THEOSOPHY, Vol. 19, No. 10, August, 1931
(Pages 460-462; Size: 9K)
[Article number (10) in this Q&A Department]
WHY is it that Masters sadly watch the decay of nations? Why don't they give power to the people to resist decay?
(a) The life periods of a nation and of an individual are very similar -- both going through the same periods of infancy, youth, maturity, and old age. And just as death follows birth for man, so it must for the nation. When a man has gained those experiences for which he entered a body, why should his physical frame be kept intact? There is no more reason why a social organization should be retained when those Egos for whom such an organization exists no longer need it. The sad part of the matter is the degenerate nature of nations in their decline. Unless cremated, the human body decomposes slowly, and so does the nation or race. After Rome had reached its height less enlightened men entered bodies of the race, and the nation, which had become a great parasite living on the life blood of Europe and much of Asia, crumbled from within before its walls could be attacked successfully by the invading hordes. Doubtless the Masters sadly watched its fall, as they had done before for Greece. But we cannot doubt that They had done for Rome all that They could do. They always have pointed out the way, and men may ignore or follow it by their own self-induced and self-devised efforts. Those who choose to follow the Path would be needed and prepared to serve in the formation of new nations, but it seems improbable that such men would aid, or even be involved in, the destruction of a great nation. For they have joined the constructive forces of Great Nature.
"All worlds up to that of Brahman are subject to rebirth again and again," says the Bhagavad-Gita. But it seems only logical that if man would follow the Path by "Acting for and as the Self" such degraded periods as have recurred many times would cease to be. Men go through the same experience many times before they learn the lesson to be gained. Nations rise, like the Phoenix, from the ashes of, and not from the peaks achieved by, their predecessors. When men follow the Path which is pointed out by the Masters, there will not be such endless repetition and its waste of energy.
(b) Did you ever get any real benefit out of something that was given to you that you had not earned, or were not ready for? Nations operate under law as well as individuals, and karmic causes bring about a nation's decay. The egos leave to incarnate in new and conquering races or nations, and less progressed entities use the bodies of the decaying nation to glean what experience they can; but finally even they leave, and by famine, flood, earthquake, and the sterility of the women, the race dies out.
You would not allow a baby to play with a gun or in a power house for fear that in his ignorance he might destroy himself. Neither can Masters give power to those not ready for its proper use. We must progress by self effort, and earn our own powers, and knowledge. A temporary alleviation of the causes of a nation's decay could not change the nature of the people permanently. It would only lead to worse evils for resisting the unobstructed working out of the law. But while Masters may sadly watch a nation decay, this does not mean They have not done all that They could when the cycle permitted. They wisely make no move to stop the harmonious working of the law which brings the natural result of actions performed, necessary in the cyclic sweep of evolution to beings who can learn in no other way than by suffering. Then, too, we must recollect the fundamental principle that, "These two, light and darkness, day and night, are the world's eternal ways." With every great light, there is a deep shadow, and Masters would think well before subjecting the ignorant mass to greater dangers than already face them by prematurely disclosing great forces whose misuse would plunge a people into greater misery than now.
Wouldn't the "Golden Age" be very monotonous if someone wasn't bad? If not -- why?
We have no assurance that in a Golden Age everyone would be good. "These two, light and darkness, are the world's eternal ways"; we always have the pairs of opposites, and in an enlightened age all men would not necessarily be enlightened, just as now in any group we have good men and bad. With every great teacher there is an opposite.
Also, where did you get the impression that being "good," as you call it, is monotonous? Trying to live to benefit mankind is not easy, and the kingdom of heaven must be taken by violence. Possibilities of advancement are infinite, and when we have learned all that is possible on this earth, there are other worlds. So, one need not think there will ever be a time for sitting complacently, and monotonously in a Golden Age, when the highest possible point has been reached. That point is never reached.
I have read that reincarnation was the basis of the Christian religion up to 400 A.D. Can you give me proof of this, and why it was changed?
Reincarnation and its twin doctrine Karma have always been a part of any true teaching. So Christianity, as most religions, is based upon truth, although Reincarnation became the greatest enemy of the priesthood, who have inculcated in suffering humanity the hideous belief in a vicarious atonement and a Personal God. Reincarnation and Karma teach responsibility, so it is little wonder that they were removed from a perverted teaching. In the Council of Constantinople 553 A.D. the teaching of Reincarnation was forbidden in these words: "Whosoever shall support the mythical doctrine of the pre-existence of the soul, and the consequent wonderful opinion of its return, let him be anathema." We find many evidences of Reincarnation among the writings of the ones following Jesus. St. Paul in Romans IX speaks of Esau and Jacob being actually in existence before they were born. Origen and Synesius, two great Christian Fathers, believed and taught the theory.
Mr. Judge says in the Ocean of Theosophy, page 64: "Christianity is a Jewish religion, and the doctrine of Reincarnation belongs to it historically by succession from the Jews, and also by reason of its having been taught by Jesus and the early fathers of the church. ... Indeed, the theosophist holds that whenever a professed Christian denies the theory he thereby sets up his judgment against that of Jesus, who must have known more about the matter than those who follow him."
The doctrine of Rebirth and Karma makes man dependent upon himself alone. It leaves no room for intermediaries. What place for Pope or priest if man realizes himself to be a potential God? For Reincarnation teaches that man is a God; that there is a true Path upon which he can travel through the ages and reach ever higher and higher stages of perfection.
[Article number (11) in this Q&A Department]
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