Copyright © 1997 by Theosophical University Press. All rights Reserved.
Notice to All Members
This pamphlet, No. 36, in the series of printed Instructions issued by me, will be the last for the present. I have felt for some time that the large amount of esoteric teaching hitherto given needs assimilation and digestion by our members, and that time is required for this. Otherwise there is a real danger of a sort of spiritual and intellectual indigestion, as well as the always imminent danger of allowing a spirit to enter into our ES cycle of study involving mere curiosity as to the next new teaching which may be issued. This would indeed be fatal to the main object of these studies, which is rather to bring out from within the student's own constitution latent powers of reflection and judgment, involving discernment and discrimination, than merely overloading the mind with newer teachings steadily increasing in both volume and novelty.
As most of our esotericists know well enough, I adopted in the beginning the Socratic method of teaching, which is by means of question and answer, at times almost partaking of the character of a running dialogue, because this method has distinct advantages; although, indeed, it is easy enough to recognize certain inherent disadvantages likewise.
The next or succeeding series of KTMG Instructions may or may not follow the present plan of question and answer. I shall wait to see what spiritual benefit accrues to our students before finally deciding this question. — G. de P.
Meeting held at Oakley House, Bromley Common, Kent, England, temporary International Headquarters during 1932-33.
Besides the Oakley House staff and the London Group, there were present other members of the English Jurisdiction, as well as visiting members from Wales, Ireland, and Holland.
As the evening's discussion opened with comments by G. de P. on three questions contained in paper no. 6, these questions are reprinted herein for the convenience of the reader.
Additional commentary by G. de P. on subjects discussed at this London meeting follows.
[Question — May I ask a question about karma? It is a pity to leave that subject unfinished, I think. There is a very famous passage in Light on the Path that I have studied, that many of us have studied, very deeply; and it is in our other literature also, about not trying to make good karma. The passage there says: "Don't try to make good karma, but try to become karmaless." I know that it is a phrase which is allegorical; but I would like some more information about that. It says: "Set the heart and mind on that which is above karma in a sense." We see the giant weed, looking for personality.
I would like a little more about the meaning of not trying to make good karma. It means not looking for results, I suppose?]
G. de P. — Concerning this teaching of the rising above the sphere of causes which produces karma of various kinds in any such sphere or hierarchy: rising above karma simply means the rising out of or above the continuously recurring cycle of change, of birth and death, of sorrow and pain and joy and happiness, the samsara as it is technically called, meaning the cycles of imbodied existence or lives. When a human being centers or focuses his consciousness in the higher part of his constitution, then obviously the elements of his constitution which in the average man attract him to these lower spheres are inactive in the sense of no longer dominating him. They lie asleep, at least relatively so; and consequently he then is in the bliss and enjoys the illuminated vision of the higher part of his being. Yet because he is in imbodied existence, this living in the higher part or principles of his constitution is not what is usually referred to by the phrase, 'To rise out of or above the sphere of karma.' To escape from karma really means the rising out of all the material spheres or cycles of imbodied existences, the lower globes of our chain for instance, where we are subject to this perpetual and unceasing round and round and round of life after life after life in imbodied forms. Obviously, therefore, wherever there is imbodied existence one is subject to karma of some kind, although it may not be and doubtless is not the same karma that a man has when he is in a physical body on this globe D.
Now there is an escape from this perpetual round of imbodied lives, an escape from samsara; and this escape is found by following the path that all the buddhas have taught: to know ourselves, our spiritual selves, and to live in the spiritual Self, that is in the higher parts of our composite constitution. When this is done one becomes a co-worker or collaborator with spiritual nature, becomes an active agent of nature's spiritual laws; and hence does naught that is in contravention of those fundamental spiritual laws. Therefore obviously one has risen above the sphere of karma, which means action and reaction, that is, action upon nature made by imperfect consciousnesses and nature's reaction upon us. This is the meaning of the phrase to rise above karma. That is all, as simple as that.
[Question — I would like to ask if there is such a thing as separation of the principles in some cases before the body dies.
In the case of a very brilliant-minded man, who during the last ten or fifteen years of his life loses his mentality seemingly altogether, and loses his memory — in such case have not the higher principles, that is to say, has not the higher ego, already gone?
At death does he have this review of life? Then the whole being, the whole man, is there at death?]
G. de P. — It is the case with almost all aged human beings in our present state of evolution that for a number of years, or it may be for a number of weeks or months, before physical death occurs there is a separation, slow but progressive, of the upper triad from the lower quaternary. It is as if the constitution of the aged individual were slowly breaking up in preparation for the new birth into postmortem conditions or spheres, into what we commonly call the devachanic states.
It is this progressive dissolving of the bonds holding the constitution together which will explain the instances of aged men and women who although still performing the usual functions that are required in order to keep the body alive, nevertheless seem to have lost all the better or nobler parts of mind and heart. Such aged people have lost memory to a large extent; they have also probably lost interest in life; their mind frequently becomes automatic in its actions, and reverts to the incidents of childhood. Consequently it is common to speak of such an individual as being in his second childhood, simply because he recollects most clearly what events or things had been stamped on the brain — photographically stamped — that occurred during his childhood and youth.
