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A Textbook of Theosophy by C.W. Leadbeater

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the earth and its belongings; they are usually deeply self-absorbed, and to
a large extent create their own surroundings, though these are sufficiently
objective to be perceptible to other men of their level, and also to
clairvoyant vision.

This region is the summerland of which we hear in spiritualistic
circles--the world in which, by the exercise of their thought, the dead
call into temporary existence their houses and schools and cities. These
surroundings, though fanciful from our point of view, are to the dead as
real as houses, temples or churches built of stone are to us, and many
people live very contentedly there for a number of years in the midst of
all these thought-creations.

Some of the scenery thus produced is very beautiful; it includes lovely
lakes, magnificent mountains, pleasant flower gardens, decidedly superior
to anything in the physical world; though on the other hand it also
contains much which to the trained clairvoyant (who has learned to see
things as they are) appears ridiculous--as, for example, the endeavours of
the unlearned to make a thought-form of some of the curious symbolic
descriptions contained in their various scriptures. An ignorant peasant's
thought-image of a beast full of eyes within, or of a sea of glass mingled
with fire, is naturally often grotesque, although to its maker it is
perfectly satisfactory. This astral world is full of thought-created
figures and landscapes. Men of all religions image here their deities and
their respective conceptions of paradise, and enjoy themselves greatly
among these dream-forms until they pass into the mental world and come into
touch with something nearer to reality.

Every one after death--any ordinary person, that is, in whose case the
rearrangement of the matter of the astral body has been made--has to pass
through all these subdivisions in turn. It does not follow that every one
is conscious in all of them. The ordinarily decent person has in his astral
body but little of the matter of its lowest portion--by no means enough to
construct a heavy shell. The redistribution puts on the outside of the body
its densest matter; in the ordinary man this is usually matter of the sixth
subdivision, mixed with a little of the seventh, and so he finds himself
viewing the counterpart of the physical world.

The ego is steadily withdrawing into himself, and as he withdraws he leaves
behind him level after level of this astral matter. So the length of the
man's detention in any section of the astral world is precisely in
proportion to the amount of its matter which is found in his astral body,
and that in turn depends upon the life he has lived, the desires he has
indulged, and the class of matter which by so doing he has attracted
towards him and built into himself. Finding himself then in the sixth
section, still hovering about the places and persons with which he was most
closely connected while on earth, the average man, as time passes on, finds
the earthly surroundings gradually growing dimmer and becoming of less and
less importance to him, and he tends more and more to mould his entourage
into agreement with the more persistent of his thoughts. By the time that
he reaches the third level he finds that this characteristic has entirely
superseded the vision of the realities of the astral world.

The second subdivision is a shade less material than the third, for if the
latter is the summerland of the spiritualists, the former is the material
heaven of the more ignorantly orthodox; while the first or highest level
appears to be the special home of those who during life have devoted
themselves to materialistic but intellectual pursuits, following them not
for the sake of benefiting their fellow men, but either from motives of
selfish ambition or simply for the sake of intellectual exercise. All these
people are perfectly happy. Later on they will reach a stage when they can
appreciate something much higher, and when that stage comes they will find
the higher ready for them.

In this astral life people of the same nation and of the same interest tend
to keep together, precisely as they do here. The religious people, for
example, who imagine for themselves a material heaven, do not at all
interfere with men of other faiths whose ideas of celestial joy are
different. There is nothing to prevent a Christian from drifting into the
heaven of the Hindu or the Muhammadan, but he is little likely to do so,
because his interests and attractions are all in the heaven of his own
faith, along with friends who have shared that faith with him. This is by
no means the true heaven described by any of the religions, but only a
gross and material misrepresentation of it; the real thing will be found
when we come to consider the mental world.

The dead man who has not permitted the rearrangement of the matter of his
astral body is free of the entire world, and can wander all over it at
will, seeing the whole of whatever he examines, instead of only a part of
it as the others do. He does not find it inconveniently crowded, for the
astral world is much larger than the surface of the physical earth, while
its population is somewhat smaller, because the average life of humanity in
the astral world is shorter than the average in the physical.

Not only the dead, however, are the inhabitants of this astral world, but
always about one-third of the living as well, who have temporarily left
their physical bodies behind them in sleep. The astral world has also a
great number of non-human inhabitants, some of them far below the level of
man, and some considerably above him. The nature-spirits form an enormous
kingdom, some of whose members exist in the astral world, and make a large
part of its population. This vast kingdom exists in the physical world
also, for many of its orders wear etheric bodies and are only just beyond
the range of ordinary physical sight. Indeed, circumstances not
infrequently occur under which they can be seen, and in many lonely
mountain districts these appearances are traditional among the peasants, by
whom they are commonly spoken of as fairies, good people, pixies or
brownies.

They are protean, but usually prefer to wear a miniature human form. Since
they are not yet individualized, they may be thought of almost as etheric
and astral animals; yet many of them are intellectually quite equal to
average humanity. They have their nations and types just as we have, and
they are often grouped into four great classes, and called the spirits of
earth, water, fire and air. Only the members of the last of these four
divisions normally confine their manifestation to the astral world, but
their numbers are so prodigious that they are everywhere present in it.

Another great kingdom has its representatives here--the kingdom of the
angels (called in India the devas). This is a body of beings who stand far
higher in evolution than man, and only the lowest fringe of their hosts
touches the astral world--a fringe whose constituent members are perhaps at
about the level of development of what we should call a distinctly good
man.

We are neither the only nor even the principal inhabitants of our solar
system; there are other lines of evolution running parallel with our own
which do not pass through humanity at all, though they must all pass
through a level corresponding to that of humanity. On one of these other
lines of evolution are the nature-spirits above described, and at a higher
level of that line comes this great kingdom of the angels. At our present
level of evolution they come into obvious contact with us only very rarely,
but as we develop we shall be likely to see more of them--especially as the
cyclic progress of the world is now bringing it more and more under the
influence of the Seventh Ray. This Seventh Ray has ceremonial for one of
its characteristics, and it is through ceremonial such as that of the
Church or of Freemasonry that we come most easily into touch with the
angelic kingdom.

When all the man's lower emotions have worn themselves out--all emotions, I
mean, which have in them any thought of self--his life in the astral world
is over, and the ego passes on into the mental world. This is not in any
sense a movement in space; it is simply that the steady process of
withdrawal has now passed beyond even the finest kind of astral matter; so
that the man's consciousness is focussed in the mental world. His astral
body has not entirely disintegrated, though it is in process of doing so,
and he leaves behind him an astral corpse, just as at a previous stage of
the withdrawal he left behind him a physical corpse. There is a certain
difference between the two which should be noticed, because of the
consequences which ensue from it.

When the man leaves his physical body his separation from it should be
complete, and generally is so; but this is not the case with the much finer
matter of the astral body. In the course of his physical life the ordinary
man usually entangles himself so much in astral matter (which, from another
point of view, means that he identifies himself so closely with his lower
desires) that the indrawing force of the ego cannot entirely separate him
from it again. Consequently, when he finally breaks away from the astral
body and transfers his activities to the mental, he loses a little of
himself he leaves some of himself behind imprisoned in the matter of the
astral body.

This gives a certain remnant of vitality to the astral, corpse, so that it
still moves freely in the astral world, and may easily be mistaken by the
ignorant for the man himself--the more so as such fragmentary consciousness
as still remains to it is part of the man, and therefore it naturally
regards itself and speaks of itself as the man. It retains his memories,
but is only a partial and unsatisfactory representation of him. Sometimes
in spiritualistic seances one comes into contact with an entity of this
description, and wonders how it is that one's friend has deteriorated so
much since his death. To this fragmentary entity we give the name "shade".

At a later stage even this fragment of consciousness dies out of the astral
body, but does not return to the ego to whom it originally belonged. Even
then the astral corpse still remains, but when it is quite without any
trace of its former life we call it a "shell". Of itself a shell cannot
communicate at a seance, or take any action of any sort; but such shells
are frequently seized upon by sportive nature-spirits and used as temporary
habitations. A shell so occupied _can_ communicate at a seance and
masquerade as its original owner, since some of his characteristics and
certain portions of his memory can be evoked by the nature-spirit from his
astral corpse.

When a man falls asleep, he withdraws in his astral body, leaving the whole
of the physical vehicle behind him. When he dies, he draws out with him the
etheric part of the physical body, and consequently has usually at least a
moment of unconsciousness while he is freeing himself from it. The etheric
double is not a vehicle and cannot be used as such; so when the man is
surrounded by it, he is for the moment able to function neither in the
physical world nor the astral. Some men succeed in shaking themselves free
of this etheric envelope in a few moments; others rest within it for hours,
days or even weeks.

Nor is it certain that, when the man is free from this, he will at once
become conscious of the astral world. For there is in him a good deal of
the lowest kind of astral matter, so that a shell of this may be made
around him. But he may be quite unable to use that matter. If he has lived
a reasonably decent life he is little in the habit of employing it or
responding to its vibrations, and he cannot instantly acquire this habit.
For that reason, he may remain unconscious until that matter gradually
wears away, and some matter which he _is_ in the habit of using comes on
the surface. Such an occlusion, however, is scarcely ever complete, for
even in the most carefully made shell some particles of the finer matter
occasionally find their way to the surface, and give him fleeting glimpses
of his surroundings.

There are some men who cling so desperately to their physical vehicles that
they will not relax their hold upon the etheric double, but strive with all
their might to retain it. They may be successful in doing so for a
considerable time, but only at the cost of great discomfort to themselves.
They are shut out from both worlds, and find themselves surrounded by a
dense grey mist, through which they see very dimly the things of the
physical world, but with all the colour gone from them. It is a terrible
struggle for them to maintain their position in this miserable condition,
and yet they will not relax their hold upon the etheric double, feeling
that that is at least some sort of link with the only world that they know.
Thus they drift about in a condition of loneliness and misery until from
sheer fatigue their hold fails them, and they slip into the comparative
happiness of astral life. Sometimes in their desperation they grasp blindly
at other bodies, and try to enter into them, and occasionally they are
successful in such an attempt. They may seize upon a baby body, ousting the
feeble personality for whom it was intended, or sometimes they grasp even
the body of an animal. All this trouble arises entirely from ignorance, and
it can never happen to anyone who understands the laws of life and death.

