Do we in initiation, or in the growth in purity through long years or ages of effort before initiation, drop or get rid of the influence of such evil planets as the earth, or the moon, or Saturn, or do we skip any of them?
A. B.C. — The initiant certainly has to overcome and eliminate from his nature all "evil" influences whatsoever, but he does not skip anything. Every element in Nature, the earth, the moon, Mars and Saturn, and every other planet, principle, or element in Nature, has its correspondence in man and its rightful place and use, both in man and in the Cosmos. What the long training and final purification of the Initiate does is to completely purify all influences and put them to rightful and beneficent use, each in its proper place.
Initiation has to take place here on this earth, not in some distant point in space. Initiation is the ennobling, exaltation and perfection of Manhood. Negative virtue does not accomplish this. It takes loving thoughtfulness for others, knowledge, wisdom and power to become an Initiate. The Initiate becomes a man-god radiating divine beneficence to all that lives. And his locus is here on earth.
Does initiation mean the killing of personality with all its evil passions, and is this done by renouncing the world?
A. B. C. — The personality is not killed. "The secret is transmutation, not murder," nor emasculation. No natural, inherent, principle or energy of the personality is destroyed. They are all purified and transmuted into higher more spiritual forms. Evil ceases by being replaced by good. The disciple does not leave the world. He renounces all selfish attachment thereto, without leaving or neglecting his duties therein. He lives in the world but not of it. He reverses the usual motives and lives not to get and have and hold, but to give and love and serve. The personality is not killed. It is made the temple of a living god.
Destroyer or Preserver?
In The Ocean of Theosophy, page 50, when explaining the action of the hosts of minute lives that go to make up the human body it is stated that it is the Life Energy that kills. I understand this because I realize that it is the successful resistance set up by the human body against Prana and Jiva which makes life possible and that death ensues when the battle becomes unequal and the "Destroyers" win. What I do not understand is: If it is life-energy that kills why is it that this same life-energy in sleep rebuilds the body? — P. H.
L. G. P. — I think that we can best understand the action of life in relation to the human body by giving the illustration of a storage battery. Chemical action within the battery causes an electrical potential to be set up between the lead plates of the battery. But the battery must be charged with an electric current, and this process of charging the battery is analagous to the process of sleep. The flow of the electric current from the battery during its use is what runs it down and breaks down the potential between the plates, and this is analagous to the fatigue of the body after a day of activity. With the storage battery, it is electricity that does the work of charging up the battery and of running it down, the difference being that in the one case the electricity is supplied from the battery itself, and flows in a certain direction, and in the other, for charging the battery, electric current flowing in the opposite direction is sent into it, thus restoring the potential. Now, during the normal life of the battery, the materials of which it is composed are able to stand the wear and tear of the charging and the use, but in time their molecular structure breaks down, and the battery is worn out, and refuses to take a charge. Thus, you see, it is the electricity, the life of the battery, that wears it out. Similarly, with the body of man, it is the life, taken in and expended that, flowing through the body, works its final destruction.
Anger and its Effect
Suppose a person wrote a letter to a newspaper anonymously, and its publication aroused the anger of a large group, would the vibrations of anger from this group reach and affect the writer of the letter? — W. G. S.
G. F. K. — The currents of the Astral Light on which all thoughts, feelings, and actions are projected, are not hampered by anonymity. We are inescapably interdependent, and in the plane of thought and feeling strongly affect each other continuously. Every time a man thinks, feels, or acts, he is leaving an indelible impression on his own astral body, and pari passu on the community Astral Light — the plastic reservoir of thought-deposits for earth and men — whose deceitful and turbulent currents sweep through the hearts and minds of men uninterruptedly. Hence, the anger of a large group of people would leave a correspondingly stronger impression on the general astral storehouse, creating a whirlpool of angry heat-waves which would find no difficulty in reaching the anonymous writer.
Would the writer be affected? That depends entirely upon himself. If he is even moderately sensitive, he is bound to perceive the barrage of distorted feeling hurled against him, but whether he would be affected would be conditioned solely by his character and interior development. No man needs to be affected by anything unless he is in sympathy with it. We are all human, however, and naturally are highly sensitive to the anger or praise of others, especially perhaps when we feel that our sincere efforts have been misunderstood. It may be, however, that we need to learn the gentler method of winning the support of good people through love rather than anger.
Those strong in wisdom, while momentarily feeling hurt perhaps at the stupidity of others, will not be greatly affected by the anger or malice, but will continue to fight for right even against the opposition of the whole world. Through long years of purification and self-discipline they have built up that tenuous barrier of self-protection which instantly repels and dispels disturbed astral currents, and which leaves them free to act in harmony with the inner forces instead of against them.
Past Lives and Memory
In remembering our past lives, do we remember the good and bad parts of each life, or just the former? You know when we enter Devachan, we take only the higher attributes or aspirations with us after each death. The mean, low, ignoble qualities we discard at death. — E L. T. S.
C. J. Ryan — Fortunately for us, under normal conditions very few persons remember the incidents of their past lives. It would be an unbearable burden. The Masters say that it is no pleasure for them to look into their past or that of others, and that they only do so when duty makes it necessary. To face the record of past deeds and misdeeds may be one of the trials of initiation. For ordinary humans one serious danger in trying to force the way into the astral region where Nature's record-book is kept is that it tends to exaggerate our sense of personal egoism, already too dominant. Everything being recorded there, a fully developed clairvoyance such as that of an Adept would naturally perceive both the good and the bad; a photographic plate has no choice. In The Key to Theosophy, H. P. Blavatsky says that at the time of death every man sees the whole of the past life in its minutest details and realizes the justice of karman. At birth we have a similar experience extending even a little way into prevision of the future, owing to the perception of the causes we have sown in the past and must soon reap. A great panorama of the past lives is also unrolled at the close of the Round, and this is repeated "collectively" we are told, at the end of the planetary Manvantara. The case is different in Devachan, when a selection is made, a natural process takes place during which the grosser materials are filtered out and fall into abeyance for the time being.
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