On the other hand, and this is the ideal state of old age, there are men and women who retain all their faculties in full power and function up to within a few hours of the last intake of physical breath. This is what should be normal to the human race in our state of evolution. But alas, it is only rarely so. The second childhood is due to the very unnatural sort of life that men and women lead today; due, I repeat, to the vital exhaustion of the quaternary in many ways common to folk who, like most of us, unfortunately abuse the body by common or usual excesses of various kinds which exhaust the vital powers sooner than Nature if left alone would have brought about. It is also due in part to the very yearning that old people usually have for rest and peace and quiet, for peaceful happiness, which is all a beginning of the devachanic life. Due to this variety of converging causes, in most cases of aged people there is for at least some months preceding physical death a slow withdrawal of the higher part of the constitution from the lower. The threads of the golden cord of life connecting the higher triad with the lower quaternary are gently and slowly snapped one after the other; when the last thread is broken, physical death supervenes.
[Question — May I clear up a question which has often puzzled me? HPB says distinctly just what you have said, that there is no punishment after death, except in the case of the black magician. But Mr. Judge, in the "Notes on the Bhagavad-Gita," gives quite a picture of a place of purification, almost a purgatory, in which he says there are as many different states as there are people, and that they go through a mental suffering there until they are freed and then go forward to devachan. Will you explain that apparent contradiction?]
G. de P. — There is no hard and fast division or frontier whatsoever between kama-loka on the one hand, and the devachan state on the other hand, or those realms of the higher astral world in which the devachanic experiences are undergone by the excarnate entity. Devachan in its lowest parts melts or merges into the higher parts of the kama-loka. In an exactly identical fashion, between the highest realm of avichi, which by the way is a condition rather than a locality, and the lowest realm of the kama-loka, there is no gulf, no separation, no frontier or hard or fast division. Insensibly the one blends into the other; and similarly at the other end of the line, between the highest state or condition of devachan and the lowest of the nirvana there is no gulf.
Now the kama-loka is not only a state but it is also a locality; but the avichi, the devachan, and the nirvana, are conditions of entities who are for the time being in these particular states; yet avichi, devachan, and nirvana are not localities per se. But because the entities in these states are entities or beings, therefore they must have position in space. In other words these entities are somewhere. Therefore, in a rather incorrect way of speaking we may also say that the avichi and the devachan and the nirvana have place or position in space, although these three are merely conditions or states of the consciousness of entities. These four, the nirvana, the devachan, the kama-loka, and the avichi, are all in what we call the astral light, using this term in a very general sense.
The astral light in its lower realms is gross ether; in its higher parts it is the akasa; but technically and more accurately speaking, we should call the astral light that portion of the ethereal realms of nature surrounding every globe of causes, such as our earth is, and extending from the highest spiritual or most ethereal spheres down to the grossest portion of such globe. The astral light begins in, or is the lowest part of the akasa; and the astral light grows thicker or less ethereal or more condensed until it reaches its grossest and most material parts, which we may actually call a physical globe. Consequently the crown of the astral light is the akasa, which nevertheless is the great kosmic spiritual aether from which all the respective astral lights are born. In this astral light are the various realms or spheres inhabited by entities in the various states of consciousness; and we call these various realms or spheres by the names nirvana, devachan, kama-loka, the physical globe, and avichi.
There is a great deal that can be said about the astral light that has not yet been brought out in our teachings, whether exoteric or esoteric, and some day I shall have to put my mind to it, because I feel the lacunae, the gaps, the lack of this teaching; and having in view the greater understanding of our teachings by our members generally, it is only just that more should be said about the astral light.
I would like here to add this: an entity undergoing a condition or state of consciousness needs not necessarily to be restricted to any dimension or magnitude. Consciousness is dimensionless and without magnitude; so that an entity can be in the avichi or in the devachan or in the nirvana, and yet have no more magnitude as regards size than a mathematical point has which has position but no magnitude. Consciousness is without magnitude, simply because essentially it is infinite, and becomes localized only through the abodes or vehicles through which it happens to be working at the time.
Take the case of Father Sun. The god whom we know as the solar divinity is a dimensionless point when considered as a monad of consciousness. And yet this divinity fills with its or his vital aura the entire volume or bulk or magnitude of the solar system; that is to say, with an aura or vital fluid which reaches even beyond the orbit of Neptune, but which is centered or concentrated around the central point which is the real heart of Father Sun. The sun that we see with our physical vision is the dense or concreted psychomagnetic and vital aura of this solar divinity.
There are a number of very important things that should be stated in this connection; and some day I must turn my mind to it if only in order to correct erroneous ideas that some of our students either now hold or have held. I remember once reading an article by some attentive student of former days — it may have been Jasper Niemand, who was the Mrs. Archibald Keightley of Judge's time. It was called "The Sleeping Spheres," as I recollect — a rather attractive title because it gave the idea of vital spheres, which is more or less correct as the phrase brings to the mind the conception of the ovoid or egg-shaped form of the auric egg. But the mistake that this writer made was in thinking that these sleeping spheres were the egos themselves sleeping through devachanic dreams; and this idea that egos are ethereal spheres was quite wrong. The ego in devachan may be utterly dimensionless, have no magnitude or bulk, or what we call volume or size, whatsoever, because an ego is a monad or point of consciousness. It is for this reason also that the ancient Hindu Upanishads used to speak of Brahman as aniyamsam aniyasam. This Sanskrit phrase means atomic of the atomic, smaller than the smallest. Equivalently they used to speak of Brahman as greater than the greatest. These phrases sound like verbal contradiction, but they are not. The phrases are paradoxes; that is, consciousness can be at one and the same instant vast enough to inspire a whole solar system and be greater than it, and yet minute enough, infinitesimal enough, to find a universe in the heart of a chemical atom, and to be smaller than the chemical atom.
