality, as exemplified particularly in the Dhyani, ex-men, the Universe could not evolve upon awakening; it could only fall into self-destructive chaos.

This appears to be the raison d'etre, of the teaching that all animal organs are locked up in the human form, which is the repository and archetype of all organism. Hence the apparent "vestigial relics," such as the appendix, in man; they are carried by him from Manvantara to Manvantara, as a matter of memory, and whether or not of use to him, are found developing in the species to which he gives rise.

Thus, at the dawn of the next Manvantara, the substance which we now share with the animals, will be found upon the advent of the reawakening human Ego, to be enclosed in some high animal form which is ensouled by those lives now forming our astral bodies; the latter being "Lunar Pitris" of a new Manvantara. In that form must we, under the irresistible impulse of cosmic "Tanha," the thirst for living experience which is inseparable from life-stuff everywhere, incarnate, merging therewith our minds and souls. We will be confronted, as we were confronted many millions of years ago, with our own creation which must become our habitation and vehicle, our very self in the mundane sense. And, thus confronted in full spiritual consciousness last time, large numbers of us cared not for the spectacle; we disliked it enough to postpone our incarnation for an indefinite period. The forms were "not fit" for us, and while we waited for them to become fit, they became still more unfit; from which Karma humanity suffers woefully today.

The Soul of Man Itself grows in power from age to age by the absorption and spiritualization of the lower life of the Universe; it is that Life in its final, just sub-human stage, which now forms our body, our astral self, our lower mind faculties. Its spiritualization and absorption -- our progress on the Path -- is painful and difficult not merely in proportion of the misdeeds of this incarnation, this Manvantara, but of those of the immemorial past.

Thus, think well; every thought and feeling radiates from our own will-center to the utmost recesses of sentient existence, vitally affecting all life with which we are in contact, evolving it in directions good or ill; all of it to become part of our own nature in another cycle. Every foolish and abnormal love lavished upon dumb animals means an abnormal "slant" given to sentient life; every animal freak bred in unbalanced human whim means a tendency towards distorted and unlovely forms in the future; every wave of fear and hatred set rippling through an animal nature, in vivisection or in blind brutality, means an added impetus of that sort in our own nature, now and in the long, long, hereafter. Take heed well; the instant is part and parcel with eternity!


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CYCLE OF FIRE
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