Re: Theos-World Re: Karma-Esoteric Philosophy
Oct 17, 2008 06:31 AM
by Erica Letzerich
After posting so many e-mails about the present controversy in the Theosophical Society, I think I need to post something of different nature. So I am posting here a lecture I've delivered in Athens. Its not complete as I did not include the part of Karma-Nemesis in Ancient Greece.
One of the most difficult thing is someone to have the ability do not be attached to his or her own ideas. An open mind, as mentioned in the Golden Stairs of H.P.B., is a sine qua non condition the aspirant to the truth must develop in order to progress in the spiritual path. It seems easy, but is very difficult. The mind has a tendency to get attached to ideas which offers comfort and when these ideas are challenged there is a negative reaction leading to conflicts of different levels; and in more severe cases as fanaticism, leading to wars and death.
In the Key to Theosophy, we have the following comment: ?it is only by studying the various great religions and philosophies of humanity, by comparing them dispassionately and with an unbiased mind, that men can hope to arrive at the truth. H.P.B. The Key to Theosophy.
In the above quote H.P.B. emphasized the principle of analogy, as a tool that helps the aspirant to progress towards the truth.
Analogism, was used in the Neo-Platonic School, and is often used between theosophists. But analogy per se, won?t lead the aspirant much far. We theosophists know that it?s not only through comparative studies one can arrive to the truth, but through the process of self-knowledge as H.P.B., herself also emphasized in other writings. All that exists in the universe is reflected within man, the greatest mysteries of life and death, the laws that rules the universe, are all expressed within us; we are just unable to realize, for at the present stage our consciousness is deeply rooted into the transitory, into the passenger, into our personality.
It?s only when cultivating an open mind that the student can approach the truth. The Secret Doctrine is a work, which may help the student to reach such a state of mind; if the basic concepts of the Secret Doctrine are pondered over by the student. If only an automatic and superficial reading takes place, the student of the Secret Doctrine, will exhibit the same tendencies of a blind believer, consequently being unable to grasp the major concepts exposed there.
The major concepts of the Secret Doctrine, will lead the mind into a metaphysical and abstract way of thinking: ?The True Student of The Secret Doctrine is a Jnâna Yogi, and this Path of Yoga is the True Path for the Western student...? (The "Secret Doctrine" and Its Study, Sgd. ROBERT BOWEN, Cmdr. R.N. 19th April, 1891) Jnâna Yoga is also known as the ?path of knowledge?, and is considered the most difficult of all yoga systems. I believe Jnâna Yoga was the system of ancient Greek philosophers, but at the time not known under this name.
Briefly we saw that when studying esoteric philosophy, one must cultivate an open mind. We saw also the importance of the Secret Doctrine in terms of help to the mind of the student to get more acquainted with metaphysical subjects, being itself an instrument that leads the student into the practice of Jnâna Yoga.
The Secret Doctrine introduces the student into the main concepts of esoteric philosophy. Some of these concepts is the Law of Karma which we shall see it from a cosmological point of view. But in order to offer a more ample view about Law of Karma we will begin having a look in the Three Fundamental Propositions of the Secret Doctrine and the Senza?s Occult Catechism.
In the proem of the Secret Doctrine H.P.B. quotes exerts of what she affirms to be the Senzar?s Occult Catechism which begins with the following questions: ?what is it that ever is? What is it that ever was? What is it that is ever coming and going?? Notice the way the three questions are formulated presupposes the existence of something that ever is, was and is ever coming and going. A Cyclic Motion of Triple nature derived of one Essential Unity. Let?s briefly analyse the answers given in the Secret Doctrine to the quoted questions of the Catechism:
??What is it that ever is???
??Space, the eternal Anupadaka. ??
Anupadaka is a Sanskrit word, meaning Parentless, Self-Generated, Self-born.
??What is it that ever was???
??The Germ in the Root. ??
Both macrocosm and the microcosm, potentially exists as germs in the root; and still do not exist, a state that we could describe as being without being. There might be a Sanskrit word that expresses this state of being without being, but it?s not known to me. Potentially all exists as Germs in the Root, even our own limited existence is also in a state of being without being, for we existed potentially as germs in the root of our parents, and still then did not existed.
??What is it that is ever coming and going? ??
??The Great Breath. ??
When the ?Great Breath? takes place, the germ leaves its latent state of being without being, entering the state of being. The ?Great Breath? is Motion. Motion presupposes a force that creates it and such is considered to be the Law of Necessity, the Law of Reincarnation which is guided by the Law of Karma.
The Occult Catechism goes on with the following:
?Then there are three Eternals??
