THEOSOPHY, Vol. 20, No. 2, December, 1931
(Pages 71-76; Size: 18K)
(Number 10 of a 10-part series)

STUDIES IN REINCARNATION

X

CYCLE OF THE REINCARNATING EGOS

... For, to complete the septenary man, to add to his three lower principles and cement them with the spiritual Monad -- which could never dwell in such a form otherwise than in an absolutely latent state --two connecting principles are needed: Manas and Kama. This requires a living Spiritual Fire of the middle principle from the fifth and third states of Pleroma.... The human Ego is neither Atman nor Buddhi, but the higher Manas: the intellectual fruition and the efflorescence of the intellectual self-conscious Egotism --in the higher spiritual sense. The ancient works refer to it as Karana Sarira on the plane of Sutratma, which is the golden thread on which, like beads, the various personalities of this higher Ego are strung. If the reader were told, as in the semi-esoteric allegories, that these Beings were returning Nirvanees, from preceding Maha-Manvantaras --ages of incalculable duration which have rolled away in the Eternity, a still more incalculable time ago -- he would hardly understand the text correctly; while some Vedantins might say: "This is not so; the Nirvanee can never return"; which is true during the Manvantara he belongs to, and erroneous where Eternity is concerned. For it is said in the Sacred Slokas:

"The thread of radiance which is imperishable and dissolves only in Nirvana, re-emerges from it in its integrity on the day when the Great Law calls all things back into action...." (The Secret Doctrine, 1888, II, 79, 80).

EVERY child who through life is not to be a mere speaking animal, has moments of pause in his play; moments of strange Wonder, wherein, though perhaps even yet he is incapable of formulating it in words, a Question takes shape in his mind: "Who -- what --am I? If these had not been my parents, who would? What shape had my body taken, if not this?"

The possibility that under any conceivable circumstances he might not have been, is not there; it is left to later days, when under the suggestive pressure of animalism and selfishness, the perceptive powers have become absorbed into the temporal, thus giving rise to the unnatural superstition of mortality.

But in those moments of sight, the child looks back indeed momently upon the "clouds of glory" which he has "trailed" behind him into the darkness of matter. At such times there is a wondrous, formless stirring of Eternity itself within his soul; the reminiscence, almost the grasp, of some ancient, immemorial past; the flavor of old and high aeons of unsullied power and bliss.

Into manhood, even into school, he takes those memories not once in a thousand times; for he is fast taught to think, to feel, to perceive, with a portion of his being which never experienced those reminiscences at all. He is educated into thinking himself naught save the animal self which in reality is mortal; which never existed before this life, never will exist after it. Of the preternatural Power naught is left save simple Perception which knows itself not; together with the momentum of incomprehensible spiritual impulses ever tossing into confusion, unrecognized, the animal tenor of his life.

He who is destined in some future to recover the "knowledge which was his in former births," comes to a place where the pressure of immemorial Being within him, no longer memory, but a gnawing, hungry dissatisfaction with the world of matter, a dissatisfaction which mounts the higher with every triumph as with every defeat, leads him into a determined attempt to solve the mystery of Being regardless of any cost to self.

He finds before long that there are two of him; a fact indeed so patent that it is common knowledge to the lowliest, even though few are able to formulate the distinction of impulses clearly to their own minds. Dimly visible through early childhood are phases of being for which no explanation can be found in family tendency or in external pressure. They lie dormant for many years, while the child is cut and trimmed, pulled and pushed, into the shape of soul agreeable to his preceptors. Then at last with growing store of thought and experience, the perception flashes upon him that he is not this at all; that he is not his training, not his thoughts, not his impulses, desires, knowledge, or will; that instead he is something which can place itself as objectively outside all this, scan it all as coolly, as spectator scans a mob scene from a window. The recapitulation of the Manasaputric cycle of incarnation which is the whole history of the man, has passed its low; the power of self-memory which stirred in the child has manifested itself anew on the upward cycle of his life. Ever since the middle point of Atlantean history, which marks the historical nadir of the Manasaputric dip into matter, men have awakened to the fact that they now looked down upon their material natures, and found in themselves the instinct to free themselves therefrom. In older times, they looked down upon matter with the instinct to enter therein and acquire the unity therewith which is essential to full knowledge of the constitution of the Universe.

