Karma

(1) The law of karma is the most stupendous law of the system and one which it is impossible for the average man in any way to comprehend, for, if traced back along its central root and its many ramifications, one eventually reaches the position where causes antedating the solar system have to be dealt with, and this point of view can only be usefully grasped by a high initiate.

This law really concerns, or is based on causes which are inherent in the constitution of matter itself and on the interaction between atomic units, whether we use this expression in connection with an atom of substance, a human being, a planetary atom, or a solar atom.

. . . All atoms are always controlled by the following factors . . .:

The influence and quality of the organ or unit in which it finds a place . . .

The life influence of the entire physical body of which any atom is a corporate part . . .

The life influence of the desire or astral body, the strongest karmic agency which has to be considered.

The life influence of the mental body, or of that principle which imposes upon the atom the quality of activity in form, which governs the reaction of the atom to its group life, and which enables the quality of its life to be demonstrate. . .

The life impulse of the Thinker functioning in the causal body who . . . is nevertheless a potent and active factor in the imposition of rhythm upon the atom in every body . . .

In these thoughts, we have but approached the study of karma from a fresh angle, and endeavoured to show the sources of the “influences” which play upon all atomic lives.

. . . We are but seeking to emphasise the fact of the interdependence of all atoms and forms, to lay stress upon the reality of the variety of influences which play upon all that is manifesting, and to call attention to the fact of the karma of the past aeons, kalpas and that unknowable period in which the initiatory impulses were set up which are still persisting, and which God, man and the atoms are still working out and off . . .

The liberation from karma about which would-be occult students so glibly talk, is after all but the freeing of the atom from its own personal problem (the problem of response to unitary sensation), and its conscious acquiescence in group response and work. . . . Man is no longer the slave of the rhythm of matter per se, but controls it in the three worlds of his endeavour; he is still nevertheless controlled by the group karma of the planetary centre, by its influence, life and vibratory impulse . . .

It will be apparent that when man speaks of karma, he is dealing with something much wider than the interplay of effect and cause within the sphere of his own individual routine. . . . Finally he is governed by the will of the solar Logos as it demonstrates itself in initiatory activity. Beyond this we need hardly go, but enough has been said to show that every human atom is under the dominance of forces outside his own consciousness, which sweep him and others into situations from which there is no escape, and which are to him incomprehensible . . .

Nevertheless, within limits, man definitely does “control his destiny”, and can initiate action which produces effects recognisable by him as being dependent upon his activity along a particular line. . . . Though he may be the meeting place of forces outside his control, yet he can utilise force, circumstance and environment and can turn them, if he so will, to his own ends.

The working out of karmic law in a man’s own life might be broadly divided into three divisions, in each of which a different type of energy is demonstrating, producing effects upon the lower and higher bodies of a definite nature.

In the very early stages, when man is scarcely more than an animal, the vibratory activity of the atoms of his three sheaths (and of the lowest primarily) governs all actions on his part. . . . The centre of attention is the physical body and only faintly are the two subtler bodies responding . . .

During the second stage, the law of karma or karmic influence . . . turns its attention to the working out of desire, and its transmutation into the higher aspiration. Through experience, the pairs of opposites are recognised by the Thinker, and he becomes no longer the victim of the vibratory impulses of his physical body; the factor of intelligent choice becomes apparent . . .

In the third stage, the law of karma works through a man’s mental nature, and awakens in him recognition of the law, and an intellectual apprehension of cause and effect. This is the shortest stage but is also the most powerful; it concerns the evolution of the three inner petals shielding the “jewel”, and their ability to disclose at the right moment that which lies hidden. It covers the period of the evolution of advanced man, and of the man upon the Path . . . When the will and purpose of the Ego are realised by man in his waking consciousness in the physical brain, then the law of karma in the three worlds is becoming neutralised, and man is on the verge of liberation.

(2) When I point out that the Law of Karma, rightly understood and rightly wielded, can bring that which produces happiness, good, and freedom from pain more easily than it brings pain, with its chain of consequences, do you feel able to grasp the significance of what I am saying?. . . The Law of Karma is not the Law of Retribution, as one would surmise as one reads the current books upon the subject; that is but one aspect of the working of the Law of Karma.

. . . Men interpret these dimly sensed laws in terms of finality, and from their little point of view. The idea of retribution runs through much of the teaching on karma, for instance, because men seek a plausible explanation of things as they appear to be, and are themselves fond of dealing out retribution. Yet there is far more general good karma than bad, little as you may think it when immersed in such a period as the present.

(3) The Law of Karma is today a great and incontrovertible fact in the consciousness of humanity everywhere. They may not call it by that name, but they are well aware that in all today’s events the nations are reaping what they sowed. This great law – at one time a theory – is now a proven fact, and a recognised factor in human thinking. The question “Why?”, so frequently asked, brings in the factor of cause and effect with constant inevitability. The concepts of heredity and of environment, are efforts to explain existing human conditions; qualities, racial characteristics, national temperaments and ideals, prove the fact of some initiating world of causes. Historical conditions, the relationships between nations, social taboos, religious convictions and tendencies, can all be traced to originating causes – some of them most ancient. Everything that is happening in the world today, and which is so potently affecting humanity – things of beauty and of horror, modes of living and civilisation and culture, prejudices and likings, scientific attainment and artistic expression, and the many ways in which humanity throughout the planet colours existence – are aspects of effects, initiated somewhere, on some level, at some time, by human beings, both individually and en masse.

Karma is therefore that which Man . . . has instituted, carried forward, endorsed, omitted to do, or has done right, through the ages until the present moment. Today, the harvest is ripe and mankind is reaping what it has sown, preparatory to a fresh ploughing in the springtime of the New Age, with a fresh sowing of the seed which will (let us pray and hope) produce a better harvest.

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