THE DIVINE PLAN
WRITTEN IN THE FORM OF A COMMENTARY ON H. P. BLAVATSKY’S SECRET DOCTRINE
GEOFFREY A. BARBORKA
EXPRESSLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF THOSE WHO WISH TO READ AND GAIN A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF “THE SECRET DOCTRINE”
PRESENTING AN EXPOSITION OF THE DOCTRINES OF THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY, ANALYSING AND EXPLAINING ALL THE TERMS USED
First Edition 1961
THE THEOSOPHICAL PUBLISHING HOUSE
ADYAR, MADRAS 600020, INDIA
68, Great Russell Street, London, WClB 3BU, England
Post Box 270, Wheaton, Illinois60187, U.S.A.
IS DEDICATED TO
HELENA PETROVNA BLAVATSKY
THE chief purpose of this book is to present a guide-book for those who wish to read and study The Secret Doctrine. It is not the intention to give a complete survey of H. P. Blavatsky’s great work, but rather to offer a method for pursuing its study. Yet it is hoped that those who follow this guide-book will acquire a more comprehensive understanding of the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom.
Since Secret Doctrine Classes represent the major Theosophical effort undertaken by the writer for several years, first-hand knowledge has been gained of the problems confronting many who endeavor to study H. P. Blavatsky’s writings. Again and again has the wish been expressed that there could be a book that would be of assistance in the study of the teachings. To meet this need, this work is offered. The effort has been made to overcome the difficulties that students encounter; hence the manner in which it is prepared. What actually caused the writing of the book carne about in this way.
The writer was requested to take part in a symposium to be presented at the 1956 Summer School convening at the Headquarters of the American Section of The Theosophical Society at Wheaton, Illinois. This formed part of the proceedings of the regular annual convention held at this Theosophical center. The symposium was entitled: “Methods of Approach to the Study of The Secret Doctrine,” The theme was of paramount importance, since this was the very line of endeavor being carried on in classes. Because of the problems encountered in class study, the decision was made to present a practical approach to the subject, emphasizing the aspect of now to read the volumes.
The idea was stressed that The Secret Doctrine was written from the Platonic standpoint rather than the Aristotelean. Therefore a universal outlook must be sought for primarily. So often, difficulty is experienced in understanding the teachings because of attempting to view them “from below”–that is, from the individual’s viewpoint–rather than “from
above,” from a cosmic standpoint. Therefore, the effort must be made to look down from above, as though a panoramic picture were being unrolled. There is no need to be concerned about details in the first glance–that is, in the first effort to understand a doctrine. The details may be examined later and placed in proper sequence. The example of man’s sevenfold principles was instanced. Too often the seven principles are viewed ?“from below”. Thus, the Sthula-sarira (physical body) is considered first, and the other six principles super-imposed upon it. Because of this, it becomes difficult to comprehend the significance of Atman (man’s divine self), from below. Instead, viewed from above, Atman is a universal principle; it is even united with its Originating Source. It sends its radiance through the six emanated principles, which are all linked with the Self (Atman). Thus man from the standpoint of the Esoteric Philosophy is a Saptaparna–an unfolding “seven-leaved man-plant”; not an entity consisting of seven separate principles which may be peeled apart as one separates an onion (as H. P. B. has expressed it).
With specific reference to The Secret Doctrine: the suggestion was made that one should not attempt to read it in the way that an ordinary book is read. Especially is this the case if one has no ‘knowledge of Theosophy and is not acquainted with the terms used–not to mention Hebrew or Sanskrit words. How, then, could such a person commence reading the work? The recommendation was made that The Secret Doctrine should be read by? “subjects,” rather than page by page, using the index to joy down references to the chosen topic, then reading all the pages connected with the theme. Ways for conducting study-classes were considered, and selected pages were indicated for especial reading.
As this guide-book is declared to be “written in the form of a Commentary on H. P. Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine,” it hardly seems necessary to remark that citations are plentiful. This method was adopted for the following reasons. In order to read The Secret Doctrine understandingly it is necessary to know: (1) the meaning of a term itself–in the case of Sanskrit, going to the root-meaning of the word is of great importance; (2) the manner in which the term is used in relation to the passage; (3) the meaning of the whole passage; (4) the relation of the passage to the doctrine as a whole; (5) whether the term or passage is used in a generalizing sense or specifically; (6) whether a symbolical meaning is being employed; (7) whether more than one interpretation is applicable. Thus by having citations placed in desired positions, the reader may follow the sequence without need of turning for verification to the original.
A few words to those who are contacting the Ancient Wisdom for the first time. While every endeavor has been made to make each idea as clear as possible, so that an understanding of each doctrine may be gained, nevertheless, if you find that you do not comprehend a passage, or for that matter several passages, do not despair because of not understanding them upon the first reading. Instead of feeling vexed or allowing the thought to enter the recesses of the mind that “this is way beyond me,” simply turn to another chapter. Try the one on Races, or on Death. By an association of ideas, that which has seemed perplexing may become clear. Remember that when one idea is well understood, it will help in comprehending another, because the teachings are all interrelated. They have been separated into chapters for study-purposes. It would cause needless confusion to attempt to present the interrelated aspects before grasping the salient points of a single doctrine.
It should be borne in mind that H. P. Blavatsky’s work contains, as she states, the body of teachings given to the western world by those who may be regarded as the custodians of the Ancient Wisdom. Not only have they access to ancient records, such as the Book of Dzyan and its Commentaries, in which these teachings are to be found, but of even greater significance, they are able to expound and explain the profound and recondite doctrines upon which the teachings are based. This Ancient Wisdom, or Esoteric Philosophy, represents the teachings that were brought to mankind by the Divine Beings who enlightened humanity during the epoch known as the Third Race.
