RE: KARMA and CYCLES
- Sunday, August 12, 2001
Recently an inquiry about the relation of Cycles and Karma was asked.
Here are some points Theosophy offers us to consider.
CYCLES and KARMA
The chapters in the OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY are helpful (see Chapters 14
(Cycles ), and 11
(Karma), and also Chapters 2 and 3 where the concept of the progressive
evolution of Material Forms around a core of pure SPIRIT is developed. The
7 principles (or planes) bridge the gap between SPIRIT on one hand and
PRIMORDIAL MATTER on the others.
EVOLUTIONARY UNIT: A MONAD
In the S.D., H.P.B. develops the concept of the individualized Monad -- each
such being a "ray" from the original UNIVERSAL MONAD or ATMA / BUDDHI
It is important to understand the concept that "monads" pervade SPACE in
manifestation (see S.D. I 289). Monads are eternal, living, Conscious units.
Each represents in essence the entire potential of the WHOLE.
MAN == A SELF-CONSCIOUS UNIT
Man is a self-conscious Monad. Each human has passed through aeons of
experience in all the kingdoms of Nature and has now reached the mid-point
of his evolutionary journey. This mid-point marks the advent of the
independent self-conscious Mind with which the human monad is endowed by
more advanced Monads. With self-consciousness the power of choosing
develops. Choice lies between lawful living and the breaking of Law. Karma
ensues from all choices.
Evolution of intelligence proceeds in and around the more advanced MONAD
(Spirit/Matter) of other monads (which have lesser experience), but who by
their inherent nature are destined to become of the same spiritual stature
and ability as IT.
In the human stage, this urge to progress manifest this by their
self-determined and self-devised efforts to improve morally and ethically --
in other words to learn, and to follow the LAWS OF NATURE and thus, to
This is the single great object of evolution. The process of evolution is
demonstrated by the fact that the more advanced help VOLUNTARILY those who
need advice and ask for it. Thus the eternal relation of Teacher and pupil
is established and carried forward. [ See LETTERS THAT HAVE HELPED ME by W.
Q. Judge, pp 49-51]. The last few pages of THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE ( pp.
72-79) emphasize this aspect of voluntary evolution.
To do this effectively the pupils have to become WISE, and have to practice
wisdom in daily living. This requires a study of the whole field of our
universe, of ourselves and our progress so far -- then the doors of
opportunity, as described in The VOICE OF THE SILENCE are opened by us. We
in fact, initiate ourselves. The Lower Self (Kama-Manas) invites and
permits the Higher Self (Atma-Buddhi-Manas) to assist in this work of
self-illumination in daily waking life.
SPIRITUALITY -- HOW ATTAINED ?
The SPIRITUAL achievement of a series of evolutionary incarnations brings
the HUMAN MONAD to the portals of the next state -- one may call it
Adeptship. This is a state when the Form has so purified itself
intellectually and morally that it is incapable of doing evil or wrong, or
In The SECRET DOCTRINE we are told the whole of humanity has begun this
process ( as a �race� we are in the middle Round: ROUND 4, Globe "D," and
we are now in the "5th RACE" at the beginning of the ascending arc towards
spirituality (S.D. I 200). Since we are emerging from the state where KAMA
(desire, emotion, passion) dominates, there is a great deal of resistance as
old habits and desires have to be modified. This changing and remodeling is
described in a very
interesting article titled THE ELIXIR OF LIFE by G. Mitford. [FIVE YEARS OF
THEOSOPHY, p. 1]
We are still in that period where two cycles of evolution overlap, and we
continue to be involved in KAMA (desires and passions), and with MANAS
(Mind) appearing on the scene we are extricating ourselves from the
influence of Kama (ignorance and foolishness) and learning the wisdom that
is inherent in EVOLUTION as a SPIRITUAL PROCESS for ALL BEINGS.
It is a universal process but most of all, it emphasizes the importance of
right choices for humanity to make in its units and all together. Very
often the Kamic tendency to independence and lower
Looking at Theosophy from this perspective, we can see way the whole of the
philosophy is involved in trying to explain the progress of the Monad
through these two : Cycles and Karma. Reincarnation is the explanation of
the way in which the Lower Self (Kama-Manas) evolves by voluntary choices
its self-chosen applied motives) into an independent and fully obedient
Higher Self -- a Self which we may designate Budhi-Manas (the wise mind).
