THEOSOPHY, Vol. 19, No. 4, February, 1931
(Pages 173-175; Size: 9K)
[Article number (4) in this Q&A Department]
HOW can we feel certain that Reincarnation is true?
This is really a funny question, because it is like asking how we can feel certain about anything. We feel certain about anything because there is something inside of us which just knows, and which says "this is so." One who is sick feels certain that he is sick, although he may not know just what, or how, or why it is that he is sick -- or happy, or rich or poor, or big or little. Everyone feels certain that he is, no matter what happens, or whether he understands it or not, so why shouldn't everyone feel just as certain that he was, and that he will be, as that he is? Maybe people aren't certain because they don't think about it that way, or have been taught differently, or have never thought of themselves except as a body, or have never looked around them to see what is going on all the time everywhere in everything and everybody. Or maybe it is because they don't remember their past. But, they don't remember their birth either, and lots of other things that are true; and we don't remember where we were or what we did, or what other kind of a body we must have been in when we were asleep.
If we look outside we can see that all bodies are changing all the time, but the matter of which our bodies are made keeps on being matter just the same, and the smaller forms of matter in our bodies that we call cells and molecules keep right on reincarnating in our bodies and in other bodies. They don't die as our bodies do, but pass through hundreds and thousands of bodies. If cells and molecules reincarnate, wouldn't it be absurd if we do not -- who in our bodies give them an opportunity to reincarnate? And if we look inside at our minds we can see that ideas keep coming and going, so that our minds are changing all the time, but these ideas can and do travel from mind to mind, and so are reincarnating over and over. But, we who hold those ideas are more permanent than the ideas. Wouldn't we reincarnate just as naturally as they do? So if we studied matter and its changes outside, and mind and its changes inside, we would see Reincarnation going on, even if we didn't understand or remember the fact. And then, we would come to see that we are not our bodies and not our minds, though we live in them and use them. We remain just the same, no matter how much the body changes, nor how much we change our mind. Then, maybe, we would look into our Self and see our Self, and not the body or the mind, as the one that reincarnates. Perhaps, whoever does that will "change his mind" about Reincarnation, and feel certain for himself that it is true.
What caused the visions to come before Buddha during his temptations under the Bodhi tree?
They must have come to him under Law, the same as everything else comes, no matter to whom, or when, or how they come. Everything that happens to anyone at any time is something that he sees, and so is "a vision" to him. It may come from outside, just as Buddha had the vision of himself as a King's son, as a man with a wife and baby, as a beggar, a wanderer, a searcher for the cause of sorrow. But when Buddha began to search within himself for the cause of sorrow, then the memories of former lives lived by himself and other men must have begun to take shape before him in his "mind's eye." All the beautiful things and beings that had once attracted him, that he had loved, and that had filled his imagination and his thoughts, became as real before him, as the same things appear when one is dreaming. But Buddha had already learned that every beautiful thing in life is really the cause of sorrow, because in time either we lose them or they fade away, and so, although everything he had ever loved appeared before him, just as attractive as when it had bewitched him before, this time it was no temptation, because knowledge had made him dead to mortal desires. So, too, the things he had hated and feared before, no longer had the power to make him afraid. The visions must have come to him for the same reason, as at the time of human death the departing Soul sees in a vision the whole of the life just lived -- that he might know the truth about himself and all men, in order to fulfill his mission.
Couldn't the Masters have used Joan of Arc, and wasn't that the cause of her visions?
Why not? The very first chapter in The Ocean of Theosophy shows that the Masters are our elder brothers and that they try in every way to help us in our true progress. So they must help every one who really desires to seek to render gentle service to all that lives. But as they do not live among us now as they once did, they can only help us indirectly by teaching us how to live. That is why they gave us Theosophy through Madame Blavatsky and Mr. Judge, whom they must have helped directly. But they must help directly many men and women, in different ways according to the nature of the people generally, and especially in accordance with the nature of the one they influence. Joan of Arc was very ignorant and was a peasant, but she was very sensitive, and she loved her country and her King with all her heart, so the Masters could use her by showing her pictures of what she could do. Her love was so great, and she had such faith, that what another would get as thoughts and dreams were so real to her that she saw and heard what would most inspire and encourage her -- just as a great artist or a great musician actually sees and hears what he longs to use for the good of others. She thought her visions and voices came from God and Angels and Saints, but that must have been only the form she gave them. What was real and good and true in them must have come from the Higher Self which is the same in us as in the Masters, but her Lower Self did not understand as the Masters do, so she took the voices and visions to be from Spirits instead of from living Men. We have good thoughts and visions too, but we don't always act on them, and so they do not seem as real to us as they did to Joan.
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:
Fiery devotion to a Cause heats the nature and sends to the surface, for expression, whatever is in that nature of good or ill. Since all natures partake of and share in the common human nature of the day -- and the race defects are plenty -- there will appear much in others' expression to disturb us. So also will others find in our modes and tenses something difficult at times. Hence the ever-present need for brotherly consideration, for sympathy, for charity. If one is "hot for Theosophy" what matter the ephemeral boilings and an occasional spurt of live steam? A sincere fellow worker is after all a wonderful support and heartener in the aridity of human endeavor! Theosophy itself is a synthesizing philosophy. So will work for Theosophy, pure and simple, provide a true synthesizing process whereby real brotherhood all-the-way-through cometh to pass. Thus can the ebullitions of those "hot for Theosophy" ever be endured, by fellow Hotspurs!
[Article number (5) in this Q&A Department]
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