In conclusion. This work is entitled THE DIVINE PLAN for the reason that the writer holds that The Secret Doctrine testifies to the existence of a Divine Plan. He has sought to convey the knowledge of it to you, the reader. It is only fair to state, however, that the full and complete exposition of The Secret Doctrine is only attainable by means of the “seven keys” to its understanding. Since the seven keys were not provided in the volumes, the writer submits that he has attempted to present a guide-book towards their understanding, expressly for those who wish to read and study these ancient teachings. It is his fervent hope that this work may prove to be of assistance to all who read it.
GEOFFREY A. BARBORKA
Oak Park, Illinois,
PONDERING on the vast reaches to which one may extend one’s thought, so that millions and millions of stars may be envisioned, and yet there is no limit to the immensities of Space, one must of necessity become imbued with the idea that law and order prevail throughout infinity–that there is in very truth a Divine Plan. Everything partakes of this Plan: worlds, suns, nebulae, galaxies, island universes–all these exist because of this Divine Plan; they arc indeed part of it. All the beings in the worlds are also integral parts of the Plan. The universe exists because it represents the unfoldment of the Vast Scheme. Other universes likewise manifest the operation of the Divine Plan.
The Divine Plan is a manifestation of Divine LAW. Just as the sun emits innumerable rays which are of the same essence as their emanating source, so rays are emitted from Divine Law, which are of the same essence as their Source; therefore these rays are Divine Laws. These maintain the Divine Plan.
The Divine Laws are fundamental in their scope; they were operative before the universe came into being: they continue functioning so long as the universe remains in manifestation, and will go on operating when the universe ceases to exist. Since these laws continue to operate, regardless of the fact that a man, a planet, a sun, or even a universe may be in manifestation or non-manifestation, they are Divine Laws, because they are beyond manifestation or non-manifestation, they are Divine Laws, because they are beyond the reach of space or time (in the sense that we are accustomed to think of space or time).
Since the Universe came into being became of laws governing it, then everything within it must be under the regency of those laws and partake of that Divine Plan, inasmuch as the part must follow the same pattern that the whole follows. Consequently you, your very self, are part of that Plan.
Do you doubt it? Do you wonder whether you are part of Divinity? Even as the scriptures aver: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” [1 Corinthians, iii, 16] Truly, God is the same as the Divine–one with the Divine Spirit–the Divine Plan. Albeit, doubts may be replaced by certainty when Divine Laws are stated and placed before you for contemplation. You will then see how you fit into the Grand Design, how you and every other entity in the cosmos exists because of this Divine Plan and because of the Divine Laws that preside over it.
Perhaps it may appear to you that there does not seem to be a Divine Plan in operation, that the world is in disorder, at times even topsy-turvy when armed conflicts rage–then, in truth, you have acknowledged the need for this book. For its purpose is to point out to you that there is a Divine Plan and that Divine Laws are coequal with it and are operative in it.
In regard to the imperfections which you envision: these are due to the actions of imperfect beings. So long as there are imperfect beings, whether in the administration of the affairs of the world or in the regency of the cosmos, imperfections are bound to occur. It is not maintained that perfection exists, nor that the cosmos is a manifestation of perfection. The reason that this idea is not held is because the cosmos itself is evolving,
seeking to become a better cosmos, striving to come into a greater degree of harmony with the Divine Plan. This is so because the cosmos represents the manifestation of a Great Being, however lofty in status the attainment may be. Indeed, there is a term for such a Great Being, called, technically, the Logos or “Watcher” of a cosmic system. The cosmos, then, is under the regency of a Cosmic Logos, Who is encompassed by lesser Beings, who in turn administer the Laws applicable to its sphere of influence. These lesser Beings–albeit far superior to humans in their degree of evolution—are termed Dhyani-Chohans—literally the “Meditative Lords” –divine intelligences.
Since the function of the Dhyani-Chohans is to administer the Divine Laws, their main endeavour is to carry out their task ever more efficiently, in order to become more able executors of the Plan. Moreover, no matter how consummately high the status of the Dhyani-Chohans may be, in comparison to the human stage of evolution, these lofty Beings are themselves pursuing their evolutionary development for the purpose of becoming more lofty and more experienced, in order that their magistracy of the Divine Laws may be more perfect and more in consonance with the Divine Plan. Even as they are pursuing their evolutionary development, so are all the other beings which come under their sphere of operation, irrespective of the evolutionary status of these lesser beings.
Each being has an innate urge to endeavor to come into closer harmony with the operation of the Divine Plan, striving ever to be a more able exponent of its Laws, even though apparently misapplying his abilities and at times acting contrariwise to the Divine Laws. Yet even by so doing, such a one has but placed himself under the operation of one of its Laws, the specific function of which is to set him aright; so that in time he will learn to work in harmony with the Great Law, instead of working against it.
Having stated that Divine Laws exist, the next step is to demonstrate that they are operative. This is undertaken by means of the exposition of doctrines which have been selected to exemplify the operation of the Laws. The doctrines represent teachings of the Ancient Wisdom, or the Esoteric Philosophy (Gupta-Vidya is the Sanskrit term), as presented in the work entitled The Secret Doctrine. But first, notice the enumeration of the Laws and associated doctrines, as this will give the sequence in which they are considered, while at the same time it will provide an insight into the nature and scope of the work.
THE LAW OF PERIODICITY. This is set forth in the axiom that for every period of activity there is a consequent interval of rest, observable in nature as day and night, the flow and ebb of tides, the processes of waking and sleeping, birth and death, and so on. One phase of this Law manifests as the Law of Constant Renewal, in which the necessity for rebirth, or reimbodiment, is demonstrated. The doctrine exemplifying the Law of Periodicity is therefore entitled the Doctrine of Constant Renewal.
