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A N O U TL I N E O F

TH E O S O P H Y

BY

W L EA D B E A TE R
.

T H I R D E D I TI ON

A N O U TL I N E O F

TH E O S O P H Y

C H A PTE R

I NTRO D U CTO R Y

W H AT I T 1 5

For many a yea r me n have bee n


discussi n g ar guing e nquirin g about

certain gr e at basic tr u ths a b out the


ex ist en ce and the n ature o f G od a b out
H is r e lation t o man and a b out the past
and futur e o f humanity S o radically
hav e they di ff er e d upo n thes e points
a n d s o b itt e rly ha ve they assailed and
ridicul e d on e a n other s be liefs that
there has come t o be a r m l y rooted
popul ar opinion that with regard t o all
these matters there is no c e rtainty avail

abl e nothin g b ut v a gu e speculatio n


,

An O utline

of

Theos ophy

amid a cloud o f unsound deduct i on s


d r awn f rom i ll es t a bl i s hed p r em i ses
A n d th is i n s p it e o f t he ve r y de n it e
though f r equentl y i nc r edible a sse rt i o ns
m a de on these sub j ects on behalf of the
v a r i ous r el i g i ons
Th i s p op ular o p i n i on though n o t
unnatu ra l unde r th e ci rcumst a nces
is enti r el y unt r ue
The r e a r e de n it e
facts avail a blep lenty of them Th e
o sop h y g ives the m to us ; but it o ff e r s
them not '
a s t he r el i gions do ) a s m a t
te r s of faith but a s sub j ects f o r stud y
It is not it self a r el i gion but i t be a r s t o
the r el i g i ou s the sa m e r el a ti on as d i d the
I t do es n o t con
a ncient p h i loso p h i es
Wha t
t r a d i c t them but ex p l a i ns t he m
eve r in a n y of them is un r e a s onable it
r e j ects as necessa r i l y unw o rt h y o f the
D eit y and de r oga to ry to H im ; what
eve r is r e a sonable ih each a n d a l l of
them it tak es u p ex p la i ns and e mp ha
sizes and thus combine s all into one
harmon i ous whole
I t ho lds that tru th on all these most

i mp o r ta n t p o i nt s i s attainabl e that
-

Introduct

i on

th e r e is a gr e at b od y o f k n owl e dge
a b out them already existi n g It con
siders all the various religions a s state
ments o f that truth fr o m di ff er en t
poi n ts o f V iew si n c e though they di f
fer much as t o n o men clature a n d as t o
articles o f b elief the yall agree as t o the
o n ly matt e rs which ar e of real import

anc e th e kind o f l i fe which a good


ma n sh o uld l e ad th e qualiti e s which he
must d eve lop e th e v ices which he m ust
a v oid On th e s e practical points t h e
teachi ng is identical in Hi n duism a n d
B uddhism in 'oroastria n ism and Mu
h a mm a d a n i s m in Judaism and C hris
.

t ian ity

Theosophy may b e descri be d t o the


outsid e world as a n i n telli gen t theory o f
the u n iverse Y e t for those who have
studi e d it it is n ot th e ory b ut fact ; f or
it is a d e n it e sci en ce capa b l e o f be i ng
s tudied a n d its t e achi ng s ar e ve ria b le
by i nv esti gati o n a n d ex p e rim en t f o r
thos e w h o ar e willin g to tak e th e
trou b le t o quali fy thems e l v es for such
en quiry It is a stat e me n t o f the gr ea t
.

li ne

An O ut

of

Theos op hy

facts of N ature so far as they are

known a n outl in e o f the scheme of


o u r corner o f the unive r se
.

H OW I T I S 'N O WN

H ow did this scheme be come known

some may ask ; by wh o m was it dis


covered ? We cannot spea k o i it as dis
covered for in truth it has always b e en
known to mankind though sometimes
tem p orarily forgotten in certain parts
There has always existed
o f the world
a certain bo dy o f hi ghly d ev elop e d men
men n ot o f any on e nation b ut o f all

the advanced nations who have held it


i n its fulness ; and there have always
been pupils o f these men who were
specially studyin g it while its broad
principles have always bee n known in
the outer worl d This b ody o f highly
d ev eloped men exists n ow as i n past
ages a n d Theosophical teaching is pu b
l is h e d to the Wester n world at thei r
insti g ation and through a few o f their
pupils
Those who a r e igno r ant have s ome
,

i on

Introduct

times cl am orously insisted that i f this


be s o these truths ought to have been
published long a g o ; and most unj ustly
they accuse th e possessors of such
k n owledge o f undu e retice n ce i n with
holding them fr o m the world at l arge
They forget that al l w h o hav e real ly
sought these truths have alwa y s been
able to nd t h e m a n d that it is only n ow
that we in the Wester n world are truly
beginning to see k F o r ma n y c e nturies
E u r ope was conten t to l ive f o r the most
part in the grossest sup e rstition ; and
when a reaction at l ast s e t in from the
a b surdity and bigotry o f those beliefs
it brought a p eriod o f atheism which
was j ust as conceited and bigoted in
another direction S o that it is really
o n ly n o w that some o f the humbler and
more reasona b l e o f o u r peopl e are b e
g i nn ing t o admit that they know noth
i ng and to enquire whether ther e is
n ot real information availabl e some
where
Though thes e reasona b l e enquirers
a r e as yet but a s m a l l minority
the
,

li ne

An O ut

Th eos ophy

of

Th e osophical S ociety has been fou n ded


in order to draw them together and its
boo k s are put before the public s o that
those who W 1 11 may read ma r k learn
an d inwardly digest these great truths
I ts mission is not to force its teaching
upon reluctant minds but simply to
o ff er it so that those may ta k e it who
feel the need f o r it We are n ot in
the least under the delusion of the poor
arrogant missionary who dares to co n
d e m n to a n un p leasant eternity every
one who will not pronounce his littl e
provincial S hibboleth ; we are perfectly
aware that all will at last be wel l for
those who cannot as yet see their way
to accept the truth as well as for those
B u t the
w h o r e c e l v e it with avidity
lgno w l e d g e of this truth has for us
and for thousands of others made li fe
easier t o b e ar and death easier to face ;
and it is simply the wish t o share these
b enets with o u r fellow men that urges
us to devote ourselves to writing and
lecturing on these subj ects
The broa d outlines o f the great
,

Introduct

i on

truths have b een wid ely k now n i n the


world for thousa n ds o f years and are
It is
s o know n at the pr e s e nt day
only we in the West w h o in o u r in
credi b l e s e l f s u f cien cy ha v e remai n ed
i gn ora n t o f them a n d sco ff e d at any
fragment of them which may ha v e
come i n ou r way As in the cas e o f
any other scie n ce s o in this sci en ce o f
the soul full detail s ar e k n own only
t o thos e who devote thei r lives t o its
pursuit The me n w h o fully know
those w h o are called Adepts
have p a
t ie n t l y devel oped withi n themselves
th e powers necessary for perfect o b s e r
vation For i n this r e spect there is a
di ff ere n c e be tween the methods o f o c
cult inv e stigation and thos e o f the
more moder n form o f science ; this l at
ter devotes al l its ener gy to th e im
pro v em e nt o f its instrume n ts whil e th e
former aims rather at th e de v elop men t
o f the o b serv e r
TH E ME TH OD O F OB S E R VAT I O N
The detail o f this d e v e lopm e nt would
take up more space tha n can b e de v oted
,

10

An Outl

i ne

of

Theos ophy

it i n a preliminary manual such as


this The whol e scheme will be found
fully explained in other Theos ophical
works ; for the moment let it su fce to
say that it is entirely a question o f vi
bratio n All informati o n which reaches
a man from the world without reaches
him by means of vibration o f some sort
wh ether it b e through the senses o f
sight hearing or touch C on s equently
i f a man is able to make himsel f sen
s it iv e to additional vibration s he will
acquire additional information ; he will
become what is commonly called clai r

voyan t
This word as commonly used me ans
nothing more tha n a slight ex tension of
normal vision ; but it is possible for a
man to b ecome mor e and more sen sitive
t o the su b tler v i b ratio n s until his con
s cio u s nes s acti n g through ma n y de v el
oped faculties functi o ns fr ee ly i n n ew
a n d higher ways
He will th en n d n ew
worlds o f sub tl e r matter open ing up
befor e him though in reality they are
only new portions o f the world he a l
to

'

11

introducti on

ready k n ows He l earns i n this way


that a vast unseen uni v erse exists r o u n d
him during his whole l i fe and that it
is c o nsta n tly a ff ecti ng h im in many
ways eve n though h e remains bli n dly
unconscious o f it B u t wh en h e dev el
o p es faculties wher eb y h e ca n sense
these o ther worlds it be comes possibl e
fo r him to o b serve them scientical ly
t o repeat his o b ser v ations many times
to compare them with those o f others
t o ta b ul ate them and dra w deductions
from them

All this has b een do n e n ot once


but thous a n ds o f times The Adepts o f
whom I spo ke hav e done this t o th e
fullest possi b le e x tent b ut ma n y e ff orts
along the same l ine hav e b ee n mad e by
our ow n T h e 050p h ica l stude n ts Th e
result o f our investigatio n s has b ee n not
o n ly to veri fy much o f th e i n for m atio n
gi ven t o us at th e outset b y those
Adepts b ut also t o e x plai n a n d am p l i fy
it ve ry considera b ly
Th e sight of this usually u n se en
po rtio n o f ou r world at on c e b ri ngs to
.

12

An O utl

i ne

oi

Theos ophy

knowledge a vast bod y of en tir e ly


n ew facts which are o f the v ery de ep
est interest I t gradual ly solves f o r us
many o f the most diffi cult problems o f
li fe ; it clears up for us man y mysteries
so that w e n o w see them to have be en
mysteries to us f o r so long only be
cause hereto fore we saw so small a part
of the facts because we were lo o k ing
at the various matte r s f r om b elow and
as isolated and uncon nect e d fragments
instead o f rising ab o ve them to a stand
point whence they are comprehensible
as parts o f a mighty whol e I t settles
i n a moment many questions which

have be e n much disputed such for


example as that o f the continued ex
is t e n c e of ma n a fter death
I t a ff ords
us t h e true expla n ation o f all the wildly
imp o ssible statemen ts made by the
churches abo ut heave n hell and pur
o
r
a
it
disp
e
l
s
our
ign
rance
and
t
o
;
g
y
remo ves our fear o f the unknown by
supplying u s with a rati o nal and o r
What this sch e me is I
d e r l y scheme
w il l n o w en d ea v ou r to e x pl a i n

ou r

C H A P TE R

II

G E N E R A L P R I N CI PLE S

I t is my des ire

make this state


ment o f Theo sophy as clear and read
ily compr e h en si bl e a s possibl e a n d f o r
this reason I shal l at e v e ry point gi ve
bro a d principl es o n ly r e ferring th o se
who wish for detailed i n formation to
larger b ooks o r to mo n ographs u p o n
particular subj ects I hop e at the end
of each chapter o f this little treati s e t o
give a list o f such b ooks as should be
c onsulted b y th o se w h o desire t o g o
more deeply into this m ost fascinating
syst em
I shall b e g i n th en b y a stateme n t o f
the mos t strikin g o f th e b road g eneral
principles which e mer g e as a r e sult o f
Theosophical study Th e re may b e
those w h o will nd h er e matter which
is i n cr e di b l e t o them o r matter which
ru n s entirely c o ntrary to th e ir p r e co n
to

li ne

An O ut

14

of

Theos op hy

ideas
I f that b e s o th en I
would as k such men to remember that
I a m n ot putting this forward as a

theory as a metaphysical speculatio n


but as
o r a pious Opinion of my own
a denite scientic fact proved a n d ex
a m i ne d over a n d o v er again
n o t o n ly
by mysel f but by many others also
Fu r thermore I claim that it is a fact
which m ay b e veried at rst hand
by any person w h o is will ing to
dev o t e the time and troubl e necessary
to t himsel f for the investigation I
am n ot off ering to the reader a creed t o
be swallowed like a pill ; I am tryin g
to set before him a syst em to study
and a bov e all a l i fe t o live I as k no
bli n d faith from him ; I simply sug
gest to h im the consideration o f the
Theosophical teaching as a hypothesis
thou gh to me it is n o hypothesis but
a l i v ing fact
I f he nds it mor e satis factory than
others which have b een presented to
him if it s e ems to him to solve more
o f the pro b lems of li fe
to answer a
ce iv e d

