And reverence due to the Teacher? Nothing dignifies a man so greatly. It is the man of servile soul who is afraid to recognize grandeur in some other man. He is not big enough. He is afraid of giving himself grandly. The little man is afraid of being 'sat upon,' or snubbed, he won't admit that the other man is greater than he. The man who really is great inside recognizes grandeur in other men, and bows to it because he himself is inwardly grand.
-- G. de Purucker, STUDIES IN OCCULT PHILOSOPHY, page 234
By W. Emmett Small
[From THE ECLECTIC THEOSOPHIST, Winter 1995, page 7.]
Words are labels. They convey a relative sense and enlightenment to the mind that hears or reads them. "Theosophy" is such a label or name, though a noble one. Get behind the word to what it represents. That is what people want, the meaning. They want the universe to make sense.
Theosophy states the truths of being. It is far from merely a label. It tells us how the universe works. It describes the intricate and perhaps infinite being of man, telling us whom, what, and why he is. It tells the story of evolution. The story is neither Darwinian nor a God-made-out-of-nothing "creation." The Divine unfolds that very divine which is inherent in every particle of space, doing so without beginning or end.
Each takes what he can from the great storehouse of wisdom. The taking depends on the awakening of his essential self. The individual's views of life colors the taking, as wisdom flows through a combination of religion, philosophy, and science. Religion is no better or worse than science and science or philosophy is no better than religion. They are all ways towards an end. The real thing is at the high point where they meet. For this point, there is no exact name. Call it being, law, or truth. It is the search for and study of that point that is Theosophy.
That is Theosophy. That is what the world should respect and understand. Theosophy is not psychic extravaganzas, fantasies with but a modicum of truth. Theosophy is not a collection of individual pet theories, no matter how sincere their proponents. We test it by the strength and quality of its universality.
Find the broadest and most appealing answers to the questions heading this article in the first number of THE THEOSOPHIST. Issued from Bombay, India, October 1879, it contains H.P. Blavatsky's two articles "What is Theosophy" and "What Are the Theosophists?" How alive her words still are! How stirring! She writes in the last article:
All original thinkers and investigators of the hidden side of nature were and are, properly, Theosophists ... Be what he may, once that a student abandons the old and trodden highway of routine, and enters upon the solitary path of independent thought -- Godward -- he is a Theosophist; an original thinker, a seeker after the eternal truth with "an inspiration of his own" to solve the universal problems.
"An inspiration of his own" refers to a definition of a Theosophist given by Henry Vaughan, the English medieval philosopher and true Rosicrucian. "A Theosophist," he says, "is one who gives you a theory of God or the works of God, which has not revelation, but an inspiration of his own for its basis."
In the article "What is Theosophy," HPB declares, "In this view every great thinker and philosopher, especially every founder of a new religion, school, philosophy, or sect, is necessarily a Theosophist ..."
She says in "What Are the Theosophists,"
With every man that is searching in his own way after knowledge of the Divine Principle, of man's relations to it, and nature's manifestations of it, Theosophy is allied. It is likewise the ally of honest science ... And it is the ally of every honest religion.
Let this broad statement encourage in us a truly global view as we struggle with our own immediate theosophical problems. As in the past so today, take heart that there are those that form this wider brotherhood. They labor in their own fields inspired by their own inner vision. When we lift our thought to and draw from that plane of Ideation that is the storehouse of Great Ideas, their thought filters through us for the general benefit of mankind.
With renewed courage and good cheer, let us pursue our dharma. In this age of opportunity as well as upheaval, it seems clear that our duty is to know Theosophy in an ever growing and deepening measure. As we proceed, a mental-spiritual force magnetically comes to life. It can become a mighty power felt by others ready to receive it, people unknown to us and working in their own way.
Above all, we need not numbers but depth and dedication. Seek depth in understanding the Teachings as originally given by HPB, her Teachers, and those following faithfully. Remain dedicated to the preservation, explication, and living of the Teachings.
By B.P. Wadia
[From THUS HAVE I HEARD, pages 182-84.]
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
This is a Proverb of the wise Solomon. The young psychology of the Western world emphasizes that modern civilization so strikes fear into men and women that none feels safe or secure. All live in fear from day to day. The psychologists point to the widely prevailing neurosis as the result.
The psychology of the ancient East regards fearlessness as a virtue. Among the godlike qualities enumerated in THE GITA, Fearlessness is the first. It is an expression of the Human Soul.
Some psychoanalysts recommend freedom from fear. The Eastern virtue of fearlessness is not what they recommend. That fearlessness leads man to disregard his soul. That untrue recommendation makes for what is called "independence." "We shall do as we please. We do not care what people say. If we err, we shall take the consequences." This is swaggering and not courage. The type of independence exhibited is not fearlessness of Soul but foolhardiness of the sensorium.
The antidote to this kind of fearlessness and independence is Fear, the Spiritual Fear that leads to a search for Knowledge. Such the Wise Solomon taught. Our Indian Philosophy also has referred to it. Stories have gathered around the Vajra symbol. They explain an important aspect of Karma. Vajra is one of the Vibhutis -- Excellencies -- of Krishna himself: "Of weapons, I am the Vajra, the Thunderbolt." This Vajra, according to Shankara, was fashioned by Indra, whose weapon it is, out of the bones of the Vedic Rishi Dadhichi (past Karma gathered together). It is the Thunderbolt of Zeus, the Greek Indra.
The popular interpretation of the action of Vajra, the Thunderbolt, is punishment. The more philosophical and mystical aspect of the justice of Karma is the restoration of the disturbed Unity of the Cosmos to the pattern of Order necessary for progression in the manifested universe. Men make chaos and the unerring Law sweeps on to remove it. Men and women of sense-mind, "free and independent and fearless," obstinately disregard the Law that works to Righteousness and so are broken by the Divine Vajra. Increasing obstinacy weakens the Will of such persons. Pitting themselves against the Law, they are tossed hither and thither. They are bruised and maimed by the Vajra, until at length they learn to fear the Law that pardons only through punishment. Fear leads to search through knowledge. Then "independence" is given up, interdependence is recognized, and inspiration comes. There is inspiration enshrined in the phrase, "Work with the Law." When the lesson is learnt the necessity for punishment ceases and the protective aspect of Vajra is active. Vajra defends the oppressed while it strikes the tyrant.
In THE KATHOPANISHAD (Part 6) it is said that in the Life of the manifested universe is hidden the Vajra. Like a drawn sword, like a weapon held aloft, the Vajra is poised. It is the forward-moving impulse of Nature. Because of it the Fire burns, the Sun shines and Death strikes. Man should know of it before Yama strikes down his body, for thus the Supreme can be realized. THE VEDANTA SUTRAS (I. 3. 39) say that the Universe vibrates, abiding in Life, Prana, and therein something terrible arises called a Thunderbolt. Through knowledge of it, immortality is attained.
In mystical Buddhism, Vajra plays a significant part. It is the symbol of Buddha's power over Evil. Hence, it became the scepter of the Initiate -- the symbol of his possession of Siddhis -- wielded during certain ceremonies. The possessors of the Wand are known as Vajrapani. It frees man from his Ahankaric self.
Karma is just and merciful -- not blind but all seeing. It punishes those who go against its smoothly flowing stream which invisibly guides conditioned life, but it protects and helps forward all those who help it and swim with its current.
Nations also feel the effects of Karma. At this hour, Vajra is punishing India for the folly of her children who have labored wrongly. Unmindful of the doctrine of Attavada, against which the Master Buddha warned, they have committed the dire heresy of separateness. The false self of India, sensuous and psychic, creedal and egotistic, ambitious and divisive, has produced bad Karma. The nefarious influence still prevails. It is Karma not pleasing to Ishwara. The divine Vajra has been striking it for a millennium.
Vajra is striking, striking, striking, and will continue its punitive justice till religious dogmatism and exclusiveness are destroyed and the men and women of India live for the Soul and enable the Land of their birth to serve the World-Soul. For that it has survived the strokes of Vajra in the past. With its help, India will protect and guide the future of Humanity.
By Madeline Clark
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, January 1951, pages 7-15.]
It is material for a lifetime's reflection to wonder how these animals ever developed such well-defined characters, and further, why the domesticated ones should have had the karmic association with man that has brought them both benefit and suffering.
When we come to the human kingdom, we are well aware of the vast differences in temperament and physiognomy as well as in the manifestations of character. Only now, we come to the higher attributes, which at moments take on a hint of the godlike. Students of human behavior recognize human individuality and its possibilities. There are flashes of insight.
Professor Irwin Edman, who holds the Chair of Philosophy at Columbia University, conceives of individuality, "not as competition and assertiveness, but as the realization of one's own qualities and capacities in one's own special way." He thinks that education should foster this type of individuality, a certain DISTINCTION for all, not just for a few. Allen Boone also, in his book YOU ARE ADVENTURE, speaks of "the unmatchable spiritual individualists who, in a sadly massed-up and messed-up world ... dare to live their own lives for the good of all."
This unfolding from within of the individuality IS for all. As Louis Untermeyer says in his sketch of the life of Robert Frost, "The creator, the artist, the extraordinary man, is merely the ordinary man intensified."
Looked at in the large, the human scene presents evidence of racial and national Swabhava in the characteristic architecture, art, language, custom, dress, and music. These differences again show the variety of ways in which human beings in their various categories unroll and unfold their peculiar racial or national genius.