THE LAW OF ADJUSTMENT. Since harmony follows as the natural sequence of the unfoldment of the Divine Plan, whenever it is disturbed, an adjustment must be made in order that the disrupted equilibrium may be restored. A word explaining the action of this Law is well known, in fact it is even called the Law of Karma. The exposition of the Law of Karma is given under the Doctrine of Balance and Harmony.
THE LAW OF ESSENTIAL UNITY. This Law truly illustrates the operation of the Divine Plan: every entity lives its life in the field or sphere of a greater being; the greater being maintains the sphere for the lesser. The Doctrine of Hierarchies is the name chosen for the doctrine that exemplifies the Law of Essential Unity. “Graded beings,” is the definition intended for the word “hierarchies,” infinite in number. The beings forming the universe and living in it are all linked together because of a common bond of origin, in keeping with the Law.
THE LAW OF SELF-UNFOLDMENT. This is demonstrated by the urge which causes every entity to seek to express itself in accordance with its essential characteristics. The doctrine associated with this Law is called the Doctrine of Essential Identity.
THE LAW OF MOTION. Everything demonstrates the action of this Law, for nothing can remain isolated or static. Some force ever impels it onward, ever seeking a loftier status. “It is a fundamental law in Occultism that there is no rest or cessation of Motion in Nature.” This Motion is applicable not only during periods of activity but during periods of rest. The Doctrine of Continuous Change exemplifies the Law of Ceaseless Motion.
THE SEPTENARY LAW. The prevalence of the number seven—so familiar in the seven days of the week, the seven colors of the rainbow, the seven notes of the musical scale–is indicative that such a Law is operative. Special attention is given to the following “sevens”: the seven Planes, the seven Lokas and Talas, the seven Tattvas or Element-Principles, the seven Kosmic Principles and the sevenfold constitution of man. Consideration of the Septenary Law is continued under the sequence of the next three chapters entitled: The Doctrine of the Spheres (which is subdivided into seven sections); The Doctrine of the Races; The Doctrine of the Rounds.
Following the Septenary Law another phase of the Law of Periodicity is reviewed under the title “The After-Death States,” answering the question “What happens to man when death occurs?”
THE LAW OF COMPASSION. Although present throughout the universe and a fundamental necessity in carrying on the purposes of the Divine Plan; nevertheless the Doctrine of the Two Paths illustrates the operation of the Law in superlative degree.
THE LAW OF COMING INTO BEING. The title chosen for this Law endeavors to express in words that baffling mystery present in the manifestation of Life which pervades every entity, great or small. “Everything has come out of Akasa in obedience to a law of Motion inherent in it and after a certain existence passes away.” The name chosen for the doctrine associated with this Law is entitled the Doctrine of Universal Knowledge. While the subject is admittedly beyond the reach of man during his present evolutionary stage, since the higher faculties are not fully developed, nevertheless some of the loftiest ideas presented in The Secret Doctrine are dealt with in this concluding chapter.
In presenting for your consideration the doctrines associated with the Divine Laws, you are being placed en rapport with a great Continent of thought, which represents the Wisdom of the ages–the heritage of the human race. May it help you as it has helped those who have contacted it and passed it on in their turn, so that your vision may be grander, your understanding more profound, in order that your life may be nobler, ever coming into closer harmony with the Divine Plan.
THE DOCTRINE OF BALANCE AND HARMONY
THE proposition has been established that there is a fundamental law of Rhythm, which is an aspect of Eternal Motion. This law manifests in the manner of cyclic pulsations in alternating periods of manifestation and dissolution. Thus every period of activity (Manvantara or Manifestation) requires a rhythmic sequence in an opposite direction, namely a period of rest (Pralaya or Dissolution). Therefore we may deduce that Harmony
or Rhythm is a fundamental aspect of the Divine Plan. Since this is so, then if this harmony should be disturbed, whether by outside forces or internal energies, there must of necessity be an inherent urge tending to restore the disturbed harmony. The Ancient Wisdom postulates that this urge is a manifestation of a law as fundamental and eternal as that of Motion itself, operating constantly towards restoring harmony whenever it is disrupted, so as to maintain balance. This primal law may be called the Law of Adjustment, although it has been familiarized under a Sanskrit name which is fairly well known in the West–the Law of Karma.
Karma has been described as the law of ethical causation, or the law of cause and effect. It should be borne in mind, however, that the essential meaning of the Sanskrit word is action, for karman is derived from the verbal root kr, meaning to do, to act. When an action is performed a sequence of events is bound to occur, depending upon the kind of action and the, force with which the action was performed. Likewise the reaction or effect, is governed by the motivating force: if weak, the reaction will be weak; if strong there will be a strong reaction–until equilibrium is restored and harmony reigns again.
In the opening chapter stress was given to the universal scheme, showing that the process of constant renewal governed the universe and this aspect will now be continued. Referring again to the periods of activity, followed by periods of rest: during the former the universe comes into manifestation for an active period; during the latter it goes into a passive period. It should be obvious that causes were engendered during the cycle of existence which were not completely worked out, or fully adjusted, when the universe went into passivity; consequently all such remain unfulfilled. It is this “unfinished business” (to use easily understood words) which acts as a forceful factor in bringing about a re-emergence, in order that another period of activity may offer an opportunity for completing the “unfinished business,” as well as making necessary adjustments.