Trevor Barker — May I ask a question, G. de P., about the devachan and kama-loka — I mean about the devachanic and kama-lokic entities having to have a position in space, and that position being in some part of the astral light? I would now like to ask how we can understand this statement, in regard to the planes and to the globes of the planetary chain? Is there any connection, or none?
G. de P. — There certainly is, Trevor, and yours is a most intelligent and appropriate question. It would be obviously impossible to give the final answer, but I can say this much. There are devachans and devachans, kama-lokas and kama-lokas. When we speak in our exoteric literature of devachan, or kama-loka, or nirvana, these are all generalizing terms.
Remember, first, that the human ego after death sleeps its devachanic dreams, that it enters a state of devachan. It undergoes its devachanic experiences in what we call the bosom of the monad, meaning here the Spiritual monad — or rather, and speaking now accurately, in that ray from the spiritual monad which we can call the chain-monad or higher ego. The spiritual monad's child is the higher ego, and the higher ego's child is the ordinary human reincarnating ego, which in one sense we may call the child of this globe D. Now this entity, the chain-monad, itself peregrinates in proper cyclical order through all the globes of our planetary chain; but when it leaves our globe D its next stations are on the ascending arc, globes E, F, and G. Meanwhile, the human ego is sleeping its devachanic sleep, or dreaming its devachanic dreams, or having its devachanic rest — use whichever phrase pleases you the best — in the bosom of its parent the higher ego, the chain-monad, which is wandering through the globes of the planetary chain. As just said, this chain-ego or reimbodying ego is the child or ray of the spiritual ego. The range of the spiritual ego is over the solar system, just as the range of the chain-ego, or reimbodying ego, is throughout the series of globes of the planetary chain; and just in its turn as the range of the ordinary human ego is through the seven root-races in due cyclical order of our globe D. What I have just been alluding to is called the inner rounds.
I have spoken on other occasions of the outer rounds. The spiritual monad or ego it is which peregrinates on the outer rounds, that is, from planet to planet, or more accurately from planetary chain to planetary chain.
I do not know that it is wise, at least for the present, to add anything more to these observations, because it is so easy to confuse these recondite and intricate teachings. It may be better to give the general teaching in outline, and to develop the details at later dates when proper occasions arise. In this way the minds of students are not overloaded at the beginning with a bewildering complexity of details.
But the other statement concerning the positions in space of the various realms of the astral light and the entities inhabiting them is also perfectly true, although it is a general statement. The nirvana, the devachan, the kama-loka, and the avichi, as well as the various realms intermediate between these four, are all in the astral light. Remember that the astral light is a general term for the entire range of the hierarchy of the solar system from its summit or most spiritual part to its grossest or most material part; and that each planet in the solar system is, as it were, a concreted center of the astral light and therefore is surrounded by a thickened or more compacted portion of this general astral light of the solar system. Hence each planet in the solar system may be said truly enough to have its own particular astral light — which is in each case obviously a part or portion of the general astral light of the entire solar system.
The crown of the astral light is the most spiritual substance of the solar system, which is properly called the sakti, or akasa, which again is the underlining of mulaprakriti, or original nature or substance; and, at the nether pole, the dregs of the astral light surround any material globe which we may briefly call the lees or deposits of the astral light.
To particularize in answering your question. Take the case of an elementary, or a pisacha, which is a Sanskrit name for what we call an elementary; or again take the case of an astral bhuta, which is the Sanskrit name of what we theosophists call a kama-rupa. Entities such as these are strongly localized, just as a physical human body is although the vehicle of a spiritual being, because the pisacha or the elementary, or again the kama-rupic spook, are grossly material entities, and therefore must find their natural habitat in grossly material spheres such as the lower realms of the astral light immediately in and surrounding our earth. This grossly material sphere, the dregs of the kama-loka, permeates and surrounds the globe, our earth, on which the entity last lived its imbodied existence.
Contrariwise, entities of more ethereal character such as the devachanis or the nirvanis find their natural and appropriate habitat or localized position in space in the more ethereal realms of the astral light where the influence of gross matter of course is only faintly felt. As the devachan and the nirvana are really states or conditions of consciousness of entities, it is obvious that such states of consciousness may be experienced by those who have entered them in any part of the solar system. Indeed there are some human beings so lofty in spirituality that they can even enter the nirvanic condition while still in the body, as the Buddha did, or as Sankaracharya is said to have done. There are human beings, not a few, who although still alive in the physical body, live in a sort of devachanic dreamworld, and are known among their fellows as dreamy, impractical kind of folk. But these last two classes are exceptions. The real devachani and the real nirvani when disimbodied find their natural habitat with the more spiritual portions or realms of the higher astral light where the monads belong.