There are many other examples of distinguishing characteristics in all the kingdoms of nature. One is the peculiarities of metals, for instance, their colors and atomic structures. Another is the sound that comes from a silver bell as contrasted with that from one of bronze. Even the woods from different trees not only differ in grain and hardness, but also differ when we season, cut, and tap with a suitable instrument or the fingertip. Each will give out its distinctive musical tone. The fragrances of different flowers and the flavors and forms of different fruits, vegetables, and nuts are all are due to the various Swabhavas of these creatures of the kingdoms.
In the night sky, the colors of the different great stars, some fiery red, some rose red, icy blue, flame, or golden come, Dr. de Purucker suggests, from the individual characters of those stars, or of the beings that use them as vehicles. More advanced studies of the planets would show them to be each quite distinct in character.
All this visible detail, you may say, is mere froth. It is the most superficial manifestation of that majestic law of Swabhava. Yet, it is all we can SEE, our living evidence of the working of that sublime law.
The ethical implications of this teaching take us into the great world of spiritual and divine possibilities. We, in our present human condition, are curiously conscious chiefly of the differentiation, not to say the sense of separateness of ourselves from other individuals. The nearer we reach to the Inmost, the more we shall be able to see our fellows as our other selves, or at least as brothers, semi-counterparts of ourselves. Holding these great thoughts close to us in our daily living, we open the way to brotherly kindness, understanding, and mutual helpfulness, and a trust in the inexhaustible energies always welling up from within. As Katherine Tingley expresses it:
The Soul can rest on nothing this side of infinity: it loses its vitality if it seeks to do so. All eternity awaits it; how should it be satisfied with the half-life we live and the many imperfections that mar us? The nature of the Soul is to be winging its flight forever towards the boundless; to be working, hoping, and conquering; to be going forward forever and ever.
-- THE GODS AWAIT, page 173
The doctrine of self-becoming and the doctrine of cosmic evolution tie closely together. For what is it that is the impelling cause of evolution if it is not the Essential Self, the Monadic Ray,
The eternal thing in man, That heeds no call to die --
This is as Thomas Hardy conceived it. The process of evolution is simply "the interior self self-expressing itself, unfolding always what is latent within," to use the words of Dr. de Purucker. It is this Inmost that is the unbroken connecting thread in all the existences of any one entity, in all the kingdoms, through all the eons, immortal in any one galactic Manvantara, the innate characteristic (Swabhava) running through them all. Its expressions on this plane of ours point back to its pervading presence, enlivening, sustaining, and giving impulse to all life.
Here among nearby things we have the genes, those mysterious portions of the cell-life that seem to be the ultimate vehicle for "the continuous transmission of an identical life." Back of our uncertain science of heredity, there is a spiritual heredity arising in the innate character of the being itself.
Look at fingerprints, of which they say that no two on earth are exactly alike. Someone had the intuition once that possibly these imprints of character on the hand of the individual might reproduce themselves in that individual from one incarnation to the next. Dr. de Purucker answered:
I am quite sure that fundamentally your idea is not only sound but also correct. The great difficulty would be to find the thumbprint or fingerprints from former lives of an individual. It is perfectly true that for Theosophical or occult reasons the markings of the thumb and fingers of each body taken up by a reincarnating ego would very closely parallel and perhaps are almost identical with the dactylographic markings on the thumb and fingers of the preceding body of the same ego. Any changes that we might find, if we could compare two such markings, would be those brought about by evolutional changes in the soul producing modifications in the body, and the hereditary influences from the ancestry that would tend to modify markings of such character.
-- STUDIES IN OCCULT PHILOSOPHY, pages 421-22
This individualizing process begins at the very commencement of manifestation in a Manvantara. It is the differentiation spoken of by the philosophers. William Blake's system embraces it. This individualization becomes progressively more marked as the Manvantara proceeds and the entities become more truly self-directed.
Yet, in spite of individuality, nothing can stand alone in the universe -- the "heresy of separateness" is the idea that one can do so. Again, there is the paradox. We have to stand each one alone, yet come to realize that we are all but different facets of the One. At moments of inspiration, this realization comes even into the human mind, in a flash of insight. Instances of this are often come across, recorded in literature.
Mary Austin, in Note 13 of her EARTH HORIZON, describes a summer morning when she was a child of five or six. She wandered alone down beyond the orchard to a breezy prominence with grass waving in the wind, and one tall tree "reaching into infinite immensities of blueness." Suddenly "earth and sky and tree and wind-blown grass and the child in the midst of them came alive together with a pulsing light of consciousness." She recalled in later years the "swift, inclusive awareness of each for the whole -- I in them and they in me, and all of us enclosed in a warm lucent bubble of livingness."
Consider Blake's famous vision as he sat on the sands at Felpham:
My eyes did expand Into regions of air, Away from all care; Into regions of fire, Remote from desire; The light of the morning Heaven's mountains adorning: In particles bright The jewels of light Distinct shone and clear. Amaz'd and in fear I each particle gazed, Astonish'd, amazed; For each was a Man Human-form'd. Swift I ran, For they beckon'd to me, Remote by the sea, Saying: 'Each grain of sand, Every stone on the land, Each rock and each hill, Each fountain and rill, Each herb and each tree, Mountain, hill, earth, and sea, Cloud, meteor and star, Are men seen afar.' . . . . . . . All I ever had known Before me bright shone; . . . . . . . Such the vision to me Appear'd on the sea.
These are visions of the Many in the One: how at the same time, the many can be and are the One, a mystery rarely sensed except in inspired moments.
Then there is the question of Immortality, which has preoccupied the mind of man from time immemorial. We will take the thought from Dr. de Purucker that the Atman-Buddhi, the Upper Duad in the sevenfold human constitution, is the seat of the Swabhava in man. It is the Essential Self, the perpetual root of man's constitution, the divine-spiritual monad. It is unconditionally immortal throughout the immense time-period of the life of a galaxy.
This immortal and ever-enduring Essential Self, the seat of the fundamental selfhood in man, is the unifying and binding root that not only holds the composite man together, but also is the lasting link from life to life. It brings the compound man together repeatedly, out of its identical life-atoms. It is the persistent individuality, the inner origin, the Swabhava.
At the end of the Great Cycle, when a universe withdraws inward into the subjective worlds, all the individualities that have made up that universe are reabsorbed. "The dewdrop slips into the shining sea." At the reemergence of the universe into manifestation, the individualities reemerge in their integrity, and commence a new unfoldment of their inexhaustible energies and powers.
By Stephen Downes
[The following is from a site created "to ensure that information about logical fallacies is freely avaliable." It is of interest to theosophical students, since as they study and share the philosophy, they'll be faced with these fallacies in both books and people that they meet. It's also good to be aware of the fallacies, so that with self-reflection one can improve one's own communication with others. See the following two links for more information. -- T.W.]
FALLACIES OF DISTRACTION
False Dilemma: Two choices are given when in fact there are three options.
From Ignorance: Because something is not known to be true, it is assumed to be false.
Slippery Slope: A series of increasingly unacceptable consequences is drawn.
Complex Question: Two unrelated points are conjoined as a single proposition.
APPEALS TO MOTIVES IN PLACE OF SUPPORT
Appeal to Force: The reader is persuaded to agree by force.
Appeal to Pity: The reader is persuaded to agree by sympathy.
Consequences: The reader is warned of unacceptable consequences.
Prejudicial Language: Value or moral goodness is attached to believing the author.
Popularity: A proposition is argued to be true because it is widely held to be true.
CHANGING THE SUBJECT
Attacking the Person: (1) the person's character is attacked. (2) The person's circumstances are noted. (3) The person does not practise what is preached.
Appeal to Authority: (1) The authority is not an expert in the field. (2) Experts in the field disagree. (3) The authority was joking, drunk, or in some other way not being serious.
Anonymous Authority: The authority in question is not named.
Style Over Substance: The manner in which an argument (or arguer) is presented is felt to affect the truth of the conclusion.
Hasty Generalization: The sample is too small to support an inductive generalization about a population.
Unrepresentative Sample: The sample is unrepresentative of the sample as a whole.
False Analogy: The two objects or events being compared are relevantly dissimilar.
Slothful Induction: The conclusion of a strong inductive argument is denied despite the evidence to the contrary.
Fallacy of Exclusion: Evidence which would change the outcome of an inductive argument is excluded from consideration.
FALLACIES INVOLVING STATISTICAL SYLLOGISMS
Accident: A generalization is applied when circumstances suggest that there should be an exception.
Converse Accident: An exception is applied in circumstances where a generalization should apply.
Post Hoc: Because one thing follows another, it is held to cause the other.
Joint effect: One thing is held to cause another when in fact they are both the joint effects of an underlying cause.
Insignificant: One thing is held to cause another, and it does, but it is insignificant compared to other causes of the effect.
Wrong Direction: The direction between cause and effect is reversed.
Complex Cause: The cause identified is only a part of the entire cause of the effect.
MISSING THE POINT
Begging the Question: The truth of the conclusion is assumed by the premises.
Irrelevant Conclusion: An argument in defense of one conclusion instead proves a different conclusion.
Straw Man: The author attacks an argument different from (and weaker than) the opposition's best argument.
FALLACIES OF AMBIGUITY
Equivocation: The same term is used with two different meanings.
Amphiboly: The structure of a sentence allows two different interpretations.
Accent: The emphasis on a word or phrase suggests a meaning contrary to what the sentence actually says.
