THEOSOPHY, Vol. 23, No. 5, March, 1935
(Pages 218-221; Size: 13K)
(Number 29 of a 36-part series)

STUDIES IN THE OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY

XXIX

"REINCARNATION being the great law of life and progress, it is interwoven with that of the cycles and karma." In the natural order of things, individuals and "nations in definite streams return in regularly recurring periods to the earth, and thus bring back to the globe the arts, the civilization, the very persons who once were on it at work." This ebb and flow of the human tide is ever watched by Man's great friends, who, with their knowledge of cyclic law, anticipate both its high and its low levels and so are able to render all possible aid at the right time.

Tracing humanity's course from the beginning of the Manvantara and perceiving its probable trend from now to the end, Masters see no mystery in the fluctuations of civilization. Although choice is always free, the tendency for any given period is evident, through knowledge of the type of Egos due for incarnation at that time. Obviously, true history would record the Reincarnation Cycles of the masses; and, hence, available historical tabulations are at best but segments of broken lines and scattered, disconnected facts, pertaining to mere incidents in the mighty march of evolutionary progression. How many profane historians would regard the bearing of cycles of sensation and impression upon events in general or deign to consider that "spiritual, psychic, and moral cycles" might be the roots from which grow "national, racial and individual cycles"? Yet in fact it is just these intimate and personal causes that set up the cycle of reincarnation, determining the extent of the after-death states, the time spent out of incarnation and, consequently, setting the Karmic clock for re-awakening to new birth. So, "as the masses of persons return from devachan, it must follow that the Roman, the Greek, the old Aryan and other Ages will be seen again and can to a very great extent be plainly traced". Is it difficult to see decadent Romans thronging the streets today as pleasure-loving as history depicts them of yore?

But, the Elder Brothers, watching the Screen of Time, gauge the Race by a much more vast scale than that of reincarnation cycles alone; They know that "man is also affected by astronomical cycles because he is an integral part of the whole, and these cycles mark the periods when mankind as a whole will undergo a change." Now, who amongst the most profound of our modern astronomers would admit of any connection between astronomical events and the events of history other, perhaps, than as theoretical speculations, devoid of practical value? One more evidence of the "one-existence" illusion! But the Great Astronomers, with gaze piercing far beyond the range of strongest telescope, perceive living space and see the orbits of the stars as Paths of Destiny.

The Christian Bible contains many statements purloined from the records of these Master-Scientists. Many scriptural absurdities are but distortions of symbology employed to preserve vital truths. One such is the story of Jonah and the whale, as "swallowable," in slang parlance, as would have been Jonah himself in the purported event. This alleged episode of ingestion, three days of alimentary residence, and final regurgitation, represents human progress at successive stages in its sidereal cycle through the constellations of the Zodiac. "During these progresses changes take place among men and on earth exactly signified by the constellations when those are read according to the right rules of symbology." "Jonah" is an astronomical point standing for Man; Cetus, or the whale, is another and opposite point in the Zodiacal circle. It is the changes of relationship to Cetus -- the passage into its influence, the position in its midst, exactly opposite to its center, and the stage of being again "thrown out" that are travestied in the literal, much argued, old tale.

"It is not claimed that the conjunction causes the effect, but that ages ago the Masters of Wisdom worked out all the problems in respect to man and found in the heavens the means for knowing the exact dates when events are sure to recur, and then by imprinting in the minds of older nations the symbology of the Zodiac were able to preserve the record and the prophecy. Thus in the same way that a watchmaker can tell the hour by the arrival of the hands or the works of the watch at certain fixed points, the Sages can tell the hour for events by the Zodiacal clock."

Far from expecting these wonders to be believed in lands where Christianity holds sway, the precautions once taken against its recognition are only beginning to be set aside. For in order to safeguard this teaching against the "vandal-spirit" of the West and preserve it for future generations, it became necessary to deliberately isolate India "for many centuries". But, now, with the advent of Theosophy, dawn begins to break upon the "mental night", the "heavy pall of darkness" that "fell on the minds of men in the West", with the "coming of the Christian era". Once again, "this valuable heritage of our evolution" is being brought to our attention -- precursor of a brighter era when the meaning of the Zodiac "will be well understood" -- a genuine "age of enlightenment".

