RE: CYCLES & Theosophical teachings.
Mar 27, 2002 06:11 AM
Tuesday, March 26, 2002
A recent quotation has attracted a request for clarification.
"And at the present time the cycle has almost run its course for
this century. Now, the Adept Lodge hopes by the time the next
tide begins to rise that the West will have gained some right
knowledge of the true philosophy of Man and Nature, and be then
ready to bear the lifting of the veil a little more.
To help on the progress of the race in this direction is the
object of Theosophy and that is offered to all".
One may observe that cycles in time have been identified by
historians, Dr. Toynbee, for instance offers us several.
Our Earth is a large town, floating in space, it is
self-supporting and totally interactive in time. Within its
ambience, all factors are contained and distributively handled by
an Intelligence which is yet to be completely identified. But it
is known that this INTELLIGENCE is innate and all-pervasive.
Religions have been framed around this concept, and the
designation "God," or "Gods" has been used to indicate a Power
that is able to intelligently integrate a multitude of functions
It may also presumed, on studying The SECRET DOCTRINE, that the
Masters of Wisdom who provided the material therein, knew of
these and many other cycles. It is probable therefore that there
are times when the mental, moral and emotional average of
humankind reaches a point where the independence and freedom of
the mind permits a greater insight into the causes of the
material universe we are so familiar with -- as to identify most
things with it alone.
The opening chink that will permit inquiring minds a view of this
process is to suggest that underlying all physical events and
circumstances is a CAUSE. Such cause may be called a force
field, or lattice work of power and energy, and that these causes
on th field and within the plane of electro-magnetic force are
properties of that energy which governs all relationships
(called Karma). Also, that the astral plane, lying within or
behind all physical events and circumstances, is the place where
such causes are stored in a quiescent state until they mature and
become evident on our plane of material events..
Without hesitation we may suggest the careful study of the basic
books that introduce Theosophical philosophy, such as the KEY TO
THEOSOPHY (HPB) and the OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY (Judge).
Those who are reasonably familiar with the teachings of Theosophy
will understand that these are all statements made on behalf of
THEOSOPHY. And that Theosophy is a body of facts relative to the
laws that pervade all aspects and planes of Nature.
Our physical nature is one of seven (7) such planes.
the 6 invisible planes are contained within the physical,
tangible. Some, like the psychic, the mental planes of
intellectuality and the plane relating to Wisdom (Buddhi), are
within our mental contact, to some extent.
The all-important "astral" plane, necessary as a basis for the
physical, is yet to be fully detected and determined by Science,
although some experiments have show its necessity and existence.
The need for these is made clear in these doctrines we study and
seek to confirm. They are held by experienced students to be
statements of facts in Nature.
These Facts and Laws are so evident that any one can find, prove
and demonstrate them reasonably.
Admittedly, for those who have, like all of us, been raised in
the limiting environment of materialism in education, in
philosophy and in religion, it does take a little more effort.
However, the statement of their existence does not mandate a
categorical denial of their presence. At best, one can say: 'I
have yet to receive adequate evidence." To deny, is to admit to
It is suggested that we look at the fact that usually we are
making inquiries, such as " Who am I?" "Why am I here? " What
is this environment I call the Earth?", and looking wider, "What
is the Universe?" "Also: 'Is it reasonable to suppose that the
laws we see operating in Nature have their equivalents in the
moral and ethical aspects of our living?" Finally: "Do
religions teach such ethical and moral laws, and can they
demonstrate them ?"
Not every one does this kind of questioning and examination. That
may be because most live under the pressures of our "civilized"
life, and earning a living, is more closely concerned with doing
that. Hence our, or, their minds are largely focused on our work
and its possible improvement in search for greater recompense
for our time and the intelligence we devote to it.
If we look at this last sentence we notice several unexplained
statements: "pressures of life," "mind,"
"work," "recompense" and " intelligence." How are they linked ?
For "intelligence" to seek self-knowledge, or a moral and ethical
code already in place, requires determination. Will-power.
For "recompense" we need a job or some arrangement to give us
"pay" (recompense) for time and mental energy spent on someone
else's affairs, and, perhaps on our own. In any case we need
some form of negotiable currency with which to buy shelter, food,
water, clothing, etc...
Our sphere of responsibility extends considerably beyond our own
physical selves, and includes an ever-widening area of "work,"
and cooperation with others, their work and the products or
services they can provide us, for which we have no ease in our
own time schedule to accommodate.
All this is both basic and elementary. As some might say:
"This is unnecessary "fundamentalism."
