THEOSOPHY, Vol. 34, No. 7, May, 1946
(Pages 256-259; Size: 13K)
(Number 41 of a 57-part series)
STUDIES IN KARMA
THE ministry of moral disease is the profession which the psychiatrist of the future must enter, however devious his path through modern materialism to the realization that human ills are, at root, the dark harvest of moral wrong. Military psychiatrists have discovered a major problem in the "guilt complex" that causes men to suffer agonies over the fact that they are still alive while their friends have been killed.
But there is a deeper and more terrible "guilt complex," largely undiscovered as yet, because buried under the suggestive effects of patriotism, propaganda, ideology, and indoctrination. The abysmal horror of spiritual beings trying to destroy one another is perfectly well known to the "sub-conscious," which knows little of politics and nationalism. "Self-preservation" is not natural to the spiritual nature of man, under any guise; and when self-defense reaches the extreme of mutual destruction, not merely of soldiers, but whole populations, it cannot but send the most profound shock through the whole nature -- a shock whose consequences will be the more serious the longer delayed and the more deeply concealed. Many veterans of World War I are victims of slowly matured mental and physical diseases and "complexes," often unrecognized for what they are. The present generation being still more psychic and sensitive, the mental and physical ills which appear to await mankind during the coming years should present a spectacle marvelous and horrible to behold. The results of frustrated civilian hates, which must expend themselves within the man personally, and within the nations politically, will perhaps be still more dreadful.
The rapid physical and mental collapse of the surviving Nazi leaders was of course precipitated by the loss of their cause -- a result that would not have been forthcoming had their cause been in any way just or worthy. The only support of a man in an evil cause is the appearance of success. But the Nazi Karma was the karma of hate. Their conquerors can no more escape the consequences of years of hatred, where indulged, than the fanatical German leaders. The illusions of success will of course delay many of these consequences, even to future lives, but in the end, only those who fought without hate will escape the psycho-physical nemesis of the Nazi. Not that any man can engage in killing and escape all consequences, however.
Possibly the real means by which war will eventually be abolished lies in future cycles of egoic evolution, in a time when the individual psychic and physical consequences of war's emotions -- not atomic bombs and rocket planes -- will make it too horrible to fight. There must come a period in the spiritual development of mankind when killing will involve such immediate physical and mental consequences to the killer that such deeds will become impossible.
It becomes increasingly clear that disease in the individual follows precisely the path indicated in Theosophy:1. Moral errorRecognized medicine has come farther in tracing this course than once seemed possible, but it still lacks important links.
2. Resultant mental stress
3. Disturbance of the astral (pranic) currents
4. Disruption of the normal functioning of the physical nerve currents
5. "Psychosomatic" disease
6. Organic disease (It is now known that an irritated nerve will produce ulcers in the tissues to which it leads.)
7. "Accidents" (Numbers 6 and 7 may be considered parallel rather than consequential.)
From the above sequence, it is clear where Christian Science and similar "faith healing" methods step in -- between Stages 1 and 2. By substituting a new (and false) conception of the Universe for whatever one previously prevailed, a temporary elimination of mental stress is achieved without necessarily a fundamental rectification of the original error.
There is thus a suppression, rather than a removal, of a cause, and the addition of a new cause in the way of a new error. When the force of the suggestion wanes, as it must in time, the normal downward course of the disease necessarily resumes, reinforced. Such consequences may be escaped, at least largely, if at the time of the "cure" the patient is awakened to the active living of a life of altruism and unselfishness. How often this happens, is best left to the self-examination of practitioner and patient.
All other methods of healing, however "suggestive" or however physically erroneous, act on lower planes, and thus cannot produce fundamental new and bad causes of the same magnitude. Nevertheless, from one point of view, any method tainted, to the knowledge of the patient, with the spiritual fallacy of vivisection or the psychic delusion of vaccination is likely to do more harm than good in the end. Perhaps of all "faith healing" methods, hypnotism (which is destined to a wide vogue because of the speed and ease with which it can remove pain for the time being) is the worst, because it involves inoculating the patient with the psychic and mental weaknesses of the operator in addition to his own, and in increasing a tendency toward passivity. Its application comes exactly at the same point as Christian Science -- between Stages 1 and 2.
