THEOSOPHY, Vol. 22, No. 6, April, 1934
(Pages 270-273; Size: 12K)
(Number 18 of a 36-part series)



THE Theosophist familiar with the great doctrines of the philosophy -- Karma, Reincarnation, Evolution -- can but find the work of modern philosophers and scientists inconsistent and superficial, so little has it to contribute on the vital issues of life. Nature's secrets are sought, but her heart ignored; great tomes set forth human experiences, without regard to cause or objective. Thus the rise and fall of races and nations are recorded and the vanished power and splendor of ancient countries narrated, devoid of explanation.

It is plain that a "race could not possibly arise and then suddenly go out"; but Science "simply says that this is the fact, that nations decay." And well knows the Theosophical student that mystification in these matters must continue as long as the modern savant takes no account of "the inner man nor of the recondite subtle and occult laws that unite to make a race" -- in other words, as long as the human equation is left out of the reckoning. The underlying causes of all things, whatsoever, are discoverable only in Man, himself the great causal agent. Long has this statement been offered by Theosophy. The educator's unwillingness to consider it and his resignation to unsolvable mysteries for lack of it, smack of a personal God behind the scenes pulling strings for the dancing of puppet-humanity. Can it be that, in the last analysis, Science is a silent partner with Religion? Otherwise, she should be able to conceive that events are but the effects of Man's forces in action; the cyclic character observable being due to his periodic appearance and disappearance from this objective plane.

Theosophically used, the term "race" applies to a special physical type, representative of the class of Egos that called it into manifestation; for all forms are Nature's response to the demands of consciousness. However, the Souls concerned "are not compelled to inhabit bodies of that sort any longer than while they are of the same development as the race. Hence a time comes when the whole mass of Egos which built up the race leaves it for another physical environment more like themselves." This is the real death of a race; but the coming together and working together of a large class of self-conscious beings generates such an enormous force that it remains stored up in the racial line, after its abandonment. This "has to expend itself gradually, and therefore the reproduction of bodies of the character of that race will go on." These are made to meet the needs of "less progressed Egos", who "come in and use the forms provided", but "are not able to keep up to the limit of the capacity of the congeries of energies left by the other Egos". Consequently, physical decadence gradually comes on; just as beautiful sections of a city decline when transferred to other owners unable to maintain the proper upkeep. Final extinction of a race is caused by sterility of the females resulting from "the great difference between the Egos inhabiting the old race body and the energy of that body itself"; so that "slowly but surely the number of deaths exceeds the births."

Racial decay is just another way of saying "descending savagery". The straight-line evolution of orthodox science finds a hard nut to crack in such races as the Hottentot, red Indian, and Easter Islander. For if these are primitive physical lines, they should increase and flourish, instead of dwindling; even as a normal child grows and develops its capacities. Theories so definitely controverted by facts might reasonably be discarded; and it should not seem preposterous to unbend sufficiently to deign respectful audience to the solutions afforded by Reincarnation, especially as the established facts tally exactly with this doctrine. It points to a decaying race, physically; metaphysically, to a class of human entities "whose experience is so limited that they are still savage" -- a discarded instrument, serving as a way-station for lesser Souls, on their upward march towards higher reaches. This is the true explanation; "and no other theory will meet the facts."

Understood as an economic expediency, Savagery has a lesson to teach the "civilized" man who wantonly dissipates, where Nature salvages and conserves. To what extent are the activities of Western culture really necessary or conducive to Humanity's highest interests? What is accomplished by rushing train and airplane, majestic steamer, and speeding motor car? What manner of messages are carried over humming wire or broadcasted on mysterious etheric wave? All of these that are not needful or truly helpful are wasting high potencies, not to mention their misuse when turned to ignoble or criminal ends.

