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Feb 09, 2002 02:33 AM
by dalval14

Saturday, February 09, 2002

Dear Friends:

Recent posts indicate some interest in learning about our present
cycle, age and civilization. Mr. Judge in talking with H P B
noted her views and later produced this series on Occultism and
its views.

Perhaps this can be of help to us all.

best wishes,





by W. Q. Judge

STUDENT. - I am very much puzzled about the present age. Some
theosophists seem to abhor it as if wishing to be taken away from
it altogether, inveighing against modern inventions such as the
telegraph, railways, machinery, and the like, and bewailing the
disappearance of former civilizations.

Others take a different view, insisting that this is a better
time than any other, and hailing modern methods as the best. Tell
me, please, which of these is right, or, if both are wrong, what
ought we to know about the age we live in.

Sage. - The teachers of Truth know all about this age. But they
do not mistake the present century for the whole cycle. The older
times of European history, for example, when might was right and
when darkness prevailed over Western nations, was as much a part
of this age, from the standpoint of the Masters, as is the
present hour, for the Yuga - to use a Sanscrit word - in which we
are now had begun many thousands of years before.

And during that period of European darkness, although this Yuga
had already begun, there was much light, learning, and
civilization in India and China. The meaning of the words
"present age" must therefore be extended over a far greater
period than is at present assigned. In fact, modern science has
reached no definite conclusion yet as to what should properly be
called "an age," and the truth of the Eastern doctrine is denied.
Hence we find writers speaking of the "Golden Age," the "Iron
Age," and so on, whereas they are only parts of the real age that
began so far back that modern archaeologists deny it altogether.

Student. - What is the Sanscrit name for this age, and what is
its meaning?

Sage. The Sanscrit is "Kali," which added to Yuga gives us
"Kali-Yuga." The meaning of it is "Dark Age." Its approach was
known to the ancients, its characteristics are described in the
Indian poem "The Mahabharata." As I said that it takes in an
immense period of the glorious part of Indian history, there is
no chance for anyone to be jealous and to say that we are
comparing the present hour with that wonderful division of Indian

Student. - What are the characteristics to which you refer, by
which Kali-Yuga may be known?

Sage. - As its name implies, darkness is the chief. This of
course is not deducible by comparing today with 800 A.D., for
this would be no comparison at all. The present century is
certainly ahead of the middle ages, but as compared with the
preceding Yuga it is dark.

To the Occultist, material advancement is not of the quality of
light, and he finds no proof of progress in merely mechanical
contrivances that give comfort to a few of the human family while
the many are in misery. For the darkness he would have to point
but to one nation, even the great American Republic. Here he sees
a mere extension of the habits and life of the Europe from which
it sprang; here a great experiment with entirely new conditions
and material was tried; here for many years very little poverty
was known; but here today there is as much grinding poverty as
anywhere, and as large a criminal class with corresponding
prisons as in Europe, and more than in India. Again, the great
thirst for riches and material betterment, while spiritual life
is to a great extent ignored, is regarded by us as darkness. The
great conflict already begun between the wealthy classes and the
poorer is a sign of darkness.

Were spiritual light prevalent, the rich and the poor would still
be with us, for Karma cannot be blotted out, but the poor would
know how to accept their lot and the rich how to improve the
poor; now, on the contrary, the rich wonder why the poor do not
go to the poorhouse, meanwhile seeking in the laws for cures for
strikes and socialism, and the poor continually growl at fate and
their supposed oppressors. All this is of the quality of
spiritual darkness.

Student. - Is it wise to inquire as to the periods when the
cycle changes, and to speculate on the great astronomical or
other changes that herald a turn.

Sage. - It is not. There is an old saying that the gods are
jealous about these things, not wishing mortals to know them. We
may analyze the age, but it is better not to attempt to fix the
hour of a change of cycle. Besides that, you will be unable to
settle it, because a cycle does not begin on a day or year clear
of any other cycle; they interblend, so that, although the wheel
of one period is still turning, the initial point of another has
already arrived.

Student. - Are these some of the reasons why Mr. Sinnett was not
given certain definite periods of years about which he asked?

Sage. - Yes.

Student. - Has the age in which one lives any effect on the
student; and what is it?

