G. de P. — Before calling for questions tonight, I want to refer to a matter which I think was brought up at a recent KTMG meeting here. It was a question asked of me concerning the nature of the avatara. I regret that this matter of the avatara — its nature, character, and destiny — does not seem to have been understood.
Now, the avatara, considered as a divine-human being or quasi-human being or as a god-man, although the product of an act of supreme white magic, nevertheless is a purely natural occurrence in the Law. In a very important particular, the avatara is a sporadic instance or occurrence of the same fact of evolutionary progress that the descent or incarnation of the manasaputras was during the third root-race. The difference is this: that the avatara is an avant coureur, a forerunner, of what is in the distant future to be a very common event. Precisely as the manasaputras or sons of mind enlightened the imperfect, waiting vehicles of the mankind of the third root-race, so do these forerunners, the avataras, divinely enlighten individual grand human beings, who automatically thereby become of the number of the greatest of the teachers of the human race.
I wonder if this explanation will help those who have found difficulty in understanding just what an avatara is. It is in a very real sense of the word a repetition in an individual case of what the incarnation of the manasaputras was in the general. It is a particular and nobler and higher instance of the same rule. As the manasaputras enlightened, inspired, gave understanding and self-consciousness to, the imperfect and waiting vehicles in the third root-race, so the avatara is a case where an individual human being receives not merely intellectual light, illumination, and self-consciousness, but divine light, divine illumination, and divine self-consciousness.
In the far-distant future, the avatara-phenomenon will no longer be a sporadic and unusual event, but will be a common phenomenon. In times still more remote, practically every one of the then glorious humanity of the future will be in a certain sense an avatara. The incarnation of the manasaputras or sons of mind raised the imperfect mankind of that time from the dream state into self-consciousness and intellectual activity with a strong gleam of spiritual light as their guiding star; but the humanity of the far-distant future will all be avataras in the sense that the same phenomenon will be repeated, but will be repeated by the divine part of the then human being instead of the intellectual part. Thus the avataras when appearing among us today are forerunners of what will happen to the general humanity in the future. Do you understand that general idea?
Many Voices — Yes.
G. de P. — That is fine. Do not forget, however, that the avatara today can be only when the human essence of a buddha lends itself as the purest possible human vehicle, as the intermediate link between the waiting divinity and the human body-vehicle. There is thus a difference between the avatara of today and what will take place in the future, but the difference today is one of arrangement due to the psychomental loan of his self-consciousness on the part of the buddha. The whole question is a very difficult and intricate one, and should be carefully studied from the hints here given.
Now I am ready for questions.
Student — What is the relation of the monad to the manasaputras? I became a little confused at our last study class and have been waiting to ask you.
G. de P. — The monad is a divine spark — spark is a name. It does not mean that it actually is a spark of some fire, but that it is an atom of the cosmic consciousness, a spark of the cosmic fire, a ray of the cosmic fire. In its bosom resides a germ, a seed, which is the fruitage of the consciousness, somewhat as the acorn is of the oak on earth, of an individualized entity of the preceding great manvantara. This germ is its own ray, its own child. This germ or ray is a manasaputra. When the proper time comes, the manasaputra, this germ or seed, enters into or rather overshadows an imperfect being to which it is karmically attracted by the life-atoms forming that imperfect being, for these life-atoms are the life-atoms that it used in the former great manvantara; and it is in this way that the incarnation of the manasaputra in that particular vehicle — man, imperfect man — takes place.
As I have pointed out many times, man is a composite entity. He is formed of many things. He has a divine root, the monad. He has a spiritual consciousness — his own highest self, his own highest self-consciousness. He has also his human consciousness; and likewise he has his animal consciousness. They all work through the vital-astral-physical body. This stream of consciousness with its different "colors" makes a full or complete man. You cannot separate these colors or principles except for convenience of thought into the human and the spiritual and the divine.
But here is the wonder of it all: each part of the human being lower than the monad is destined in its turn to become a monad by bringing out from within the core of the core of its own being the divine faculties latent therein, because latent in every mathematical point of the universe. Also in several maha-manvantaras hence our monad will be a super-monad, a super-divinity. The intellectual part will then have become a monad or a divinity; the human part will have become the spiritual part; the animal part will have become the human part; and the atoms, that is, the life-atoms, of the lower vehicles in their turn will have moved up a grade or two or three. Do you understand? Man is a host; he is a legion — each one of us is such. Pray try to get the idea.
There is not in the human being a unitary, everlasting, immortal soul. If such existed, it would exist forever. But everything is growing, changing its status, its condition, its grade — in other words going higher. From atom it becomes soul; from soul it becomes spirit; from a spirit it becomes a god; from a god it becomes something else still more sublime. And this becoming is altogether and wholly from within, just as a seed grows, pouring out from the core of itself what is locked up within. Even in physical things the rule is the same. Thus it is that the acorn produces the oak. It is thus that the apple-seed produces the apple tree; and thus it is that the human being produces the monad and the monad the god and the god a super-god — in each instance the growth or evolution flowing forth from within. Therefore the monad is the parent; the manasaputra is the child because it is a monadic ray. It is an atom of the monad, a spark of the monadic fire. In our higher human consciousness, in other words in our spiritual consciousness, we are manasaputras.
Is the answer responsive? Does it clarify your thought?
Student — Yes, thank you.
G. de P. — You have something more in mind. You do not fully understand yet.
Student — Well, I cannot quite see the relation of the monad that is traveling through all the different experiences, through the mineral, the vegetable, and the animal kingdoms — I mean is there a difference between the human monad and the monad that travels through the different kingdoms?
G. de P. — Why, certainly; but it is not a difference in essence. It is a difference in evolution, and hence we give them different names. Every entity is a stream of consciousness which in its higher parts is divine, which in its intermediate parts descends — descends? no — becomes, spiritual, human, animal, astral, physical. But it is the one stream of consciousness; and this stream of consciousness like a river is formed of drops so to say; or just as a block of stone is formed of atoms or just as your body is formed of atoms. They are all you, and yet each one is an entity.
