Extended Quotes on Reincarnation from Theosophy


. . . MAN was on earth in this Round from the beginning. Having passed through all the kingdoms of nature in the previous three Rounds, his physical frame . . . was ready to receive the divine Pilgrim at the first dawn of human life, i.e., 18,000,000 years ago. (SD Vol. II p. 254)

It is only the knowledge of the constant re-births of one and the same individuality throughout the life-cycle. . . among whom are many Dhyan-Chohans, or the "Gods" themselves-have to pass through the "Circle of Necessity," rewarded or punished by such rebirth for the suffering endured or crimes committed in the former life. . . are the same who are now amongst us-nay, ourselves. . .(SD Vol. II p.303)

There is an eternal cyclic law of re-births, and the series is headed at every new Manvantaric dawn by those who had enjoyed their rest from re-incarnations in previous Kalpas for incalculable Æons-by the highest and the earliest Nirvanees. It was the turn of those "Gods" to incarnate in the present Manvantara; hence their presence on Earth, and the ensuing allegories. (SD Vol. II, p.232)

. . . the higher Angels had broken, countless æons before, through the "Seven Circles," and thus robbed them of the Sacred fire; which means in plain words, that they had assimilated during their past incarnations, in lower as well as in higher worlds, all the wisdom therefrom-the reflection of MAHAT in its various degrees of intensity. No Entity, whether angelic or human, can reach the state of Nirvana, or of absolute purity, except through æons of suffering and the knowledge of EVIL as well as of good, as otherwise the latter remains incomprehensible. (SD Vol. II p. 80-81)

. . . the Secret Doctrine teaches that the Fire-Devas, the Rudras, and the Kumâras, the "Virgin-Angels," (to whom Michael and Gabriel, the Archangels, both belong), the divine "Rebels". . . preferred the curse of incarnation and the long cycles of terrestrial existence and rebirths, to seeing the misery (even if unconscious) of the beings (evolved as shadows out of their Brethren) through the semi-passive energy of their too spiritual Creators. (SD Vol. II p. 246)

. . . When mortals shall have become sufficiently spiritualised, there will be no more need of forcing them into a correct comprehension of ancient Wisdom. Men will know then, that there never yet was a great World-reformer,. . . who (a) was not a direct emanation of the LOGOS (under whatever name known to us), i.e., an essential incarnation of one of the "seven," of the "divine Spirit who is sevenfold"; and (b) who had not appeared before, during the past Cycles. They will recognise, then, the cause which produces in history and chronology certain riddles of the ages. . . The esoteric doctrine explains it by saying that each of these (as many others) had first appeared on earth as one of the seven powers of the LOGOS, individualized as a God or "Angel" (messenger); then, mixed with matter, they had re-appeared in turn as great sages and instructors who "taught the Fifth Race," after having instructed the two preceding races, had ruled during the Divine Dynasties, and had finally sacrificed themselves, to be reborn under various circumstances for the good of mankind, and for its salvation at certain critical periods; until in their last incarnations they had become truly only "the parts of a part" on earth, though de facto the One Supreme in Nature. (SD Vol. II pp. 358-59) (Cross Reference to Avatars or Reincarnation on a Grand Scale)

Both the human Spirit (or the individuality), the re-incarnating Spiritual Ego, and Buddhi, the Spiritual soul, are pre-existent. But, while the former exists as a distinct entity, an individualization, the soul exists as pre-existing breath, an unscient portion of an intelligent whole. Both were originally formed from the Eternal Ocean of light.
(The Key To Theosophy, p.106)

We reject the idea of a new soul created for every newly-born babe. We believe that every human being is the bearer, or Vehicle, of an Ego coeval with every other Ego; because all Egos are of the same essence and belong to the primeval emanation from one universal infinite Ego. Plato calls the latter the logos (or the second manifested God); and we, the manifested divine principle, which is one with the universal mind or soul, not the anthropomorphic, extra-cosmic and personal God in which so many Theists believe. (The Key To Theosophy, p.110)

Nothing that is finite -- whether because it had a beginning, or must have an end -- can remain stationary. It must either progress or recede; and a soul which thirsts after a reunion with its spirit, which alone confers upon it immortality, must purify itself through cyclic transmigrations onward toward the only land of bliss and eternal rest. (The Key To Theosophy, p.112)

