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RE: [bn-study] New Directions II

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  • dalval14@earthlink.net
    Dear Friend: Perhaps the attached will be of interest to your friend also. Dallas ================== QUOTED JUDGE ============ 1 REINCARNATION IN JUDAISM AND
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 8, 2001
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      Dear Friend:

      Perhaps the attached will be of interest to your friend also.


      ================== QUOTED JUDGE ============


      The lost chord of Christianity is the doctrine of Reincarnation.
      It was beyond doubt taught in the early days of the cult, for it
      was well known to the Jews who produced the men who founded
      Christianity. The greatest of all the Fathers of the Church -
      Origen - no doubt believed in the doctrine. He taught
      pre-existence and the wandering of the soul....But a series of
      reincarnations will meet all the problems of life as well as the
      necessities of the doctrines of exile, of wanderings for
      purification, of being known to God and being judged by him
      before birth, and of other dogmas given out among the Jews and of
      course well known to Jesus and whoever of the seventy-odd
      disciples were not in the deepest ignorance... as [to] the
      wonderful works of the period [they] were sufficiently exciting
      to come to the ears of even Herod.

      Paul cannot be accused of ignorance, but was with Peter and James
      one of several who not only knew the new ideas but were well
      versed in the old ones. And those old ones are to be found in the
      Old Testament and in the Commentaries, in the Zohar, the Talmud,
      and the other works and sayings of the Jews, all of which built
      up a body of dogmas accepted by the people and the Rabbis. Hence
      sayings of Jesus, of Paul, and others have to be viewed with the
      well-known and never-disputed doctrines of the day held down to
      the present time, borne well in mind so as to make passages clear
      and show what was tacitly accepted. Jesus himself said that he
      intended to uphold and buttress the law, and that law was not
      only the matter found in the book the Christian theologians saw
      fit to accept, but also in the other authorities of which all
      except the grossly unlearned were cognizant. So when we find
      Herod listening to assertions that John or Jesus was this, that,
      or the other prophet or great man of olden time, we know that he
      was with the people speculating on the doctrine of reincarnation
      or "coming back," and as to who a present famous person may have
      been in a former life.... To an Eastern potentate such a warning
      would be of moment, as he, unlike a Western man, would think that
      a returning great personage would of necessity have not only
      knowledge but also power, and that if the people had their minds
      attracted to a new aspirant for the leadership they would be
      inflamed beyond control with the idea that an old prophet or
      former king had come back to dwell in another body with them.

      The Christians have no right, then, to excise the doctrine of
      reincarnation from their system if it was known to Jesus, if it
      was brought to his attention and was not condemned at all but
      tacitly accepted, and further, finally, if in any single case it
      was declared by Jesus as true in respect to any person. And that
      all this was the case can, I think, be clearly shown.

      First for the Jews, from whom Jesus was born, and to whom he said
      unequivocally he came as a missionary or reformer. The Zohar is a
      work of great weight and authority among the Jews. In II, 199 b,
      it says that "all souls are subject to revolutions." This is
      metempsychosis or a'leen b'gilgoola; but it declares that "men do
      not know the way they have been judged in all time." That is, in
      their "revolutions" they lose a complete memory of the acts that
      have led to judgment. This is precisely the Theosophical
      doctrine. The Kether Malkuth says, "If she, the soul, be pure,
      then she shall obtain favor . . .but if she hath been defiled,
      then she shall wander for a time in pain and despair . . . until
      the days of her purification." If the soul be pure and if she
      comes at once from God at birth, how could she be defiled? And
      where is she to wander if not on this or some other world until
      the days of her purification? The Rabbis always explained it as
      meaning she wandered down from Paradise through many revolutions
      or births until purity was regained.

      Under the name of "Din Gilgol Neshomes" the doctrine of
      reincarnation is constantly spoken of in the Talmud. The term
      means "the judgment of the revolutions of the souls." And Rabbi
      Manassa, son of Israel, one of the most revered, says in his book
      Nishmath Hayem: "The belief or the doctrine of the transmigration
      of souls is a firm and infallible dogma accepted by the whole
      assemblage of our church with one accord, so that there is none
      to be found who would dare to deny it. . . . Indeed, there is a
      great number of sages in Israel who hold firm to this doctrine so
      that they made it a dogma, a fundamental point of our religion.
      We are therefore in duty bound to obey and to accept this dogma
      with acclamation. . . as the truth of it has been incontestably
      demonstrated by the Zohar, and all books of the Kabalists."