Now, in a more definite way of dividing the human being, not as just said into a host of life-atoms, but into parts more easily understood — we have the divine part, the spiritual part, the human part, the astral part, and the physical part; and each part pursues its own peregrinations in its own appropriate and corresponding sphere of life. Do you understand now?
Student — Yes, thank you.
G. de P. — No, I don't think you do. Your voice shows it very plainly. You speak of the mineral monad. That phrase does not mean that the divine monad drops down into earth and becomes a stone — not at all. The phrase mineral monad merely means that particular ray of the stream which, passing through that phase of its long evolutionary journey, is a stone, a particle of stone. It is therefore called the mineral monad. That particular ray of the divine monad which is passing through the human stage is called a human monad. It does not mean that it is different in essence from the divine monad. It means that it is a ray from it, an atom of it, a droplet of the stream of consciousness. But that droplet also is evolving, because every mathematical point of the universe has all the potentialities in it to become a god.
You see that your mind is crystallized into the Christian soul-idea of an everlasting soul. I have just told you that there is no such thing. It is a dream. It is an imagination. You are a stream of consciousness, composed of drops, if you like. Do you now understand a little better?
Student — Yes, I understand.
G. de P. — I hope so. At least I hope that I have given you an idea to think about.
Student — It is the idea of the drop from the spiritual consciousness passing through all these phases, itself becoming consciousness.
G. de P. — Yes, you can put it in that way. It actually is consciousness; but its consciousness at first is diffused. It has not reached the point of inner development where it evolves or becomes self-consciousness or a manasaputra. That manasaputra in its turn will develop, will bring forth from within its own heart, from the core of its being, something still higher; and thus it will attain what we may call divine consciousness thus becoming a divine atom. That is a monad. And that monad in its turn is growing, and also is continuously throwing forth from within itself other streams of consciousness.
Forget the idea of the everlasting personal soul and you will understand the teaching about the stream of consciousness. You are not two consecutive instants of time the same being. You are changing all the time. But as evolutionary change is slow, you have the illusion of being the same being for a few short months or years. You have changed since you were a child, both in feeling and in consciousness, actually changed.
Now, instead of taking a few short months or years, think of many billions and trillions and quadrillions and quintillions of years — which are nothing in eternity — and imagine how you will have changed in this time. Not merely still being what you are now only bigger, but radically changed, having become greater, virtually universal, instead of a mere human consciousness on earth.
Student — Thank you very much.
Student — Does not what you say imply that all immortality is conditional; that there is no stopping, and that what is commonly called immortality depends upon our continual ability to advance?
G. de P. — True.
Student — Each stage of consciousness that we attain to takes up into itself the lower stage, at which, if we had stopped, death would ensue. That is perhaps rather crudely expressed, but I look upon death as an arrest of progress; and we are all compelled to advance continually or be failures.
G. de P. — That is true. Please remember that immortality is a relative term. If you were forever immortal as you are now, you would not advance; you would be eternally immovable. If you changed a particle, then you would not be immortal. Don't you see? Therefore, there is no immortal soul, no immortal entity within you. There is no such thing. Everything is changing, moving, growing, enlarging.
And furthermore, in one sense of the word everything is immortal. The word may be used according to the point of view. When one speaks of individual droplets always remaining the same, the reference here is to the essence of the droplets, which, so far as the material world is concerned, remains through enormous periods of time practically the same. We have here a paradox: nothing is immortal in the absolute sense; everything is immortal in its divine essence because it is fundamentally a droplet in the cosmic consciousness; but as even the cosmic consciousness is evolving, therefore we cannot call even it absolutely immortal in unchanging identity.
A life-atom becomes — let us say evolves to become — a beast, which merely means that it brings forth from within itself its own interior fires passing through the beast phase. It might say: "I want to be immortal as a beast." Poor thing! Similarly the human being says: "I want to be immortal as a man. That is what my heart craves for." It wants to remain an immortal human being. Poor thing!
No! There is no such immortality simply because there is continual growth. And this is the secret meaning of our Lord the buddha, when he said: "There is no immortal soul; for each entity is the reincarnation or rather the reimbodiment of its Karma" — meaning itself. You yourself are an imbodied karma, not only of the second last past, and of the year last past, and of the life last past, but of the manvantara last past.
Student — May it be because there has been lost to the Western world at any rate the knowledge of these higher reaches of spiritual development, that this idea of immortality has taken hold?
G. de P. — I think so. I think that you are quite right. I know nothing that so beclouds spiritual vision as the concentration of the attention on human immortality — what human beings think they imagine when they speak of immortality, which in all cases means remaining identic as you are now, or, as some say, growing but remaining identic. There is no such thing. You are growing, you are advancing, you are expanding. If you remained identic two consecutive seconds of time, you would not have grown in that small period.
Who wants to be immortal as he now is? I don't. But what we know to take place is an ever expanding consciousness, always becoming something greater, something newer, something finer, something nobler.
Student — We have been told that we are sons of the sun, and the expression has been used, the parent-star. Now, if there is a parent-star, we are children of parent-stars. Is the avatara — this extraordinary, natural, spiritual, phenomenon — occurring as you say in a sporadic way at first —
G. de P. — At present, yes.
Student — Is that an earnest of the glorious state of consciousness that is to be the destiny of the advancing humans when they shall have realized not only the consciousness of themselves as sons of the sun, but as children of the parent-star?
G. de P. — It is. Miss -----, did I hand to you three questions written on a slip of paper? The questions asked thereon are so closely akin to what has just been spoken of, that I am going to ask you to fetch me that slip of paper.
Student — May I say that I meant this in line with the idea about immortality: that as our ideas of what is ahead on these higher reaches of spiritual attainment come home to us, the idea of immortality in the old sense actually fades into insignificance. That is what I meant by my question.
G. de P. — That is perfectly true; and Jesus the Syrian also had this in mind when he said: "If ye would find your life, lose it." You must lose your life to find it. You must lose your human consciousness if you would find the divine consciousness. It is this human consciousness which we have which prevents us from advancing more rapidly than we do, because we concentrate on it, thinking that we have no other consciousness. Now, initiation is a short-cut to recognizing the higher consciousness. Do you understand that?