Composition: Because the attributes of the parts of a whole have a certain property, it is argued that the whole has that property.
Division: Because the whole has a certain property, it is argued that the parts have that property.
Affirming the Consequent: Any argument of the form: If A then B, B, therefore A.
Denying the Antecedent: Any argument of the form: If A then B, Not A, thus Not B.
Inconsistency: Asserting that contrary or contradictory statements are both true.
Fallacy of Four Terms: A syllogism has four terms.
Undistributed Middle: Two separate categories are said to be connected because they share a common property.
Illicit Major: The predicate of the conclusion talks about all of something, but the premises only mention some cases of the term in the predicate.
Illicit Minor: The subject of the conclusion talks about all of something, but the premises only mention some cases of the term in the subject.
Fallacy of Exclusive Premises: A syllogism has two negative premises.
Fallacy of Drawing an Affirmative Conclusion From a Negative Premise: As the name implies.
Existential Fallacy: A particular conclusion is drawn from universal premises.
FALLACIES OF EXPLANATION
Subverted Support: The phenomenon being explained doesn't exist.
Non-support: Evidence for the phenomenon being explained is biased.
Untestability: The theory which explains cannot be tested.
Limited Scope: The theory which explains can only explain one thing.
Limited Depth: The theory which explains does not appeal to underlying causes.
FALLACIES OF DEFINITION
Too Broad: The definition includes items which should not be included.
Too Narrow: The definition does not include all the items which should be included.
Failure to Elucidate: The definition is more difficult to understand than the word or concept being defined.
Circular Definition: The definition includes the term being defined as a part of the definition.
Conflicting Conditions: The definition is self-contradictory.
By Isabel B. Clemeshaw
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, May 1950, pages 291-97.]
Achilles faced a choice at the threatened loss of Briseis (in first book of the ILIAD). Should he draw his death-dealing sword and slay Atreides, or still his passion in response to that higher voice from within? He was ready for his trial, harkened to Athene's voice, and returned his keen blade to its sheath. Here was the union of the inward and outward powers in each individual. After meeting, one becomes the master.
Macbeth's hour of choice is about to strike in the opening Scene. This is the swiftest-moving and shortest of the great tragedies. The language is poetic and powerful; the pitch harmonious but nervous. Ominously, amidst thunder and lightning, the weird sisters herald tragedy brewing in the invisible: the mental-emotional plane. The Spectator freezes in apprehension at the lurid picture, and soon the hero will pale in stark fear of himself. He has shown himself to be vaguely guilty when he first met the Witches.
Reaping the glory of his outer conquests, only Macbeth is aware of his danger. He is praised as a conqueror on battlefields, a winner of royal titles and a leader of men. The King and officers held him in honor for his prowess in vanquishing the most stubborn foe. Like Othello, he is one of Shakespeare's supermen.
Macbeth is introduced to us now when that dominant trait of the various karmic traits of his lower nature is in its zenith and must be conquered lest he lose his soul to it in slavery. Ambition for temporal power over his fellowmen has been abundantly stored away within him during his past months, years, and lives. He is called brave, for:
... well he deserves that name -- Disdaining fortune, with his brandish'd steel Which smoked with bloody execution, Like valour's minion carved out his passage Till be faced the slave;
From all appearances, Macbeth is on top of the world surrounded by admiring friends. Inwardly, he is on the heath with the expanse of slumbering hopes, disappointments, and ambitions spread before him. Amidst a confused rumble of drums and swirling of sprites, he enters the stage. His first words are eloquent of that razor's edge upon which he is poised:
So foul and fair a day I have not seen.
The Witches represent elementals of a low order, wicked and vengeful. They symbolized half-dormant thoughts and the environment that impinges upon him. They were given form and now are attracted and enlivened into conscious existence by his powerful will and desire -- turned downward to marshal evil servitors to his aid in warnings and prophecies. These prophecies will be of outward things and he will need such guidance or grope darkly if he cuts off his intuition.
The Witches are no mere shadows, but are substantial spirits capable of causing cosmic disturbances and of transferring things in the objective world. This is suggestive of the power that mortals may attain over their environment; also of the sprites' great authority in creating phenomena is significant of the high spiritual attainment needed in the hour of temptation in order to control them.
We note that the Witches merely ANNOUNCE events pictured in the astral light by the intensity of Macbeth's desire, and serve therefore to show that the aspirant to conquest is not FORCED by any external power to commit an evil act. Macbeth was under no obligation to fulfill the prophecy that he would wear the crown.
Shakespeare takes pains to impress us with the fact that only a conqueror is worthy of an opportunity; only an otherwise noble soul finds himself faced in a death grip with his inner foe. This is no experience known to the feckless. A colorless life of little responsibility does not arose sleeping dogs.
Banquo's reaction from the Witches is used in contrast to that of Macbeth's. Though Banquo was ambitious to "get kings" in his progeny, foul machinations were foreign to his thoughts, and he is almost indifferent to the prophecy. Macbeth's conscience is revealed as far from innocent at the mention of the crown:
Good sir, why do you start and seem to fear Things that do sound so fair? I' the name of truth, Are ye fantastical, or that indeed Which outwardly ye show?
The importance of the following soliloquy is that IT OCCURS BEFORE LADY MACBETH APPEARS. True to Shakespearean tradition, the cause takes rise in the hero's own mind, and a chain of cause and effect is set up increasing in intensity until the victim of error is controlled by outer forces. Macbeth is still on the heath and oblivious to the conversation going on around him. Banquo philosophizes, intuitively, but to deaf ears:
But 'tis strange: And oftentimes to win us to our harm The instruments of darkness tell us truths, Win us with honest trifles, to betray's In deepest consequence.
If good, why do I yield to that suggestion Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair And make my seated heart knock at my ribs, Against the use of Nature? Present fears Are less than horrible imaginings: My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, Shakes so my single state of man that function Is smother'd in surmise, and nothing is But what is not.
Look, how our partner's rapt.
If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me. WITHOUT MY STIR.
Banquo and Macbeth share in the battles from which they have just returned. Macbeth later marvels at Banquo's valor and wisdom in dismissing the prophecy regarding his line of sons destined to be kings. Banquo accompanies the King to Macbeth's castle and reveals the beauty of his soul in the lines:
This guest of summer, The temple-haunting martlet, does approve, By his loved mansionry, that the heaven's breath Smells wooingly here: no jutty, frieze, Buttress, nor coign of vantage, but this bird Hath made his pendent bed and procreant cradle: Where they most breed and haunt, I have observed, The air is delicate ...
Nevertheless, doubt and suspicion are not to remain absent from Banquo's mind. As he and Fleance approach Macbeth's castle in the Second Act, he is full of foreboding, yet trustfully asks Fleance to relieve him of his sword:
A heavy summons lies like lead upon me, And yet I would not sleep: Merciful powers, Restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature Gives way to in repose!
Upon hearing anon of the murder of Duncan, Banquo feels repulsion, but remains silent while there is no doubt that he suspects the truth. He is the only one of the nobles who is possessed of the secret knowledge that kindled in Macbeth the ambition to commit the crime. Yet he acquiesces to Macbeth's accession and to his wicked plan of laying the instigation for the murder upon Duncan's sons.
That Banquo is then slain by Macbeth, who fears him, bears out an ancient teaching that the negative accomplice in evil, will in a future life karmically fall a victim to that Evil Force to which he passively gave his support. As tragedy shows in a few hours, how character is formed over many lives, we see the retribution in Banquo's case for sins of omission.
Because his humanity has drawn us toward him, we are the more disappointed with Banquo's weakness and would forget him entirely were it not for his ghost! Not so the Macbeths, who are well described by Dr. Bradley, Oxford Shakespearean authority:
From this murky background stand out the two great terrible figures, who dwarf all the remaining characters of the drama. Both are sublime, and both inspire, far more than the other tragic heroes, the feeling of awe. They are never detached in imagination from the atmosphere that surrounds them and adds to their grandeur and terror. It is, as it were, continued into their souls. For within them is all that we felt without -- the darkness of the night, lit with the flame of tempest and the hues of blood, and haunted by wild and direful shapes, "murdering ministers," spirits of remorse, and maddening visions of peace lost and judgment to come. The way to be untrue to Shakespeare here, as always, is to relax the tension of imagination, to conventionalize, to conceive Macbeth for example, as a half-hearted cowardly criminal, and Lady Macbeth as a whole-hearted fiend.
Duality makes tragedy possible. Macbeth was of noble birth, an outstanding general, courageous in defense of his country. He was trusted and inspired admiration from all who knew him. Macduff, a man of unquestioned integrity, loved him well.
Lady Macbeth feared most of all a tender spot in Macbeth's nature, "too much of the milk of human kindness," she complained. Had it not been for her support in providing the urge and the plan, it is doubtful if the crime could yet have been perpetrated.
