(HPB, Articles, "Our Cycle & the Next")
Theosophy prevailing in the struggle, its all-embracing philosophy
strikes deep root into the minds and hearts of men, if its doctrines
of Reincarnation and Karma, in other words, of Hope and Responsibility,
find a home in the lives of the new generations, then, indeed,
will dawn the day of joy and gladness for all who now suffer
and are outcast. For real Theosophy IS ALTRUISM, and we cannot
repeat it too often. It is brotherly love, mutual help, unswerving
devotion to Truth. If once men do but realize that in these alone
can true happiness be found, and never in wealth, possessions,
or any selfish gratification, then the dark clouds will roll
away, and a new humanity will be born upon earth. Then, the GOLDEN
AGE will be there, indeed. But if not, then the storm will burst,
and our boasted western civilization and enlightenment will sink
in such a sea of horror that its parallel History has never yet
(HPB, Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1, P. 634)
The ONE LIFE is closely related to the one law which governs the World of Being -- KARMA. Exoterically, this is simply and literally "action," or rather an "effect-producing cause." Esoterically it is quite a different thing in its far-fetching moral effects. It is the unerring LAW OF RETRIBUTION. To say to those ignorant of the real significance, characteristics and awful importance of this eternal immutable law, that no theological definition of a personal deity can give an idea of this impersonal, yet ever present and active Principle, is to speak in vain. Nor can it be called Providence. For Providence, with the Theists (the Christian Protestants, at any rate), rejoices in a personal male gender, while with the Roman Catholics it is a female potency, "Divine Providence tempers His blessings to secure their better effects," Wogan tells us. Indeed "He" tempers them, which Karma -- a sexless principle -- does not.
(Wm. Q. Judge, Articles, "Men Karmic Agents")
A statement of the law of Karma of course makes not only men karmic agents but also every other being in the Cosmos, inasmuch as they are all under the law of action and reaction, and, with the same law, go to make Cosmos what it is. Taken as a unit in the general mass of men, each man is a Karmic agent in the above sense, just as each horse and dog, or the rain and the sun are. So in our daily actions, even the smallest, whether we are conscious or not of the effect, we are such agents. A single word of ours may have an influence for a lifetime upon another. It may cause once more the fire of passion to blaze up, or bring about a great change for good. We may be the means of another's being late for an appointment and thus save him from calamity or the reverse, and so on infinitely. But all this is very different from the technical sense I have referred to, and which might be taken to be the sense of the title of the article thus specially removed from the general class.
The special sense is in this: a "Karmic Agent" is
one who concentrates more rapidly than is usual the lines of
influence that bring about events sometimes in a strange and
subtle way. Of these there are two classes; the first, those
among the mass who, from the lives they have led in the past,
arrive in this one gifted--or cursed with the power unknown to
themselves. The second, those who by training have the power,
or rather have become concentrators of the forces, and know it
to be the case. Of these are the Adepts, both great and small.
(Wm. Q. Judge, Articles, "Karma")
The first great result of Karmic action is the incarnation
in physical life. The birth-seeking entity consisting of desires
and tendencies, presses forward towards incarnation. It is governed
in the selection of its scene of manifestation by the law of
economy. Whatever is the ruling tendency, that is to say, whatever
group of affinities is strongest, those affinities will lead
it to the point of manifestation at which there is the least
opposition. It incarnates in those surroundings most in harmony
with its Karmic tendencies and all the effects of actions contained
in the Karma so manifesting will be experienced by the individual.
This governs the station of life, the sex, the conditions of
the irresponsible years of childhood, the constitution with the
various diseases inherent in it, and in fact all those determining
forces of physical existence which are ordinarily classed under
the terms, "heredity," and "national characteristics."
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. This is not superstition, least of all is it Fatalism.