Mesmerism -- much confused with hypnotism because of the present-day ignorance of "animal magnetism" -- comes between Stages 3 and 4. From Stage 2 downward, there are numerous possible exits, outward expiations or exhaustings of effects, which may be modified, diverted, or ameliorated by sundry practices mental, psychic, astral, or physical. But let no man suppress the effects of a bad spiritual (moral) cause, other than in the individual himself -- and that by removal of the cause!
It is most significant that, even from the point of view of modern psychiatry, Theosophy itself furnishes a complete psychosomatic therapy. To begin with, it is perfectly clear that the sequence of disease depends wholly on personal pre-occupations having a self-centered tendency. The Theosophic life proceeds in the opposite direction. Secondly, understanding of Karma and of the real nature of man furnishes a means to mental peace which can be applied at any stage of a disease sequence.
Take, for instance, those tragic and usually hopeless cases in which worry brings on disease(1), which disease then presents the man with a long series of physical and financial misfortunes, thus enormously increasing the causes of worry and creating a normally ineradicable vicious circle. On the other hand, if a man would undertake a cure of the causes in such a case, let him realize that he is experiencing but the inevitable results of his own previous ways of thought, that the consequences have now reached the last stages on the way down and out, that it needs but to stop the causes in order to let the results exhaust themselves, that as an immortal being he need have only temporary concern with anything physical that may come to pass, that the creator is greater than any of its creations and must survive them all, however evil and unsurmountable they may seen. Above all, let him base all his thoughts firmly upon an ungrudging willingness to accept and expiate all due karma and to base thereupon a new life of brotherhood, duty and altruism.
The Theosophist must consider the effects of mental conflict upon himself. The issue can be concisely put: spiritually successful conflict never injures! It is only the indecisive or lost battle that depresses, sickens, and kills. Relief can be gained either by victory, or by such complete loss that the Ego departs that particular battlefield forever, in which latter case the man becomes a free animal -- pending a terrible and speedily approaching destruction.
Much psychiatry tends toward advocating yielding as curative. This, if a real moral issue is involved, is deadly in the end, either physically or spiritually. In many cases, of course, the issue is false -- conscience is often tortured over one or another matter that is unreal or merely conventional.
It is, however, clear that for a man to pull himself out of a profound slough of despond or disease by Theosophy is not an easy task. It requires firm will-power and self-control, and unless a real element of unselfishness is present, will fail. No man can use Theosophy simply as a medicine to enable him to resume his former selfish living in good health. That way lies destruction indeed. But if, knowing of Theosophy, he yet falls into sickness, the karmic indication is that the illness is welcome to the Ego as a necessary means of either expiation of the past or true achievement for the future. The purer the preceding life, the more thorough the preparation, the speedier the outcome. The casual and careless Theosophist may be saved by his philosophy in a crisis, but not easily. He will pay in suffering for lost opportunity and wasted time.
What of one who, before awakening comes, has reached the hopeless stages of physical deterioration? Well, "miracles" can happen even there! A Lourdes cavern has only the healing power of blind faith. What of the potentialities of intelligent faith, plus self-purification, plus aspiration?
At worst, which is best? To die in a kama loka of mental despair and physical misery, or, to die thinking of a brighter future based on lessons learned, however late and with whatever difficulty? It is possible for every man to create a future based on true service to others. All must die, but the way of death is self-determined.
COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:
The adepts in life and knowledge, seemingly giving out their deepest wisdom, hide in the very words which frame it its actual mystery. They cannot do more. There is a law of nature which insists that a man shall read these mysteries for himself. By no other methods can he obtain them. A man who desires to live must eat his food himself: this is the simple law of nature -- which applies also to the higher life.
--H. P. Blavatsky
STUDIES IN KARMA
THE SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST
(Part 42 of a 57-part series)
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ONE (1) FOOTNOTE LISTED BELOW:
(1) See for examples, "Mind -- Killer or Healer?" in the April issue, p. 210. [Note: This refers to the article just before this one, which is number 40 in this series. --Compiler.]
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