It is a mind that has investigated, tested and proved Nature�s laws. Then,
it has chosen to be wholly obedient to those Laws of Nature and to its
HIGHER SELF (ATMA) -- or the individualized "ray" of the Universal SELF
This is at all time interior to us, not outside. If you wish it can be
thought of as our inner God.
In other words there is a return, full circle, back to the SOURCE of origin,
PLUS all the experience earned. [ H.P.B. makes this clear in "ISIS UNVEILED
and THE VISISHTADWAITA " in H.P.B.
Articles, Vol. 3, p. 265; in BCW, Vol. 7, p 50 ]
LAW -- UNIVERSAL and EXACT
We are each of us (from the atom to the Man, and from the Earth to the
uttermost limits of SPACE, under the patterns and laws of NATURE (or the
SPIRITUAL UNIVERSE). These are called the Laws of ANALOGY and
CORRESPONDENCE. They pervade all SPACE and affect all beings/forms.
In The SECRET DOCTRINE , H.P.B. says that the first law in nature is
uniformity in diversity, in other words, the total harmony of all discords.
Nature is ultimately and totally sensitive to every
one of its components, small or large and on many planes beyond as well as
within the physical matter we know. (S.D. II 699)
SOURCE AND ORIGIN OF ALL
Our SINGLE SOURCE and the ORIGIN of ALL is the ABSOLUTE. It is
indescribable in our terms. It is both IN Manifestation and OUT of
Manifestation at the same time.
When the ABSOLUTE (the ETERNAL and indescribable BACKGROUND, under the great
law of Cycles and Karma) has to MANIFEST, all the many forms and beings
spring again into awareness, simultaneously over the whole field of SPACE
that is involved in this re-manifestation. Those beings which went to
"sleep" aeons ago awaken, and again the processes of Natural evolution start
up from where they halted.
In The VOICE OF THE SILENCE. H. P. Blavatsky, commences:
�These instructions are for those ignorant of the dangers of the lower
He who would hear the voice of Nada and comprehend it, he has to learn the
nature of Dharana.�
Seeking to understand the student discovers the �lower Iddhi� to be the
invisible powers of Nature and of Man. They are the lower, coarse, psychic
and mental energies. In contrast to those are the spiritual, noble,
virtuous and universal powers embodied in the Higher Ego
The �voice of Nada� `is commented on by Mr. Judge in his article AUM (PATH
1, p. 1; W Q J Articles, Vol. I, p. 561) There he speaks of Nada Brahma
(the divine resonance) -- it is the first SOUND, a single homogeneous
resonance, that, pervading the whole universe, acts as the awakener, or
vivifying power stirring all the molecules into action. It is represented
in all languages by the vowel �A� which takes precedence over all others.
This is the �word,� the �Verbum, the �Logos.� This is creation, for without
this resonance or motion among the quiescent particles, there would be no
visible universe. We may compare this ancient concept with the findings of
modern astro-physicists, who examining the complete electro-magnetic
spectrum discovered a universally present �hiss.� This �hiss� has a
definite frequency, and seeking for its source, they concluded that in
theory and persistence it most probably represented the continuing echo of
the �Big Bang� whereby the Universe came into objective activity.
On p. 231 of the KEY TO THEOSOPHY, H.P.B. gives the 4 Golden Links of
Theosophical doctrine: UNIVERSAL UNITY AND CAUSATION is the 1st "link.".
There is in Theosophical metaphysics, no physical BIG BANG as theorized by
speculative science, only a simultaneous reawakening from a period of
universal rest (Pralaya) of THAT WHICH WAS, to a new "Day" of study and
evolutionary work. A fresh Manvantara of experience under Karma (individual
and collective) begins..
Theosophy considers that all humans embody a "ray" of the Universal SPIRIT,
the ATMA, are CENTERS OF INTELLIGENCE and CONSCIOUSNESS, and are resident
from time to time in bodies, forms, [ the actions of the FORM entails
KARMA ], and FREE-WILL
Our spiritual nature makes us free-willed. We always choose our future.