Many Voices — Yes.
Student — May I express the thought that came to me (while you have been answering these questions) in connection with one of the most remarkable quotations, in my estimation, in The Secret Doctrine, from the Commentary, where it says that the thread of radiance will emerge in its integrity when the great Law calls all things back into existence? And in connection with this idea of immortality, let us consider ourselves from day to day: what I am today is not immortal; it will be different tomorrow. But the thread of radiance has passed over through the night; the thread of radiance has passed over through an incarnation — the stream of consciousness continues. Yet there is continual growth, and that thread of radiance from the very heart of the universe is that which emerges. Is this correct?
G. de P. — It is absolutely correct, perfect; and this thread of radiance looked at from the consciousness standpoint is the same as what I have told you before in drawing the distinction between the "I am" — the same in all of us — and the "I am I" — different in each one of us: John Jones, Will Brown, Sarah Thomas, and so forth. This "I am" is the same in all of us. It is the thread of divine-spiritual radiance. And it will grow more splendidly manifest as the aeons pass. It will grow brighter with each change that we make upwards. But if you want to have immortality, then you must stop somewhere and be immortal in that condition, because if it changes it is not immortal. Do you see? If you understand me, then you will see that immortality cannot be attained because there is no such thing, due to the constant and eternally unceasing advance in evolutionary growth.
Student — I think you have given what to me is a most illuminating conception of the distinction between the "I am I" and the "I am," and it answers the great question that most people have in regard to reincarnation. They say: "I don't want to be somebody else." They want the "I am I" which they know in this incarnation to continue forever. Now, that "I am I" does not continue and does not appear again; but the "I am" continues from incarnation to incarnation.
G. de P. — Correct; but remember this, that the former "I am I," the former ego, has gone forever, because you have advanced into a larger ego. Nevertheless the karma of that former ego, that former "I am I," is so like the one that has gone before it that it is almost the same, the difference between the two being very small; and the reason is that evolutionary growth is slow. Therefore, we can properly speak of the reincarnating ego as the same man as he was in the last life, with just the difference that he has grown a little larger, grown a little different, and therefore not absolutely the same because it has changed, however small that change may be. Instead of thinking of a few years or of one life, think of millions and billions of years, and accumulate the changes in your imaginative consciousness. You will then see that man in the distant future, due to the reincarnations leading up to that distant future, will be quite different in consciousness from what he is today, individually and collectively.
Student — These reaches of the future stimulate my imagination. I would like to ask this. The earth is going around the sun. That is one sign that we are moving on; and we have this relation to the sun. But the sun is going around something else — there is a greater system. Is there, at the present time, the seed of the consciousness of ourselves in that greater cycle?
G. de P. — Certainly.
Student — Has the avatara to do with that?
G. de P. — In a way, yes; but you have involved so many things in what you have said that I don't like to answer with a brief yes and no. An adequate answer would require a long explanation. Therefore I say: in a way it does.
Now, will my secretary kindly read the three questions that I called for a few moments ago. These questions pertain more or less to the same matters that you have spoken of; and I think that my answers will throw some light on the subjects of thought involved. You have three questions there, have you not? Please read the first one.
Secretary (Reading) — "When that part of our galaxy known as our solar system has reached the end of its cosmic evolution when the present maha-kalpa ends, will our humanity thereafter continue its evolutionary course on another of the (seven?) solar systems of which our galaxy consists?"
G. de P. — In the first place, there are many more solar systems than seven in our own home-universe; and the entities reaching their culmination of evolution at the end of the present evolution of our own solar system will continue in the reimbodiment of that same solar system, when that reimbodiment occurs. Is this thought clear?
Many Voices — Yes.
G. de P. — The same cosmic law works in solar systems that works in the smaller range of a planetary manvantara. But there is this difference between the two, or rather not a difference, but this thought to add: that while the entities belonging to any one solar system belong to it as a family, begin with it at the beginning of any maha-kalpa, and end with it at the end of that maha-kalpa, nevertheless, in the interim, that is in the long trillions of years between the beginning and the end of the maha-kalpa, the entities belonging to that solar system as individuals have outer rounds, and pass from solar system to solar system in these larger outer rounds.
Please remember that I have spoken to you before about inner rounds and outer rounds so far as our own globe, and so far as the planets of our own solar system are concerned. Now the same rule occurs on a larger sweep in the case of solar systems.
These questions really touch upon so many things, all of deep interest, and at the same time are intuitions of things I cannot speak of, so that I am faced with a difficulty in trying to give a satisfactory answer. If anyone does not understand the general drift of the thought, please speak before we go to the next question, because it is my duty, as far as I can do so, to answer all your questions.
Student — I simply did not follow it. I lost it about half way.
G. de P. — Well, let me see. I do not blame anyone for having difficulty in understanding. This teaching is exceedingly difficult to follow, because the thought is so new to us Occidentals.
Let us take as an illustration of the meaning of the teaching, the cases of the planets of a solar system — our own planet, for instance, our planet earth. The monads forming the earth's family, as you know, pass seven times around the seven globes, each such passage being called a round. After seven such rounds the planetary manvantara ends, and all the entities go into their nirvana. But during this time-period of seven planetary rounds, during each round, the entities nevertheless have outer rounds as well as these inner rounds; these outer rounds being cases where entities pass to other planets of the solar system. Do you catch that thought?
Many Voices — Yes.
G. de P. — Now, all our planets and all the vast armies of entities belonging to a solar system have their own life cycles within that solar system — our own solar system, for instance; and they remain with our solar system from its beginning to its end. But during this long time period from the beginning to the end of the solar system, they have also outer rounds carrying them to other solar systems. Any individual monad, for instance, passes from solar system to solar system and back to the first solar system again. Do you understand that?
Student — Yes.
G. de P. — That is the main idea.
Student — Do these outer rounds that the monad makes take place between incarnations, or at other times?
