The Theosophical Forum – July 1939

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

On foretelling the future

J. B. Priestley says the Past, Present and Future are co-existent different vibrations existing at the same time in the same place, but our minds are capable of vibrating to only the Present because the Past has had some material effect on our mind and changed it, that is why we remember it. In other words, it has become part of us. The Future has not become part of us and so we cannot understand it except by noticing what the Past did to the Present, the Present did to the Future. He also says there is no Present really, but that it is just our perception of the unevolved in this plane (although it is evolved on another), the unevolved becoming the evolved.

Some of this seems curious to me. I can understand the clairvoyant going back into the past and seeing it as H. P. B. did, because it has happened and left a record. But how can the Clairvoyant go into the future and see that? If one has a super mind one can foretell the future as long as it is the extension of the Present. I mean that one can deduce what will happen, if all the facts are known, just as a builder can foretell the future of a house he is building. But to see the future on this method would need a mind larger than all the libraries in the world and an exact machine to give all knowledge its true ratio of importance, and a knowledge of how much and how fast Karma was going to be unrolled. Algebraical equations with 4 variables are hard enough, but an equation with an infinite number of variables, combined in an infinite number of ways is much too hard for even the most advanced combination of Manas and Buddhi. So I still don't know how one can foresee the future. — J. P. U.

G. de P. — The matter of "seeing the future," etc., seems awfully difficult to answer, and indeed it is in a way, and is downright difficult to one who has not had any training in Theosophy. But here is the answer:

In occult philosophy, the past, the present, and the future, blend together in eternity, or what is called the ETERNAL NOW, for Eternity has neither past, present, nor future, it being an ETERNAL Now. Eternity, furthermore, is the fundamental — or as we might say, eternity and infinity are the two sides of the same ultimate Reality, the fundamental, the ALL.

What the spiritual Seer does is to rise from this plane on which past, present, and future seem so positive and real to us, into as it were the ranges of his own spiritual being which bathe so to speak in the Eternal Now; and in this way the past is unrolled before his eyes, and the present is seen to be but a continuation of it into what we call the future, and both are glimpsed as an eternal drama whose keynote is Now. Thus likewise should karman be viewed, the karmic past, the karmic present, the karmic future; and in this way we avoid falling into the error of fatalism on the one hand, and on the other hand into the equally great error of karmic indeterminance.

As an illustration, from another angle: an atom in my body contains electrons, any atom does. On these electrons let us say there are inhabitants, living their own tiny lives, but at an enormous rate of speed compared with our time. Thus a whole cosmic solar system so to speak, of atomic size, can come into being, live its innumerable aeons, and vanish many thousand times in one of our human seconds. In other words, one of our human seconds compared with electronic time, is almost "eternally" long.

Now, imagine an inhabitant on such an electron, living at its tremendous rate of speed which to us humans would seem incomparably quicker than a lightning flash. Yet to the electronic inhabitant, long years would be going by. To him there would be a future which we, with our slower time, would not appreciate except as a now. Thus the electronic inhabitant, because of his intense tempo, immense speed, would be undergoing his past, present, and future; whereas we, with our far more majestic time, with its slow rhythmic pulses, would scarcely realize it except by intellectual thought. To us it would be just simply now.

In exactly the same way, the gods, whose time-tempo is incomparably stately and to us humans what we would call slow, look upon our past, present, and future, which to us seem so real, as scarcely differentiated, because our time by comparison with theirs is so rapid. We have next week, next year, a billion years from now, but these are our tiny little human years. To one of the higher gods, the entire manvantara of our solar system would be scarcely a billionth part of that one god's seconds in that god's time. So in our solar system we would be looking forward into millions of years ahead, and looking back into millions of years of the past; whereas the god's consciousness would scarcely be aware of the entire life-period of the solar system as other than a tiny fraction of an instant.

Do you see now how it is possible to read the future? The Seer, the spiritual Seer, not the pretentious and half-baked clairvoyant, but the spiritual Seer, simply raises his consciousness into another tempo, into another higher plane, in which past, present, and future are visible to its vision as a Now. This of course requires initiatory training. But every adept is trained, depending upon his grade in the hierarchy, trained in some degree at least.