That may be tedious to some, but for some others, it may be the
beginning of that kind of analysis that leads to self-evaluation
and self-definition. At the worst it leads to a definition of
our capabilities and our limitations as we see them, honestly, in
our own minds. A periodical review of our knowledge is a
safeguard few can omit.
But, not everyone has reasoned out all these things. This
introduction to the Theosophical methods of thought and
consideration, are as basic as the rules of arithmetic are to any
of the functions of scientific definition or, the procedures of
"higher mathematics." It is offered, to show how basic concepts
and rules of thought are needed to be assimilated, so that they
are automatically made a basic part of our questing in any
direction. The area of inquiry and application are our "psychic
and intellectual" planes and capabilities. These need definition
in general, and specific identification by ourselves to our own
characters and capacities. This is an aspect of self-knowledge
where strict honesty, diligence and sincerity must reign.
This needs to be established because the philosophy that
Theosophy offers us to consider, covers the whole spectrum of
reality, and not just the materialistic point of view which is
self-limited to empiricism (the reports of observations that our
senses give to us, which are used in analysis and in
classification of properties and reactions that are inherent in
any chosen substance, or any chosen interaction). But it will be
seen that used, as a "short-cut," such data lacks the ability to
give a perception into the CAUSES that produce "difference, or
"results," which we can then analyse and classify. We need,
essentially, to identify those "causes."
Let us look at the effect that Scientific examination of our
Earth, ourselves, and its general condition, over a period that
ranges for about 3 to 400 years has produced:
Science has restricted itself largely to the recording of
observations. It recognizes primarily the repetitive nature of
phenomena in certain set circumstances. These have been recorded
in all such case as "LAWS." Students are taught these and
receive recurring demonstrations of such Laws as they go through
the average educational process.
Thus, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, geology,
engineering, astronomy, and psychology have recorded millions of
test results, and from those have been drawn the rules and
regulations pertaining to the substances selected and used, as
well as the conditions under which reactions or interaction take
Mathematics is generally used to record the findings of
observations in terms that can be viewed and reproduced when
similar conditions are copied. It has the virtue of being exact
and inarguable when correctly applied.
So strong has this demonstration of reliable continuity been,
that Science ascribes to material substances, be they gaseous,
liquids or solid at the present general ambience, that, the
recognition of those LAWS, PROPERTIES, and QUALITIES identify
specific substances, interactions and processes.
This has given rise to the "Laws" of Physics including,
dimensions of measurement, pressure, temperature, electrical and
magnetic tensions, color, taste, vibrations, etc., and, in
Chemistry they indicate the presence of other reactions when,
under controlled conditions, reagents either as a mixture, or, as
a simple pure substance is made to interact with another. This
process is of course extended, by analogy, into the study of
biology and the areas of psychology and thought. No fact of
Nature can be exempted from it. But there is an area of
vagueness when fancy, speculation, doubt, ignorance and prejudice
are allowed to play a part without due identification.
After some 3 to 400 hundred years of careful observation, the
"LAWS" of Nature's components as recorded by Science in all
departments, have become the basis for the teaching of those
sciences in the present educational system, as generally applied.
These variants, as said, include temperature, pressure, inherent
qualities and properties, the handling of impurities, the
influence of proximate factors, fields of force, the nature of
solvents, the recovery of wastes and by-products, economics, and
a thousand other identifiable factors and processed reports.
As already said: Our Earth, floating in space, it is
self-supporting and totally interactive. All factors and
variances are distributively handled by an Intelligence which is
yet to be identified. It appears to be innate and all-pervasive.
Religions have been framed around basic facts of Science, in an
attempt to give a "cause" to their being. The designation:
"God" or "Gods" has been used to indicate a Power that is able to
intelligently integrate with strict impartiality a multitude of
functions occurring simultaneously.
One of the problems with our Science is that it lacks a
supportive history. Traces of scientific examination and the
recording of data extend as far back as relicts and artifacts of
various kinds are found. these are few, scattered, and usually
non-consecutive and fragmentary. To achieve some kind of order,
speculative theories and hypotheses have been framed. Prejudice,
based on religious dogmas, which continue to place restrictions
on our view of the "past," have served to restrict many of the
speculative attempts to recreate a fanciful vision of our
supposed past, based on present interpretations of knowledge and
religious prejudices as to times, events and the processes of
creation. Many of these are pure fiction.
