THEOSOPHY, Vol. 21, No. 8, June, 1933
(Pages 363-364; Size: 7K)
(Part 3 of a 3-part series)



MANY think that the best way to induce a child to study is to give him marks for his work; if we want him to perform an unpleasant task we must offer him a reward, or promise some token of merit for good behavior. How many children are "good" just before Christmas! It is easy to see how, from just such practices on the part of parents and teachers, bribery has come to be one of the greatest curses of mankind, few of us being entirely free from its lure in one form or another. Confucius said many centuries ago, "There is only now and then a man under Heaven who loves what is right without expectation of reward, or hates what is wrong without fear of consequences."

How are we going to come up to the high standard set by the Chinese sage, or help our children to reach towards it? Because we are Theosophists does not mean we are free from the defects of the race-mind. We teach Karma, for example, as the law of compensation.

    Do right--it recompenseth! do one wrong--
The equal retribution must be made
    Though DHARMA tarry long.
Such is the law of action and reaction. We need to ask ourselves how do our children interpret it? Suppose the teacher in Theosophy School asks, "What is Karma?" and a child replies, "If you do good you will get good in return; if you do evil you will get evil." Should this reply be left unassisted by thought and example simply as a "maxim," what will be its implication to the child? More than once a child has said, "Be kind to your neighbors so they'll be kind to you." That boy or girl might soon learn that if he is "nice" to people his shortcomings are more than likely to be overlooked, and he forestalls criticism or a deserved reprimand by being complimentary or giving gifts. This is not only enlightened selfishness but a very subtle form of bribery. It is not Theosophy.

The very young child can hardly be expected to discriminate between results coming as natural consequences and those worked for with an eye to self-interest. The Bhagavad-Gita is most explicit in this matter. "Therefore perform thou that which thou hast to do, at all times unmindful of the event." "Do not be incited to actions by the hope of their reward." "Laying aside all desire for any benefit to thyself from action, make the event equal to thee, whether it be success or failure." In commenting on these passages, Mr. Judge says, "the fact that we may be perfectly certain of the result is no reason for allowing our interest to fasten upon it. The very task to be essayed is to so hold one's mind and desires as not to be attached to the result."

To help the pupil one may find out what is "good" to him. There is a "good" which "in the beginning is as poison and in the end as the water of life," instances of which even a child can comprehend. What is good at one time is not at another -- it is largely a matter of how we feel about it. Again, we try to do good, and apparently evil results -- the neighbors may not return our kindness. So it can be shown that looking for good Karma is the source of endless disappointment.

By these and other illustrations children may be helped to understand that the only true way is to put one's whole mind on what is to be done, leaving the result to the law. One of the teachers in Theosophy School tells her group of little folks that "Karma is the doing," and expects them to learn it by heart. This focusses the attention upon that aspect of Karma which is of paramount importance. "Karma is the doing" cannot too often be repeated either by young or old. If we concentrate upon Karma as the doing, Karma as the result will give us much less occasion for complaint. "Teach to eschew all causes; the ripple of effect, as the great tidal wave, thou shalt let run its course."

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:


It is a universal tradition that, before the physiological "Fall," propagation of one's kind, whether human or animal, took place through the WILL of the Creators, or of their progeny. It was the Fall of Spirit into generation, not the Fall of mortal man. It has already been stated that, to become a Self-Conscious Spirit, the latter must pass through every cycle of being, culminating in its highest point on earth in Man. Spirit per se is an unconscious negative ABSTRACTION. Its purity is inherent, not acquired by merit; hence ... to become the highest Dhyan Chohan it is necessary for each Ego to attain to full self-consciousness as a human, i.e., conscious Being, which is synthesized for us in Man. --S.D. I, 192-3.

[Reminder: The THEOSOPHY AND EDUCATION series has now ended.]

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