The Theosophical Forum – April 1941

THREE ASPECTS OF KARMAN — G. de Purucker

The Greeks had a most interesting and indeed profound way of describing karman. You will remember that they spoke of Destiny, often called by the Latins the "Fates," sometimes as unitary, and sometimes as threefold, or the Three Moirae; as often we speak of karman as being unitary or as being threefold and separated over the three great time-periods, past, present, and future.

So the three Destinies, or the three Spinners of Destiny, were respectively named Atropos which means that which cannot be changed or set aside; Klotho, the spinner; Lachesis, that which happens to us out of the past. These three Destinies, said the ancient Greeks, were three in one, and one in three. Atropos was the Future, that which is inevitably coming. It was connected with the Sun, mystically it was connected with our spiritual-intellectual parts, or as we would say the treasury of destiny imbodied in the Manasaputra. In art, it was expressed as a grave maiden pointing to a sundial — signifying what is waiting in the womb of time as the flowing hours bring it closer to us.

Klotho was the Spinner, that which is taking place now; that which we are now spinning or weaving in our minds, and in our feelings. It was called the Present, and was represented in art as a grave maiden holding a spindle, spinning the thread of present destiny to become the Future, and was linked in significance with our psycho-personal nature, what we call our mind, having intimate mystical and historical connexion with the Moon, the shadow of the Sun as it were, the reflexion, the reflected light.

Lachesis was connected with the Earth and represented the Past which we are now working out, and was represented in art as a grave maiden holding a staff pointing to a horoscope; that which you have builded in the past is now yours.

Atropos, the Future, the Sun, the Manasaputric intelligence; Klotho, the Spinner, the Present, the Moon, the active present mind; Lachesis, the Past, which we are now working out, in this body, on this Earth. Don't you think this Greek conception is rather a marvelous way of envisioning karman as at once unitary and triple? The more I think of the subtil Greek mind having thought this out, the three in one and the one in three, the more I admire the conception. Karman is divisible by such methods into three paths of destiny: Past, Present, Future, one in three.

So a man predestines himself, has done so in the past; what he now is on earth is the fruit: with his mind or lunar part he is now weaving his destiny which will find as it were, when he unravels
it, lodgment as garnered knowledge in the solar part of him, in the Sun, in the Manasaputric treasury of destiny, some day to become the Present, and shortly thereafter the Past.


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