Second and Third Fundamental Propositions of the Secret Doctrine

The One REALITY; its dual aspects in the conditioned Universe.
Further, the Secret Doctrine affirms:-
(b.) The Eternity of the Universe in toto as a boundless plane; periodically "the playground of numberless Universes incessantly manifesting and disappearing," called "the manifesting stars," and the "sparks of Eternity." "The Eternity of the Pilgrim"† is like a wink of the Eye of Self-Existence (Book of Dzyan.) "The appearance and disappearance of Worlds is like a regular tidal ebb of flux and reflux." (See Part II., "Days and Nights of Brahmâ.")
This second assertion of the Secret Doctrine is the absolute universality of that law of periodicity, of flux and reflux, ebb and flow, which physical science has observed and recorded in all departments of nature. An alternation such as that of Day and Night, Life and Death, Sleeping and Waking, is a fact so common, so perfectly universal and without exception, that it is easy to comprehend that in it we see one of the absolutely fundamental laws of the universe.
Moreover, the Secret Doctrine teaches: -
(c) The fundamental identity of all Souls with the Universal Over-Soul, the latter being itself an aspect of the Unknown Root; and the obligatory pilgrimage for every Soul-a spark of the former-through the Cycle of Incarnation (or "Necessity") in accordance with Cyclic and Karmic law, during the whole term. In other words, no purely spiritual Buddhi (divine Soul) can have an independent (conscious) existence before the spark which issued from the pure Essence of the Universal Sixth principle,-or the OVER-SOUL,-has (a) passed through every elemental form of the phenomenal world of that Manvantara, and (b) acquired individuality, first by natural impulse, and then by self-induced and self-devised efforts (checked by its Karma), thus ascending through all the degrees of intelligence, from the lowest to the highest Manas, from mineral and plant, up to the holiest archangel (Dhyani-Buddha). The pivotal doctrine of the Esoteric philosophy admits no privileges or special gifts in man, save those won by his own Ego through personal effort and merit throughout a long series of metempsychoses and reincarnations.

† "Pilgrim" is the appellation given to our Monad (the two in one) during its cycle of incarnations. It is the only immortal and eternal principle in us, being an indivisible part of the integral whole-the Universal spirit, from which it emanates, and into which it is absorbed at the end of the cycle. When it is said to emanate from the one spirit. an awkward and incorrect expression has to be used, for lack of appropriate words in English. The Vedantins call it Sutratma (Thread-Soul), but their explanation, too, differs somewhat from that of the occultists; to explain which difference, however, is left to the Vedantins themselves. (Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, pp16-17)


Reincarnation and Karma

(b) The twelve Nidanas or causes of being. Each is the effect of its antecedent cause, and a cause, in its turn, to its successor; . . . They belong to the theory of the stream of catenated law which produces merit and demerit, and finally brings Karma into full sway. It is based upon the great truth that re-incarnation is to be dreaded, as existence in this world only entails upon man suffering, misery and pain; Death itself being unable to deliver man from it, since death is merely the door through which he passes to another life on earth after a little rest on its threshold-Devachan. (SD Vol. I p. 39) (Possible link to Karma)


Reincarnation of Avatars

Some people do recollect their past incarnations during life; but these are Buddhas and Initiates. This is what the Yogis call Samma-Sambuddha, or the knowledge of the whole series of one's past incarnations. (The Key To Theosophy, p.164)

Yes; "our destiny is written in the stars!" Only, the closer the union between the mortal reflection MAN and his celestial PROTOTYPE, the less dangerous the external conditions and subsequent reincarnations-which neither Buddhas nor Christs can escape. (SD Vol. I p. 639)

Even a Buddha or a Jesus had first to make a vow, which is a desire, in some life, that he would save the world or some part of it, and to persevere with the desire alive in his heart through countless lives. (Ocean p. 46)