When the astral life is over, the man dies to that world in turn, and
awakens in the mental world. With him it is not at all what it is to the
trained clairvoyant, who ranges through it and lives amidst the
surroundings which he finds there, precisely as he would in the physical or
astral worlds. The ordinary man has all through his life been encompassing
himself with a mass of thought-forms. Some which are transitory, to which
he pays little attention, have fallen away from him long ago, but those
which represent the main interests of his life are always with him, and
grow ever stronger and stronger. If some of these have been selfish, their
force pours down into astral matter, and he has exhausted them during his
life in the astral world. But those which are entirely unselfish belong
purely to his mental body, and so when he finds himself in the mental world
it is through these special thoughts that he is able to appreciate it.

His mental body is by no means fully developed; only those parts of it are
really in action to their fullest extent which he has used in this
altruistic manner. When he awakens again after the second death, his first
sense is one of indescribable bliss and vitality--a feeling of such utter
joy in living that he needs for the time nothing but just to live. Such
bliss is of the essence of life in all the higher worlds of the system.
Even astral life has possibilities of happiness far greater than anything
that we can know in the dense body; but the heaven-life in the mental world
is out of all proportion more blissful than the astral. In each higher
world the same experience is repeated. Merely to live in any one of them
seems the uttermost conceivable bliss; and yet, when the next one is
reached, it is seen that it far surpasses the last.

Just as the bliss increases, so does the wisdom and the breadth of view. A
man fusses about in the physical world and thinks himself so busy and so
wise; but when he touches even the astral, he realizes at once that he has
been all the time only a caterpillar crawling about and seeing nothing but
his own leaf, whereas now he has spread his wings like the butterfly and
flown away into the sunshine of a wider world. Yet, impossible as it may
seem, the same experience is repeated when he passes into the mental world,
for this life is in turn so much fuller and wider and more intense than the
astral that once more no comparison is possible. And yet beyond all these
there is still another life, that of the intuitional world, unto which even
this is but as moonlight unto sunlight.

The man's position in the mental world differs widely from that in the
astral. There he was using a body to which he was thoroughly accustomed, a
body which he had been in the habit of employing every night during sleep.
Here he finds himself living in a vehicle which he has never used before--a
vehicle furthermore which is very far from being fully developed--a vehicle
which shuts him out to a great extent from the world about him, instead of
enabling him to see it. The lower part of his nature burnt itself away
during his purgatorial life, and now there remain to him only his higher
and more refined thoughts, the noble and unselfish aspirations which he
poured out during earth-life. These cluster round him, and make a sort of
shell about him, through the medium of which he is able to respond to
certain types of vibrations in this refined matter.

These thoughts which surround him are the powers by which he draws upon the
wealth of the heaven-world, and he finds it to be a storehouse of infinite
extent, upon which he is able to draw just according to the power of those
thoughts and aspirations; for in this world is existing the infinite
fullness of the Divine Mind, open in all its limitless affluence to every
soul, just in proportion as that soul has qualified itself to receive. A
man who has already completed his human evolution, who has fully realized
and unfolded the divinity whose germ is within him, finds the whole of this
glory within his reach; but since none of us has yet done that, since we
are only gradually rising towards that splendid consummation, it follows
that none of us as yet can grasp that entirety.

But each draws from it and cognizes so much of it as he has by previous
effort prepared himself to take. Different individuals bring very different
capacities; they tell us in the East that each man brings his own cup, and
some of the cups are large and some are small, but small or large every cup
is filled to its utmost capacity; the sea of bliss holds far more than
enough for all.

A man can look out upon all this glory and beauty only through the windows
which he himself has made. Every one of these thought-forms is such a
window, through which response may come to him from the forces without. If
during his earth-life he has chiefly regarded physical things, then he has
made for himself but few windows through which this higher glory can shine
in upon him. Yet every man who is above the lowest savage must have had
some touch of pure unselfish feeling, even if it were but once in all his
life, and that will be a window for him now.

The ordinary man is not capable of any great activity in this mental world;
his condition is chiefly receptive, and his vision of anything outside his
own shell of thought is of the most limited character. He is surrounded by
living forces, mighty angelic inhabitants of this glorious world, and many
of their orders are very sensitive to certain aspirations of man and
readily respond to them. But a man can take advantage of these only in so
far as he has already prepared himself to profit by them, for his thoughts
and aspirations are only along certain lines, and he cannot suddenly form
new lines. There are many directions which the higher thought may
take--some of them personal and some impersonal. Among the latter are art,
music and philosophy; and a man whose interest lay along any one of these
lines finds both measureless enjoyment and unlimited instruction waiting
for him--that is, the amount of enjoyment and instruction is limited only
by his power of perception.

We find a large number of people whose only higher thoughts are those
connected with affection and devotion. If a man loves another deeply or if
he feels strong devotion to a personal deity, he makes a strong mental
image of that friend or of the deity, and the object of his feeling is
often present in his mind. Inevitably he takes that mental image into the
heaven-world with him, because it is to that level of matter that it
naturally belongs.

Take first the case of affection. The love which forms and retains such an
image is a very powerful force--a force which is strong enough to reach and
to act upon the ego of his friend in the higher part of the mental world.
It is that ego that is the real man whom he loves--not the physical body
which is so partial a representation of him. The ego of the friend, feeling
this vibration, at once and eagerly responds to it, and pours himself into
the thought-form, which has been made for him; so that the man's friend is
truly present with him more vividly than ever before. To this result it
makes no difference whatever whether the friend is what we call living or
dead; the appeal is made not to the fragment of the friend which is
sometimes imprisoned in a physical body, but to the man himself on his own
true level; and he always responds. A man who has a hundred friends can
simultaneously and fully respond to the affection of every one of them, for
no number of representations on a lower level can exhaust the infinity of
the ego.

Thus every man in his heaven-life has around him all the friends for whose
company he wishes, and they are for him always at their best, because he
himself makes for them the thought-form through which they manifest to him.
In our limited physical world we are so accustomed to thinking of our
friend as only the limited manifestation which we know in the physical
world, that it is at first difficult for us to realize the grandeur of the
conception; when we can realize it, we shall see how much nearer we are in
truth to our friends in the heaven-life than we ever were on earth. The
same is true in the case of devotion. The man in the heaven-world is two
great stages nearer to the object of his devotion than he was during
physical life, and so his experiences are of a far more transcendent
character.

In this mental world, as in the astral, there are seven subdivisions. The
first, second and third are the habitat of the ego in his causal body, so
the mental body contains matter of the remaining four only, and it is in
those sections that his heaven-life is passed. Man does not, however, pass
from one to the other of these, as is the case in the astral world, for
there is nothing in this life corresponding to the rearrangement. Rather is
the man drawn to the level which best corresponds to the degree of his
development, and on that level he spends the whole of his life in the
mental body. Each man makes his own conditions, so that the number of
varieties is infinite.

Speaking broadly, we may say that the dominant characteristic observed in
the lowest portion is unselfish family affection. Unselfish it must be, or
it would find no place here; all selfish tinges, if there were any, worked
out their results in the astral world. The dominant characteristic of the
sixth level may be said to be anthropomorphical religious devotion; while
that of the fifth section is devotion expressing itself in active work of
some sort. All these--the fifth, sixth and seventh subdivisions--are
concerned with the working out of devotion to personalities (either to
one's family and friends or to a personal deity) rather than the wider
devotion to humanity for its own sake, which finds its expression in the
next section. The activities of this fourth stage are varied. They can best
be arranged in four main divisions: unselfish pursuit of spiritual
knowledge; high philosophy or scientific thought; literary or artistic
ability exercised for unselfish purposes; and service for the sake of
service.

Even to this glorious heaven-life there comes an end, and then the mental
body in its turn drops away as the others have done, and the man's life in
his causal body begins. Here the man needs no windows, for this is his true
home and all his walls have fallen away. The majority of men have as yet
but very little consciousness at such a height as this; they rest dreamily
unobservant and scarcely awake, but such vision as they have is true,
however limited it may be by their lack of development. Still, every time
they return, these limitations will be smaller, and they themselves will be
greater; so that this truest life will be wider and fuller for them.

As this improvement continues, this causal life grows, longer and longer,
assuming an ever larger proportion as compared to the existence at lower
levels. And as he grows, the man becomes capable not only of receiving but
also of giving. Then indeed is his triumph approaching, for he is learning
the lesson of the Christ, learning the crowning glory of sacrifice, the
supreme delight of pouring out all his life for the helping of his
fellow-men, the devotion of the self to the all, of celestial strength to
human service, of all those splendid heavenly forces to the aid of the
struggling sons of earth. That is part of the life that lies before us;
these are some of the steps which even we who are still so near the bottom
of the golden ladder may see rising above us, so that we may report them to
those who have not seen as yet, in order that they too may open their eyes
to the unimaginable splendour which surrounds them here and now in this
dull daily life. This is part of the gospel of Theosophy--the certainty of
this sublime future for all. It is certain because it is here already,
because to inherit it we have only to fit ourselves for it.

Chapter VII

REINCARNATION

This life of the ego in his own world, which is so glorious and so fully
satisfying for the developed man, plays but a very small part in the life
of the ordinary person, for in his case the ego has not yet reached a
sufficient stage of development to be awake in his causal body. In
obedience to the law of Nature he has withdrawn into it, but in doing so he
has lost the sensation of vivid life, and his restless desire to feel this
once more pushes him in the direction of another descent into matter.

This is the scheme of evolution appointed for man at the present
stage--that he shall develop by descending into grosser matter, and then
ascend to carry back into himself the result of the experiences so
obtained. His real life, therefore, covers millions of years, and what we
are in the habit of calling a life is only one day of this greater
existence. Indeed, it is in reality only a small part of one day; for a
life of seventy years in the physical world is often succeeded by a period
of twenty times that length spent in higher spheres.