      These demonstrations hold, as do the traditions of the old Jews,
      that the soul of Adam reincarnated in David, and that on account
      of the sin of David against Uriah it will have to come again in
      the expected Messiah. And out of the three letters ADM, being the
      name of the first man, the Talmudists always made the names Adam,
      David and Messiah. Hence this in the Old Testament: "And they
      will serve Jhvh their God and David their king whom I shall
      reawaken for them." That is, David reincarnates again for the
      people. Taking the judgment of God on Adam "for dust thou art and
      unto dust thou shalt return," the Hebrew interpreters said that
      since Adam had sinned it was necessary for him to reincarnate on
      earth in order to make good the evil committed in his first
      existence; so he comes as David, and later is to come as Messiah.
      The same doctrine was always applied by the Jews to Moses, Seth,
      and Abel, the latter spelt Habel. Habel was killed by Cain, and
      then to supply the loss the Lord gave Seth to Adam; he died, and
      later on Moses is his reincarnation as the guide of the people,
      and Seth was said by Adam to be the reincarnation of Habel. Cain
      died and reincarnated as Yethrokorah, who died, the soul waiting
      till the time when Habel came back as Moses and then incarnated
      as the Egyptian who was killed by Moses; so in this case Habel
      comes back as Moses, meets Cain in the person of the Egyptian,
      and kills the latter. Similarly it was held that Bileam, Laban,
      and Nabal were reincarnations of the one soul or individuality.
      And of Job it was said that he was the same person once known as
      Thara, the father of Abraham; by which they explained the verse
      of Job (ix, 21), "Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my
      own soul," to mean that he would not recognize himself as Thara.

      All this is to be had in mind in reading Jeremiah, "Before I
      formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest out
      of the womb I sanctified thee"; or in Romans ix, v, 11, 13, after
      telling that Jacob and Esau being not yet born, "Jacob have I
      loved and Esau have I hated"; or the ideas of the people that
      "Elias was yet to first come"; or that some of the prophets were
      there in Jesus or John; or when Jesus asked the disciples "Whom
      do men think that I am?" There cannot be the slightest doubt,
      then, that among the Jews for ages and down to the time of Jesus
      the ideas above outlined prevailed universally. Let us now come
      to the New Testament.