The subtleties of this tragedy must be studied very closely lest a wrong appraisal will result. Macbeth, as the King's host, is desirous of doing his duty and stalls for time before meeting the overwhelming love and gratitude of the King:
He's here in double trust: First, as I am his kinsman and his subject, Strong both against the deed; then, as his host, Who should against his murderer shut the door, Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been So clear in his great office, that his virtues Will plead like angels trumpet-tongued against The deep damnation of his taking-off; And pity, like a naked new-born babe, Striding the blast, or heaven's cherubin horsed Upon the sightless couriers of the air, Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye, That tears shall drown the wind. I have no Spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself And falls on the other [side]
Here, Lady Macbeth breaks off his soliloquy, and demands to know why he has left the presence of the King. She does not like signs of introspection. Macbeth, alone for a time, has been on the heath with his higher perceptions, and has heard other whispering. (We cannot fail to note the felicitous phrasing when Macbeth, Shakespeare's poet par excellence, is listening to his higher reasoning and is clearly shown the future):
... if the assassination Could trammel up the consequence, and catch,
With his surcease, success; that but this blow Might be the be-all and the end-all here, But here, upon this bank and shoal of time, We'ld jump the life to come. But in these cases We still have judgment here; that we but teach Bloody instructions, which being taught return To plague the inventor; this even-handed justice Commends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice To our own lips.
Lady Macbeth is factual, realistic, and incapable of imagination. She cannot anticipate the consequences; much less can she imagine the guilt that will oppress her. Her extraordinary will is the most commanding force in the First Act, holding conscience completely in check. She has discovered her husband's weakness, but she is insensible of his finer qualities. He will dally "to catch the nearest way" in such an act. She is being the perfect wife in helping him to do what she thinks he merely lacks the nerve to attempt:
... thou wouldst be great; Art not without ambition, but without The illness should attend it: what thou wouldst highly, That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false.
Macbeth leaves the King's presence and is found by his wife in another chamber. He has changed his intention and he tries to avoid the crime:
We will proceed no further in this business: He hath honour'd me of late; and I have bought Golden opinions from all sorts of people, Which would be worn now in their newest gloss, Not cast aside so soon.
In her violent passion to carry the design through, she can tell herself "What need we fear who knows it when none can call our power to account?" Finally, Macbeth, borne aloft by her grandeur in her appointed role is swept off his feet and exclaims, "Bring forth man children only," and from now onward can trust himself to proceed in her absence.
Having followed her perverse side, we naturally search for the good in Lady Macbeth's nature. There are ample signs of an abnormal emotion having been brought into play in order to deceive her husband and herself. She must compel resistance against his halting intention and her own nature. There was feminine weakness to overcome:
Had he not resembled My father as he slept, I had don't
So she told herself, but this was not so. Even nerved with wine, she was obliged to invoke evil spirits to unsex her and fill her with cruelty in order to play the supporting part. It is the presence of hidden hysteria that lends horror to the evenness and apparent ease of her conduct.
Lady Macbeth is less culpable than her husband is, as life holds no mystery for her. No sooner is Duncan's murder committed than she begins to fail and lose interest, her only concern being for her husband's safety. She tries to rise to a state of encouragement at times, and, with one supreme effort to spare him an open disclosure, makes a magnificent stand at the banquet scene. As Queen of Scotland, she is disillusioned and broken in spirit. Her last words are sincere:
Not's had, all's spent.
Afraid of her own conscience, she dreaded the darkness and called for a lighted candle. In the sleepwalking scene, Shakespeare shows by her prose accents that she is in an abnormal mental condition -- and we are soon to understand that she took her own life rather than live with the agony of her conscience.
With the collapse of her imperious will, and the appalling momentum of Macbeth's murderous onslaughts until he falls a victim of his wrong choice, the Spectator is filled with awe. The cosmic law of cause and effect is the theme of MACBETH, and is portrayed with such swiftness and clarity that we do not realize the drama is only half the length of HAMLET.
The curtain drops leaving a profound impression of the misery of a guilty conscience, and the incalculability of evil. Man's complex nature is so inconceivably deep and mysterious that when he opens the gates to evil, he can form not the vaguest idea of the reactions that will be aroused. As Dr. Bradley says, "All you can be sure of is that it will not be what you expected and that you cannot possibly escape it."
By Kenneth Morris
[From THE ECLECTIC THEOSOPHIST, Winter 1995, page 32. Originally from the June issue of Y FFORWM THEOSOPHAIDD, published in Cardiff, Wales. Says Kenneth Small, Editor of THE ECLECTIC THEOSOPHIST, "After leaving the Point Loma Theosophical Headquarters where he had been a teacher in the school and university for his native Wales in January of 1930, Dr. Morris became President of the Welsh Section of the Theosophical Society. His enthusiasm and energy were broadcast through Wales in the new lodges there and through his editing and articles in their monthly magazine."]
Beware Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in it, Bear it that the opposer may beware of thee.
It is fun to twist old Polonius from his true intent, as when one makes him mean, "To thine own (Higher) self be true." Still, there is a way of conducting a quarrel that is just as good as when the opponent may beware of thee, if not indeed a great deal better.
Say Alex and Bob are quarrelling. Alex and Bob are both composed of two parts. The real part that cannot quarrel because it cannot be wounded, irritated, or insulted. It can only regard another human being in one way, with Impersonal Love. There is also an unreal part called the personal self, which we may compare to quicksand, a mirage, a fogbank, a will-o-the-wisp.
Watch the quarrel in action. Say it began with Alex having an attack of indigestion and Bob making a foolish remark to him. Alex snaps back. Bob bridles up and answers hotly. A quite definite ill will now comes into being. Alex shoots it to Bob, easing himself of his burden. The moment before inclined to be forgiving, Bob fills with the ill will, becomes it, and for relief, shoots it back to Alex. It is like a tennis ball tossed back and forth, but it becomes the one to whom it is tossed.
How little real that personal self is! When the missile, ill will, is tossed to it, it flows into the shape of the missile, becoming it. It has no fixed and real identity of its own, flowing from color to color like a well-bred chameleon that has we have taught the laws of Natural History.
It is first necessary for Alex or Bob to catch that missile and take it where it cannot hurt him. One takes it upstairs into the part of him that lives in the heart-life of all things. That part delights in the existence of his fellow-quarreler. It perceives the inmost nobility in him and treasures the perception. It perceives and delights in the godhood of every human being. Shooting back from there, his opponent has no chance against him. He is more the partisan of that opponent than the latter is of him.
Meet offences from that real place in you, and you commonly cure the offender, winning his gratitude. Strike back and you hurt yourself. Regard your partner in a quarrel as bad, a poison-breeder, and he will be so for you. Think only of the nobility in him and you will force that nobility into manifestation.
By Victor Endersby
[CHRONICLES ON THE PATH, Part XIV. This 18-part series appeared in THEOSOPHICAL NOTES from September 1951 through November 1954.]
The Roman sagged low in his saddle as his horse wearily descended toward the distant lake. He was old. He was tired, tired of mind as of body. He wondered whether his wandering life of insatiable curiosity had been the best way to spend his all too few years.
The unfinished manuscript reposed in his saddlebags. Stained and crumpled, it recorded many curious observations about men, things, and places. Would he live to see the fair copies from the pens of scribes? Who would read it, and with what understanding?
"Look, Master," said the servant from behind. "There is a villa on the cliff. Here we might find shelter for the night, perhaps? The air is chill in these Helvetian mountains."
"Good. We will ride over."
A still older man waited on the villa steps. A Jew, the Roman saw with distaste. His eyes were black as night. His hair and beard were white. He was a man with a thin face and eagle nose. He greeted them courteously, but with something of a shrinking air, inviting them in for food and rest. The Roman and his servant washed and changed their clothing, as the Roman wondered what brought such a man to this far away place. Why would one with the wealth to build this villa place it in such solitude?
After eating, they gazed upon the brilliant sunset, dying across the lake, casting a black silhouette of the western mountains. They sat together, these two of races of ancient enmity. Something about the Jew stirred a memory in the Roman, perhaps some cut of face, or turn of head, or other mannerism.
As they talked, the exile slowly thawed, listening eagerly and commenting freely on the events of the Empire of which it seemed he had heard little for months. Within the villa, the voices of two servants grew upon the air in intimate conversation as the level in the jug sank low. The traveler felt a strange compassion, responding to some deep tragedy in this man of alien race. Suddenly it came to him.
"Iscariot!" he said. "You are Iscariot, named Judas! But how? I thought ..."
"That I had hanged myself? That is the Christian story of it, made up to terrify others who might offend their Lord."
"What happened then?"
"When I saw the faces of His followers on the way to Golgotha, I knew my life hung by a hair in Jerusalem. These religious fanatics have no restraints, no end to their enmity and vengeance. I fled the city."
"It is true that the disciple Thomas pruned a Roman ear in Gethsemane, but his Master healed it. Since then, no deed of blood has been credibly reported against His followers. Perhaps, my friend, the thing you dread was not in their faces, but in your eyes."
"Aye. Perhaps. It may be so. I have come to wonder and to doubt many things, even concerning Him."
"Iscariot, may I speak frankly?"
The Jew shrank, and then sat erect. "Say on. It is better to hear the thought than to wonder about it."
"Iscariot, your name is dirt in the streets of Rome as in Jerusalem. He has few followers, yet fewer still like the manner of his taking off. Rome holds naught against him. The Jews find him false as a prophet. Yet, it sits ill upon their minds that one of his own turned him in under the guise of friendship. You were a good man," as Jews go, he almost said, "As men are reckoned. You were honest, kind, and charitable. It could not have been the money, I think, for you were not poor."
"It was not the money. I threw the thirty pieces at the feet of the priests. That much is true. It was other things, many things."
The historian in the Roman was aroused.
"Why not speak fully?"
"Yes, I will. At the beginning, I believed in this Ben Pandira with all my soul. In him, I verily saw Jehovah descended to His people. Then -- I cannot remember all. It is vague. Many matters that I have forgotten came between. I do not recall their nature now, but I know that they were, that they were sore and grievous, such speech and such deeds as ill became the King of the Jews. Somewhere -- somewhere at a time that I cannot place, His image became black in my mind. I though I knew Him as the betrayer of His people."