Every one of us has a long line of these physical lives behind him, and the
ordinary man has a fairly long line still in front of him. Each of such
lives is a day at school. The ego puts upon himself his garment of flesh
and goes forth into the school of the physical world to learn certain
lessons. He learns them, or does not learn them, or partially learns them,
as the case may be, during his schoolday of earth-life; then he lays aside
the vesture of the flesh and returns home to his own level for rest and
refreshment. In the morning of each new life he takes up again his lesson
at the point where he left it the night before. Some lessons he may be able
to learn in one day, while others may take him many days.

If he is an apt pupil and learns quickly what is needed, if he obtains an
intelligent grasp of the rules of the school, and takes the trouble to
adapt his conduct to them, his school-life is comparatively short, and when
it is over he goes forth fully equipped into the real life of the higher
worlds for which all this is only a preparation. Other egos are duller boys
who do not learn so quickly; some of them do not understand the rules of
the school, and through that ignorance are constantly breaking them; others
are wayward, and even when they see the rules they cannot at once bring
themselves to act in harmony with them. All of these have a longer
school-life, and by their own actions they delay their entry upon the real
life of the higher worlds.

For this is a school in which no pupil ever fails; every one must go on to
the end. He has no choice as to that; but the length of time which he will
take in qualifying himself for the higher examinations is left entirely to
his own discretion. The wise pupil, seeing that school-life is not a thing
in itself, but only a preparation for a more glorious and far wider life,
endeavours to comprehend as fully as possible the rules of his school, and
shapes his life in accordance with them as closely as he can, so that no
time may be lost in the learning of whatever lessons are necessary. He
co-operates intelligently with the Teachers, and sets himself to do the
maximum of work which is possible for him, in order that as soon as he can
he may come of age and enter into his kingdom as a glorified ego.

Theosophy explains to us the laws under which this school-life must be
lived, and in that way gives a great advantage to its students. The first
great law is that of evolution. Every man has to become a perfect man, to
unfold to the fullest degree the divine possibilities which lie latent
within him, for that unfoldment is the object of the entire scheme so far
as he is concerned. This law of evolution steadily presses him onward to
higher and higher achievements. The wise man tries to anticipate its
demands--to run ahead of the necessary curriculum, for in that way he not
only avoids all collision with it, but he obtains the maximum of assistance
from its action. The man who lags behind in the race of life finds its
steady pressure constantly constraining him--a pressure which, if resisted,
rapidly becomes painful. Thus the laggard on the path of evolution has
always the sense of being hunted and driven by his fate, while the man who
intelligently co-operates is left perfectly free to choose the direction in
which he shall move, so long as it is onward and upward.

The second great law under which this evolution is taking place is the law
of cause and effect. There can be no effect without its cause, and every
cause must produce its effect. They are in fact not two but one, for the
effect is really part of the cause, and he who sets one in motion sets the
other also. There is in Nature no such idea as that of reward or
punishment, but only of cause and effect. Anyone can see this in connection
with mechanics or chemistry; the clairvoyant sees it equally clearly with
regard to the problems of evolution. The same law obtains in the higher as
in the lower worlds; there, as here, the angle of reflection is always
equal to the angle of incidence. It is a law of mechanics that action and
reaction are equal and opposite. In the almost infinitely finer matter of
the higher worlds the reaction is by no means always instantaneous; it may
sometimes be spread over long periods of time, but it returns inevitably
and exactly.

Just as certain in its working as the mechanical law in the physical world
is the higher law, according to which the man who sends out a good thought
or does a good action receives good in return, while the man who sends out
an evil thought or does an evil action, receives evil in return with equal
accuracy--once more, not in the least a reward or punishment administered
by some external will, but simply as the definite and mechanical result of
his own activity. Man has learnt to appreciate a mechanical result in the
physical world, because the reaction is usually almost immediate and can be
seen by him. He does not invariably understand the reaction in the higher
worlds because that takes a wider sweep, and often returns not in this
physical life, but in some future one.

The action of this law affords the explanation of a number of the problems
of ordinary life. It accounts for the different destinies imposed upon
people, and also for the differences in the people themselves. If one man
is clever in a certain direction and another is stupid, it is because in a
previous life the clever man has devoted much effort to practise in that
particular direction, while the stupid man is trying it for the first time.
The genius and the precocious child are examples not of the favouritism of
some deity but of the result produced by previous lives of application. All
the varied circumstances which surrounded us are the result of our own
actions in the past, precisely as are the qualities of which we find
ourselves in possession. We are what we have made ourselves, and our
circumstances are such as we have deserved.

There is, however, a certain adjustment or apportionment of these effects.
Though the law is a natural law and mechanical in its operation, there are
nevertheless certain great Angels who are concerned with its
administration. They cannot change by one feather-weight the amount of the
result which follows upon any given thought or act, but they can within
certain limits expedite or delay its action, and decide what form it shall
take.

If this were not done there would be at least a possibility that in his
earlier stages the man might blunder so seriously that the results of his
blundering might be more than he could bear. The plan of the Deity is to
give man a limited amount of free-will; if he uses that small amount well,
he earns the right to a little more next time; if he uses it badly,
suffering comes upon him as the result of such evil use, and he finds
himself restrained by the result of his previous actions. As the man learns
how to use his free-will, more and more of it is entrusted to him, so that
he can acquire for himself practically unbounded freedom in the direction
of good, but his power to do wrong is strictly restricted. He can progress
as rapidly as he will, but he cannot wreck his life in his ignorance. In
the earlier stages of the savage life of primitive man it is natural that
there should be on the whole more of evil than of good, and if the entire
result of his actions came at once upon a man as yet so little developed,
it might well crush the newly evolved powers which are still so feeble.

Besides this, the effects of his actions are varied in character. While
some of them produce immediate results, others need much more time for
their action, and so it comes to pass that as the man develops he has above
him a hovering cloud of undischarged results, some of them good, some of
them bad. Out of this mass (which we may regard for purposes of analogy
much as though it were a debt owing to the powers of Nature) a certain
amount falls due in each of his successive births; and that amount, so
assigned, may be thought of as the man's destiny for that particular life.

All that it means is that a certain amount of joy and a certain amount of
suffering are due to him, and will unavoidably happen to him; how he will
meet this destiny and what use he will make of it, that is left entirely to
his own option. It is a certain amount of force which has to work itself
out. Nothing can prevent the action of that force, but its action may
always be modified by the application of a new force in another direction,
just as is the case in mechanics. The result of past evil is like any other
debt; it may be paid in one large cheque upon the bank of life--by some one
supreme catastrophe; or it may be paid in a number of smaller notes, in
minor troubles and worries; in some cases it may even be paid in the small
change of a great number of petty annoyances. But one thing is quite
certain--that, in some form or other, paid it will have to be.

The conditions of our present life, then, are absolutely the result of our
own action in the past; and the other side of that statement is that our
actions in this life are building up conditions for the next one. A man who
finds himself limited either in powers or in outer circumstances may not
always be able to make himself or his conditions all that he would wish in
this life; but he can certainly secure for the next one whatever he
chooses.

Man's every action ends not with himself, but invariably affects others
around him. In some cases this effect may be comparatively trivial, while
in others it may be of the most serious character. The trivial results,
whether good or bad, are simply small debits or credits in our account with
Nature; but the greater effects, whether good or bad, make a personal
account which is to be settled with the individual concerned.

A man who gives a meal to a hungry beggar, or cheers him by a kindly word,
will receive the result of his good action as part of a kind of general
fund of Nature's benefits; but one who by some good action changes the
whole current of another man's life will assuredly have to meet that same
man again in a future life, in order that he who has been benefited may
have the opportunity of repaying the kindness that has been done to him.
One who causes annoyance to another will suffer proportionately for it
somewhere, somehow, in the future, though he may never meet again the man
whom he has troubled; but one who does serious harm to another, one who
wrecks his life or retards his evolution, must certainly meet his victim
again at some later point in the course of their lives, so that he may have
the opportunity, by kindly and self-sacrificing service, of
counterbalancing the wrong which he has done. In short, large debts must be
paid personally, but small ones go into the general fund.

These then are the principal factors which determine the next birth of the
man. First acts the great law of evolution, and its tendency is to press
the man into that position in which he can most easily develop the
qualities which he most needs. For the purposes of the general scheme,
humanity is divided into great races, called root-races, which rule and
occupy the world successively. The great Aryan or Indo-Caucasian race,
which at the present moment includes the most advanced of Earth's
inhabitants, is one of these. That which came before it in the order of
evolution was the Mongolian race, usually called in Theosophical books
Atlantean because the continent from which it ruled the world lay where now
roll the waters of the Atlantic ocean. Before that came the Negroid race,
some of whose descendants still exist, though by this time much mingled
with offshoots of later races. From each of these great root-races there
are many offshoots which we call sub-races--such, for example, as the Roman
races or the Teutonic; and each of the sub-races in turn divides itself
into branch-races, such as the French and the Italians, the English and the
Germans.

These arrangements are made in order that for each ego there may be a wide
choice of varying conditions and surroundings. Each race is especially
adapted to develop within its people one or other of the qualities which
are needed in the course of evolution. In every nation there exist an
almost infinite number of diverse conditions, riches and poverty, a wide
field of opportunities or a total lack of them, facilities for development
or conditions under which development is difficult or well-nigh impossible.
Amidst all these infinite possibilities the pressure of the law of
evolution tends to guide the man to precisely those which best suit his
needs at the stage at which he happens to be.

But the action of this law is limited by that other law of which we spoke,
the law of cause and effect. The man's actions in the past may not have
been such as to deserve (if we may put it so) the best possible
opportunities; he may have set in motion in his past certain forces the
inevitable result of which will be to produce limitations; and these
limitations may operate to prevent his receiving that best possible of
opportunities, and so as the result of his own actions in the past he may
have to put up with the second best. So we may say that the action of the
law of evolution, which if left to itself would do the very best possible
for every man, is restrained by the man's own previous actions.

