The Theosophical Forum – June 1944


Talk given at the close of a study-meeting of the Headquarters Lodge, Point Loma, California, September 10, 1939. This talk taken in shorthand was not transcribed until after Dr. de Purucker's death.

I have listened with deepest sympathy to the generosity towards each other's views which you have all shown in your study this evening. All of us remember that knowledge is marked by modesty, because knowledge knows its own limitations, and therefore is never dogmatic. I have noticed also that you are patient with each other for using words in different ways. Your minds are not water-tight compartments which would not hold ideas of other people.

Now in regard to this matter of "rays" or "waves." We Theosophists of many, many years" study have developed a terminology of our own which younger students do not yet fully grasp. When they do grasp it they will see that it is good. We speak of a "ray" from the sun. The sun has been emanating countless rays through the aeons, and each such ray is a wave, an energy if you want to use the language of modern science, a language which will be changed in thirty years from now when scientists know more. This is one of the difficulties that a Theosophist has to contend with, to remember that he himself is using a highly technical series of terms which he and others like him understand, but which the non-Theosophist who has not studied Theosophy does not grasp; and therefore does not understand what the Theosophical speaker is talking about half the time. We should never forget that; and consequently when you people differ, it is not really about ideas that your minds are at variance. I would wager almost anything that ninety-nine times out of a hundred it is about words.

Now I want to say, Companions, that I desire brief speech with you upon two thoughts. The first is about these life-atoms and reproductive germs and so forth. I do not think it is good to think too much about these things and talk about them too much, and I am always amazed to see the intense concentrated attention with which an audience listens to them. They may interest doctors; it is their job; but there are so many more and vastly more interesting things to study.

Now in the first place, reimbodiment is not a haphazard thing, as of course every one of you understands. It is all done by the laws of nature, and by nature I do not mean physical nature, I mean it in the old occult way of speech. So that the imbodiment, the reimbodiment, of an ego takes place strictly according to karmic law, and karman means cause and effect, cause and consequences, the y following the x. If you do something, nature will react upon you for that act. That is karman. You may react in a billion ways. That action and reaction may take a billion years to run itself out. The reaction may come at once, or it may be thinly spread over millions of years. Who can say? It depends upon the originating cause.

So that the reimbodiment of an ego is just as much a fact of nature's laws and nature's actions and reactions as is the physical birth. Now the ego in the devachan lives in an auric sphere as it were, an ethereal rupa. Its size may be anything. It may be co-extensive with the solar system. The probability is that it is, as far as mere physical extension goes, infinitesimal, for magnitude has nothing to do with consciousness. Magnitude is a maya. of our plane and of our brain-minds.

However, the ego in its devachan enjoys blissful dreams. Then there comes a time at the end of long centuries, or long periods of scores of years, when the forces which had brought about this sleep and rest to the devachanic entity begin to weaken, to work themselves out. The devachanic sleep and bliss is fading gradually. But what is taking place coincidently? There is taking place a slow awakening to a sense of consciousness of the old human earth-attractions. These enter the dream-state of the devachani as dream-recollections of what it had been, and what it had seen and heard and thought and felt — beautiful things, however, because it is still in the devachan. Now these are the recrudescences into the consciousness of the ego of the tanhic elementals held in the ether-body of the ego. Hitherto the dreams of the devachani have been too high or too spiritual for these rather earthly things to have any effect on the ego. But as the devachanic dreams begin to fade, die out, grow darker as it were, these tanhic, these trishnic elementals begin to grow in activity in the ether-body of the ego, as I have already said. What does this mean? It means a thickening or a coarsening of that auric body, that higher ether-body; and slowly as it were the entity drops, is attracted because of his materialized body, downwards towards this sphere. It may take centuries for this to happen, or a few score years, according to the individual karmic case.

Now then, to phrase it otherwise, there arises in the ether-body of the devachani a growth in memory of earthly things. Its own past life comes back into its recollection, very feebly at first, stronger as time goes on. In other words there is a thickening, as I have stated, a coarsening, materializing of this vehicle. This is the beginning of the growth of what we call the linga-sarira, the pattern-body around which our gross sthula-sarira, the physical, is builded atom for atom. Thus does the man reproduce himself from the last life — consequences, karman.

I have already said that magnitude has nothing to do with it. Let us suppose that the ether-body when this takes place is the size of an apple. After all, how large is a human life germ? But in this beginning of the linga-sarira there resides a growth potency — supply your own term if you do not like that, we won't quarrel about words — a growth potency, the same kind of swabhava, as we call it, which makes an apple seed produce an apple and not a rose or a strawberry or a banana or something else; that makes a plum seed always reproduce a plum and not some other kind of plant. In other words there is in this linga-sarira the capacity to develop along its own karmic laws into the linga-sarira and the physical body of the man, the child to be born.

But before this stage is reached, on account of the attractions of this ray descending from the auric body — call it a ray, call it a wave — on account of the attractions of this back to its familiar fields of life on earth, as it were a magnetic or electric contact is established in exactly the same way in which the thunderbolt will strike this tree and not that one. There is a reason for this. Everything in the universe works by law. There is no chance. The same principle of selective choice works in the case of the thunderbolt and in the case of the human ego selecting its own mother; not consciously in the way we might think it is done, but by a conscious human electricity as it were, sympathy, synchrony of akasic vibration. We call this a projection of the ray; and that is what I have alluded to in The Esoteric Tradition.

Now here comes the point: In any human being there are innumerable multitudes of life-atoms which are strictly his own atoms of life, life-atoms, jivas, originating in his own vital font or fountain, and looking upon him as their parent. Suppose we say, just as a speculation, because no one could say how many life-atoms the human body contains — I doubt if the gods could — but suppose that we say a human body contains of these particular life-atoms a hundred billion. And after his death these become distributed among the two billion or so inhabitants of earth; so that when a reimbodying ego thus seeks its physical house or sthula-sarira for its next im-bodiment it is sure to find sympathetic attraction to and therefore lodgment in any human body. This contact of the ray from the ego with the life-germ — germ if you please in the body of the two parents — is a contact with life-atoms that that ego used in its former body on earth. The thing seems complicate simply because it is new to most folk. And by the way, this is one of the reasons that explains what we call the fertility of races and the ability of some stocks of beings to cross, miscegenate, and others not.

Now of course it is obvious that some family milieu, some families, would give an ego a happier home and a happier physical body than other human couples would. You can understand that, and it is the automatic endeavor, run by nature's laws, of a reimbodying ego always to seek the happiest home it can find. It has the instinct to do so. It does not do it self-consciously. It is nature that does these things, for such happiest home is for the reimbodying ego the line of least resistance. Remember, it is still in the devachan, and its spirit is not in full control. This is the reason why also — and this is a delicate subject, I hope you will forgive it — this is the reason for the moral weight of the teachings given to men and women to be careful in their relations with each other, for egos are attracted to both men and women in the manner that I have endeavored to describe, and they are attracted with tenfold force when a man and a woman feel affection for each other, if that affection be real. In fact a mere flirtation you can see to be wrong, because that sets up a kind of synchrony of vibration between the couple. I wonder if you see what I am trying to drive at.

It is the damnable, abominable materialistic science of the last hundred years which has wrought such mischief in the world, and has brought about the conditions that exist in the world today everywhere, teaching men that they are no better than beasts, apes, of a slightly higher kind, and that therefore it matters not what they do, that the thing to do is to get and to hold. That is a doctrine out of hell. Once the moral law is lost from the conscience of man, civilization is doomed.

The Theosophical Forum