?No, the three are one.?
?That is which ever is, is one, that which ever was, is one that which is ever being and becoming, is also one??
We see an UNITY, that when manifest is of Triple Nature, and still remains as ONE. All the mains concepts exposed in the Secret Doctrine could be broadly resumed into these three questions and answers of the Senza?s Occult Catechism, as we will see with the following analogy with the Three Fundamental Propositions of the Secret Doctrine and the Occult Catechism:
??What is it that ever is???
??Space, the eternal Anupadaka. ??
The first Fundamental Proposition begins with:
?(a) An Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless, and Immutable PRINCIPLE on which all speculation is impossible??. This is what ever is, Space the eternal Anupadaka.
?What is that ever was??
?The Germ in the Root?
The second Fundamental Proposition begins with:
?(b.) The Eternity of the Universe in toto as a boundless plane; periodically "the playground of numberless Universes incessantly manifesting and disappearing," called "the manifesting stars," and the "sparks of Eternity." " The Eternity of the Pilgrim".
The ?Sparks of Eternity? is that ever was the germ in the root.
??What is it that is ever coming and going? ??
??The Great Breath. ??
The third Fundamental Proposition begins with:
?(c) The fundamental identity of all Souls with the Universal Over-Soul, the latter being itself an aspect of the Unknown Root; and the obligatory pilgrimage for every Soul -- a spark of the former -- through the Cycle of Incarnation (or "Necessity") in accordance with Cyclic and Karmic law, during the whole term.?
The Great Breath, that which is ever coming and going, is ignite by the Cycle of Necessity, or ?desire for sentient life, guided by the Law of Karma.
Broadly the three major concepts in the Secret Doctrine are:
a ? The Existence of an eternal and IMMUTABLE principle from which every speculation is impossible, and from where all is derived and to all returns.
b ? Numberless universes (both macrocosm and microcosm) are latent in the bosom of the eternal and IMMUTABLE principle and when not manifest in a state of being without being.
c ? The Cycle of Necessity or impulse for life manifests itself as Motion, which in the Secret Doctrine is poetically described as the Great Breath, and its manifestation is guided by the Law of Karma, which is the ?Ultimate Law of the Universe and Fountain of all other Laws.? (H.P.B. Key to Theosophy, p. 201.)
Karma expresses itself in the very manifestation of life in the Universe, in every new Manvantara, and is an Universal and impersonal Law, to which all manifested life is submitted. All the other Universal Laws are derived from the Law of Karma as stated by H.P.B. in the Key to Theosophy when the following question is placed, ?What is Karma?? H.P.B. replies: ?As I have said, we consider it as the Ultimate Law of the Universe, the source, origin, and fount of all other laws which exist throughout Nature. Karma is the unerring law which adjusts effect to cause, on the physical, mental, and spiritual planes of being.? Key To Theosophy, p. 201).
>From a cosmological point of view Karma is an Eternal Law that guides the manifestation of the Universal Upadhi. "Matter is Eternal. It is the Upadhi (the physical basis) for the One infinite Universal Mind to build thereon its ideations" (SD 1:280). An upadhi, is the vehicle, carrier, or means by which a higher or superior energy of whatever plane is enabled to manifest its characteristics and qualities on the lower plane.
We saw the Law of Karma is expressed in the third proposition of the Secret Doctrine, it is a concept in the very heart of esoteric philosophy, and the very manifestation of life during a (Manvantara) is guided by this great Law which is also impersonal. As an impersonal Law H.P.B. mentions that Karma ?have neither wrath nor mercy, only absolute Equity, which leaves every cause, great or small, to work out its inevitable effects.? (Key To Theosophy pp. 199-200)
There is nothing during a Manvantara, not even a Buddha who is not under this great Universal Law. In the Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnet there is a very interesting letter of the Mahatma K.H. in which he refers to Karma: ?We have several sorts of Karma and Nirvana in their various applications -- to the Universe, the world, Devas, Buddhas, Bodhisatwas, men and animals ...? (M.L. letter n. 16 K.H.) There are several sorts of Karma and everything in the manifested world is under its law. Here we may ask why there are several sorts of Karma, how is it possible a Buddha to be under the Law of Karma, for he has broken the chain of Samsara? As we mentioned before, Karma is an Universal Law, and is applied to everything during a Manvantara, Karma is the guiding force of manifested life.
There are different sorts of karma, related to different levels of consciousness, an animal who kills a man wont be submitted to the same karma of a man who kills a man. While a civilized man who kills another man will have a heavier karma then a brutal and less evoluted man who kills another man. For everything is related to the state of consciousness.
