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RE: Theos-World Karma?

Mar 08, 2002 04:45 AM
by dalval14

Friday, March 08, 2002

Dear Terrie:

Perhaps the following (extracts from the OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY will
help grasp the score of Karma. Have you read the APHORISM ON

Best wishes,




Karma is an unfamiliar word for Western ears. It is the name
adopted by Theosophists of the nineteenth century for one of the
most important of the laws of nature. Ceaseless in its operation,
it bears alike upon planets, systems of planets, races, nations,
families, and individuals. It is the twin doctrine to

So inextricably interlaced are these two laws that it is almost
impossible to properly consider one apart from the other. No spot
or being in the universe is exempt from the operation of Karma,
but all are under its sway, punished for error by it yet
beneficently led on, through discipline, rest, and reward, to the
distant heights of perfection.

It is a law so comprehensive in its sweep, embracing at once our
physical and our moral being, that it is only by paraphrase and
copious explanation one can convey its meaning in English. For
that reason the Sanskrit term Karma was adopted to designate it.

Applied to man's moral life it is the law of ethical causation,
justice, reward and punishment; the cause for birth and rebirth,
yet equally the means for escape from incarnation.

Viewed from another point it is merely effect flowing from cause,
action and reaction, exact result for every thought and act. It
is act and the result of act; for the word's literal meaning is

Theosophy views the Universe as an intelligent whole, hence every
motion in the Universe is an action of that whole leading to
results, which themselves become causes for further results.
Viewing it thus broadly, the ancient Hindus said that every being
up to Brahma was under the rule of Karma.

It is not a being but a law, the universal law of harmony which
unerringly restores all disturbance to equilibrium. In this the
theory conflicts with the ordinary conception about God, built up
from the Jewish system, which assumes that the Almighty as a
thinking entity, extraneous to the Cosmos, builds up, finds his
construction inharmonious, out of proportion, errant, and
disturbed, and then has to pull down, destroy, or punish that
which he created.

This has either caused thousands to live in fear of God, in
compliance with his assumed commands, with the selfish object of
obtaining reward and securing escape from his wrath, or has
plunged them into darkness which comes from a denial of all
spiritual life. But as there is plainly, indeed painfully,
evident to every human being a constant destruction going on in
and around us, a continual war not only among men but everywhere
through the whole solar system, causing sorrow in all directions,
reason requires a solution of the riddle.

The poor, who see no refuge or hope, cry aloud to a God who makes
no reply, and then envy springs up in them when they consider the
comforts and opportunities of the rich. They see the rich
profligates, the wealthy fools, enjoying themselves unpunished.

Turning to the teacher of religion, they meet the reply to their
questioning of the justice which will permit such misery to those
who did nothing requiring them to be born with no means, no
opportunities for education, no capacity to overcome social,
racial, or circumstantial obstacles, "It is the will of God."

Parents produce beloved offspring who are cut off by death at an
untimely hour, just when all promised well. They too have no
answer to the question "Why am I thus afflicted?" but the same
unreasonable reference to an inaccessible God whose arbitrary
will causes their misery.

Thus in every walk of life, loss, injury, persecution,
deprivation of opportunity, nature's own forces working to
destroy the happiness of man, death, reverses, disappointment
continually beset good and evil men alike

But nowhere is there any answer or relief save in the ancient
truths that each man is the maker and fashioner of his own
destiny, the only one who sets in motion the causes for his own
happiness and misery. In one life he sows and in the next he
reaps. Thus on and forever, the law of Karma leads him.

Karma is a beneficent law wholly merciful, relentlessly just, for
true mercy is not favor but impartial justice.

"My brothers! each man's life
The outcome of his former living is;
The bygone wrongs bring forth sorrows and woes,
The bygone right breeds bliss. . . .
This is the doctrine of Karma."

How is the present life affected by that bygone right and wrong
act, and is it always by way of punishment? Is Karma only fate
under another name, an already fixed and formulated destiny from
which no escape is possible, and which therefore might make us
careless of act or thought that cannot affect destiny?

It is not fatalism. Everything done in a former body has
consequences which in the new birth the Ego must enjoy or suffer,
for, as St. Paul said: "Brethren, be not deceived, God is not
mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap." For
the effect is in the cause, and Karma produces the manifestation
of it in the body, brain, and mind furnished by reincarnation.

And as a cause set up by one man has a distinct relation to him
as a center from which it came, so each one experiences the
results of his own acts. We may sometimes seem to receive effects
solely from the acts of others, but this is the result of our own
acts and thoughts in this or some prior life. We perform our acts
in company with others always, and the acts with their underlying
thoughts have relation always to other persons and to ourselves.