An important feature in that limitation--one which may act most powerfully
for good or for evil--is the influence of the group of egos with which the
man has made definite links in the past--those with whom he has formed
strong ties of love or hate, of helping or of injury--those souls whom he
must meet again because of connections made with them in days of long ago.
His relation with them is a factor which must be taken into consideration
before it can be determined where and how he shall be reborn.

The Will of the Deity is man's evolution. The effort of that nature which
is an expression of the Deity is to give the man whatever is most suitable
for that evolution; but this is conditioned by the man's deserts in the
past and by the links which he has already formed. It may be assumed that a
man descending into incarnation could learn the lessons necessary for that
life in any one of a hundred positions. From half of these or more than
half he may be debarred by the consequences of some of his many and varied
actions in the past. Among the few possibilities which remain open to him,
the choice of one possibility in particular may be determined by the
presence in that family or in that neighbourhood of other egos upon whom he
has a claim for services rendered, or to whom he in his turn owes a debt of
love.

Chapter VIII

THE PURPOSE OF LIFE

To fulfil our duty in the divine scheme we must try to understand not only
that scheme as a whole, but the special part that man is intended to play
in it. The divine outbreathing reached its deepest immersion in matter in
the mineral kingdom, but it reaches its ultimate point of differentiation
not at the lowest level of materiality, but at the entrance into the human
kingdom on the upward arc of evolution. We have thus to realize three
stages in the course of this evolution.

(a) The downward arc in which the tendency is towards differentiation and
also towards greater materiality. In this stage spirit is involving itself
in matter, in order that it may learn to receive impressions through it.

(b) The earlier part of the upward arc, in which the tendency is still
towards greater differentiation, but at the same time towards
spiritualization and escape from materiality. In this stage the spirit is
learning to dominate matter and to see it as an expression of itself.

(c) The later part of the upward arc, when differentiation has been finally
accomplished, and the tendency is towards unity as well as towards greater
spirituality. In this stage the spirit, having learnt perfectly how to
receive impression through matter and how to express itself through it, and
having awakened its dormant powers, learns to use these powers rightly in
the service of the Deity.

The object of the whole previous evolution has been to produce the ego as a
manifestation of the Monad. Then the ego in its turn evolves by putting
itself down into a succession of personalities. Men who do not understand
this look upon the personality as the self, and consequently live for it
alone, and try to regulate their lives for what appears to be its temporary
advantage. The man who understands realizes that the only important thing
is the life of the ego, and that its progress is the object for which the
temporary personality must be used. Therefore when he has to decide between
two possible courses he thinks not, as the ordinary man might: "Which will
bring the greater pleasure and profit to me as a personality?" but "Which
will bring greater progress to me as an ego?" Experience soon teaches him
that nothing can ever be really good for him, or for anyone, which is not
good for all, and so presently he learns to forget himself altogether, and
to ask only what will be best for humanity as a whole.

Clearly then at this stage of evolution whatever tends to unity, whatever
tends to spirituality, is in accord with the plan of the Deity for us, and
is therefore right for us, while whatever tends to separateness or to
materiality is equally certainly wrong for us. There are thoughts and
emotions which tend to unity, such as love, sympathy, reverence,
benevolence; there are others which tend to disunion, such as hatred,
jealousy, envy, pride, cruelty, fear. Obviously the former group are for us
the right, the latter group are for us the wrong.

In all these thoughts and feelings which are clearly wrong, we recognize
one dominant note, the thought of self; while in all those which are
clearly right we recognize that the thought is turned toward others, and
that the personal self is forgotten. Wherefore we see that selfishness is
the one great wrong, and that perfect unselfishness is the crown of all
virtue. This gives us at once a rule of life. The man who wishes
intelligently to co-operate with the Divine Will must lay aside all thought
of the advantage or pleasure of the personal self, and must devote himself
exclusively to carrying out that Will by working for the welfare and
happiness of others.

This is a high ideal, and difficult of attainment, because there lies
behind us such a long history of selfishness. Most of us are as yet far
from the purely altruistic attitude; how are we to go to work to attain it,
lacking as we do the necessary intensity in so many of the good qualities,
and possessing so many which are undesirable?

Here comes into operation the great law of cause and effect to which I have
already referred. Just as we can confidently appeal to the laws of Nature
in the physical world, so may we also appeal to these laws of the higher
world. If we find evil qualities within us, they have grown up by slow
degrees through ignorance and through self-indulgence. Now that the
ignorance is dispelled by knowledge, now that in consequence we recognize
the quality as an evil, the method of getting rid of it lies obviously
before us.

For each of these vices there is a contrary virtue; if we find one of them
rearing its head within us, let us immediately determine deliberately to
develop within ourselves the contrary virtue. If a man realizes that in the
past he has been selfish, that means that he has set up within himself the
habit of thinking of himself first and pleasing himself, of consulting his
own convenience or his pleasure without due thought of the effect upon
others; let him set to work purposefully to form the exactly opposite
habit, to make a practice before doing anything of thinking how it will
affect all those around him; let him set himself habitually to please
others, even though it be at the cost of trouble or privation for himself.
This also in time will become a habit, and by developing it he will have
killed out the other.

If a man finds himself full of suspicion, ready always to assign evil
motives to the actions of those about him, let him set himself steadily to
cultivate trust in his fellows, to give them credit always for the highest
possible motives. It may be said that a man who does this will lay himself
open to be deceived, and that in many cases his confidence will be
misplaced. That is a small matter; it is far better for him that he should
sometimes be deceived as a result of his trust in his fellows than that he
should save himself from such deception by maintaining a constant attitude
of suspicion. Besides, confidence begets faithfulness. A man who is trusted
will generally prove himself worthy of the trust, whereas a man who is
suspected is likely presently to justify the suspicion.

If a man finds in himself the tendency towards avarice, let him go out of
his way to be especially generous; if he finds himself irritable, let him
definitely train himself in calmness; if he finds himself devoured by
curiosity, let him deliberately refuse again and again to gratify that
curiosity; if he is liable to fits of depression, let him persistently
cultivate cheerfulness, even under the most adverse circumstances.

In every case the existence of an evil quality in the personality means a
lack of the corresponding good quality in the ego. The shortest way to get
rid of that evil and to prevent its reappearance is to fill the gap in the
ego, and the good quality which is thus developed will show itself as an
integral part of the man's character through all his future lives. An ego
cannot be evil, but he can be imperfect. The qualities which he develops
cannot be other than good qualities, and when they are well defined they
show themselves in each of all his numerous personalities, and consequently
those personalities can never be guilty of the vices opposite to these
qualities; but where there is a gap in the ego, where there is a quality
undeveloped, there is nothing inherent in the personality to check the
growth of the opposite vice; and since others in the world about him
already possess that vice, and man is an imitative animal, it is quite
probable that it will speedily manifest itself in him. This vice, however,
belongs to the vehicles only and not to the man inside. In these vehicles
its repetition may set up a momentum which is hard to conquer; but if the
ego bestirs himself to create in himself the opposite virtue, the vice is
cut off at its root, and can no longer exist--neither in this life nor in
all the lives that are to come.

A man who is trying to evolve these qualities in himself will find certain
obstacles in his way--obstacles which he must learn to surmount. One of
these is the critical spirit of the age--the disposition to find fault with
a thing, to belittle everything, to look for faults in everything and
everyone. The exact opposite of this is what is needed for progress. He who
wishes to move rapidly along the path of evolution must learn to see good
in everything--to see the latent Deity in everything and in everyone. Only
so can he help those other people--only so can he get the best out of those
other things.

Another obstacle is the lack of perseverance. We tend in these days to be
impatient; if we try any plan we expect immediate results from it, and if
we do not get them, we give up that plan and try something else. That is
not the way to make progress in occultism. The effort which we are making
is to compress into one or two lives the evolution which would naturally
take perhaps a hundred lives. That is not the sort of undertaking in which
immediate results are to be expected. We attempt to uproot an evil habit,
and we find it hard work; why? Because we have indulged in that practice
for, perhaps, twenty thousand years; one cannot shake off the custom of
twenty thousand years in a day or two. We have allowed that habit to gain
an enormous momentum, and before we can set up a force in the opposite
direction we have to overcome that momentum. That cannot be done in a
moment, but it is absolutely certain that it _will_ be done eventually, if
we persevere, because the momentum, however strong it may be, is a finite
quantity, whereas the power that we can bring to bear against it is the
infinite power of the human will, which can make renewed efforts day after
day, year after year, even life after life if necessary.

Another great difficulty in our way is the lack of clearness in our
thought. People in the West are little used to clear thought with regard to
religious matters. Everything is vague and nebulous. For occult development
vagueness and nebulosity will not do. Our conceptions must be clear-cut and
our thought-images definite. Other necessary characteristics are calmness
and cheerfulness; these are rare in modern life, but are absolute
essentials for the work which we are here undertaking.

The process of building a character is as scientific as that of developing
one's muscles. Many a man, finding himself with certain muscles flabby and
powerless takes that as his natural condition, and regards their weakness
as a kind of destiny imposed upon him; but anyone who understands a little
of the human body is aware that by continued exercise those muscles can be
brought into a state of health and the whole body eventually put in order.
In exactly the same way, many a man finds himself possessed of a bad temper
or a tendency to avarice or suspicion or self-indulgence, and when in
consequence of any of these vices he commits some great mistake or does
some great harm he offers it as an excuse that he is a hasty-tempered man,
or that he possesses this or that quality by nature--implying that
therefore he cannot help it.

In this case just as in the other the remedy is in his own hands. Regular
exercise of the right kind will develop a certain muscle, and regular
mental exercise of the right kind will develop a missing quality in a man's
character. The ordinary man does not realize that he can do this, and even
if he sees that he can do it, he does not see why he should, for it means
much effort and much self-repression. He knows of no adequate motive for
undertaking a task so laborious and painful.