Genera

l Pri nci p l es

15

gr eat e r n umber of the questio n s which


inevitably arise f o r the thin k ing man
the n he wil l pursue its study further
a n d will nd in it I h Op e and be lie v e
the same ever increasin g satis faction
and j oy that I ha v e mysel f f o und I f
,

'

on the other hand he thinks some o ther


system pre ferable no harm is done ; he
has simply l earnt somethi n g o f the
tenets o f a b o dy o f men with whom he
is as yet una b le to agree I have s u f
ci ent faith in it mysel f to bel ieve that
sooner o r lat e r a time will come when

he w i ll agree with them when he al s o


will k now what we k now
,

TH E TH R E E

GRE AT

TR U TH S

In one o f o u r ea r liest Theosophical


boo k s i t was written that there are
three truths which are a b solute and can
b ut yet may remain silent
n o t b e lost
f o r lack o f sp e ech
They are as gr e at
as l ife itsel f and yet as simple as the
simplest mi n d o f man I can hardly do
better than paraph r ase these for the
greatest o f my ge neral principl e s
,

li ne

An O ut

16

Theos op hy

of

I will then give some coroll a ries


which follow naturally from them and
then thirdly some o f the more promi
nent of th e adva n tag eous results which
necessarily attend this denite know
led g e Havi n g thus outlined the scheme
in tabular form I will take it up po int
b y poi n t and endeavour to o ffer such
elementa r y explanations as come with
in the sc o pe of this littl e i ntroductory
boo k
,

exists a n d H e is good He
is the g r eat li f e giv e r who dwell s with
in u s and without us i s undying and
e t ernally b en e ce n t He is not heard
n or seen nor touched yet is perceiv e d
by the man who desires p erception
Ma n 1 8 i mmortal and his future
2
is one whose glory and splendour have
n o limit
A
ivine
law
of
absolute
j
ustice
D
3
rules the world so that each man is in
truth his own j udge the dispenser o f
glory or gloom to himsel f the decree r
o f his li f e his reward his punish ment
1

Go d

Genera

l Pri nci p l es

17

C O R O LLA R I E S

To

each o f these grea t truths are


attached c e rtai n oth e rs su b sidiary a n d
e x pla n atory
Fro m th e rst o f them it follows '
,

That in spite o f app e ara n ces all


things ar e de n itely a n d i n telligently
movin g together f o r g ood ; that all cir
howe v er untoward they
cu m s t a n ce s
may se e m are i n reality e x actly what
are n eeded ; that e v erything around u s
t en ds not t o hinde r us b ut to help us
i f it is o nly understood
That since the whole schem e
2
thus te n ds to ma n s b e n et cl ear ly it i s
hi s duty to l e ar n to u n dersta n d it
That
when
he
thus
understands
3
it it is also his duty i n t e l li gen tly t o
co operate in this sch e m e
I

From the seco n d g reat truth it fol


lows '
I
That the tru e man is a soul a n d
that this b ody is only an appanage
2
That he must th e r e fo re r ega rd
.

An O ut ine

18

A r

of

Th eos op hy

everythin g f r om the s t andpoint o f the


soul and that in every case when an
internal struggle ta k es place he must
realize his identity with the higher and
not with the lowe r
That
what
we
commo
n
ly
call
his
3
l ife i s only o n e day in his true and
larger life
That
death
i
s
a
matter
of
far
l
ess
4
importance than i s usually supposed
since it is by no means the end o f life
but merely the passage from o n e sta ge
o f it to another
That
man
has
an
immense
v o lu
e
5
tion behind him the study o f which i s
most fascinatin g interesting and in
st r uctive
6 That he has also a splendid e v o
l u t io n before him the study o f which
wil l be even more fascinating and in
structive
hat
there
is
an
a
b
solute
cer
T
7
tainty o f nal attainmen t for eve r y h u
ma n soul no matter how far he may
seem to have s t r a v ed from the path o f
evolution
,

Genera

l Pri nci p l es

19

From the third g r eat truth it fol


lows '
That every thought word o r a c
I

tio n prod uces its denite result n o t a


reward o r a pu n ishm e n t imposed from
with o ut but a result inherent in the
action itsel f denitely connected with it
in the relation o f cause and e ff ec t these
being really but two inseparabl e parts
o f o n e whole
That it is b oth the duty a n d in
2
t e r e s t of man to study thi s divin e law
closely so that he may be a b l e t o adapt
himsel f to it a n d to use it as we use
oth e r great laws o f n ature
That
it
is
n
ecessary
man
to
f
o
r
3
attain perfect co n trol over himsel f so
that he may guide his l i fe intelligently
in accorda n ce with this l aw
.

ADVA N TAGE S GA IN E D F R O M
TH I S 'N OWLE D GE
.

Wh en this k n owledge is fully assi m


il a t ed it cha nges the asp e ct o f li f e so
co m pl e t e ly that i t woul d b e impossi b l e
,

li ne

20

An O ut

Theos ophy

tabulate all the ad v a n ta ge s


which ow from it I can o n ly mention
a few o f the principal lines along which
thi s change is produced and t h e read
er s own thought will n o doubt supply
some o f the endless ramications which
are their necessary consequence
B u t it must be und erstood that n o
vague knowledg e will be su fcient
S uch belief as most men accord to the
assertions o f thei r religions will be
quite useless since it produces no p r a c
tical e ff ect in their l iv e s B u t i f we
believe in these truths as we do in the

other l aws o f nature as w e b elieve


th at r e bu rn s and that water drown s
t he n the e ffect that they produce in
For our be li e f
o u r l ives is enormous
in the l aws o f n ature i s su fcie n tly
r eal t o i n duc e us to order o u r l ives in
accorda n c e with it B e li e ving t hat re
b urn s we t a ke every precautio n to
avoid re ; b eli e vi ng that wat e r drow n s
we a v oid goi ng i n to wat er t oo d ee p
f o r us u n less we ca n swi m
Now thes e beli e fs a r e s o de n it e a n d
fo r

me

of

to

Genera

l Pri nci pl es

21

rea l to us be ca use they are fou n d e d on


kn owledg e and illustrated by daily e x
r
i
e
n
and
the
bel
iefs
o
f
the
Theo
e
c
e
;
p
sophical student are equally re a l and
denite to him f o r e x actly the sam e
reaso n And that i s why we n d fol
lowi ng from them the r e sults n o w t o
be described '
~

We gain a rational compr e h en sion

o f li fe
w e k now h o w we should live
and why and we learn that li fe is
worth l ivi n g when prop e rly und er
sto od
We l earn how t o go v er n o u r
2
selves and therefore how t o develope
ourselv e s
h
o
We
l
e
ar
n
b
est
help
th
se
t
o
o
w
3
whom w e lov e how t o make o urs elves
useful t o all with whom w e co me i n to
co n tact a n d ulti m ately t o th e whole
huma n rac e
V
m
W
e
l
e
ar
n
t
iew
e
ve
rythi
n
fro
o
4
g
t h e wid e r philosophical sta n dpoi n t
n ev e r from the petty and purel y per
s o n al side
I

li ne

An O ut

22

of

Theos ophy

C onseque ntly
r
The
troubl
es
of
life
no
longer
e
a
5
s o large for us
6 We have no sense o f inj ustice in
connection with our surroundings o r
our destiny
We
are
altogether
freed
f
r
om
7
the fear o f death
8 O u r grief i n connection with the
death o f those w h om w e love is very
greatly mitigated
We
gain
a
totally
different
vie
w
9
o f the li fe a fter death
and we under
stand its place in our evolution
1 0 We are altogether free from r e
l ig io u s fears or worry either for our

selves o r fo r o u r friends fears as to


the salvation o f the soul for exampl e
1 1
We are no l onger trou b led by
unce rtai n ty as to our future fate but
l ive in perfect serenity and per fect fear
less n ess
.

'

Now l e t us take these poi n ts i n detail


and endeavour b riey to explain them
.

C HA PTE R

II I

TH E D E I TY

Whe n w e l ay down the exist en ce o f


G od as the rst and greatest o f o u r
prin ciples it b ecomes necessary for us
to dene the sense in which we employ
that much abused y et mighty word
We try to redeem i t from the narr o w
limits impos ed on it by the i gnorance
o f undeveloped men
and to restor e to

it the spl endid conc e ption spl en did


though so in n itely bel o w the reality
given to it by the founders o f religions
And w e distin guish b etwe e n G o d as
the I n n ite E xistenc e and the ma n i
f es t a t io n o f this S uprem e E x iste n c e as
a rev ea l ed G od e v olvi ng a n d guidi n g
a u n ivers e On ly t o this limited m a n i
f e s t a t io n should the ter m a p er so n al

God i n Himsel f is
Go d be appl ied
beyond th e b o unds o f pe rs on al ity is
,

'

li ne

24

An Out

Theos ophy

of

'

i n all a n d through al l and indeed is


all ; and of the Innite the Absolute

the All we can only say H e is


F o r a l l practical pu r poses we nee d
not go further than that marvellous
and glorious mani festation o f H im '
a
l ittle less entirely beyond o u r c o mp r e
h e n s io n ) the great Guiding Force o r
D eity o f o u r own solar system whom
philosophers have called the Logos O f
him is true al l that we have ever hea r d

f
redicated
o
al
l
that
is
g
od
o
d
o
G
p

that is not the blasphemous co n ce p


tions sometimes put forward a s cr ib
ing t o H im human vices B u t all that
has ever be e n said o f the love the wis
dom the power the patience and com
passio n the om n iscience the omni

presence the omnipotence all o f this


and much m ore is true o f the Logos
V erily in Him we l ive
o f o u r system

a n d mov e a n d have o u r bein g not a s


a poetical ex pressio n but '
stra n ge as it
may se e m ) as a denite scientic fact ;
and so whe n we speak o f the Deity ou r
rst thou ght is naturally of the Logos
,

'

'

The

D ei ty

25

W e do n ot vaguely h op e that He
may b e ; we d o n ot ev en be li ev e as a
matter o f faith that H e is ; w e simply
k n ow it as we k n ow that the su n shi n es
f o r t o the trai ne d a n d d eve lop e d clair
v oyant investigator this Mi ghty E xist
e n ce is a denite c e rtainty Not that
any merely human devel opment can e n
able us directly t o see Him, b ut that u m
mistakable evidenc e o f His action and
His purpos e surrounds us o n every side
a s we study the li fe o f the u n seen
world which is in reality only the high
er part o f this
Her e we meet t he explanatio n o f a
d o gma which is common to all rel i g ions
that o f th e Trinity I n co mp reh en s i
ble as ma n y o f th e stateme n ts made o n
this su b j ect in o u r cr e eds may se e m t o
the ordi n ary reader they be com e si g
n i can t and lumi n ous wh en th e truth
i s u n derstoo d As H e shows Him s e l f
t o us i n Hi s work the Lo g o s i s u n

dou b t edly tripl e thre e a n d y et o n e as


r e li g i on has lo ng a go told us ; a n d as
m uch o f the expl a nation o f this a p
-

li ne

26

An O ut

of

Theos ophy

parent myste r y as the intellect of m an


at its present stage can g r asp will be
found in the b o o k s presently to be men
t io n e d

That H e is within us as well as with


out us o r in other words that man
himsel f is in essence divin e is anoth er
great truth which though those who
are blind to all but the outer and lower
world may still argue about it i s an
absol ute ce rtainty to the student of the
higher side o f l i fe O f the constitution
o f man s soul and its various vehicles
w e shall spea k under the heading o f
the second o f the truths ; su f ce it for
the moment to note that the inherent
divinity is a fact a n d that in it resides
th e assuranc e o f the ultimate retu rn o f
every human being to the divine l evel
,

TH E D I V I N E S C H E ME

non e o f our postulates wil l


prese n t greater di fculty to th e aver
age mi n d tha n the rst corollary to this
rst great truth Loo k ing rou n d us in
daily li fe w e see so much o f the storm
Perhaps

