THE "TEMPTATION" OF JESUS
I thought that it was only before we had entirely learnt something that we had to struggle with ourselves about it, but that when we, in previous lives, had quite overcome some special temptation, this temptation never occurred to us again, and we did not even get the idea of its possibility. I thought this was the way by which we have to win the different virtues one by one. Will you please explain why Christ should have felt any temptation to be relieved from his great task. Why should he have said, "Remove this cup from me," and have to pray in anguish in order to be victorious over temptation? I think that he should by then have got over this stage. — G. S.
G. de P. — This question takes it for granted that the legend told of Jesus in the New Testament of the Christians is an actual history. It is not; the "Gospel" story is merely an idealized fiction, written by Christian mystics in imitation of esoteric mysteries of the "Pagans," showing the initiation trials and tests of the candidate for initiation; and it is not very well done, there being much error and many mistakes in the "Gospels."
A man called Jesus — the Hebrew name being Jeshua or Joshua — really lived, who was a great and good man; also an initiate into the secret doctrine of his period; and around him, after his death grew up many legends and tales, which were woven in later days — say a century after his death — into the so-called "Gospels."
Yes, the questioner is right in saying that once we have fully conquered a temptation, we are safe from future attacks of it, but only provided we are watchful and on guard eternally.
You continually advise us to look within. In what way does the Theosophical "looking within" compare with the psychologists" introspection? — H. G. N.
G. de P. — It seems to me that the psychologists have seized a part of a truth; but the teaching of Theosophic introspection goes far beyond that. Too often the introspection, if I may use this word, of modern psychology is a pondering and a brooding upon the vagrant and flitting thoughts of the lower brain-mind, upon one's wishes and hopes and petty loves and hates — a morbid self-examination of the lower parts and faculties of us; and I think that it is very unwholesome. There is altogether too much of that.
What we need to do is to free ourselves from the lower part of us, to lift our eyes to the spiritual Olympus, to rise out of the murk and the mire and the mud and the dirt, to strike the shackles from our limbs and to wing our ways into the inner states of the spirit. Does modern psychology tell us that we must devote ourselves to the inspirations of almighty wisdom, and of impersonal spiritual love? Never! It does not know enough; but it thinks it knows quite enough to teach what are in many cases downright perversions of reality. Some aspects of modern psychology will tell us that if a naughty child does certain naughty things, it is because of an unexpressed sex-complex! I think that the instilling of ideas like this into the mind of any innocent child is a moral crime, because it is a suggesting to a child to do what perhaps never occurred to it to do. It is monstrous.
But teach a child to be self-forgetful, to introspect in the higher way, to examine its motives, to look carefully into its yearnings and to rule them, and you will help it and guide its feet. This is the psychology of the archaic school, which is ours, which is Theosophy. Psychology really means what the word itself actually says: the study of the soul of man, instead of the study, as it is in modern psychological schools, mostly patterned after the doctrines of Freud of Vienna, a study of the physiological-mental reactions of the body.
Children are responsive to thoughts put into their minds, and the only right way of bringing up a child is to surround it with the thoughts and influences, and if you can the environment, of harmony and beauty and peace and love, teaching it lessons of kindliness and self-forgetfulness, instead of teaching it to concentrate all its thoughts upon the beastly impulses of the animal man; and this latter is what most, if not all, of the modern psychological schools actually succeed in doing.
QABBALISTIC AND THEOSOPHIC PRINCIPLES
I notice in Chapter Two of Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, that man is divided into four parts: (a) Neshamah, (b) Ruahh, (3) Nefesh, and (4) Guf. Over all these four principles, there is the Ineffable, the Boundless, called En Soph. Would the author of Fundamentals kindly give me his opinion about the correspondences or the differences between these four principles and the Qabbalistic triad consisting of the three highest Sephiroth: (a) Khether (the Crown), (b) Chochmah (Wisdom), and (c) Binah (Intellect) — all emanations of En Soph, the Boundless. — K. F. G.
G. de P. — This thoughtful question contains profound suggestions; and the mere fact that the questioner seeks for correspondences or differences between the Qabbalistic Quaternary as given in Fundamentals, and the Qabbalistic highest Cosmic Triad of Sephiroth, shows that he himself has actually answered his own question, but probably is not fully aware of it.