The motive is supplied by the knowledge of the truth. One who gains an
intelligent comprehension of the direction of evolution feels it not only
his interest but his privilege and his delight to co-operate with it. One
who wills the end wills also the means; in order to be able to do good work
for the world he must develop within himself the necessary strength and the
necessary qualities. Therefore he who wishes to reform the world must first
of all reform himself. He must learn to give up altogether the attitude of
insisting upon rights, and must devote himself utterly to the most earnest
performance of his duties. He must learn to regard every connection with
his fellow-man as an opportunity to help that fellow-man, or in some way to
do him good.

One who studies these subjects intelligently cannot but realize the
tremendous power of thought, and the necessity for its efficient control.
All action springs from thought, for even when it is done (as we say)
without thought, it is the instinctive expression of the thoughts, desires
and feelings which the man has allowed to grow luxuriantly within himself
in earlier days.

The wise man, therefore, will watch his thought with the greatest of care,
for in it he possesses a powerful instrument, for the right use of which he
is responsible. It is his duty to govern his thought, lest it should be
allowed to run riot and to do evil to himself, and to others; it is his
duty also to develop his thought-power, because by means of it a vast
amount of actual and active good can be done. Thus controlling his thought
and his action, thus eliminating from himself all evil and unfolding in
himself all good qualities, the man presently raises himself far above the
level of his fellows, and stands out conspicuously among them as one who is
working on the side of good as against evil, of evolution as against
stagnation.

The Members of the great Hierarchy, in whose hands is the evolution of the
world, are watching always for such men in order that They may train them
to help in the great work. Such a man inevitably attracts Their attention,
and They begin to use him as an instrument in Their work. If he proves
himself a good and efficient instrument, presently They will offer him
definite training as an apprentice, that by helping Them in the
world-business which They have to do he may some day become even as They
are, and join the mighty Brotherhood to which They belong.

But for an honour so great as this mere ordinary goodness will not suffice.
True, a man must be good first of all, or it would be hopeless to think of
using him, but in addition to being good he must be wise and strong. What
is needed is not merely a good man, but a great spiritual power. Not only
must the candidate have cast aside all ordinary weaknesses but he must have
acquired strong positive qualities before he can offer himself to Them with
any hope that he will be accepted. He must live no longer as a blundering
and selfish personality, but as an intelligent ego who comprehends the part
which he has to play in the great scheme of the universe. He must have
forgotten himself utterly; he must have resigned all thought of worldly
profit or pleasure or advancement; he must be willing to sacrifice
everything, and himself first of all, for the sake of the work that has to
be done. He may be _in_ the world, but he must not be _of_ the world. He
must be careless utterly of its opinion. For the sake of helping man he
must make himself something more than man. Radiant, rejoicing, strong, he
must live but for the sake of others and to be an expression of the love of
God in the world. A high ideal, yet not too high; possible, because there
are men who have achieved it.

When a man has succeeded in unfolding his latent possibilities so far that
he attracts the attention of the Masters of the Wisdom, one of Them will
probably receive him as an apprentice upon probation. The period of
probation is usually seven years, but may be either shortened or lengthened
at the discretion of the Master. At the end of that time, if his work has
been satisfactory, he becomes what it commonly called the accepted pupil.
This brings him into close relations with his Master, so that the
vibrations of the latter constantly play upon him, and he gradually learns
to look at everything as the Master looks at it. After yet another
interval, if he proves himself entirely worthy, he may be drawn into a
still closer relationship, when he is called the son of the Master.

These three stages mark his relationship to his own Master only, not to the
Brotherhood as a whole. The Brotherhood admits a man to its ranks only when
he has fitted himself to pass the first of the great Initiations.

This entry into the Brotherhood of Those who rule the world may be thought
of as the third of the great critical points in man's evolution. The first
of these is when he becomes man--when he individualizes out of the animal
kingdom and obtains a causal body. The second is what is called by the
Christian "conversion", by the Hindu "the acquirement of discrimination",
and by the Buddhist "the opening of the doors of the mind". That is the
point at which he realizes the great facts of life, and turns away from the
pursuit of selfish ends in order to move intentionally along with the great
current of evolution in obedience to the divine Will. The third point is
the most important of all, for the Initiation which admits him to the ranks
of the Brotherhood also insures him against the possibility of failure to
fulfil the divine purpose in the time appointed for it. Hence those who
have reached this point are called in the Christian system the "elect", the
"saved" or the "safe", and in the Buddhist scheme "those who have entered
on the stream". For those who have reached this point have made themselves
absolutely certain of reaching a further point also--that of Adeptship, at
which they pass into a type of evolution which is definitely Superhuman.

The man who has become an Adept has fulfilled the divine Will so far as
this chain of worlds is concerned. He has reached, even already at the
midmost point of the aeon of evolution, the stage prescribed for man's
attainment at the end of it. Therefore he is at liberty to spend the
remainder of that time either in helping his fellow-men or in even more
splendid work in connection with other and higher evolutions. He who has
not yet been initiated is still in danger of being left behind by our
present wave of evolution, and dropping into the next one--the "aeonian
condemnation" of which the Christ spoke, which has been mistranslated
"eternal damnation". It is from this fate of possible aeonian failure--that
is, failure for this age, or dispensation, or life-wave--that the man who
attains Initiation is "safe". He has "entered upon the stream" which now
_must_ bear him on to Adeptship in this present age, though it is still
possible for him by his actions to hasten or delay his progress along the
Path which he is treading.

That first Initiation corresponds to the matriculation which admits a man
to a University, and the attainment of Adeptship to the taking of a degree
at the end of a course. Continuing the simile, there are three intermediate
examinations, which are usually spoken of as the second, third, and fourth
Initiations, Adeptship being the fifth. A general idea of the line of this
higher evolution may be obtained by studying the list of what are called in
Buddhist books "the fetters" which must be cast off--the qualities of which
a man must rid himself as he treads this Path. These are: the delusion of
separateness; doubt or uncertainty; superstition; attachment to enjoyment;
the possibility of hatred; desire for life, either in this or the higher
worlds; pride; agitation or irritability; and ignorance. The man who
reaches the Adept level has exhausted all the possibilities of moral
development, and so the future evolution which still lies before him can
only mean still wider knowledge and still more wonderful spiritual powers.

Chapter IX

THE PLANETARY CHAINS

The scheme of evolution of which our Earth forms a part is not the only one
in our solar system, for ten separate chains of globes exist in that system
which are all of them theatres of somewhat similar progress. Each of these
schemes of evolution is taking place upon a chain of globes, and in the
course of each scheme its chain of globes goes through seven incarnations.
The plan, alike of each scheme as a whole and of the successive incarnation
of its chain of globes, is to dip step by step more deeply into matter, and
then to rise step by step out of it again.

Each chain consists of seven globes, and both globes and chains observe the
rule of descending into matter and then rising out of it again. In order to
make this comprehensible let us take as an example the chain to which our
Earth belongs. At the present time it is in its fourth or most material
incarnation, and therefore three of its globes belong to the physical
world, two to the astral world, and two to the lower part of the mental
world. The wave of divine Life passes in succession from globe to globe of
this chain, beginning with one of the highest, descending gradually to the
lowest and then climbing again to the same level as that at which it began.

Let us for convenience of reference label the seven globes by the earlier
letters of the alphabet, and number the incarnations in order. Thus, as
this is the fourth incarnation of our chain, the first globe in this
incarnation will be 4A, the second 4B, the third 4C, the fourth (which is
our Earth) 4D, and so on.

These globes are not all composed of physical matter. 4A contains no matter
lower than that of the mental world; it has its counterpart in all the
worlds higher than that, but nothing below it. 4B exists in the astral
world; but 4C is a physical globe, visible to our telescopes, and is in
fact the planet which we know as Mars. Globe 4D is our own Earth, on which
the life-wave of the chain is at present in action. Globe 4E is the planet
which we call Mercury--also in the physical world. Globe 4F is in the
astral world, corresponding on the ascending arc to globe 4B in the
descent; while globe 4G corresponds to globe 4A in having its lowest
manifestation in the lower part of the mental world. Thus it will be seen
that we have a scheme of globes starting in the lower mental world,
dipping through the astral into the physical and then rising into the lower
mental through the astral again.

Just as the succession of the globes in a chain constitutes a descent into
matter and an ascent from it again, so do the successive incarnations of a
chain. We have described the condition of affairs in the fourth
incarnation; looking back at the third, we find that that commences not on
the lower level of the mental world but on the higher. Globes 3A and 3G,
then, are both of higher mental matter, while globes 3B and 3F are at the
lower mental level. Globes 3C and 3E belong to the astral world, and only
globe 3D is visible in the physical world. Although this third incarnation
of our chain is long past, the corpse of this physical globe 3D is still
visible to us in the shape of that dead planet the Moon, whence that third
incarnation is usually called the lunar chain.

The fifth incarnation of our chain, which still lies very far in the
future, will correspond to the third. In that, globes 5A and 5G will be
built of higher mental matter, globes 5B and 5F of lower mental, globes 5C
and 5E of astral matter, and only globe 5D will be in the physical world.
This planet 5D is of course not yet in existence.

The other incarnations of the chain follow the same general rule of
gradually decreasing materiality; 2A, 2G, 6A and 6G are all in the
intuitional world; 2B, 2F, 6B and 6F are all in the higher part of the
mental world; 2C, 2E, 6C and 6E are in the lower part of the mental world;
2D and 6D are in the astral world. In the same way 1A, 1G, 7A and 7G belong
to the spiritual world; 1B, IF, 7B and 7F are in the intuitional world; 1C,
1E, 7C and 7E are in the higher part of the mental world; 1D-and 7D are in
the lower part of the mental world.

Thus it will be seen that not only does the life-wave in passing through
one chain of globes dip down into matter and rise out of it again, but the
chain itself in its successive incarnations does exactly the same thing.