The most popular is that in the past when Man (as a mind-being
inhabiting a physical form emerged from a uniform primal
condition of supposed ignorance, he developed, by trial and
error, tribal savagery and lived on plants and the hunt, and took
shelter solely in caves or temporary constructions. Some
evidence supports this as may artifacts have even preserved in
caves. It is well to note that even today, societies far from
the touch of our "advanced" civilization still use primitive
tools and live in caves when the weather requires it. So even
today savagery and civilization co-exist. Certainly, we cannot
call our city slums and the individuals who live there
"civilized!" So one may presume that at all times savagery and
ignorance has co-existed with knowledge, engineering and wisdom.
One philosopher observed, for instance, that all modern
philosophy was but footnotes to Plato.
It is claimed that geology and the succession of strata
demonstrate the antiquity of various artifacts. In this regard
we find controversy raging in archeological circles because
certain artifacts have been discovered in strata that would
require the consideration of an earlier period of production than
current time views of the past would accord. If we review the
changes now accepted by academics with those time-views current
100 years ago, we will find that these have received a very large
increment. But even these do not resemble entirely the scale of
antiquity that Theosophy claims is an accurate record of human
and world evolution. The SECRET DOCTRINE records the historical
facts narrated by a group of wise Sages who have witnessed those
events, both in cosmogenesis and in anthropogenesis (the birth of
the Kosmos and our Earth, and the emergence and evolution of Man
both as a physical form and as a Mind).
These statements are not intended to be a thorough review of
differences in theoretical dialog. They are intended to point
out that Science has:
1. established that LAW reigns everywhere that it has
examined departments of Nature.
2. That the whole of Nature runs like a well adjusted clock.
And has apparently been doing this long before observations were
first set down.
3. That human observation and intelligence is capable of
impartially and carefully observing and recording these facts.
That as the records of such observations exist all around us, we
need to examine them closely.
4. That Nature had these qualities, properties and functions
well established and running long before human minds set
themselves to examining and looking for the evidence.
5. That some of the ancient records show that there were
human minds which examined and recorded the same kind of data
very long ago, and that is was applied in construction,
hydraulics, navigation. Additionally, some to ancient writers on
6. The use of Theosophical methods as a philosophical and
intellectual approach to looking at our present situation is
important because it frees the mind from prejudices and
7. If LAW pervades the Universe it is but natural that there
are laws relating to the MIND and to the emotional nature as
clear and as exact as those relating to chemistry, physics and
Let then look at some of the propositions Theosophy advances:
1. There is always a SPIRITUAL BACKGROUND (named the
"Absolute") the nature of which cannot be defined in material
terms. Periodically from THAT evolution (as creative activity)
proceeds out, exists, and thus, provides a sphere for the
interaction of individual and personal intelligence and
consciousness, and then, that cycle being over, all withdraws for
a period of rest or "sleep."
2. In The SECRET DOCTRINE , the concept of the
individualized Monad is posited -- being, human or otherwise
embodies a "ray" from the ONE SPIRITUAL WHOLE. The terms used
are: a UNIVERSAL MONAD or ATMA (Spirit) and BUDDHI (pure
primordial undifferentiated substance).
It is important to understand the concept that "monads" pervade
SPACE in manifestation (see S.D. I 289). Monads are eternal,
living, Conscious units. Each represents in essence the entire
potential of the WHOLE (just as the parts of a hologram reflect
the whole picture).
3. Man is a self-conscious Monad. Each human has passed
through aeons of experience in all the kingdoms of Nature and has
now reached the mid-point of his evolutionary journey. This
mid-point marks the advent of the free, independent
self-conscious Mind with which the human monad is endowed by
contact with more advanced Monads (this is similar to the
emanation of independent thought and the consciousness of "self"
which a child develops from contact with its parents and with
4. With self-consciousness the power of freedom of choice
develops. Choice, as a free decision always resides midway
between lawful living and the breaking of ethical and moral Law.
Karma ensues from all choices.
5. The evolution of intelligence proceeds in and around the
more advanced MONADS. They are surrounded by other monads (which
have lesser experience), but who by their inherent nature are
destined to grow through experience to the same spiritual
stature, and develop the same ability as the SPIRIT. We may thus
say, as Theosophy does, that BROTHERHOOD is the rule of all
6. In the human stage, this urge to progress manifests as
self-determined and self-devised efforts to improve morally to
follow, and obey the LAWS OF NATURE and thus, to spiritualize
themselves. The "Voice of Conscience" which is innate to all
humans ever warns when a bad choice is about to be made. It is
the voice of experience, and is derived from the Karma of past
7. This, the evolution of the free and independent mind in
all members of humanity is the single great object of evolution.