      St. Matthew relates in the eleventh chapter the talk of Jesus on
      the subject of John, who is declared by him to be the greatest of
      all, ending in the 14th verse, thus:
      And if ye will receive it, this is Elias which was for to come.
      Here he took the doctrine for granted, and the "if" referred not
      to any possible doubts on that, but simply as to whether they
      would accept his designation of John as Elias. In the 17th
      chapter he once more takes up the subject thus:
      10. And his disciples asked him saying, Why, then, say the
      scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said
      unto them; Elias truly shall first come and restore all things.
      But I say unto you that Elias is come already, and they knew him
      not but have done to him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall
      also the Son of Man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood
      that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.
      The statement is repeated in Mark, chapter ix, v. 13, omitting
      the name of John. It is nowhere denied. It is not among any of
      the cases in which the different Gospels contradict each other;
      it is in no way doubtful. It is not only a reference to the
      doctrine of reincarnation, but is also a clear enunciation of it.
      It goes much further than the case of the man who was born blind,
      when Jesus heard the doctrine referred to, but did not deny it
      nor condemn it in any way, merely saying that the cause in that
      case was not for sin formerly committed, but for some
      extraordinary purpose, such as the case of the supposed dead man
      when he said that the man was not dead but was to be used to show
      his power over disease. In the latter one he perceived there was
      one so far gone to death that no ordinary person could cure him,
      and in the blind man's case the incident was like it. If he
      thought the doctrine pernicious, as it must be if untrue, he
      would have condemned it at the first coming up, but not only did
      he fail to do so, he distinctly himself brought it up in the case
      of John, and again when asking what were the popular notions as
      to himself under the prevailing doctrines as above shown. Matthew
      xvi, v. 13, will do as an example, as the different writers do
      not disagree, thus:
      When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi he asked his
      disciples, Whom do men say that I am? And they said, Some say
      that thou art John the Baptist, some Elias, and others Jeremias
      or one of the prophets.
      This was a deliberate bringing-up of the old doctrine, to which
      the disciples replied, as all Jews would, without any dispute of
      the matter of reincarnation; and the reply of Jesus was not a
      confutation of the notion, but a distinguishing of himself from
      the common lot of sages and prophets by showing himself to be an
      incarnation of God and not a reincarnation of any saint or sage.
      He did not bring it up to dispute and condemn as he would and did
      do in other matters; but to the very contrary he evidently
      referred to it so as to use it for showing himself as an
      incarnate God. And following his example the disciples never
      disputed on that; they were all aware of it; St. Paul must have
      held it when speaking of Esau and Jacob; St. John could have
      meant nothing but that in Revelations, chap. iii, v. 12.
      Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God
      and he shall go no more out.
      Evidently he had gone out before or the words "no more" could
      have no place or meaning. It was the old idea of the exile of the
      soul and the need for it to be purified by long wandering before
      it could be admitted as a "pillar in the temple of God." And
      until the ignorant ambitious monks after the death of Origen had
      gotten hold of Christianity, the doctrine must have ennobled the
      new movement. Later the Council of Constantinople condemned all
      such notions directly in the face of the very words of Jesus, so
      that at last it ceased to vibrate as one of the chords, until
      finally the prophecy of Jesus that he came to bring a sword and
      division and not peace was fulfilled by the warring nations of
      Christian lands who profess him in words but by their acts
      constantly deny him whom they call "the meek and lowly."

      Path, February, 1894


      W. Q. Judge

      Let me read you a few verses from some of the ancient Scriptures
      of the world, from the old Indian books held sacred by the
      Brahmans of Hindustan. 1
      What room for doubt and what room for sorrow is there in him who
      knows that all spiritual beings are the same in kind and only
      differ from each other in degree?
      The sun does not shine there, nor the moon and the stars, nor
      these lightnings and much less this fire. When He shines,
      everything shines after Him; by His light all this is lighted.
      Lead me from the unreal to the real!
      Lead me from darkness to light!
      Lead me from death to immortality!
      Seeking for refuge, I go to that God who is the light of His own
      thoughts; He who first creates Brahman and delivers the Vedas to
      him; who is without parts, without actions, tranquil, without
      fault, the highest bridge to immortality, like a fire that has
      consumed its fuel. - Mundaka Upanishad.
      Such are some of the verses, out of many thousands, which are
      enshrined in the ancient Hindu Vedas beloved by those we have
      called "heathen"; those are the sentiments of the people we have
      called idolaters only.

      As the representative of the Theosophical movement I am glad to
      be here, and to be assigned to speak on what are the points of
      agreement in all religions. I am glad because Theosophy is to be
      found in all religions and all sciences. We, as members of the
      Theosophical Society, endorse to the fullest extent those remarks
      of your chairman in opening, when he said, in effect, that a
      theology which stayed in one spot without advancing was not a
      true theology, but that we had advanced to where theology should
      include a study of man. Such a study must embrace his various
      religions, both dead and living. And pushing that study into
      those regions we must conclude that man is greatly his own
      reveler, has revealed religion to himself, and therefore that all
      religions must include and contain truth; that no one religion is
      entitled to a patent or exclusive claim upon truth or revelation,
      or is the only one that God has given to man, or the only road
      along which man can walk to salvation.... This careful and
      tolerant inquiry is what we are here for today; for that the
      Theosophical Society stands and has stood: for toleration, for
      unity, for the final and irrevocable death of all dogmatism.

      But if you say that religion must have been revealed, then surely
      God did not wait for several millions of years before giving it
      to those poor beings called men. He did not, surely, wait until
      He found one poor Semitic tribe to whom He might give it late in
      the life of the race? Hence He must have given it in the very
      beginning, and therefore all present religions must arise from
      one fount.