A good sample of different sorts of Karma is giving in the teachings related to Karmic Cycles or Yugas. Karmic cycles are related to the divisions of time, esoterically named by the Hindus as Yugas and Kalpas and by the Greeks as Kuklous. Blavatsky mentions that these are ?perpetual circles of time are ever returning on themselves, periodically, intelligently in Space and Eternity.? (S.D. Vol. 1, p. 637.) She also mentions that: ?There are "Cycles of matter"* and there are "Cycles of Spiritual evolution." Racial, national, and individual cycles, which run independently of each other? (S.D. Vol. 1, p. 637.) Kalpa is a generalizing term for a period or cycle of time. Yuga is a Sanskrit word that means age and is used in the Secret Doctrine to refer to the age of a race. It is said that every race cycle has four ages:
1. Krita or Satya Yuga is the Kuklo refered by Plato as the Golden Age. When a race is governed by gods its duration is said to be of 1,728,000 mortal years.
2. Treta Yuga is the Kuklo refered by Plato as the Silver Age. Its duration is of 1,296,000 mortal years.
3. Dvapara Yuga is the Kuklo refered by Plato as the Cooper Age, when a race, its when a race falls away from goodness. Thus men declined through unrighteousness" Its duration is said to be of 864,000 mortal years.
4. Kali yuga is the Kuklo refered by Plato as the Iron Age. It?s the age of darkness and ignorance. Its duration is of 4,320,000 mortal years. The four Yugas constitute a Mahayuga or one Kalpa which is 4,320,000 terrestrial years.
In the Secret Doctrine we read the following, "All races have their own cycles, which fact causes a great difference. For instance, the Fourth Sub-Race of the Atlanteans was in its Kali-Yuga, when destroyed, whereas the Fifth was in its Satya or Krita Yuga. The Aryan Race is now in its Kali Yuga, and will continue to be in it for 427,000 years longer, while various 'family Races,' called the Semitic, Hamitic, etc., are in their own special cycles. The forthcoming 6th Sub Race -- which may begin very soon -- will be in its Satya (golden) age while we reap the fruit of iniquity in our Kali Yuga" (SD 2:147n).
As we saw different races, have got different karmic cycles, ?But these cycles -- wheels within wheels? do not affect all mankind at one and the same time?? (S.D.vol. 1, p.641)
In terms of individuality karma is expressed through the process of reincarnation of the ego into the world of form. ?The Ego is the wick and Karma the oil.? ? Or, in other words that Karma is the guiding power, and Trishna (in Pali Tanha) the thirst or desire to sentiently live -- the proximate force or energy. (M.L. letter n. 16 K.H.).
In man Karma is carried out from reincarnation to reincarnation through the Skandhas which are the basis for a new individual Karmic reincarnation. The result of our actions will produce a new set of Skandhas that will form the new being. ?The "old being" is the sole parent -- father and mother at once -- of the "new being." It is the former who is the creator and fashioner, of the latter, in reality; and far more so in plain truth, than any father in flesh.? (M.L. letter n. 16 K.H.) We are the creators our own self.
Classically in exoteric Buddhism there are five Skandhas, but K.H mentions two more, presenting a total of seven Skandhas (see M.L. letter n. 16 K.H.):
Rupa -- the material properties or attributes. (Leaves behind it its magnetic atoms and occult affinities)
Vedana ? sensations
Sanna -- abstract ideas (The creative powers at work from one incarnation to another.)
Sankhara -- tendencies both physical and mental
Vinnana -- mental powers, an amplification of the fourth, meaning the mental, physical and moral predispositions.
The two other Skandhas mentioned by K.H are:
Sakkayaditthi-- the "heresy or delusion of individuality"
Attavada ---"the doctrine of Self," both of which (in the case of the fifth principle the soul) lead to the maya of heresy and belief in the efficacy of vain rites and ceremonies; in prayers and intercession.
The Skandhas are in constant change, as there is nothing in the world of form that is permanent. We are not the same as when we were 14 years old or 21 years old and so on. The Skandhas are changing according with the changes of the being, and will pre-determine the future reincarnation. It is in the Skandhas, that both positive and negative karma are registered. Both good and bad tendencies in man are carried out from one reincarnation to other, with no Divine Intervention able to change it. We are responsible for ourselves and in reality we are our own father and mother. Under this light we are all potentially gods but have no consciousness of it. We are our own creators (in this world of form) and our own destructors. All the others intelligent Laws in Nature as Karma, being constantly adjusted to the result of our own actions.
Erica L. Georgiades
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