G. de P. — Do you mean now with regard to the planetary rounds?
Student — I am talking simply about the planets. I think if that were clearly understood, these larger things would be clearer.
G. de P. — The outer rounds are followed by the monad between incarnations of a reincarnating ego. That answer is responsive, is it not?
Student — Thank you, yes.
Student — That almost answered the question that I was going to ask. It was, whether our education still went on during the outer rounds as well as on this planet.
G. de P. — Oh, certainly, if you refer to the monads. The monad is sleepless during its own life cycle. It emerges from nirvana, has its period of active manifestation, of being awake. Then at the end of its life cycle it re-enters its paranirvana only to reissue forth again when the time comes for it to do so. And the reincarnating ego which is a ray of the monad merely repeats the same thing in its turn; for nature, in all its parts, great and small, follows grooves of action, that is to say lines of least resistance, habit in other words. This is the meaning of the Hermetic axiom: "As above, so below." What is here on earth is simply the mirroring of what takes place in spiritual realms. What the great does, the small does in its own small cyclic periods of manifestation; but the evolving entities are learning all the time, always growing, always changing, always advancing.
Now, the next of the three questions, please.
Secretary (Reading) — "Are these higher solar systems the higher spheres, spoken of in The Secret Doctrine, from which 'the Serpents redescended, taught, and instructed our present humanity'?"
G. de P. — No, the higher spheres spoken of in this quotation from The Secret Doctrine are the higher spheres of our present solar system, but not of the other solar systems forming our home-universe. Remember, our home-universe means all that is included within the bounds of our Milky Way, the galaxy. These serpents spoken of are the large hierarchy of the manasaputras, for the manasaputras themselves form a hierarchy containing ranges of entities: the greatest, the intermediate, and the less great, just as you see it all in men, great men, ordinary men — manifestations of the power of the manasaputric forces. The gods follow the same rule: supergods, intermediate gods, lower gods, demigods, men, animals, vegetation, minerals, and the three elemental kingdoms.
The next and last of the three questions.
Secretary (Reading) — "Do our monads according to their evolution, belong to one or another of these solar systems?"
G. de P. — Yes, they do. They belong to our solar system, because they are involved with this solar system. Now, I am going to confuse you a little again, I am afraid; but it cannot be helped. There is an advantage in it because it makes you think. Each monad of the hosts of monads belonging to our solar system nevertheless has its own parent-sun.
Go into a great city of our country, of any country. You will see a multitude of men and women come from the four quarters of the earth. They all belong to that city. They are citizens of that city. Nevertheless they come from the four quarters of the earth, and from outlying cities and towns and villages. Their home places are where they were born; but they are all gathered together for the time being in the one metropolis. That is the idea. All the hosts of entities belonging to our solar system are here, are gathered here together, because they are attracted together by similarity of evolutionary type and destiny. A similar attraction draws men to the great cities.
Nevertheless, considered distributively — that is, as individuals — each monad has its own parent-star of which it is an atom, a spiritual atom, wandering on its peregrinations and transmigrations through the mansions of life, in this case the solar systems. Think of the sublime outlook that this gives to you! Do you see the wonder and the beauty of it? Do you see how it stimulates the thought and imagination?
Student — One of the companions in asking a question mentioned that our earth is going around the sun and that the sun is revolving around something else. What is this something else, and what does it belong to?
G. de P. — Another sun. The something else is another sun. Suns go around suns just as planets go around the sun; and the central sun is not of necessity a physical sun, either.
Student — May I continue a question? In speaking about passing to the outer spheres, is the entity limited in the passing to the plane on which the individual has incarnated? For instance, I mean that we are now on the manasic plane. In passing to these outer spheres, is this journey confined entirely to the manasic plane of the outer spheres? Am I clear?
G. de P. — You are clear; but I want to make myself a little more clear. Are you speaking of the monad or of the reincarnating ego?
Student — I am speaking of the reincarnating ego. As I understand it, during the manvantaric life the reincarnating ego can pass to the outer spheres, as once said, between incarnations. Well, being on the manasic plane now, is that passing limited to the manasic plane of the outer spheres?
G. de P. — I think you have misunderstood the answer.
Student — I am mixed.
G. de P. — Yes. It is the monad that makes the outer rounds. I have told you before that the reincarnating ego at the death of its body at the end of that physical incarnation is withdrawn into the bosom of the monad, and there it passes its devachanic rest. But it is the monad which follows these outer rounds. Let me tell you something more: any monad has a host of reincarnating egos resting in its bosom (this is but an expression, you understand, "resting in its bosom" — it is a figure of speech). In other words, the sun, which is the expression of a solar monad, withdraws into itself its armies of sunbeams which thus typify the reincarnating egos leaving and returning to the parent monad. That is the idea. Do you understand me?
Many Voices — Yes.
Student — We understand that the earth's orbit is an ellipse and that the sun is in one focus of that ellipse. What is in the other focus? Is there any center of forces in the other?
G. de P. — No. No, there is not — at least none that I could speak of.
Student — In the January  number of The Theosophical Path in your article you speak of the seven planets and the earth and the sacred planets. That, of course, is not the planetary chain. But that makes eight planets. I have been very much interested and puzzled over that. Are those seven planets the planets of the outer ring? How is it that the eight comes in? That includes, I presume, the moon in the seven?
G. de P. — It does, as a substitute planet only, just as the sun is used as a substitute planet, because one of the planets (and this will amaze you) is near the moon and the other planet is near the sun. The reference there is indeed connected with the outer rounds. The earth, in fact all the seven globes of the earth-chain, are builded each one — or rather the building of each one of the globes of the earth-chain is supervised — by one of the other planets. Consequently there will be seven planets building the seven globes of our earth-chain. Our earth-chain thus becomes the eighth. Do you understand? And our earth in its evolution helps to build one of the globes of some other planetary chain. Do you understand?
Student — Yes.
Student — This other sun around which our sun is moving: does it belong to another planetary chain?