Now another thing: never forget that free will exists for every monad great or small in infinity. So that the tiny electronic inhabitant, just like the human on our big globe: each one has his own portion, so to speak, of free will, that is if we can divide free will up into portions that way! Really, free will is the amount of spiritual vitality and intellect that the evolving individual has been able to grasp through inner growth. Thus free will can be greatly increased, but it exists even in the tiniest atom, although of course on the scale of those spheres. Therefore, no matter what the time-ratio is, no matter whether one can foresee the future in large or in small, the entity having his portion of free will can always change his future course by that free will, which does not mean acting contrary to the future, because this would be impossible, but modifying his own conduct with regard to the future, so that he can do, or refrain from doing, in proportion as his free will is strong or weak.

Unconsciousness at Moment of Death

Does the sleep that is spoken of in Occult Glossary, page 86, sometimes last till it is joined by the immortal part of the intermediate duad? — S. H. C.

I. R. P. — The query is based on a statement made in discussing the Kama-rupa: the word sleep is not used. The condition into which the "personal entity" is plunged at the moment of physical death is here called "a merciful stupor of unconsciousness," a state that varies in length according to the quality of the individual experiencing the processes of "death." A similar condition exists in the physical body in most cases of natural death during the last days, or hours, before the heart ceases to beat and the brain to register the panoramic vision. After the Second Death the "stupor of unconsciousness" merges into the dream and/or deep sleep of Devachan. These are states of relative consciousness enjoyed by the cognising personal entity. States and conditions have no existence apart from the entities or beings suffering or enjoying them.

The Center of the Earth

Is it known what is in the center of the Earth? – C. C. C.

C. J. Ryan — It is definitely known that the interior of the earth from about 2000 miles from the surface is far heavier than the outer parts, and that as far as we can penetrate it increases in heat. Calculations make it almost certain that the central part, about 4000 miles in depth, is heated to a temperature of many thousand degrees. This core is composed apparently of the heavier metals, and if it were not for the immense pressure of the outer layers would be melted into a liquid state by the heat. Owing to the pressure, however, it is supposed to be extremely dense and perhaps viscous, a curious combination. Most of our information about the interior of the earth is derived from the study of the vibrations which pass through it that are produced by earthquakes, but there are other sources of knowledge. Scientific opinion is not unanimous on the subject of the condition of the central core, but Dr. Immamura of Japan, a high authority, states the case very clearly as follows:

The earth's core, supposedly composed of iron and nickel, may (be solid and yet have some liquid properties, like a wax candle, hard and brittle enough to break when struck with a hammer, but able to "flow" gradually under long-continued pressure. Pressure at the center is supposed to be about 22,000 tons to the square inch, and heat may increase at somewhere near the same rate, although scientists differ about this. Under tremendous pressure and heat, materials at the earth's core may behave in ways not understood at the surface.

The words we have italicized are interesting because of a curious problem in regard to the existence of great heat within the earth. While the earth seems to be a magnetic body with north and south magnetic poles, etc., and largely composed of iron, a magnetic metal, it is well known that iron loses its magnetism when heated! Dr. Francis Bitter, a high authority, recently wrote:

The magnetization of the Earth's core, however, is not included [in these theories of terrestrial magnetism] and the theories in their present form do not account for its existence at the high temperatures of the Earth's interior. — Introduction to Ferromagnetism

The sun is also believed to be intensely hot yet it is also a magnetic sphere. The Secret Doctrine speaks of cosmic material "forming the globe we live in around its nucleus of intelligent primeval substance." (I, 609)

Krishna and the Left-hand Path

On page 32 of the Bhagavad-Gita, it says: ". . . but whatever the path taken by mankind, that path is mine." How interpret this, in view of the left-hand path? — C. C. C.

