THEOSOPHY, Vol. 20, No. 6, April, 1932
(Pages 266-269; Size: 12K)
[Article number (18) in this Q&A Department]
IS there a particular quota of matter we have for our use on this earth?
In other words, do we as souls possess a limited amount of matter, physical and astral, which we may impress and learn from in the course of our evolution? Undoubtedly we "possess" matter -- our physical bodies and psychical natures (leaving restrictions out of the question for the moment) and according to the ancient wisdom these possessions are our own making in one sense, but not our own in another. This material universe is our creation, from within, without -- an objective manifestation of thought. So in a collective sense all the matter of our universe belongs to us; yet in an individual sense it may and it may not. Every person and thing with which we come in contact we are impressing, and so "making our own," but these impressions lie in the mental plane and also in the desire nature. Mere physical possessions are really not our own, for they are illusive; yet, once maintain the idea of a physical object in the mind, and you hold it permanently. Take wealth for example. You may have it one day, and in the next, its supports come crashing down; but once hold in your mind the idea of wealth, with regard to its futility, and you have learned the lesson which some day all possessors of wealth will know. The same holds true with the man who depends on objects for enjoyment, as contrasted with one who finds pleasure within himself, in his own creative mind. When man turns within, he gradually finds himself in possession of the universe, and likewise the universe is in possession of him, for they have become one. So there is no particular quota of matter for our personal use. It is not distributed at the beginning of evolution as an "allowance" to a child by some almighty father. The universe is ours. Yet, pray not grasp it in the wrong way, or it will crumble.
How does the law of cycles operate in minerals? Minerals seem to belong to a fixed order of things.
Apparently minerals are static, but according to the atomic theory there is perpetual motion within every type of atom -- definite numbers of electrons moving in their orbits about the nucleus. So one may say that each time an electron has traversed its orbit it has completed a cycle! Yet these cycles within the atoms have no apparent effect on the visible state of minerals; it is the play of outward events which affects that. In an outward way the interplay of the forces of nature -- heat, wind, air, and water -- cause cycles, and minerals as well as the organic kingdoms come under their operation. It is said that gold "grows" for instance, and it does, by accretion; but there is no doubt also that connected with this cycle of growth is Man, who is always seeking to find and utilize gold -- thus making a new order of cycle for the mineral by his psychic attachment for it in many forms. Then, too, the metempsychosis of mineral "lives" into plants, animals, and humans would naturally be cyclic, would it not?
How would you describe the difference between Karma and Fatalism?
Many are those who have seen one individual walking straight, without warning, into destruction, while another, passing the same way, will safely escape the rim. Shall we throw up our hands and say, "It is fate;" or, in other words, "It is the will of some mysterious omniscience"? Such statements signify the acceptance of defeat; they arise from fear and are the tokens of a cramped intellect. Such voices are now sounding more feebly, it is true; they are the echoes of darker ages. Now philosophers are pulling God down from Heaven and placing him in the human heart. Unfortunately, as yet, they see no law and order in things, but they have made one great step; they have begun to look within for the source of inspiration, and for delusion, too. Fatalism means that fixed conditions are pre-determined by extraneous forces.
The law of Karma is not imposed from the outside; it is not dogmatic. Those who say that law is but a human conception are being influenced by the strong tide of reaction against the church, rather than by their own powers of observation and experience. When they declare that the sun may not rise one morning, I think it would not be very dogmatic to maintain there would be a cause for that; cause and effect can not be dogmatic, nor can it be said to be a human law; it is the essence of all laws. Now, Karma not only takes in cause and effect operating on the physical plane, but pushes it further to the moral universe. Karma works from within, without, and within again -- whatever being is in action. And since, according to the ancient philosophy, all is Life, Karma is a universal law; more, it is one of the fundamentals of Life.
Is there any real meaning to what is called "the Elixir of Life"?
