Theosophical University Press Online Edition
An old argument for the existence of an extra-cosmic — a personal — God, is this very intelligence that appears to pervade nature, from which the conclusion is drawn that there is a being who is the intelligent director. But Theosophy does not admit any such God, for he is neither necessary nor possible. There are too many evidences of implacability in the operations of nature for us to be able for very long to cherish the notion of a personal God. We see that storms will rage and overwhelm good and bad together; that earthquakes have no respect for age, sex, or rank, and that wherever a natural law has to act it will do so regardless of human pain or despair.
The Wisdom Religion in postulating hierarchies such as those I have previously referred to, does not thereby outline a personal God. The difference between the personal God — say Jehovah for one — and the Lipika with the hosts of the Dhyan Chohans, is very great. Law and order, good sense, decency and progress are all subservient to Jehovah, sometimes disappearing altogether under his beneficent sway; while in the Wisdom Religion the Dhyan Chohans can only follow the immutable laws eternally traced in the Universal Mind, and this they do intelligently, because they are in fact men become gods. As these eternal laws are far-reaching, and as Nature herself is blind, the hierarchies — the hosts at the angles — have to guide the evolutionary progress of matter.
In order to grasp the doctrine better, let us take one period of manifestation such as that we are now in. This began millions of millions of years ago, succeeding a vast period of darkness or hibernation. It is called Chaos in the Christian scheme. And preceding that period of sleep there were eternally other periods of activity or manifestation. Now, in those prior periods of energy and action the same evolutionary progress went on, from and out of which came great beings — men perfected and become what to us are gods, who had aided in countless evolutions in the eternal past. These became Dhyan Chohans and took part in all succeeding evolutions. Such is the great goal for a human soul to strive after. Before it the paltry and impossible rewards of the Christian heaven turn to dross.
The mistake must not be made of confining these great evolutionary periods and the beings spoken of, to our miserable earth. We are only in the chain. There are other systems, other spaces where energy, knowledge and power are exercised. In the mysterious Milky Way there are spots vast in size and incomprehensibly distant, where there is room for many such systems as ours; and even while we now watch the assemblage of stars, there is some spot among them where the vast night of death is spreading remorselessly over a once fair system.
Now these beings, under the sway of the law as they are, seem perhaps to be sometimes implacable. Occasions are met where to mortal judgment it would seem to be wise or just to save a city from destruction, or a nation from decay, or a race from total extinction. But if such a fate is the natural result of actions performed or a necessary step in the cyclic sweep, it cannot be averted. As one of the Masters of this noble science has written:
"We never pretended to be able to draw nations in the mass to this or that crisis in spite of the general drift of the world's cosmic relations. The cycles must run their rounds. Periods of mental and moral light and darkness succeed each other as day does night. The major and minor yugas must be accomplished according to the established order of things. And we, borne along on the mighty tide, can only modify and direct some of its minor currents. If we had the powers of the imaginary personal God, and the immutable laws were but toys to play with, then, indeed, might we have created conditions that would have turned this earth into an Arcadia for lofty souls."
And so in individual cases — even among those who are in direct relations with some Adept — the law cannot be infringed. Karma demands that such and such a thing should happen to the individual, and the greatest God or the smallest Adept cannot lift a finger to prevent it. A nation may have heaped up against its account as a nation a vast amount of bad Karma. Its fate is sure, and although it may have noble units in it, great souls even who are Adepts themselves, nothing can save it, and it will "go out like a torch dipped in water."
Such was the end of ancient Egypt, of whose former glory no man of this day knows aught. Although to us she appears in the historical sky as a full-risen sun, she yet had her period of growth, when mighty Adepts sat upon the throne and guided the people. She gradually reached a high point of power and then her people grew material; the Adepts retired; pretended Adepts took their place, and gradually her glory waned until at last the light of Egypt became darkness. The same story was repeated in Chaldea and Assyria and also upon the surface of our own America. Here a great, a glorious civilization once flourished, only to disappear as the others did; and that a grand development of civilization is beginning here again is one of the operations of the just and perfect law of Karma to the eye of the Theosophist, but one of the mysterious workings of an irresponsible providence to those who believe in a personal God who giveth the land of other men to the good Christian. The development of the American nation has a mysterious but potent connection with the wonderful past of the Atlanteans, and is one of those great stories outlined in the book of fate by the Lipika to whom I referred last week.