Part II REINCARNATION QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Jan 19, 2006 05:36 AM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck
Part II REINCARNATION QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Q. How can we in our ignorance make that effort?
A. The Masters of Wisdom have supplied us with the necessary means.
Ignorance is destroyed only by Knowledge. Ignorance is composed of false
conceptions, and actions on the basis of false conceptions can only lead to
more ignorance and its results in sin, sorrow and suffering.
The Theosophical Philosophy, as given by Those who brought it, must be
learned, studied and applied in all our relations with our fellow- men; this
must be done by each of us, no one can do it for us. This implies that our
predilections and prejudices acquired from an adoption of the ordinary views
of life must be given up, and the basis of thought and action that the
Philosophy indicates must take their place.
The Devotional books, such as the Gita and the Voice should be constantly
read and meditated upon, for they tend to arouse spiritual perceptions. With
the means supplied, and an effort to act for and as the Self of all,
channels will be opened up within our selves that will lead to Inner
knowledge. As the Master said, "All Nature is before you; take what you
Q. Then the after-death states would be the building-in of the experiences
It should be understood that the after-death states of Kama-Loka and
Devachan are wholly personal in their nature. The sloughing off of the
purely terrestrial desires and passions is Kama-Loka; the assimilation and
enjoyment of all that was best in the life last lived, is the Devachanic
Both states are Subjective, that is-the being in both states is occupied
with his own thoughts, desires and feelings; is not aware of the presence of
other beings, nor in contact with them. The world he lives in is peopled by
his own creations, which are as real to him as were the physical beings he
moved among during his bodily existence.
Having had his varied experience in the physical world, he leaves the body
which served him as the means of contact with physical beings and lives in
the desires, feelings and thoughts which his contact with the physical plane
At death-of which the being is not aware, being still his conscious thinking
self-the thoughts prevailing are those that sprung from his relations with
others in bodies and necessarily relate to his desires- this is Kama-Loka,
the place or state of Desire.
As his purely physical desires are not reinforced or stimulated by contact
with other beings, they gradually die out, and his higher ideals and
attributes remain as the basis for the Devachanic state, a state where no
thought of sin, sorrow, suffering or death can enter, or even that such
things exist. In both states he feels himself to be the same person, obtains
his compensation for the sorrows of life in Devachan and assimilates in that
state the best of his life last lived, adding the result to his inner egoic
nature. Then a new birth based upon the unexpended causes generated during
Q. What is meant by "unexpended causes"?
A. If-as is shown-we have lived many lives and have affected other
incarnated beings in a way that
requires adjustment by us, and the co-ordination of our lives heretofore has
not been such as to bring us in contact so as to make that adjustment
possible, these unexpended causes will have to be met as effects In some
life and either adjusted, or strengthened as further causes.
We may be meeting in this life the effects of causes set in motion many
lives back as well as those. of a more recent causation. As we think over
the contacts with others in this present life, we will find some that were
friendly for a time, and others that were inimical, but both of which are
but memories now, our external connections with those persons having ceased.
These friends or enemies of ours are still what we made them, and although
the feelings then engendered have no present means of manifestation,
nevertheless they remain as unexpended causes in our nature, and in the
natures of those friends and enemies, the effects of which will be
experienced when we meet again in this or future lives. The lapse of time
does not change the power or nature of the cause. We should therefore make
friends for the future as Jesus advised in saying, "Forgive your enemies; do
good to them that despite- fully use you and persecute you".
Q. It would seem then that we are bound by an endless chain of cause and
effect to earth-life?
A. It would be, and is an "endless chain" if we persist in setting causes in
motion that bind us to rebirth; but this we need not do, and would not, if
we knew our real nature. It is to point the way to freedom from rebirth that
Theosophy was given to us, to relieve us from the dire necessity which the
operation of the Law of Karma in ourselves compels us to undergo.
The Gita says "Freedom comes from a renunciation of self-interest in the
fruits of our actions". Not that we should desire to escape, but that we
should so think and act as to bring about the purposes of Soul. This we can
do when we know and realize our real nature and act in accordance with It,
for in It lies the source of all power, and with It the freedom of choice.
Q. Then a Master who occupied a body for the benefit of Humanity would not
pass through the Kama- Lokic and Devachanic states after the death of the
A. No. He would occupy the body without being attached to it. He would be
living a conscious existence in Spirit, while being "in all things like unto
us" as far as appearances go. He would know how to balance Cause and Effect
in all that He did, having no attachment to either and acting only for the
good of all.
