The Key to Theosophy
THE MYSTERIES OF RE-INCARNATION
You mean, then, that we have all lived on earth before, in many past
incarnations, and shall go on so living?
I do. The life-cycle, or rather the cycle of conscious life, begins with the
separation of the mortal animal-man into sexes, and will end with the close of
the last generation of men, in the seventh round and seventh race of mankind.
Considering we are only in the fourth round and fifth race, its duration is more
easily imagined than expressed.
ENQUIRER. And we keep on incarnating in new personalities all
Most assuredly so; because this life-cycle or period of incarnation may be best
compared to human life. As each such life is composed of days of activity
separated by nights of sleep or of inaction, so, in the incarnation-cycle, an
active life is followed by a Devachanic rest.
And it is this succession of births that is generally defined as re-incarnation?
Just so. It is only through these births that the perpetual progress of the
countless millions of Egos toward final perfection and final rest (as long as
was the period of activity) can be achieved.
And what is it that regulates the duration, or special qualities of these
Karma, the universal law of retributive justice.
Is it an intelligent law?
For the Materialist, who calls the law of periodicity which regulates the
marshalling of the several bodies, and all the other laws in nature, blind
forces and mechanical laws, no doubt Karma would be a law of chance and no more.
For us, no adjective or qualification could describe that which is impersonal
and no entity, but a universal operative law. If you question me about the
causative intelligence in it, I must answer you I do not know. But if you ask me
to define its effects and tell you what these are in our belief, I may say that
the experience of thousands of ages has shown us that they are absolute and
unerring equity, wisdom, and intelligence.
For Karma in its effects is an unfailing redresser of human injustice, and
of all the failures of nature; a stern adjuster of wrongs; a retributive law
which rewards and punishes with equal impartiality. It is, in the strictest
sense, “no respecter of persons,” though, on the other hand, it can neither
be propitiated, nor turned aside by prayer. This is a belief common to Hindus
and Buddhists, who both believe in Karma.
In this Christian dogmas contradict both, and I doubt whether any Christian will
accept the teaching.
No; and Inman gave the reason for it many years ago. As he puts it, while “the
Christians will accept any nonsense, if promulgated by the Church as a matter of
faith… the Buddhists hold that nothing which is contradicted by sound reason
can be a true doctrine of Buddha.” They do not believe in any pardon for their
sins, except after an adequate and just punishment for each evil deed or thought
in a future incarnation, and a proportionate compensation to the parties
Where is it so stated?
In most of their sacred works. In the “Wheel of the Law” (p.
57) you may find the following Theosophical tenet:—“Buddhists believe that
every act, word or thought has its consequence, which will appear sooner or
later in the present or in the future state. Evil acts will produce evil
consequences, good acts will produce good consequences: prosperity in this
world, or birth in heaven (Devachan)… in the future state.”
Christians believe the same thing, don’t they?
Oh, no; they believe in the pardon and the remission of all sins. They are
promised that if they only believe in the blood of Christ (an innocent victim!),
in the blood offered by Him for the expiation of the sins of the whole of
mankind, it will atone for every mortal sin. And we believe neither in vicarious
atonement, nor in the possibility of the remission of the smallest sin by any
god, not even by a “personal Absolute” or “Infinite,” if such a
thing could have any existence. What we believe in, is strict and impartial
justice. Our idea of the unknown Universal Deity, represented by Karma, is that
it is a Power which cannot fail, and can, therefore, have neither wrath nor
mercy, only absolute Equity, which leaves every cause, great or small, to work
out its inevitable effects. The saying of Jesus: “With what measure you mete
it shall be measured to you again” (Matth. vii., 2), neither by expression nor
implication points to any hope of future mercy or salvation by proxy. This is
why, recognising as we do in our philosophy the justice of this statement, we
cannot recommend too strongly mercy, charity, and forgiveness of mutual
offences. Resist not evil, and render good for evil,
are Buddhist precepts, and were first preached in view of the implacability
of Karmic law. For man to take the law into his own hands is anyhow a
sacrilegious presumption. Human Law may use restrictive not punitive measures;
but a man who, believing in Karma, still revenges himself and refuses to forgive
every injury, thereby rendering good for evil, is a criminal and only hurts
himself. As Karma is sure to punish the man who wronged him, by seeking to
inflict an additional punishment on his enemy, he, who instead of leaving that
punishment to the great Law adds to it his own mite, only begets thereby a cause
for the future reward of his own enemy and a future punishment for himself. The
unfailing Regulator affects in each incarnation the quality of its successor;
and the sum of the merit or demerit in preceding ones determines it.