G. de P. — No, no. The great sun — you may call it a raja-sun, or king-sun — around which our sun is circulating, belongs to a chain of its own, a solar-chain. There are seven suns to every sun, if you understand me. Every sun that you see has six companion globes. Seven suns form it, of which we see only the physical sun. There are countless multitudes of suns in space that our physical eyes do not see at all. They belong to superior — or inferior — spheres or realms or worlds, invisible therefore.
Student — There were two matters which interested me. The first refers to the moon. If I understand it aright, the earth-chain is one grade higher than was the moon-chain. And therefore we see with the physical eyes not the physical globe of the moon-chain, but its kama-rupa. Now, if it is the kama-rupa phantom of the fourth globe of the moon-chain that we see, it is on the astral plane of the moon-chain, or what used to be the moon-chain. Now, if that is so, that astral plane of the moon-chain that was had two globes, two globes immediately superior to the then physical moon. Why don't we see three bodies?
G. de P. — You confuse the kama-rupa of the moon that was with the two globes on the cosmical plane immediately superior to the physical body of the moon that was. The two moons next above the physical moon that was, and is now no more, existed on a cosmical plane higher than even our present kama-rupic moon exists on. Do you understand?
Student — Well, in other words, the kama-rupic phantom of the physical moon is merely on a superior subplane of the physical plane of the moon-chain, but not on the next superior cosmic plane?
G. de P. — That is it exactly.
Student — In your first General Letter you spoke about Master KH as having come to you here. Now, some time ago in one of these meetings a comrade asked you something about the Masters and you gave us a most wonderful informal talk about them, which really was not an answer to a question; but you told us many wonderful things about them. Now, would it be possible to hear something more about this meeting with the Master which you referred to in the first General Letter?
G. de P. — What would you like to know?
Student — You referred especially to the fact that you were shown the future of the Theosophical Society and what was to be expected. Can any further elucidation be given in regard to this point?
G. de P. — Yes, I can speak briefly — and vaguely. I do not know whether you will be satisfied at all. By being shown the future, I did not mean that the Master brought a picture or a photograph of the future; but that, in the course of the talk and in the course of the instructions that I received then, I was given to see clearly, to understand clearly — I had a clear mental picture — of what the future in general outlines was to be, if I would do certain things. Do you see the point?
Student — Yes.
G. de P. — Is the answer responsive?
Student — To a certain extent.
Student — I would like to ask, from an evolutionary point of view, what is the relation of the manasaputras to our Masters?
G. de P. — The question is a very general one, Doctor. You might say: what is the relation of the manasaputras to the average human being? The answer would be the same. Average human beings manifest those manasaputras who incarnated later than others. The Masters, the buddhas, manifest the splendid powers of those manasaputras who belonged to the most advanced part of the manasaputric host who first incarnated in early humanity. Do you understand?
Student — Yes.
Student — I was very much impressed — I think we all were — with what you have told us about the fact that we are not immortal, that we are a stream of consciousness.
G. de P. — Not immortal as persons.
Student — As persons, yes; but that the immortality that we have been believing in in a certain brain-mind sense does not exist. But in accordance with this new light, this new knowledge, we find a great deal more explained than hitherto has been the case about immortality in the public utterances of the teachers; and I have two questions. For instance, Madame Tingley has often answered, when people would ask: "What is theosophy?" "Theosophy is based upon the immortality of the soul." Was that for the public in order to fit the public for the higher knowledge? And my second question is: what is the reason? I can understand why many teachers —
G. de P. — May I answer one question at a time? KT was an esotericist through and through. As such, she would not under any circumstances give out esoteric teachings to the public. The real explanation of this whole immortality subject is an esoteric one, and is not fit for the public, who simply could not make head nor tail of it. So our beloved Katherine Tingley always used simple language, the simplest language that she could think of, language that people had been accustomed to, in order to give them hope, in order to lead them inwards, to lead them upwards, to train them. There is the whole answer to your question.
Student — We all know that many doctrines are not given out because it would be dangerous; that they would be misused and harm would be done. But are there other reasons why this truth about the stream of consciousness was not given out? Is it because people could not understand it, or are there other reasons still? I cannot quite see how it could be misused. Perhaps I should not ask this question.
G. de P. — Your question is all right. You have put your finger right on the point, I think, whence the explanation begins. There are really two general explanations. First, as you have hinted or pointed out, the public could not understand, could not make head nor tail out of it. They would not be interested. And the second is that the teaching about this stream of consciousness, once you understand it, is an open sesame to great mysteries. It is a wonderful key. If you once get the understanding of it, things will flow into your mind that belong to higher teachings. These truths are yours if you can take them. They belong to you. They are your heritage by natural right. But you must take them yourself. I will tell you plainly that our theosophical doctrines in their esoteric aspect can lead to two things: one is supreme light, and the other is insanity or black magic. Now, that is the truth.
And this implies nothing against the theosophical teachings themselves. It is simply that people who are not prepared to go into a chemical laboratory (to use our old illustration) and play with the chemicals and explosives there ought to be kept out. Furthermore, anyone who gives a teaching, any teacher, becomes in a very real degree, karmically responsible for what happens to those who listen to what he says and who believe it, who are convinced. Their whole life thereafter is changed.
This teaching is a very serious matter indeed. All our theosophical doctrines, such as that of the stream of consciousness and the teachings concerning the non-existence of immortality, unless they are carefully phrased, are dangerous teachings. There are men and women whose minds are so constructed that they would immediately say: "What's the use? I am nothing but a beast, after all. I go to pieces when I die and that is the end of me. What is all this palaver and talk about the karmic fruitage? I don't understand what that means. If there is nothing permanent in me, if I am not immortal, if there is nothing in me to be punished when I die, or to receive the recompense of my bad acts, why, let's go to it, and enjoy life while we can."
