THEOSOPHY, Vol. 31, No. 6, April, 1943
(Pages 266-269; Size: 13K)
(Number 34 of a 57-part series)
STUDIES IN KARMA
THE NEW MEN AND THE NEW AGE
THEOSOPHISTS are familiar with the fact that human affairs move in cyclic pulsations of approximately 1,500 years, corresponding with the periodic return to incarnation of various Egoic groups.
Due to archeological and historical researches of the past few years, plus the vast though gradual and unrecognized spread of Theosophic ideas through the mind of the population, the idea of a cyclic rise and fall of nations has come into quite general acceptance. Thoughtful men in all nations no longer consider themselves parts of eternal institutions, but take for granted that one day their nation will be no more. Naturally, this fact is most easily accepted in nations obviously on rising cycles; most reluctantly in nations sombrely aware of declining power and prestige.
The many planners for a "better world" in which catastrophes like the present one shall occur no more, almost all indirectly recognize the fact. That is to say, they dream in the direction of giving all peoples equitable access to the resources of the earth. Obviously, the implication is that some peoples are increasing in numbers beyond their material resources. It is simple ignorance of history that would fail to recognize the converse -- that other peoples are declining below their power to utilize what they have. The most conspicuous example of modern times was the vanishing of the Red Indian, already in a cycle of rapid decline, when massacred by the whites.
For many centuries past, a sinister trend has been observable. Up to medieval times, frequent large migrations and expansions of new peoples were possible, with only incidental or minor conflicts, because of large areas of low or light population. The case of the Americas was the last one of such favorable developments, and none other is in sight, except for much of South America still to be peopled. New lands may rise from the sea, however, and axial changes may make old lands inhabitable.
Yet the incessant pulsation continues inexorably, and now, instead of natural growths, we find new, ambitious, and vigorous peoples springing up in congested regions surrounded by others still numerous and strong. The result is actually cancerous in the most literal sense. A cancer is a complex of cells in the human body which finds itself under unfavorable conditions for growth, and thus develops in a perverted but strenuous manner, destroying neighboring cells and ultimately the whole body.
Now why should the orderly basic law have taken this perverted direction? In reality, the explanation -- once the Theosophic principles are applied -- seems obvious enough. The stay of the individual in Devachan between births is directly proportional to his spiritual potential at death, that is, the sum total of stored and unexpended spiritual impulses and the pressure of ideal but unrealized aspirations.
The whole period of Devachan, which may vary from "a few days" to thousands of years, is thus a high type of "wish-fulfilment" dream, whose nature should be comprehensible enough to psychologists.
It is clear, then, that a lowered tone of thought and feeling on the part of a community will shorten the average mass Devachan; and for many ages just such a shortening has been proceeding. The Four Ages of a race or of a nation are no myth; they are a mathematical, psychological, and biological fact. The Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Iron Ages comprise the universal cycle; the Iron Age is one-quarter the duration of the Golden, and the Ages themselves are periods which in time are equal to the flow-volumes of Karmic causation, hence of human action in general. Thus the activity is inversely proportional to the duration of the age -- a law somewhat similar to that of "equal areas" in astronomy. The acceleration is itself governed by a law analogous to that of the pendulum: the constantly increasing speed with which the Self plunges into matter as desires are progressively aroused is the basic cause. Or, to put it in another way, desire grows in geometrical ratio to its satiation -- a fact sadly observable in the world, and unhappily verified by many in studying their own lives.
The final plunge into utter materiality and ultimate annihilation is checked by calamity. The beginning of that calamity for the great Aryan stock we have been seeing for the last few centuries. All this belongs to the cycle of Kali Yuga dating from 3102 B.C.
An idea of how the cycle of decline is self-perpetuating and self-accelerating, can be gained from this: First of all, those races which have outrun the rest in the plunge into matter and selfishness, are the ones which begin to accelerate their reincarnations first; second, these are exactly the tribes that have thus created for themselves bitter circumstances for their next incarnation, and are born on barren lands for their sins; third, having lost memory, discrimination, and knowledge of law through that same materiality, the new condition impresses them as bitter injustice; fourth, they move to rectify this injustice by violence, which piles upon their shoulders a new load of Karma; fifth, in their violence they rouse the same nature in those whom they attack, so that soon the original lines between the more vicious and the more virtuous are lost, and all invite the catastrophe together.
