Studies In Karma: Neo-Atlantean ‘Magic’:
Studies In Karma: Neo-Atlantean ‘Magic’:
Individuals and nations in definite streams return in regularly recurring periods to the earth, and thus bring back to the globe the arts, the civilization, the very persons who once were on it at work. And as the units in nation and race are connected together by invisible strong threads, large bodies of such units moving slowly but surely all together reunite at different times and emerge again and again together into new race and new civilization as the cycles roll their appointed rounds. Therefore the souls who made the most ancient civilizations will come back and bring the old civilization with them in idea and essence, which being added to what others have done for the development of the human race in its character and knowledge will produce a new and higher state of civilization.
This newer and better development will not be due to books, to records, to arts or mechanics, because all those are periodically destroyed so far as physical evidence goes, but the soul ever retaining in Manas the knowledge it once gained and always pushing to completer development the higher principles and powers, the essence of progress remains and will as surely come out as the sun shines…. (The Ocean of Theosophy, 1893, p. 119).
To one who essays to trace the twisted skeins of races, trade castes, sects and creeds through the kaleidoscope of mass reincarnations, it is fatal to look at forms instead of principles; to rely upon present material occupations and circumstances for clues. It is the basic principles underlying action and occupation; the inner flavor and note of character that place in the hand of the student the thread of Ariadne.
There are reincarnations of lesser cycles to form the totality of greater ones; there is a recapitulation of the past in the growth, physical, psychic, mental, spiritual, of every man, and one may trace the character of his own egoic history in himself by close observation of his changing tendencies through the years. And so with the masses which form nations.
The skandhas of the past diverse cycles mix and overlap; fate coming due draws into the man substances — physical, mental, psychic, spiritual — which belonged to him and his kind in another age. Likewise the karmic splitting up of opposing factions in some great civilization leads inevitably to the rise of smaller national subdivisions.
Brilliant as were the achievements of India, Egypt, Greece, and Rome, they lack notably the might and flavor of the roaring days of Atlantis. Why? Because the vast deeds of old were the expression of a united karma — good in part, evil mostly in the end; a unification and marriage of ancient elements which resulted in something vastly greater than all combined.
In Asia rose a new order, a noble order, composed of the better elements. In other lands grew other orders of varying degrees. Nowhere is discernible the greatness of Old Atlantis, but everywhere dwarfed Atlantean traits can be recognized, never rising to fulfillment. The oddities of ancient civilization are a constant wonder to the thoughtful modern who has all his own “progress” under his eyes. The vision of the ancients in matters of invention was a spotted vision, a blank vision in particulars. Ancient inventors and craftsmen over and over again had in their very hands the keys of modern power; keys that a child of today would have turned with automatic prescience.
Pythagoras himself invented a steam engine of which illustrations are to be found in elementary text-books on physics. There is no record that the idea of using it to ease the labors of man ever occurred to his contemporaries. Yet the spirit of that age was in essence far more intelligent than that of ours. In Central America grew civilizations whose attainments in some ways we have not yet reached. But such a simple invention as the wheel, that might have been deduced from any log rolling down a hill, remained for them in limbo. And so everywhere and over and over again.
Much reward might be reaped from a deep study of the re-coalescence of various interim nations into a single one as a greater cycle closes; their tendency, when reincarnated together in one flesh to separate along lines of variant schools of thought — into different creeds and parties whose traits can be located in distant pasts as racial differences; whose conflicts are the reincarnation in milder form of old racial conquests, racial hatreds, racial animosities. It may have been from a deeper vision than most think, that George Washington expressed the utmost fear and hatred of the rise of a party system in the United States. Who knows to what such half-earnest, half-humorous conflicts might lead in times of intensity, times of suffering, times of stress? When a President, whose person ought to be sacred, however much his rule displeases, is hissed in the streets by little children — it is indeed time to look before and after! Far after, and farther before.
The American engineer is a force new in the history of Aryan Kali Yuga. You will look in vain for the traces of his reincarnation anywhere in the history of the last five thousand years. Mighty artisans in the past, yes. Builders of temples and pyramids and huge sculptures; aqueducts and coliseums and ditches. But with them always the hands and simple engineering.
This tremendous overweening, intransigent passion to rule the powers of nature with despotic absolutism, to make machinery serve man to the full disuse of his own hands and own muscles; this urge to make of implements the direct limbs, instruments, projections of his own brain, to handle matter with the almost direct power of will; this unconscious course so long pursued, now embraced with direct perception and purpose — what else is it, what else can it be, but a vast reawakening magic of the Lost Continent?
A magic coming to its full term by the lifting of an influence, the influence of the First Age of America, the influence of Rome, reincarnated, recapitulating her history in a hundred and fifty years, and — dying.
A dependent populace demands the conquering of the machine in no uncertain terms. That victory will come; the karma is set. But will it come wisely or as the curse of generations? Demand is that the machine support man. Who sees that this means that man becomes the property of the machine — the property of those who control it? And where in any race, civilization, or era, has it been shown that the will to power of the clever, the unscrupulous, the strong, has been thwarted? Only by maintaining his own craftsmanship, his personal relation with nature, the strength and cunning of his muscles, flow of his sweat, can man remain the master of his fate and captain of his soul; only by this can he avoid dying morals and disintegrating mind. The mastery of the machine means, not the replacement of his very flesh and bone therewith, but the use of it for eliminating mere drudgery.
The road ahead is many-branched and strange. This whole magic recrudescence is, and has been from the first, hundreds if not thousands of years premature. Man, in full mastery of matter, has barely begun to see the necessity of first mastering self. It might have been done. The Karma of ages is being compressed into years; the history of the Theosophical Movement — inaugurated indubitably in full knowledge of this very thing — has recapitulated in fifty years, for good or evil, the usual religious course of millenniums. Suppose there had not been the Great Treason; suppose Judge had lived fifteen, twenty, years longer and “rescued his adeptship;” suppose a united, vigorous, clear and clean-minded Theosophical Society had survived to this day; would not the world be a moral heaven to what it is today, and would not many, if not most, of the dangers threatening our path have failed to become a menace?
Now that they are here — what? The power resuscitated in 1909 has not been idle nor lost. The Buddhi-Manas [sacred soul- higher mind] of the race has been changed — perchance enough. For there are good men everywhere who, without the direct light of Theosophy, see that the needs of man are more vital mentally, more urgent spiritually, than ever they were physically at the worst. It is with these men, plus the sustaining and augmenting power of Theosophy, that salvation lies.
The work of Theosophy has but begun; it must be carried on with increasing intensity, devotion, single-mindedness, amid the turmoils that will for a long time increasingly tend to entice the unwary Theosophist from his own doorstep by the glittering illusions of some immediate and easy benefit to mankind. Complete altruism takes account, not merely of the cold or hungry body of a man, but of his soul; not merely of his soul of this hour, but of all its fortunes of the past and of the future; of its destiny through a sweep far, far beyond that.
THEOSOPHY, Vol. 21, No. 6, April, 1933
(Pages 265-268; Size: 13K)
(Number 16 of a 57-part series)
STUDIES IN KARMA
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