No act is performed without a thought at its root either at the
time of performance or as leading to it. These thoughts are
lodged in that part of man which we have called Manas -- the
mind, and there remain as subtle but powerful links with magnetic
threads that enmesh the solar system, and through which various
effects are brought out.

The theory put forward in earlier pages that the whole system to
which this globe belongs is alive, conscious on every plane,
though only in man showing self-consciousness, comes into play
here to explain how the thought under the act in this life may
cause result in this or the next birth.

The marvellous modern experiments in hypnotism show that the
slightest impression, no matter how far back in the history of
the person, may be waked up to life, thus proving it is not lost
but only latent. Take for instance the case of a child born
humpbacked and very short, the head sunk between the shoulders,
the arms long and legs curtailed.

Why is this? His karma for thoughts and acts in a prior life. He
reviled, persecuted, or otherwise injured a deformed person so
persistently or violently as to imprint in his own immortal mind
the deformed picture of his victim. For in proportion to the
intensity of his thought will be the intensity and depth of the

It is exactly similar to the exposure of the sensitive
photographic plate, whereby, just as the exposure is long or
short, the impression in the plate is weak or deep.

So this thinker and actor -- the Ego -- coming again to rebirth
carries with him this picture, and if the family to which he is
attracted for birth has similar physical tendencies in its
stream, the mental picture causes the newly-forming astral body
to assume a deformed shape by electrical and magnetic osmosis
through the mother of the child.

And as all beings on earth are indissolubly joined together, the
misshapen child is the karma of the parents also an exact
consequence for similar acts and thoughts on their part in other
lives. Here is an exactitude of justice which no other theory
will furnish.

But as we often see a deformed human being -- continuing the
instance merely for the purpose of illustration -- having a happy
disposition, an excellent intellect, sound judgment, and every
good moral quality, this very instance leads us to the conclusion
that karma must be of several different kinds in every individual
case, and also evidently operates in more than one department of
our being, with the possibility of being pleasant in effect for
one portion of our nature and unpleasant for another.
Karma is of three sorts: 1. Of the past, waiting to manifest as
circumstances; 2. or the present, which we are engaged in
meeting and handling, and 3. of the future -- which we generate
every moment by our own choices.



