On Reincarnaiton -- Questions & Answers
Feb 11, 2003 04:46 PM
Feb 11 2003
Is the SPIRIT/SOUL in every human immortal ?
Is Reincarnation an actual process of evolution?
Here are some questions -- and, some answers.
Answers to Chapter VIII on REINCARNATION
A study in the OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY -- W. Q. Judge
Q. If the law of reincarnation is just, why is it that the Jewish race
has been so persecuted?
A. In considering any question of experience we have first of all to
take into account the Law of Karma-action and re-action, or sowing and
reaping; this on the face of it cannot be anything else but exact
justice. Reincarnation is the result of karmic action, and also offers
the opportunity to set better causes in motion. If selfishness rules
in any one life, evil causes are set in motion the results of which
must be adjusted either in that life or a following one. The tendency
of selfishness is to increase with each incarnation, and if a people
or individuals continue in that course, they will continually injure
others and bring about their own re-actions at the hands of those
injured. So if we find any people particularly marked out for
persecution, we may be sure that as egos in other times they had been
the offenders and are reaping what they sowed.
Q. What was it that began evolution?
A. The course of Being is an ever-becoming. Ever- becoming is endless,
therefore beginningless. This solar system and its planets of course
had a beginning and will have an ending, but every manifestation is
but a further becoming of that which had been. Periods of
Manifestation and Non-Manifestation succeed each other in Infinite
Space, to which neither beginning nor ending can be applied (see the
Second Fundamental Proposition of the Secret Doctrine). The ancient
way of stating any beginning is, "the Desire first arose in It": IT
referring to Spirit, which is the cause and sustainer of all that was,
is, or shall be. There is a beginning to the first glimmerings of
external consciousness, which ever tends to widen its range of
perception and manifestation until it encompasses and becomes at one
with All; Potential Spirit having become Potent Intelligence. The
ending of the process results in a new beginning based upon the
totality of intelligence attained. Whatever begins in time ends in
time. Time is clue to perceptions of Consciousness; as the Secret
Doctrine says, "Time is an illusion produced by the procession of
events before our consciousness"; beginnings and endings pertain to
that "illusion", and not to the beginningless and endless Spirit which
is the Perceiver. As the Gita says, "The Spirit in the body is called
Maheswara, the great Lord, the Spectator, the
admonisher, the sustainer, the enjoyer, and also the Paramatma, the
highest soul"; itself without beginning or ending, it makes beginnings
and endings in manifestations, which as manifestations are
beginningless and endless in their turn.
Q. What does it mean on page 68 where it says, "And as all the matter
which the human Ego gathered to it retains the stamp or photographic
impression of the human being, the matter transmigrates to the lower
level when given an animal impress by the Ego?
A. Mr. Judge had been explaining how the erroneous idea of the
transmigration of souls to the animal kingdom had arisen. The
substance which composes our astral and physical bodies is the
embodiment of innumerable small "lives"; while we use these "lives" as
points of contact with the astral and physical world, we at the same
time impress them with our feelings, whether these be low or high, and
when the "lives" depart from our bodies to be replaced by others, as
is continually being done, the impress we have given them will carry
them to whatever kingdom the impress is related to. According to the
impress we give these "lives" we advance or retard evolution.
Q. If there is an inharmonious condition of the lives in the body, do
they attack proportionately every life within that body, or only
A. Any inharmony in the body disturbs the whole. There is not only
obstruction, but a vitiation of the bodily processes in a progressive
way if the cause of the diseased condition is not found, and causal
and remedial measures are not adopted.
Q. It has been found in post-mortem examinations that every tissue in
the body is affected.
A. That would naturally follow because of the circulatory system. The
blood is representative of and carries with it an essence from all the
organs; any unhealthy organ distributes vitiation throughout the body.
Q. The lives of the lower kingdoms go back to their own kingdoms on
the dissolution of the body. Would that not be retrogression? What is
the Karma of those lives?
A. It would be a mistake to suppose that the lives which compose our
bodies go back to their respective kingdoms only on the dissolution of
the body; there is a constant coming and going during our lifetime,
through the food and in other ways. The "lives" are not the same when
they go as when they come; they may remain on the human plane or may
go to lower kingdoms according to the impress given them by the human
being. It is the impress given them that determines their destination;
the Karma is that of the human being who gave the impress and impulse;
the retrogression-if it may be so called-is due to the human being.
