The Newsletter of the Northwest Branch of the Theosophical Society
December 2002 Vol. 5 Issue 10
Every form of life, and thus also human life, is a manifestation of conscious being, not something we can dispose of at our convenience. If we think about how karma works, we realize it is a natural energy system and, further, that thought is one of the strongest forces in the universe, affecting everything. When a being thinks, it generates a stream of mental "electrons" which activate the life-atoms in the various levels of its entire being. Whatever the type of thought or feeling, these life-atoms are charged with an energic potential, just as batteries are charged. Upon receiving this charge, positive or negative, the life-atoms seek to unload this energy in order to bring the energic potential into balance, because one of the fundamental rules of the universe is harmony. This interaction we call karma.
Most people are unaware of the profound and beautiful ramifications of karma. No external God creates misery and destruction, any more than such a God surrounds us with unearned joy or good fortune. Our ego is continuously molding its form and character. Just as millions of individual polyps create a coral reef, so millions of our thoughts and feelings over several incarnations form our character. The same karmic rules hold for families, groups, and complete populations who have common thoughts or feelings or who generate mental streams of the same frequency.
Just as a dog cannot escape its own tail, so karmic results are part of the ego which created them. Clearly, then, an ego experiencing pain and anxiety resulting from its own past actions can never escape these consequences. Choosing euthanasia, for example, to escape present pain and problems could be an attempt to avoid karmic consequences: it could charge the life-atoms with more negative energy and cause further unbalance, creating new and larger future problems. Facing life's storms tends to restore equilibrium, and herein lies the value of accepting one's destiny.
Abortion parallels euthanasia. Many people today believe that the mother, and to a lesser extent the father, have the right to terminate the life of an incarnating ego. One must seriously question whether the decision to interrupt the incarnation process for socioeconomic reasons, such as furthering the parent's career, isn't at its core selfish. Similarly, a handicapped child represents not only the karma of the incarnating ego but of the parents and the whole family. Choosing abortion to solve this problem not only postpones it, but creates larger difficulties in future lives. Working out the karma, on the other hand, will bring the individual into balance, as well as slowly help to raise the thought-life of all humanity toward the highest possible plane.
We can ignore karma by thinking that reincarnation and a universal law of consequences do not exist; but eventually our ego will discover the facts through these same cosmic laws. Then it will realize that it has lost a great deal of time and has created many additional difficulties for itself and others which could have been avoided. People wish to be free; but in fact we are always free in our will, within the constraints of the laws of harmony, and are free -- nay, compelled -- to make our own path of destiny. -- Jelle Bosma
Question: Can it ever be justified to take a human life, as for instance when defending the native country or to defend one's child against assault?
Answer: Unfortunately, yes. In this present stage of evolution and in the conditions of the world in which we live, it may be at times in the line of duty and for the reason that we find ourselves at times confronted with two courses of action, two lines of duty. Ideally, the answer to the question must be No. It is wrong to take life whether human or animal. But equally is it right and our bounden duty to defend one's country, and to defend one's home and one's family. Thus in time of war, seeing that each citizen of a country is an integral part of the nation to which he belongs, it is his duty to obey the laws of the government of the country to which he belongs.
I have answered this from my own standpoint and as I conceive would be my duty to act in either of the events mentioned in the question. What I have said above, however, has no reference to capital punishment which is utterly wrong and unnecessary, and is not a deterrent of crime in the long run. Capital punishment is to be condemned absolutely. -- G. de Purucker
"Is Taking Life Ever Justified?" is our subject. We will be discussing such questions as: Do we survive death? Is state-sanctioned killing, such as war or capital punishment, justified? What about suicide, euthanasia, self-defense or protecting another? What about nonhuman lives? What is life, and is it universal? 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:
January 16, 2003: Hierarchies: A Universal Pattern?
February: God, God's Will, and Karma
March: How Can We Find Peace?
The Christmas festival, and the teachings which have gone with it from early Christian days, are not at all Christian in origin. They never were invented by Christian theologians or devotees, but were all based upon current pagan ideas of the Sanctuary.
The early Christians were brought up in the pagan world where it was an acknowledged fact that there was an exoteric religion or series of such religions, and a secret teaching kept only for those who had proved themselves to be fit and worthy to receive the teachings of the Mystery Schools, the secret things of the divine. All the exoteric faiths hid something wonderful, sublimely majestic, taught within the Sanctuary. Get this fact clear, because it is history; and early Christian historians always blurred over or forgot or passed by that idea, without even a mere hint, and yet that is the atmosphere in which Christianity was born. If you get this key and hold it in your mind, you will have something by which you may unlock what has been so difficult to Christian theologians not merely to understand but to explain.
As regards the virgin birth, this is not original with Christianity. The conception has been common over the face of the earth from immemorial time. Many peoples in the archaic days taught of virgins giving birth to great sages and seers, and you may read this same story of Jesus the Avatara in other tongues and after other ways, but having essentially the same fundamental truth of a great human being achieving divinity by a new birth.
The Hindus spoke of a dvija, a "twice born," the idea being that of physical birth, born of the mother as all children are, but when ready after training, receiving inner birth, inner enlightenment, which was the second birth, a new birth into the light of the spirit.
What did this teaching mean in the early days of Christianity? Precisely what it meant in all the other great pagan countries. It represented scenes passed in the Sanctuary where the neophyte or disciple after long training had so developed his inner being, his inner perceptions, that he was on the verge of becoming Christos, a Christ, or as Mahayana Buddhism has it, a bodhisattva. The next step would be that of buddhahood. Even in exoteric writings this wonderful truth from the Sanctuary was spoken of as virgin birth, a second birth; and all the saviors of mankind in whatever country, of whatever clime, and of whatever day, all the great ones, the sages and seers, the buddhas and bodhisattvas of highest rank, were all born of the Mother, the holy spirit within. How beautiful, how true! It appeals to us instantly, and it is in strict accord with even the little that modern scientific research is beginning to tell us of psychology. We all recognize it when a person's life is improved and raised by his or her own efforts and strivings to become greater. It is the first faint dawn in the Mystic East, the beginning as it were of the holy birth pangs whereby in time he becomes an incarnate god, the god within, and thereafter manifests through the Christ-child, and the man of flesh becomes responsive to the inner flame, the inner light, the inner fire. See you not what dignity this lends to us human beings? What hope for the future for those who dare, who strive, who keep silent!
Here is a very significant thing in early Christian writings: if Mary were virgin, how could she give birth to children? In early Christian scripture there occurs a remark-able passage in the Greek Christian writings, and rendered into English it means: "My Mother, the Holy Spirit (for the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost, amongst primitive Christians was always feminine, never masculine as it became after-wards), took me by the hair of my head and brought me to the holy Mount Athor." Here is the spirit in me, the Holy Spirit, my Mother from whom I was born anew, no longer born of the flesh but born of the spirit: born first of water according to the flesh, then born of fire according to the spirit -- the first birth and the second birth. This is indeed the virgin birth; for the spirit of man, a ray from the divine, from the ineffable, is eternally virgin, and yet eternally fecund, eternally productive. The cosmic Christ is born of the cosmic Spirit, feminine also in ancient time, and in the same way is the spiritual man feminine, and in the holiness of achievement gives birth to the bodhisattva, the Christ-child, and from then on that individual is infilled with the holiness of the spirit pouring through him from the source divine.