The teaching is complicated of course because the facts are complicated; yet if the idea is clear in your mind that is the main thing.
Furthermore, every one of the globes of our planetary chain, such as globes E or F, or, in the other direction, globes B or C, has for instance its own avichi, its own kama-loka, and likewise its own especial conditions of the astral light surrounding it, which therefore form the fit habitat of entities who upon leaving such globe at death enter the appropriate devachan.
Mr. Barker — Then actually, if akasa is the crown of the astral light, does this comprise several or all of the kosmic planes? Do the kosmic planes come between the bottom of the astral light and the crown of akasa, or is this only one plane?
G. de P. — Answering briefly, the kosmic planes run along, or more accurately really compose, what we can, speaking in a generalizing fashion, call the seven or ten planes of the astral light, of which the crown is akasa and the bottom is the physical or most material sphere. Every one of the kosmic planes — which means all the seven (or ten) planes of the solar system — has each one its own subordinate seven ranges or realms or planes. But the astral light, considered as a generalizing term for the structure or framework of nature, extends from the uppermost kosmic plane of the solar system down to the lowest, grossest; and therefore may be said to extend from the highest — or lowest — through all the seven or really ten planes of the solar system, each one of these planes possessing its own portion of the general astral light. Therefore, again, each one of these planes is subdivided into seven subplanes. We can say that the globes on any one such kosmic plane have their own subordinate states of the astral light in which entities can have their nirvana, their devachan, their kama-loka, and their avichi.
Perhaps it can be illustrated better by thinking of the seven (or ten) planes or principles or constituent elements of the human constitution. Each one of these principles or elements of the human constitution has its own prana, its own vital aura; and yet throughout the entire constitution runs the aura of the full or complete constitution, from the atman down to the sthula-upadhi or sthula-sarira. In other words, there is one life energy running throughout the seven principles; but each one of the seven principles has its own portion of this life energy, and this portion is colored by, or has the quality of, the particular principle through which it extends.
I might add here, because it may be useful to remember, that sakti, a Sanskrit word which means "energy" or "power," and maya, a Sanskrit word which means "illusion," and prakriti, a Sanskrit word which means "producing or productive nature," are virtually synonyms really. These three names refer nevertheless to three different aspects of the one kosmic mulaprakritic element: the substantial part, that which produces or gives birth to things, we can call prakriti; the energic part of the force part we can call sakti; and the third part or maya of this kosmic element we can look upon as the illusion-producing portion of the kosmic Element. To speak still more accurately we should say that mulaprakriti is the mother-stuff or original substance, and that its three aspects or developments we may class under the three names sakti, prakriti, maya.
Mr. Barker — Do these bear any relation to the three gunas?
G. de P. — Yes, in a general way the three gunas can likewise be classed under these three productions of mulaprakriti; but we should also remember that the three gunas more particularly apply to the conditions or states of imbodied entities; and next that every one of these hereinbefore mentioned aspects contains in itself the three gunas or varieties or attributes. Every imbodied entity — and as far as I know there are no exceptions whatsoever — has three qualities: sattwa, rajas, and tamas, which are usually translated as "truth" or "reality," "force" or "passion," and "inertia" or "darkness." These are the three gunas: sattwa-guna, rajo-guna, and tamo-guna. In one sense, possibly, sakti, maya, and prakriti may in a general way be spoken of as the three guna-aspects of the kosmic mulaprakritic element; but personally I would prefer not to put the matter that way. I would prefer to say that every one of these three aspects — sakti, prakriti, maya — of the kosmic element has its own triguna or three gunas.
You see the philosophic idea here is that these three gunas or qualities are of universal character and run throughout the entire web of kosmic existence; just as in the three dimensional world of manifested life we are obliged to speak of length, breadth, and depth or thickness. As is obvious these three ways of measuring are inherent in three dimensional manifestation not only in the general but in the particular, not only in the kosmos but as concerns imbodied entities. Just so is it with the three gunas. The three qualities of reality or spiritual equilibrium, force or activity, and substantiality or inertia, are found everywhere, both in the universe generally as well as in the cases of imbodied entities. Sakti, prakriti, and maya, we had perhaps better consider to be three ways in which man's consciousness envisages or looks upon the universe. A little thought should make this rather intricate philosophical idea fairly clear.
Now here is an interesting thought in this connection. I think that it would be a capital error to look upon tamas as being always evil, as some people mistakenly imagine; or upon rajas as being always evil; or upon sattwa as invariably being what we men call good. As a matter of fact, in nature herself the three gunas are not found at all in that way. For instance, inertia can be most helpful at times, when meaning steadiness, resolution, or fixity; just as contrariwise inertia at times can be quite wrong when it means disinclination to progress, or fixity in material as contrasted with spiritual lines. For example, it is a most important thing to be able to hold the mind steady and fixed on a point of thought. If the mind is under the sway of the quality of rajo-guna, the mind then is in continual motion, continually moving, continually flitting from thought to thought, always unsatisfied. If the mind be under the sway of sattwa, then it is at peace, it is tranquil, it sees clearly, it is at rest, because it is in equilibrium. It may or may not be in motion, it may or may not have fixity, though probably it has both because these three gunas are not absolutes distinct from each other, but are blended with each other.