In all lands, ancient or newly used, however separated in time or space, the Zodiac is found. Its presentations across the oceans tell "the same tale as that one left to us by the old civilization of the American continent, and all of these are from the same source; they are the work of the Sages who come at the beginning of the great human cycle and give to man when he begins his toilsome ascent up the road of development those great symbols and ideas of an astronomical character which will last through all the cycles."

This is the Chart of those Ancient Mariners, whom Mr. Judge elsewhere refers to as orientating by spiritual lines of latitude and longitude. They regard the mysterious, distant constellations of the Zodiac as boats bearing their human freight across the vast stretches of the Ocean of Life, "which spreads from shore to shore of the evolution of sentient beings". Their maritime laws pertain to occult directions for the voyage of the Soul towards spiritual Ports. Their Charts points away from shallow, shoal, sand-bar, and imperiling reef.

Masters' scrutiny of mankind, individually, nationally, or racially, extends back to the beginning of a period "called a Brahmanda, that is a complete life of Brahma, and Brahma's life is made of his days and years, which, being cosmical, are each of immense duration. His day is a man's, 24 hours long; his year 360 odd days; the number of his years is 100." Thus, the length of Brahma's lifetime, measured by our mortal years, totals three-hundred-and-eleven-trillion, forty-billion.

These stupendous figures given in ancient Hindu chronology, so incomprehensible to our minds, do but indicate the extent of our own solar lifetime -- our history as self-conscious beings, reaching still farther back to other suns and systems, "some of which were destroyed ages before the solar system condensed." And all the experience gained throughout those cycles is engraved in the imperishable portion of our natures. Evidently it is not how long the time, but how spent, that counts for realization! Hosts of beings possessed of this inner record of a mighty past now look upon one short mundane lifetime as their all, too benumbed to feel the lack in such a conception. But, the Perfected Men, consciously retaining such records, and much more besides, never give up laboring for the arousal of the race to the perception of its true status.

Think of the perspective of One regarding 300 trillion odd years as His normal span of life just as we regard our seventy years or less. What would change of bodies mean to such a Being, more than a change of apparel does to us? Life would mean little to a man who lost his memory of the past and had to start all over again every time he donned a new suit of clothes! No more can we fancy the Mahatma losing one iota of His memory with His change of material form. Where we merely "believe" we have lived before, the Mahatma recalls all his lives in all the Races. Can we even imagine such scope of vision and evaluation of events and men, from which no least unit could be excluded? Could such an One be personal or separative? Would He be vain of this power and knowledge and establish "Cosmic Centers" for their display before a wonder-seeking public? Would He withhold from any man the knowledge that he, too, has lived before, and will live again. Or would He throw out mysterious hints that things are really otherwise and proffer secret disclosures, for a price? Questioning can only reveal the pretended Adept in unmistakable guise.

Yet, among all races must be those once high in intelligence and power -- many who once understood the Zodiac and therefore Cyclic Law in its grander sweeps, as well as in the immediate applications in daily living. These descended to the lowest dip of the fourth and lowest Round, to gain all possible experience in this Cosmic Day, losing thereby their spiritual sight in the murky darkness of materialism, because of self-identification with form. Humanity's present state is not unlike that of a man whose way leads through a deep valley and who, in his descent, peers down into the gloom, contrasts it with the light above, recognizes shadows for shadows, realizes what he is about at each stage and guards every step, but upon becoming accustomed to these nether conditions grows to like them and reluctantly undertakes his upward climb. This reluctance develops into fascination for things below, which eventually draws him back again and establishes his residence in the Valley of Matter, until all memory of the mountain top is obliterated. But though the rank and file of mankind is thus obscured at this period and may even be resentful at being disturbed from its lethargy, always there are some who struggle to be free from the toils of materialism. And their call brings help to all, through the cyclic response of the Masters on Their mission of mercy and rescue. Theosophy -- as recorded in the writings of H. P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge -- is Masters' bequest to all earnest seekers, "in every Country and of every Race, for they called it forth and for them it was recorded."


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