Are we then to infer a man’s past from his present?
Only so far as to believe that his present life is what it justly should be, to
atone for the sins of the past life. Of course—seers and great adepts
excepted—we cannot as average mortals know what those sins were. From our
paucity of data, it is impossible for us even to determine what an old man’s
youth must have been; neither can we, for like reasons, draw final conclusions
merely from what we see in the life of some man, as to what his past life may
WHAT IS KARMA?
But what is Karma?
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. As no cause remains without its due effect from
greatest to least, from a cosmic disturbance down to the movement of your hand,
and as like produces like, Karma is that unseen and unknown law which
adjusts wisely, intelligently and
equitably each effect to its cause, tracing the latter back to its
producer. Though itself unknowable, its
action is perceivable.
Then it is the “Absolute,” the “Unknowable” again, and is not of much
value as an explanation of the problems of life?
On the contrary. For, though we do not know what Karma is per se,
and in its essence, we do know how it works, and we can
define and describe its mode of action with accuracy. We only do not know
its ultimate Cause, just as
modern philosophy universally admits that the ultimate Cause of
anything is “unknowable.”
And what has Theosophy to say in regard to the solution of the more practical
needs of humanity? What is the explanation which it offers in reference to the
awful suffering and dire necessity prevalent among the so-called “lower
To be pointed, according to our teaching all these great social evils, the
distinction of classes in Society, and of the sexes in the affairs of life, the
unequal distribution of capital and of labour—all are due to what we tersely
but truly denominate KARMA.
But, surely, all these evils which seem to fall upon the masses somewhat
indiscriminately are not actual merited and INDIVIDUAL Karma?
No, they cannot be so strictly defined in their effects as to show that each
individual environment, and the particular conditions of life in which each
person finds himself, are nothing more than the retributive Karma which the
individual generated in a previous life. We must not lose sight of the fact that
every atom is subject to the general law governing the whole body to which it
belongs, and here we come upon the wider track of the Karmic law. Do you not
perceive that the aggregate of individual Karma becomes that of the nation to
which those individuals belong, and further, that the sum total of National
Karma is that of the World? The evils that you speak of are not peculiar to the
individual or even to the Nation, they are more or less universal; and it is
upon this broad line of Human interdependence that the law of Karma finds its
legitimate and equable issue.
Do I, then, understand that the law of Karma is not necessarily an individual
That is just what I mean. It is impossible that Karma could readjust the balance
of power in the world’s life and progress, unless it had a broad and general
line of action. It is held as a truth among Theosophists that the
interdependence of Humanity is the cause of what is called Distributive Karma,
and it is this law which affords the solution to the great question of
collective suffering and its relief. It is an occult law, moreover, that no man
can rise superior to his individual failings, without lifting, be it ever so
little, the whole body of which he is an integral part. In the same way, no one
can sin, nor suffer the effects of sin, alone. In reality, there is no such
thing as “Separateness”; and the nearest approach to that selfish state,
which the laws of life permit, is in the intent or motive.
And are there no means by which the distributive or national Karma might be
concentred or collected, so to speak, and brought to its natural and legitimate
fulfilment without all this protracted suffering?
As a general rule, and within certain limits which define the age to which we
belong, the law of Karma cannot be hastened or retarded in its fulfilment. But
of this I am certain, the point of possibility in either of these directions has
never yet been touched. Listen to the following recital of one phase of national
suffering, and then ask yourself whether, admitting the working power of
individual, relative, and distributive Karma, these evils are not capable of
extensive modification and general relief. What I am about to read to you is
from the pen of a National Saviour, one who, having overcome Self, and being
free to choose, has elected to serve Humanity, in bearing at least as much as a
woman’s shoulders can possibly bear of National Karma. This is what she
“Yes, Nature always does speak, don’t you think? only sometimes we
make so much noise that we drown her voice. That is why it is so restful to go
out of the town and nestle awhile in the Mother’s arms. I am thinking of the
evening on Hampstead Heath when we watched the sun go down; but oh! upon what
suffering and misery that sun had set! A lady brought me yesterday a big hamper
of wild flowers. I thought some of my East-end family had a better right to it
than I, and so I took it down to a very poor school in Whitechapel this morning.