G. F. K. — Krishna here stands for the Unknowable Divinity within all beings, remembering which man learns in time to distinguish the thing known from the Knower, to perceive Reality in maya. In the heart of every man reposes in spiritual sublimity the Krishna-spark of eternity. All paths taken by men therefore, though vastly divergent in character and advancement, belong to Krishna by virtue of identic origin. Let us regard ourselves as radii of a circle whose circumference is infinite and whose center is the pointless point of Spirit. No radius occupies the identic position, either in space or time, that a brother-radius does, yet no one will deny identity of origin to all radii. As soon as a radius is projected, differentiation sets in, the path of radius-A becomes distinct from the path of radius-B, two viewpoints arise, and disharmony, antagonism, and isolation, occur. This difference is not real, but apparent, and arises solely from judging appearances as reality, from viewing matters of origin from the circumference-standpoint alone, instead of from the Krishna- or center- point of view.

In the boundless circle of infinite productions, a circumference may be described at any point: the nearer to the center-point a circumference is described, the more closely bound are the separate radii, the more identic in spacial and temporal position, and the easier for each radius to comprehend and apprehend his unity with his brother-radius, his identity in divinity. The farther from the source a circumference is described, the longer the radii, and hence the more divergent become the tip-ends of such radii. Separateness thus appears the natural mode of life, and identity in divinity an absurdity.

The pursuance of the path outward may lead us to completely forget our source in Spirit, may tempt us to rupture the link between center and radius-tip, but Krishna in his manifold aspects of Divine power latent in the heart of all beings and things, is long-suffering and compassionately watchful. "Whatever the path taken by mankind, that path is mine" — as long as there remains one tiny spark of divine fervor, that man's path actively belongs to Krishna. No matter how foolishly one may misunderstand one's relationship to man and god, how blatantly one may pray to this deity or to that pitri, if one is faithful to one's convictions, firm in resolve, unflagging in concentration of effort toward the supreme source, then such undaunted aspiration belongs to the Krishna-path. For Krishna is not bothered about labels, titles, or names. Devotion to truth, loyalty to one's intuition, fidelity to honor and troth, sealed with insistent longing to serve others — these things mark activity of the Krishna-fire in the heart.

"How interpret this, in view of the left-hand path"? The path toward Krishna is twofold: with recognition of values, the aspirant can travel the path of his radius inward, knowing that at least he is returning home after long and weary sojourn in the morass of ignorance; or secondly, he can follow the path inward with a heart unsteady in spiritual resolve, unpurged of cruel motive, and with unclean desire for control of spiritual force that he may become great, that mighty can be his power over others, that the strength of the infinite can flow through his veins for his own self-glory and consequent evil work. Let him follow this path, and it will lead to Krishna, but in what manner, with what result: with death, horror, destruction of soul.

Listen to the words of Arjuna in the eleventh chapter of the "Gita" wherein he describes Krishna in his manifold forms: to those of spiritual attainment Krishna shows himself glorious as the Sun in action, gentle as the Moon in repose, but to the sons of matter, Arjuna sees armies of evil forces "impetuously precipitating themselves into thy [Krishna's] mouths; . . .. As troops of insects carried away by strong impulse find death in the fire, even so do these beings with swelling force pour into thy mouths for their own destruction." (itals. ours)

The reward of evil is no spiritual boon, but death of the soul in the fire of divinity.

Lipikas and Their Records

A short time ago I got rather a shock when I understood (I hope wrongly) from G. de P. on Lipika in the Occult Glossary that everything we will do or will say has been recorded. If anyone attacked me on this point I could not distinguish it from fatalism or predestination. I would be most thankful to know that I have misunderstood. — J. P. U.

L. G. P. — What is actually said is that the lipikas record all that was, all that is, and all that ever will be. I take that to mean that this recording has always been going on, is going on at the present time, and will continue to go on forever. I do not take it in the sense that all that lies in the future has already been recorded, for it can be recorded only after it has happened. There is a point, however, that might be brought forward, and that is that nothing ever happens without a cause, and so, though an effect is still in the future, it lies even now within the cause. It is much like the winding of your watch. The energy you put into the spring will take time to expend itself, and while the hours and minutes are still in the future, the energy is present in the watch-spring. That there is no fatalism in this, may be shown by the fact that I may drop my watch immediately after winding it, and it will thereafter cease to run.


The Theosophical Forum

THEOSOPHICAL UNIVERSITY PRESS ONLINE