8. The process of evolution is demonstrated by the fact that
the more advanced help VOLUNTARILY those who need advice and ask
for it. Thus the eternal relation of Teacher and pupil is
established and carried forward. [ See LETTERS THAT HAVE HELPED
ME by W. Q. Judge, pp 49-51]. The last few pages of THE VOICE OF
THE SILENCE ( pp. 72-79) emphasize this aspect of voluntary
evolution. Mankind has always been helped by a band of Elder
Brothers, the graduates of earlier evolutionary periods, who have
volunteered to serve to illuminate the evolving mind and make the
potentials that are sensed into actual achievable examples. The
Masters of Wisdom and the Mahatmas are such Elder Brothers ( see
S D I 207 - 210 )
9. To do this effectively, we, the pupils, have to become
WISE, and have to practice wisdom in daily living. This requires
a study of the whole field of our universe, of ourselves and our
progress so far -- then the doors of opportunity, as described in
The VOICE OF THE SILENCE are opened by us. We in fact, initiate
ourselves. The Lower Self (Kama-Manas) invites and permits the
Higher Self (Atma-Buddhi-Manas) to assist in this work of
self-illumination in daily waking life.
10. The SPIRITUAL achievement of a series of incarnations
brings the HUMAN MONAD to the portals of the next state -- one
may call it Illumination -- into WISDOM -- some have called it
Adeptship. This is a state when the Form has so purified itself
intellectually and morally that it is incapable of doing evil or
wrong, or harming anything. It is an active embodiment of wisdom
In The SECRET DOCTRINE we are told the whole of humanity has
begun this process ( as a "race" we are in the middle Round:
ROUND 4, Globe "D," and we are now in the "5th RACE" at the
beginning of the ascending arc towards spirituality (S.D. I 200).
Since we are emerging from the state where KAMA (desire, emotion,
passion) dominates, there is a great deal of resistance as old
habits and desires have to be modified. This changing and
remodeling is described in a very interesting article titled THE
CULTURE OF CONCENTRATION (recently posted) by Mr. W. Q. Judge
[PATH, July 1888, February 1889] and THE ELIXIR OF LIFE by G.
Mitford. [FIVE YEARS OF THEOSOPHY, p. 1]
We are still in that period where two cycles of evolution
overlap, and we continue to be involved in KAMA (desires and
passions), and with MANAS (Mind) appearing on the scene we are
extricating ourselves from the influence of Kama (ignorance and
foolishness) and learning the wisdom that is inherent in
EVOLUTION as a SPIRITUAL PROCESS for ALL BEINGS.
It is a universal process but most of all, it emphasizes the
importance of right choices for humanity to make in its units and
all together. Very often the Kamic tendency to independence and
Looking at Theosophy from this perspective, we can see way the
whole of the philosophy is involved in trying to explain the
progress of the Monad through these two : Cycles and Karma.
Reincarnation is the explanation of the way in which the Lower
Self (Kama-Manas) evolves by voluntary choices ( its self-chosen
applied motives) into an independent and fully obedient Higher
Self -- a Self which we may designate Budhi-Manas (the wise
mind). It is a mind that has investigated, tested and proved
Nature's laws. Then, it has chosen to be wholly obedient to
those Laws of Nature and to its HIGHER SELF (ATMA) -- or the
individualized "ray" of the Universal SELF This is at all time
interior to us, not outside. If you wish it can be thought of as
our inner God.
In other words there is a return, full circle, back to the SOURCE
of origin, PLUS all the experience earned. [ H.P.B. makes this
clear in "ISIS UNVEILED and THE VISISHTADWAITA " in H.P.B.
Articles, Vol. 3, p. 265; in BCW, Vol. 7, p 50 ]
We are each of us (from the atom to the Man, and from the Earth
to the uttermost limits of SPACE), under the patterns and laws of
NATURE (or the SPIRITUAL UNIVERSE). These are called the Laws of
ANALOGY and CORRESPONDENCE. They pervade all SPACE and affect all
In The SECRET DOCTRINE , H.P.B. says that the first law in nature
is uniformity in diversity, in other words, the total harmony of
all discords. Nature is ultimately and totally sensitive to
one of its components, small or large and on many planes beyond
as well as within the physical matter we know. (S.D. II 699).
The purpose of Theosophy is sketched above, and is intended to
draw the attention of serious questioners and curious individuals
to some of the facts that lie almost unseen all around us. We
have to learn to look, not only into our own mental and
psychological make-up, but into the reasons for Nature's evident
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