There are ten schemes of evolution at present existing in our solar system,
but only seven of them are at the stage where they have planets in the
physical world. These are: (1) that of an unrecognized planet Vulcan, very
near the sun, about which we have very little definite information. It was
seen by the astronomer Herschel, but is now said to have disappeared. We at
first understood that it was in its third incarnation; but it is now
regarded as possible that it has recently passed from its fifth to its
sixth chain, which would account for its alleged disappearance; (2) that of
Venus, which is in its fifth incarnation, and also therefore, has only one
visible globe; (3) that of the Earth, Mars and Mercury, which has three
visible planets because it is in its fourth incarnation; (4) that of
Jupiter, (5) that of Saturn, (6) that of Uranus, all in their third
incarnations; and (7) that of Neptune and the two unnamed planets beyond
its orbit, which is in its fourth incarnation, and therefore has three
physical planets as we have.

In each incarnation of a chain (commonly called a chain-period) the wave of
divine Life moves seven times round the chain of seven planets, and each
such movement is spoken of as a round. The time that the life-wave stays
upon each planet is known as a world-period, and in the course of a
world-period there are seven great root-races. As has been previously
explained, these are subdivided into sub-races, and those again into
branch-races. For convenience of reference we may state this in tabular
form:

7 Branch-Races make 1 Sub-Race
7 Sub-Races make 1 Root-Race
7 Root-Races make 1 World-Period
7 World-Periods make 1 Round
7 Rounds make 1 Chain-Period
7 Chain-Periods make 1 Scheme of Evolution
10 Schemes of Evolution make 1 Our Solar System

It is clear that the fourth root-race of the fourth globe of the fourth
round of a fourth chain-period would be the central point of a whole scheme
of evolution, and we find ourselves at the present moment only a little
past that point. The Aryan race, to which we belong, is the fifth root-race
of the fourth globe, so that the actual middle point fell in the time of
the last great root-race, the Atlantean. Consequently the human race as a
whole is very little more than half-way through its evolution, and those
few souls who are already nearing Adeptship, which is the end and crown of
this evolution, are very far in advance of their fellows.

How do they come to be so far in advance? Partly and in some cases because
they have worked harder, but usually because they are older egos--because
they were individualized out of the animal kingdom at an earlier date, and
so have had more time for the human part of their evolution.

Any given wave of life sent forth from the Deity usually spends a
chain-period in each of the great kingdoms of Nature. That which in our
first chain was ensouling the first elemental kingdom must have ensouled
the second of those kingdoms in the second chain, in the third of them in
the Moon-chain, and is now in the mineral kingdom in the fourth chain. In
the future fifth chain it will ensoul the vegetable kingdom, in the sixth
the animal, and in the seventh it will attain humanity.

From this it follows that we ourselves represented the mineral kingdom on
the first chain, the vegetable on the second, and the animal on the lunar
chain. There some of us attained our individualization, and so we were
enabled to enter this Earth-chain as men. Others who were a little more
backward did not succeed in attaining it, and so had to be born into this
chain as animals for a while before they could reach humanity.

Not all of mankind, however, entered this chain together. When the lunar
chain came to its end the humanity upon it stood at various levels. Not
Adeptship, but what is now for us the fourth step on the Path, was the goal
appointed for that chain. Those who had attained it (commonly called in
Theosophical literature the Lords of the Moon) had, as is usual, seven
choices before them as to the way in which they would serve. Only one of
those choices brought them, or rather a few of them, over into this
Earth-chain to act as guides and teachers to the earlier races. A
considerable proportion--a vast proportion, indeed--of the Moon-men had not
attained that level, and consequently had to reappear in this Earth-chain
as humanity. Besides this, a great mass of the animal kingdom of the
Moon-chain was surging up to the level of the individualization, and some
of its members had already reached it, while many others had not. These
latter needed further animal incarnations upon the Earth-chain, and for the
moment may be put aside.

There were many classes even among the humanity, and the manner in which
these distributed themselves over the Earth-chain needs some explanation.
It is the general rule that those who have attained the highest possible in
any chain on any globe, in any root-race, are not born into the beginning
of the next chain, globe or race, respectively. The earlier stages are
always for the backward entities, and only when they have already passed
through a good deal of evolution and are beginning to approach the level of
those others who had done better, do the latter descend into incarnation
and join them once more. That is to say, almost the earlier half of any
period of evolution, whether it be a race, a globe or a chain, seems to be
devoted to bringing the backward people up to nearly the level of those who
have got on better; then these latter also (who, in the meantime, have been
resting in great enjoyment in the mental world) descend into incarnation
along with the others, and they press on together until the end of the
period.

Thus the first of the egos from the Moon who entered the Earth-chain were
by no means the most advanced. Indeed they may be described as the least
advanced of those who had succeeded in attaining humanity--the animal-men.
Coming as they did into a chain of new globes, freshly aggregated, they had
to establish the forms in all the different kingdoms of Nature. This needs
to be done at the beginning of the first round in a new chain, but never
after that; for though the life-wave is centred only upon one of the seven
globes of a chain at any given time, yet life has not entirely departed
from the other globes. At the present moment, for example, the life-wave of
our chain is centred on this Earth, but on the other two physical globes of
our chain, Mars and Mercury, life still exists. There is still a
population, human, animal and vegetable, and consequently when the
life-wave goes round again to either of those planets there will be no
necessity for the creation of new forms. The old types are already there,
and all that will happen will be a sudden marvellous fecundity, so that the
various kingdoms will quickly increase and multiply, and make a rapidly
increasing population instead of a stationary one.

It was, then, the animal-men, the lowest class of human beings of the
Moon-chain, who established the forms in the first round of the
Earth-chain. Pressing closely after them were the highest of the lunar
animal kingdom, who were soon ready to occupy the forms which had just been
made. In the second journey round the seven globes of the Earth-chain, the
animal-men who had been the most backward of the lunar humanity were
leaders of this terrene humanity, the highest of the moon-animals making
its less developed grades. The same thing went on in the third round of the
Earth-chain, more and more of the lunar animals attaining individualization
and joining the human rank, until in the middle of that round on this very
globe D which we call the Earth, a higher class of human beings--the Second
Order of Moon-men--descended into incarnation and at once took the lead.

When we come to the fourth, our present round, we find the First Order of
the Moon-men pouring in upon us--all the highest and the best of the lunar
humanity who had only just fallen short of success. Some of those who had
already, even on the Moon, entered upon the Path soon attained its end,
became Adepts and passed away from the Earth. Some few others who had not
been quite so far advanced have attained Adeptship only comparatively
recently--that is, within the last few thousand years, and these are the
Adepts of the present day. We, who find ourselves in the higher races of
humanity now, were several stages behind Them, but the opportunity lies
before us of following in Their steps if we will.

The evolution of which we have been speaking is that of the Ego himself, of
what might be called the soul of man; but at the same time there has been
also an evolution to the body. The forms built in the first round were very
different from any of which we know anything now. Properly speaking, those
which were made on our physical earth can scarcely be called forms at all,
for they were constructed of etheric matter only, and resembled vague,
drifting and almost shapeless clouds. In the second round they were
definitely physical, but still shapeless and light enough to float about in
currents of wind.

Only in the third round did they begin to bear any kind of resemblance to
man as we know him today. The very methods of reproduction of those
primitive forms differed from those of humanity today, and far more
resembled those which we now find only in very much lower types of life.
Man in those early days was androgynous, and a definite separation into
sexes took place only about the middle of the third round. From that time
onward until now the shape of man has been steadily evolving along
definitely human lines, becoming smaller and more compact than it was,
learning to stand upright instead of stooping and crawling, and generally
differentiating itself from the animal forms out of which it had been
evolved.

One curious break in the regularity of this evolution deserves mention. On
this globe, in this fourth round, there was a departure from the
straightforward scheme of evolution. This being the middle globe of a
middle round, the midmost point of evolution upon it marked the last moment
at which it was possible for members of what had been the lunar animal
kingdom to attain individualization. Consequently a sort of strong effort
was made--a special scheme was arranged to give a final chance to as many
as possible. The conditions of the first and second rounds were specially
reproduced in place of the first and second races--conditions of which in
the earlier rounds these backward egos had not been able fully to take
advantage. Now, with the additional evolution, which they had undergone
during the third round, some of them were able to take such advantage, and
so they rushed in at the very last moment before the door was shut, and
became just human. Naturally they will not reach any high level of human
development, but at least when they try again in some future chain it will
be some advantage to them to have had even this slight experience of human
life.

Our terrestrial evolution received a most valuable stimulus from the
assistance given to us by our sister globe, Venus. Venus is at present in
the fifth incarnation of its chain, and in the seventh round of that
incarnation, so that its inhabitants are a whole chain-period and a half in
front of us in evolution. Since, therefore, its people are so much more
developed than ours, it was thought desirable that certain Adepts from the
Venus evolution should be transferred to our Earth in order to assist in
the specially busy time just before the closing of the door, in the middle
of the fourth root-race.

These august Beings have been called the Lords of the Flame and the
Children of the Fire-mist, and They have produced a wonderful effect upon
our evolution. The intellect of which we are so proud is almost entirely
due to Their presence, for in the natural course of events the next round,
the fifth, should be that of intellectual advancement, and in this our
present fourth round we should be devoting ourselves chiefly to the
cultivation of the emotions. We are therefore in reality a long way in
advance of the programme marked out for us; and such advance is entirely
due to the assistance given by these great Lords of the Flame. Most of Them
stayed with us only through that critical period of our history; a few
still remain to hold the highest offices of the Great White Brotherhood
until the time when men of our own evolution shall have risen to such a
height as to be capable of relieving their august Visitors.

The evolution lying before us is both of the life and of the form; for in
future rounds, while the egos will be steadily growing in power, wisdom and
love, the physical forms also will be more beautiful and more perfect than
they have ever yet been. We have in this world at the present time men at
widely differing stages of evolution, and it is clear that there are vast
hosts of savages who are far behind the great civilized races of the
world--so far behind that it is quite impossible that they can overtake
them. Later on in the course of our evolution a point will be reached at
which it is no longer possible for those undeveloped souls to advance side
by side with the others, so that it will be necessary that a division
should be made.