What we call CONSCIOUSNESS is a reflection into the FORM (as far as the form
is able to accept this "reflection") of the one Spirit acting as MIND. (see
GITA NOTES, pp. 98-100) It is also
named BUDDHI, (or Mulaprakriti -- �primordial matter�) and is the vehicle
of ATMA. It also serves as the eternal library of all our past choices
inscribed on the imperishable folios of divine �ether� called Akasa -- it is
the imperishable record of Karma -- our Karma -- and that of the rest of the
world and universe -- since we cannot be separated or isolated from one
another we forever share in each other, so the concept of Universal
brotherhood as an attitude to adopt and practice voluntarily is advanced.
We thus perceive that in evolution we have a compound Monad of
ATMA-BUDDHI-MANAS totally intertwined in evolution. [ The Secret Doctrine I
As a Unit of Consciousness embodied in a FORM, we make choices by our own
free-will. This gives each of us (in humanity, where the Mind (MANAS)
faculty is individualized as "Lower Manas") our keen and ever-present moral
sense of right and wrong. We find this is reinforced by the VOICE OF
CONSCIENCE and the INTUITION which are directly derived from Buddhi - the
accumulated Wisdom of past experience. Buddhi is also named Mulaprakriti --
the �root� of Matter Made Pure. It serves as the eternal vehicle for ATMA
the spirit. In fact it is simply another aspect of Spirit. [GITA NOTES,
KARMA attaches itself to the forms (Monads of lesser experience), and the
strength of the impression that our MOTIVES leaves a quantitative mark on
each of them.
As there are many forms operating at various levels of individual
development (which we may itemize as the form-side of nature to be found in
atoms, molecules, cells, minerals, plants, animals, humans and kingdoms
beyond the HUMAN), it is the aggregation of the "life-units" (MONADS) which
invokes and attracts KARMA to the �form� that served to generate it.
CYCLES and TIME
Karma moves in cycles, so finite TIME is invoked.
The periodicity of the cycles (TIME) is inherent in the impression imposed
by our choices on the components of the forms we use. The individual Karma
is then adjusted by Nature to the Karma of many surrounding centers of Life.
In other words, the "skandhas," (little lives--monads) for which we are
responsible as an "older brother," and which are attracted to us by affinity
and earlier Karmic links, become the carriers of our Karma.
CHOOSING -- FREE-WILL
We may consider that there exists a broad basic field of choices. These
1. according to LAW, and
2. In disobedience to LAW.
Obedience to law means we harmonize voluntarily, using our freedom of choice
to act as a Spiritual
being would. This results in charity, generosity, harmony and a brotherhood
for all beings regardless of their evolutionary station. To do this, to act
virtuously, we have to be wise.
Disobedience to Law means
1. we know what the Law is,
2. We decide to break or distort or disobey it and our basis
is the isolation of selfishness.
3. we decide to act foolishly, viciously, or in ignorance of
MOTIVE - GOOD / EVIL
Whatever we choose, KARMA attaches itself to the MOTIVE (choice -- wisdom or
ignorance) that underlies any action (acts may be: 1. desires, 2.
thoughts, and 3. deeds and words.)
The KARMA of the FORM follows the choice made, and reacts on the compound
consciousness that inheres in the form. The individual consciousness in
every part of the living form is affected.
Karma works in a similar way for humanity, involving those who are affected
by any other individual's choices and actions. Thus we have family,
community, national, racial and
There is a valuable article titled APHORISMS ON KARMA by Mr. Wm. Q. Judge
available in print. It is worthwhile referring to it.
In regard to cycles Mr. Judge wrote two valuable articles: CYCLES and
CYCLES AND CYCLIC LAW which will be found in W. Q. Judge Articles, Vol. I,
pp. 186, and 58.
The value of these considerations is to assure one of the cohesive nature of
Theosophical philosophy as well as the providing of a little of this will
give the audience a sense of the living value of Theosophy as it relates to
their own determination of their own future. Theosophy never proselytes.
It offers facts and reasoning to be investigated, independently and deeply,
From all this, one realizes we are not trying to define either a "beginning"
or an "ending." The process of �becoming� is an eternal one. There will
forever be a teacher/pupil relationship as evolution eternally proceeds.
The Teacher/pupil relationship is universal. Hence, the value of getting
the doctrines of Theosophy clear in our minds so we can present them as
simply as possible to others who need or ask for them. One ought always to
invite inquirers to do their own research. Why should anyone rely on that
which another offers. Proof, always, is interior to the student seeker.
Offered by DTB
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