Operating through a body with full knowledge, He would have no illusions and
therefore no personal subjective states like Kama-Loka or Devachan, and on
leaving the body, would exist in His own true nature as He had been existing
all the time. As an ancient saying is: "He loves, and He understands", and
He serves Humanity as best He can.
Q. In returning to birth does the Ego have to pass through the same
experiences in Kama-Loka that he passed through after the death of the body?
A. He does not pass through the same experiences for they were those of that
personal life, and in re birth a new combination of the Ego's past lives,
Consisting of such unexpended causes as the particular period of re-birth
permits, makes up the new personality. The Ego, however, finds awaiting him
those Kamic tendencies which he had not overcome; at the same time he will
be strengthened by his Devachanic assimilation.
Q. An Ego who had exhausted his Devachanic experiences and required re-birth
but found nothing that suited his requirements would be in a miserable state
would he not?
A. We must remember the nature of the Ego. He is not any of his
personalities; they make up the field of his earthly experiences. When the
best effects of the life last lived are exhausted in Devachan and the sum of
them added to all past experiences of the Ego, be they great or small, all
personal illusions have vanished. He exists as Ego, and-to use a
phrase-reviews the past and sees what must follow under Karma. Our
conceptions of time have no effect upon the Ego; karmic conditions alone
move him; when these are ready he sinks into re-birth in that race, period
and family that will give him the requisite environment according to his
Q. Two lines at the foot of page 73, that the divergences from physical
heredity are vastly greater than the transmitted traits, would indicate that
physical heredity is not a law?
A. Physical heredity is a process by which the Law is fulfilled. There is
necessarily a karmic connection between the ego entering birth and the
parents and family into which he comes. The parents furnish the embodiment
with those tendencies that best meet the in coming ego's requirements for
that life. There are Three lines of evolution, the Spiritual, the Manasic or
Intellectual, and the Physical, and these three are inter mixed and
interblended at every point.
Q. Please explain Spiritual Heredity?
A. According to the Secret Doctrine there are Seven great hierarchies of
spiritual beings; every human being is a descent from one or another of
those Seven great classes of being. This question however requires special
study before any attempt at a comprehensible reply could be made; the Secret
Doctrine will give all the information available.
Q. The earth is such a small planet in the vast assemblage of planets, would
that not indicate that people incarnated here from other planets?
A. Not if we understand the workings of Karma. We are connected spiritually,
intellectually, astrally and physically with the beings which constitute the
evolutionary stream of this earth, and can no more separate ourselves from
them than we can separate our physical heart from our head and exist as
We are karmically indebted to all the kingdoms connected with the earth for
every vehicle of consciousness that we possess; our minds also are colored
and limited by the mind of the race to which we belong.
The same is true of the humanities of other planets; they must reap where
they have sown, they cannot reap where they have not sown. As we rise to
Egoic consciousness we will transcend all ideas of particular localities,
and be sensible of varying conditions rather than places or planets.
Q. Well, after having reached all knowledge there would be no need of
A. Perhaps not in this race; perhaps not on this earth again; but
all-knowledge is useless unless it is used; all-knowledge implies the
knowledge gained by all beings, it does not contain that which has not been
gained. Progress is continuous in possibility and in an infinite universe
there is no stopping-place; to cease to progress is to stagnate. The ancient
saying is that we can always approach the light, but we can never touch the
flame, for that flame is our Self-the Self of All.
Q. Can one tell whether a soul is progressing by any one incarnation?
A. One can realize for himself his own ignorance and quickly or slowly gain
real knowledge. He may realize what past lives must have been from the
nature and strength of the difficulties he encounters in the struggle. It is
enough if he sees the real goal and ever struggles towards it, and it will
be well for him if he thinks not at all of his own progress but of what he
can do to help others progress. "To live to benefit mankind is the first
Q. In the chapter it says that people are incarnated together who have been
together in other incarnations. Would that necessarily be continuous?
A. We must remember that what we call "people" are Souls that we have met in
bodies before, and in bodies have karmically connected ourselves with them
for good or for evil. The bodily connection is brought about by the mutual
karmic connection and from wise or foolish choice.
The continuity of such relations depends upon our desires, but we cannot
control the de sires of those who do not want what we do. As long as we hold
to "likes and dislikes" as our basis, we will meet with those who occasioned
them, while the latter in their turn may have changed from "like" to
"dislike" or the reverse.
We can "come out from among them" by not permitting our likes or dislikes to
govern us. while being friendly and helpful to all. "The wise man seeks that
which is homogeneous with his own nature."