The

D ei ty

27

and str e ss the sorrow a n d the su ffer


ing so much tha t looks l ike t h e tri
umph o f evil over good tha t it seems
almos t impo ssibl e to suppo se that al l
this apparen t con fusion is in reality
part o f a n ordered pro g ress Y e t this
i s the truth a n d ca n be see n t o be the
truth so soo n as we escape from the
dust cloud raised b y the struggl e in this
outer world and look u po n it all from
the v antage ground o f th e fuller know
ledge and the inner peace
Then the real motion o f the compl ex
machinery becomes apparent Then it
i s seen that what have seemed to be
counter curr e nts o f evil prevailing
a gainst th e st ream o f progress are
merely triin g eddies into which for
the moment a l ittl e water may turn
aside o r tiny W hirlpool s o n the surface
in w hich part o f th e water appears f o r
the m o ment t o be ru n ni n g b ackwards
B u t al l the tim e th e mi ghty river is
sw e epin g steadily on its appointed
course be aring the supercial whirl
ools
along
with
it
ust
so
the
grea
t
p
J
,

li ne

An O ut

28

of

Th eos op hy

strea m o f evolution is movi n g ev e n ly


o n its way
and what seems to us so
terri b le a tempe st is the mer e st r u i in g
o f its surface
A n other a n alo gy very
beauti fully worked o u t is give n in Mr
C H Hi n to n s S ci en ti c R o ma n ces
vol i pp 1 8 t o 2 4
Truly as o u r third great tru th t e ll s
us absolute j ustic e is meted o u t to all
and s o in whatever circumsta nc es a
man nds himsel f he knows that he
himsel f a n d non e oth e r has provid e d
them ; but he may also know much more
tha n this He may rest assured that
u n d er the action o f evolutionary law
matters ar e s o arranged as to gi ve him
th e b est possible opportunity f o r devel
oping withi n himsel f thos e qualities
which h e most n e ed s
His circu m
sta n ces are b y n o means nece ssarily
those that he would ha v e chosen for
himsel f b ut they are e x actly what h e
has deserved ; and su b j ect only t o that
co n sideratio n o f his deserts '
which i re
quently impose serious limitations )
they are thos e b est ada p ted for his
,

The

De i ty

29

progr e ss They may provide him with


al l sorts o f di ffi culties but these are
o ffered only in order that he may l earn
to surmount the m a n d thereby de ve l ope
within himsel f courage determination
patience pers e vera n ce o r w h at ev er
other quality h e may l ac k Me n ofte n
speak as though th e forces o f Nature
were conspiring agai n st them whereas
as a matter of fact everything about
them is carefully calculated to assi st
them o n thei r upward way
Th a t s in ce there is a D ivine scheme
it is man s part to try t o understand it
is a propositio n which surely n eeds n o
E ven were it o n ly from
argument
motives o f sel f interest those w h o have
to live under a certain set o f co n ditions
would d o wel l t o familiari ze them
selves with them ; and whe n a m a n s
o b j ects i n li fe b ecome altruisti c it i s
still more n ecessary f o r him to compre
hen d i n order that h e may he lp the
more e ffectually
It is undou b tedly part o f this pla n
for man s evol uti o n that h e hims e l f
.

li

30

An O ut

ne o f

Theos oph y

should intel ligently co ope r ate in it a s


soon as he has deve loped su fcient intel
l ig e n ce t o g rasp it and su fcien t good
feeling t o wish to aid B u t inde e d this
D ivine sc heme i s s o wonderful and s o
beauti ful that when once a man s ees
it nothi n g else is possible for h im than
to throw all his energies into the e ffo rt
to become a wor k er in it no matter h o w
humble may be the part which he has
t o sustain
For fuller information on the sub
f
r is r e
e
s
this
chapter
the
reade
c
t
o
j
f e rred to Mr s B esant s E s o te r i c C h r is
t ian i ty and A n ci e n t Wis d o m and to my
o w n littl e b ook o n Th e C h r is ti a n Cr e e d
M uch light is also thrown on th ese
conceptions from the Greek standpo i n t
in Mr G R S Mead s Or ph eu s and

fr o m the Gnostic C hristian in his F r a g


me n ts of a F a i th F or g o tten
-

D eity

The

81

I know as my life grows older


A n d mine eyes have clearer sight
That und er eac h r an k wrong s ome where
The r e lies the root of right ;
That each s o r r ow has its p urp ose
B y the so r r owing o f t unguessed ;
That as su r e as the sun brings m o rn i ng
Whatever is is be s t
,

I know t hat each sinful action


A s su r e as the night b r i ngs shade
I s s omewhe e some t ime p un i shed
Though t he hou r be long delay ed
I know that the s oul is a i ded
S omet i mes b y the hea r t s unrest
A n d t o g r ow means o f t t o su ff er ;
,

B ut

whatever is is best
,

I know that the e a r e no err o r s


I n the gr ea t eternal p la n
A n d t hat all t h i ngs wo k t ogether
F o r the n al good o f man
And I kn ow when my s o ul s p eeds
r

ou

wa r d
I n its grand ete rnal quest
I shall s ay as I loo k bac k ea rthward
Whateve r is is best
,

Th e
'

a bo

ve

ap p

A me r

ea r e d

ic

a n on y m o u s

n ew s p ap e r
'

ly i n

an

C H A PTE R I V

TH E CO N S TI TU TI O N
OF

MAN

Th e a stou n ding p r actical m at e rial


ism to which we have be en reduced in
this country ca n hardly be more cl early
shown than it is by the expressi o ns t hat
we employ in common l i fe We spea k
quite ordinarily o f man as having a

soul o f saving o u r soul s and so o n


evidently rega r ding the physical body
as the real man and the soul as a
mere appanage a vague s o mething to
be con sidered as the property o f the
body With an idea s o littl e dened as
this it can hardly be a matter o f sur
prise that many peopl e go a littl e fur
ther al on g the sam e li n es and doubt
wh e ther this va gu e somethin g e x ists
at all S o it would s e em that the or
d in a ry m a n is ve ry o ft en quit e u nce r
tai n wh e th e r h e posse ss es a soul o r n ot ;
s t ill l e ss do e s h e k n ow that that s ou l
.

'

Co ns ti tution

The

Man

of

33

is immortal That he should remain in


this pitiable c o ndition o f ignora n ce
seems strange for ther e is a very great
d e al o f evide n ce availa b le even in the
outer world t o show that man has an
existence quite a part fro m his b ody
capabl e o f bein g carried o n at a dis
tance from it whil e it i s livin g and e n
t ir e l y without it when it i s dead
U n til w e have entirely rid oursel v es
o f this e x traordinary de lusion that the
body i s the man it is quite imp o ssibl e
that we should at al l appreciate the real
facts o f the c a se A littl e investigation
immediately shows us that the b od y
is o n ly a ve hicl e b y means of which the
man ma n i fests himsel f i n connection
with this particular type o f gross mat
ter o u t o f which o u r visi b le world i s
built
Furthermore it shows that other and

su b tler types o f matt e r exist not only


the ether admitted b y m oder n scie n ce
as inter p e netrating all known sub
sta n ces b ut other types of matter which
i n terpenetrat e e th e r i n tur n a n d a re
.

34

li ne

An Out

of

Theos ophy

as much ner than ether as it is th a n


solid ma tter
The question will naturally occur to
the reader as t o h o w it wil l be possi b l e
f o r man to become co n scious o f the
e x iste n ce o f type s o f matter so wo n der
fully n e s o minutely subdivided The
answ er is that he can becom e co n scious
o f them in the same way as he be comes

consci ous o f the lower matte r b y r e


from them
And
c e iv in g vibrations
he is enabled to receive vibrati on s from
them b y reason o f the fact that he
possesses matter o f the se n er typ es as

part o f himself that j ust as his body


o f d en se matter is his vehicle f o r per
ce iv in g and communicating with the
world o f dense matter s o does the
ner matter within him constitute for
him a vehicl e by means o f which he
ca n p e rceive and communicate with the
world o f ner matter which is imper
c e p t ib l e t o the grosser physical sense s
This i s b y no means a new idea It
wi ll b e remembered that S t Paul r e
marks that there is a natural b od y

and th e re is a spiritual body and that


.

'

C ons tituti on

The

of

Man

35

furthermore refers to b oth th e soul


and t h e spirit in man by n o mea n s
employing the t w o words synonymous
l y as is s o often ignorantly do n e at the
prese nt day It spee dily b ecomes e v i
d en t that ma n is a far more compl ex
bein g than 1 8 o rdinarily supposed ; that
n o t only is h e a S p l r l t within a soul b ut
that this soul ha s various v ehicles o f
di ff e rent degrees o f density the phy
s ica l b ody b eing only o n e an d the l o w
These various vehicl es
es t o f them
may all b e d e scri be d as b od ies i n rela
tion t o thei r respective level s o f mat
ter It might be said that there exist
around us a series o f worlds o n e within
the other '
b y interpenetration ) a n d
that ma n possesses a body f o r each o f
thes e worlds by means o f which h e may
o b serve it and l ive i n it
H e learn s b y de gr e es h ow to u s e
th e s e v arious b odies and i n that way
gains a much more complete idea o f t h e
great comple x world i n which h e l i v es ;
for al l thes e other in n er worlds ar e i n
reality still part o f it In this way he
he

36

An Outl

i ne

of

Theos ophy

comes to understand ve r y many thi n gs


which be fore seemed mysterious to
him ; he ceases to id e nti fy himsel f with
his bodies and lea rns that they are
only v esture s which he may put o ff
and resume o r change without being
himsel f in the least a ff ected thereby
O nce more we must repeat that all this
is by no means me taphysical specula
tion or pious O pinion b ut denite s cie n
t i c fact thoroughly well known ex
r
m
t
l
en
e
i
a
l
h
to
those
have
studie
w
d
o
p
y
Theosophy S trange as it may seem to
many to nd precise stateme nts ta k ing
t he plac e o f hypotheses upon questions
such as these I am speaking here o f
nothing that is not known by direct
and constantly r epeated obse r vation to
a large number o f students Assuredly

n o t by
w e k now w hereo f we speak
faith but by experiment and therefore
w e spea k with condence
To these inner worl ds o r di ff eren t
levels o f natu r e we usually give the
name o f p lanes We spea k of the vis

ible world as the physical plane


,

'

'

The

C ons ti tuti on

Man

of

37

thou g h und er that name we include


al so the gases and the various grades
o f ether
To the ne xt st a ge o f mater

ia l ity the name o f


the astral pl a n e
was g i v e n b y the medi aeval alchemists
h
w
e
re
well
a
war
e
of
its
exist
o
w
'
ence ) and w e hav e adopted their titl e
Withi n this exists yet another world
o f stil l ner matter o f which we speak

as the m ental plane be cause o f its


matter i s composed what i s commonly
call ed th e mind in man
The re are
other still higher pl anes but I n e e d
n o t trou b l e the reader with design a
tions f o r them since we are at present
dealin g only with man s mani festation
in the lower worlds
It must al ways be bo rne i n mind
that all thes e worlds are in no way
removed from u s in space In fact
they all occupy exactly the sam e space
and are al l e qually about us alw a ys
At the moment o u r consciousness is
focussed in a n d working through o u r
physical brain an d thus we are con
scious o n ly o f the physical world and
.

'

'

li ne

38

An Out

of

Theos ophy

not e ven o f the whole o f that B u t


we have only to l ea r n to focu s that
consciousness in o n e of these higher
vehicles and at once the physical fades
f r om o u r view and we see inst ea d
the world o f matter which correspo nds
t o the vehicle used
R ecollect that all matter is i n e s
sence the same Astral matte r does not
di ff er in its nature f r om physical mat
ter any more than ice di ff ers in its
nature from steam I t i s simply the
same thing in a di ff erent condition
Physical matter may become astral o r
astral may become mental i f o n ly it
be su ffi cien tly subdivided and caused
t o vibrate with the proper degree o f
rapidity
.