"According to our understanding of the Prophecies, He was to have come as a great conqueror, to trample the oppressor -- your kind, if you will pardon -- underfoot, and raise us to our ancient glory. Instead, he taught us to love our fetters and kiss the bloody lash of the Roman whip. It seemed strange that Rome cared so little about his freely running the streets and gathering crowds, this man ordained, if he spoke truly, to free the race from the ancient yoke. Thus by degrees -- helped by many strange things he did and would not explain -- it came clear in my mind that this Pandira, called the Christ, was in secret an agent of the oppression. His followers were mad. I could not enlighten them, and knew better than to try. Learning of the hatred of the priests, I consorted with them to destroy Him. Having been led by Him to betray my people, all I could do in recompense was to sacrifice my honor in betraying Him in turn. Thus it was."
"Now I am a lost man. The years have worn away so many things I held so sure. I remember things I forgot then, many, many things that He did, that no mortal man could do. He endured much in love and patience that man could not endure at all. Now I fear he was our deliverer, but that we did not understand the manner of it."
Long the Roman sat looking across the darkling lake while strange thoughts thronged his mind and vistas seemed to open into future ages.
"I -- I had thought of it, but I cannot. The Christians would not forgive me. To others I would then be a double betrayer. I should be alone -- alone and hated. Now I am alone and forgotten. It is better this way. I would be a useless sacrifice in any case, for who would believe me. Would any man turn to Him because of anything that I could say? It is all over. It was all so long ago. Best let the dead bury the dead."
"It might seem useless now, but history has a way of sorting out things. What of a thousand years from now?"
"A thousand years from now, I shall have been dust for ages. What concern do I have for that? It is now that I live, and there is little of life left to me. I would end it in peace."
The Roman's argument ceased. He saw that this man thought of himself first and all other things afterward, now as before. Unknown to himself, it had been secretly so even in the days of his highest devotion to the Messiah. Hence, it was easy for the thirty pieces of silver to disguise their true meaning to him. After a few perfunctory words, the Roman left for his bed. The other sat, shriveling deeper into his robe as the chill of night and death sank slowly into his aging bones.
By George William Russell
[From THE IRISH THEOSOPHIST, July 1894.]
Arbans are born at midnight hour, together with the holy flower that opes and blooms in darkness.
-- From an Eastern Scripture
We stood together at the door of our hut. We could see through the gathering gloom where our sheep and goats were cropping the sweet grass on the side of the hill. We were full of drowsy content as they were. We had naught to mar our happiness, neither memory nor unrest for the future. We lingered on while the vast twilight encircled us. We were one with its dewy stillness.
The luster of the early stars first broke in upon our dreaming. We looked up and around. The yellow constellations began to sing their choral hymn together. As the night deepened, they came out swiftly from their hiding-places in depths of still and unfathomable blue. They hung in burning clusters. They advanced in multitudes that dazzled. The shadowy shining of night was strewn all over with nebulous dust of silver, with long mists of gold, with jewels of glittering green.
We felt how fit a place the earth was to live on, with these nightly glories over us, with silence and coolness upon our lawns and lakes after the consuming day. Valmika, Kedar, Ananda, and I watched together. Through the rich gloom, we could see far distant forests and lights, the lights of village and city in King Suddhodana's realm.
"Brothers," said Valmika, "how good it is to be here and not yonder in the city, where they know not peace, even in sleep."
"Yonder and yonder," said Kedar, "I saw the inner air full of a red glow where they were busy in toiling and strife. It seemed to reach up to me. I could not breathe. I climbed the hill at dawn to laugh where the snows were, and the sun is as white as they are white."
"But, brothers, if we went down among them and told them how happy we were, and how the flowers grow on the hillside, they would surely come up and leave all sorrow. They cannot know or they would come." Ananda was a mere child, though so tall for his years.
"They would not come," said Kedar. "All their joy is to haggle and hoard. When Shiva blows upon them with angry breath, they will lament, or when the demons in fierce hunger devour them."
"It is good to be here," repeated Valmika, drowsily, "to mind the flocks and be at rest, and to hear the wise Varunna speak when he comes among us."
I was silent. I knew better than they that busy city which glowed beyond the dark forests. I had lived there until, grown sick and weary, I had gone back to my brothers on the hillside. I wondered if life would go on ceaselessly until it ended in the pain of the world.
I said within myself, "Oh mighty Brahma, our lives are on the outermost verges of thy dream. Thou old invisible, how faintly through our hearts comes the sound of thy song, the light of thy glory!"
Full of yearning to rise and return, I strove to hear in my heart the music Anahata, spoken of in our sacred scrolls. There was silence, and then I thought I heard sounds, not glad, a myriad murmur. As I listened, they deepened. They grew into passionate prayer, appeal, and tears, as if the cry of the long-forgotten souls of men went echoing through empty chambers. My eyes filled with tears, for it seemed worldwide and to sigh from out many ages, long gone, to be and yet to be.
"Ananda! Ananda! Where is the boy running to?" cried Valmika.
Ananda had vanished in the gloom. We heard his glad laugh below, and then another voice speaking. The tall figure of Varunna loomed up presently. Ananda held his hand, and danced beside him. We knew the Yogi, and bowed reverently before him. We could see by the starlight his simple robe of white. I could trace clearly every feature of the grave and beautiful face and radiant eyes. I saw not by the starlight, but by a silvery radiance that rayed a little way into the blackness around the dark hair and face. Valmika, as elder, first spoke.
"Holy sir, be welcome. Will you come in and rest?"
"I cannot stay now. I must pass over the mountains ere dawn; but you may come a little way with me -- such of you as will."
Kedar and I assented gladly. Valmika remained. Then Ananda prayed to go. We bade him stay, fearing for him the labor of climbing and the chill of the snows.
Varunna said, "Let the child come. He is hardy, and will not tire if he holds my hand."
We set out together, and faced the highlands that rose and rose above us. We knew the way well, even at night. We waited in silence for Varunna to speak; but for nigh an hour we mounted without words, save for Ananda's shouts of delight and wonder at the heavens spread above and the valleys that lay behind us. Then I grew hungry for an answer to my thoughts, and I spake.
"Master, Valmika was saying, ere you came, how good it was to be here rather than in the city, where they are full of strife. Kedar thought their lives would flow on into fiery pain, and no speech would avail. Ananda, speaking as a child, indeed, said if one went down among them, they would listen to his story of the happy life. Master, do not many speak and interpret the sacred writings, and how few are they who lay to heart the word of the gods! They seem to go on through desire into pain. Even here upon the hills, we are not free, for Kedar felt the hot glow of their passion, and I heard in my heart their sobs of despair. Master, it was terrible, for they seemed to come from the wide earth over, and out of ages far away."
"In the child's words is the truth," said Varunna, "for it is better to aid even in sorrow than to withdraw from pain to a happy solitude. Yet only the knower of Brahma can interpret the sacred writings truly, and it is well to be free ere we speak of freedom. Then we have power and many hearken."
"But who would leave joy for sorrow? And who, being one with Brahma, would return to give counsel?"
"Brother," said Varunna, "here is the hope of the world. Though many seek only for the eternal joy, yet the cry you heard has been heard by great ones who have turned backwards, called by these beseeching voices. The small old path stretching far away leads through many wonderful beings to the place of Brahma. There is the first fountain, the world of beautiful silence, and the light that has been undimmed since the beginning of time. Turning backwards from the gate the small old path winds away into the world of men, and it enters every sorrowful heart. This is the way the great ones go. They turn with the path from the door of Brahma. They move along its myriad ways, and overcome pain with compassion. After many conquered worlds, after many races of purified and uplifted men, they go to a greater than Brahma. In these, though few, is the hope of the world. These are the heroes for whose returning the earth puts forth her signal fires, and the Devas sing their hymns of welcome."
We paused where the plateau widened out. There was scarce a ripple in the chill air. In quietness the snows glistened, a light reflected from the crores of stars that swung with glittering motion above us. We could hear the immense heartbeat of the world in the stillness. We had thoughts that went ranging through the heavens, not sad, but full of solemn hope.
"Brothers! Master! Look! The wonderful thing! And another, and yet another!" we heard Ananda calling.
We looked and saw the holy blossom, the midnight flower. Oh, may the earth again put forth such beauty. It grew up from the snows with leaves of delicate crystal. A nimbus encircled each radiant bloom, a halo pale yet lustrous. I bowed over it in awe.
I heard Varunna say, "The earth indeed puts forth her signal fires, and the Devas sing their hymn. Listen!"
We heard music as of beautiful thoughts moving along the high places of the earth, full of infinite love and hope and yearning.
"Be glad now, for one is born who has chosen the greater way. Kedar, Narayan, Ananda -- farewell! Nay, no farther! It is a long way to return, and the child will tire."
He went on and passed from our sight. We did not return. We remained long, long in silence, looking at the sacred flower.
Vow, taken long ago, be strong in our hearts today. Here, where the pain is fiercer, to rest is sweeter. Here, where beauty dies away, it is more joy to be lulled in dream. Here, the good, the true, our hope seem but a madness born of ancient pain. May we arise out of rest, dream, or despair and go the way the great ones go.
By Alice H. Comerford
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, June 1950, pages 364-70.]