Having reached the ultimate in suffering, conflict, and disorder, the better natures of a few here and there are aroused by the sheer intensity of their miseries, and the first faint impulse toward self-sacrifice is seen. All men do not descend to the same depth in Kali Yuga. Some found knowledge in former times, and thus their cyclic descent is to some extent short-circuited, and while they may share the suffering, they do not participate in the hate. Still others, of higher order, remain throughout in personal Golden Ages, being affected by Kali Yuga only through their sympathies with their fellows. Others still, among the "long-gone Gnanis," are exempt from the poisons of Kali Yuga, and do not incarnate at all in such an age, being concerned in evolution on higher planes. To a Mahatma, of no era and no plane, Kali Yuga is one of the eternally changing phases of evolution, with its own peculiar duties and responsibilities. Knowing, in Kali Yuga, that Sattva Yuga must follow, man need not be discouraged; knowing, in Sattva Yuga, that Kali must come, he need not be elated.
Now let us look at the reverse of this cycle. As the old order draws toward its final exhaustion, here and there are individuals -- and as time goes on, whole communities -- who have learned the lesson of the cycle. Drawn along the same karmic paths by their enlightenment, they come together in new communities, born after lengthening Devachans, where incarnation by incarnation there are progressively fewer fragments of the older orders to obstruct their paths. The few people remaining welcome them as friends and teachers, and form such relationships as might have existed between white men and red men in America, had the former been of another nature.
The roaring furnaces and roaring guns, the stench of industrial life, the miasma of the sodden passions and sodden lives of the Kali Yuga have now vanished. The air, free of engines of destruction, is restored to its pristine purity. The emancipated come to be born joyously in broad and rich lands, vacated of all previous life and cleansed by ages under the waves. They follow undisputed paths to the sunset and the sunrise.
This is the new Golden Age, the men thereof now bearing a new name and a new face; the "civilization" of the past is only a forgotten nightmare.
What is the price? The price is terrible. No impersonal force of nature has decreed the new Golden Age. It has been seeded deep by the agony of the wise in the depths of the Kali Yuga, watered by the blood shed unflinchingly through millennia where seemingly no hope existed. All mankind has had a bitter choice to make, from which a great portion has turned downward, some, never to return again as human personalities to the ranks of the living.
Now is the Aryan Kali Yuga; and the race that will arise from the ashes of its desolation has its seed already on the soil of the New World. How is it to be known? It is to be known among those who refuse to lift the edge of hate to any being; among those proof against all lures of greed, fear, and passion, wise to see through the subtle entanglements of this most deceitful of all ages.
It is of these that one spoke two thousand years ago -- one betrayed incessantly for two thousand years by those taking his name. He said: "Blessed be the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."
But the word "meek" is not to be rendered in the popular sense. They shall prevail who have valor not fear, who are strong -- so strong that they have no need of protection by "reeking tube and iron shard," nor even need of the encasing flesh. They live; and every surge of the roaring tide of catastrophe adds to Their number.
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:
"A LIGHT IN THE BACKGROUND"
When men are lead to a conception of responsibility to self, when men come to see by the light of future events that he who sows shall surely reap -- not a vicarious reward or punishment, but -- a just proportion of praise or blame consistent with his present life, then will come to him the crowning day of theosophic effort. When the millions of rich and poor realize that man is a law unto himself in respect of spiritual things, then will Universal Brotherhood become a universal factor in the mundane sphere.
But the world moves. The progress of the past few years in the theosophic arena shows sense of increase an hundred fold before the cycle is ended. Man's spiritual nature is slowly but surely developing in a degree in proportion to the development of the race. It is with no pessimistic eye that Theosophists need view the future. Theosophy is an accepted fact, and the practice of altruism is forming a light in the background that will eventually envelop humanity in one grand brotherhood for the glorification of good and the deification of man.
--William Q. Judge
STUDIES IN KARMA
FOCI OF CATASTROPHE
(Part 35 of a 57-part series)
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