TH E T R U E MA N

What then is the true man ? H e


is in tru th a n emanatio n from the L O
f
a
sp
rk
o
the
D
ivine
re
Th
e
s
a
o
g
spirit withi n him is o f the ver y esse n ce
o f the D eity and that spirit we ars his

soul as a vesture a vesture which e n


cl oses and individual izes it and s ee ms
,

The

to

C ons ti tuti on

of

Man

39

limited v 1 5 1 o n to separate it for


a time from th e rest o f the D ivine
Li fe The story o f the original fo r
matio n o f the so ul o f man an d o f the
en folding o f the spirit within it is a
b eauti ful and interesting o n e b ut too
long f o r incl usion in a merely elemen
tary work like this I t may be found
in ful l detail in those o f o u r b o ok s w h ich
deal with thi s part o f the doctrine
S u fce it here to say that all thre e as
peets o f the D ivin e Li fe have thei r
part in its inception and that its for
mation is th e culminatio n o f that
mighty sacrice o f the Logos i n de
scendin g into ma tter which has be en
called th e I ncarnation
Thus th e baby soul is b orn ; a n d
j u s t as it is
made in the image o f

thre efold in aspect as He i s


Go d
a n d threefold in mani festatio n as He

1 8 al so
s o i s its method o f evolution
also a refl ectio n o f H is desce n t i n to
matter
Th e D ivine S park co n t ains
within it all potentiality but it is only
through long ages o f e volutio n that
ou r

'

li ne

An O ut

40

of

Theos ophy

all its possibilities can be realized The


a p pointed method f o r the evolution of
the man s latent qualities seems to be by
learning to vibrate in response to im
B
acts
from
without
at
the
level
t
u
p
where he nds hi msel f '
that of the
higher mental plane ) the vibrati o ns
are far t o o ne to awa k en this r e
s p o n s e at present ; he must begin with
those that are coarser and stronger and
having awa k ened his dormant s e n s ib il
ities by thei r means he will gradually
g r ow more and more sensitive until he
i s capabl e o f perfect response at al l
l evel s to all possibl e rates o f vibration
That is the material aspect o f his
rogress
but
regarded
subj
ectively
to
;
p
be able to respond t o all vibration s
means t o b e perfect in sympathy and
compassio n And that is exactly the

conditio n o f the develope d man the


adept the spiritual teacher the C hrist
I t needs the development within him
o f al l the qualities which go to ma k e
u p the perfect man ; and this i s t h e
real wor k o f h is long li fe in matte r
.

Th e C ons ti tut i on

Man

of

41

I n th is chapter we have brush e d the


surfa ce o f many subj ects o f extreme
impo r t a nc e Those who wish to study
them fu r ther wil l nd m a n y The o
sophical bo oks to help them O n th e
constitution o f man w e woul d refer
readers t o M r s B esant s works M a n
.

B o d i es

h is

and

S e l f a n d i ts
S ev e n Pr in cipl es of

Th e

and Th e
M a n and al so t o my own boo k M an
Vis i bl e a n d I n v is i bl e in which will be
fou n d many coloured illustratio n s o f
the di ff erent vehicles o f man as they
appear to cl airv o yant sight
O n the us e o f the inne r faculties
re fer to Cl a i r v oy a n ce
O n the formation a n d evolution o f
the soul to Mr s B esant s B ir th a n d
E v ol u ti o n of th e S ou l Mr S in n e t t s
Gr ow th of th e S o u l and my o w n
C h r is tian Cr e e d and M a n Vis i bl e a n d
S h e a th s ,

I nv is i bl e

O n the S piritual evol utio n o f ma n

Mr s B esant s I n th e Ou ter Con rt and


Th e P a th of D is cipl es h ip and the co n
,

cluding chapters
I n v i s i bl e H e l per s

of
.

my

ow n

little book

C H A PTE R V

R E I N CA R NA TI O N
S i n ce

the ner mov em e nts c ann ot


a t rst aff ect the soul he has t o draw
rou n d him vestures o f gr o sser matter
through which the hea v i e r v i b ratio n s
ca n play ; a n d s o h e takes upo n himsel f
successi v ely th e m e n tal b od y the as
tra l body a n d the physical b ody This

is a b irth o r incar n atio n the com


m e n ce me n t o f a physical li fe
D uri ng
that l i fe a l l kinds o f expe rienc e s com e
t o him through his physical b ody and
from them he shoul d l ear n s o me les
sons a n d develope so me qualiti e s with
in himsel f
Aft e r a time he be gi ns t o withdraw
agai n into himsel f and puts o ff by
degrees the vestures which h e has as
,

Rei ncarnation

43

u me d
Th e rst o f th e s e to d rop
i s th e physical bo dy a n d his withdraw
a l fro m that is what w e ca l l d e ath
It is not the en d o f hi s activities as
we s o i gn ora n tly suppo se ; n othin g
could be further from the fact H e 1 8
si m ply withdrawi n g from o n e e ff ort
be arin g b ack with him its results ; a n d
a ft e r a ce r ta in p e riod o f comp a rativ e
r e po se he will make another e ff o rt o f
th e s ame ki n d
Thus as has b ee n said what we
or di n arily call his l i fe is only o n e d ay

i n the real and wider l i fe


a day at
school duri n g which he learn s cer t ai n
B u t inasmuch as o ne short
l e s so ns
li fe o f s ev e n ty o r eighty years at most
is n ot e nough t o give him an o p p o r
t u n ity o f lear n i ng all th e lessons which
this wo n d e rful a n d be auti ful worl d has
t o teach a n d inasmuch a s G o d mea n s
him to l ear n th e m all i n His o w n good
time i t i s n ecessary that h e should
com e b ack aga i n many times a n d l i v e
t hrou g h ma n y o f these school days that
we call l i ve s i n diff e rent classes and
s

'

'

44

An Outl

i ne

Th eos op hy

of

und e r di ff erent ci r cumstances until al l


the lessons are learnt ; and then this
lower school wor k will be over and he
will pass to something higher and more

glorious the true divine li fe wor k for


which all this earthly school li fe is t
ti n g him
This i s what is called t he doctrine

o f reincarnation o r rebi r th
a doctrine
which was widely k nown i n the a n
cient civilizations and is even t o day
held by the maj ority of the human race
O f it H ume has written '
,

'

What is inco r ruptible must also


be unge nerabl e The soul the r efore
i f immortal existed before our birth
The metempsychosis is therefore
the only system o f this k ind that Phil
osophy can hea r ken
Writing of the theories o f metem
psychosis i n I ndia and Greece Ma x
Mul ler say s ' There is something u n
d e r l y in g them which i f express e d in
.

'

'H

1 87 5

u me

'
,

E s sa

on

I m mo r

t lity
a

Lon d o n ,

Re

i ncarnati on

45

l e ss

mythological language may sta n d


the s ev erest test o f philosophi cal e x am
In his last and posthumous
work this gr e at O rientalist again refers
t o this d oc trine a n d e x press e s hi s per
so n al belief in it
A n d H uxley writes
Like the
dio ct r in e o f e volution itsel f that o f
transmigration has its r o ots i n the
world o f reality ; and it may cl aim
such support as the gr e at argument
f rom analogy i s capabl e o f supp l y

in g i
S o it will b e s e en that modern as
well as ancient writers recognize this
h yp ot h e s 1 s as o n e deserving o f th e most
serious consideration
It must not f o r a moment be co n
founded with a theory held by the
i gnorant that it was possible f or a soul
which h a d reached humanity in its e v o
l u t io n to re become that o f an animal
,

'

'

Ma x Mu ll e r

'

Re

li

io n , p
T u xl e y ,
on
1 89 5 e d

iti

'

ych l g ic l
89 5 e d it i n
l ti n d E th ic p 61

'
,

22,

Evo

Th e o s o p h

an

or

Ps

o o

s,

46

An O utl

i ne

of

Theos ophy

No such retrogression is withi n

the

limits o f possibil ity ; when once man

comes into existe n ce a huma n soul


i n habiting what we call in o u r b ooks

a causal bod y h e can never again fall


bac k into what is in truth a lower
kingdom of nature whatever mista k es
he may make o r however h e may fail
to ta k e advantage o f his opportunities
I f he is idle in the school o f li fe he
may need to take the same lesson over
and ov e r again b efore he has really
learnt it b ut still o n the whole p r o
gress is steady even though it may
often be slow A few years ago the e s
sence o f this doc trine was prettily put
thus in o n e o f the magazines '
A bo y went to school He w as
very little All that he knew he had
drawn in with his mother s milk His
teacher '
w h o was God ) pl ac ed him in
the lowest class and gave him these
l essons t o learn ' Thou shalt not kill
Thou shalt do no hurt to any living
thin g Thou shalt not steal S o the
ma n did n o t kill ; b ut he was cruel and
,

'

Re

i ncarnation

47

stol e At the en d o f th e day '


wh e n

his b eard was gray when the ni g ht


was come ) hi s te a cher '
w h o was God )
said ' Thou hast lear ne d n ot t o kill
B u t t h e oth e r l essons thou has t n o t
learned C om e b ack t o morrow
O n the morrow h e came b ack a
littl e bo y And his t e acher '
who was
Go d ) put him in a class a littl e higher
and gave him the se lessons t o l ea rn '
Thou shalt d o n o hurt to an y livin g
thing Thou shalt not steal
Tho u
shalt not cheat S o the man did n o
hurt t o any living thi ng ; but he stol e
and he cheated And at the end o f th e

day '
when his beard was gray when
the night was c o me ) his teacher '
w ho
was Go d ) said ' Thou hast l ea rned t o
be merciful B u t the other l essons th o u
hast n o t l earn e d C om e back to mor
row
Agai n o n the morrow he cam e
bac k a little bo y And hi s teacher '
w ho
was God ) put him in a class yet a l ittle
higher and gave him these lessons to
l ear n ' Tho u shal t n o t steal
Th o u
he

'

'

li ne

48

An O ut

of

Theos op hy

shalt not cheat Thou shalt not covet


S o the man did not steal ; but he
ch eated and he cove ted And at the
end o f the day '
when his b eard was

gray when the night was come ) his


teacher '
who w a s God ) said ' Thou
hast l earned n o t to steal B u t th e other
lessons thou hast not le arned C ome
back my child to morrow
This is what I have r e ad in the
faces o f men and women in the boo k
o f the worl d and in the scroll of the

heavens which i s writ with sta r s


B
e
r
a
a
B
erry
enson
in
C
t
T
h
n
u
M
e
'
g
y
z in e
Ma y
I must not ll my pages with the
many unanswerable arguments in f a
v our of this doctrine o f reincarnation ;
they are set forth very fully in our
litera ture b y a far abler p e n than mine
H ere I will say only this Life pre
sents us with many pro b lems which o n
any other hypoth e sis th a n this of r e
incarnation seem utterly insolu b le ; thi s
gre a t truth does explain them and
therefore holds the eld until another
.

'

Re

i ncarn ti on
a

49

and more satisfacto r y hypothesis can


be found Like t h e rest o f the teach
in g this is n ot a hypothesis but a
matter o f dire ct k n owledge f o r many
us ; b ut n aturally o u r k nowledge
of
i s n ot proof to others
Y e t good men and true have b ee n
sorrowfully forced to admit that they
were unable t o reconcil e the state o f
a ff airs w hich exists in the worl d around
us with the theory that G o d was bo th
almighty and all loving
They felt
when they loo k ed upon all the heart
brea k ing sorrow and su ffe rin g that
either H e was n o t almighty and coul d
not prevent it o r He was n o t all lov
ing and did not care I n Theosophy
we hold with dete r mined conviction
that He i s both almighty and all loving
and we reconcil e with that certainty
the ex istin g facts o f l i fe by means o f
this b asic doctrine o f reincarnation
S urely th e only hypoth e si s which allows
us reasona b ly to re cogn ize the p e r f e c
ti o n o f power and love i n the D eity is
.

50

An Outl

i ne

of

Theos ophy

which is worthy o f care ful e x am

on e

in a t io n

Fo r w e understand that o u r pres


e n t li fe is not our rst but that we
each have behind us a long line o f lives
by means o f the experiences o f which
we have evolved from the condition o f
primitive man to our present position
Assuredly in these past lives we must
have done both goo d and evil and from
eve r y one o f o u r actions a denite p ro
po r tion o f result must have followed
under the inexorable law o f j ustice
From the good follows always ha p pi
n ess and further o p portunity ; from the
ev il follows always sorrow and limita
tion
S o i f we nd ourselves l imited in
any way th e limitation is of our o wn
ma k ing or i s merely due to the youth
of the soul ; i f we have sorrow and su f
f e r in g to endure w e ourselves alone
a r e responsibl e The mani fold and com
ple x d estinies o f men answer with ri gid
e xactitude to the ba la n ce b etwee n the
good a n d evil of th e i r previous actio n s ;
,

Re i ncarna ti on

51

a n d al l is moving on w ard u n der the


divine order towards the nal co n s u m
mation o f glory
There is perhaps no Theosophical
teaching to which more violent o b j e c
tion is made th a n this great truth o f
reincarnation ; yet it is in reality a most
com fo rting doctrin e F o r it gives us
time f o r the progress w hich l ies be

fore time and oppo rtunity to become


pe rfect even as o u r Father i n Heaven

is perfect
O bj ectors chiey found
their protest o n the fact that th e y have
had s o much troubl e and sorrow in
this li fe that they wil l n o t listen to any
suggestio n that it may be necess ary to
go through it all again B u t this is
o bviously not argument w e are i n
search o f t r uth and when it is fou n d
w e must n o t shrink from it whether
it be pleasant o r u n pl easa n t thou gh
as a m att er o f fact as said a b ove r e
i n car n ation rightly u n derstood is pro
f o u n d l y com forti ng
A ga i n p eopl e ofte n i n qu i r e why
i f w e h av e had s o m a n y pr e vious l i v es
.