The latter implies a blind course of some still blinder power,
and man is a free agent during his stay on earth. He cannot escape
his ruling Destiny, but he has the choice of two paths that lead
him in that direction, and he can reach the goal of misery --
if such is decreed to him, either in the snowy white robes of
the Martyr, or in the soiled garments of a volunteer in the iniquitous
course; for, there are external and internal conditions which
affect the determination of our will upon our actions, and it
is in our power to follow either of the two. Those who believe
in Karma have to believe in destiny, which, from birth to death,
every man is weaving thread by thread around himself, as a spider
does his cobweb; and this destiny is guided either by the heavenly
voice of the invisible prototype outside of us, or by our more
intimate astral, or inner man, who is but too often the evil
genius of the embodied entity called man. Both these lead on
the outward man, but one of them must prevail; and from the very
beginning of the invisible affray the stern and implacable law
of compensation steps in and takes its course, faithfully following
the fluctuations. When the last strand is woven, and man is seemingly
enwrapped in the net-work of his own doing, then he finds himself
completely under the empire of this self-made destiny. It then
either fixes him like the inert shell against the immovable rock,
or carries him away like a feather in a whirlwind raised by his
own actions, and this is -- KARMA.
(Wm. Q. Judge, Ocean Of Theosophy, Ch. 10.)
........... while heredity has something to do with the difference
in character as to force and morale, swaying the soul and mind
a little and furnishing also the appropriate place for receiving
reward and punishment, it is not the cause for the essential
nature shown by every one.
(HPB, The Key To Theosophy, Section 8, "On Reincarnation or Rebirth")
Memory is simply an innate power in thinking beings, and even in animals, of reproducing past impressions by an association of ideas principally suggested by objective things or by some action on our external sensory organs. Memory is a faculty depending entirely on the more or less healthy and normal functioning of our physical brain; and remembrance and recollection are the attributes and handmaidens of that memory. But reminiscence is an entirely different thing. "Reminiscence" is defined by the modern psychologist as something intermediate between remembrance and recollection, or "a conscious process of recalling past occurrences, but without that full and varied reference to particular things which characterises recollection." Locke, speaking of recollection and remembrance, says: "When an idea again recurs without the operation of the like object on the external sensory, it is remembrance; if it be sought after by the mind, and with pain and endeavour found and brought again into view, it is recollection." But even Locke leaves reminiscence without any clear definition, because it is no faculty or attribute of our physical memory, but an intuitional perception apart from and outside our physical brain; a perception which, covering as it does (being called into action by the ever-present knowledge of our spiritual Ego) all those visions in man which are regarded as abnormal -- from the pictures suggested by genius to the ravings of fever and even madness -- are classed by science as having no existence outside of our fancy. Occultism and Theosophy, however, regard reminiscence in an entirely different light. For us, while memory is physical and evanescent and depends on the physiological conditions of the brain -- a fundamental proposition with all teachers of mnemonics, who have the researches of modern scientific psychologists to back them -- we call reminiscence the memory of the soul. And it is this memory which gives the assurance to almost every human being, whether he understands it or not, of his having lived before and having to live again. Indeed, as Wordsworth has it:
The soul that rises with us, our life's star,
Hath elsewhere had its setting,
And cometh from afar."
(Wm. Q. Judge, Articles, "Practical Theosophy")
The ethics of life propounded by Jesus are not different from those found in theosophy, but the latter holds in its doctrines a compelling power which is absent from Christianity and from those systems which require a man to be good for virtue's sake alone. It is not easy to practice virtue for the simple reason that we ought to do so, since the desire for reward is inherent in humanity, and is a reflection of the evolutionary law which draws the universe ever upward to higher points of development. A man reads the command of Jesus to turn the other cheek to the smiter, to resist not evil, to forgive without stint, and to take no thought for the morrow, and then - pauses. His next thought is that such a canon is wholly utopian, and would if followed subvert society. In this he is sustained by eminent authority as well as by example, for a great Bishop has declared that no state can exist under such a system.
Theosophic doctrine, however, on either the selfish or spiritual line of life, convinces that the moral law must be obeyed. If we regard only the selfish side, we find when people are convinced that evil done in this life will be met with sure punishment in another reincarnation, they hesitate to continue the old careless life when they lived for themselves alone.
(HPB, The Key To Theosophy, p.227)
. . . the need for re-births. . ., the final goal cannot be reached in any way but through life experiences, and because the bulk of these consist in pain and suffering. It is only through the latter that we can learn. Joys and pleasures teach us nothing; they are evanescent, and can only bring in the long run satiety.
(HPB, The Key to Theosophy, Section VIII, :On Re-Incarnation or Rebirth")
(HPB, Articles, "Our Cycle & the Next")
(Wm. Q. Judge, The Ocean Of Theosophy, Ch's VIII, IX & X)
(Wm.Q.Judge, Articles, "Karma")
(Wm. Q. Judge, Articles, "Men Karmic Agents")