You should have seen the pallid little faces brighten! Thence I went to pay for
some dinners at a little cookshop for some children. It was in a back street,
narrow, full of jostling people; stench indescribable, from fish, meat, and
other comestibles, all reeking in a sun that, in Whitechapel, festers instead of
purifying. The cookshop was the quintessence of all the smells. Indescribable
meat-pies at 1d., loathsome lumps of ‘food’ and swarms of flies, a very
altar of Beelzebub! All about, babies on the prowl for scraps, one, with the
face of an angel, gathering up cherrystones as a light and nutritious form of
diet. I came westward with every nerve shuddering and jarred, wondering whether
anything can be done with some parts of London save swallowing them up in an
earthquake and starting their inhabitants afresh, after a plunge into some
purifying Lethe, out of which not a memory might emerge! And then I thought of
Hampstead Heath, and—pondered. If by any sacrifice one could win the power to
save these people, the cost would not be worth counting; but, you see, THEY must
be changed—and how can that be wrought? In the condition they now are, they
would not profit by any environment in which they might be placed; and yet, in
their present surroundings they must continue to putrefy. It breaks my heart,
this endless, hopeless misery, and the brutish degradation that is at once its
outgrowth and its root. It is like the banyan tree; every branch roots itself
and sends out new shoots. What a difference between these feelings and the
peaceful scene at Hampstead! and yet we, who are the brothers and sisters of
these poor creatures, have only a right to use Hampstead Heaths to gain strength
to save Whitechapels.” (Signed by a name too respected and too well known
to be given to scoffers.)
That is a sad but beautiful letter, and I think it presents with painful
conspicuity the terrible workings of what you have called “Relative and
Distributive Karma.” But alas! there seems no immediate hope of any relief
short of an earthquake, or some such general ingulfment!
What right have we to think so while one-half of humanity is in a position to
effect an immediate relief of the privations which are suffered by their
fellows? When every individual has contributed to the general good what he can
of money, of labour, and of ennobling thought, then, and only then, will the
balance of National Karma be struck, and until then we have no right nor any
reasons for saying that there is more life on the earth than Nature can support.
It is reserved for the heroic souls, the Saviours of our Race and Nation, to
find out the cause of this unequal pressure of retributive Karma, and by a
supreme effort to re-adjust the balance of power, and save the people from a
moral ingulfment a thousand times more disastrous and more permanently evil than
the like physical catastrophe, in which you seem to see the only possible outlet
for this accumulated misery.
Well, then, tell me generally how you describe this law of Karma?
We describe Karma as that Law of re-adjustment which ever tends to restore
disturbed equilibrium in the physical, and broken harmony in the moral world. We
say that Karma does not act in this or that particular way always; but that it
always does act so as to restore Harmony and preserve the balance of
equilibrium, in virtue of which the Universe exists.
Give me an illustration.
Later on I will give you a full illustration. Think now of a pond. A stone falls
into the water and creates disturbing waves. These waves oscillate backwards and
forwards till at last, owing to the operation of what physicists call the law of
the dissipation of energy, they are brought to rest, and the water returns to
its condition of calm tranquillity. Similarly all action, on every
plane, produces disturbance in the balanced harmony of the Universe, and the
vibrations so produced will continue to roll backwards and forwards, if its area
is limited, till equilibrium is restored. But since each such disturbance starts
from some particular point, it is clear that equilibrium and harmony can only be
restored by the reconverging to that same point of all the forces which
were set in motion from it. And here you have proof that the consequences of a
man’s deeds, thoughts, etc. must all react upon himself with the same
force with which they were set in motion.
But I see nothing of a moral character about this law. It looks to me like the
simple physical law that action and reaction are equal and opposite.
I am not surprised to hear you say that. Europeans have got so much into the
ingrained habit of considering right and wrong, good and evil, as matters of an
arbitrary code of law laid down either by men, or imposed upon them by a
Personal God. We Theosophists, however, say that “Good” and “Harmony,”
and “Evil” and “Dis-harmony,” are synonymous. Further we maintain that
all pain and suffering are results of want of Harmony, and that the one terrible
and only cause of the disturbance of Harmony is selfishness in some
form or another. Hence Karma gives back to every man the actual consequences
of his own actions, without any regard to their moral character; but since
he receives his due for all, it is obvious that he will be made to
atone for all sufferings which he has caused, just as he will reap in joy and
gladness the fruits of all the happiness and harmony he had helped to produce. I
can do no better than quote for your benefit certain passages from books and
articles written by our Theosophists—those who have a correct idea of Karma.