      What are the great religions of the world and from whence have
      they come? They are Christianity, Brahmanism, Buddhism,
      Confucianism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and Mohammedanism. The
      first named is the youngest, with all its warring sects, with
      Mormonism as an offshoot and with Roman Catholicism boldly
      claiming sole precedence and truth.

      Brahmanism is the old and hoary religion of India, a grown-up,
      fully-developed system long before either Buddhism or
      Christianity was born. It extends back to the night of time, and
      throws the history of religion far, far beyond any place where
      modern investigators were once willing to place even the
      beginning of religious thought. Almost the ancient of ancients,
      it stands in far-off India, holding its holy Vedas in its hands,
      calmly waiting until the newer West shall find time out of the
      pursuit of material wealth to examine the treasures it contains.

      Buddhism, the religion of Ceylon, of parts of China, of Burmah
      and Japan and Tibet, comes after its parent Brahmanism. It is
      historically older than Christianity and contains the same ethics
      as the latter, the same laws and the same examples, similar
      saints and identical fables and tales relating to Lord Buddha,
      the Saviour of Men. It embraces today, after some twenty-five
      hundred years of life, more people than any other religion, for
      two-thirds of the human family profess it.

      Zoroastrianism also fades into the darkness of the past. It too
      teaches ethics such as we know. Much of its ritual and philosophy
      is not understood, but the law of brotherly love is not absent
      from it; it teaches justice and truth, charity and faith in God,
      together with immortality. In these it agrees with all, but it
      differs from Christianity in not admitting a vicarious salvation,
      which it says is not possible.

      Christianity of today is modern Judaism, but the Christianity of
      Jesus is something different. He taught forgiveness, Moses taught
      retaliation, and that is the law today in Christian State and
      Church. "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth" is still the
      recognized rule, but Jesus taught the opposite. He fully agreed
      with Buddha, who, preaching 500 years before the birth of the
      Jewish reformer, said we must love one another and forgive our
      enemies. So modern Christianity is not the religion of Jesus, but
      Buddhism and the religion of Jesus accord with one another in
      calling for charity, complete tolerance, perfect non-resistance,
      absolute self-abnegation.

      If we compare Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism together on
      the points of ritual, dogmas, and doctrines, we find not only
      agreement but a marvellous similarity as well, which looks like
      an imitation on the part of the younger Christianity. Did the
      more modern copy the ancient? It would seem probable. And some of
      the early Christian Fathers were in the habit of saying, as we
      find in their writings, that Christianity brought nothing new
      into the world, that it existed from all time....

      Turning to doctrines, that of salvation by faith is well known in
      Christianity. It was the cause of a stormy controversy in the
      time of St. James. But very strangely, perhaps, for many
      Christians, the doctrine is a very old Brahmanical one. They call
      it "The Bridge Doctrine," as it is the great Bridge. But with
      them it does not mean a faith in some particular emanation of
      God, but God is its aim. God is the means and the way, and God
      the end of the faith; by complete faith in God, without an
      intermediary, God will save you. They also have a doctrine of
      salvation by faith in those great sons of God, Krishna, Rama, and
      others; complete faith in either of those is for them a way to
      heaven, a bridge for the crossing over all sins. ... This help is
      found in the power of the vow of Amita Buddha, who will help all
      those who call on his name. The doctrine is a modified form of
      vicarious atonement, but it does not exclude the salvation by
      works which the Christian St. James gives out.

      Heaven and Hell are also common to Christianity, Buddhism, and
      Brahmanism. The Brahman calls it Swarga; the Buddhist, Devachan;
      and we, Heaven. Its opposite is Naraka and Avitchi. But names
      apart, the descriptions are the same. Indeed, the hells of the
      Buddhists are very terrible, long in duration and awful in
      effect. The difference is that the heaven and hell of the
      Christian are eternal, while the others are not. The others come
      to an end when the forces which cause them are exhausted. In
      teaching of more than one heaven there is the same likeness, for
      St. Paul spoke of more than a single heaven to one of which he
      was rapt away, and the Buddhist tells of many, each being a grade
      above or below some other. Brahman and Buddhist agree in saying
      that when heaven or hell is ended for the soul, it descends again
      to rebirth. And that was taught by the Jews. They held that the
      soul was originally pure, but sinned and had to wander through
      rebirth until purified and fit to return to its source.