Thus in the quality of sattwa we have the sattwa-sattwa, the rajas-sattwa, and the tamas-sattwa. Similarly in the quality of the rajas, we have the sattwa-rajas, the rajo-rajas, and the tamo-rajas. And thirdly in tamas, we have the sattwa-tamas, the rajas-tamas, and the tamas-tamas. This will become clear if the student remember that in tamas, for instance, his mind cannot be merely fixed or steady and at the same time be deprived of any movement and of any quality of reality. It is impossible utterly to separate these qualities from each other, for they are inextricably interblended, and it is impossible for any one of the three to exist without the other two. All three qualities or elements of character are needed to produce the complete man, or indeed a complete entity of whatever kind or type.
It is the one-sided development or overemphasis of any one of these three gunas which is dangerous. As for instance, a man in whom the sattwic quality is relatively inactive, lacks discrimination, vision, judgment; he lacks calm, he lacks peace. On the other hand, if in him the quality of the rajo-guna is relatively inactive, then he lacks in energy, he lacks in driving power, in force; and these obviously are very much needed for a complete or perfect man. Or thirdly, if the tamas quality is relatively inactive in him, he lacks stability and fixity or steadiness of purpose; he lacks inertia in the good sense of this word. Nature is builded of these three qualities or gunas, and all three are required in order to produce a perfect human being; but these qualities must all be under the control of the spiritual consciousness.
I here speak with great reserve, because this is a moot point even in our own esoteric studies, but I am inclined to believe that sattwa-guna, rajo-guna, and tamo-guna belong at least actively rather to the seven manifested planes of the universe, than to all the ten planes; and that the three highest planes forming the complete series of ten are above the sway of the three gunas. Therefore the god in man, or the divine spirit in man, is master of the three gunas rather than their subject. He is master even of the sattwic quality, because it should be obvious that even such things as peace and rest and quiet, vision, yea even discrimination and judgment, must be under the control of the supreme spiritual consciousness, from which indeed they all ultimately flow.
The statement is often made in our esoteric and even in our exoteric literature I believe, that continuous addiction to evil doing and evil living leads to the loss of the soul, and that continuous and unremitting addiction to goodness and purity, and to the practice of virtue and aspiration and love, lead to a becoming at one with the god within. I would now like to point out to you that both these cases are the results, although in diametrically opposite directions, of the same law of nature: the law of attraction — or perhaps more accurately of psychomagnetic attraction — and repulsion; one of the manifestations of that universal order of nature which we may indifferently call attraction and repulsion, or refer to under the name of the hate and love of the great Greek philosopher Empedocles, or again refer to under the phrase The Law of Contraries, or of polar opposites.
A Vedic commentator, Yaska, in his Nirukta, X, 17, or Commentary on one of the Vedas, makes the following statement: Yadyad rupam kamayate devata; tattad devata bhavati, which thought is likewise known in English under the phrase, "As a man thinks, so is he." This Sanskrit sentence means: "Whatever form (or body) a divinity longs for, that very form (or body) the divinity becomes." There is a world of occult significance in this. It is one of the most occult statements that I have ever read. It is replete with meaning. If you long for a thing, set your heart on it, bend your will and your consciousness and therefore your vital currents towards it, it means that you set your soul in it and therefore identify your soul with it. You identify your consciousness with it; your consciousness begins to vibrate synchronously with the thing which it yearns towards and therefore with which it finally becomes identified. In other words, you identify your consciousness with what you continuously long for, and this means that finally you will get it. Deduction: if you long for evil, long for evil doing, yearn for it, then you will in time become evil; because you ally yourself with some entity who to your mind, perhaps unconsciously, is the imbodiment of the objective upon which you set your mind and soul. Hence you become identified with that entity — you actually become it, become a part of its vital existence. To speak the language of the Christians, if you love the devil you will become the devil.
Contrariwise, when a man's yearnings are upwards and inwards towards the god within him, then he follows the path which nature's present operations and voluntary current bid us normally to follow, because we are now on the ascending arc upwards towards our reunion with spirit at the end of the seventh round.
In doing this we work with spiritual nature and thus we become identified with the god within us, which means also becoming identified with the solar logos and finally we become that solar logos, become a part of its vital being. To use the incorrect language of the ordinary Occidental translators of the Hindu scriptures, we become absorbed in Brahma. This does not mean the utter loss or annihilation of the monad, because such annihilation is simply impossible. The monad is eternal, because in essence it is a part of the spiritual being of the logos itself. When we yearn to live in the vital being of the god within us, then our vibrations become identical with the vibrations of the god within us, which in turn are virtually the same as the vital vibrations of the third or manifest solar logos of the solar system. This means entering nirvana. Conversely, if you identify yourself with evil, which means progress towards absolute matter, this means avichi and the consequent loss of the soul as an independent spiritual being.
Now look at the marvelous series of ideas that we find in this teaching. By identifying ourselves with the logos we achieve self-conscious immortality. If we identify ourselves with evil, then, because such identification is a going backwards, against nature's forwards-moving evolutionary current, we finally bring about a rupture of the golden thread linking us with our divine monad, and we become souls who are lost. We finally are absorbed by the entity of evil which we have yearned towards and with which we have finally identified ourselves. You may ask me: what entity do you mean? My answer is, it does not matter what particular entity. No especial entity need be named. The universe is filled with hosts of entities: good, bad, and indifferent; and every human being belongs to the life stream of an army of entities: good, bad, indifferent. This is the real rationale, the real teaching, and therefore the real explanation, of what a lost soul is on the one hand, and what the becoming at one with the logos is, which means attaining nirvana, on the other hand.