I wish you would, as your literature seems to be very sparing on this subject?
Because it is the most difficult of all our tenets.
short time ago there appeared the following objection from a Christian pen:—
that the teaching in regard to Theosophy is correct, and that ‘man must be his
own saviour, must overcome self and conquer the evil that is in his dual nature,
to obtain the emancipation of his soul,’ what is man to do after he has been
awakened and converted to a certain extent from evil or wickedness? How is he to
get emancipation, or pardon, or the blotting out of the evil or wickedness he
has already done?”
Mr. J. H. Conelly replies very pertinently that no one can hope to “make the
theosophical engine run on the theological track.” As he has it:—
“The possibility of shirking individual responsibility is not among the
concepts of Theosophy. In this faith there is no such thing as pardoning, or
‘blotting out of evil or wickedness already done,’ otherwise than by the
adequate punishment therefor of the wrong-doer and the restoration of the
harmony in the universe that had been disturbed by his wrongful act. The evil
has been his own, and while others must suffer its consequences, atonement can
be made by nobody but himself.
“The condition contemplated… in which a man shall have been
‘awakened and converted to a certain extent from evil or wickedness,’ is
that in which a man shall have realized that his deeds are evil and deserving of
punishment. In that realization a sense of personal responsibility is
inevitable, and just in proportion to the extent of his awakening or
‘converting’ must be the sense of that awful responsibility. While it is
strong upon him is the time when he is urged to accept the doctrine of vicarious
“He is told that be must also repent, but nothing is easier than that.
It is an amiable weakness of human nature that we are quite prone to regret the
evil we have done when our attention is called, and we have either suffered from
it ourselves or enjoyed its fruits. Possibly, close analysis of the feeling
would show us that that which we regret is rather the necessity that seemed to
require the evil as a means of attainment of our selfish ends than the evil
“Attractive as this prospect of casting our burden of sins ‘at the
foot of the cross’ may be to the ordinary mind, it does not commend itself to
the Theosophic student. He does not apprehend why the sinner by attaining
knowledge of his evil can thereby merit any pardon for or the blotting out of
his past wickedness; or why repentance and future right living entitle him to a
suspension in his favour of the universal law of relation between cause and
effect. The results of his evil deeds continue to exist; the suffering caused to
others by his wickedness is not blotted out. The Theosophical student takes the
result of wickedness upon the innocent into his problem. He considers not only
the guilty person, but his victims.
“Evil is an infraction of the laws of harmony governing the universe,
and the penalty thereof must fall upon the violator of that law himself. Christ
uttered the warning, ‘Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon thee,’ and
St. Paul said, ‘Work out your own salvation. Whatsoever a man soweth, that
shall he also reap.’ That, by the way, is a fine metaphoric rendering of the
sentence of the Puranas far antedating him—that ‘every man reaps the
consequences of his own acts.’
“This is the principle of the law of Karma which is taught by
Theosophy. Sinnett, in his ‘Esoteric Buddhism,’ rendered Karma as ‘the law
of ethical causation.’ ‘The law of retribution,’ as Mdme. Blavatsky
translates its meaning, is better. It is the power which
Just though mysterious, leads us on unerring
Through ways unmarked from guilt to punishment.
it is more. It rewards merit as unerringly and amply as it punishes demerit. It
is the outcome of every act, of thought, word and deed, and by it men mould
themselves, their lives and happenings. Eastern philosophy rejects the idea of a
newly created soul for every baby born. It believes in a limited number of
monads, evolving and growing more and more perfect through their assimilation of
many successive personalities. Those personalities are the product of Karma and
it is by Karma and re-incarnation that the human monad in time returns to its
Walker, in his “Re-incarnation,” offers the following explanation:—
“Briefly, the doctrine of Karma is that we have made ourselves what we
are by former actions, and are building our future eternity by present actions.
There is no destiny but what we ourselves determine. There is no salvation or
condemnation except what we ourselves bring about… Because it offers no
shelter for culpable actions and necessitates a sterling manliness, it is less
welcome to weak natures than the easy religious tenets of vicarious atonement,
intercession, forgiveness and death-bed conversions… In the domain of eternal
justice the offence and the punishment are inseparably connected as the same
event, because there is no real distinction between the action and its
outcome… It is Karma, or our old acts, that draws us back into earthly life.
