THEOSOPHY, Vol. 33, No. 1, November, 1944
(Pages 13-16; Size: 13K)
(Number 35 of a 57-part series)
STUDIES IN KARMA
FOCI OF CATASTROPHE
A VILLAGE in Hungary by the name of Kaplona is known to some as "the world's unluckiest town." As an illustration of how unlucky it is, we quote the following narrative from The American Weekly, March 5:The catastrophes began in 1848, during the Hungarian revolt against Austrian domination. Kaplona's men paid the price for participating in the revolt. They were conscripted into the Hungarian army. Then, to punish all in the town, Austrian troops burned it to the ground.No more complete, of course, than that of major portions of the rest of Europe by now....
The ashes were still smoldering when rain began to fall, and the weeping townsfolk cursed the downpour for coming too late. The rainfall continued. Kaplona, deep in a valley, was flooded. Eight drowned.
Since then Kaplona has known no let-up. Three years after the fire and flood the town was in the grip of diphtheria, to which half the population succumbed.
In 1861 wolves, bears and wild boar swarmed into Kaplona. The carefully tilled fields were ruined by the boars. Horses, cows and domesticated hogs fell prey to the wolves and bears. And there was another diphtheria plague in 1864.
Five years later all but 97 houses in Kaplona were leveled by fire. Scores of inhabitants were burned to death. Only 200 were left.
By that time the residents of Kaplona, and most of central Hungary, believed that an evil spirit lurked in the village. Exorcism failed. The town's inhabitants decided to flee. They pooled their entire wealth, 18,000 florins, to purchase land elsewhere, away from the curse. A committee of eight was delegated to negotiate the deal at the county seat.
The committee was preparing to set out when bandits swarmed into the town, slew every committeeman, and made off with the 18,000 florins.
For several years the village enjoyed such respite from the curse that in 1875 they celebrated with a festive ball in the inn. One reveler obtained a keg of gunpowder. There was a tremendous explosion. Seventeen celebrants were killed.
There was another fire in 1881. It spared 63 houses but leveled the only church.
The side of one of the mountains flanking Kaplona tumbled down on the village in 1900, burying the northern half. That left only 33 homes.
During the First World War 21 men of Kaplona fought at the front. Nine were killed. None came home without a wound. One brought with him as a souvenir, a hand grenade. The grenade exploded, killing the veteran and wounding almost all the welcoming villagers.
In 1938, none of the inhabitants could pay his dog license. So every animal was killed. Scarcely had this been accomplished when an army of foxes devoured all the poultry.
The men of Kaplona are not fighting in this present war. None is young or strong enough. The village's desolation is complete.
Religion and science have no better explanations of such visitations than respectively, "the Will of God" and "chance," the former more than a little nauseating to any just mind, the latter impossible in such a case even under the so-called "laws of chance" which are, to boot, one hundred percent amoral, and offer, to say the least, no guidance towards either hope or right conduct. The case of Kaplona is merely one illustration of questions such as why Lidice was singled out from other towns for a visitation of homicidal mania, or the question in the back of the mind of a French farmer who, conversing with the victorious American troops, remarked that the greatest thing that America could do for France would be to arrange for the next world war to be fought somewhere else. Why always in France, among a people growing old, and become very tired of war? In like manner, Belgium has been known for generations as "the cockpit of Europe," while its immediate neighbor and blood kin, the Netherlands, was at peace for 130 years preceding the present catastrophe. In any other thought than that of Theosophy, the 130 years and the last four years remain equally inexplicable.
Beyond question there is an individuality in the Karma of villages, cities and nations. As in the case of the individual, a certain line of thought opens the door to a series of trooping events, each of which forces the portals wider for those which follow it.
The dreadful Karma of Europe, which, as Madame Blavatsky wrote in 1888, was bringing on an imminent "age black with horrors" no doubt began in the night of time with a seemingly harmless seed. For all we know, a tribal dispute over a pasture, that left a few broken heads and a few rancors strong enough to carry over incarnations, and expand their growth in the fertile soil of this age of scientific barbarism. Of course that seed itself, whatever it may have been, was dropped from an earlier harvest -- Atlantis?
These local infections for a given cycle are engendered by the dark brooding of some mind equipped with an unusual power of creative thought toward the left-hand path, or Sorcery, a power usually unsuspected by its possessor as well as by others. Such a generator of lasting astral images sets up a darkening atmosphere of affinity for like thought, will and feeling, into which succeeding generations of the doomed are born.