After this separation of Self from its internal environment by an act of perception takes place, anything is possible to the man, whatever his past. For he now without realizing it has placed himself on the plane of Nirvanic all-comprehension which he left so many aeons ago; remains but to expand his perception thereon in order to free himself wholly. And on that plane, the Power in the lowest of men transcends anything the Christian dreams of his "Jehovah."

But then, if inherently endowed with such gigantic powers -- powers fit to level all differences in the temporal limitations of humanity -- why are we all cribbed, cabined, and confined in such obvious and glaring limitations and weaknesses?

Why is it that once arrived in the upper spaces, we do know ourselves to be powerful, free, and secondless; yet to arrive there, have to battle to the limit of will with the influences of past thought, past action, past teaching? Why do we in moments know the Ineffable, yet when attempting to convey its meaning to others, have utterly to depend upon the poor narrow channels engraved in the brain by the sordid scrapings of materialistic contacts; even in fact for the most part cannot express it at all? Is there no sense, no rhyme, no reason, in the relation which Real Being has to its vehicles of thought, will and feeling? Is the Individuality endowed with its personal expression by some toss of a celestial gambler's dice?

We must see by the law of continuity, of the eternal fitness of things, that all these temporal differences must in fact be the expressions, the efflorescences, the exaggerations, the concatenations, of differences existing from past eternities in those very Beings, now become our inner mental principle, whom we think of, and in moments of liberty realize, as Powers god-like beyond the worldly manifestation of the greatest and noblest genius ever known.

We must see then, that on the highest planes of consciousness which any Being may reach, there are still relativities; there are, in their metaphysical meanings, good and evil, perfections and imperfections. The petty physical, mental and moral divergencies in mankind, then, are but the reflection of spiritual divergencies in their Real Selves. Our accustomed and comfortable division of the principles of Man -- Atma, Buddhi, Manas, Kama-Manas, Kama, and so on -- these we must see are but materialistic makeshifts, adapted to the minds intended to be reached; that in fact even the first word on the full nature of Man has not been fully uttered in books; nor will the fuller utterance to come with the Messenger of 1975 be much more than the completion of that word.

How much greater is Real Being than the personality into which a part of its powers are compressed? If we must be statistical, if we must evaluate spiritual magnitudes with calipers, then let us look upon the fact that where the reincarnation of the Skandhic mass, upon which the Self rides from incarnation to incarnation, endures but a millennium and a half, the actual hypostasis of Self in matter endures from dawn to dark of a minor manvantara -- has endured up to 1931, for a period of 18,618,772 years, this being a little over one-half the cycle of matter corresponding to the sixty or seventy years of the physical human life.

Let us further realize that from the vast sweep of power and knowledge we then had, the highest and happiest physical life represented the dank chill of death; that as we then were, awakening from the depths of Nirvanic consciousness, we saw all that had been and was to be; saw in our path millions of years of struggle, of unutterable sacrifice, of indescribable dangers; that we saw all this, yet entered into it willingly, even joyously, as a man leaves a warm fireside and smiling family for the strife of industry, secure in the knowledge that after a brief space these will again be his plus the realization of a task accomplished, a duty done! How, seeing this, can any man thereafter conceive himself in terms of the ignobilities of his "John Smith" nature?

And yet -- in us even then, were degrees of greatness as fundamental in comparison as those between the seven orders of men as we know them in daily life -- from the best to the worst.