The "lives" having no sense of responsibility nor volition are not
karmically responsible; their nature is action, but action under
impulsion; their degree of consciousness is not changed, but their
modes of action may be. Retrogression applies to consciousness, not to
form; for example, a being in human form may ascend to divine heights
or descend below the brute in consciousness.
Q. Does Man use the same material or lives over and over again ?
A. He uses the same kind of lives, those that are of the same nature
as his tendencies. "Lives" that he has used and impressed may be in
other forms of the human kingdom, or in lower kingdoms as the case may
be. There is a constant interchange going on, like attracting like.
Q. Then Man really can change the nature of the lives which compose
A. If he could not, he would be at the mercy of his body-subject to
its condition. We know that good habits can be acquired through
thought and effort in those directions; similarly with bad habits;
these changes are due to the impress given the lives in our body by
Thought, Feeling and Effort. But the body is the least of our
troubles. Were our thoughts based upon the Eternal Verities, our
efforts would be for true understanding and right purpose; the bodily
conditions would follow in due course. If our thoughts are concerned
with the body, the possibilities are very limited, because of the
limitation of thought to the bodily plane.
Q. The chapter speaks of the "personality"; will we have the same
personality again ?
A. The word "Personality" comes from the Latin word "Persona"-a mask,
by means of which we conceal or express our inward feelings. It is the
inner ideas, and feelings, the general character-that is meant by the
word "personality": the latter is in a constant state of change,
whether that be great or small. The "way we used to think and feel" is
not "as we feel now or think". The personality in the next life will
he made up of tendencies engendered in past lives with the addition of
those of the present one, subject to the conditions into which those
tendencies have brought us; those conditions may include change in
sex, condition and environment. The feeling of "identity" that all
have is not due to the body or its environment, but to the Egoic
nature of each.
Q. Why do they condemn reincarnation in the Christian churches?
A. Because they have followed the lead of the Church Fathers who
anathematized the doctrine in the early centuries of the Christian
Era. There is evidence throughout the Old and New Testament that
Reincarnation was a doctrine generally accepted; the Jews were
constantly expecting "the return" of their prophets, that is, the
re-embodiment or reincarnation of one who had occupied a body before.
In the New Testament there are a number of allusions to it such as
that when the disciples asked where is the prophet Elias who was
expected to come before Jesus, and Jesus replied that Elias had been
with them, but they knew him not, and the disciples knew "that he
spake of John the Baptist".
Q. What did Christ mean when he said he brought not Peace but a Sword?
A. It is stated in the New Testament that he said these words. We must
remember all the time that the one known as Jesus left no writings,
and that all we know of him is contained in writings of men who are
presumed to have heard the words and correctly in scribed them. We are
therefore not in a position to know that anything written about Jesus
is correctly transcribed; we can only interpret such sayings on the
basis of the general character of the teachings of Jesus. It is
evident from the records found, that some One in the world of men had
uttered the doctrines generally ascribed to Jesus; there is no
historical evidence, how ever, of the existence of such an one at the
time agreed upon by the Christian world. None of these things militate
against the truth and merit of such sayings as are reputed to have
been uttered by him; the truth and the merit must lie in the sayings
themselves, and not in the identity of the one who said them. We have
to Compare, for instance, the statement that Jesus came to bring
"peace on earth and good-will towards men" with the one which says he
came not to bring peace but a sword, and endeavor to reconcile them.
If, as the teachings ascribed to him show, he taught Charity,
Forgiveness and an all-inclusive Altruism, together with a recognition
of the divinity in all, what could he have meant by the "sword", an
implement of destruction? The records regarding his sayings and acts
point to a struggle against the false religions of the day; the over
turning of the tables of the money-changers in the temple; the
violation of the prevailing ideas in regard to the Sabbath day and
other acts bespeak a war against false conceptions. Further-as a
divine incarnation- he must have known what would follow from a
misunderstanding and misuse of his teachings, for he spoke of that
generation as perverse and wicked, and that while his mission was
intended to bring peace, its misunderstanding and misuse would bring
its opposite, the sword. In connection with this, is it not a fact
that wherever Christianity has gone, a sword has accompanied it? And
is it not before our eyes at this time that the world-war was brought
about by and fought between so-called Christian nations? We must
conclude then that the saying was a true one, and that while his
mission was one of peace and good will, mankind has done and is doing
to his teachings what they did to his body and his clothing: They
"divided his garments among them, and for his vesture cast lots". His
"garments" is a symbol for his teachings, and his vesture for "his
Q. The Gita says there is no existence for what does not exist, nor is
there any non-existence for what exists. Everything must have existed
at all times surely?