There is no clearer case history than that of Germany, numbers of whose citizens have in the last four years done in flesh and in fact the horrors falsely attributed to them by deliberate propaganda in the former war. The German mind had become susceptible to these creations, but who, in view of the fact that all events have their origin in the mind and imagination, shares that guilt?
In 1888, Madame Blavatsky published an article, "Karmic Visions" (reprinted in THEOSOPHY III, 544) [Note: A link to it has been placed at the end of this article. --Compiler.] in which the fate of Europe was delineated for all who had eyes to see. While H.P.B. did not say so specifically, a comparison of historical events leaves little doubt that the nation pictured was Germany, and its monarch, Frederick III; or that the events depicted represented the real crisis in German history, unnoticed and unperceived at the time. Yet up to 1914, and long afterwards, the international history of Germany was better than that of Britain, France, or Russia. In fact, as the whole presently proscribed breed of professional historians knows, and as the Bolshevist successors of the Czars revealed, it was Russia and not Germany who precipitated the war of 1914. Nevertheless, through all those years of scientific and even social advance, Germany was becoming infiltrated by those doomed to destroy her and a major part of civilization with her. Thus grew a seed in the dark, waiting fertilization by the "justice" of 1919-1924.
It was not the growing militarism of Germany -- no worse than that of Russia, or the growing navalism of Great Britain -- that was the most sinister sign. It was the birth of a moral monster like Haeckel, who became a "scientific" leader of the world outside, as well as inside, Germany and whose influence still pervades scientific thought whenever it turns to questions passing beyond the material. Haeckel's book, The Riddle of the Universe, the most subtle, powerful, and sinister testament of nihilism and materialistic despair ever written, is the true "opposite number" of The Secret Doctrine, and passed in huge editions to every part of the world, being exceeded only in circulation by the Bible. When one couples the influence of this black book with that of the ferocious racial and religious hatreds that breathe through the Old Testament, many dark lines of Karma become illuminated.
It is said that for every Buddha there is a Kansa, for every innovation, however noble, its dark shadow. H.P.B. wrote of Ernst Haeckel in a tone and with implications never applied by her to any other human being. There can be little doubt that his also was a "mission," nor much doubt of its sponsorship. The fight between light and darkness that suspended unfinished with the Atlantean catastrophe, must now be decided once and for all in the Fifth Race, and the manner of its decision will determine the Egoic numbers remaining to the Sixth and Seventh Races. How shall it be won?
The curse of the age is that, with the human mind what it is, evil wins even when it seemingly loses, and sometimes most wins when it seems most to lose. The enemies of man care not in the least whether one nation or another win a war, whether men are massacred by "totalitarians" or cheated by "democrats," whether men hate each other in sodden despair or "righteous triumph," whether subjugated nations be trampled into the mud in the name of race hatred or be obliterated in the name of "justice." The concern of the dark forces is that as many of these things be done as possible, and such cooperation in this as cannot be obtained in one quarter can be had easily in another. The range of evil thought is not as short as the range of robot bombs, nor is it as young (by many thousands of years) as "Hitlerism."
The case of the Negro and of the loyal Japanese-American is not too much better in America than that of the Jew in Europe, and can grow into greater likeness with an ease and speed now incredible. Any Jew who joins the Gentile in holding his skirts aside from the Negro follows the path pointed by his Scripture, but to what end?
Is there not an irony in the fact that the section of this nation which once fought a savage war in defense of its "right" to hold human property, was the most belligerent of all against Germany?
Verily the mind is colored by that which is contemplated, and verily is hatred the mightiest fixer of contemplation. This evil, like a sable-winged phoenix, buoyed by the dark thoughts of men called "good," rises ever from the ashes of its seeming destruction. Let Theosophists give it no new nesting places in their minds and hearts, however subtle the persuasion to do so. Egos of ancient evil as well as of ancient good are reincarnating apace in this land. Those who are wise will attract no evil births by furnishing them the atmosphere of congenial thought.
[Note: Here is the link to "Karmic Visions", HPB's article that was mentioned by the Editors in the above article. --Compiler.]
STUDIES IN KARMA
(Part 36 of a 57-part series)
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