The four human principles as given by me in Fundamentals, are reflexions or "projections," as it were, of all the nine Sephiroth of the Qabbalistic Cosmic Tree of Life; and the differences in manner of enumerating or of expressing the Cosmic Principles and the human principles depend upon the fact that the human principles are reflexions or "projections" as above said, of the Cosmic Sephiroth. The three highest Sephiroth, as given, and properly given, in the question, are the originals or correspondences of what in man in the Theosophical philosophy are called Atman, Buddhi, Manas; Khether corresponds to Atman, Chochmah corresponds to Buddhi, and Binah corresponds to Manas.
In another sense, Neshamah corresponds to the Divine Monad, Atma-Buddhi; Ruahh corresponds to the Spiritual Monad, Buddhi-Manas; and Nefesh corresponds to the Human-Astral Monad, or Kama-Manas-Prana. Guf is in either case, whether cosmic or human, the mere vehicle of all the other higher principles, and in the case of man corresponds to the physical-astral body.
All the Cosmic Sephiroth are born from the bosom of En Suf, or the Boundless, and hang as it were like a pendant therefrom; very much as the three highest principles in man, Atman, Buddhi, Manas, are born from the bosom of the Boundless, and are eternally therein, hanging like a pendant therefrom; the lower four principles of man hanging like a second pendant from these higher, just as the lower six Sephiroth hang as a pendant from the three highest Sephiroth.
We thus see that the correspondences are very close, when properly understood, as I have endeavored briefly to outline them in the preceding paragraphs.
THE DESTINY OF THE ANIMAL KINGDOM
Re the animal kingdom: Many species are dying out today. Some day — the life-wave having moved on to Globe E — Globe D will have merely sishtas left on it. Will there be any animals in the Fifth Round? Many students are mixed up on this; so am I. If there will be animals in the Fifth Round, will that mean the animal kingdom as we know it today (but more highly developed), or only some of the highest species? — R. E.
G. de P. — When a life-wave, any life-wave: human, animal, vegetable, mineral, elemental, or dhyan-chohanic: moves from our Globe D on to Globe E, it leaves sishtas behind on this Globe D. What are these sishtas? They are waiting for the same life-wave which will have passed through the globes on the ascending arc, to come down the globes on the descending arc in Round Five; and when they reach Globe D, our earth, these sishtas will begin to increase in number because of the incoming monads from the life-wave, and the same life-wave — in the case of your question the animal life-wave with its subordinate life-waves or orders and varieties and genera, etc. — will begin to tend to expand. Consequently there will be animals in the next round.
But here is a very interesting point: the animals will tend steadily to pass into Nirvanic rest, I mean their monads will from now to the end of our chain-manvantara. Every round will show fewer animals, the reason being that as time goes on and as the steps up the ascending arc are passed one by one, fewer and fewer animals will be able to make the grade upwards. The calls of matter will be too strong. Thus at the end of the fifth round on Globe D the sishtas of such animal life-waves will be much fewer than in the preceding round on this globe, because the monads will be entering their Nirvana for the reasons above stated. Otherwise stated, the individuals of those animal life-waves will have largely died out from this plane because the monads will have gone into Nirvana; and during the sixth round the animals, although much more progressed than now they are, will be extremely few; and before the sixth round is ended will have died out entirely, with the exception of the anthropoid apes and possibly some of the higher monkeys. The anthropoid apes will have become then no longer anthropoid apes really, although their more evolved bodies will still continue, but they will be very, very low humans in quasi-anthropoid bodies, nevertheless humans of low grade. During the seventh round even these will have disappeared, but their monads during the next chain manvantara will be low humans in appropriate bodies then.
Thus generally speaking, animal monads tend more and more on the upward arc to go into Nirvana. Their bodies, there being no monads to incarnate, will tend to die out; and towards the end of the fifth round there will be very few animals, and probably all gone in the sixth, except the anthropoids, etc., as explained.
As stated, the cause of this is that the door into the human kingdom, (which means self-consciousness,) closed in the middle of the fourth round; and the animals now are just hanging on as it were because of the impetus or momentum they got in coming down the descending arc. This momentum has carried them up to the present, will carry them onward even into the fifth round where, as stated before, they will mostly die out because they cannot climb higher. The spiritual self-conscious nature has not evolved forth from their monads; and consequently there is no sufficient attraction upwards in them, and thus they fall back behind the procession, and die out. What little attraction upwards they may have now will grow less and less during the fifth round, until no attraction upwards at all exists.
In other words the animals will no longer reproduce themselves. The monads of many animals have already entered their Nirvana even during this fourth round — the grossest of their kinds. Some of them, those with us, still remain even now, persisting mainly by the momentum and because of dawning mind in them which still keeps them here.