It is to be feared that not only waste of the resources of greater Nature, but the waste of human powers as well is the charge justly lying at the door of Occidental lands. So-called progress bears many marks of savagery, unnatural and destructive. How far is the crowd on the street from becoming a howling mob, at a moment's notice? Is the Hottentot more savage than our intoxicated citizen in his high-powered car? What of the sanctity of the home, honesty in business, veracity in the professions, and justice in our courts? Does the school inculcate respect and educate for service? Have we government or political chicanery, patriot souls or office-seekers? Do screen and current literature elevate and purify the mind? What effect upon the race-body will flow from introducing diseased material into its blood stream, via serums, presently so popular?

There is much to disquiet all concerned for the welfare of mankind, even in our richly favored America. Its hearth-fires burn dangerously low; and all too far from the hearts of many seem those noble ideals that form the bedrock of this republic, beloved by H. P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge. Mention is made in this chapter of mighty civilizations that "have gone because the souls who made them have long ago reincarnated in the great conquering nations of Europe and the present American continents" -- "born again for greater and higher purposes than ever." Some of those very Souls may have helped to frame our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, documents embodying the living principles to which our forefathers stood ready to sacrifice their all that posterity might inherit a free land. Perhaps it is the presence of such men in our midst, now unrecognized, that gives hope of the stemming of the tide of materialism and savagery which threatens to engulf this cradle of the new race. If the "economy of Nature" will not permit an old race to "fade away" until fully utilized, it must be that the same Law will conserve the newly forming race-body for the purposes it is meant to serve. Those mighty men of old, reborn here, may be the servants of that Law, to safeguard the race stock against irreparable harm, as a necessary and vital part of the Theosophical Movement. Such beings and all receiving their assistance are forerunners of a new era, when the mighty accomplishments of the past shall be carried to loftier heights of perfection.

Reincarnation and Karma form a magic key, for the unlocking of "door by door of mystery". How different the outlook of Science, would she but use this key! By its help, nothing is outside the pale of rational explanation. Then, the modern investigator would find romance and wonder everywhere. For instance, instinct would be recognized as "recollection", whether shown by a new-born babe, an animal, or the "bee building a cell on the rules of geometry" -- "all the effect of reincarnation acting either in the mind or physical cell"; for "no atom is devoid of life, consciousness, and intelligence of its own." Without Theosophy, who would discern the kinship between instinct, observed by the biologist, and "inherent ideas" -- moot problem of the student of human nature? Yet both are simply "recollection divisible into physical and mental memory." All that the learned can now say of these ideas is that "they exist". They cannot be explained as instruction transmitted from generation to generation, when so much passed on that way is lost, and they remain unchanged. Theosophy holds that these ideas are the wisdom possessed by the reincarnating Ego, and reveals how deeply they are rooted in the mind, "implanted" there "at the very beginning of its evolutionary career on this planet by those brothers and sages who learned their lessons and were perfected in former ages long before the development of this globe began." Thus "imprinted or burned into" the inner nature, these ideals of human relationship "follow the Ego through the long pilgrimage."

True prosperity is fidelity to these engravures on the Soul of Man. This may explain why of "all the old races the Aryan Indian alone yet remains the preserver of the old doctrines" and "will one day rise again to its old heights of glory", once more to express its faith in action. The faith of the East, today, is often devoid of works; while the works of the busily engaged West are often rendered futile for lack of faith. When East and West shall join hands in pure faith and true works, the Cause of Masters will be established and realization of Universal Brotherhood will begin. But before this may be, the West must cease selling its birthright for a "mess of pottage", no longer permitting its mind to be "bound down and prevented from using its own powers." "It has often been thought that the opposition to reincarnation has been solely based on prejudice", an attitude of adverse judgment without investigation. This position towards the doctrine of rebirth is fostered by theologians; yet there is every reason to think it was held by Christ, whom they claim to represent. "There is no doubt in my mind", says Mr. Judge, "that the founder of Christianity took it for granted and that its absence from that religion is the reason for the contradiction between the professed ethics of Christian nations and their practices which are so contradictory to the morals given out by Jesus." Reincarnation and Karma alone give "the basis for ethics."

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