A. Whatever is has become what it is; whatever is to be will also be a
"becoming." Evolution is the process of becoming, an unfolding from
within outwards; having "unfolded" there is no non-existence for it,
but an extension of unfoldment. The great Ocean of Life contains
infinite possibilities of existence, but itself is not existent, for
the word means to emerge, to stand forth, to stand out (ex-sistere).
The Ocean of Life is the source and sustainer of all existences; that
which has emerged exists; that which has not emerged has no existence.
Q. There being the One Life and the One Law, it would appear that all
would start at the same time?
A. We are confronted by the fact of the kingdoms of beings below Man
and that of Man himself; the present state of these kingdoms shows
that there was a difference in the beginnings of them as beings- or
existences. What we need to do is to study and apply the philosophy of
life as it is given to us, so that we may know why things are as they
are and what the real purpose of existence is. Law rules in all this,
Q. If Consciousness-the Perceiver, never changes, what is it that
A. The Perceiver has the power to perceive and to increase his range
of perceptions. His power to perceive is not changed by reason of any
perceptions gained; he can always continue to increase his field of
perceptions. As his perceptions increase in range, he evolves a better
instrument through which to give and receive impressions. An
ever-increasing Intelligence and a betterment of form constitute the
Q. But if the Perceiver never changes, what is the link that binds him
to his evolutions?
A. His knowledge of them; he cannot unknown what he knows. Upon the
basis of his acquired knowledge further knowledge can be acquired. The
universe is evolved, ruled and sustained by Intelligence.
Q. What is the Will!
A. Will is the energy of Consciousness expressed in action, on any
plane of manifestation. There are many aspects of the Will, from the
ordinary one which is "the will to live" and is expressed in the
automatic physical action, such as the heart-beat, digestion, etc.;
that of the actions following on ordinary thought, desires and wants;
that which is developed by various forms of practice; to the highest
phase, that of the Spiritual Will. This phase is developed by true
unselfishness, a sincere and full desire to be guided, ruled and
assisted by the Higher Self, and to do that which, and suffer or enjoy
whatever, the Higher Self has in store for one by way of discipline or
Q. Mr. Judge says that the entrance to incarnation is through food.
What is meant by that?
A. A hint is given in the chapter in regard to the actual physical
processes which have to be undergone by the Ego in passing from the
unembodied to the embodied state. It is clear that our bodies are
formed from and sustained by food from conception to the death of the
body. This food is drawn from the physical kingdoms of nature and is
transmuted into the various elements that go to make up and sustain
the body and its processes. Reproduction is going on all the time in
the blood, cells, organs and finer constituents of the body, and is
necessarily influenced and characterized by the ideas and feelings of
the conscious entity inhabiting the body. It is not difficult to
conceive of a transmutation of all these reproductions into one
synthetic condition, such as will provide a point of contact for the
astral body of the reincarnating entity, and a means for the gradual
concretion of the physical body, organs and processes before birth,
Q. On page 66, the chapter says that Atma-Buddhi Manas is not yet
fully incarnated in this race. What does this mean?
A. The statement is that the Divine Triad, containing as it does the
knowledge gained through all past lives, has not reached the point
where this knowledge is available on this plane. Atma-Buddhi-Manas is
the Triad. The entering wedge, so to speak, which makes the connection
between the Inner Man and the physical world, is Manas, the Thinker
and Mind. The long course of evolution necessary to transmute the
physical elements into a responsive tenement for the indwelling Ego
has so centered the attention of the Ego upon the body and its
surroundings-the external physical world-that while using a body in
its periodic incarnations, it is bound by its previous thoughts and
actions under the law of Karma, reaping what had been sown in previous
lives, and sowing similar seeds for the future. This only permits of
Manasic operation on the physical plane, because the ideas held are
based upon that plane and relate to it, thus leaving the vast store of
past and inner experiences unavailable. This is the condition of
Humanity as a whole; yet there never has been a time when a gaining of
full knowledge and control was impossible to the individual. It is
because of this incompleteness of incarnation that we find so many
psychological mysteries among human beings. Personal psychological
experiences are usually taken to be communications from higher beings,
the nature of the supposed being varying with the personal ideas held;
whereas, with few exceptions, such experiences are due to imperfect
conceptions of the nature and powers of the Inner Man. Experiments in
hypnotism have shown several so-called "personalities" speaking
through one person, and each of them different in character from the
others and the person experimented upon. The explanation may be found
in the fact that in many cases the abnormal condition which hypnosis
produces permits fugitive and unrelated experiences of past existences
to be perceived, and adopted as present actualities. As the present
cycle moves on, more and more of these and other psychological
"mysteries" will become evident; these will al ways remain mysteries
to present-day Western Psychology, but the Ancient Wisdom of the East
solves them all.