Sage. - It has effect on every one, but the student after
passing along in his development feels the effect more than the
ordinary man. Were it otherwise, the sincere and aspiring
students all over the world would advance at once to those
heights towards which they strive. It takes a very strong soul to
hold back the age's heavy hand, and it is all the more difficult
because that influence, being a part of the student's larger
life, is not so well understood by him. It operates in the same
way as a structural defect in a vessel. All the inner as well as
the outer fiber of the man is the result of the long centuries of
earthly lives lived here by his ancestors. These sow seeds of
thought and physical tendencies in a way that you cannot
comprehend. All those tendencies affect him.

Many powers once possessed are hidden so deep as to be unseen,
and he struggles against obstacles constructed ages ago. Further
yet are the peculiar alterations brought about in the astral
world. It, being at once a photographic plate, so to say, and
also a reflector, has become the keeper of the mistakes of ages
past which it continually reflects upon us from a plane to which
most of us are strangers.

In that sense therefore, free as we suppose ourselves, we are
walking about completely hypnotized by the past, acting blindly
under the suggestions thus cast upon us.

Student. Was that why Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for
they know not what they do"?

Sage. That was one meaning. In one aspect they acted blindly,
impelled by the age, thinking they were right. Regarding these
astral alterations, you will remember how in the time of Julian
the seers reported that they could see the gods, but they were
decaying, some headless, others flaccid, others minus limbs, and
all appearing weak. The reverence for these ideals was departing,
and their astral pictures had already begun to fade.

Student. What mitigation is there about this age? Is there
nothing at all to relieve the picture?

Sage.	- There is one thing peculiar to the present Kali-Yuga that
may be used by the Student.

All causes now bring about their effects much more rapidly than
in any other or better age. A sincere lover of the race can
accomplish more in three incarnations under Kali-Yuga's reign
than he could in a much greater number in any other age. Thus by
bearing all the manifold troubles of this Age and steadily
triumphing, the object of his efforts will be more quickly
realized, for, while the obstacles seem great, the powers to be
invoked can be reached more quickly.

Student. Even if this is, spiritually considered, a Dark Age,
is it not in part redeemed by the increasing triumphs of mind
over matter, and by the effects of science in mitigating human
ills, such as the causes of disease, disease itself, cruelty,
intolerance, bad laws, etc.?

Sage. Yes, these are mitigations of the darkness in just the
same way that a lamp gives some light at night but does not
restore daylight.

In this age there are great triumphs of science, but they are
nearly all directed to effects and do not take away the causes of
the evils. Great strides have been made in the arts and in cure
of diseases, but in the future, as the flower of our civilization
unfolds, new diseases will arise and more strange disorders will
be known, springing from causes that lie deep in the minds of men
and which can only be eradicated by spiritual living.

Student. Admitting all you say, are not we, as Theosophists, to
welcome every discovery of truth in any field, especially such
truth as lessens suffering or enlarges the moral sense?

Sage. This is our duty. All truths discovered must be parts of
the one Absolute Truth, and so much added to the sum of our outer
knowledge. There will always be a large number of men who seek
for these parts of truth, and others who try to alleviate present
human misery. They each do a great and appointed work that no
true Theosophist should ignore.

And it is also the duty of the latter to make similar efforts
when possible, for Theosophy is a dead thing if it is not turned
into the life. At the same time, no one of us may be the judge of
just how much or how little our brother is doing in that
direction. If he does all that he can and knows how to do, he
does his whole present duty.

Student. I fear that a hostile attitude by Occult teachers
towards the learning and philanthropy of the time may arouse
prejudice against Theosophy and Occultism, and needlessly impede
the spread of Truth. May it not be so?

Sage. The real Occult Teachers have no hostile attitude toward
these things. If some persons, who like theosophy and try to
spread it, take such a position, they do not thereby alter the
one assumed by the real Teachers who work with all classes of men
and use every possible instrument for good. But at the same time
we have found that an excess of the technical and special
knowledge of the day very often acts to prevent men from
apprehending the truth.

Student. Are there any causes, other than the spread of
Theosophy, which may operate to reverse the present drift towards

Sage.	The spread of the knowledge of the laws of Karma and
Reincarnation and of a belief in the absolute spiritual unity of
all beings will alone prevent this drift. The cycle must,
however, run its course, and until that is ended all beneficial
causes will of necessity act slowly and not to the extent they
would in a brighter age.

As each student lives a better life and by his example imprints
upon the astral light the picture of a higher aspiration acted in
the world, he thus aids souls of advanced development to descend
from other spheres where the cycles are so dark that they can no
longer stay there.

Student. Accept my thanks for your instruction.

Sage. - May you reach the terrace of enlightenment.

Path, April, 1888


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