'

'

An O ut

52

li

of

ne

Theos ophy

do not r emembe r any of them P u t


ve r y briey the answer to thi s i s that
some p eopl e do remem b er them ; and
the reason why the maj o r ity do not is
because thei r consciousness is still
focussed in one o r the othe r of the
l ower sheaths That sheath cannot be
expected to recollect previou s i n ca r
nations because it has n o t had any ;
and the soul w hich h as is not yet fully
conscious on its own plane B u t the
me m o r y o f al l the past i s stored with
in tha t soul and expresses itsel f here
in the innate qualiti es with which the
child is born ; and when the man has
evolved sufciently to be able to focus
hi s consciousness there instead o f only
i n l ower vehicles the enti r e history o f
that rea l and wider l i fe will be open b e
fore him l i k e a b ook
The whol e o f thi s questio n is fully
and beauti fully work ed out in Mr s
B esant s manual o n R e in ca r n a tio n D r
erome
Anderso
n
s
e inc a r n a ti o n and
R
J
in the chapters o n that subj ect i n Th e
A n cie n t Wis d o m to which the attention
o f the reader is sp ecially directed
we

C H A PTE R V I

WI D E R

TH E

O U TLO O'

A l ittl e thou g ht will soo n show us


what a radical cha ng e is introduced
i n to t he life of the man who real izes
that his phys ical life i s nothing but a
day at school a n d that hi s physical
body 1 3 merely a temporary vesture as
sumed f o r t h e purpose o f learning
through it H e sees at once that this

purpose o f l earnin g the lesson is the


only on e o f any im p o rtance and that
the man who allows him sel f to be di
verted from that purpose by any co n s id
c ration
i s acting with inconceivable
stupidity
To him who knows the truth the
li fe o f the ordinary person devoted ex
c l u s iv e l y t o physical o b j ects t o the pur
suit o f wealth o r fame appears the

merest child s play a senseless sacri


ce o f al l that i s really worth havi ng
for a few moments gratication o f
the l o wer part o f man s nature The
,

'

An O utl

54

i ne

of

Theos ophy

stude n t sets his a ff ection o n things

above and n o t o n things o f the earth


n ot only because he sees this t o be the
right course o f action but be cause he
realizes v ery clearly the valuelessness
o f these things of earth
He always
tries to ta k e the highe r point o f view
for he sees that t he lower is utterly u m

r eliable
that the lower d esi r es and
feel ings gather round him li k e a dense
f o g and ma k e i t impossible for him
t o see anything cl early from that level
Y e t even when he is th o roughly
convi n ced that the higher course is a l
ways the right on e and whe n he is
fully determined to follow it he will
nevertheless sometimes encounter very
strong temp t ations t o ta k e th e lower
course a n d will be se n sible o f a great
struggl e withi n him H e will discover
that ther e is a l aw in th e mem be rs

warri ng a gainst the law o f th e mind


as S t Paul says s o that the good
that I would I d o n o t a n d the evil

which I would n o t that I do


No w good reli gi ous p e opl e oft en
,

'

'

The

Wi der

55

O utlook

m ak e th e most serious mistak e s about


this i n t e rior struggle which we have all
felt to a g reater or less e x tent They
.

usually accept o n e o f t w o theories o n


t h e? subj ect
E ither they suppose that
the lower promptin gs come from ex
t e r io r tempting demons or el se they
mourn ove r the t e rri b l e W i ck e dn ess an d
blackness o f their hearts in that such
fathoml ess evil still exists within them
I ndeed many o f the best o f me n a n d
women go through a v ast amount o f
total ly unnecessary su ff ering o n this
accou n t
The rst point to have cl early in
mi n d i f o n e wishes to understa n d thi s
matter is that the lower desire is n ot i n
truth ou r d esire at all No r is it the
work o f some de m on trying t o de
stroy ou r souls It is tru e that th e r e
so m etim e s ar e evil e n tities which ar e
attract e d b y th e b ase thou ght i n ma n
a n d inte n si fy it b y their actio n ; b ut
such e n titi e s are ma n m ade every on e
o f th e m a n d imperma n e n t
They are
me rely th e articial form s cal led i n to
.

An O ut

56

li ne

Theos ophy

of

existence by the thought o f oth e r e vil


men and they have a pe r iod of what
seems al most l i k e li fe propo rtioned to
the strength o f the thought that cre
a ted them
B u t the undesira b le prompting within
us usually comes f r om quite a n other
source It has been mentioned how
man draws round him vestures of mat
ter at di ff erent l evels in orde r that he
may descen d into incarnation B u t this
matter is not dead matter '
indeed o c
cult science teaches u s that the r e is no
such thing as dead matte r anywhere )
but is instinct with li fe ; though it is
li fe at a stage o f evolution much earlier

than our own s o much e arlier that it


is still moving on a downward course
into lower matter instead of rising
aga i n out o f lower matter into higher
C onsequently its tende ncy is always to
p r ess downwards toward the grosser
material and the coarser vi b r ati ons
which mean progress for it but retro
a p pens that
i
for
us
and
so
it
h
r
s
o
n
e
s
;
g
the interest of the true man sometimes
,

Wi de r

The

O utl ook

57

co me s i n to collision with that o f the l iv


ing matter in some o f his vehicl e s
That is a very rough outl ine o f the
explanatio n o f the curious intern al stri fe

that we sometimes feel a stri fe which


has sugges ted t o poetic m i nds the id ea
o f good and evil angel s in conict over
the soul o f man A more detailed a c
count will be found in Th e A s tr a l
P l a n e p 40 and also in Th e O th er
B u t i n the meantime
S i d e o f D ea th
it is impo r tant that the man shoul d
realize that h e is the higher force a l
ways moving towards and battling for
n o t he
ood
whil
e
this
lower
force
is
g
at all but only an unco n trolled frag
ment o f o n e o f his lower vehicl es H e
must lear n to co n trol it t o dominate it
absolutely and to k eep it in order ; but
he should n o t therefore thin k of it as
e v il b u t as an outpo uri n g o f the D ivine
i
n
e
m
o
v
n
its
orderly
course
o
o
w
r
p
g
th ough that course in th i s instance hap
pens to be downwards into matter in
stead o i upwards and away from it as
ours is
.

C H A PTE R V I I

D E ATH

th e most importa n t practical


r e sults o f a thorough c o mprehension o f
Theosophical truth is the entire change
which it necessarily brings about i n our
attitude towards death It is impossible
for us to calculate the vast amount o f
utterly unn e cessary sorrow and terror
and misery which man k i n d i n the a g
r e ga t e has suff ered simply from its
g
ignorance and superstition with regard
t o this o n e matter o f death
There is
amo n g us a mass o f fal s e a n d fooli sh
b el ief along this li n e which has worked
untold evil in the past and is causing
indescri b abl e su ff erin g in th e prese n t
a n d its e radicatio n would b e o n e o f the
gr eatest b enets that could b e co n ferred
upo n the hu m a n race
This b e n et the Th eosophica l t each
i ng at o n ce co n fers o n thos e w h o f f om
thei r study o f philos ophy i n past li v es
now n d themselves able t o acce pt it
O ne

of

Death

59

It r 03 d e ath forthwith o f all its terror


and much of its sorrow and enables u s
t o see it in its true proportions and t o
understand its place in the schem e o f
o u r evolutio n
While de ath is considered as the e n d
o f l i fe
as a gateway i n to a dim b ut
fearful unknown cou n try it is n o t u n
n aturally regarded with much m is giv
ing i f not with positive terror S ince
in spite o f al l religious teaching t o th e
contrary this has been the v iew uni
v e r s a l l y take n in the western world
many gri sly horrors have S prung up
a round it and have b e come matters o f
custom thoughtlessly o b eyed b y many
w h o should k n ow be tte r All the ghast

l y pa raphernalia o f w o e th e mutes th e
plumes th e b lack velvet t h e cr ape the
mournin g garments th e odious b lack

ed ged n otepaper al l th e s e are n othing


m ore tha n ad v ertiseme n ts o f i gn orance
o n th e part o f those w h o employ them
The man w h o b egins to understand
what death is at once puts asid e all this
masqu e rade as childish fol ly s e e i ng
,

An O ut

60

li ne

Theos ophy

of

that to mou r n over the good fortune o f


his friend me r ely because it involves f o r
himsel f the pain o f an appa r ent separa
tion from that frie n d becomes as soon
as it is reco gnized a displ ay o f s e l s h
ness H e cannot avoid feeling the
wrench of the tem p orary se p a ration
but he can avoid allowing his own pain
to become a hindrance to the friend who
ha s p assed o n
H e knows that the r e can be no n eed
to fear or to mourn over death whether
it comes to himsel f or to those whom he
loves It has come to them all often
b efore so that there is nothing u n
familiar a b out it I nstead o f re p resent
in g i t as a ghastly king o f terrors it
would be more accurate and more se n
sibl e to symbolize it as an angel bearing
a golde n key to admit us to the glorious
realms o f the higher l i fe
He real izes very denitely that l i fe
is co n tinuous and that the loss of the
physical b ody is nothing more tha n the
casting asid e o f a garment which in no
way changes the r e al ma n w h o i s the
,

D eath

61

wearer o f the garment H e sees that


death is simply a promotion fro m a li fe
which i s more than hal f physi cal to o n e
which i s wholly astr al and therefore
very much superior S o f o r himsel f he
un feignedly welcomes it and when it
comes t o those whom he loves he recog
mizes at once the great advantage for
them even though he cannot but f e el a
certain amount of selsh regret that h e
should b e tempo r arily separated from
them B u t he knows al so that thi s
separation is in fact only apparent and
not real H e knows that the s o called
dead are n ear him still a nd that he has
o nl y to cast o ff temporarily his p hysical
body in sl eep in order t o stand side by
side with the m a n d commune with them
as b efore
H e sees clearly that the world i s
o n e and that the same D ivine laws rule
the whol e o f it wh ether it be visible o r
invisible to physical sight Co n s e
quently he has n o feeling o f nervous
ness o r strangeness in passing from o n e
part o f it to the other and n o sort o f
.

62

An Outl

i ne

Th e os ophy

of

uncertainty as to what he will n d o n


the other side o f the veil The whole
o f the unse e n world is s o clearly and
fully mapped out for him through the
work o f the Theosophical investigators
that it is as well k n own to him as the
physical l i fe and thus he is prepared to
enter upon it without hesitation when
ever it may be best for his evolution
For full details o f the various stages
o f this higher li fe we must refer th e
reader to the boo k s s p ecially devoted to
this subj ect I t is s u f cie n t here to say
that the conditions into which the man
passes are precisely those which he has
made for himsel f The thoughts and
desires which he has encouraged within
himsel f durin g earth li fe ta k e f o r m as
denite living entities hovering round
him and reacting upon him until the
energy which he poured into them is
e x haust e d When such thoughts a n d
desires hav e b een powerful a n d per
s is t e n t l y evil the companions s o create d
may indeed be terribl e ; b ut happily
such cas es form a ve ry s m all m i n ority
.