An intense and far-reaching quest insistently and subtly manifests in humankind the world over. Hearts are heavy with care, and many minds are replete with bewilderment and restless confusion. Harassed by the self-inflicted perplexities of a mechanistic philosophy, and now losing faith in a seemingly unjust Creator, the Western nations are particularly plagued by a cynical and desperate outlook. Yet the peoples of the world have only to open their hearts and minds to Truth, for it does exist, in purity and immediate accessibility. Once souls turn in sincere search for the realization of life's true meaning -- for the answer to the enigma of the inexorable Sphinx -- there is no longer room for self-created despair and disharmony, conditions contrary to Nature's laws.
There has long been made available to the public full and fascinating collations of material that reveal, to a surprising degree perhaps, the widespread acceptance and understanding of the ancient and eternal doctrines of Reincarnation and Karma, which doctrines once permeated, in a natural and unquestioning way, the whole of civilization. Through the advancing ages, however, portions of the world have forgotten, have obscured the truth in a murky materialism that lauds wealth, personal gain, and power, and condemns the altruistic philosophical motive that embodies the potentialities for the realization of the Brotherhood of man -- the law of harmonious interdependence fundamental in Nature.
People may and do vary in motive, in depth of sincere desire to obtain, or more accurately to awaken, the realization of the truth latent within all hearts. Many are curious, but are satisfied with contemporary dogma and creed. There are those who know that the dark corners of life can be illuminated by the understanding of the doctrine of Reincarnation and of its sister truth, Karma. Happy are those whose eyes are unveiled of the mists of skepticism, obdurate bigotry, and inflexible opinion, those who can look with clear sight upon this doctrine so comprehensible, logical, and satisfying, and begin to understand deep within.
Many Theosophical writers are chiefly concerned with reaching the Western mind, as the doctrine of Reincarnation is already inherent in most of the Eastern religious and ethical systems, and has been for countless ages. Of course, original Christianity also included the teachings of rebirth. To the modern Christian this fact is foreign because the truth has been veiled and distorted as the religion has passed from a purer state to one that dwells on the indoctrination of malformed conceptions.
Reincarnation is part of the Universal law of Reembodiment, which includes all creatures in all degrees of evolution. In specific application to mankind, reincarnation is the reembodiment of the soul or Ego in the flesh body upon the earth many times, for spiritualizing the Ego through the experience offered in the human realm of existence. The doctrine implies the immortality of the soul, and reveals the supreme justice of the laws that govern evolution. Within all sentient beings dwells a center of consciousness that is a portion of the great Universal Consciousness that is Reality and the native substance of Being.
E.D. Walker, in his book, REINCARNATION: A STUDY OF FORGOTTEN TRUTH, describes the soul as:
an eternal water-globule, which sprang in the beginningless past from mother ocean, and is destined -- after an unreckonable course of meanderings in cloud and rain, snow and stream, spring and river, mud and vapor -- at last to return with the garnered experience of many separate existences into the central Heart of all.
This teaching stands aloft, and is accountable, with unsurpassed depth and logic, to any current "enlightened reason."
To the skeptic who sees no evidence to support the doctrine, this philosophy offers many ideas that appeal to the imagination, intelligence, and to sound reasoning. A study of Reincarnation reveals the complete sequential picture. The doctrine rounds out incomplete and often irrational beliefs. It helps the believer by blind faith who envisions the soul after death in a region of eternal bliss, and who finds no explanation for the origin of the soul. It also helps the fatalistic or scientific materialist who relegates all the tangible and intangible human faculties to a "variety of atomic qualities," the person whom does not find a reason for the vast and variegated character of living things.
Most of the world professes belief in the immortality of the soul. Yet, an immortal state succeeding death, as the Christian asserts, should necessarily presuppose a preexistent state. The Christian idea of special creation at birth must include annihilation at death, for it is meaningless to think of something created spontaneously from nothing and enduring forever. What is created in such a manner must logically be destroyed when a life span is complete.
None of the ordinary schemes so satisfies the inner sense of logic, reason, and intuition as does the idea that the soul of man and indeed of all beings, is of an eternal past, an eternal present, and an eternal future, prevailing as an eternal NOW, and that this soul is periodically embodied by the unfailingly just laws of Nature. Each of the separate souls is a part of an Over-Soul, in Emerson's terminology, which encompasses and composes all the offspring, or individual souls, which contain, complete within themselves, the entire nature of the Universal Soul.
Analogous relations between various living things upon the earth are further evidence of a oneness, manifest in different forms. The process of the developing embryo, which the biologists examine, is a recapitulation of the numerous forms that the Ego has ensouled in its evolutionary progress. Physical evolution necessarily demands a parallel evolution of the moral, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of man. This idea appeals to the receptive mind as conclusive evidence that this evolutionary process necessitates a long series of lives, each with its contribution of enriching experiences for the progress of each evolving entity.
The science of today has begun to realize that the soul is embodied and that the marvelous corporeal organism is directed by a preexistent soul-monad. The law of cause and effect which science demonstrates experimentally is unavoidable evidence of an underlying cause which produces the effects of which we are consciously aware at all times. Plato once remarked, "The soul has a natural strength which will hold out and be born many times -- and always weaves her garment anew."
Further, this teaching is evidenced in a satisfying explanation of original sin, which idea plagues the minds of many religionists. Original sin, attributed to the fall of Adam, is a misrepresentation of the idea and fact of Karma, or the Law of Consequences. How much grander to think that man is not born in a state of corrupt depravity, but is essentially Divine, with a free will which determines the nature and extent of suffering and evil, or of goodness and happiness which will be each man's lot!
A final evidence of Reincarnation is its service as a satisfactory explanation for the strange reminiscences and experiences that men often know. How often does a peculiar sense of familiarity with new people, places, and situations awed us? Does not this attest to previous associations?
We find accounts of strange experiences in the writings of such literary lights as Coleridge, Poe, Hawthorne, Dickens, and men of the deeper past as well as our contemporaries. Eastern and Western prose and poetry are replete with convictions of belief and evidence of understanding of this ancient, undying doctrine. Men need only use a discerning eye, and exercise a broad fluidity of thought and opinion to unearth the many affirmations of Reincarnation, metempsychosis, and Reembodiment that appear throughout the literary world.
Such a magnificent and all-encompassing teaching incurs natural objections from those to whom it is foreign, and to whom it is apparently antagonistic to popular religion. Briefly, there are four general categories of objections. The first most often presented is, "Why do we have no memory of our past lives?" The fact is, we do, as nothing is lost in the Universe. Details are obscured, but character remains as the result of the causes that we self-established in past lives. Character is the result of Karma, which directs and molds our very persons.
To the plea of injustice for having to suffer for forgotten deeds of the past, the fact of the absolute balance and infallible law of Justice that rules all life, is pointedly reiterated in the Wisdom-Religion doctrine. Whether our lives are going to reflect high ideals in ethical and moral standard and action, causes that result in effects of JUST CONSEQUENCE, depends wholly on our own choice.
Heredity, which seems to conflict with the Wisdom-Religion doctrine is, on the contrary, more thoroughly and logically explained than science has heretofore satisfactorily done. For those who fear the loss of contact with loved ones, it is well to understand, and comforting to know, that kindred souls have imperishable bonds which maintain an attraction throughout the countless ages and phases of evolutionary progress.
The Christian Bible refers to reincarnation as preexistence and alludes to it many times. Solomon, in Proverbs, spoke with wisdom when he said:
The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before the works of old -- when he prepared the heavens I was there.
This and the familiar passage, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was made flesh," from the Gospel of St. John, are further examples of the presence of the preexistence idea which conduces directly to the spiritual idea of Reincarnation within the Bible. Allegories therein delineate the progress of the soul and teach the responsibility of the individual in matters of his own sin.
A serious misconception that has been widespread throughout the world for some ages is that of the passage or the transmigration of the soul through animal forms because of corporeal sins. We find this erroneous conception within certain schools of Brahmanism and Buddhism in the East. The idea has permeated the native races of Africa and America, where they believe that immediately after death the soul must find a habitat, and thus passes to animal bodies. Some Eastern philosophies affirm the presence of the human souls of relatives and friends within animal bodies, and so prohibit the slaughter and consumption of them.
Distortion of the INNER idea of transmigration has resulted in these grotesque conceptions of the truth. Actually, what happens is that the component atomic constitution of a man disperses after death. They seek the various home-planes of consciousness, be they animal, vegetable, mineral, or divine. The Higher Ego or human element of man could not possibly assume an animal habitat after it has reached the evolutionary height of mankind. E.D. Walker appropriately remarks:
It would be as impossible for a gallon to be contained in a pint measure, as for a human spirit to inhabit an animal body.
Fearsome conjectures of Hell and blissful hopes of an eternal paradise of a conventional Heaven, coupled with an unassuaged fear of death characterize much thought today. The beautiful teachings, of which Reincarnation is a part, however, embrace far greater portions of the total consciousness of man than has been true for great periods. Slowly is man beginning to understand that the only Hell is that evil and misery which he self-predisposes and precipitates. Theosophy calls the Heaven of blissful rest the Devachanic state between incarnations.
Death is not the terrifying conclusion to existence, but the liberator of the soul as it moves from stage to stage in the great evolutionary plan. The personality is mortal, the soul and spirit are immortal. Through the beneficent law of Karma, man proceeds along the path to ever-greater spiritual heights. Karma, the Benefactor, perfect in action, equitably dealing with the causes set up by individual wills, directs and molds the infinite number of evolving beings. It is this infallible law of justice, operating in and through the inner, causal, and invisible as well as the visible worlds -- Karma -- that activates the reincarnating process.