You understand, do you not? And these possibilities are very real. Indeed, there have been instances in the TS where this has taken place. A man who wrote in the early days of the TS a little booklet called The Elixir of Life, is an instance in point. He was an Englishman, born in India, Godolphin Mitford was his name, I think. He left the Christian Church early in life and became a Mohammedan, then an atheist, then a Roman Catholic, then met HPB and joined the TS, took the teachings, was greatly attracted by them, was convinced of their truth, but in a little while lost his moral balance, took to drink, became a Mohammedan again, then again an atheist, and finally suicided. I think that I have correctly stated the sequence of his doctrinal changes. The TS is not the only organization faced with the same problem. Are there not religious fanatics in all the churches? Look at the Church of Rome, for instance. What has it produced in the way of murderers, fanatics, people who go fanatically crazy. You understand, do you not?
Student — What makes a planet a sun? For instance, in The Voice of the Silence, it speaks of Mars and Mercury having been suns in past kalpas and that they will again be suns. Will you tell us something of how a planet becomes a sun and how it can fall from that high estate?
G. de P. — Yes, I can say a little about that. Every planet is an evolved portion or particle of the sun that was in the previous solar manvantara. Therefore it is that the Tibetan work from which HPB quotes, speaks of Migmar, Mars, as having been once a portion of a brilliant sun. When a sun reaches its term of life and dies, it disintegrates; and the portions of it become the originals of planets, and cosmic dust, meteors, and what not. But as every planetary body is an aggregate of life-atoms, it evolves just as the human being evolves. It is an aggregate of life forces.
Our own earth, for example, as an instance of a planet, in the beginning of its evolution was an ethereal planet, starry, translucent. It became coarsened and grossened, and finally reached the state of gross material existence that it has at the present time. As the rounds go forward it will henceforth grow more immaterial progressively, until it reaches the same ethereal state, more or less, that it had in the beginning. It will then die. In time its reimbodiment will be a new earth, and our earth will then be its moon. But after a number of these reimbodiments have taken place, it will have evolved to be so ethereal, so spiritualized, that it then will be on its way to become a sun again in its own turn — no longer an atom of the sun, no longer a particle or a portion of a sun, but a sun itself. Do you understand?
Student — Yes.
G. de P. — In the beginning it is a sun. It then dies, and breaks up. Its atoms, its particles, wander through space for aeons. All are sun matter; matter in its highest stage. This sun matter slowly concretes and grows material, each such particle or portion of the sun that was, and becomes a planet. A planet has its own evolutionary course from the ethereal to the physical and back to the ethereal. And after this has gone on a certain number of times, that is to say after a certain number of planetary reimbodiments have taken place, it rebecomes wholly etherealized, spiritualized again. It thus becomes a sun, so also we human beings are sons of the sun, spiritual atoms of the sun, or of some sun which is our parent-star; and we in turn shall grow from having been atoms of our parent-sun to become suns in our turn. Thus it is that the atom of the old sun in its turn becomes a new sun. You understand now, do you not?
Student — Yes, thank you.
Student — What you said a short time ago about karma — that we are in a very real sense our own karma — reminds me of that wonderful statement in the early part of The Secret Doctrine to the effect that every being in the universe is self-produced, the result of its karma.
G. de P. — Correct, absolutely correct.
Student — But that being so, what an appalling thing it is from one point of view the amount of karma we must have yet to live through. We exhaust, as Mr. Judge says, only a very small portion, a minute portion, in any one life.
G. de P. — Fortunately.
Student — And there is waiting for us when we come out of devachan, the great reach of karma.
G. de P. — And that is yourself.
Student — And so it will go on practically endlessly.
G. de P. — Unendingly.
Student — We contact our own existence, our own selves.
G. de P. — Absolutely. We are our own children. We are self-produced from the spirit within us.
Student — If once we can get this great truth, terrible as it may seem — because we all know that we have done some very bad things — we shall see that it is also our salvation.
G. de P. — Absolutely true. And let me add to what you have said, that if you did not have as an individual this eternity of karma behind you, you would not have the eternity of the future before you. You are your own production. You have made yourself in past eternities what you are now. You are continually working out old karma, also continually creating new; and this process will continue throughout infinity.
Student — And I shall always be myself.
G. de P. — Always be the self, the stream of consciousness, which is "changeless." But remember, please, that all manifested existence is mayavi, illusory really, and the only fundamental thing in the human being is this stream of consciousness self-consciously growing ever larger, brighter, clearer. And this stream is endless. If at some indefinite time in the far distant past you may choose to say you began, this beginning of course is really the middle point of eternity, so to say, for you did not begin then. You have grown to be what you are now out of the past eternity, and you will keep on growing to be something ever greater in future eternity. You will become a god; then a sun; then something still more sublime. Consider the electron in an atom of our physical earth — it also is passing, enlarging, and growing forever. Don't be afraid of the load of karma that you have accumulated and that you are passing through, because if you are afraid, you are afraid of yourself.
Student — I was going to add, if I may, this thought: that this is the immortality that I desire and that it is the only sense in which I can understand immortality.
G. de P. — Certainly, you are quite right — the immortality in spiritual selfhood. And even that is not a true immortality, because that spiritual selfhood itself is changing and growing greater, does not remain the same thing for two seconds of time.
Student — If we did not do anything, if we did not make any karma, when we became planets and suns, we should not have anything to assemble, should we?
G. de P. — Exactly, exactly, perfectly right. You would not; nor in such case would you become suns and planets. If it were possible for an evolving entity to work out its karma entirely, why, it would be all annihilated, nothing left of it — which is impossible.
Student — I wanted to ask in what part of our nature the memory inheres. What relation has it to immortality?
G. de P. — Memory inheres in every part of us. There is the atomic memory, the human memory, the spiritual memory, the divine memory, even the physical memory, considered as an aggregate of atomic memories.
Student — Then we do not lose the sense of "I-am-I-ness"?
G. de P. — Why, you lose it at every instant. You are changing at every instant.
Student — Sages and Seers remember last lives.
G. de P. — Why, yes, but it is not the "I-am-I." It is the stream of consciousness, the "I-am," the thread-consciousness, the sutratman, the thread-self, which remembers.
Student — They remember the "I" as they were in past lives.