Q. Since we are in our present form as Humanity for eighteen million years,
it would seem that if there were no wars there would be no room for all of
A. Let us take another view of the question: if the earth has lasted for
eighteen millions of years and there is no record of its being overcrowded
at any time, why should we fear any such condition? It has been stated that
while the number of reincarnating egos connected with the earth is very
great, the number is limited in fact, there having been no increase of egos
since the middle point of the seven rounds.
Further, as those egos had no small part in the formation of the earth,
there can be no doubt that it will accommodate in their proper periods all
egos connected with it. The Law of Compensation or Karma adjusts all things
to the need of the beings in manifestation. And while we are considering the
question do let us not forget that our earth is in reality composed of six
degrees of substance besides that which we perceive through our physical
senses-the lowest of all.
Q. It is said that by living according to the dictates of the Soul, the
brain may be made porous. Can that be explained?
A. It has been often stated that the body and brain are formed from the
food, the brain being more plastic than any other organ of the body.
Naturally the characteristics of our brain will be in accordance with our
modes of thought and feeling.
If our ways of thinking are purely personal, selfish and physical, the brain
will only respond to such impressions; but by thinking on high ideals and
acting in accordance with them the brain will gradually become
impressionable by them. When the Change has been brought about. the brain
will record all that goes on during sleep of the body, and we will be in
touch with all our past existences and our whole inner nature.
The "high ideals" spoken of are not the so-called high ideals of mankind
which are based upon physical existence, but those which the Secret Doctrine
shows to be concerned with the real Spiritual nature, its laws, and the real
meaning of Evolution on all planes.
Q. Why is it that so many people, the majority in fact, reject the idea of
A. Largely from prejudice, either based upon a materialistic conception of
life, or due to belief in a dogma which inhibits the exercise of the
The majority of people do not do their own thinking, but accept one or other
of the various kinds of ideas formulated and held by others ; that which is
accepted and held by large numbers of people is to very many prima facie
evidence of truth. Few go below the surface and enquire into the bases upon
which the various beliefs are founded, yet the seeker after truth must prove
all things and hold fast to that only which is self-evidently true.
Q. Theosophy teaches that there are other humanities on other planets; is it
not possible for an ego to go to some other planet after this life?
A. When we consider that the inherent law of Karma rules all beings; that we
reap as we have sown; that our birth and environment in this life is the
result of previous lives on this planet, we cannot fail to see that our
re-embodiment must be here, where we moved and worked before.
The involved entity cannot transfer itself to another scene of action before
it has over come all the causes drawing it here, and without its having
worked out its responsibilities to other entities in the same stream of
Q. On page 80 the chapter says that "Each human being has a definite
character different from every other human being". Is not a large part of
such character derived from the physical heredity?
A. Man, who now inhabits physical bodies, is also the conscious entity who
evolved and established them. Every family trait, tendency and
characteristic is due to the use of physical bodies in that line of physical
heredity by numbers of egos, and all are karmically drawn to that physical
family line which each one had a part in establishing, thus coming into his
Karma not only includes our individual sowing and reaping, but also the
effects of our thoughts, words and deeds upon others, and especially upon
those who are the most closely related. Each ego in incarnation has the
opportunity to eliminate family defects in himself, and by so doing benefit
the physical line.
Q. Please explain the second paragraph on page 87; it seems a little
contradictory to me.
A. Mr. judge is there speaking of the musician Bach, whose family had none
of his genius and pointing to the fact that it was not derived from physical
heredity, but was peculiar to the incarnating entity. The coming of idiots
or vicious children to parents who are good, pure and highly intellectual is
not due to the physical heredity, but to the nature of the Ego incarnating.
In such cases there must be some strong karmic connection between the
parents and the deficient Ego, a connection incurred during past lives
wherein some error of commission or omission had occurred and had
contributed to the deficiency of the one so born. Such incarnations fulfill
(1) they provide a better opportunity for the deficient ego at the hands of
those who were contributory to that deficiency, and
(2) the karmic effects are felt by the parents, and the opportunity afforded
for such adjustment as is possible by them. "Karma is an unerring tendency
in the universe to restore equilibrium and it operates incessantly." Karma
is made by the Egos, not by the bodies they inhabit.
Q. Why is it that an ego will bring over one particular predominating factor
A. Because the attention and effort of the Ego in other lives were exerted
in that particular direction. it is well known that geniuses in many cases
are eccentric in character, and occasionally abnormal to a marked degree;
this is due to a one-sided development; right development should be
all-round and balanced, not special in any one direction and neglectful of
Q. On page 86 the chapter says that the old Aryan races will rise again to
their height of glory. Does this mean that they will be always in existence?