The most natural question then to arise in the probing mind is, "What reincarnates?" It cannot be the physical body, for we know that that disintegrates soon after death; nor is it the personality with which we are so familiar and which we too often mistake as the real man -- the personality which is found to be a mere mask of the Inner Man, the Essential Being. So that which perpetuates the human being, with his numerous appearances on this earth in varying personalities, is "the EGO, the individual and immortal, not personal 'I'; the vehicle, in short, of the ATMA-BUDDHIC Monad," says H. P. Blavatsky in THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY.
To cover the intricate and fascinating process by which the Ego reincarnates into earth life is a study complete in itself. Consequently, a brief outline of the occurrence is all that I can mention here.
When the man dies -- and death is only a passage to another state of consciousness, not the annihilation of the real Being -- there occurs a breaking up of the astral-vital energies, followed by the dissipation of the personality, or mental-emotional being. The Spiritual Ego, Buddhi-Manas, absorbs all the good that the personality has enfolded and expressed, and this Ego then retires to a blissful rest in the Devachanic state or heaven-world of subjective consciousness.
For a time after the death of the physical body the Ego hovers near the earth where its attraction is strongest, and it experiences a panoramic review of the life just past, seeing every event in full detail. This experience makes clear to the Ego the reasons for every incident that happened in the human society, linking them in such a manner as to depict the complete pattern, and to confirm the justice of Nature.
After a period, relative as time is, the Ego awakens by the magnetic force of Karmic seeds or causes which demand their equitable consequence. In perfect cosmic rhythm, the Law of Reembodiment marks the course of the Ego, as it is once again drawn to material manifestation, reclothing itself with the several sheaths of consciousness or principle-substance, composed of the life-atoms of which all planes of substance are formed. The Ego builds its physical body, and once more appears on earth in order to undergo its next series of lessons through experience in the human realm.
No one retires at night with a deadly fear of the permanent loss of waking consciousness -- sleep comes as a welcome rest to tired body and mind. In parallel manner, no one should approach the event of death with the terrible fear of the consequences. For, as so often said in our Theosophical literature, "Sleep is the imperfect death, and death the perfect sleep." The cycle repeats throughout all forms and planes of being, always for spiritualizing the vehicles of the Essential SELF.
This is Karma and Reincarnation -- twin doctrines basic in the whole of Eternal Truth. Beautiful, practical, and as real to the heart and mind as they are inherent in Being. As Man looks up and out, he cries for understanding.
As Frances Quarles once said:
The weary traveller oft doth seek to know How far he's come, how far he has to go.
By Boris de Zirkoff
[From a tape recording entitled "Death and After-Death States, Part I" made of a private class held on October 27, 1954.]
Consider our death and after-death states. In our study of FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY, we have not touched upon the subject in a year. It will take more than one meeting so that we do not rush through it. We will revisit some familiar points. Others we have not discussed before.
The subject is death or the transition from this life to another state of consciousness. With this subject, people in the west are troubled with an unreasonable fear of the unknown. Popular religion, science, and philosophy do not have the answer. They do not have the remedy to this fear. The teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy remove the fear of death -- something marvelous! They show that change of consciousness as a great adventure for which incarnate life is preparation.
We are not fools. A dying physical body is not a pleasant sight. The body experiences pain when it disintegrates. If diseased, one's last years of life are certainly unpleasant. In our age, people with certain types of misused physical bodies cannot avoid this natural decay.
This is not what death is about. Death is a release. The term should apply to the mysterious process of the falling apart of our compound constitution. Death is the gradual severance of the mutual connections of our inner principles. The principles of the human constitution return home. They temporarily regain the realms that they belonged to before again helping to form the full-fledged human being at his next incarnation.
Death is certainly not a dying physical body. Death is a great release. It is a joyful experience, less joyful to the personality and more joyful to the individuality. It has to do with the abandonment of this particular personality forever. The personality lasted one life. We now go home into realms of great spiritual bliss, nearer to our spiritual home, and nearer to reality. We go awhile, before undertaking another journey through the material spheres in a new personal vehicle.
The theologies and ignorance of a material civilization have surrounded death with the dark, negative, and selfish. Strip these fantastically foolish aspects away and there remains a spiritual reality. Relatively speaking, light, freedom, release, peace, rest, and beauty remain.
Before we can understand what the Esoteric Philosophy teaches concerning death, we must keep some basic points in mind clearly. Remember that not all teachings in print are true. Be exceedingly selective. Some are genuine. Some are adulterated. In theosophical lodges and from so-called students of Theosophy, you will hear about death and the hereafter. Much is the result of wishful thinking, astral aberrations, or psychic imaginings.
What is genuine in the Esoteric Philosophy on death? It is up to you to test the teachings. Test their validity, their logic. Test whether they hang together with all that you have studied. Test their reasonableness. If they pass, they are genuine. If not, leave them alone. They may not be right.
Remember at the outset that normal death is the natural withdrawal of the human entity from an incarnation. Death is never sudden. The physical vehicle may face instant destruction, but the spiritual death is not sudden. This psycho-magnetic phenomenon takes years.
Does a newly born baby grow into adulthood in a week? Does it grow a beard and go to high school the day after birth? It takes time to fully incarnate. It takes years to evolve oneself into a new personality. One builds, fashions, fills with the spirit, constructs, and feeds it from within. Likewise, it takes time to discarnate, years to withdraw or disembody.
In the first part of life, things have gone uphill to a high point of achievement. After we reach the middle of an incarnation, everything is now going downhill gradually. It is logical to suppose. It is the teaching. Without being trained clairvoyants, we cannot say whether this middle is at 50, 40, or 30 years for a particular person.
The individual will withdraw gradually. That inner withdrawal is usually slow and deep within the inner man. It is not perceptible outwardly. It is noticed when the lower mind or brain-mentality, emotions, and physical body begin to show signs of decay.
The decay is not its beginning. When it has come low enough to manifest on the physical, mental, astral, and vital planes, it is in an advanced stage. People do not die from without. They die from within. Normal death is the gradual severance of the intimate relations between our internal principles. That begins deep within and works outward. The physical and the astral symptoms are the last to appear.
We withdraw from our physical tenement. Regarding this lower personal vehicle, we die. In dying, we prepare ourselves for birth in the inner worlds gradually. After death, we enter the spiritual conditions as a newly born babe.
Consider the normal process in our present evolutionary cycle. We have died. Our consciousness begins its infancy in the spiritual worlds. We enter that second childhood gradually. It is not a physical stage. We do not physically shrink to two feet nor go back to physical childhood. Our minds gradually slip into a childlike mental state.
At birth, children are non-intellectual but highly spiritual. As their intellect unfolds, they lose spirituality. At the other end of life, the intellect wanes and spirituality strengthens. If an old person is in a second childhood, he is already partly in devachan.
The normal process happens for many in the present cycle. It is not ideal, and will now always be as it is. As to the ideal process, we can speak of it later, so that we keep from confusing ourselves. For now, we speak of the normal kind of dying and avoid other types like accidental deaths.
The inner severance of principles continues. Inevitably, it will show up in the physical body and the lower mind in some form. We may see a disease breaking up the organism. It may come as old age, when the organs just stopped functioning. With no particular disease, why do they stop? We have used up the vitalities that our organism was born with. We are born with a certain storehouse of Prana. We can use the life currents wisely or unwisely, in a shorter time or a longer time.
Everyone has a different amount of Prana. When used up, the body is through. Say you misused and wasted your vitality over 50 years. Technically speaking, you would be killing yourself. Although we do not call it committing suicide, it is a misuse.
Many lead a normal life. They are not spiritually evolved or great men. Nevertheless, they do not abuse their physical bodies. The normal after-death process applies to them.
In time, one reaches the final stage. It is invariably sudden. Lasting a day, an hour, or a few minutes, it is sudden compared to one's many years of internal preparation for the inner worlds. One withdraws the threads of Prana or life magnetisms from the organs of a body. It is then useless, used up.
You die from the feet up. You start with cold feet and cold hands. The main ray of the individuality is in the brain and heart. The last stage is the centering of some vital currents there. (The remaining vitality belongs to the body's life-atoms and organs.) The last to die is the brain, immediately after the heart dies.
Death has nothing to do with heartbeat. The heart may have stopped beating and the man has no pulse. Breathing may have stopped. The doctor has declared him dead. For many hours, he is alive. Physical death has not happened yet. Doctors make a great medical mistake, because they do not understand what death is.
The gateways of death are the body's openings. The individual issues out of his physical body through all the orifices or openings that the body has. One's higher principles or magnetic forces use the higher openings in the head to get out. The lower ones use the lower openings. Part of the real individuality embodied in the heart and the brain. It issues out through the top of the head. There is no physical opening on the top of the head, but there is an astral opening.
Which is higher, the heart or the brain? It depends. They are both spiritual centers. The brain is last to die. When the individual has withdrawn the higher magnetic forces from the rest of the body, it is still in the brain, primarily in the pineal gland and pituitary body.
Sensitive electronic devices might detect life in the pineal gland and pituitary body of one who has died hours or even several days before. There is still something going on there. These centers are the last refuge or fortress of the brain. It is not so much physical as it is the higher spiritual part of the brain. While centered there, we begin the wondrous phenomenon of the panoramic vision. We dislodge from the akashic records of the spiritual brain the record of the life just lived. This begins with the first conscious impression of childhood. It continues through the entire life in minutest detail. It goes to the last conscious impression, to the last thought and feeling.