      In priesthood and priestcraft there is a perfect agreement among
      all religions, save that the Brahman instead of being ordained a
      priest is so by birth. Buddha's priesthood began with those who
      were his friends and disciples. After his death they met in
      council, and subsequently many councils were held, all being
      attended by priests. Similar questions arose among them as with
      the Christians, and identical splits occurred, so that now there
      are Northern and southern Buddhism and the twelve sects of

      Hence we are bound to conclude that dogmatically and
      theologically these religions all agree. Christianity stands out,
      however, as peculiarly intolerant - and in using the word
      "intolerant" I but quote from some priestly utterances regarding
      the World's Fair parliament - for it claims to be the only true
      religion that God has seen fit to reveal to man.

      The great doctrine of a Savior who is the son of God - God
      himself - is not an original one with Christianity. It is the
      same as the extremely ancient one of the Hindus called the
      doctrine of the Avatar. An Avatar is one who comes down to earth
      to save man. He is God incarnate. Such was Krishna, and such even
      the Hindus admit was Buddha, for he is one of the great ten
      Avatars. The similarity between Krishna or Cristna and Christ has
      been very often remarked. He came 5,000 years ago to save and
      benefit man, and his birth was in India, his teaching being
      Brahmanical. He, like Jesus, was hated by the ruler, Kansa, who
      desired to destroy him in advance, and who destroyed many sons of
      families in order to accomplish his end, but failed. Krishna
      warred with the powers of darkness in his battles with Ravana,
      whom he finally killed. The belief about him was that he was the
      incarnation of God. This is in accord with the ancient doctrine
      that periodically the Great Being assumes the form of man for the
      preservation of the just, the establishment of virtue and order,
      and the punishment of the wicked. ...

      Jesus taught a secret doctrine to his disciples. He said to them
      that he taught the common people in stories of a simple sort, but
      that the disciples could learn of the mysteries. And in the early
      age of Christianity that secret teaching was known. In Buddhism
      is the same thing, for Buddha began with one vehicle or doctrine,
      proceeded after to two, and then to a third. He also taught a
      secret doctrine that doubtless agreed with the Brahmans who had
      taught him at his father's court. He gave up the world, and later
      gave up eternal peace in Nirvana, so that he might save men. In
      this the story agrees with that of Jesus. And Buddha also
      resisted Mara, or the Devil, in the wilderness.

      Jesus teaches that we must be as perfect as the Father, and that
      the kingdom of heaven is within each. To be perfect as the Father
      we must be equal with him, and hence here we have the ancient
      doctrine taught of old by the Brahmins that each man is God and a
      part of God. This supports the unity of humanity as a spiritual
      whole, one of the greatest doctrines of the time prior to
      Christianity, and now also believed in Brahmanism.

      That the universe is spiritual in essence, that man is a spirit
      and immortal, and that man may rise to perfection, are universal
      doctrines. Even particular doctrines are common to all the
      religions. Reincarnation is not alone in Hinduism or Buddhism. It
      was believed by the Jews, and not only believed by Jesus but he
      also taught it. For he said that John the Baptist was the
      reincarnation of Elias "who was for to come." Being a Jew he must
      have had the doctrines of the Jews, and this was one of them. And
      in Revelations we find the writer says: "Him that overcometh I
      will make a pillar in the house of my God, and he shall go out no
      more." The words "no more" infer a prior time of going out.

      The perfectibility of man destroys the doctrine of original sin,
      and it was taught by Jesus, as I said. Reincarnation is a
      necessity for the evolution of this perfection, and through it at
      last are produced those Saviors of the race of whom Jesus was
      one. He did not deny similar privileges to others, but said to
      his disciples that they could do even greater works than he did.
      So we find these great Sages and Saviors in all religions. There
      are Moses and Abraham and Solomon, all Sages. And we are bound to
      accept the Jewish idea that Moses and the rest were the
      reincarnations of former persons. Moses was in their opinion Abel
      the son of Adam; and their Messiah was to be a reincarnation of
      Adam himself who had already come the second time in the person
      of David. We take the Messiah and trace him up to David, but
      refuse, improperly, to accept the remainder of their theory.