There is still a third case, which however really belongs to the second class as a specific case of the general rule. This is that of the black magicians who not merely blindly go to annihilation as the lost souls do, but who with self-conscious deliberate choice and intent choose evil, worship it. In this case the absorption is not into an elemental energy-substance of the universe, as is the case with lost souls, but is identification with or absorption into a more or less progressed, or unprogressed, planetary spirit — one of those entities whom HPB called unprogressed planetaries. The Hindus would call them one class of the devas, and rightly so call them; although the phrase is insufficiently explanatory. The black magician therefore finally identifies his consciousness with the soul-consciousness of such an unprogressed planetary spirit and finally becomes one with it, living in it, and therefore receiving a quasi-immortality as a component part of the consciousness of this unprogressed planetary. I say quasi-immortality because when the manvantara ends, the planetary of course passes out of manifested existence with the end of the manvantara and reappears only after the end of the pralaya and when the new kosmic manvantara begins.
As you see, therefore, the important deduction that we must make from this teaching is the following. What we love, what we yearn for, we shall gain some day if we continue in our love for it and continue in our yearning towards it. You will immediately see the immense importance of placing our love and our yearning in the proper direction. The rule imbodied in the teaching works in both directions: upwards towards spirit and downwards towards matter. But we human beings, as self-conscious entities with a modicum at least of free will, ally ourselves with one or the other of the two currents, and do so by our own conscious volition. We make the choice.
Perhaps the following also might be said in further explanation of the teaching. We are at present in the fourth round only of the present maha-manvantara of the planetary chain; and it will be in the next or fifth round when the great or final or deciding moral choice will have to be made by us as self-conscious entities, when the manasic faculty in us will have to decide whether its intentions are to go up towards spirit or not. One of the Masters has written that millions are destined to perish at the time of such choice.
Mr. Barker — Meaning what, G. de P.?
G. de P. — Meaning that their chances for spiritual and intellectual evolution for the remaining planetary maha-manvantara are gone, because they are not able to make the grade, to ascend successfully along the ascending arc. Such unsuccessful candidates for quasi-immortality are failures for that maha-manvantara; and the reason is that they have not as yet evolved forth from within themselves self-conscious spiritual energy enough to carry them up for the remaining two rounds (remember we are now speaking of the fifth round), so that they can graduate out of the school of life at the end of the seventh round as full-blown dhyan-chohans. They will incur the fate that awaits the beasts during the closing portion of this present fourth round. They will quietly vanish out of manifested life, go into an unconscious state, which is however not exactly a nirvana, nor is it a devachan. It is for these particular entities whom we have called failures a state of utter unconsciousness; and they so remain, like points of crystallized consciousness, until the next planetary chain, the planetary child of the present chain, is formed. Then these failures will be borne back on the river of planetary evolution and take their part in the kosmic work and have their chance anew; but they will perish or rather disappear so far as the remainder of this present or maha-manvantara is concerned.
Mr. Barker — Is that like the entity which has not enough spiritual stamina to give itself birth in the devachan after death?
G. de P. — Very much like it, Trevor, only I would not speak of an entity as giving itself birth in the devachan. Entities enter that particular state or mode of consciousness which is called the devachan. Devachan is a change of consciousness, and in itself is not a locality.
Mr. Barker — But they do so on a wider cycle?
G. de P. — Yes, on a wider cycle; exactly so.
Mrs. L. J. Manning-Hicks — Is the meaning here the same as going back into nature's workshop?
G. de P. — No, that point of teaching refers to the lost souls only. Remember that a lost soul is not a lost spirit, or a lost monad. The meaning is that the human soul which has been built up so laboriously through many, many lives in the past, has lost all chance of evolving as an identical soul in the future, because it has preferred evil, it has preferred the material spheres to the spiritual, it has identified itself with matter. Such a soul on the way downwards to extinction loves matter, its attractions are matterwards; and it therefore is naturally attracted to, and it identifies itself with the material spheres. In thus identifying itself such a matter-heavy soul becomes a part of their material life and therefore must follow the destiny of these material spheres. This means that when the manvantara ends, or it may be long before that time, the psychic life-atoms composing such a soul will be dissipated, and thus become a lost soul. Meanwhile these dissipated life-atoms will be ground over and over and over again in nature's workshop or laboratory. But the freed monad has all the labor before it of bringing forth from within the womb of itself a new human soul-infant, a new human baby-soul, a new human monad. Such a terrible case also has the effect of retarding the evolution of the monad on its own plane, because it has to evolve forth from itself a human soul anew. As HPB truly points out, it is a terrible case on account of the waste of time, as well as because of the psychospiritual suffering that the degenerating or degenerated soul has to pass through as it wends its way towards its final dissolution. Aeons and aeons may pass before the monad will be where it was before — not at all as regards its own purity, which is unstained, but as regards the bringing forth out of itself of a new manasic infant and training it up to be a human ego like the one which was lost.