Pause for a moment to make a comparison in the cycle of a human being. The same factor is involved. A person passes from this world before fulfilling his true goal, leaving behind hosts of unfulfilled longings and yearnings. These act as potent factors in drawing the person back to the scene of the former achievements, in order that he may work out what he longed to do. It may be thought that these yearnings are blotted out, or obliterated, during the interval of death and that therefore they would fade out from the Earth’s atmosphere, but such is not the case. For the record that was made at the moment that the thought or act was initiated is an indelible one, being impressed upon the imperishable substance-principle pervading the universe–both during Manvantara (period of activity) as well as Pralaya (period of dissolution). This imperishable substance-principle is known as Akasa. For even during the periods of Rest, Motion still “pulsates and thrills through every slumbering atom” as a Commentary on the Book of Dzyan explains it. (I, 116)
Akasa is a term needing explanation, as it is used frequently in The Secret Doctrine and with varying meanings; hence it is difficult to give a precise definition. The root meaning may be helpful in providing a clue: it is derived from the verbal root kas, to shine; hence literally “the shining substance”. Esoterically it signifies the Primordial Light manifesting through Divine Ideation. This explanation is given:
“In the ABSOLUTE or Divine Thought everything exists and there has been no time when it did not so exist; but Divine Ideation is limited by the Universal Manvantaras. The realm of Akasa is the undifferentiated noumenal and abstract Space which will be occupied by Chidakasa, the field of primordial consciousness. It has several degrees, however, in Occult philosophy; in fact, ‘seven fields’.”
Hence the reason for the variance in meaning, for Akasa may be divided into various stages, or planes, or fields of manifestation. Thus in its upper reaches it tallies with the definition of the Root of All, as used in Southern Buddhism, from which everything in the universe comes into being, in obedience to a law of motion inherent in it. In this aspect Akasa is synonymous to the Tibetan term Tho-og–Space, which is rendered Aditi in Hindu scriptures. Again Akasa is equivalent to Adi Buddhi in Northern Buddhistic terminology, likewise Alaya; or Svabhavat of the Stanzas of Dzyan, rendered “Father-Mother”; sometimes it is translated “ Primordial Aether”. Another term used with great frequency and similar in meaning is Mulaprakriti (pre-cosmic Root-Substance) of the Vedantins, in that it is the basis for the seven Prakritis composing the manifested world. In the Brahmanical scheme the equivalent word is Pradhana. Anima Mundi should not be omitted in this delineation. These two Latin words, literally meaning “Soul of the World,” are also used with a great degree of latitude; most frequently in the same way that Astral Light is employed (for lack of a true English equivalent) in two ways: (1) the Universal Astral Light; (2) the Earth’s Astral Light–representing the lowest reaches of Akasa and signifying in this aspect, technically, the Linga-Sarira of the Earth.
“The astral light stands in the same relation to Akasa and Anima Mundi, as Satan stands to the Deity. They are one and the same thing seen from two aspects: the spiritual and the psychic–the super-ethereal or connecting link between matter and pure spirit, and the physical.” (I, 197 *) (*Vol. I, p. 247, 6 vol. ed.; I, 219, 3rd ed.)
In yet another aspect, Akasa is enumerated as one of the Cosmic Principles, (Tattvas)–the Fifth Cosmic Principle, which is rendered as Aether.
The particular aspect of Akasa that is desired to be stressed here is that of the permanent record and its relation to the Doctrine of Balance. This record may be described as the cosmic storehouse or picture gallery, every deed and thought whether on the physical or astral plane being indelibly registered therein. This aspect is prominent in religions, especially the Hindu and the Egyptian, in connection with the judgment which takes place after death, The theme is present in the West, too, in the idea of the Recording Angel–which doubtless had its origin in the Kabbala, in the description of four Recording Angels, one connected with each of the cardinal points. Then there is the account in the Book of Revelation, of the Book of Life and of the judgment:
“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God: and the books were opened: and another book was opened which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (ch. xx, v. 12)
That everything partakes of the Divine Plan and is registered in the ever-present Akasic record may be pointed to in another familiar passage in the New Testament. That is to say, the idea is present even though the words expressing the thought are allegorical in manner. This is in connection with the saying that not even a sparrow is forgotten of God and that “even the very hairs of your head are all numbered”. (Luke, xii, 6-7)
It should be obvious that if a sparrow is not forgotten of God, it is because the presence of the sparrow has been registered on the indelible record-the Akasa.
THE LIPIKAS–THEIR RELATION TO AKASA AND KARMA
Since this recording process in connection with the Akasa is going on continuously, there must be entities or beings associated with the process. In The Secret Doctrine these beings are called Lipikas, sometimes rendered “Lords of Karma”. In so far as conveying the idea, the term is satisfactory enough, except it should be remembered that the usual connotation of judgment associated with the Lord should not be held, inasmuch as the registering is an automatic process. It is very similar to the taking of a picture by a camera–whatever is exposed to the lens is captured on the film, automatically, regardless of what the picture may be or may portray and without any judgment attaining thereto. Of course, a person is holding the camera, focusing it and taking the picture. The Lipikas may be said to provide the specific Akasa for registering the thought or deed. A better term than Lords of Karma would be Karmic Scribes, as this gives the literal meaning of the word Lipika, which is derived from the Sanskrit verbal root, lip—to write.
“Mystically, these Divine Beings are connected with Karma, the Law of Retribution, for they are the Recorders or Annalists who impress on the (to us) invisible tablets of the Astral Light, ‘the great picture-galley of eternity ‘–a faithful record of every act, and even thought, of man, of all that was, is, or ever will be, in the phenomenal Universe. As said in Isis Unveiled, this divine and unseen canvas is the BOOK OF LIFE.” (I, 104*) (Vol. I, p. 165, 6 vol. ed.; I, 130, 3rd ed.)