The proceeding is exactly analogous to the sorting out by a schoolmaster of
the boys in his class. During the school year he has to prepare his boys
for a certain examination, and by perhaps the middle of that school year he
knows quite well which of them will pass it. If he should have in his class
some who are hopelessly behind the rest, he might reasonably say to them
when the middle period was reached:

"It is quite useless for you to continue with your fellows, for the more
difficult lessons which I shall now have to give will be entirely
unintelligible to you. It is impossible that you can learn enough in the
time to pass the examination, so that the effort would only be a useless
strain for you, and meantime you would be a hindrance to the rest of the
class. It is therefore far better for you to give up striving after the
impossible, and to take up again the work of the lower class which you did
not do perfectly, and then to offer yourselves for this examination along
with next year's class, for what is now impossible for you will then be
easy."

This is in effect exactly what is said at a certain stage in our future
evolution, to the most backward egos. They drop out of this year's class
and come along with the next one. This is the "aeonian condemnation" to
which reference was made a little while ago. It is computed that about
two-fifths of humanity will drop out of the class in this way, leaving the
remaining three-fifths to go on with far greater rapidity to the glorious
destinies which lie before them.

Chapter X

THE RESULT OF THEOSOPHICAL STUDY

"Members of the Theosophical Society study these truths and Theosophists
endeavour to live them." What manner of man then is the true Theosophist in
consequence of his knowledge? What is the result in his daily life of all
this study?

Finding that there is a Supreme Power who is directing the course of
evolution, and that He is all-wise and all-loving, the Theosophist sees
that everything which exists within this scheme must be intended to further
its progress. He realizes that the scripture which tells us that all things
are working together for good, is not indulging in a flight of poetic fancy
or voicing a pious hope, but stating a scientific fact. The final
attainment of unspeakable glory is an absolute certainty for every son of
man, whatever may be his present condition; but that is by no means all.
Here and at this present moment he is on his way towards the glory; and all
the circumstances surrounding him are intended to help and not to hinder
him, if only they are rightly understood. It is sadly true that in the
world there is much of evil and of sorrow and of suffering; yet from the
higher point of view the Theosophist sees that terrible though this be, it
is only temporary and superficial, and is all being utilized as a factor in
the progress.

When in the days of his ignorance he looked at it from its own level it was
almost impossible to see this; while he looked from beneath at the under
side of life, with his eyes fixed all the time upon some apparent evil, he
could never gain a true grasp of its meaning. Now he raises himself above
it to the higher levels of thought and consciousness, and looks down upon
it with the eye of the spirit and understands it in its entirety, so he can
see that in very truth all is well--not that all will be well at some
remote period, but that even now at this moment, in the midst of incessant
striving and apparent evil, the mighty current of evolution is still
flowing, and so all is well because all is moving on in perfect order
towards the final goal.

Raising his consciousness thus above the storm and stress of worldly life,
he recognizes what used to seem to be evil, and notes how it is apparently
pressing backwards against the great stream of progress; but he also sees
that the onward sweep of the divine law of evolution bears the same
relation to this superficial evil as does the tremendous torrent of Niagara
to the fleckings of foam upon its surface. So while he sympathizes deeply
with all who suffer, he yet realizes what will be the end of that
suffering, and so for him despair or hopelessness is impossible. He applies
this consideration to his own sorrows and troubles, as well as to those of
the world, and therefore one great result of his Theosophy is a perfect
serenity--even more than that, a perpetual cheerfulness and joy.

For him there is an utter absence of worry, because in truth there is
nothing left to worry about, since he knows that all must be well. His
higher Science makes him a confirmed optimist, for it shows him that
whatever of evil there may be in any person or in any movement, it is of
necessity temporary, because it is opposed to the resistless stream of
evolution; whereas whatever is good in any person or in any movement must
necessarily be persistent and useful, because it has behind it the
omnipotence of that current, and therefore it must abide and it must
prevail.

Yet it must not for a moment be supposed that because he is so fully
assured of the final triumph of good he remains careless or unmoved by the
evils which exist in the world around him. He knows that it is his duty to
combat these to the utmost of his power, because in doing this he is
working upon the side of the great evolutionary force, and is bringing
nearer the time of its ultimate victory. None will be more active than he
in labouring for the good, even though he is absolutely free from the
feeling of helplessness and hopelessness which so often oppresses those who
are striving to help their fellow-men.

Another most valuable result of his Theosophical study is the absence of
fear. Many people are constantly anxious or worried about something or
other; they are fearing lest this or that should happen to them, lest this
or that combination may fail, and so all the while they are in a condition
of unrest; and most serious of all for many is the fear of death. For the
Theosophist the whole of this feeling is entirely swept away. He realizes
the great truth of reincarnation. He knows that he has often before laid
aside physical bodies, and so he sees that death is no more than
sleep--that just as sleep comes in between our days of work and gives us
rest and refreshment, so between these days of labour here on earth, which
we call lives, there comes a long night of astral and of heavenly life to
give us rest and refreshment and to help us on our way.

To the Theosophist death is simply the laying aside for a time of this robe
of flesh. He knows that it is his duty to preserve the bodily vesture as
long as possible, and gain through it all the experience he can; but when
the time comes for him to lay it down he will do so thankfully, because he
knows that the next stage will be a much pleasanter one than this. Thus he
will have no fear of death, although he realizes that he must live his life
to the appointed end, because he is here for the purpose of progress, and
that progress is the one truly momentous matter. His whole conception of
life is different; the object is not to earn so much money, not to obtain
such and such a position; the one important thing is to carry out the
divine plan. He knows that for this he is here, and that everything else
must give way to it.

Utterly free also is he from any religious fears or worries or troubles.
All such things are swept aside for him, because he sees clearly that
progress towards the highest is the divine Will for us, that we cannot
escape from that progress, and that whatever comes in our way and whatever
happens to us is meant to help us along that line; that we ourselves are
absolutely the only people who can delay our advance. No longer does he
trouble and fear about himself. He simply goes on and does the duty which
comes nearest in the best way that he can, confident that if he does this
all will be well for him without his perpetual worrying. He is satisfied
quietly to do his work and to try to help his fellows in the race, knowing
that the great divine Power behind will press him onward slowly and
steadily, and do for him all that can be done, so long as his face is set
steadfastly in the right direction, so long as he does all that he
reasonably can.

Since he knows that we are all part of one great evolution and all
literally the children of one Father, he sees that the universal
brotherhood of humanity is no mere poetical conception, but a definite
fact; not a dream of something which is to be in the dim distance of
Utopia, but a condition existing here and now. The certainty of this
all-embracing fraternity gives him a wider outlook upon life and a broad
impersonal point of view from which to regard everything. He realizes that
the true interests of all are in fact identical, and that no man can ever
make real gain for himself at the cost of loss or suffering to some one
else. This is not to him an article of religious belief, but a scientific
fact proved to him by his study. He sees that since humanity is literally a
whole, nothing which injures one man can ever be really for the good of any
other, for the harm done influences not only the doer but also those who
are about him.

He knows that the only true advantage for him is that benefit which he
shares with all. He sees that any advance which he is able to make in the
way of spiritual progress or development is something secured not for
himself alone but for others. If he gains knowledge or self-control, he
assuredly acquires much for himself, yet he takes nothing away from anyone
else, but on the contrary he helps and strengthens others. Cognizant as he
is of the absolute spiritual unity of humanity, he knows that, even in this
lower world, no true profit can be made by one man which is not made in the
name of and for the sake of humanity; that one man's progress must be a
lifting of the burden of all the others; that one man's advance in
spiritual things means a very slight yet not imperceptible advance to
humanity as a whole; that every one who bears suffering and sorrow nobly in
his struggle towards the light is lifting a little of the heavy load of the
sorrow and suffering of his brothers as well.

Because he recognizes this brotherhood not merely as a hope cherished by
despairing men, but as a definite fact following in scientific series from
all other facts; because he sees this as an absolute certainty, his
attitude towards all those around him changes radically. It becomes a
posture ever of helpfulness, ever of the deepest sympathy, for he sees that
nothing which clashes with their higher interests can be the right thing
for him to do, or can be good for him in any way.

It naturally follows that he becomes filled with the widest possible
tolerance and charity. He cannot but be always tolerant, because his
philosophy shows him that it matters little what a man believes, so long as
he is a good man and true. Charitable also he must be, because his wider
knowledge enables him to make allowances for many things which the ordinary
man does not understand. The standard of the Theosophist as to right and
wrong is always higher than that of the less instructed man, yet he is far
gentler than the latter in his feeling towards the sinner, because he
comprehends more of human nature. He realizes how the sin appeared to the
sinner at the moment of its commission, and so he makes more allowances
than is ever made by the man who is ignorant of all this.

He goes further than tolerance, charity, sympathy; he feels positive love
towards mankind, and that leads him to adopt a position of watchful
helpfulness. He feels that every contact with others is for him an
opportunity, and the additional knowledge which his study has brought to
him enables him to give advice or help in almost any case which comes
before him. Not that he is perpetually thrusting his opinions upon other
people. On the contrary, he observes that to do this is one of the
commonest mistakes made by the uninstructed. He knows that argument is a
foolish waste of energy, and therefore he declines to argue. If anyone
desires from him explanation or advice he is more than willing to give it,
yet he has no sort of wish to convert anyone else to his own way of
thinking.

In every relation of life this idea of helpfulness comes into play, not
only with regard to his fellowmen but also in connection with the vast
animal kingdom which surrounds him. Units of this kingdom are often brought
into close relation with man, and this is for him an opportunity of doing
something for them. The Theosophist recognizes that these are also his
brothers, even though they may be younger brothers, and that he owes a
fraternal duty to them also--so to act and so to think that his relation
with them shall be always for their good and never for their harm.