The prospect of finding an Elixir of Life is to modern science somewhat similar to the amusing idea of perpetual motion and the dream of the alchemists -- the transmutation of base metals into gold: both ideas are branded as imaginative and childish, although the speculations of the mediævals led to the more exact sciences. What the Fire-Philosophers really meant by "perpetual motion" was what H.P.B. referred to in her discussion of the Three Fundamentals of Theosophy found in the Proem to her Secret Doctrine, where she says that the first fundamental may be compared to abstract, ceaseless, unconditioned Motion. The Absolute is the only ceaseless, constant, undying Principle -- all else being but a differentiation of it which will have a beginning and an ending in time. Universes come and go periodically: the inbreathing and the outbreathing of the Great Breath is alone "perpetual motion." But what else are our modern doctors trying to do with their scientifically balanced diets than to find a way to slow down the energy-wearing processes of the body and thus make possible a longer life? How about the fight of the engineer to decrease friction? Is there not in both these directions a striving with the idea of the mediævals, applied in a physical sense? Only a definite means in each case has not been found. Nor will it ever be.
H.P.B. gives a hint in Isis Unveiled that certain mineral waters are known to restore vitality, and that the long-sought elixir is a similar fluid coming from yet unreached depths of the earth. In the Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, page 144, foot-note, she gives a very direct clue to such an "Elixir," but even that she says is a substitute for an "Elixir of Life." Everything in Nature has two sides -- one builds for life, and the other for destruction. Even a poison -- used in right combination and degree -- will cure. Too much of a beneficent thing will kill. So, the real "Elixir" is the right and wise use of every element in Nature, and can be discovered -- each one for himself -- with the aid of Theo-Sophia. With this in mind, we can see that the Soma-drink of the Hindus allegorically represents it. H.P.B. gives this in the Theosophical Glossary:Made from a rare mountain plant by initiated Brahmans. This Hindu sacred beverage answers to the Greek ambrosia or nectar, quaffed by the gods of Olympus. ... We were positively informed that the majority of the sacrificial priests of the Dekkan have lost the secret of the true Soma. It can be found neither in the ritual books nor through oral information. The true followers of the primitive Vedic religion are very few; these are the alleged descendants of the Rishis, the real Agnihôtris, the initiates of the great Mysteries. The Soma-drink is also commemorated in the Hindu Pantheon, for it is called King-Soma. He who drinks thereof is made to participate in the heavenly king; he becomes filled with his essence, as the Christian apostles and their converts were filled with the Holy Ghost, and purified of their sins. The Soma makes a new man of the initiate; he is reborn and transformed, and his spiritual nature overcomes the physical; it bestows the divine power of inspiration, and develops the clairvoyant faculty to the utmost.
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 ATOM: THE MONAD
The atom, as represented in the ordinary scientific hypothesis, is not a particle of something, animated by a psychic something, destined after æons to blossom as a man. But it is a concrete manifestation of the Universal Energy which itself has not yet become individualized; a sequential manifestation of the one Universal Monas. The ocean (of matter) does not divide into its potential and constituent drops until the sweep of the life-impulse reaches the evolutionary stage of man-birth. The tendency towards segregation into individual Monads is gradual, and in the higher animals comes almost to the point. The Peripatetics applied the word Monas to the whole Kosmos, in the pantheistic sense; and the Occultists, while accepting this thought for convenience sake, distinguish the progressive stages of the evolution of the concrete from the abstract by terms of which the "Mineral, Vegetable, Animal, (etc.), Monad" are examples. The term merely means that the tidal wave of spiritual evolution is passing through that arc of its circuit. The "Monadic Essence" begins to imperceptibly differentiate towards individual consciousness in the Vegetable Kingdom. As the Monads are uncompounded things, as correctly defined by Leibnitz, it is the spiritual essence which vivifies them in their degrees of differentiation, which properly constitutes the Monad -- not the atomic aggregation, which is only the vehicle and the substance through which thrill the lower and the higher degrees of intelligence.--S.D. I, p. 178-9.
[Article number (19) in this Q&A Department]
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