G. de P. — Certainly they do, because it is the stream of consciousness which includes these evanescent phases called the "I am I" when alive, and when dead, "I was." Each life is like a pearl strung on a string — or, if you like, a bit of dirty coal. But everything that happens is a part of the stream of consciousness and therefore in a certain sense is deathless, indelible on the records of eternity.
Student — 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.
G. de P. — That is correct. That passage has reference to the fact that when the human being passes out of the state of human karma into the spiritual or divine, he is outside of the reach of any karma that could touch him as a human. He has left humanity, or rather the state of a human being, and has become a demigod. Human karma can no longer touch him, but spiritual karma can; because karma, please understand, is not something outside of him; it is what you yourself are. Karma means "action," "movement," whether of consciousness — fundamentally of consciousness — or of anything else.
You frequently hear the statement in the Oriental works: "To pass beyond the bonds of karma," here referring to human karma, rising out of the mire of mere physical existence, rising out of human consciousness to spiritual consciousness, where human karma no longer exists. But spiritual karma there exists. The teaching is from the standpoint of the human, you understand. And it is also a blind — true as far as it goes, but not containing all the truth. Is the answer responsive?
Student — 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. — That is it exactly. I have known people so intent upon being good that they thwarted their own objective. Don't set your mind on being good. Set your mind upon being impersonal, and you need not bother about evil or anything else; because if you are truly impersonal you will be incapable of harming or injuring any living thing. That is what the teachers are much more than we are: they are impersonal. There is much more about this teaching that I do not dare even to touch upon.
Student — Can a devachani make karma for himself while in the state of devachan? That is, is the devachani immortal while in that state? Can he make karma for himself as a devachani?
G. de P. — He cannot. No, he cannot.
Student — Then he is immortal in that state.
G. de P. — No, because he has the vast eternity of karmic results lying in the fabric of his being; and it is precisely the working of this past karma which brings the devachanic term to an end. Immortality means an immovable condition of identity enduring throughout eternity, and that is an impossibility, because we are changing and growing all the time.
Student — Then there is a constant state of change in devachan.
G. de P. — Absolutely. That is the very essence of devachan. It is like a man in a happy daydream — constant change of thought. The mind fashions to itself pictures of beauty and glory, shifting and changing all the time like the incidents in a dream, like a picture continually changing. But being devachan, it is always beautiful, it is always happy. And avichi is just the nether pole of what devachan is. It is a condition in which the consciousness is undergoing a constant succession of horrors, of miseries. You understand that, don't you?
Student — Oh, yes.
Student — What you have just said brings out something that I have wanted to know. If a man of marked ability in this life with many fine things in his nature and many evil things also, dies, do the various bundles of consciousness suffer and enjoy by themselves? What is his state?
G. de P. — Is it the state of the reincarnating ego that you are referring to?
Student — Well, I don't know. If he is dissipated, if these bundles of consciousness separate at death, and the higher part of him goes off to enjoy itself, and the evil part suffers, are the enjoyment and the suffering two separate things?
G. de P. — Certainly.
Student — So, does the thing average up?
G. de P. — Remember, Doctor, that the human being is a composite entity, composed of a divine, a spiritual, a human, an astral, and a physical portion or portions, all these together working, and thus making the full or complete man while in incarnation. Now, when death supervenes, the lowest three principles drop to pieces, go to pieces. They are detached from the upper four, and they go to pieces, are disintegrated into the respective life-atoms which compose the lower triad — the physical body, the pranic fluid, and the astral parts.
Student — Are they suffering for their evildoing?
G. de P. — No, they have no percipient consciousness to suffer as entities. The life-atoms simply pursue their transmigrations through the realms of being. The physical life-atoms go through the physical; the pranic life-atoms go through the pranic; the astral, etheric, go through the astral realms. But the upper four principles consist of two duads, the monad per se formed of atman and buddhi, and the manas conjoined with the kamic principle form the lower duad. There then takes place what is called in the Mystery schools the second death: the separation of these two duads — the one, the higher, from the lower — the monad or the higher; and the kama-rupic spook, or lower.
Now, the kama-rupic spook has a quasi-consciousness for a certain time simply because it has a certain remnant of the consciousness of the man that was, inhering in the atoms of its being; but it is not conscious as a human being is. Its consciousness is a dream consciousness, very thin and vague, except in the case of very evil human beings. Then, in such case, as most of the consciousness of the man that was, was concentrated in his passional nature — in his selfish, personal nature — the kama-rupa is very strong, very active. Its kama-rupic consciousness is more or less keen, and it indeed does suffer. But not even then as a human being. It suffers automatically but with a dulled and imperfect perception.
As to the upper duad, the monad per se, the atman-buddhi — with all the best part of the consciousness of the man that was, which best part is the higher manas, withdrawn into the bosom of the monad — pursues its own peregrinations through the spheres, as I have told you before this evening, passing both on its outer rounds and on its inner rounds.
Student — Does the suffering consciousness learn anything from its suffering?
G. de P. — What do you mean by "the suffering consciousness"?
Student — Does the suffering after death —
G. de P. — There is not any.
Student — Not even for the spook?
G. de P. — As I have just told you, Doctor, the kama-rupic consciousness of the average man can hardly be called a consciousness. It is a vague, scarcely realizable dream sense, and so vague and faint that it is little more than perhaps the consciousness of the higher plants or of the lower animals. There is no suffering unless in the case of very evil beings; and then only because during the life last passed the evil man concentrated his life, his consciousness, in the lower parts of his being. And so the kama-rupa, being thus more closely knit together, impedes these remnants of the lowest part of the passional nature of the man that was from breaking up. Do you understand?
Student — Yes, I do; but I don't like to have this suffering not count for anything.
G. de P. — But there is not any suffering. You would not say that a plant suffers. We human beings with our tender hearts know that when a plant wilts, we may say that it suffers. Well, there is indeed a plant consciousness; but the plant is not self-conscious of what it is undergoing as being suffering. It is conscious of it only as a diminution of consciousness. So the kama-rupic spook, unless it be the kama-rupa of a very evil human being, has scarcely any consciousness at all.