The black magicians, those who persevere in their evil courses, also in time will become lost souls, but the distinction between them is what I have tried to point out: that a lost soul need not necessarily be a black magician. It is merely one which, because of an inherent weakness, prefers the realms of matter to the realms of spirit, and therefore is attracted to the realms of matter and goes to pieces — instead of going to peace as the successfully evolving human monads or souls do.
Mrs. Edith Norman — Will you elaborate what you said before: as the animals will do in the fourth round?
G. de P. — Yes. I was referring there to the fact of the door into the human kingdom having closed at the middle of the fourth round; and this midpoint was reached during the middle of the fourth great subrace of the fourth root-race. This is another way of saying that those animal monads which had not at that time become more or less humanized through bringing out of themselves the innate human faculties and powers, would have to wait until the next planetary chain is formed before they could enter the human kingdom. For the remainder of all the life of this planetary chain, that is for the next three and a half rounds, no beast for these reasons will enter the human kingdom, with the single exception of the apes and perhaps a few of the higher simians or monkeys; and the apes only for the reason that you have read of in The Secret Doctrine, to wit, that they contain certain elements of humanity in them due to the sin of the mindless, but yet human beings of the early third root-race, indeed of the later third for that matter. Then certain unevolved or savage peoples of the fourth root-race repeated the crime with the descendants of the first crime; and it was this later crime, this time committed with relatively full consciousness, which brought forth the ancestors of the apes. This last occurred during the Eocene or possibly the early Miocene periods of geology.
Mr. Arie Goud — Seeing that the anthropoids, at least some of them, in the course of this life cycle or manvantara will enter the human kingdom; and, further, as we are told that several millions of human beings will at the time of choice in the fifth round fail and become suspended from evolutionary advancement until the next planetary life cycle: must we conclude that these apes have a better chance than those future human beings have?
G. de P. — This is a new and very thoughtful question. My impression is that they will have more chance of making a proper decision for continuing their evolution than others in whom the kama-manas will be more highly developed, for the reason that they are innocent. You see, the element in the human being that makes him take the wrong path is the mixture of mind and desire, kama-manas. Now if the apes attain humanity, enter the human kingdom, towards the end of this round, which is what our Masters, or at least some of them, believe will be the case, they will then be relatively innocent of the great load of past karmic evildoing that many humans even now are burdened with. Therefore they will be like little children who, because of their relative innocence, will enter even where saints may go, to speak in a Christian way of phrasing; and thus will pass the guardians who would refuse to permit ordinary human beings who have lived a not very good life to enter.
I should also add that when the time of choice comes in the fifth round, it will be a choice on a far higher plane of intellectuality than was the choice which took place in this round at the middle point of the fourth root-race when the door into the human kingdom closed. During the fifth round the time of choice means that it will be then and there decided for all this present maha-manvantara whether or not the monads will choose the right-hand path of continued spiritualization through to the end of the seventh round; or whether the call of matter will be so strong that they will in choosing take the left-hand path, and thus prove their incapacity or inability to follow the path of spirit along the ascending arc. If they take the left-hand path or the path of matter, then during the remainder of the fifth round they will gradually die out because they will be unable to keep in with the procession advancing steadily upwards in spiritualization. In so dying out they will enter as it were a quasi-nirvana in which such egos will have to remain until the next planetary chain, when they will then have their new chances and really form the most progressed human elements, or at least one of the families of the most progressed humans, in the evolution of the new planetary chain.
It is a most unusual question that you have asked, and it shows that Brother Arie has thought profoundly upon this theme. May I also say in this connection, as it seems to be of interest to you: when the apes, and possibly some of the higher simians, attain the human stage towards the end of our round, which means on this fourth globe D, this does not mean that they will then be the equals of the humanity of that time. Much to the contrary. They will then be like savage-men, pure savage-men, but of a simple, unspotted type, with relatively little evil karma weighing upon them. It is really very difficult to describe all this because it is an attempt to describe something that is as yet unknown on earth today, and will happen only millions upon millions of years hence, during the sixth and seventh root-races on this globe in this round.
But if you can imagine a race of savages living in the Age of Saturn, in the so-called Saturnian period of innocence and simplicity, relatively unburdened by sin and relatively unstained by a heavy load of evil karma, who will in addition be the willing slaves, almost the automatic slaves, of the genuine humanity of that time — then perhaps you will get some idea of what I am trying to picturate for you. If the apes and the higher simians actually attain the human stage during this round, they will from that moment begin to increase and multiply — of course within the limits of the comparatively small number of monads which at the present time we may call the ape monads. All the other beasts now on earth, or rather their future descendants, will slowly die out before this round on this globe reaches its end, for the simple reason that the beasts will not be able to rise along the ascending arc during the sixth and seventh root-races of this globe.
I am afraid that the millions who will perish when the moment of choice comes on this earth during the fourth root-race of the fifth round on globe D will be those human unprogressed races who live on the earth today, and which we of the more progressed families of the human species call the savage tribes of our times. This is the conclusion that I have come to. Of course, there will doubtless be also large numbers of the less progressed monads even in our own superior humanity today, I mean even among Europeans and Asiatics, who will also fail to make the proper choice. For obvious reasons it is extremely difficult to draw hard and fast divisions as to which ones will and which ones will not succeed in passing the critical period of choice during the fifth round. But certain it is that millions of humans will fail to make the choice, fail to take the right-hand path, fail to continue in evolving spirituality and thus successfully evolving upwards along the ascending arc, during the fifth round.
