The Theosophical Forum – September 1940


The title of this brief note on Karman well represents, I believe, the manner in which people, Theosophists or otherwise, who are acquainted with our majestic doctrine of karman, look upon it: in other words that karman is something which in itself is pleasant to us or unpleasant to us; and of course as a matter of psychological fact the viewpoint is natural, because we all feel when karman impinges upon us that its blows are hard and unpleasant, or gentle and soothing or what we call pleasant.

Yet is it not rather the truth that karman in all its actions, inner and outer, general or particular, is considered by us to be "pleasant" or "unpleasant" because of our own reactions and attitude towards what destiny lays upon us?

In other words, I am trying to say that the laws of Nature, of which karman is one of the most recondite, the most mysterious, and indeed the most comforting, are all of them absolutely impersonal, and in them there is neither variation or variability nor any shadow of turning.

It is just in this perfect reliance on the fundamental justice in universal Nature herself, that we find or discover or uncover happiness, peace of mind, and far more important than these, our indomitable resolves so to conform to Nature's spiritual harmonies that our lives shall be lived in accordance therewith, and that thus we may become co-operators with Nature, intelligent companions with her; and when we advance into grander human spheres of activity able to become such willing collaborators with Nature's plans, that we take our places by the sides of the Masters, and the Gods of the Hierarchy of Light, who have become in their various evolutionary degrees instruments, conscious and willing, of the lipikas.

Now these lipikas are extremely mysterious and occult entities in Universal Nature's structural harmonies, and indeed in the carpentry of the Cosmos itself. Little has been openly or rather publicly said of the lipikas, either by the Masters or by H. P. B., or by other Theosophical Leaders; and yet the place they occupy in the Universe is clear enough. They are in fact Dhyani-Chohans of the very highest rank in the Arupa-Worlds so called, and indeed because they are as it were the first channels or vehicles through which cosmic ideation manifests itself or flows, they become thereby the highest and most powerful instruments of karman originating from seeds held within the structure of cosmic ideation itself. Thus they are called the Agents of Karman; and furthermore, because they not only distribute Cosmic Ideas downwards to lower hierarchies, but as it were carry karmic results upwards in order to deposit them so to speak in the treasury of cosmic ideation itself, they are, and mainly for the latter reason, called the Scribes of Karman or Recorders of Karman, etc.

Essentially karman therefore is but a name we give to the operations or to the processes of the universal cosmic harmony seeking readjustments, moral and otherwise, that is to say cosmic equilibriums throughout the Universal Structure.

From the foregoing we may easily, if we wish, deduce the highly important and significant fact that what we call our karman, and whether we qualify it as pleasant or unpleasant, is actually results of manifold types or characters coming to us out of the past from what we and others around us, hierarchically speaking, have thought and felt and done in that past; and that in a precisely similar way our future karman and that of those around us, hierarchically speaking, will be what we are now, through our thoughts and feelings and actions, building as our future destiny.

Thus, as H. P. B. so magnificently points out, it is not karman which arbitrarily compensates or punishes us in what we call the rewards or retributions of destiny; but it is we ourselves and those around us, hierarchically speaking, who have made ourselves in the past what now we are, and who are now making ourselves to be what we shall in future become; and it is merely our present reactions to karmic destiny or circumstance which makes us qualify karman as pleasant or unpleasant. As a final thought, let me say plainly to my beloved Companions everywhere, that I have proved one thing, and proved it to the hilt, in connexion with karman, and it is that just as often as not, the karmic strokes of destiny that we call unpleasant or perhaps harsh, often turn out to be very blessings of the gods as it were coming to us in the guise and habiliments which for the nonce we regard with distaste, and it may be often with fear. After all, it is but a truism to say that too much prosperity, too much happiness, can weaken the fiber of the best of us; but that when we find ourselves obliged to struggle or are driven to take action, often perhaps against our wish, we develop thereby not only will-power but intellectual and moral fiber because of the innate faculties and latent powers called forth and given exercise.

Karman in whatever guise it come is a blessing, and let us never forget it. — G. de P.


1. Reprinted from Lucifer: the Light-bringer, April, 1940, official organ of the American Section, T. S. (return to text)

The Theosophical Forum