These Divine Beings are then connected with the deities of religions in the following passage:
“The forty ‘Assessors’ who stand in the region of Amenti as the accusers of the Soul before Osiris, belong to the same class of deities as the Lipika, and might stand paralleled, were not the Egyptian gods so little understood in. their esoteric meaning. The Hindu Chitra-Gupta who reads out the account of every Soul’s life from his register, called Agra-Sandhani; the ‘Assessors’ who read theirs from the heart of the defunct, which becomes an open book before (whether) either Yama, Minos, Osiris, or Karma–are all so many copies of, and variants from the Lipika, and their Astral Records. Nevertheless, the Lipi-ka are not deities connected with Death, but with Life Eternal.” (I, 104-5) (Vol. I, p. 166, 6 vol. ed.; I, 130-1, 3rd ed.)
For the Divine Plan is eternal and the Lipikas continuously register phases of it, in order that the Divine Law of Harmony may be fulfilled.
In connection with the previous citation: without doubt the most dramatic of all the religious presentations in regard to man’s actions and the accompanying after-death conditions was that portrayed by the Egyptians. During life every individual was held to be compiling a record of his deeds, both good and evil. When death occurred he would be judged according to this recording. The deceased is led to the Hall of Truth by Anubis, the jackal-headed deity, Lord of the SilentLand of the West, the land of the Dead, the preparer of the way to the other world. Before the assembled conclave of gods and goddesses, forty-two in number (called Assessors in the above citation), he is led up to the throne of Osiris, the great Judge of the Dead, portrayed with his scepter in the form of a crook and whip. The heart of the deceased is placed in one of the pans of the scales and weighed in the balance–the good deeds against the evil. The outcome is recorded by the divine scribe, Thoth, who is pictured with tablet and stylus. The deceased is represented as pleading to be one like unto Osiris and to be permitted to rest among the stars that never set. Such will be the destiny at the end of the Great Cycle. For mortals the outcome of the weighing in the balance would consist of passing into the cleansing regions of Amenti and after sufficient purification entering the fields of Aanroo. There the deceased would sow and reap wheat three, five or seven cubits in height. Those who gleaned wheat of three feet would, return to the realms of purification. Those who gleaned the higher stalks would enter the land of bliss, and after a period of three thousand years return to earth to be born again, seeking to balance the scales.
In the Hindu account, Yama is the god of the dead and is represented as seated on the throne of judgment (named Vicharabhu) (Vicharabhu: derived from the verbal root vicharati, to move hither and thither, hence when applied to the mind: to ponder, to consider; therefore “the judgment seat”.) in his palace, Kalichi. When a person dies, his soul enters the region of the dead, known as Yamapura (the domain of Yama), and finds his way to Yama’s palace. There before the judgment seat, the divine recorder, Chitragupta (literally “the distinguished hidden one”) reads out his record from the great register, the Agra-sandhani (Agra-sandhani: agra, foremost, chief; sandhani, joining together, assemblage; hence “the great assemblage of deeds”.), following which Yama gives his judgment. If guilty he must go to one of the 21 hells, according to the degree of his guilt, otherwise he is assigned to the abode of the Pitris (equivalent to Devachan). Eventually he is sent to be born on earth again.
In the Greek account Minos is regarded as one of the judges in Hades’ (the Underworld) ruled over by Pluto.
Even popular accounts of the ancient religions (since the secret teachings were never recorded) tally with the teachings presented in The Secret Doctrine, when one follows the clues given for interpreting and understanding the ancient religions.
Continuing the theme of the Lipikas. Because the permanent record has been made—recorded by the Lipikas on the eternal tablets of the Book of Life–it therefore becomes obligatory that this account be balanced. The circumstances that are undergone for the purpose of providing the necessary adjustments become the “karma”–whether it be in the case of a universe or man. Observe the process in regard to the universe:
“As it is the Lipika who project into objectivity from the passive Universal Mind the ideal plan of the universe, upon which the ‘Builders’ reconstruct the Kosmos after every Pralaya, it is they who stand parallel to the Seven Angels of the Presence, whom the Christians recognize in the Seven ‘Planetary Spirits’ or the ‘Spirits of the Stars’; for thus it is they who are the direct amanuenses of the Eternal Ideation–or, as called by Plato, the ‘Divine Thought’. The Eternal Record is no fantastic dream. . . .” (I, 104) (Vol. I, p. 165, 6 vol. ed.; I, 130, 3rd ed.)
As to the process in regard to man:
“Connected as the Lipika are with the destiny of every man and the birth of every child, whose life is already traced in the Astral Light–not fatalistically, but only because the future, like the PAST, is ever alive in the PRESENT–they may also be said to exercise an influence on the Science of Horoscopy.” (I, 105) (Vol. I,? p. 166, 6 vol. ed.; I,131, 3rd ed.)
It is man’s thoughts and deeds that provide the pattern for his life both in the immediate present and in the future. Man is essentially a thinker: he is constantly thinking thoughts. Some of his thoughts he imbues and endows with potency: some of which he carries out in the form of acts. Thus his thought-life in time becomes his dominant pattern; this has been created by man himself. As he continues to live his life, from day to day he carries on the process of shaping and moulding this pattern. It is this pattern which he is projecting into the Astral Light and will become his dominant pattern-to-be when he returns to Earth for his next rebirth. Then he will “trace” the pattern of his life, because it is his own creation.
An explanation is given as to how the recording processes react upon mankind–through the agency of the Lokapalas and Maharajas, both of whom may be regarded as popularized aspects of the Lipikas in the guise of deities. The citation opens, however, by alluding to both of the previous quotations, and then draws attention to the Lokapalas:
“The Planetary Spirits are the informing spirits of the Stars in general, and of the Planets especially. They rule the destinies of men who are all born under one or other of their constellations; the second and third groups pertaining to other systems have the same functions, and all rule various departments in Nature. In the Hindu exoteric Pantheon they are the guardian deities who preside over the eight points of the compass–the four cardinal and the four intermediate points–and are called Loka-palas, ‘Supporters or guardians of the World’ (in our visible Kosmos), of which Indra (East), Yama (South), Varuna (West), and Kuvera (North) are the chief; their elephants and their spouses pertaining of course to fancy and afterthought, though all of them have an occult significance.