Student — Then, is it during life that we must learn, where we have made our mistakes?
G. de P. — Certainly, certainly. Earth life is what is technically called the sphere of causes for the human being. (You are speaking of the human being now; you are not speaking of the monad, of course.) Man is a composite entity. Man is a composite entity. You are thinking of the human monad; in other words, of the human soul; and you think that that is all there is of man. But it is not. There is the monadic consciousness, the spiritual consciousness, the divine consciousness, within us or above us. Man is a composite entity.
Forget the idea that there is any suffering at all. There is suffering, however, in the case of willful black magicians reaching their end. There is suffering in the case of a human being who has pursued for many lives a deliberate, willful, course of evildoing and brutish behavior. But these are exceptional cases, extremely exceptional. And the suffering that occurs even there is ninety-nine percent of it in the life, before death — except in the case of black magicians, as I have just pointed out. Do you understand?
Student — Yes, I do. I haven't said much about the monadic side, but I do really accept that. It is this separation of the bundle of consciousness that has confused me.
G. de P. — When the human being dies, being a composite entity, its component parts pursue each one its own path. The bundle falls to pieces, becomes, or separates into, the skandhas. The life-atoms of the physical body pursue their course. The life-atoms of prana pursue their peregrinations and transmigrations. The life-atoms of the astral body pursue their transmigrations in the kama-rupic spook; each life-atom attracted in every instance to spheres or to other bodies or to other living entities which are most like its own instincts and impulses. It is electromagnetically attracted to these new bodies into which the life-atoms enter. Similarly so with the life-atoms forming the lower part of the human soul on their plane.
Student — May I add that the thing which concerned me most was that we learn so slowly; and we are so blinded in life as to the reality of things, that I was hoping that we might get something out of the time between lives — that we might digest our experiences.
G. de P. — We do. As human beings we do so in the devachan. You might call it a period of digestion. There we assimilate what we have learned. It becomes part of us. That is very largely the function of devachan. We do not go to devachan to be happy. We go there, or rather we are in that state, because it is nature's law. Don't let the question of suffering bother you. You won't suffer when you die, nor will anyone else in this room.
Student — I would like to ask if there is such a thing as separation of the principles in some cases before the body dies?
G. de P. — Practically always. Practically always.
Student — 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 the higher ego, already gone?
G. de P. — That is a manner of expression. It is in the process of disjoining itself from the bundle, but it has not actually broken away from the bundle until death ensues.
Student — At death does he have this review of life?
G. de P. — Certainly.
Student — Then the whole being, the whole man, is there at death?
G. de P. — At the instant of death the entire man is there except in those few cases of the lost souls.
Student — May I speak about that? HPB gives in one of her writings the account of how at a pyramid in Egypt she met her old gardener or coachman, Piotre, who had died. She said that he was trying to get drink and trying to speak to her in great agony and suffering, because he could not get drink. And somebody took a drink and she said that the spook obsessed him. Is not that perhaps what the student was thinking of? Here was this person, a drunkard, who had lost his drink and could not get it, and he was suffering terribly.
G. de P. — But it was not anything of the coachman that was, except the kama-rupic spook, being the case of an evil man, a weak man, addicted to a prevailing vice. The kama-rupa reflects the viciousness of the man that was, and thus becomes an incarnate appetite, so to speak, and in the case you cite may be called the coachman only by courtesy.
Student — 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. — I don't see any contradiction. The process of the breaking up of the bundle which forms the complete man on earth takes place automatically and painlessly, as a rule. But the second death that I have already spoken of in the case of evil people is not an easy one. There is no suffering about it as we understand the word; but it does not take place easily and smoothly like growth, like the budding of a flower, which it ought to be and is in the case of normal people, of good people, of average people.
When a great soul dies, the separation of the principles is as simple as anything you can imagine. When an average man dies it is not quite so simple. The process takes more time, but it is painless and automatic. When an evil man dies the separation of the principles is still more difficult on account of the concentration of material appetites, instincts, and impulses, in the fabric of the kama-rupa.
That is doubtless what Mr. Judge was referring to. There are in fact practically as many planes or grades in the kama-loka as there are human beings, because no two human beings are exactly alike.
Now, it is nearly half-past ten o'clock. I will answer one more question.
Student — I would be very glad to defer my question if you wish. But it is very short. We are told somewhere that the number of those who reach utter disintegration and who reach avichi is comparatively small, if I mistake not; and yet HPB says in one of her writings that we elbow soulless people at every step; and we are given to understand that it is not an uncommon phenomenon for the soul to depart during life. Now, my question is: does the soul come back? What happens? What is the future of those who are described as soulless?
G. de P. — You confuse two things. I really do not understand why, because I have referred to this matter I should think a dozen times, both when KT was here and frequently since. Lost souls and soulless beings are not the same. A lost soul is one in whom the monad has definitely and forever left the intermediate and lower parts of the human constitution. A soulless being, so called, means one not in whom the soul is no longer there, but one in whom the soul — that is to say the higher part — no longer manifests its powers; but nevertheless a soulless person is not a lost soul. If a human being is not expressing the powers of his spiritual nature, we call him soulless. It does not mean that he has no soul; the phrase is a manner of speaking.
Consequently, as very many human beings do not live in their higher parts they are spoken of as soulless — not meaning that they have no souls, which is ridiculous, but meaning that the soul is not actively manifesting as it should; and when we here say soul, we mean the spiritual soul. Consequently we elbow soulless people at every turn. Our homes are full of them and so are the streets.
But a lost soul is a very rare occurrence, thank the immortal gods! It is one in whom the spiritual nature, the monad, so far as that human constitution is concerned, has definitely abandoned and left the wicked human soul. This case is spoken of as a lost soul because its final destiny is annihilation.
I don't want to end the meeting with this word. So I will remind you that all of you in the core of you, are all sons of the sun, children of spiritual glory. It is well worth your while in every way to know this truth and to try to live it, and to be your real highest self. It is a god.