(1) There is no Karma unless there is a being to make it or feel
its effects.[PARA][PARA](2) Karma is the adjustment of effects
flowing from causes, during which the being upon whom and through
whom that adjustment is effected experiences pain or
pleasure.[PARA][PARA](3) Karma is an undeviating and unerring
tendency in the Universe to restore equilibrium, and it operates
incessantly.[PARA][PARA](4) The apparent stoppage of this
restoration to equilibrium is due to the necessary adjustment of
disturbance at some other spot, place, or focus which is visible
only to the Yogi, to the Sage, or the perfect Seer: there is
therefore no stoppage, but only a hiding from
view.[PARA][PARA](5) Karma operates on all things and beings from
the minutest conceivable atom to Brahma. Proceeding in the three
worlds men, gods, and the elemental beings, no spot in the
manifested universe is exempt from its sway.[PARA][PARA](6) Karma
is not subject to time, and therefore he who knows what is the
ultimate division of time in this Universe knows
Karma.[PARA][PARA](7) For all other men Karma is in its essential
nature unknown and unknowable.[PARA][PARA](8) But its action may
be known by calculation from cause to effect; and this
calculation is possible because the effect is wrapped up in and
is not succedent to the cause.[PARA][PARA](9) The Karma of this
earth is the combination of the acts and thoughts of all beings
of every grade which were concerned in the preceding Manvantara
or evolutionary stream from which ours flows.[PARA][PARA](10) And
as those beings include Lords of Power and Holy Men, as well as
weak and wicked ones, the period of the earth's duration is
greater than that of any entity or race upon it.[PARA][PARA](11)
Because the Karma of this earth and its races began in a past too
far back for human minds to reach, an inquiry into its beginning
is useless and profitless.[PARA][PARA](12) Karmic causes already
set in motion must be allowed to sweep on until exhausted, but
this permits no man to refuse to help his fellows and every
sentient being.[PARA][PARA](13) The effects may be counteracted
or mitigated by the thoughts and acts of oneself or of another,
and then the resulting effects represent the combination and
interaction of the whole number of causes involved in producing
the effects.[PARA][PARA](14) In the life of worlds, races,
nations, and individuals, Karma cannot act unless there is an
appropriate instrument provided for its action.[PARA][PARA](15)
And until such appropriate instrument is found, that Karma
related to it remains unexpended.[PARA][PARA](16) While a man is
experiencing Karma in the instrument provided, his other
unexpended Karma is not exhausted through other beings or means,
but is held reserved for future operation; and lapse of time
during which no operation of that Karma is felt causes no
deterioration in its force or change in its
nature.[PARA][PARA](17) The appropriateness of an instrument for
the operation of Karma consists in the exact connection and
relation of the Karma with the body, mind, intellectual and
psychical nature acquired for use by the Ego in any
life.[PARA][PARA](18) Every instrument used by any Ego in any
life is appropriate to the Karma operating through
it.[PARA][PARA](19) Changes may occur in the instrument during
one life so as to make it appropriate for a new class of Karma,
and this may take place in two ways: (a) through intensity of
thought and the power of a vow, and (b) through natural
alterations due to complete exhaustion of old
causes.[PARA][PARA](20) As body and mind and soul have each a
power of independent action, any one of these may exhaust,
independently of the others, some Karmic causes more remote from
or nearer to the time of their inception than those operating
through other channels.[PARA][PARA](21) Karma is both merciful
and just. Mercy and Justice are only opposite poles of a single
whole; and Mercy without Justice is not possible in the
operations of Karma. That which man calls Mercy and Justice is
defective, errant, and impure.[PARA][PARA](22) Karma may be of
three sorts: (a) presently operative in this life through the
appropriate instruments; (b) that which is being made or stored
up to be exhausted in the future; Karma held over from past life
or lives and not operating yet because inhibited by
inappropriateness of the instrument in use by the Ego, or by the
force of Karma now operating.[PARA][PARA](23) Three fields of
operation are used in each being by Karma: (a) the body and the
circumstances; (b) the mind and intellect; the psychic and astral
planes.[PARA][PARA](24) Held-over Karma or present Karma may
each, or both at once, operate in all of the three fields of
Karmic operation at once, or in either of those fields a
different class of Karma from that using the others may operate
at the same time.[PARA][PARA](25) Birth into any sort of body and
to obtain the fruits of any sort of Karma is due to the
preponderance of the line of Karmic tendency.[PARA][PARA](26) The
sway of Karmic tendency will influence the incarnation of an Ego,
or any family of Egos, for three lives at least, when measures of
repression, elimination, or counteraction are not
adopted.[PARA][PARA](27) Measures taken by an Ego to repress
tendency, eliminate defects, and to counteract by setting up
different causes, will alter the sway of Karmic tendency and
shorten its influence in accordance with the strength or weakness
of the efforts expended in carrying out the measures
adopted.[PARA][PARA](28) No man but a sage or true seer can judge
another's Karma. Hence while each receives his deserts,
appearances may deceive, and birth into Poverty or heavy trial
may not be punishment for bad Karma, for Egos continually
incarnate into poor surroundings where they experience
difficulties and trials which are for the discipline of the Ego
and result in strength, fortitude, and sympathy.[PARA][PARA](29)
Race-Karma influences each unit in the race through the law of
Distribution. National Karma operates on the members of the
nation by the same law more concentrated. Family Karma governs
only with a nation where families have been kept pure and
distinct; for in any nation where there is a mixture of family -
as obtains in each Kaliyuga period - family Karma is in general
distributed over a nation. But even at such periods some families
remain coherent for long periods, and then the members feel the
sway of family Karma. The word "family" may include several
smaller families.[PARA][PARA](30) Karma operates to produce
cataclysms of nature by concatenation through the mental and
astral planes of being. A cataclysm may be traced to an immediate
physical cause such as internal fire and atmospheric disturbance,
but these have been brought on by the disturbance created through
the dynamic power of human thought.[PARA][PARA](31) Egos who have
no Karmic connection with a portion of the globe where a
cataclysm is coming on are kept without the latter's operation in
two ways: (a) by repulsion acting on their inner nature, and (b)
by being called and warned by those who watch the progress of the
world.[PARA][PARA]Path, March, 1893[PARA]
-- W Q Judge

Best wishes,


>From Judge -- extracts from the Ocean of Theosophy, etc....



-----Original Message-----
From: Terrie Halprin
Sent: Thursday, March 07, 2002 3:32 PM
Subject: Karma?


I think karma is an interesting notion - I think I can
see in the "real" world that I live in an existence
that is itself fundamentally based on consequence/the
sequence of and/or a causality of action -be it
long/short term - SO- as a natural/working/modeled
process it does seem fit to assume that this such
process runs through and through the many/many layers
of existence (or, consciousness) by process.

In this respect, myself, I think it's sometimes
different than one might suppose - that it is indeed
more involved/defining (and, complex) than justa
"morality" device - ALSO - good and bad as action
labels themselves are, I think, well rooted to anima
and spirit compulsion(s) (or, instincts) which can
also thereby be further defined/refined (for
clarity/accuracy/precision) by its Brahma/Shiva/Vishnu
motivation -or- angle.

I think it's all very interesting.
Have a BEAUTIFUL day,


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