“The Lipika … are the Spirits of the Universe, whereas the Builders are only our own planetary deities. The former belong to the most occult portion of Cosmogenesis, which cannot be given here. . . . Of its highest grade one thing only is taught: the Lipika are connected with Karma–being its direct Recorders.” (I, 128) (Vol. I,? pp. 186-7, 6 vol. ed.; I,153, 3rd ed.)
The four Maharajas, at the four cardinal points are the same as the four Lokapalas, just named. The four rulers of the intermediate points are: Agni at the South-East, Surya at the South-West, Pavana at the North-East; Soma or Chandra at the North-West (according to the Laws of Manu).
A sloka (or verse) from the Stanzas of Dzyan opens the next passage. Notice the similarity in the vision of Ezekiel, chapter i: “behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it . . . out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. . . and every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. . . Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces. . . and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.” (verses 4-16)
“Four ‘winged wheels at each corner . . . . for the four holy ones and their armies (hosts)’ . . . . These are the ‘four Maharajas’ or great Kings of the Dhyan-Chohans, the Devas who preside, each over one of the four cardinal points. They are the Regents or Angels who rule over the Cosmical Forces of North, South, East and West, Forces having each a distinct occult property. These BEINGS are also connected with Karma, as the latter needs physical and material agents to carry out her decrees, such as the four kinds of winds, for instance, professedly admitted by Science to have their respective evil and beneficent influences upon the health of Mankind and every living thing. There is occult philosophy in that Roman Catholic doctrine which traces the various public calamities, such as epidemics of disease, and wars, and so on, to the invisible ‘Messengers’ from North and West. ‘The glory of God comes from the way of the East’ says Ezekiel; . . . . .
“Belief in the’ Four Maharajas ‘–the Regents of the Four cardinal points–was universal and is now that of Christians, who call them, after St. Augustine, ‘Angelic Virtues,’ and ‘Spirits’….
“It is not the ‘Rector’ or ‘Maharaja’ who punishes or rewards, with or without ‘God’s’ permission or order, but man himself–his deeds or Karma, attracting individually and col1ectively (as in the case of whole nations sometimes), every kind of evil and calamity. We produce CAUSES, and these awaken the corresponding powers in the sidereal world; which powers are magnetically and irresistibly attracted to–and react upon–those who produced these causes; whether such persons are practically the evil-doers or simply Thinkers who brood mischief.” (I, 122-4)(Vol. 1, pp. 181-2, 6 vol. ed.; I, 147-9, 3rd ed.)
One of the passages quoted earlier referred to the “Constellation” under which a person is born. This theme is again mentioned in the next citation and further clarified. Nowadays the “Constellation” is usually referred to ‘as a Sign of the Zodiac–one for every month of the year. Observe the interpretation given to the Sanskrit term Maya (literally “the measured,” derived from the verbal root ma-to measure; hence that which may be measured, defined, limited, when applied to the material world, or material universe, which from the standpoint of Reality is an illusory world, hence an illusion):
“According to the teachings, Maya, or the illusive appearance of the marshalling of events and actions on this earth, changes, varying with nations and places. But the chief features of one’s life are always in accordance with the ‘Constellation’ one is born
under, or, we should say, with the characteristics of its animating principle or the deity that presides over it, whether we call it a Dhyan-Chohan, as in Asia, or an Archangel, as with the Greek and Latin churches….
“Yes; ‘our destiny is written in the stars!’ Only, the closer the union between the mortal reflection MAN and his celestial PROTOTYPE, the less dangerous the external conditions and subsequent reincarnations—which neither Buddhas nor Christs can escape.” (I, 638-9) (Vol. II,? pp. 363-4, 6 vol. ed.; I, 699-700, 3rd ed.)
“Yes, our destiny is written in the stars” because man has set the pattern for that destiny by means of his former living. An aid in following that pattern is created by man himself in entering the doorway of life (on this earth) through a particular door–there being twelve doors, one for every month of the year–on a particular day of the month. The phrase “the closer the union between the mortal reflection Man and his celestial Prototype” may be clarified in this way: the object of man’s goal, on this Earth, is to attain Union (or Yoga). In brief, it is uniting his personality with his divine originating source. The personality is here expressed as the “mortal reflection, man” since it dies with the death of the physical body: it does not return to earth-life. But it is man’s immortal part, technically, the Reincarnating Ego, which does reincarnate, and becomes one of the rays from man’s originating source–the Monadic Essence, or “Celestial Prototype”.
As to the phrase “reincarnations which neither Buddhas nor Christs can escape” (observe the plural form!): this is apt to be bewildering. It is thought-provoking, to say the least, and can only be understood when full knowledge is obtained of the Doctrine of the Spheres, as well as the Doctrine of the Rounds and Races and the “mysteries of the Buddha” (as H. P. B. expresses it elsewhere). Suffice it to say here (The subject is dealt with more fully in Chapter XI–“The Doctrine of the Two Paths”), in a suggested explanation which must be brief, that a Buddha is one who has attained Union–attained the goal so far as this earth is concerned; and that a Christ is a being superior to this earth. However, in more lofty spheres and systems, attainment in those very superior realms is attained in the same manner that attainment is reached on this earth–that is to say, by means of the Doctrine of Constant Renewal–or through repeated reincarnations “which neither Buddhas nor Christs can escape” in those superior realms.
