THEOSOPHY, Vol. 19, No. 1, November, 1930
(Pages 31-33; Size: 9K)


[Article number (1) in this Q&A Department]

With this issue, the character of the department of this Magazine devoted to Theosophy School is being modelled to another form, as the above caption indicates. All Youth-Companions everywhere, whether members of Theosophy School or not, are invited to send in questions which they would like to have answered. All who would like to answer questions for publication in this department are also invited to write to the Editors for the list of questions provided for each month's issue. Both questions and answers will be handled by the young people of Theosophy School. Contributors are expected to have their papers in on or before the first of each month. It is preferred by the Editors that each question be treated quite fully, as, if space does not admit of all the answers being printed in one issue, they can be held until another. It may also be that more than one answer to the same question will be given. Neatly prepared manuscripts are expected, although neat handwriting is acceptable when typing is not possible. Thus, enlightening one another, may all Youth-Companions grow full of that "enjoyment and satisfaction" which comes from constantly speaking and thinking of Theosophy, and doing service in its name!
WHY is the Serpent symbol used on "The Eternal Verities"?

The serpent holding its tail in its mouth symbolizes the cycle of eternity -- the Great spiral of evolution. The Egyptians, and all the ancient peoples, believed this cycle to be a path of everlasting reincarnations -- starting at the highest point of Spirit, journeying lower and lower into dense Matter, and then evolving higher and higher until the kingdom of Masters is reached. Many serpents have the power to change their skins every year, and come forth from the old ones, new serpents, just as we change our skins, or bodies, from life to life. We do not die. The Masters are called all down the ages Serpents, or Dragons, of Wisdom. Perhaps this is because they can put on a new skin, or reincarnate, when they want to, instead of when they have to, as most Egos do. But, though serpents have this wonderful power to renew their bodies, they are the most silent of creatures. Masters, too, though having all knowledge of Life, Karma, Cycles, and Reincarnation, and knowing how to use that knowledge, do not boast about how wise They are and what They can do, but tell men only what they need to know in order themselves to become Masters of Wisdom. On the book-cover, the Serpent stands for the Three Truths, or the eternal verities which the book contains.

How can Life be everywhere? There can't be any life in this chair because the wood has been through a machine.

The fact that we can not see with the physical eye the motion in metal, stone, or wood and other similar substances does not mean life is not there. Long ago Theosophy taught that there is motion, or life, in every atom of these substances, whether we could see it or not. And now the scientists with their powerful microscopes and electrical devices have demonstrated not only motion, but regulated motion in them; that even in a stone there is a form of breathing, and a form of life and death. So, no machinery can take the life out of the wood; it can change the form and size, but it can not destroy the atoms of wood. The life in every atom causes all forms to hold together, whether in tree or chair. Neither man nor machinery changes the basic material of forms; life can not be killed.

Is it your Karma that you should be hurt purposely by another being? Was he making new Karma for you and for himself?

"This is a universe of law." We can not imagine any thought, action, word or thing outside the extent of the limitless law. The making of new Karma, or the setting up of new causes, is going on continuously; the meeting of old Karma, or the meeting of old results is going on continuously. So, if one being is hurt purposely by another, both the actor and the recipient are making Karma and suffering Karma simultaneously. But, they "make" it, not so much by the act, as by the way they think and feel in regard to the action. So, also, according to the way they think and feel will be their suffering, or lack of it. If both learn a lesson from the experience, their future actions will be different. Karma will thus balance.

Is God a Spirit? Auntie told me He was everything good and beautiful.

Your aunt evidently has the Christian idea of God as a personal being like ourselves, only with more powers and greater virtues. In order not to encourage this wrong idea Theosophists do not use the word "God" any more than is absolutely necessary (as it sometimes is with inquirers) in referring to the Source of all things, whether they are good and beautiful, or ugly and evil. The Source, Itself, is neither the one nor the other quality, but includes all qualities and creatures. So, "God" is not a Spirit, but includes all Spirits; God includes all evil Spirits as well as good. God is no being, however high or low; It can not be spoken of as "He" or "She;" It is impersonal. This impersonal Life is everywhere in Space, and will be when all good and evil things alike disappear from Space. Life Itself remains unmoved and unchanged, just as is Space, by whatever comes and goes in it. If you can think of "God" as The One Life, The One Self of all creatures, then you can say, God simply is -- That which you can not describe by any quality or form or size or color. That God is in every one of us, and therefore we choose to do either good, or evil; to work for the good of the world or for ourselves. The power to choose can not be described as a form, or size, or color; but all beings exercise that power, which is a "God"-power.

Could a man like Lincoln reincarnate sooner than ordinary men, and if so, Why?

Lincoln was, as we know, a great man. All events point to that conclusion. He dedicated his life to his fellow men, which is in itself the mark of a great one. The fact that he came at a crisis in this country nearly a hundred years after the Adepts who were here during the establishment of Independence would indicate that he had some relation to those others in our early history.

As great as was the responsibility at that time, so great must have been the man that came then.

One can not point to one, then another, in history and say with absolute certainty here is a Great one, or there was a "karmaless" Adept. But it can be seen to a certain extent by their living sacrifices that they are not quite the same as ordinary men. If Lincoln was great enough to be karmaless, it may have been the Karma of this country that brought him back here sooner than the others who were going in and out of incarnation constantly. Again, it might be that an unselfish desire to help humanity might bring him back sooner. The same desire in a past life might build his karma to a point that would bring him at such a time of crisis.

However, the length of the period out of incarnation does not necessarily show the spirituality of the ego: for instance, an extremely materialistic entity would probably incarnate immediately after death. It is the conscious going through these states that shows a great Soul, and it is a conscious return to help others under law that brings such Egos as Lincoln at times of need.

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(December 1930)
[Article number (2) in this Q&A Department]

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