A. The chapter says, "Of all the old races the Aryan Indian alone yet
remains as the preserver of the old doctrines. It will one day rise again to
its old heights of glory". We are of the Aryan race, but Mr. Judge is
speaking of the Aryan Indian race which alone has preserved the old
doctrines, because of which it will rise again to its old heights of glory.
Speaking generally, the Aryan is the Fifth Race; when its course has been
completed, the egos composing the present Fifth Race will constitute the
Q. On page 87 it is said that the bee builds a cell on the rules of
geometry, and that its intelligence is the effect of reincarnation either in
the mind or the physical cell. Do the lower kingdoms follow the human
A. The statement referred to reads as follows, "And whether we look at the
new-born babe flinging out its arms for self-protection, or the animal with
very strong instinctual power, or the bee building a cell on the rules of
geometry, it is all the effect of reincarnation acting either in the mind or
physical cell, for under what was first laid down, no atom is devoid of
life, consciousness, and intelligence of its own".
The passage does not say that the intelligence of the bee is the effect of
reincarnation in the mind or cell. It says that in the new-born babe, the
animal, or the bee all that there appears is the effect of reincarnation,
either in the mind, or in the physical cell, according to the kind of
intelligence expressed and its particular form; "no atom is devoid of life,
consciousness, and intelligence of its own". The human kingdom impresses and
impels the lower lives for good or for evil.
Q. On page 80, "Even the doctrine of the survival of the fittest should show
this, for the fitness cannot come from nothing but must at last show itself
from the coming to the surface of the actual inner character". Please
A. The explanation seems quite clear in the paragraph from which the
quotation is taken. Each individual has a definite character, the result of
previous lives; whatever "fitness" there may be is due to previous
existences. There are assemblages of individuals that we call nations; these
nations have their distinguishing characteristics; the individuals composing
these nations are drawn together because of similarity of distinguishing
characteristics which constitute their peculiar "fitness" for any particular
nation. All this is clue to karmic affinity-"like attracts like."
Q. Will those who are killed in this war follow the line of anger and battle
when they incarnate again?
A. "Every human being has a definite character different from every other
human being", and this is true whether in war or peace. As the character and
tendencies are in peace, so they will be in war, for both peace and war are
conditions and (do not in themselves change character.
The question is, "Does war of necessity change an individual's character ?"
There is no reason to think so. One of good character and tendencies would
be likely to have these strengthened by the trials and self-sacrifice
entailed by the conditions of war; in another in whom character and tendency
were not good, the same conditions might afford opportunity for
intensification of evil tendencies. It is all a question of the individual
character and motive and the lessons learned, that form the basis for future
Q. Could a savior bring Russia out of the chaos in which she now is (1917) ?
A. The chaotic conditions of Russia are an extreme example of the world-wide
conditions; in no case is it possible to change such conditions save by a
change of mind on the part of the people involved. A divine incarnation
could do nothing unless the people would be willing to follow the lines such
an one laid down.
It is apparent that even in our own free country conditions are approaching
a situation not so very far removed from that of Russia, for we are
beginning to experience the results of selfish class interest, the sole
basis of which is money and the power that it gives its possessors.
Those who have, desire to hold and increase possessions; those who have not,
would take from the present possessors and become in their turn the
possessors of the future; in both cases the rank principle of personal
selfishness prevails; there is nothing to choose between them.
Q. Surely the intelligence of our people will prevent any such catastrophe
as that which has befallen Russia?
A. Intelligence, based upon high principles and true knowledge cannot fail
to make for justice and right living, but intelligence founded upon personal
selfishness can go to any lengths in the way of destruction.
Ignorance and selfishness have brought Russia to her present pass.
Intelligence and selfishness can do much worse. The question really is,
"Upon what is the intelligence founded ?" Is it a material, a moral, or a
spiritual conception? It is very evident that the prevailing idea among
Western peoples is material in conception and practice; the more
intelligence used along this line the more certain, rapid and destructive
Q. But Western peoples have the Christian religion to guide them; they
believe in the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man?
A. There is no doubt that the principles enunciated by Jesus of Nazareth
would make the world a better and a happier one, but who among all the
people follows them in his daily life or in his dealings with his
fellow-men; we profess "belief" in those principles and promulgated ethics
and daily and hourly contravene them; of what avail is our religion or our
belief, if we do not live it?
Ancient history affords us examples of the same principles and ethics
promulgated by divine incarnations in the ages gone by, but the people of
those times professed acceptance of the teachings and following the path of
materialism went down to extinction. Unless we change our ideas of life, and
live according to the eternal verities, our Western nations with their
materialistic civilizations will die out and disappear.