KARMA IS NOT FATALISM
In viewing the Law of Adjustment from the personal standpoint, instead of from the cosmical point of view, one is apt to be led to conclude that since one has set causes in motion which will react upon oneself as effects, this would seem to incline one to regard one’s present life in a fatalistic manner, since the destiny which has been traced for oneself is inescapable. Therefore particular attention is called to what is written in regard to Fatalism. It is a continuation of the previous citation:
“This is not superstition, least of all is it Fatalism. The latter implies a blind course of some still blinder power, and man is a free agent during his stay on earth. He cannot escape his ruling Destiny, but he has the choice of two paths that lead him in that
direction, and he can reach the goal of misery–if such is decreed to him, either in the snowy white robes of the Martyr, or in the soiled garments of a volunteer in the iniquitous course; for, there are external and internal conditions which affect the determination of our will upon our actions, and it is in our power to follow either of the two.” (I, 639) (Vol. II,? p. 364, 6 vol. ed.; I, p. 700, 3rd ed.)
What inimitable writing! Critics who regard Karma as Fatalism are well answered here: it is clearly pointed out that “man is a free agent during his stay on earth”. It is true that it is also stated that man cannot escape his ruling destiny, since he himself has created that destiny. For he alone set the causes in motion and must follow the reactions or results. Nevertheless, in spite of this, he still has the choice of two paths. No one but the individual himself will decree which of the two paths he will follow, for he has the power of choice. It is not so much the fact that he has to follow his ruling destiny, that is to say, to meet certain conditions of his own making, but it is important how he will react to the conditions in his present life. For he can alter the course that he is taking; also he can create a new pattern for his future life. This is not Fatalism.
The citation continues with another example of the sparkling manner in which H. P. B. wielded her pen–it is one of the celebrated quotations from The Secret Doctrine:
“Those who believe in Karma have to believe in destiny, which, from birth to death, every man is weaving thread by thread around himself, as a spider does his cobweb; and this destiny is guided either by the heavenly voice of the invisible prototype outside of us, or by our more intimate astral, or inner man, who is but too often the evil genius of the embodied entity called man. Both these lead on the outward man, but one of them must. prevail; and from the very beginning of the invisible affray the stern and implacable law of compensation steps in and takes its course, faithfully following the fluctuations. When the last strand is woven, and man is seemingly enwrapped in the network of his own doing, then he finds himself completely under the empire of this self-made destiny. It then either fixes him like the inert shell against the immovable rock; or carries him away like a feather in a whirlwind raised by his own actions, and this is–KARMA.” (I, 639) (Vol. II, p. 364, 6 vol. ed.; I, p. 700-1, 3rd ed.)
The celestial “prototype” has already been described. Notice that it is stated to be “outside of us,” since it does not actually incarnate in man. To use an idea found in the Kabbala, it is stationed in the ovoid sphere which surrounds man. As for the “more intimate astral, or inner man,” this is technically Lower Manas, or Kama-Manas–the mind principle in conjunction with the desire principle–which may be described generalizingly as the personality.
Another celebrated passage on Karma should be given. It is somewhat lengthy, but so clearly presents the Doctrine of Balance, that it is fully worthy of consideration; the theme is so important.
“In the West, since Pagan Wisdom has been repudiated as having grown from and been developed by the dark powers supposed to be at constant war and in opposition to the little tribal Jehovah–the full and awful significance of the Greek NEMESIS (or Karma) has been entirely forgotten.” (I, 642) (Vol. II. p. 367, 6 vol. ed.; I. 704. 3rd ed.)
HOW THE GREEKS REGARDED NEMESIS (OR KARMA)
AND THE TRIFORM FATES
As to the Greek goddess Nemesis, very little has come down to our day concerning her. She is mentioned in Hesiod (the father of Greek poetry and the first to record Greek mythology) as an avenging goddess representing the righteous anger of the deities to wrong-doing. Hence Nemesis is responsible for the punishment meted out to wrong-doers, who are not able to escape from her in any manner whatsoever. In the next sentence (from the citation) the true concept in regard to Nemesis is explained, which is also applicable to the correct understanding of Karma. It is not Karma that punishes us: we have set in motion causes by means of our actions and these causes react upon us as effects. To continue:
“Otherwise Christians would have better realized the profound truth that Nemesis is without attributes; that while the dreaded goddess is absolute and immutable as a Principle, it is we ourselves—nations and individuals–who propel her to action and give
the impulse to its direction. KARMA-NEMESIS is the creator of nations and mortals, but once created, it is they who make of her either a fury or a rewarding Angel. Yea—
‘Wise are they who worship Nemesis’
–as the chorus tells Prometheus.”
The verse is from Swanwick’s translation of Aeschylus’s “Prometheus Bound,” line 957–the chorus (of the ancient Greek dramas) acting in the role of commentator. A footnote is added saying that it would have been better to translate the verse: “Wise are they who dread Karma-Nemesis.” And the passage continues:
“And as unwise they, who believe that the goddess may be propitiated by whatever sacrifices and prayers, or have her wheel diverted from the path it has once taken. ‘The triform Fates and ever mindful Furies’ are her attributes only on earth, and begotten by ourselves. There is no return from the paths she cycles over; yet those paths are of our own making, for it is we, collectively or individually, who prepare them.” (I, 642-3) (Vol. II. p. 367. 6 vol. ed.; I, 704, 3rd ed.)
The Greeks were not the only ones to portray the Fates as three goddesses. The ancient Scandinavian Eddas represent three divinities as presiding over the destinies of men, depicting them as ancient women, spinning or weaving man’s destiny, and called Norns. The name of the first Norn was Urd, meaning the Past; Werdandi, the second, signified the Present; and the third, Skuld, the Future “which is either rich in hope or dark with tears,” as the Edda has it. The Norns dwell beside the great Yggdrasil–the World-Tree–and the fountain of Urd, and are its custodians. For though Urd was known as the Spring of Fate, it was also the water of Wisdom, or the water of life and death. Yggdrasil is kept ever fresh and green because of the waters given to it daily by the Norns from the Fountain; it will ever remain so, as long as the world lasts.