Yet, as you know, and you must never forget it, there is in the beast everything that a man has: every monadic center of consciousness, all the upadhis, the "bases," all the energies, from the superdivine down to subterrestrial realms. The beast has them all, but in man some of them have become awakened, some of them are more or less active; while in the beast these particular faculties are not yet awakened, not yet active. The fire of self-consciousness is beginning to work in man, whereas in the beast there is no real self-consciousness, that is to say no reflective consciousness. The apes are the only possible exception; and among the apes even today there are a few fugitive signs that a low grade of human, a very low grade of quasi-human, elementals — which means the highest types of beast verging into the human state — are incarnating in the apes; possibly also in the highest of the monkeys. As you see, it is virtually utterly impossible to draw a hard and fast line.
Mr. Barker — This question of choice, G. de P., must depend almost entirely upon that which our hearts and minds are set and concentrated on, more than anything else. Therefore it is almost the most important, at least one of the most important, doctrines that we can possibly think about; because our own future progress absolutely depends on it, and because by it we create our opportunities for tomorrow.
G. de P. — That is absolutely right, Trevor; and not only our own future opportunities, but the future opportunities likewise of those whom we meet can be and are affected adversely or for good by us. We do not live unto ourselves alone. I think that we humans do not realize the tremendous influence that we have on each other for good or for evil, that is the constant play of suggestion and counter-suggestion which in many cases may almost decide the future fate of a soul. Indeed, Trevor, it was just this thought that I had in mind a few moments ago when I was referring to a quotation from the Vedic Commentator, Yaska: Whatever an entity — divinity or devata, it says, but the word nevertheless applies to every entity, because the inmost part of us, the divine in us, belongs to the higher deva kingdom — whatever an entity longs for continuously, that very thing the entity becomes.
Mr. H. Oosterink — Is not imagination the best faculty for growth?
G. de P. — The imagination, dear Oosterink, can lift us or abase us, can lift us to the gods, because it is a part of the working of the karanopadhi, the "causal organ" in us, that which causes us to do things. A part of it is the picture-making faculty, called the imagination; and I suppose that most human beings do evil more from the cultivation of evil in the mind by indulging in evil pictures and in wrong thoughts than from any other cause. It is the evil picturing in our minds which we allow to affect us that sends us down. Similarly it is the imaging or imagining of beautiful things, the picturing of great and sublime ideas, scenes, pictures, frames of thought, in our mind, which raises us.
Mr. Barker — Isn't it largely the desire to achieve, to reach union with that upon which our heart is set, which brings our will into operation?
G. de P. — Quite correct.
Mr. Oosterink — What is the cause of imagination, or what causes man to use the faculty of imagination which makes us seek either the higher or the lower? It is not the will, is it?
G. de P. — No, I would not say that will is the cause of our desire to go higher; but will is the instrument with which we carve our way, shape or make our way. We determine to do a thing because the karanopadhi within us, of which the imagination is one of the faculties, is continuously working through us and giving us ideas or impulses in ideation; and it is this ideation which arouses and stimulates the will, and the will is a function of the higher manas.
Let me tell you something, Companions. It is the buddha in us, the working of the buddhi principle in us, which makes a man a human Christ or a human Buddha, what we might call a human god. It is the working of the kama-manas in us, contrariwise, which sends us down unless it be strictly controlled and guided upwards. Now if we can successfully control the kama-manas, then we take the reins of a splendid driving power — we have a splendid source of energy which we can use. But the cause of our rising is a yearning in the higher part of us to return to its own native higher spiritual realms. The pilgrim wandering in these lower realms of matter longs to return to its spiritual home. This is the real meaning of the Christian New Testament story of the prodigal son who fed on the husks that the swine eat, until one day he said to himself: "I will arise and go to my Father." The prodigal son or wandering pilgrim is thereafter possessed with a divine nostalgia or homesickness for its own spiritual realms; and from that moment the pilgrim begins to rise.
I will add more. I will say that the faculty or essence of individuality, the monadic core of us, lies in the buddhi principle. It is in the working of the buddhi principle that lies our power to extricate our consciousness, to use hpho-wa, that is to project the mayavi-rupa. The buddhi principle has been insufficiently studied by our students, doubtless because in our books it has been insufficiently described. The reason is that it is a principle difficult to understand, and its study really belongs to the esoteric cycles of our thought.
I have read in some of our exoteric books that the kama principle is the principle which sends us down. That is not exactly true, because it gives the idea that the kama principle is essentially evil and born of matter, and this idea is wholly false. The kama principle has a divine side as well as what we humans call an evil side. To put it even more truly, kama is a principle which must be used — but used properly. It gives us the driving power that we need self-consciously to advance in wisdom and in development. For instance, the very yearning of the prodigal son or wandering pilgrim to return to its Father arises out of the working of the kama in the buddhi, that is to say that part of the buddhi septenary which is kama-buddhi.
[The sounding of the gong. Silence.]
Meeting 36 Supplement