Q. What is meant by "The Eternal Verities?"
A. "The Eternal Verities" are based upon the Spiritual nature of Man; his
evolution under Spiritual Law from the lowest form of intelligence to the
highest; that the Law is inherent in each being and that each reaps what he
sows without possibility of evasion; that physical existence is the lowest
and least permanent of all the forms and is conditioned by Man him self in
accordance with his recognition or denial of his Spiritual and Moral nature
as the true basis of all life.
Q. You mean an understanding and living of Theosophy?
A. Just that. Man must save himself; no one, how ever high in intelligence
and spiritual power, can do it f or him. He must learn and exercise his
Spiritual perceptions and powers and make the material expression of them
conform to that Spiritual nature. In fact, he will have to learn even if
through untold lives he brings upon himself inexpressible suffering; for
when he has suffered enough he will see the error of his ways, and then,
perhaps through many lives, make restitution for wrongs done, or duties left
Q. If the entire world today adhered strictly to Theosophy, would there be
A. There would be emulation, not competition. The latter is an endeavor to
benefit at the expense of others, while emulation is an effort to excel so
as to be of greater benefit and service in the world of men; this service,
however, must be based upon the needs of the Soul and not upon the imaginary
physical requirements born of materialistic conceptions.
Q. With regard to "the persistence of savagery"; are those in savage tribes
souls of lesser experience?
A. In the nature of evolution-an unfolding from within outwards-there must
be souls of lesser experience, whose bodies and environment correspond to
their so-far acquired nature. On the other hand there are diminishing
physical tribes of which the Australian aborigines are an example, where the
more advanced egos have incarnated in other races, leaving the use of that
physical line to the less advanced. As the latter in due course leave the
physical race, those remaining, being less capable, cause the physical
strain to deteriorate, so that only the lowest class of intelligences of
that tribe or race occupy such bodies. Finally, the physical race dies out
through sterility, the egos connected with it having incarnated in other
Q. Could a definition of Intelligent Patriotism be given?
A. The question is one of Intelligence as applied to patriotism. A very
ignorant man may have a strong patriotic feeling which may be aroused to
inconsiderate action by himself or through the incitement of others.
A more intelligent man would have a wider range of perception and action and
yet concur in national sentiment and action against other nations with what
he as an individual would consider wrong as against another individual; both
of these cases are basically wrong.
A truly intelligent patriotism would consider the individual as an integral
part of the nation to which he belonged; the nation as an integral part of
the assemblage of nations which constitute humanity as a whole.
As every individual is born into a physical body through parents of some
race or nation, and thus into the world of men, the karma of each such birth
indicates the opportunity of one so born to eradicate in himself the defects
of the family through which he came, and through the family the defects of
the nation, for national defects are the sum total of all the individuals
composing it, and the eradication of these defects begins and ends with the
individual. Intelligent patriotism would therefore consist in doing our
whole duty in that station where our karma has placed us, to our family, and
to humanity as being made up of individuals, families and nations, while
recognizing all as being the same in kind and differing only in degree. If
our family duties are well and wisely per formed, our duties to tile nation
and to humanity would to a great extent take care of themselves.
By "family duties" and "national duties" is not meant false attachments to
family or nation as a means of pride, pleasure-hunting or sensuality, but
cultivating and elevating the higher sentiments and emotions of ourselves
and of our family and utilizing them for the performance of our duty to tile
nation and humanity in general.
Q. The chapter speaks of a deficient or bad ego; what does that mean?
A. There are many classes of egos. We should remember all the time that egos
are evolving; that some Were self-conscious beings when this world of ours
began, and that others have become human beings since that beginning and up
to the middle point of the Third Race. Besides, the fact that there are bad
and deficient men in physical existence points to badness and deficiency in
egos, for it is the egos who incarnate.
Q. I have understood that the ego is immortal and spiritual in nature!
A. The ego is spiritual and immortal in essential nature, but as he
possesses the power to perceive and to act and exemplifies the law of action
and reaction in himself, as he works from higher to lower planes of
substance he becomes involved in the lower planes through attachment to them
and suffers accordingly until he overcomes his unwisdom and asserts and uses
his real nature on the lower planes. As egos, we are only partially
operative in bodies; Manas is not yet fully employed by us as a race; each
incarnation is but one aspect of our past existences, we have to make the
link between higher and lower, while we are in a body.
Q. What would be the outcome if an ego while in a body continued a course of
degeneracy and evil for life after life!
A. In such a case, the force of the tendencies set in motion would in time
break the link between the ego and his instrument during some life-time, and
the instrument with the momentum given it would be an entity without a human
soul. There are such creatures in the world, human in form, but soul-less.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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