The spirit’s abode changes according to its Karma, and this Karma forbids any
long continuance in one condition, because it is always changing. So
long as action is governed by material and selfish motives, just so long must
the effect of that action be manifested in physical re-births. Only the
perfectly selfless man can elude the gravitation of material life. Few have
attained this, but it is the goal of mankind.”
the writer quotes from the Secret Doctrine:
who believe in Karma have to believe in destiny, which, from birth to death,
every man is weaving, thread by thread, around himself, as a spider does his
cobweb, and this destiny is guided either by the heavenly voice of the invisible
prototype outside of us, or by our more intimate astral or inner man, who is but
too often the evil genius of the embodied entity called man. Both these lead on
the outward man, but one of them must prevail; and from the very beginning of
the invisible affray the stern and implacable law of compensation steps in and
takes its course, faithfully following the fluctuations. When the last strand is
woven, and man is seemingly enwrapped in the network of his own doing, then he
finds himself completely under the empire of this self-made destiny… An
Occultist or a philosopher will not speak of the goodness or cruelty of
Providence; but, identifying it with Karma-Nemesis, he will teach that,
nevertheless, it guards the good and watches over them in this as in future
lives; and that it punishes the evil-doer—aye, even to his seventh
re-birth—so long, in short, as the effect of his having thrown into
perturbation even the smallest atom in the infinite world of harmony has not
been finally re-adjusted. For the only decree of Karma—an eternal and
immutable decree—is absolute harmony in the world of matter as it is in the
world of spirit. It is not, therefore, Karma that rewards or punishes, but it is
we who reward or punish ourselves according to whether we work with, through and
along with nature, abiding by the laws on which that harmony depends, or—break
them. Nor would the ways of Karma be inscrutable were men to work in union and
harmony, instead of disunion and strife. For our ignorance of those ways—which
one portion of mankind calls the ways of Providence, dark and intricate; while
another sees in them the action of blind fatalism; and a third simple chance,
with neither gods nor devils to guide them—would surely disappear if we would
but attribute all these to their correct cause… We stand bewildered before the
mystery of our own making and the riddles of life that we will not solve, and
then accuse the great Sphinx of devouring us. But verily there is not an
accident of our lives, not a misshapen day, or a misfortune, that could not be
traced back to our own doings in this or in another life… The law of Karma is
inextricably interwoven with that of reincarnation… It is only this doctrine
that can explain to us the mysterious problem of good and evil, and reconcile
man to the terrible and apparent injustice of life. Nothing but such certainty
can quiet our revolted sense of justice. For, when one unacquainted with the
noble doctrine looks around him and observes the inequalities of birth and
fortune, of intellect and capacities; when one sees honour paid to fools and
profligates, on whom fortune has heaped her favours by mere privilege of birth,
and their nearest neighbour, with all his intellect and noble virtues—far more
deserving in every way—perishing for want and for lack of sympathy—when one
sees all this and has to turn away, helpless to relieve the undeserved
suffering, one’s ears ringing and heart aching with the cries of pain around
him—that blessed knowledge of Karma alone prevents him from cursing life and
men as well as their supposed Creator… This law, whether conscious or
unconscious, predestines nothing and no one. It exists from and in eternity
truly, for it is eternity itself; and as such, since no act can be coequal with
eternity, it cannot be said to act, for it is action itself. It is not the wave
which drowns the man, but the personal action of the wretch who goes
deliberately and places himself under the impersonal action of the laws that
govern the ocean’s motion. Karma creates nothing, nor does it design. It is
man who plants and creates causes, and Karmic law adjusts the effects, which
adjustment is not an act but universal harmony, tending ever to resume its
original position, like a bough, which, bent down too forcibly, rebounds with
corresponding vigour. If it happen to dislocate the arm that tried to bend it
out of its natural position, shall we say it is the bough which broke our arm or
that our own folly has brought us to grief? Karma has never sought to destroy
intellectual and individual liberty, like the god invented by the Monotheists.
It has not involved its decrees in darkness purposely to perplex man, nor shall
it punish him who dares to scrutinize its mysteries. On the contrary, he who
unveils through study and meditation its intricate paths, and throws light on
those dark ways, in the windings of which so many men perish owing to their
ignorance of the labyrinth of life, is working for the good of his fellow-men.