Until we have gone over our panoramic vision of our lives, others cannot truly pronounce us dead. We have not fully withdrawn from our brain structure. The condition of our individual consciousness determines how long this panoramic vision will last. It could be six or eight hours, go overnight, or last even longer. Within 24 or 36 hours, it is finished, although quicker in some cases. Say something happens to our physical brain. An explosion destroyed it. This does not affect our panoramic vision. The vision happens automatically in the spiritual counterpart of our brain. It does not happen in the physical brain.
Dying starts with one withdrawing and breaking the magnetic contacts. Disengaging the entity from its lower vehicle is almost like breaking electromagnetic wires. By the time the last impression of the life just lived has been reviewed by the Ego, the final magnetic cord attaching the individuality to the brain and the heart is snapped. That is the moment of actual physical death. Doctors may have declared the man dead many hours before. Until then, the trained spiritual clairvoyant will see a light in both the heart and the brain. Until that light extinguishes, the individual is still incarnate partially.
By the time the panoramic vision begins, the body is cold and the physical senses are non-functional. Little can affect one from without. He does not see, hear, smell, nor sense anything of the physical world anymore. His consciousness centers upon the panoramic vision. He is not here with us. It is impossible to recall him.
Preserve an unbreakable silence around the body. This is the most important practical thing we might do. During that period, there takes place one of the most sacred phenomena connected with the process of withdrawal. That is when the personal mind, the brain mind, the human soul in its mental aspect, temporarily identifies with the consciousness of the Reincarnating Ego, its own inner divine counterpart. In this identification of consciousness, the human soul becomes a spectator, seeing the record of the life it just lived.
The panoramic vision is not simply a record of events. The human soul sees the reasons for what took place. It understands the justice in them. For now, it cannot weigh actions nor see how to act when it was wrong. It understands the complete record and the justice of everything. It sees from a higher vantage point all it did not see in life because of physical imperfections of the brain and limitations of its personal consciousness.
During that panoramic vision in his human aspect, one meets his own inner self face to face. This is not his highest self, but rather the Reembodying Ego of which the human soul is a ray. That tribunal weighs the soul. There is no appeal. It weighs the record of one's life just passed. This is the real meaning of the marvelous story in THE EGYPTIAN BOOK OF THE DEAD, where the scale weighs the heart against the feather. During this identification of the consciousness with the inner self, the personal mind becomes at one with the spiritual mind, the Kama-Manas unites with the Buddhi-Manas. This allows that solemn weighing. For a few moments, the soul sees the general pattern of the next incarnation and knows what to expect.
Even though one is non-functional through his physical senses, the noise and strong emotions of nearby people can affect that panoramic vision unfavorably. Crying, sorrow, and other emotional outbursts of loved ones disturb the vision. The emotions are not physical. They are psychic and therefore reach the human soul. It is hurt, hampered in its process, and must deal with unnecessary obstacles in its process of release. Absolute silence and inner calm are extremely importance.
Someone may call upon you to help a person in his process of passing. Say the doctor has just declared an individual as having passed away. Remember that there are simple things you can do. Make sure there is silence, wide-open windows with plenty of fresh air, subdued lighting, a candle near the head, and a little incense burned from time to time. Of these, the most important is the silence. Turn the head north or east, and the feet west or south. Other details of the setting are immaterial.
If possible, leave the individual that way overnight. Perhaps it is very hot, so climatic conditions do not permit this. You could cremate him the same day. Just leave him a few hours to finish his panoramic vision. That is enough time in a majority of cases.
The panoramic vision has finished now. The individual has withdrawn from the last point of consciousness in the heart and the brain. What you have there is not a man at all. It is just a former temple or house. It may be saintly or degraded, clean or abused. The body's natural process is to disintegrate quickly via cremation. This is how nature disposes of physical bodies, whether they are flora, vegetable, animal, or human. Nature burns them.
If placed in the ground, bodies oxidize, which is burning. Iron rust is iron that nature has burned. It is an oxidation of iron. It will burn through oxidation for several years maybe. What is the difference between burial and putting the body in an oven to burn quickly? It is exactly the same thing. People say they do not want to burn. Even so, they burn, just not quickly! They burn over several years in the grave. Nature does not dispose of physical bodies in any other way.
No one knows when he is actually dying. Remember again that we are talking about normal conditions in the present evolutionary cycle. One may know for years, months, or days that he is about to die. That is different. When the moment comes, one does not know.
This is like with sleep. You never know the particular moment when you fall asleep. You may be tossing in your bed for hours. When you finally fell asleep, you did not know. The next morning, you may recollect that it may have been around 3:00 AM, but you do not know the exact moment. It is the same when you "fell to death" -- a logical but funny expression.
Death is like sleep. Sleep is our temporary withdrawal from a still-useful tenement. Since we come back, and it is a partial withdrawal. Death is a complete withdrawal. We do not come back to a tenement that has become useless. Death and sleep are identical in all respects.
To find out how it feels to die and know that you are dying, study how you fall asleep. Grip your consciousness with the will. Keep it self-consciously aware at the time you pass into sleep. Be aware that you are now asleep. If you can do this, you can also know in full self-consciousness when you pass out in death. The two are identical.
To die or withdraw completely is a shock to our personal consciousness. It has not developed the spiritual, intellectual, and psychic functionality to continue consciousness without the brain and the nervous system. It is stunned. It is the same as when you withdraw into sleep. You are unable self-consciously to function without the brain and the nervous system. Your personal consciousness is stunned. You are not self-consciously aware of what is going on.
An individual has died or fallen asleep. Has he entered into a state of unconsciousness? No. He has entered a state of higher consciousness, one greater than the earthly one. It is so relatively high that the individual loses his grip on self-consciousness. He is unable to be self-consciously aware in that greater consciousness.
You may be good, but you are not aware that you are. You may be evil, but you are not aware that you are. You may be happy, in a sort of a happy-go-lucky way, but you are not aware that you are a happy being. The same applies to the higher states of consciousness. You can enter them. If you have not learned to be aware in them, you are conscious but not self-conscious. When you are conscious but not self-conscious, we say you are unconscious. We struggle for good words to use here.
We call the individual consciousness of man "I am I." It is your awareness of yourself. This is temporarily stunned at death. You do not know what took place. You enter into a condition of dreaming. You are partially aware, mostly unaware. Your location is in some plane of the kamaloka, which surrounds and interpenetrates the earth. The extent you will be conscious in it depends upon what you are.
We speak of the after-death states of the average individual. He will be in a dreamlike condition. The spiritually minded individual will be practically unaware of anything. The more spiritual one is, the less he is aware of kamaloka. The more material and gross he is, the more aware he is in it. A wicked human being has his self-consciousness return to him soon in the kamaloka. It is an unpleasant experience. Why is this? It is because he has to meet himself.
In earthly existence, the grossness of the physical body allows one to escape oneself at times. Without the protection of the physical grossness of the brain and nervous system, one is in the company of oneself. There is no one else, only naked consciousness. The experience is unpleasant if one was gross and wicked. It is perfectly ok for an average person. A spiritually minded individual has no unpleasant experiences. The grosser one is, the longer the kamaloka. The more spiritual one is, the shorter the kamaloka.
You are there to disentangle yourself from your emotional nature and lower mind. You have to undergo the process of the second death. You are the individual human Ego. Built of emotional, kamic, and lower mental energies and substances, the cocoon has to be broken up during the second death. As the second death takes place, the real individual emerges entering the devachan gradually. What is left of the emotional and lower mental makeup remains in the kamaloka. It is a shell animated by certain elemental energies. Ultimately empty, it gradually disintegrates. It is a disintegrating astral corpse, left behind just as you left behind the physical corpse disintegrating on the physical plane.
We die twice. We have covered the physical withdrawal. The astral or psycho-mental withdrawal is the breaking up of the cocoon, shell, or sheaths of kamic substances and materials. One emerges out of it, withdrawing the aroma of the noblest aspirations in one's psychological nature. One cannot proceed until that has happened.
During the second death, the second panoramic vision happens. One sees a shorter review of the former life, and sees more of one's future incarnation. The second vision is to see one's future incarnation more fully. This anticipates the third panoramic vision, which occurs when the Ego comes back into incarnation.
It is wrong to say there are dead men. There are no dead men. There are only dead bodies. We cannot have a dead man. Man is untouched by death, only bodies are. Remember that man is a fully integrated sevenfold entity. In him, the Atman and Buddhi as rays function through Manas. Manas functions through the Kama. The Kama is clothed in the Prana and the astral structure. These are all in the physical body, making the human being.
The man has thrown away his physical body. His lower astral has partially disintegrated. It is breaking apart. He has undergone the second death. His Kama Rupa is also disintegrating. His lower vital energies have all dissipated. Then the Reincarnating Ego centers in Manas, and Atman and Buddhi overshadow it.
That is not a man! In the east, they know people who have passed on as Devas, shining ones, for this reason. They never speak of dead men. There is no such expression in Sanskrit. The moment one has disembodied, he is a Deva. His dead grandmother is a Deva. His little dead child is a Deva. His ancestors are Devas, or Pitris. They are all shining ones. They are not men, since man is the integrated, sevenfold, seven-principled entity in incarnation.