The Path – January 1896

SOME VIEWS OF AN ASIATIC (1)

You ask me what is my belief about "reincarnation." Well, as it is a complicated question, I must give you a plain statement of my full belief. To begin with, I am a Pantheist. I believe that the whole universe is God. You must, however, well understand that the word "God" does not convey to me any meaning attached to that word by the Westerns. When I say "God" I understand it to be nature or universe, and no more. Therefore I might more appropriately be called a "naturalist." To my mind there is no possibility of the existence of an extra-cosmical Deity. For if there were, the harmony or equilibrium of nature could not be preserved, and the whole, instead of being one harmonious whole, would be a Tower of Babel. This harmony can be kept only by the working of the immutable laws of Nature. And if the laws of nature be immutable, they must be blind, and require no guiding hand. (2) Hence the existence of an extra-cosmical Deity is impossible. This is, as far as I can understand, the chief teaching and principle of Aryan philosophy. As the position is logical, I must accept it in preference to the Semitic theory, which rests on blind faith alone.

Some of the Pantheists recognize the existence of two distinct entities, viz., Matter and Spirit. But thinking deeply over the subject has led me to the conclusion that their position is not quite logical; for, as far as I can understand, there can be but one Infinite entity and not two. Call it either matter or spirit, but it is one and the same. Who can say that this is spirit and that matter? Take an instance: Ice is a gross form of matter. If a little rarified it will be water, which is still matter. Higher still it is vapor; still matter. Higher, gas; it is still matter. Further it becomes ether, but it is still matter; and then you may go on ad infinitum. Thus becoming more and more sublimated, it will reach its climax by the way of spiritualization. But still it does not become nothing. For if it does, there must come a time when the whole universe will be nothing. If it is so, it is not infinite, as it has an end. If it has an end, it must have had a beginning; if it had a beginning, it must have been created; and thus we must assume the existence of an extra-cosmical Deity, which, as said above, is not logical. Then we thus logically find that this highest sublimated form of matter cannot be nothing. In this case matter has reached that climax of sublimation or spiritualization, when any further action would make it grosser, not finer. What is commonly understood by the word spirit, then, is nothing but that highly etherealized form of matter which we, with our finite senses, cannot comprehend. But it is still matter, inasmuch as it is still something and liable to be grosser.

There is then only one eternal infinite existence, call it either spirit or matter. I will, however, call it by the latter name, as that is most suited in its common understanding for what I am to state. Matter, as you know, we call Maya. Some say that this thing does not really exist; but I do not agree to that. In my opinion it is called Maya simply on account of these transformations. It is never steady. The process is ever working. The one infinite agglomeration of matter is in some of its modes becoming grosser, while in others becoming more sublimated. The circle is ever turning its round. Nothing goes out of that circle. Everything is kept within its bounds by the action of the centripetal and centrifugal forces. The forms are changing, but the inner substance remains the same.

You will ask: "What is the use of being good or bad; our souls in proper time will be etherealized?" But what is a soul? Is it material or immaterial? Well, it is material for me, and there is nothing immaterial, as said above. As far as I can think, it is an agglomeration of all the attributes together with that something which gives us the consciousness that we are. But in the case of the ice, it was not sublimated until touched by heat. The centripetal force was strong in its action, and it required the centrifugal force to refine the ice. Just so with man. The action of the centripetal force keeps us to our gross forms, and if we have to etherealize ourselves, we must supply the centrifugal force, which is our will. And this is the first principle of Occultism. We must study and know the forces of nature. Every result must be in proportion to the cause producing it. We are every instant emitting and attracting atoms of matter. Now, a person who is not an occultist will have various desires, and unconsciously to himself he will produce a cause which will attract to him such atoms of matter as are not suited for his higher progress. The same way, when he is emitting others, he may give them such a tendency that they will mix with others evilly inclined; and thus other individualities, which are thus formed, will have to suffer for no fault of theirs. But an occultist directs both. He is the master of the situation. He guides them, and by knowing their action he produces such conditions as are favorable to his obtaining of "Nirvana."(3)

But what is Nirvana? By Nirvana I mean a state, and not a locality. It is that condition in which we are so etherealized that instead of being merely a mode of the Infinite Existence, as at present, we are merged in totality, or we become the whole. Another thing about the advanced occultist is that he is in a better position to benefit humanity.

The particles of which I am formed have always existed; yet I do not know in what form they existed before. Probably they have passed through billions of transformations. (4) Why do I not know these? Because I did not supply the force that would have prevented the disintegration of my individuality. (5) I will, if I attain Nirvana, remain there till the action of the force that put me there ceases; the effect being always in proportion to the cause. The law of Exhaustion must assert itself. (6)

In passing through this process of etherealization, you all along give a certain tendency to the particles of which you are composed. This tendency will always assert itself; and thus in every cycle, or reincarnation, you will have the same advantages which you can always utilize to soon be free, and by remaining longer in the Nirvana state than the generality of humanity, you are comparatively free. (7) So every consciousness, which has been once fully developed, must disintegrate, if not preserved by the purity of its successive Egos till the Nirvana state is attained. Now I believe that the full development of my consciousness as Krishna is possible only on this earth, (8) and therefore if I die before that is done I must be reborn here. If I reach the Nirvana state, even though I am in another body, I shall know myself as Krishna.

Now I suppose this is sufficient for you. It is difficult to put such ideas on paper. Such things are to be understood intuitionally.

FOOTNOTES:

1. Taken from a private letter to William Q. Judge, F.T.S., received in 1878-9, and first published in the Platonist. (return to text)

2. Allowance must be made all through for a lack of complete knowledge of the English language. What is here meant is that the inherent impulse acts according to its own laws without any extra-cosmic power meddling with it as a guide. — Editor. (return to text)

3. It is said that Buddha attained to Nirvana before he left this earth, hence he was always free. — Editor. (return to text)

4. That all the particles of the matter of our universe have passed through millions of transformations, and been in every sort of form, is an old assertion of the Adepts. H.P.B. in Isis Unveiled, and the Secret Doctrine points this out as showing how the Adept may use matter, and it will also bear upon the protean shapes the astral matter may assume. Editor. (return to text)

5. This word is used to mean the personalities; the person in any birth. Since the letter was written, individuality is much used to mean the indestructible part.- Editor. (return to text)

6. If this be right —and I agree with it — Nirvana has to come to an end, just as Devachan must; and being ended, the individual must return to some manifested plane or world for further work.- Editor. (return to text)

7. The comparison made is with the general run of men in all races. They are not free at any time. In the writer's opinion there is a certain amount of freedom in being in Nirvana; but he refers to other and secret doctrines which he does not explain. — Editor. (return to text)

8. This has always been accepted, that only on earth could we unify the great potential trinity in each, so that we are conscious of the union, and that when that is done, and not before, we may triumph over all illusions, whether of name or form, place or time, or any other. — Editor. (return to text)


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