      Descending to every-day-life doctrines, we find that of Karma, or
      that we must account and receive for every act. This is the great
      explainer of human life. It was taught by Jesus and Matthew and
      St. Paul. The latter explicitly said: "Brethren, be not
      deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that
      also shall he reap."

      This is Karma of the Brahman and Buddhist, which teaches that
      each life is the outcome of a former life or lives, and that
      every man in his rebirths will have to account for every thought
      and receive measure for the measure given by him before.

      In ethics all these religions are the same, and no new ethic is
      given by any. Jesus was the same as his predecessor, Buddha, and
      both taught the law of love and forgiveness. A consideration of
      the religions of the past and today from a Theosophical
      standpoint will support and confirm ethics. We therefore cannot
      introduce a new code, but we strive by looking into all religions
      to find a firm basis, not due to fear, favor, or injustice, for
      the ethics common to all. This is what Theosophy is for and what
      it will do. It is the reformer of religion, the unifier of
      diverse systems, the restorer of justice to our theory of the
      universe. It is our past, our present, and our future; it is our
      life, our death, and our immortality.


      -----Original Message-----
      From: Larry F Kolts [mailto:llkingston2@...]
      Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2001 3:34 PM
      To: study@...
      Subject: [bn-study] New Directions II

      I feel compeled to offer some reasoning as to why I feel so
      about pursuing a study of the various world religions. When
      attempted to begin a similar study some time ago, I remember some
      which thought this was a waste of time. The basic argument
      AGAINST this
      sort of study goes something like this:
      "If theosophy contains the summation of all truth, than why
      muddle the
      issue by delving into presentations that contain only half-truths
      and are
      clouded over with layer upon layer of doctrinal mumbo-jumbo? Why
      not just
      study the truth as leading theosophist have written it?"

      If this were all we were doing I would agree. But it is not.

      Let me share a story with you to illustrate the point I will

      Some months ago, one of my old Mormon friends came over for
      dinner. We
      got into a discussion of reincarnation. Mormons believe in
      life but not reincarnation. In fact one top Mormon leader listed
      reincarnation as one of the "Seven Deadly Heresies."
      Most good Mormons won't touch it. But I said my piece and let it
      go at
      that, thinking nothing would come of it. Then a couple of weeks
      ago, my
      friend called me wanting chapter and verse of the Bibical
      scriptures I
      had quoted him.The one he was really interested in was Matthew
      "When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked
      disciples saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

      And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some
      Elias; and
      others , Jeremias, or one of the prophets."

      In other words, the common people thought that Jesus was someone
      known to
      be dead, in some cases long dead, which shows thay thought he was
      reincarnated individual. I also pointed out that Jesus is not
      reported to
      have corrected that belief. which shows that the Gospel author
      did not
      consider reincarnation that abnormal a topic of discussion.

      My friend sent this information to an individual in Salt Lake
      City who is
      in charge of a major Mormon intellectual symposium which is held
      annually. It turns out that one of this year's topics is
      I was floored. When this individual was given the Matthew
      quotation he
      responded, "Wow. I have never looked at that in that way." The
      point is
      1) He will never again read that scripture without thinking
      2) The several hundred who attend his round table discussion will
      similarly affected as will the several thousand who read the
      report of
      the discussion in that society's magazine. 3) Those intellectual
      won't be able to keep their mouths shut and thus in a short time
      tens of thousands will know the true message of that quote from

      This story illustrates what I hope to accomplish, It is not for
      Theosophists, who will benefit the most from this study but
      rather those
      who are as yet uninitiated in the truth. In other words this
      will provide us talking points when we encounter friends and
      to whom we strike up a conversation on Theosophy. Thus when a
      would say to us about the seven fold classification something
      "that's a crazy notion. I certainly have never heard anything
      like that
      in my church" we will be able to respond with quotations from his
      sources showing the truthfullness of our assertations.

      This is my true goal, and why I want this information compiled in
      fashion that we can readily use it in the future. More later.

      Larry Kolts
      Juno offers FREE or PREMIUM Internet access for less!
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