THEOSOPHY, Vol. 62, No. 7, May, 1974
(Pages 200-204; Size: 15K)

THE OBLIGATORY PILGRIMAGE(1)

THE SECRET DOCTRINE teaches: 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.

The Monad is a drop out of the shoreless Ocean beyond, or, to be correct, within the plane of primeval differentiation. It is divine in its higher and human in its lower condition -- the adjectives "higher" and "lower" being used for lack of better words -- and a monad it remains at all times, save in the Nirvanic state, under whatever conditions, or whatever external forms. As the Logos reflects the Universe in the Divine Mind, and the manifested Universe reflects itself in each of its Monads, as Leibnitz put it, repeating an Eastern teaching, so the MONAD has, during the cycle of its incarnations, to reflect in itself every root-form of each kingdom.

On the descending arc it is the spiritual which is gradually transformed into the material. On the middle line of the base, Spirit and Matter are equilibrized in Man. On the ascending arc, Spirit is slowly re-asserting itself at the expense of the physical, or matter, so that, at the close of the seventh Race of the Seventh Round, the Monad will find itself as free from matter and all its qualities as it was in the beginning; having gained in addition the experience and wisdom, the fruition of all its personal lives, without their evil and temptations.

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; hence, also, the perversion of the original meaning. The Gods who had fallen into generation, whose mission it was to complete divine man, are found represented later on as Demons, evil Spirits, and fiends, at feud and war with Gods, or the irresponsible agents of the one Eternal law. But no conception of such creatures as the devils and Satan of the Christian, Jewish, and Mahomedan religions was ever intended under those thousand and one Aryan allegories. The "innumerable incarnations of Spirit," and "the ceaseless pulse and current of desire" refer, the first one, to our doctrine of Karmic and cyclic rebirths, the second -- to EROS, not the later god of material, physiological love, but to the divine desire in the gods, as well as in all nature, to create and give life to Beings. This, the Rays of the one "dark," because invisible and incomprehensible, FLAME could achieve only by themselves descending into matter.

Now, as everything proceeds cyclically, the evolution of man like everything else, the order in which he is generated is described fully in the Eastern teachings, whereas it is only hinted at in the Kabala. Says the Book of Dzyan with regard to primeval man when first projected by the "Boneless," the incorporeal Creator: "First, the Breath, then Buddhi and the Shadow-Son (the Body) were 'CREATED.' But where was the pivot (the middle principle, Manas)? Man is doomed. When alone, the indiscrete (undifferentiated Element) and the Vahan (Buddhi) -- the cause of the causeless -- break asunder from manifested life" -- "unless cemented and held together by the middle principle, the vehicle of the personal consciousness of JIVA"; explains the Commentary. In other words, the two higher principles can have no individuality on Earth, cannot be man, unless there is (a) the Mind, the Manas-Ego, to cognize itself, and (b) the terrestrial false personality, or the body of egotistical desires and personal Will, to cement the whole, as if round a pivot (which it is, truly), to the physical form of man. It is the Fifth and the Fourth principles -- Manas and Kama rupa -- that contain the dual personality: the real immortal Ego (if it assimilates itself to the two higher) and the false and transitory personality, the mayavi or astral body, so-called, or the animal-human Soul -- the two having to be closely blended for purposes of a full terrestrial existence. Incarnate the Spiritual Monad of a Newton grafted on that of the greatest saint on earth -- in a physical body the most perfect you can think of -- i.e., in a two or even a three-principled body composed of its Sthula Sarira, prana (life principle), and linga sarira -- and, if it lacks its middle and fifth principles, you will have created an idiot -- at best a beautiful, soulless, empty and unconscious appearance. "Cogito -- ergo sum" -- can find no room in the brain of such a creature, not on this plane, at any rate.

