The Theosophical Forum – June 1940


"Verily I say unto you that as a man soweth that shall he also reap."

This is one of the very ancient teachings of Theosophy handed down from remote times long before our so-called Christian era, and still taught in all religions. It is preached to us from the pulpits of our Christian churches in most serious and impressive tones. But the Christian churches of all shades of opinion and belief, although accepting this teaching, cannot or will not accept the teaching of Reincarnation, with the consequent result of canceling or annulling the teaching that we reap what we sow, in other words denying natural justice, which they indorse and teach.

Now let us see what is the practical result of teaching the one and denying the other, viz., Reincarnation. We are given to understand by the orthodox Christian that for every child that is born God creates a brand-new soul, that it comes into existence for the first time and has had no previous existence whatsoever, the consequence being that when it is born into this world, then, from the moment it draws its first breath it comes into conditions of circumstance and environment, of health or disease, poverty or wealth, and in every way, with which it is utterly unrelated, and is perforce compelled to accept conditions with which it has had no part whatsoever in the making. In other words it is compelled to reap what it has not sown or done anything to merit, whether pleasant or unpleasant; which is absolute injustice since it has not earned or merited any of these conditions: a complete martyrdom without rhyme or reason, and wholly unjust.

Now let us see what happens when it comes to die after perhaps a long lifetime of activity along various lines, enterprises, schemes, unfinished plans, good and perhaps evil acts, the consequences of which it has not yet experienced. It dies, and, since reincarnation is not admitted by the orthodox believers, then in such case it is prevented from reaping the results of what it has sown, which is also unjust. And so at birth it is compelled to reap what it has not sown, and at death it is prevented from reaping what it has sown. What then in such case becomes of the sowing-and-reaping teaching?

It is quite possible here that the pious and devout Christian might say that all these things will be readjusted after death, and that when fully so done the soul will then, if it has been a believer in Jesus Christ, go to Heaven and abide there for ever and ever. This to the more philosophically minded appears to be incomplete and unsatisfactory, and for the following reason. If there is to be readjustment made after death and when completed the soul goes to, let us say, Heaven, the question arises as to how long it will remain there; for it is distinctly stated in the Bible that Heaven is not a permanent state — "Heaven and Earth shall pass away" — and so assuming that it goes to heaven and that heaven lasts for a certain length of time, then, when that time is fully completed and the Heaven state comes to an end, where does it go next?! An awkward question which the orthodox Christian will find hard to answer, except in the usual evasion: Ah! these things are beyond man's limited understanding. We must wait God's good pleasure to reveal to us those things which we are not capable of understanding!! — And this notwithstanding that the Bible says: "With all thy getting get understanding"; that it is the most priceless treasure of greatest value.

And so let us endeavor to get an understanding of this question of "Where next?" Here we would call attention to a law known as periodicity, a well-known law evident in all things with which we are familiar, and consisting of a duality of Action and Rest — "Action and Rest alternating and operating everywhere and in every thing. Nothing can exist without this perpetual Action and Rest. All motion, all growth, all progress are possible only by the alternation of action and rest. Evolution would be impossible without it — day and night; waking and sleeping; sowing and reaping. There is no death. It is but the moment of transition from waking to sleeping. All things grow and evolve in this way from atoms to worlds. Planetary systems, universes, all come forth, evolve, and return to rest to come forth again with added growth and experience; and so also with man. When Heaven, or the state of rest, like sleep, comes to an end, the soul awakens once more and returns to the prior field of action and goes on where it left off. In this way we grow, we learn, and evolve higher and ever higher and reach towards grander and more sublime heights.

Thus we may say that sowing and reaping, waking and sleeping, are the eternal law of life. Without reincarnation there could be no existence whatsoever.

With all thy getting get understanding! The only cure for the world's troubles is to be found in true thinking, true teaching, and action based on true understanding.

There is no religion higher than Truth. "Light for the mind, love for the heart, understanding for the intellect."

Theosophical University Press Online Edition