Q. What is it that prevents our psychologists, scientists and
religious teachers from knowing these things?
A. Ignorance and pride. Ignorance of the real nature of Man and the
purpose of existence, and pride in their own personal predilections
and pursuits. Centuries of materialistic conceptions of religion,
science, and life in general, have served to close the intellects of
men to any true perceptions of the nature of the very intelligence
they are using in these pursuits. Beliefs take the place of knowledge,
and theories the place of under standing, because both belief and
theory proceed from the basis of terrestrial existence instead of the
spiritual real and permanent source of all manifestation.
Q. Surely Religion is not materialistic?
A. The word "religion" is said to be derived from the Latin
"re-ligere," to re-tie, or bind back, to the source of all. There is
true Religion; there are also false religions. A false religion is one
which is based on materialistic conceptions of Deity and Life, such as
a Personal God, existing apart from the universe; a Personal Savior; a
Personal Heaven eternal in its duration; a Personal Hell also eternal;
all of these misconceptions based upon physical existence and
separateness are therefore wholly materialistic.
Q. Would you say that our modern science and psychology are also
A. Fully as much as present-day religions. Science is content with an
examination of physical forms and elements and their attributes as
observed separately and in combination. To account for the "facts"
thus established many theories have been deduced, such as the "atom"
the "electron," the "ion," and the latest "vitalism"-scientists are
evidently unable to discard their ideas of a material basis for all
that was, is, or shall be. Western Psychology is as bad or worse, for
its groundwork is research into the ideas, feelings and emotions of
the human brain-mind, which itself is founded on physical existence.
No spiritual knowledge can come from such methods; they resemble those
of Bunyan's "Pilgrim" with his muck-rake, expecting to find the Soul
of the world amidst the purgations of matter.
Q. Have we not the Word of God in the Christian Bible?
A. There is no such claim in the Bible itself, and further, we know
that every word in that book was written by men, from 'Genesis to
Revelation. The various manuscripts that compose the Bible were also
selected by men on their own judgment, and the statement that the
compilation is the word of God was also invented by men. There is no
reason to believe that human nature was any less fallible in ancient
times than it is now; it is therefore the part of wisdom to judge
every book on its own intrinsic merits, and not on any pretended
authority. Once the Bible is read in the light of the facts, and a
comparison is made between the vital statements therein and those of
ancient religions it will be found that "there is nothing new under
the Sun," as Solomon said. Every so-called Revelation has been
presented by men and in each case has been but a transmitting of what
was known before. Whatever any man accepts or rejects, he does so of
his own choice and is therefore his own authority: he should always
use his best discrimination in the examination of everything presented
to him for his acceptance, at the same time making certain that he has
all the facts. Authority on such matters has been the bane of humanity
for ages, for it is certain that all that a man can know of the
Supreme is what he knows in, through, and by himself.
Q. What would you say is the reason that men in general adhere to
A. The ethics that are contained in every religion worthy of the name.
These ethics are the same in all religions, and are recognized as true
and essential by all thinking people because they make for true
happiness and progress, and because they are perceptions of the
spiritual man within. Men differ as to the source of the ethics only,
some esteeming them as commands or revelations from some God, prophet,
reformer or what not, while the more intelligent perceive them to be
expressions of spiritual law and inherent in every spiritual being.
The existence of the same ethics in the various religions contravenes
the promulgated differences of extraneous sources. There is but one
source, the spiritual and essential nature of Man himself.
To be continued _ Chapters 9 and 10
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