'

Death

63

among th e dw e llers i n th e astral worl d


Th e worst that the ordinary man o f the
worl d usual ly provides for hims e l f after
d e ath is a useless a n d unuttera b ly weari
some e x iste n c e v oid o f all ratio n al in

the natural sequ e nce o f a l ife


t e r es t s
wasted in sel f indulgence trivial ity and
gossip here o n earth
To this weari n ess activ e su ff ering
may under certai n co n ditio n s b e added
I f a man durin g earth li fe has allowed
strong physical desir e to o b tai n a mas

t e r y over him
i f f o r example he has
become a slave t o such a vice as avarice

sensuality o r drunkenne ss h e has laid


up for hims el f much purgator i al su ff er
ing a fter death F o r in losing the
physical body he in n o way loses these
desires and passions ; they remain as

vivid a s e v er nay they are eve n more


active when they ha v e no longer the
heavy particl es o f dense matter to set
in motio n What he does lose i s t he
power to grati fy these passions ; s o that
they remain as torturing gnawing de
sires unsatised a n d u n s a t is a b l e It
.

64

An O ut

li ne

Theos ophy

of

will b e seen that this ma k es a very real


hel l f o r the unfortunate man though
o f course only a temporary o n e since
in process o f time such desires must
burn themselves o u t ex p ending thei r
energy in the very su ff ering which they
produce
A terrible fate truly ; yet there are
t w o points which we should bea r in
mind with regard to it Fi rst that the
ma n has n ot only brought it on himsel f
but has determined its intensity and its
du r ation f o r himsel f H e has allowed
this d esire to reach a ce r tain st r ength
during earth l i fe and now he has to
meet it and control it I f du r ing p hys
ical l ife he has made e ff orts to re p ress
or check it h e will have j ust so much
the less di fculty in conque r ing it now
H e has created for himsel f the monster
with which n o w he has to struggle ;
whatever strengt h his antagonist poss
esses is j ust what he has given it
Therefore his fate is not imposed upon
him f r om without but i s simply o f his
o w n making
,

Death

65

S e co n dly ,

the su ff eri n g which he


thus brings upon himsel f i s the o nly
way of escape for him I f it were poss
ibl e f o r him to avoid it and to pass
through the astral li fe without thi s
gradual wearing away of the lower de
?
sires what would b e th e result
Ob
v iou s l y that he would enter upon hi s
next physical l i fe enti rely under the
d omination o f these passions He woul d
be a born drunkard a sensualist a
miser ; and long be fore it would b e
possibl e to teach him that he ought to
try to control such passions they would
have grown far t o o strong f o r control
they would have ensl a ve d him bo dy
and soul and so another l i fe would be
thrown away another opportunity
woul d b e lost He would enter thus
upon a vicious circl e from which there
appears n o escape and his evoluti on
would b e indenitely delayed
The D ivine scheme i s n ot thus
defective The passion exhausts itsel f
durin g the astral li fe and the man r e
turns to physica l e x iste n ce without it
.

66

An Out

li ne

Theos ophy

of

True the wea k ness of mind which a l


low e d passion to dominate him is still
there ; true also he has made for him
sel f for this n e w life an astral b ody
capa b l e o f expressing exactly the sam e
passion s as before so t h a t it would n ot
be di ffi cult f o r him to resume his o l d
e v il li fe B u t the ego the real man has
had a terribl e lesson and assuredly he
will make every e ff or t to prevent his
lower mani festation from repeating
that mistake from falling again under
the sway o f that passio n H e has still
the germs of it within him but i f he
has deserved good a n d wise parents
they will help to develope the good in
him and check the ev il th e germs will
remain u n f r u ct i e d and will atrophy
and s o in the next li fe afte r that they
will not appea r at all S o by slow de
g r ees man conquers hi s evil qual ities
and evolves virtues to replace them
O n the other hand the man who i s
intelligent and helpful who under
stands the conditions o i this non phys
ical existence and takes the trouble to
,

Death

67

dapt hi m s el f t o th e m a n d ma k e the
most o f them nd s opening b efore him
a splendid v ista o f O pportuniti es bo th
f o r a cquirin g fresh knowledg e a n d f o r
doin g useful work He discovers that
li fe away from this de n se body has a
vividness and b rilliancy to which all
earthly enj oyment i s as moonli ght unto
sunlight and that through his cle a r
knowl edge an d calm conde n ce the
po wer o f the endless l i fe shines ou t
upon al l thos e around him He may
become a ce n tre o f p eace and j o y u n
speakabl e t o hundreds o f hi s fel low
men and may d o more good in a few
years o f that astral existence than e ver
he could have done in the longest phys
ical life
H e is well aware t o o that th e re
lies be fore him a n other and still grand
er stage o f this wo n derful p os t m or te r n
li fe Just as b y his desi res and his
l ower thoughts he has made for him
sel f the surroundings o i his astral l i fe
s o has he by his higher thought and his
n obler aspirations mad e f o r himse l f a
a

li ne

68

An O ut

of

Theos ophy

li fe in the heaven world For h eave n


is not a d r eam but a living and glorious
reality No t a city far away beyond
the stars with gates of pearl and streets
reserve d f o r the ha bitation of
o f gold
a favoured few but a state o f con
s c io u s n e s s into which eve r y man will
pass during the interval between his
lives o n ea r th No t an eternal abid
ing place truly but a condition O f bliss
indescribable lasting through many
centuries No t even that alone for
although it contains the r eality which
underlies al l the best and most s p iritual
ideas O f H eaven which have b e en p r o
pounded in various religions yet it
i
must by n o means be cons dered from
that point Of view only
I t is a r ealm o f natu r e which is of

exceeding im p o r tance to u s a vast and


splendid wo r ld of vivid li fe in which
we a r e l iv 1 ng now as well as in the
periods inte r vening between physical in
ca r nations I t is only o u r lack o f de
v e l o m e n t only the limitati o n imposed
p
upon us by this robe o f esh that pre
-

D eath

69

ve n ts us from fully realizing that all


the glory o f the highest heaven is about
us here and n o w and tha t inuences
owing from that world are ever play
ing u p on us i f we will only understand
and receive them I m p ossibl e as this
may s eem t o th e ma ri o f the world it
is the plainest o f realities to the occult
i st ; and to those w h o have not yet
grasped this fundamental truth we can
but repeat the advice given by the B u d

d h i s t teacher
D o n o t complain and
cry and pray but open your eyes and
see The light is all about yo u i f yo u
woul d only cast the bandage from you r
eyes an d loo k I t is s o wonderful so
beauti ful s o far b eyond what any man
has dream t o f or prayed f o r a n d it is

ou l o
T
f o r ever and f o r ever
h
e
S
'
f
a P e opl e p
When the astral body which is the
vehicle O f the lower thought and desire
has gradually been worn away and left
behind the man nds himsel f inha b it
ing that highe r vehicle o f ne r matter
which we have called the mental body
,

'

70

An Out

li n

of

Theos ophy

In this v ehicl e he is abl e to r e s p o n d to


th e v ibrati ons which reach him from the
correspond ing matter in the e x ter n al

world the matter O f the mental plane


His time o f purgatory is over the lower
part of his nature has burnt itsel f away
and now there remain only the higher
thoughts and aspirations which he has
poured forth du r ing e arth l i fe These
cluster round him and ma k e a sort o f
shell about him through the medium o f
which he is able to respo nd to certain
typ es o f vibration in this r ened matter
The se thoughts which surround him are
the powers by which he draws u p on the
wealth o f the heaven world
This
mental plane i s a reection of the D i

vine Mind a storehouse o f innite ex


tent from which the p erso n en j oy i n g
heaven is abl e to draw j ust according
t o the power o f his o w n thoughts and
aspirations generated during the phys
ical and astral life
All religions have spoken o f th e b l iss
Of H eaven yet few o f them have put
before u s with su fcient clearness this
.

Death

71

l e adi ng idea w hich a l o n e explai n s ra


t io na l ly how f o r al l alike such bliss i s

possi b l e which is indeed the keyn ote

o f the co n ce p tion
the fact that each
m a n mak e s his o w n heave n b y selectio n
from th e ine ff a b l e sple n dours o f the
Thought o f Go d Himse l f A ma n de
cides f o r himsel f b oth the length a n d
the character o f hi s heaven l i fe b y t h e
causes which he himsel f g e nerates du r
ing his earth l i fe ; therefore he ca nn ot
but have exactly the amount which he
h a s deserv ed a n d exactly the qual ity O f
n
i
o
which
is
b
st
suited
to
hi
s
d
i
o
e
s
y
j y
This is a worl d in which every
c r a s ie s
be ing must from the very fact o f h is
conscious n ess there be enj oying th e
highest spiritual b liss o f which he is

capabl e a world whose power o f r e


s p on s e to his aspirations is l imited only
b y his capacity t o aspire
Furth e r de tails as t o the astral li f e
wil l b e found in Th e A s tr a l P l a n e ; the

a
h
T
e
D
ev
heaven l i fe i s described in
and in formation about
ch a n i e P l a n e
both is al so given in D e a th a n d A f ter
and in Th e O th e r S i d e of D ea th
'

C H A PTE R V I I I

MA N

S FA S T A N D F U TU R E

When we have once graspe d the fact


that m a n has reached his present posi
tion through a long and varied series of
lives a question naturally arises in o u r
minds as to how far we can O b t a in any
info r mation ab o ut thi s ea r l ie r e v o l u t io n
which would Obviously be o f a b sorbing
interest to us Fortunately such in
formation is avail a ble n o t only by tra
dition but al so in an o ther and much
more cert ain way I have no space here
to dilate upon the marvel s o f p s y
but must sim p ly say that
ch o m e t r y
there is abundant evidence to show that
nothing can happen without indelibly

r e c o rding itsel f that there exists a


k ind O f memory o f N ature from which
can be recovered with absolute accuracy
a true full and perfect picture o f any
,

M an s P a s t

a nd

Future

73

sc en e o r e v ent since the w orld b e gan


Those t o whom this su b j ect is en tirely
new and w h o consequently see k f o r evi
dence should consult D r B uchanan s
Ps y ch o me tr y 01 Profess o r D enton s
S o u l of Th ing s ; but all occult students
are familiar with the possibility and
most o f the m with the method Of read
ing these records o f the past
In essence this memory O f Nature
must be the D ivine Memory far away
beyond human reach ; b ut it is assuredly
reected into lower planes s o that as
far a s events o n these lower planes are
concerned it i s recoverabl e by the
trained intelligence o f man Al l that
as
es
b
efore
a
mirror
f
r
instance
is
s
o
p
reected o n its surface and t o o u r dim
eyes it seems that the images make n o
impression upon that surface b ut that
each passes away and lea v es n o trace
Y e t that may n o t b e so ; it i s n ot d if
cult to imagine that an im p ression ma y
be left somewhat as the im p ressio n O f
every sound is left upon the sensitive
cyl inder o f a phonograph ; and it may
.

li ne

74

An Out

Theos ophy

of

possibl e to recover the impr e ssio n


from the mirror j ust as it is recoverable
from the phonograph
The higher psychometry shows us
that this n ot only may be so but is so ;
and that not a mirro r o n ly but a n y
physical Obj ect retains the impression
o f a l l that has happe n ed withi n its
sight as it were We have thus at ou r
disposal a faultlessly accurate method
o f arriving at the earl ier history o f o u r
wo rld and o f mankind and in this way
much t h at is o f the most en trancing in
t e r e s t can b e observed in every detail
a s though the scen es were being spe
ee
c ia l l y rehearsed for ou r be n et
S
'
C l a ir v oy a n ce p
I nvestigations into the past con
d ucted by these methods show a long
process o f gradual evolution slow but
never ceasing They show the D i v ine
Li fe rising from kingdom to kingdom
through th e mineral the vegetabl e the
animal until it reaches the human and
thus b inding them al l together into one
common brotherhood They show the
be

Man s Pas t

Future

a nd

75

d eve lopm e nt o f man under the action

r s t the law o f e v o
o f t w o great law s
l u t io n which steadily presses him o n
ward and upward and secon dly the l aw
o f divi ne j ustice
o r caus e a n d e ff ect
which b ri n gs him i n e v ita b ly th e result
o f his every actio n and thus g radual ly
teaches h im to liv e intelli gen tly in har
mony with the rst law
This lon g process o f e volution has
b ee n c a rri e d o u t n o t only o n this earth
but o n other gl ob es connected with it ;
but the subj ect is much to o vas t t o be
fully treated i n an eleme n tary bo ok such
as this It forms the pri n cipal theme
of
Madame B l a v a t s ky s monumental
work Th e S e cr e t D oc tr i ne ; b ut before
commenci n g that students are advised
t o read the chapters on this su b j ect in
Mr s B esant s A n ci e n t Wis d o m and
Mr S in ne t t s Gr ow th of th e S ou l
The b ooks j ust m entioned will a i
ford the fullest availa b le in fo rm ation
not only as to man s past b ut as to his
future ; and though the glory that
a waits him is such as n o tongue can tel l
,

76

An O ut

li ne

of

Theos ophy

something at least may be understood


o f the ea r lier stages which lead towards
it That man is divine e v en now and
that he wil l presently unfold within
himsel f the poten tialities o f di v inity is
an idea which ap p ears to shoc k some
good pe ople a n d to be considered by
them t o savour o f blasphemy Why it
should be so is not easy to see for Jesus
himsel f reminds the Jews around him
o f the saying in their S criptures
I

said ye are Gods and the doctrine of


t he d e i ca t io n of man was quite com
m o n l y held by th e Fathers o f the
C hurch
B u t i n these later days much
o f the earlier and purer doctrine has
been forgotten and misunderstood ; and
the t r uth n o w seems to be held in its
fulness o n ly b y the stude n t o f occult
ism
S ometimes me n ask why i f man
was at the rst a spar k o f the D ivine
it should be necessary for him t o go
through all these aeons of evolution in
volving so much sorrow and su ffering
only in order to be still D ivine at the
.