The “triform Fates” of ancient Greece were known as the Moirai, daughters of Night, thus embodying the mystical idea that they precede the Day (of Activity or Manvantara) just as the Lipikas do, since they “project into objectivity from the passive Universal Mind the ideal plan of the universe”. The goddesses were also called Klothes, meaning the Spinners. The first Spinner is appropriately named Klotho, signifying she who spins–the goddess who commences the thread of man’s life. Here again we find man’s life likened to a thread, analogous to the Sanskrit Sutratman–the Thread-Self. Klotho hands the thread to the second goddess, Lachesis, a name which stands for “the lot,” since it was her function to mete out the destiny on man’s thread. In her turn Klotho passes the thread on to Atropos, “the inflexible one,” she who determines when the thread is to be cut–thus terminating man’s life.
Another name for these deities was that of Parcae, thus associating them with birth goddesses, for the Latin word parere, meaning to bring forth, to be born, is the verbal root from which parcae is derived. It conveys the same idea present in fairy-stories, where fairies preside at the birth of a child and apportion the destiny. This idea was prevalent in late Latin times (cf. Tertullian De Anima 37) in the name of the Fata Scribunda, which may be rendered “the writing fairy,” here again conveying the idea of the writers or recorders of the Karmic Records–the Lipikas.
As for the dread Furies (depicted as having serpents in place of hair), they are subsidiary deities who carry out the decrees of Nemesis in punishing wrong-doers, hence termed the avenging deities, since they may not permit a crime to go unpunished. They were transformed by the great Greek dramatist Aeschylus into Eumenides, “the well-wishing ones,” or rewarding angels, thus bringing to a climax the greatest of his trilogies.
But to continue the exposition of Karma-Nemesis:
“Karma-Nemesis is the synonym of PROVIDENCE, minus design, goodness, and every other finite attribute and qualification, so unphilosophically attributed to the latter. An Occultist or a philosopher will not speak of the goodness or cruelty of Providence; but, identifying it with Karma-Nemesis, he will teach that nevertheless it guards the good and watches over them in this, as in future lives; and that it punishes the evil-doer–aye, even to his seventh rebirth. So long, in short, as the effect of his having thrown into perturbation even the smallest atom in the Infinite World of harmony, has not been finally readjusted. For the only decree of Karma–an eternal and immutable decree–is absolute Harmony in the world of matter as it is in the world of Spirit. It is not, therefore, Karma, that rewards or punishes, but it is we, who reward or punish ourselves according to whether we work with, through and along with nature, abiding by the laws on which that Harmony depends, or—break, them.” (I, 643) (Vol. II. pp. 367-8, 6 vol. ed.; I. 704-5, 3rd ed.)
HOW MAN SHOULD ACT
The key is now provided as to how man should act:
“Nor would the ways of Karma be inscrutable were men to work in union and harmony, instead of disunion and strife. For our ignorance of those ways–which one portion of mankind calls the ways of Providence, dark and intricate; while another sees in them the action of blind Fatalism; and a third, simple chance, with neither gods nor devils to guide them–would surely disappear, if we would but attribute all these to their correct cause. With right knowledge, or at any rate with a confident conviction that our neighbors will no more work to hurt us than we would think of harming them, the two-thirds of the World’s evil would vanish into thin air. Were no man to hurt his brother, Karma-Nemesis would have neither cause to work for, nor weapons to act through. It is the constant presence in our midst of every element of strife and opposition, and the division of races, nations, tribes, societies and individuals into Cains and Abels, wolves and lambs, that is the chief cause of the ‘ways of Providence’, We cut these numerous windings in our destinies daily with our own hands, while we imagine that we are pursuing a track on the royal high road of respectability and duty, and then complain of those ways being so intricate and so dark.”
Now follows a veritable gem. The suggestion is offered that it be read slowly, and then read again, and memorized:
“We stand bewildered before the mystery of our own making, and the riddles of life that we will not solve, and then accuse the great Sphinx of devouring us. But verily there is not an accident in our lives, not a misshapen day, or a misfortune, that could not be traced back to our own doings in this or in another life.”
H. P. B. gives one more short explanation of Karma-Nemesis which is most helpful; but before doing so, tosses out a witticism, so characteristic of her facile pen:
“Therefore, if anyone is helpless before these immutable laws, it is not ourselves, the artificers of our destinies, but rather those angels, the guardians of harmony. Karma-Nemesis is no more than the (spiritual) dynamical effect of causes produced and forces awakened into activity by our own actions.”
Next follows a passage which is well worth remembering when no apparent progress is being made in the “world of matter,” or the physical plane, and gives the clue where we should centre our endeavors. Following this, some very practical advice is given:
“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.’
“This state will last till man’s spiritual intuitions are fully opened, which will not happen before we fairly cast off our thick coats of matter; until we begin acting from within, instead of ever following impulses from without; namely, those produced by our physical senses and gross selfish body. Until then the only palliative to the evils of life is union and harmony–a Brotherhood IN ACTU, and altruism not simply in name. The suppression of one single bad cause will suppress not one, but a variety of bad effects.”
The citation next includes a couplet from Dryden:
“Knowledge of Karma gives the conviction that if–
‘. . . virtue in distress, and vice in triumph
Make atheists of mankind,’
it is only because that mankind has ever shut its eyes to the great truth that man is himself his own saviour as his own destroyer.” (I, 643-4) (Vol. II, pp. 368-9, 6 vol. ed.; I, 705-6, 3rd ed.)