The Newsletter of the Northwest Branch of the Theosophical Society
March 2002 Vol. 5 Issue 1
There are four periods of the year which, from the standpoint of the initiation ceremonies, are considered to be particularly holy: the winter solstice, the spring equinox, the summer solstice, and the autumnal equinox.
The year, in its cycling turn or wheeling, passes through the four different "quarters of Space," and when the four points of the year, which are the four sacred seasons, reach these four quarters of Space, occult powers and forces are at these times framed for corresponding consequences to ensue upon those who are ready.
A certain conjunction of two of the planets, Mercury and Venus, with the Moon and the Earth, allows the passage along the mystic circulations of the solar system of great spiritual forces having their native home in the Sun; and the human aspirant undertaking this course of the initiatory trials, either fails, or rises from his trance clothed with the Sun literally, enfolded as in a glory with the splendor of the inner buddha, the inner god. He who has passed through this most holy event in human mystical history ever afterwards lives and works among men as one who has in actual truth met his own inner god face to face, and is therefore called a buddha or a christ . . .
The initiations which take place even today with more or less uninterrupted regularity at the time of the spring equinox include the passing through trials and an ultimate resurrection from the personal man of the god within. It includes also the descent of the neophyte-initiant into the Underworld, into those very real but to us utterly invisible realms of space which have their being in cosmic reaches still more material than our gross sphere of physical mayavi [illusion]-substance.
On this our Earth, on this holy and solemn occasion, there occurs a repetition of what at certain intervals takes place among the divinities. Just as at certain times in the progress of cosmic destiny a certain divinity leaves its own luminous realms in order to "descend," or more accurately to transfer a portion of its own divine essence, into the world of men for the purpose of aiding and helping erring mankind, so exactly does the neophyte-initiant descend or transfer his percipient consciousness into the Underworld in order to learn and also to help the denizens of those gloomy spheres.
One may well ask oneself why it is that a divinity at any time should "descend," or project a portion of its essence, into our sphere which it had long aeons ago left behind in its evolutionary progress. We learn that even the gods them-selves in their own lofty spheres make and unmake karma, and begin, and end after bringing to their completion, works of far-reaching influence on the cosmical spaces, and that a certain portion of these divine activities must of necessity reach to and influence most deeply the spheres of men. – From Fountain Source of Occultism and The Four Sacred Seasons by G. de Purucker
Itself colorless or neutral, will power is directed upwards or downwards by the mind. It is obvious to us that heading towards spirit requires will power; however, we may not realize that it is our will power misapplied that brings us back to earth time and again, and prevents us from achieving our real potential.
Will flows through us and from us, guided by our direct-ing intelligence. We can rise along the pathway of our inmost self to the gods, or descend deeper into matter, because "individual human beings always have their native free will unimpeded and uncoerced. . . . Man always can change his own feelings, his own thoughts, and necessarily, therefore, his own acts."
How can the human spirit finally free itself from matter? Desire and will directed towards the Divine can alone liberate us from the material plane. Our mind and intuition receive impulses from divine and super-divine planes, and only our limited state of development and weakness of will prevent us from faithfully carrying them out. We can free ourselves by mobilizing our will to bring about our spiritual desires and raise our lower mentality. – Monika Borger
"Fate or Free Will?" is our subject. We will be discussing such questions as: What do we mean by destiny, karma, predestination? Is there such a thing as chance? How free are we to make choices and determine our future? Are there various degrees of free will? Where does responsibility for our acts and circumstances lie? Can God or any other being override our free will or release us from the consequences of our thoughts and actions? Come and share your ideas!
Open to the public, unsectarian, non-political, no charge.
The topics for the monthly discussion group for the next few months are:
April 11: Thoughts – Living Energies
May: Do Heaven and Hell Exist?
June: Self-Transformation: Our Hardest Task
July: Beyond Materialism
When we speak of karma, we usually mean the doctrine that as we have sown, so shall we reap; and what we reap, that have we also sown. In other words, our fate and fortune are the consequences of our own acts, and we incur reward or penalty according to our exact merits. There is no arbitrary interference of a divine dispensation, nor is anything left to mere "chance." This doctrine is not comprehensible without the accompanying doctrine of reincarnation, because many of the experiences which we meet with are the result of things we did in past lives, and many of the things we do now will not yield their effects until a future life. When we speak of a person's karma, and say (for instance) that his karma is good or bad, we mean not exactly his luck and not exactly his merit, but something between the two.
Karma means that there is a perfect relation between cause and effect in the sphere of human acts and experiences, as in the sphere of natural science; in other words, that perfect justice rules in human affairs, and that experience is proportioned to merit. No one can possibly suffer or enjoy consequences which he has not merited by his own actions; and everything which we reap, that have we also sown. Our intuition and sense of the fitness of things tells us that the power which rules must be just. The alternative is to suppose that that power is capricious, a supposition which is equally untenable whether we conceive of that power as Deity or as any "scientific" equivalent for Deity. Theologians and scientists agree in attributing to their respective deities perfect justice and impartiality, the contrary hypothesis affording no basis for philosophy. Thus, whether ruled by God, or by some equally mysterious and all-powerful agency called chance or destiny, we are equally in the hands of law – just, impartial, unerring,
The acceptance of reincarnation is an essential condition for the understanding of karma. For the period occupied by a single lifetime is so short in comparison with the career of the soul, which is the real man, that it does not suffice for a tracing out of the sequence of cause and effect. Many of the experiences which we undergo in this life are the result of things we have done in our past lives, and many of the things we are doing now will not take effect until a future life. For, as a day is but a single link in the chain of our life from birth to death, so is that life itself but a link in the greater chain of the soul's life.
The principle of causation demands that we shall live again on earth, for we create during one life causes which cannot be worked out in any other way except in another earth-life. A man dies with many things begun that must be finished and many purposes planned but not carried out. His life is only the preface to a necessary sequel – one chapter out of many in the great story. On the other hand, reincarnation explains karma. The two truths are mutually consistent; and further, they are consistent with the other facts of experience. Thus does the truth vindicate itself by its consistency and wholeness.
One way of explaining the law of karma is to state that man, by his actions, disturbs the harmony and balance of life; and that life, in its effort to regain harmony, brings a reaction upon him. This is quite in accordance with scientific conceptions of the balance of forces. It would be stated somewhat as follows. The sum-total of energy within a closed system is always the same, and every displacement within that system causes a displacement of equal and opposite effect in the other parts of the system. Every act of man rebounds like a stone that is thrown; and in the long run the man will prove to be his own target.
People may argue, "Since all events are indissolubly joined to their previous causes, what is the use of making any effort?" This is the delusion of fatalism. It ignores the fact that owing to the divine part of our nature, we have a center which stands outside of the karmic chain and by which we are able to act independently and set new causes in motion. Fatalism, in fact, means nothing, and cuts both ways. If it leaves us free to let things alone, it leaves us equally free to act. It is our duty to help others all we can, and if it is not their karma to be helped, the law will take care of that. Besides, the humane motive of a man is an extraneous power inasmuch as it proceeds from a higher source, and therefore it can add to the total of good in the universe.