The Theosophical Forum — March 1943



Question: To what extent should help and healing be rendered another suffering soul without interfering with the necessary experience of that soul? — the one who receives help?

G. de P. — It seems to me that your question takes it for granted that it is wrong to come to the aid of one who needs help because he is undergoing a karmic experience which he has brought upon himself, and therefore is learning a lesson that is needed! Now that idea of inaction in deeds of mercy is a false idea. In following a line of thought like that we become hard-hearted. We say, or we would say: "What does it matter to me? He is simply learning the experiences that he has brought upon himself. Let him learn them, and the sooner he has learned the lesson the better for him." Ah! but that is not the real teaching. The teaching is love and compassion, that it is our bounden duty to help each other, and that you cannot grow or evolve yourself without exercising the powers of love and compassion and wisdom that you have innate within you. Hatred gives them no exercise. Indifference gives them no exercise.

We never interfere with the karman of another when we help him. Never! We are simply making good karman for ourselves; and furthermore when we help a man it is obviously his karman to be helped by us. Actions in deeds of mercy do not change Nature's majestic forces of readjustment, because these forces are fundamentally based on harmony and sympathy, which are the very elements of what manifests in man as brotherly love. If you help your brother, it is obviously his karman to have you help him. If the opportunity is offered to you, it is your karman and also his karman, that the help is proffered and given and received.

Remember that whatever is, is karman. Whatever is, is karmic consequences. It is a part of the chain of causation, one of the links in the chain of causation, that brought the timely help and the supporting hand. In either case, the man who refrains from giving help, or the man who rushes to aid, is acting karmically; and the one who refrains, brings upon himself the consequences of his selfish evil-doing; for inaction in a deed of mercy becomes an action in a deadly sin, because mercy is ethical, it is equitable, it is harmonious, it restores equilibrium, it makes for peace. Injustice and cruelty are inharmonious. They make for disharmony. New and bad karman is thereby made. Remember the law: Inaction in a deed of mercy becomes an action in a deadly sin.


Question: When Jesus suffered, does it mean that he had violated some fundamental law?

G. de P. — No, I would not say that. You have touched upon a very esoteric topic of thought. If you only knew what we Theosophists have to say about the Avatara Jesus and his life and teaching, you would not have thought it necessary to ask me this question. In the first place — and I hope that I will not tread upon any sensitive corns here — we Theosophists don't believe that Jesus suffered in the manner that the legend relates. The story of Jesus as told in the Christian Gospels is a mystery-tale, a tale setting forth, with Jesus as the type-figure around which the mystic lessons were woven, certain experiences in the initiation-chambers.

Let me try to illustrate what I mean. One of the grades of initiation was called Theopathy, from two Greek words theos, "god," and pathein "to sorrow," "to suffer." It means the "suffering" or "bearing" of a god — not that it is a god which suffers, but an entity which suffers the entrance into himself of a divine influence. He supports the god in his being, he becomes the vehicle of the god and carries the god, resigns his own individual identity or character for the time being in order to become a manifestation, an Avatara so to say, of the god. He suffers the god to work through him. Thus did Jesus.

It is our teaching, furthermore, that Jesus called the Christ never was crucified, never suffered on the Cross, in the manner outlined in the legend. The entire story of Jesus as we have it in the Christian New Testament is a story of the Mysteries. An initiation-mythos was written around the exquisite figure of a great Sage and Seer called Jesus, the Avatara. Around the individuality of that great and noble Sage and Seer was woven a series of tales and legends portraying in mystical, and as it were, esoteric and secret, form, a part of what takes place in the initiation-chambers.


Question: Would you be good enough to explain what Plato meant by the much disputed passage in the Laws, in which he refers to two world-souls, one the author of good, the other of evil. The passage is as follows:

"Athenian: And as the soul orders and inhabits all things that move, however moving, must we not say that she orders also the heavens?

"Clenias: Of course.

"Athenian: One soul or more? More than one — I will answer for you; at any rate we must not suppose that there are less than two, one the author of good, the other of evil " — Laws, X, 896

G. de P. — May I point out, first, that in this passage the Athenian speaker not only refers to one soul, but refers to "one soul or more," and also goes on to say: "At any rate, we must not suppose that there are less than two, one the author of good, the other of evil." Taken in conjunction with the remainder of the Platonic philosophy and its constant reference to divine beings in the Universe, the explanation or answer becomes immediately clear enough: i. e., that there is a spiritual Universe as well as what we moderns call a material universe, the two of course working together and under the general governance or superiority of the World-Spirit which moves to and works for "good," while the other is that part of the world or universe composed of inferior or less evolved beings, which therefore by comparison with the superior World-Soul can be called collectively the author of imperfection, or what men today call "evil."

The Universe is a vast aggregate Hierarchy or Cosmic Family composed of beings in all grades or stages of evolution, from the Hierarch or topmost point of divinity of the Hierarchy, down to the most material beings composing the Hierarchy; and these latter are of course the least evolved of all the entities in the Hierarchy, and therefore form the material world. The Hierarch or spiritual entity of the Hierarchy is therefore the source of all law, order, love, peace, harmony, beauty, compassion, pity, and active intelligence in the Hierarchy; and all the inferior beings in this Hierarchy derive what they have of harmony and beauty and peace, etc., from their supreme Chief, the Hierarch.

Thus you see there are what Plato, in order to save words, very briefly calls two "souls" — one the author of good, and one the author of evil; i. e., one the source of law and beauty and harmony, and the other the great material aspect of life, which, because it is material, is imperfectly evolved, and therefore can abstractly be called the "author of evil."

But now, mark you, any such Hierarchy is but one of countless multitudes of other similar Hierarchies alike unto it, scattered through the infinite fields of Boundless Being; so that, therefore, "World-Souls" are literally infinite in number. I point this last fact out with some particularity so that my answer will not seem to contain the "Supreme Personal God" idea.

This, therefore, is the real meaning of Plato in the passage which you quote, and which Christians find it extremely difficult to understand, because of their education and mental bias along Christian lines. Plato of course was a Polytheist, or a believer in a Universe filled full with divinities and beings less than divinity, forming a Cosmic Family, just as we Theosophists teach. In fact, Plato was a Theosophist. In my Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, this very side of our ancient Wisdom-Teaching is more or less carefully dealt with in various places, although I admit that these various places would require joining up by research.

The Theosophical Forum