'

M an s P as t

Future

a nd

77

e n d o f it all B u t those w h o mak e this


obj ection have n o t yet comprehe n ded
the schem e That which came forth

from the D ivine was n ot yet man n o t


yet even a spar k for th e r e was n o de
It was
v e l o p e d individualization in it
simply a great cloud o f D ivin e essence
though capabl e o f conde n si ng event
u a ll y into many sparks
Th e di fference b e tween its conditio n
when issuing forth and when retu rn ing
is exactly like that between a great
mass O f shining ne b ulou s matter and
the s o lar system which is eventual ly
formed ou t o f it The nebula is beauti
ful n o dou b t b ut vague and usel ess ;
the suns formed from it by slow e v o l u
tion po ur l i fe and heat and l ight upon
many worl ds and their inhabitants
O r we may take a n other analo gy
The human b ody is compo sed o f count
l ess millio n s O i tiny particles an d some
o f them are co n stantly being thrown o ff
from it S uppose that it w ere possibl e
for each O f thes e particles to g o through
some ki n d o f evolution by mean s o f
.

li ne

78

An O ut

Theos ophy

of

which it woul d in time becom e a


huma n being we should not say that
because it had b e en in a certai n s ense
human at the be gin n ing o f that e v ol u
tio n it had therefore not gained any
thin g when it reached the en d The
esse n ce comes forth as a mere outpour
in g O f force even though it b e D ivine
force ; it returns in the form of thou
sands o f millions of mighty ad epts
each capa b le of himsel f developing into
a Logos
Thus it will b e s ee n that we are
abundantly j ustied in the statement
that the future o f man is a future to
whose glory a n d splendour there is n o
limit And a most importa n t po i nt t o
remem b er is that this magnicent future
is for al l without e x ceptio n He whom

we call the go od ma n that is the ma n


whose will moves with the D ivin e Will
whose actio n s are such as to h elp the

march o f e v olution makes rapid pro


gress o n th e upward path ; while the
ma n w h o u n i n tellige n tly opposes him
sel f to th e g reat curre n t b y striving to
,

M a n s P as t

a nd

Future

79

pursue selsh aims instead o f wor k


ing for the good Of the whole will be
able t o progress only very slowly an d
er r atically B u t the D ivin e Wil l is in
nitely stronger than any human will
and the wor k ing o f the great scheme is
perfect The man who do es n o t learn
his lesson the rst time has simply to
try over and ov er again until he does
l earn it ; the D ivine patience is i n nite
and sooner o r later every human b ein g
attains th e goal appointed for him
There is n o fear and n o uncertainty
but only perfect p eace f o r thos e w h o
know th e Law and the Will
,

C H A PTE R I '

CA U S E A N D E F F E CT

In previous chapters we have con


s t a n t l y had to ta k e into consideration
this mighty law of action and reaction
under which e v ery man necessarily r e
ce iv e s his j ust desert ; f o r without this
l aw the rest of the D ivine scheme would
be incomprehensibl e t o us It is well
worth ou r while t o try t o O btain a true
appreciatio n o f this law and the rst
step towards doing that is t o disabuse
our minds e n tirely o f the eccl esiastical
idea o f reward and punishment as fol
lowing upo n huma n actio n I t is ih
evita b le that w e should con n ect with
that idea the thought o f a j udge a d
mi n istering such r e ward o r punishme n t
a n d then at o n c e follows the further
m
ossi
b
ility
that
the
j
udge
may
b
e
ore
p
lenient in one case than in another that
.

C aus e

a nd

Eff ect

81

h e may be swayed by circumstances


that an a p pe al may be made to him and
that in that way the incidence O f the
law may b e m odied o r eve n escaped
altogether
E very o n e O f these suggestions i s in
t h e highest degree misleading and the
whole bo dy o f thought t o which they
be long must be exorcised and utterl y
cast ou t b e fore we can arrive at any
real understanding O f the facts I f a
man put his hand upon a b ar o f red hot
i r on und er ordinary circumstances he
would b e badly b ur n t ; yet it w o ul d n o t
occur t o him t o say that Go d had pun
i s h ed him f o r putting his hand o n th e
bar He would real iz e that what had
happened w as precisely what might
have b een exp e cted under the action O f
the laws o f Nature and that o n e w h o
understood what heat is and h o w it acts
could explain e x actly the pr oductio n o f
the b ur n
It is to b e O b served that the ma n s
intention in n o way a ffects the physical
result ; whether h e seized that ba r in
,

li

An O ut

82

of

ne

Theos ophy

o r der to do some ha r m with it o r in


o r de r t o save someone else from in
j u r y he would b e bu r nt j ust the same
O f course in o ther and higher ways the
r esults would be quite d i e r e n t ; in the
one case he wo uld h ave done a noble
deed and would have the appro v al o f
his conscience while in the other he
could feel only remorse B u t the phys
ical bu r n would be there in o n e case
j ust as much as in the other
To obtain a true concepti o n o f the
wor k ing of this law o f cause and e f f ect
we must thin k o f it as acting auto
m a t ica l l y in exactly the s a me way
If
we have a heavy weight hanging from
the ceiling by a ro p e and I exe r t a
ce r tain amo unt o f force in pushin g
against that weight we k now by the
laws o f mechanics that that weight wil l
ress
bac
k
against
my
hand
with
exact
p
l y the same amount O f force ; a n d this
r eaction will ope r ate with o ut the slight
est reference to m y reason f o r disturb
ing its equilibrium S imila r ly the man
w h o commits an evil a ction distu r bs the
.

C a us e

a nd

83

Eff ect

equilibrium O f t he great current o f evo


l u t io n ; and that mighty curr en t in
variably adj usts that equilibrium a t h i s
expen se
I t must not be therefo re supposed
f o r a moment that the intention of the
action makes n o di ff e r ence ; o n the co n
t r a r y it is the most important factor
connected with it even th o ugh it does
n o t a ffect the result upon the p hysical
plane We are apt t o fo r get that the
intention i s itsel f a fo r ce and a force
acting upon the mental plane where the
matter i s s o much ner and vibrates s o
much more rapidly than o n o u r lower
level that the same amount Of energy
will produce enormously greater e ff ect
The physical action will produc e its r e
sult o n th e physical plane but the men
tal energy o f the intention will wo r k
o u t its o w n result simultaneously in the
matter o f the mental plane totally ir
r espective O f the other
and
its
e
fect
i
s
f
;
certain t o be very much the more im
portant o f the two I n this way it will
be seen that an absolutely p e r fect a d
.

li ne

An O ut

84

Theos ophy

of

j ustment i s always achieved ; for how


ever mixed the motives may be and
however good and evil m a y be mingled
in the physical r esults the equilibrium
will always be p e r fectly re a dj usted and
along every line perfect j ustice must be
don e
We must not forget that it is the
man himsel f and no other who builds
his future characte r as well as p r oduces
his future circumstances
S p ea k ing
very generally it may b e said that
whil e his actions in one l i fe produce
his environment in the next his
thoughts in the o n e life are the chief
factors in the evolution Of his character
f o r the n ext
The method by which
all this work s i s an exceed i ngly inter
esting study but it would ta k e us far
too long to detail it he r e ; it ma y be
found very fully elaborated in Mr s B e
sant s manual o n ' a r ma and also in
the chapter refer r ing t o this subj ect in
her A n cien t Wis d o m and in Mr S in
nett s E s o te ri c B u dd h is m t o which the
read er may be refe r red
,

C aus e

a nd

Ef f ect

85

It is O bvious that all these facts fur


n i sh us with excee dingly good re asons
for ma n y o f o u r ethical precepts I f
thought be a mighty power capable o f
pr o ducing upon its o w n plane results
far more important than any that can be
achieved in physical li fe then the n e
c es s ity that man should co n trol that
force immediately becomes apparent
No t o n ly i s the man building his o w n
future character by means O f his
thought but he is also constantly and
inevitably a ffecting t hose around him
by its means
Hence there lies upon him a very
serious respo nsibility as t o the use
which he makes o f this power If the
feeli n g o f annoyanc e o r hatred arise s
in the heart O f the ordinary man hi s
natural impuls e i s to express it i n some
way either in word or i n actio n The
ordi n ary rules o f civilized society h o w
ever for b i d him t o d o that and dictate
that h e shoul d as far as possi b l e repress
all outward sign O f his feeli ng s I f he
succeeds i n doin g this he is apt t o co n
.

li ne

86

An Out

The os op hy

of

g r atulate himsel f and to consider that


he has done the whole o f his duty The
occult student however k nows that it
is necessary for him to ca r ry his self
control a great deal fu r ther than that
and that he must absolutely repress the
t h o u g h t O f irritation as wel l as its o u t
ward expression F o r he k nows that
his feelings set in motion tremendous
forces upon the astral plane that these
will act against the Obj ect o f his irrita
tion j ust as surely as a blow struc k
upon the physical plane and that in
many cases the r esults produced wil l be
f a r more serious an d lasting
I t is true in a very real sense that
thoughts are things To clairvoyant
sight thoughts ta k e denite form and
colour the latter o f course dependin g
upon the rate o f vibration c o nnected
with them The study o f these forms
and colours is o f great interest A de
scription Of them illustrated with col
o u r e d drawings will b e found in a n ar
1 896
t ic l e in L u ci fer f o r S eptember
These considerations ope n up to us
,

Caus e

and

Ef f ect

87

pos s i b il ities in var ious directio n s S i n ce


it is easily possibl e to d o harm by
thou g ht it is a lso possi b le t o d o good
by it C urre n ts may b e set i n motion
which will carry me n tal h e lp a n d co m
fort to ma n y a su ff erin g frie n d and in
this way a whol e n ew worl d o f useful
ness ope n s be for e us Ma n y a g rateful
soul has been oppressed b y a feel in g
that for wa n t o f physica l wealth he was
una b le t o d o anything in retur n f o r the
kindn e ss l avished upon him b y a n other ;
but here is a method by which he can
be o f th e greatest ser v ice t o him in a
realm where physical wealth o r its ab
sence ma k es n o d i ffer e n ce
All who ca n think can help others ;
and all w h o can help others ought t o
help In thi s case as i n ev ery other
k nowl e d ge i s power a n d thos e w h o u n
d e r s t a n d the law ca n us e the l aw
'n owin g what eff ects upo n themselves
and upon others will be produced b y
certain thoughts they can delibe rately
arrange to produce these results I n
thi s way a m a n ca n n o t o n ly steadily
.

li ne

An O ut

88

of

Theos ophy

mould his cha r acter in his p r esent life


but can decide exactly what it shall
be in the next For a thought is a
vibration in the matter of the mental
body and the same thought persistently
r epeated evo k es
co r respo nding vibra
tions '
an octave higher as it were ) in
the matter o f the causal body I n this
way qual ities are gradually built int o
the soul itsel f and they will certainly
r eappear as part Of the stoc k in trade
with which he commences his next in
carnation I t i s in this way by wo r k
ing from below upwards that the fac
u l t ie s and qualities o f the soul are grad
u a l l y evolved
and thus man takes his
evolution largely i nto his own hands
and begins to co Operate intelligently in
the great scheme Of the D eity
F o r fu r ther information on this sub
rs
e
B
M
the
best
boo
k
to
study
is
ec
t
j
sant s upo n Th ou g h t P o w er i ts Con
,

tr ol a n d C u l tu r e

C H A PTE R '

WH AT

TH E O S O P H Y
FO R U S

D OE S

It must already b e O b vious t o the


careful reader how utterly thes e Theo
S ophical conceptions change the man s
entire view of li fe when h e once b e
comes fully convinced o f th em ; a n d the
direction o f many o f these changes and
the reasons o n which they are b ased
will have been see n from what has a l
ready been w r itten
We gain from Theosophy a rational
comprehension O f that li fe which was
before f o r s o ma n y o f us a mer e u n

solved probl em a riddl e without a n


answer From it we know why we ar e
here what we are expected t o d o a n d
h o w we ought t o set to work t o d o it
We see that however little l i fe may
seem worth l iving f o r the sak e O f a n y

90

An O ut

li ne

of

Theos ophy

pleasures or prots bel o nging e x clus


iv e l y to the p hysical plane it is very
emphatically worth l ivi n g when r e
garded me rely as a school to pr e p are us
for the indescribable glories and the in
nite possibilities o i the higher planes
I n the light o f the informatio n
which we acquire we see n ot only h o w
to evolve ourselves but also how t o

help others to evolve how by thought


and action to ma k e ourselves most u se
ful rst o f all to the small circl e of
those most closely associated with us
or those whom we especial ly love and
then gradual ly by deg r ees as o u r power
increases to the entire huma n race B y
feelings and thoughts such as these we
nd ourselves li fted altogether to a
higher platform and we see how nar
row and despicabl e is the petty and per
sonal thought which has so often o ccu
pied u s in the past We inevitably b e
gin to regard everyth i ng n ot merely as
it a ff ects our innitesimal selves but
from the wider standpo int O f its in
u e n ce upon humanity as a whole
,

Wha t

Theos ophy does f or

91

us .