Intimately, or rather indissolubly, connected with Karma, then, is the law of re-birth, or of the re-incarnation of the same spiritual individuality in a long, almost interminable, series of personalities. The latter are like the various costumes and characters played by the same actor, with each of which that actor identifies himself and is identified by the public, for the space of a few hours. The inner, or real man, who personates those characters, knows the whole time that he is Hamlet for the brief space of a few acts, which represent, however, on the plane of human illusion, the whole life of Hamlet. And he knows that he was, the night before, King Lear, the transformation in his turn of the Othello of a still earlier preceding night; but the outer, visible character is supposed to be ignorant of the fact. In actual life that ignorance is, unfortunately, but too real. Nevertheless, the permanent individuality is fully aware of the fact, though, through the atrophy of the "spiritual" eye in the physical body, that knowledge is unable to impress itself on the consciousness of the false personality.

It is the Spiritual evolution of the inner, immortal man that forms the fundamental tenet in the Occult Sciences. To realize even distantly such a process, the student has to believe (a) in the ONE Universal Life, independent of matter (or what Science regards as matter); and (b) in the individual intelligences that animate the various manifestations of this Principle.

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.

At the first flutter of renascent life, Svâbhâvat, "the mutable radiance of the Immutable Darkness unconscious in Eternity," passes, at every new rebirth of Kosmos, from an inactive state into one of intense activity; it differentiates, and then begins its work through that differentiation. This work is KARMA.

Karma-Nemesis is no more than the (spiritual) dynamical effect of causes produced and forces awakened into activity by our own actions. It is a law of occult dynamics that "a given amount of energy expended on the spiritual or astral plane is productive of far greater results than the same amount expended on the physical objective plane of existence." The suppression of one single bad cause will suppress not one, but a variety of bad effects. And if a Brotherhood or even a number of Brotherhoods may not be able to prevent nations from occasionally cutting each other's throats -- still unity in thought and action, and philosophical research into the mysteries of being, will always prevent some, while trying to comprehend that which has hitherto remained to them a riddle, from creating additional causes in a world already so full of woe and evil.

Thus proceed the cycles of the septenary evolution, in Septennial nature; the Spiritual or divine; the psychic or semi-divine; the intellectual, the passional, the instinctual, or cognitional; the semi-corporeal and the purely material or physical natures. All these evolve and progress cyclically, passing from one into another, in a double, centrifugal and centripetal way, one in their ultimate essence, seven in their aspects. The lowest, of course, is the one depending upon and subservient to our five physical senses. Thus far, for individual, human, sentient, animal and vegetable life, each the microcosm of its higher macrocosm. The same for the Universe, which manifests periodically for purposes of the collective progress of the countless lives, the outbreathings of the One Life; in order that through the Ever-Becoming, every cosmic atom in this infinite Universe, passing from the formless and the intangible, through the mixed natures of the semi-terrestrial, down to matter in full generation, and then back again, reascending at each new period higher and nearer the final goal; that each atom, we say, may reach through individual merits and efforts that plane where it re-becomes the one unconditioned ALL.

Starting upon the long journey immaculate; descending more and more into sinful matter, and having connected himself with every atom in manifested Space -- the Pilgrim, having struggled through and suffered in every form of life and being, is only at the bottom of the valley of matter, and half through his cycle, when he has identified himself with collective Humanity. This, he has made in his own image. In order to progress upwards and homewards, the "God" has now to ascend the weary uphill path of the Golgotha of Life. It is the martyrdom of self-conscious existence. Like Visvakarman he has to sacrifice himself to himself in order to redeem all creatures, to resurrect from the many into the One Life.


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:

RECOLLECTION OF DIVINITY

Thus the soul, since it is immortal and has been born many times, and has seen all things both here and in the other world, has learned everything that is. So we need not be surprised if it can recall the knowledge of virtue or any thing else which, as we see, it once possessed. All nature is akin, and the soul has learned everything, so that when a man has recalled a single piece of knowledge -- learned it, in ordinary language -- there is no reason why he should not find out all the rest, if he keeps a stout heart and does not grow weary of the search; for seeking and learning are in fact nothing but recollection. 


--PLATO, Meno

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(1) NOTE.--A student's collation from the writings of H. P. Blavatsky.
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