Karma is an absolute and eternal law in the world of manifestation; and as there
can only be one Absolute, as one Eternal, ever-present Cause, believers in Karma
cannot be regarded as atheists or materialists, still less as fatalists, for
Karma is one with the Unknowable, of which it is an aspect, in its effects in
the phenomenal world.”
able Theosophic writer says (Purpose of Theosophy, by Mrs. P.
individual is making Karma either good or bad in each action and thought of his
daily round, and is at the same time working out in this life the Karma brought
about by the acts and desires of the last. When we see people afflicted by
congenital ailments it may be safely assumed that these ailments are the
inevitable results of causes started by themselves in a previous birth. It may
be argued that, as these afflictions are hereditary, they can have nothing to do
with a past incarnation; but it must be remembered that the Ego, the real man,
the individuality, has no spiritual origin in the parentage by which it is
re-embodied, but it is drawn by the affinities which its previous mode of life
attracted round it into the current that carries it, when the time comes for
re-birth, to the home best fitted for the development of those tendencies…
This doctrine of Karma, when properly understood, is well calculated to guide
and assist those who realize its truth to a higher and better mode of life, for
it must not be forgotten that not only our actions but our thoughts also are
most assuredly followed by a crowd of circumstances that will influence for good
or for evil our own future, and, what is still more important, the future of
many of our fellow-creatures. If sins of omission and commission could in any
case be only self-regarding, the fact on the sinner’s Karma would be a matter
of minor consequence. The effect that every thought and act through life carries
with it for good or evil a corresponding influence on other members of the human
family renders a strict sense of justice, morality, and unselfishness so
necessary to future happiness or progress. A crime once committed, an evil
thought sent out from the mind, are past recall—no amount of repentance can
wipe out their results in the future. Repentance, if sincere, will deter a man
from repeating errors; it cannot save him or others from the effects of those
already produced, which will most unerringly overtake him either in this life or
in the next re-birth.”
H. Conelly proceeds:—
“The believers in a religion based upon such doctrine are willing it
should be compared with one in which man’s destiny for eternity is determined
by the accidents of a single, brief earthly existence, during which he is
cheered by the promise that ‘as the tree falls so shall it lie’; in which
his brightest hope, when he wakes up to a knowledge of his wickedness, is the
doctrine of vicarious atonement, and in which even that is handicapped,
according to the Presbyterian Confession of Faith.
“By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and
angels are predestinated unto everlasting life and others foreordained to
angels and men thus predestinated and foreordained are particularly and
unchangeably designed; and their number is so certain and definite that it
cannot be either increased or diminished… As God hath appointed the elect unto
glory… Neither are any other redeemed by Christ effectually called, justified,
adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.
“The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable
counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy as he
pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by
and to ordain them to dishonour and wrath for their sin to the praise of his
what the able defender says. Nor can we do any better than wind up the subject
as he does, by a quotation from a magnificent poem. As he says:—
“The exquisite beauty of Edwin Arnold’s exposition of Karma in The
Light of Asia tempts to its reproduction here, but it is too long for
quotation in full. Here is a portion of it:—
Karma—all that total of a soul
Which is the things it did, the thoughts it had,
The ‘self’ it wove with woof of viewless time
Crossed on the warp invisible of acts.
Before beginning and without an end,
As space eternal and as surety sure,
Is fixed a Power divine which moves to good,
Only its laws endure.
It will not be contemned of anyone;
Who thwarts it loses, and who serves it gains;
The hidden good it pays with peace and bliss,
The hidden ill with pains.
It seeth everywhere and marketh all;
Do right—it recompenseth! Do one wrong—
The equal retribution must be made,
Though Dharma tarry long.
It knows not wrath nor pardon; utter-true,
Its measures mete, its faultless balance weighs;
Times are as naught, to-morrow it will judge
Or after many days.
Such is the law which moves to righteousness,
Which none at last can turn aside or stay;
The heart of it is love, the end of it
Is peace and consummation sweet. Obey.”
I advise you to compare our Theosophic views upon Karma, the law of Retribution,
and say whether they are not both more philosophical and just than this cruel
and idiotic dogma which makes of “God” a senseless fiend; the tenet, namely,
that the “elect only” will be saved, and the rest doomed to eternal
Yes, I see what you mean generally; but I wish you could give some concrete
example of the action of Karma?
That I cannot do. We can only feel sure, as I said before, that our present
lives and circumstances are the direct results of our own deeds and thoughts in
lives that are past. But we, who are not Seers or Initiates, cannot know
anything about the details of the working of the law of Karma.
Can anyone, even an Adept or Seer, follow out this Karmic process of
re-adjustment in detail?
Certainly: “Those who know” can do so by the exercise of powers
which are latent even in all men.