The various troubles and sorrows


which come to us are s o often seen
o u t o f al l proportion because they are
s o n ear to us ; they seem t o obscure
th e whole horizon as a plate held near
the eyes will shut o u t the sun so that
we O ft e n forget that the heart o f being

B u t Theosophical
i s celestial rest
teaching brings al l these things into due
pe rspective a n d enables us to rise above
these clouds t o loo k down and see
things as the y are and n o t merely as
they appear when loo k ed at from b e
low by very limited V i s i on We learn
to si n k altogether the lower personality
with its mass O f delusions and p re j u
dices and its inability t o see anythin g
truly ; we lear n to ris e to a n impersonal
a n d u n selsh sta n dpoi n t where to d o
right f o r ri g ht s sake seems t o us the
o n ly rule o f li fe a n d to help our fellow
ma n the g reatest of ou r j oys
F or it is a l ife o f j oy that n o w O pe n s
b efor e us As the man evolves his
sym pa thy a n d compassion i n creas e s o
that he b ecomes more and more sensi
,

'

li ne

92

An O ut

of

The os ophy

tive to the sin and sorrow a n d su ffer


in g of the wo r ld Y e t at the same time
he sees more and more clearly the cause
o f that suffering and understands ever
more and more ful ly th a t in spite of it
all all things are wor k ing together for
the nal good o f al l And so there
comes to him not only the deep content
and a b solute security which is born o f
the certainty that all is well but als o
the denite and radiant j oy derived
from the contemplation o f the m a gn i
cent plan O f the Logos and of the
steady un failing success with which
that mighty sche me moves to its a p
poi n t e d end He learns that God means
us to be happy a n d that it is d e n itely
o u r duty to be so i n order that we may
spread around us vi b ratio n s O f happi
ne ss upo n others si n ce that is one o f
the methods by which we may l ighten
th e sorrow o f the world
I n ordi n ary l ife a great part o f the
a nn oya n ce which men feel i n co nn ectio n
with their various troubl es is O ft en
caused b y a feeling that they come to
.

What Theos ophy

f or

does

93

us .

them u n j ustly A man will say ' Why


?
shoul d all this com e t o me
Th e r e is
my n eigh b our w h o is in n o way a better
ma n than I yet h e do e s n o t su ff er from
sickness from loss o f friends o r loss O f

wealth ; why the n should I ?


Theosophy sa ve s its stud en ts from
this mistake since it makes it a b solutely
clear t o them that n o undeser ve d su ff er
ing can ever come t o any man What
ever trouble we may encounter is simply
o f th e nature o f a debt that we have i n
curred ; sinc e it has t o b e paid the
soo n er it i s cl eared O ff the b etter Nor
is this al l ; f o r every such trouble i s
an opportunity f o r devel o pment I f we
bear it patiently a n d b ravely n o t allow
in g it t o crush us b ut meetin g it and
maki ng the b est o f it w e th e re b y evolve
withi n oursel v es the v alua b l e qualities
of
coura ge p e rsevera n c e determina
tio n ; a n d s o ou t o f th e result o f ou r
si n s o f lo ng a go we b ri ng goo d i n stead
o f evil
As has b e for e be e n stated all fea r
o f death is entirely removed for t h e
'

An O ut

94

li ne

Theos ophy

of

Theosophical student because he u n der


stands fully what death is
H e no
longer mour ns for those who ha v e gone
before becaus e they are still pres en t
with him and he kn ows that to give
way t o selsh grief would b e to cause
sadness and depression to th e m S ince
they are very near to him an d since the
sympathy between them and himself is
closer than ever before he is wel l awa r e
that uncontrolled grief in him will as
s u r e d l y reect itsel f upo n them
Not that Theosophy counsels him to
forget the dead ; o n the contrary it
encourages him t o remember them as
o ften as possible b ut never with sel f
ish sorrow n ever with a longi n g t o
bring them b ack t o ea rth n ever with
thought O f h is appare n t loss b ut only
o f their g reat gain I t assures him that
a strong loving thought wil l b e a pote n t
factor i n their evolutio n and that i f he
will b ut t hi n k rightly a n d r e aso n ably
a b out them he may re n der th e m the
r
at
e
st
ssista
n
ce
in
their
upward
a
e
g
ss
ro
g
re
p
,

What

Theos ophy does f or

95

us .

A careful study of th e li fe o f man


i n the period betwee n his incar n ations
shows how small a proportio n thi s
physical li fe bears to the whol e In the
case o f the a v erage educat e d a n d cul
t u r e d man O f any o f th e hi g her races

the period O f on e li f e that is t o say o f

would a v era g e
o n e day i n the real lif e
about fte e n hundr e d years O f this
period perhaps se v e n ty or e i ghty years
woul d be spe n t in physical l i fe som e
fteen o r twenty upo n the astral pl a n e
and all the res t i n the he a v e n world
which is th e refore b y very far the most
importa n t part Of man s e xiste n ce Nat
u ra l l y these proportio n s v ary co n sidera
bly f o r di ffere n t type s o f me n a n d whe n
w e com e to consider the you nge r soul s
bo r n either i n in f e rior races o r i n the
low e r ra n ks o f o u r ow n w e n d that
thes e proportio n s ar e en tirely cha ng ed
f o r th e astral li f e i s lik e ly to be m uch
lo nger a n d th e h ea ven l i f e m uch short
e r I n t he ca s e o f th e a b solut e sa v a ge

there is scarcely a n y heave n l i fe at a l l


be caus e h e has n ot ye t d e v e l oped withi n
.

li ne

96

An O ut

of

TheOS t phy

hims e the qualities which alone enable


the man to attain that life
Th e knowled g e o f al l these facts
gives a clear n ess a n d certainty to o u r
anticipations o f the future which is a
welcome rel ief from the vagueness and
indecision o f ordinary thought on these
su bj ects It would be impossible for a
Theosophist to have any fears about his

s alvation
f o r he k nows that the r e is
nothing for man to be saved from ex
cept his o w n ignorance and he would
consider it the grossest blasphemy t o
doubt that the will o f the Logos wil l
a ssuredly b e fullled in the case o f
e very o n e of his children

N o vagu e eternal hope is his b ut


utter c e rtainty born of his knowledge
He cannot fear
o f the eternal law
the futur e b ecause he k n ows the future ;
so his o n ly a n xiety is to make himsel f
worthy to b ear his part i n the mighty
work o f evolutio n I t may well b e that
there is very little that he can do as
yet ; yet there is no n e but can do some
thing j ust where he stands in the cir
f
l

'

'

What

Th eos op hy does f or

us .

97

cl e arou n d him however lowly t h at


m ay be
E v ery m a n h a s his O pportu n iti e s
f o r eve ry co nne ctio n is an Opportu n ity
E v e ry o n e with who m w e are b rou ght
i n to contact i s a soul w h o may be

helped whether it b e a child b or n i n to


the family a friend who com e s i n to ou r
circle a s ervan t w h o j oins ou r house

hold everyone gives in some way o r


other an Opportunity It is n o t f o r a
moment suggested that w e should make
ourselves n uisanc e s b y thrustin g o u r
opinions a n d ideas upo n e very on e with
whom we come into co n tact as the
m o re i gn ora n t and tactless o f ou r relig
ious frie n ds sometim e s d o ; b ut w e
should b e i n a n attitude o f c o nti n ual
readi n ess to help
Indeed w e shoul d e v e r be e ag e rly
watchi ng f o r a n opportu n ity t o help
eith e r with m aterial aid s o far as that
may be withi n ou r power o r with th e
b e n et o f ou r a dvice o r o u r k n o wl e d ge
whe n ever thos e may be ask e d f o r O fte n
cases aris e in which help b y word o r
,

An Outl

98

i ne

of

Theos op hy

deed is impossible for us ; but there can


never be a case in which friendly and
helpful thought cannot be po ured forth
and no n e who understands the power
o f thought will doubt as to its result
eve n though it may n ot be imm ediately
visible upon the physical plane
The student o f Theosophy should
be distinguishable from the rest of the
worl d by hi s perennial cheerfulness his
undaunted courage under di fculties
and his ready sympathy an d helpful
ness Assuredly in spite o f his cheer
ful n ess he will be o ne who takes l ife

seriously o n e w h o realizes that ther e


is much for each to do i n the w o r l d a n d
n o time t o waste He will see the me
ce s s ity f o r gai n i ng perfect control of
hims e l f a n d his various vehicles b e
caus e o n ly ih that way ca n h e be thor
ou ghly tt e d to h e lp others when the
opportu n ity co me s t o hi m
He w ill
r a ng e hi m sel f ever on the side O f the
higher rath e r tha n th e l ower thought
the n ob l er rather tha n the b aser ; his
toleration will be perfec t b eca use h e
,

What

Theos ophy doe s f or

99

us .

sees th e g oo d i n all H e wil l d e li be r


ately take the optimistic rather tha n
the pessimistic view o f everythi ng the
hope ful rather tha n the cynical b eca us e
he k n ows that t o b e fu n dame n tally the

true v iew the evil in e verythin g being


necess a rily the imperma n ent part si n ce
in th e end only the good ca n endure
Thus h e will look ever for the good
in everythin g that he may endeavour
t o strengthen it ; h e will watch for th e
working o f the great l aw o f evolution
in order that he may range himsel f o n
its side and contribute t o its ener gy
his ti n y stream o f force In this way
by strivi n g always t o help a n d n e ve r to
hinder he will b ecom e in his small
sphere o f inue n ce o n e O f the b e n e ce n t
powers o f Nature ; i n howe v er l owly
a ma n ner at howe v er u n thinka b l e a
distance he is yet a fellow worker

together with Go d a n d that i s the


hi gh e st honour a n d the g reatest privi
l ege that ca n e v er fall t o th e l ot o f
man
.

THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY

S a ty n

n as

Th e re i s

ti

li gi n
H i gh e
th n T th
Re

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OB JE CTS

ru

n u cl e u s o f t h e u n i ve r s a l B ro th e r
h oo d o f H u m a n i ty w it h o ut d i s t i n cti o n o f
s ex
ca s t e o r c o l o u r
ra ce c r e e d
s tu d y
of
c o m p a r a t ive r e
en c o u r a g e t h e
lig ion p h i l o s o p h y a n d s c i en c e
i nv es ti ga t e u ne xp l a in e d l a w s o f n a tu r e
an d t h e p o w e r s l a t en t i n m a n

To f o rm

To

d h a rma h

To

no

RETURN

A l l B O O 'S
.

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wa

CIRCULATIO N DEPART

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s a nd

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