There is much wonder as to how divine beings incarnated in animal bodies. It could not have been had not in those beings from the first been the spiritual and metaphysical antetypes of the animal qualities. All matter is seven-principled, from the gross mineral up to the ethereal Prakritic breath that clothes the Nirvanee. Each principle in everything is connected "magnetically" with the corresponding principle in everything else. By a mere act of will the corresponding principles of any two forms of substance can be merged. This is why the life in an arm responds to the act of conscious will that moves it. That will may be driven by selfish desire or by spiritual wisdom; in each case it links the corresponding principle in the soul of man with the same principle in the protein of the arm. That protein becomes evil in nature, or noble in nature, for the time being, according to the intent governing; yet never again is quite the same, for the reason that all matter, which is latent life, has in common the properties of memory and impressibility. Given time and consistent action, any man could so influence a mass of matter upon which his attention was directed, that it would respond only to a beneficent will, or to any evil will, as the case might be. This is the explanation of the subtle disconcerting identity between his highest and lowest which a man feels in his moments of moral struggle; it is the explanation of the whole connection between the soul of man and the matter, physical and metaphysical, which forms his vehicles from life to life. It is the explanation of the connection between his Higher Self in its Manasaputric aspect, and the whole substance of the globe; ties which grow strong by turns with regard to successive masses which are the bodies and Skandhas of his physical incarnations. And it is the explanation of magic, which arises from a complete identification of the will and consciousness of the operator with the substance upon which he is to work phenomena. That identification is possible by thinking of oneself as matter pure and simple, or by knowing matter to be indissoluble from spirit. The former is the secret of the Black Magician; the latter, of the Adept. The unscrupulous commercialist, on the one hand, and the aspiring though limited Theosophist on the other, are respectively on the two paths of self-identification with Life. Matter is responsive to various thoughts according to its kind -- according to the relative development of the principles in it. Matter sunk in Tamas, such as ordinary physical stuff, has to be worked on by the Adept through other forms, largely.

Incarnating, the Manasaputra were able to "fill the Kama," not of mineral, vegetable, animal matter as we know it, but of those highly developed astral "animals," the "lunar pitris," which in turn connected them at second-hand with physical matter. Thus, the primary object of the Descent was to endow the "lunar" forms of life with self-consciousness; but that in turn ever results in a stimulation of the life in every form of matter with which the latter are affiliated, so that the procession of lives from the lowest to the highest is infinite.

But under continuity, must not the Manasaputra themselves have prior Karmic connection with all this substance? Indeed yes; before the beginning of this globe; before the inauguration of its entire chain; before this solar system; in lost planetary evolutions of which no note or minute is given us in Theosophical books. "The skandhas wait at the threshold of birth," says the doctrine as to the "Reincarnating Ego," which is not the highest aspect of the Real Self. At the dawn of a planetary system awaits the whole mass of matter with which the Manasaputra has affinity. He gathers it unto him in seven classifications according to the predominance of the prototypal principles in his spiritual nature, and the affinities of the still latent substance. Hence, "seven kinds of men on seven zones" form the First Race. In the Second, "they begin mixing." Life strives for equilibrium of power and knowledge by the mingling of the classes and mutual absorption of experience, will, feeling, knowledge, power, the one from the other, through the whole minor Manvantara; until, each having gained all that is possible from the others, precipitation takes place; separation ensues, and the foundation of another septenary evolution on a higher plane is laid.

The Manasaputra is engaged from the beginning to the end in identifying Himself with Life; endowing it so far as its receptivity permits, with his powers, knowledge and consciousness; gaining from it the impressions left in it through its use by others in past cycles, and so filling out his own store; equilibrizing by action upon it his errors of the past, now embedded in its very nature.

And all this -- is Man and the Life of Man.


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:

"PRIMORDIAL SUBSTANCE"

What, then, is the "primordial Substance," that mysterious object of which Alchemy was ever talking, and which became the subject of philosophical speculation in every age? What can it be finally, even in its phenomenal pre-differentiation? Even that is ALL in manifested Nature and -- nothing to our senses. It is mentioned under various names in every Cosmogony, referred to in every philosophy, and shown to be, to this day, the ever grasp-eluding PROTEUS in Nature. We touch and do not feel it; we look at it without seeing it; we breathe it and do not perceive it; we hear and smell it without the smallest cognition that it is there; for it is in every molecule of that which in our illusion and ignorance we regard as Matter in any of its states, or conceive as a feeling, a thought, an emotion.... In short, it is the "upadhi," or vehicle, of every possible phenomenon, whether physical, mental, or psychic. --S.D., I, p. 330.


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