Men are made complete only during their third, toward the fourth cycle (race). They are made "gods" for good and evil, and responsible only when the two arcs meet (after 3½ rounds towards the fifth Race). They are made so by the Nirmânakaya (spiritual or astral remains) of the Rudra-Kumâras, "cursed to be reborn on earth again; meaning-doomed in their natural turn to reincarnation in the higher ascending arc of the terrestrial cycle." (Commentary IX.) (SD Vol. II p. 255 Footnote)

After reaching Moksha (a state of bliss meaning "release from Bandha" or bondage), bliss is enjoyed by it in a place called PARAMAPADHA, which place is not material, but made of Suddasatwa (the essence, of which the body of Iswara-"the Lord"-is formed). There, Muktas or Jivatmas (Monads) who have attained Moksha, are never again subject to the qualities of either matter or Karma. "But if they choose, for the sake of doing good to the world, they may incarnate on Earth." (SD Vol. I p. 132) (Cross-reference to Avatars)


Reincarnation in other traditions

The entire scheme is in the "Chaldean Book of Numbers," and even in the Zohar, . . . Their prince is called in the Kabala Samael, the Angel of Death, who is also the seducing serpent Satan; but that Satan is also Lucifer, the bright angel of Light, the Light and Life-bringer, the "Soul" alienated from the Holy Ones, the other angels, and for a period, anticipating the time when they would have descended on Earth to incarnate in their turn. "The Souls (Monads) are pre-existent in the world of Emanations," (Book of Wisdom viii., 20); . . . They descend from the pure air to be chained to bodies," says Josephus repeating the belief of the Essenes (De Bello Judæo, 11, 12). "The air is full of Souls," states Philo, "they descend, to be tied to mortal bodies, being desirous to live in them." (De Gignat, 222 C.; De Somniis, p.455)‡; because through, and in, the human form they will become progressive beings, whereas the nature of the angel is purely intransitive, therefore man has in him the potency of transcending the faculties of the Angels.
‡ Which shows that the Essenes believed in re-birth and many reincarnations on Earth, as Jesus himself did, a fact we can prove from the New Testament itself. (SD Vol. II p. 111)

THE Sanctum Sanctorum of the Ancients, i.e., that recess on the Western side of the Temple which was enclosed on three sides by blank walls and had its only aperture or door hung over with a curtain-also called the Adytum-was common to all ancient nations. . . .They regarded it-in its esoteric meaning-as the symbol of resurrection, cosmic, solar (or diurnal), and human. It embraced the wide range of periodical and (in time) punctual, Manvantaras, or the re-awakenings of Kosmos, Earth, and Man to new existences; the sun being the most poetical and also the most grandiose symbol of the same in heaven, and man-in his re-incarnations-on Earth. (SD Vol. II p. 459) (Possible cross-reference to Reincarnation on a Grand Scale or Religious Scriptures)

. . . the events described in Revelation were not original, and may, as shown, be found in other and pagan traditions. . . .The "Dragon" is simply the symbol of the cycle and of the "Sons of Manvantaric Eternity," who had descended on earth during a certain epoch of its formative period. . . . The "third part of the stars of heaven" cast down to the earth. . . that circumambulate our globe; i.e., the human Egos destined to perform the whole cycle of incarnations. (SD Vol. II p. 485) (Cross-reference to Religious Scriptures)


Reincarnation on vast scale:

"Whether it be orthodox Adwaita or not, I maintain as an occultist, on the authority of the Secret Doctrine, that though merged entirely into
Parabrahm, man's spirit while not individual per se, yet preserves its
distinct individuality in Paranirvana, owing to the accumulation in it of
the aggregates, or skandhas that have survived after each death, from the
highest faculties of the Manas. The most spiritual--i.e., the highest and
divinest aspirations of every personality follow Buddhi and the Seventh
Principle into Devachan (Swarga) after the death of each personality along
the line of rebirths, and become part and parcel of the Monad. The
personality fades out, disappearing before the occurrence of the evolution
of the new personality (rebirth) out of Devachan: but the individuality of
the spirit-soul [dear, dear, what can be made out of this English!] is
preserved to the end of the great cycle (Maha-Manwantara) when each Ego enters Paranirvana, or is merged in Parabrahm. To our talpatic, or
mole-like, comprehension the human spirit is then lost in the One Spirit, as
the drop of water thrown into the sea can no longer be traced out and
recovered. But de facto it is not so in the world of immaterial thought.
This latter stands in relation to the human dynamic thought, as, say, the
visual power through the strongest conceivable microscope would to the sight of a half-blind man: and yet even this is a most insufficient simile--the
difference is "inexpressible in terms of foot-pounds." That such Parabrahmic
and Paranirvanic "spirits," or units, have and must preserve their divine
(not human) individualities, is shown in the fact that, however long the
"night of Brahma" or even the Universal Pralaya (not the local Pralaya
affecting some one group of worlds) yet, when it ends, the same individual
Divine Monad resumes its majestic path of evolution, though on a higher,
hundredfold perfected and more pure chain of earths than before, and brings with it all the essence of compound spiritualities from its previous
countless rebirths. Spiral evolution, it must be remembered, is dual, and
the path of spirituality turns, corkscrew-like, within and around physical,
semi-physical, and supra-physical evolution. But I am being tempted into
details which had best be left for the full consideration which their
importance merits to my forthcoming work, the Secret Doctrine." From article by HPB: "Isis Unveiled and Vishishtadwaite".

The evolution of life proceeds on these seven globes or bodies from the 1st to the 7th in Seven ROUNDS or Seven Cycles. 2. These globes are formed by a process which the Occultists call the "rebirth of planetary chains (or rings)." (SD Vol. I p. 159)

It is the logos alone, or the noumenon, that survives, because it is immortal in its very nature and essence, and the logos in man is the Eternal Ego, that which reincarnates and lasts for ever. (The Key To Theosophy, p.95)

Forever the Great Breath goes forth and returns again. As it proceeds outwards, objects, worlds and men appear; as it recedes all disappear into the original source. This is the waking and the sleeping of the Great Being; the Day and the Night of Brahma; the prototype of our waking days and sleeping nights as men, of our disappearance from the scene at the end of one little human life, and our return again to take up the unfinished work in another life, in a new day. (Ocean p. 16)

In India there are many histories of sages born with complete knowledge of philosophy and the like, and doubtless in all nations the same can be met with. the bringing back of knowledge also explains instinct, for that is no more than recollection divisible into physical and mental memory. It is seen in the child and the animal, and is no more than the result of previous experience. And whether we look at the new-born babe flinging out its arms for self-protection, or the animal with very strong instinctual power, or the bee building a cell on the rules of geometry, it is all the effect of reincarnation acting either in the mind or physical cell, for under what was first laid down no atom is devoid of life, consciousness, and intelligence of its own. (Ocean p. 86)

Lastly, the fact that certain inherent ideas are common to the whole race is explained by the sages as due to recollection of such ideas, which were implanted in the human mind at the very beginning of its evolutionary career on this planet by those brothers and sages who learned their lessons and were perfected in former ages long before the development of this globe began. No explanation for inherent ideas is offered by science that will do more than say, "they exist." These were actually taught to the mass of Egos who are engaged in this earth's evolution; they were imprinted or burned into their natures, and always recollected; they follow the Ego through the long pilgrimage. (Ocean p. 87)


 

Extended Quotes by William Q. Judge

Nothing in the material world endures absolutely unchanged in itself or its conditions, even for the smallest conceivable portion of time. All that is, is forever in process of becoming something else. This is not mere transcendentalism, but is an old established doctrine called, in the East, "the doctrine of the constant, eternal change of atoms from one state into another." (Echoes From The Orient p. 16)

Unless we deny the immortality of man and the existence of soul, there are no sound arguments against the doctrine of preexistence and re-birth save such as rest on the dictum of the church that each soul is a new creation. This dictum can be supported only by blind dogmatism, for given a soul we must sooner or later arrive at the theory of re-birth, because even if each soul is new on this earth it must keep on living somewhere after passing away, and in view of the known order of nature will have other bodies in other planets or spheres. Theosophy applies to the self -- the thinker -- the same laws which are seen everywhere in operation throughout nature, and those are all varieties of the great law that effects follow causes and no effect is without a cause. The soul's immortality -- believed in by the mass of humanity -- demands embodiment here or elsewhere, and to be embodied means reincarnation. (Ocean p. 79)


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