Pre-eminently and above all, this Theosophy is to him a doctrine of common
sense. It puts before him, as far as he can at present know them, the facts
about God and man and the relations between them; then he proceeds to take
these facts into account and to act in relation to them with ordinary
reason and common sense. He regulates his life according to the laws of
evolution which it has taught him, and this gives him a totally different
standpoint, and a touchstone by which to try everything--his own thoughts
and feelings, and his own actions first of all, and then those things which
come before him in the world outside himself.

Always he applies this criterion: Is the thing right or wrong, does it help
evolution or does it hinder it? If a thought or a feeling arises within
himself, he sees at once by this test whether it is one he ought to
encourage. If it be for the greatest good of the greatest number then all
is well; if it may hinder or cause harm to any being in its progress, then
it is evil and to be avoided. Exactly the same reason holds good if he is
called upon to decide with regard to anything outside himself. If from that
point of view a thing be a good thing, then he can conscientiously support
it; if not, then it is not for him.

For him the question of personal interest does not come into the case at
all. He thinks simply of the good of evolution as a whole. This gives him a
definite foothold and the clear criterion, and removes from him altogether
the pain of indecision and hesitation. The Will of the Deity is man's
evolution; whatever therefore helps on that evolution must be good;
whatever stands in the way of it and delays it, that thing must be wrong,
even though it may have on its side all the weight of public opinion and
immemorial tradition.

Knowing that the true man is the ego and not the body, he sees that it is
the life of the ego only which is really of moment, and that everything
connected with the body must unhesitatingly be subordinated to those higher
interests. He recognizes that this earth-life is given to him for the
purpose of progress, and that that progress is the one important thing. The
real purpose of his life is the unfoldment of his powers as an ego, the
development of his character. He knows that there must be evolvement not
only of the physical body but also of the mental nature, of the mind and of
the spiritual perceptions. He sees that nothing short of absolute
perfection is expected of him in connection with this development; that all
power with regard to it is in his own hands; that he has everlasting time
before him in which to attain this perfection, but that the sooner it is
gained the happier and more useful will he be.

He recognizes his life as nothing but a day at school, and his physical
body as a temporary vesture assumed for the purpose of learning through it.
He knows at once that this purpose of learning lessons is the only one of
any real importance, and that the man who allows himself to be diverted
from that purpose by any consideration whatever is acting with
inconceivable stupidity. To him the life devoted exclusively to physical
objects, to the acquisition of wealth or fame, appears the merest
child's-play--a senseless sacrifice of all that is really worth having for
the sake of a few moments' gratification of the lower part of his nature.
He "sets his affection on things above and not on things of the earth", not
only because he sees this to be the right course of action, but because he
realizes so clearly the valuelessness of these things of earth. He always
tries to take the higher point of view, for he knows that the lower is
utterly unreliable--that the lower desires and feelings gather round him
like a dense fog, and make it impossible for him to see anything clearly
from that level.

Whenever he finds a struggle going on within him he remembers that he
himself is the higher, and that this which is the lower is not the real
self, but merely an uncontrolled part of one of its vehicles. He knows that
though he may fall a thousand times on the way towards his goal, his reason
for trying to reach it remains just as strong after the thousandth fall as
it was in the beginning, so that it would not only be useless but unwise
and wrong to give way to despondency and hopelessness.

He begins his journey upon the road of progress at once--not only because
he knows that it is far easier for him now than it will be if he leaves the
effort until later, but chiefly because if he makes the endeavour now and
succeeds in achieving some progress, if he rises thereby to some higher
level, he is in a position to hold out a helping hand to those who have not
yet reached even that step on the ladder which he has gained. In that way
he takes a part, however humble it may be, in the great divine work of
evolution.

He knows that he has arrived at his present position only by a slow process
of growth, and so he does not expect instantaneous attainment of
perfection. He sees how inevitable is the great law of cause and effect,
and that when he once grasps the working of that law he can use it
intelligently in regard to mental and moral development, just as in the
physical world we can employ for our own assistance those laws of Nature
the action of which we have learnt to understand.

Understanding what death is, he knows that there can be no need to fear it
or to mourn over it, whether it comes to himself or to those whom he loves.
It has come to them all often before, so there is nothing unfamiliar about
it. He sees death simply as a promotion from a life which is more than half
physical to one which is wholly superior, so for himself he unfeignedly
welcomes it; and even when it comes to those whom he loves, he recognizes
at once the advantage for them, even though he cannot but feel a pang of
regret that he should be temporarily separated from them so far as the
physical world is concerned. But he knows that the so-called dead are near
him still, and that he has only to cast off for a time his physical body in
sleep in order to stand side by side with them as before.

He sees clearly that the world is one, and that the same divine laws rule
the whole of it, whether it be visible or invisible to physical sight. So
he has no feeling of nervousness or strangeness in passing from one part of
it to another, and no feeling of uncertainty as to what he will find on the
other side of the veil. He knows that in that higher life there opens
before him a splendid vista of opportunities both for acquiring fresh
knowledge and for doing useful work; that life away from this dense body
has a vividness and a brilliancy to which all earthly enjoyment is as
nothing; and so through his clear knowledge and calm confidence the power
of the endless life shines out upon all those round him.

Doubt as to his future is for him impossible, for just as by looking back
on the savage he realizes that which he was in the past, so by looking to
the greatest and wisest of mankind he knows what he will be in the future.
He sees an unbroken chain of development, a ladder of perfection rising
steadily before him, yet with human beings upon every step of it, so that
he knows, that those steps are possible for him to climb. It is just
because of the unchangeableness of the great law of cause and effect that
he finds himself able to climb that ladder, because since the law works
always in the same way, he can depend upon it and he can use it, just as he
uses the laws of Nature in the physical worlds. His knowledge of this law
brings to him a sense of perspective and shows him that if something comes
to him, it comes because he has deserved it as a consequence of actions
which he has committed, of words which he has spoken, of thought to which
he has given harbour in previous days or in earlier lives. He comprehends
that all affliction is of the nature of the payment of a debt, and
therefore when he has to meet with the troubles of life he takes them and
uses them as a lesson, because he understands why they have come and is
glad of the opportunity which they give him to pay off something of his
obligation.

Again, and in yet another way, does he take them as an opportunity, for he
sees that there is another side to them if he meets them in the right way.
He spends no time in bearing prospective burdens. When trouble comes to him
he does not aggravate it by foolish repining but sets himself to endure so
much of it as is inevitable, with patience and with fortitude. Not that he
submits himself to it as a fatalist might, for he takes adverse
circumstances as an incentive to such development as may enable him to
transcend them, and thus out of long-past evil he brings forth a seed of
future growth. For in the very act of paying the outstanding debt he
develops qualities of courage and resolution that will stand him in good
stead through all the ages that are to come.

He is distinguishable from the rest of the world by his perennial
cheerfulness, his undaunted courage under difficulties, and his ready
sympathy and helpfulness; yet he is at the same time emphatically a man who
takes life seriously, who recognizes that there is much for everyone to do
in the world, and that there is no time to waste. He knows with utter
certainty that he not only makes his own destiny but also gravely affects
that of others around him, and thus he perceives how weighty a
responsibility attends the use of his power.

He knows that thoughts are things and that it is easily possible to do
great harm or great good by their means. He knows that no man liveth to
himself, for his every thought acts upon others as well; that the
vibrations which he sends forth from his mind and from his mental nature
are reproducing themselves in the minds and the mental natures of other
men, so that he is a source either of mental health or of mental ill to all
with whom he comes in contact.

This at once imposes upon him a far higher code of social ethics than that
which is known to the outer world, for he knows that he must control not
only his acts and his words, but also his thoughts, since they may produce
effects more serious and more far-reaching than their outward expression in
the physical world. He knows that even when a man is not in the least
thinking of others, he yet inevitably affects them for good or for evil. In
addition to this unconscious action of his thought upon others he also
employs it consciously for good. He sets currents in motion to carry mental
help and comfort to many a suffering friend, and in this way he finds a
whole new world of usefulness opening before him.

He ranges himself ever on the side of the higher rather than the lower
thought, the nobler rather than the baser. He deliberately takes the
optimistic rather than the pessimistic view of everything, the helpful,
rather than the cynical, because he knows that to be fundamentally the true
view. By looking continually for the good in everything that he may
endeavour to strengthen it, by striving always to help and never to hinder,
he becomes ever of greater use to his fellow-men, and is thus in his small
way a co-worker with the splendid scheme of evolution. He forgets himself
utterly and lives but for the sake of others, realizing himself as a part
of that scheme; he also realizes the God within him, and learns to become
ever a truer expression of Him, and thus in fulfilling God's Will, he is
not only blessed himself, but becomes a blessing to all.

INDEX

Adept, causal body of 45-8
further evolution of 13
is on summit of human evolution 13
level of 13, 119-21
work of 119-20

Adepts, as members of Hierarchy 13
first of Earth 129
from Venus 131-2
Great Brotherhood of 12-4, 117-8, 132
many degrees of 13
men have become 13
some are Masters 14
some remain with mankind 22
some take apprentices 100

Adeptship, older egos nearing 126

AEonian condemnation 119-20, 133

AEther, breath, blown into 19
bubbles in 19-22, 23
density of 19
mean pressure of 19
of space 18
ultimate atoms formed in 19

Age or dispensation 13

Air, nature spirits of 84

_Ancient Wisdom, The_ 1

Androgynous man 130

Angels, approach men through ceremonial 85
guardian 54
hosts of 11
Kingdom of 84
of the law of cause and effect 100

Animals, additional evolution of 131
are our younger brothers 141
distinction between man and 40
domestic 38
heads of types of 38
individualization of 38-40
man's emotions act on 38
man's thoughts act on 38
Moon-, came to Earth chain 128
Moon-, individualize 126, 131
seven types of 37, 38
souls of 33

Animal kingdom 31-2, 37, 141

Animal-men of Moon-chain 127-8

Apprentice upon probation 118

Apprentices, to Masters 14-7
accepted 118
men may become 18, 116-7
qualifications necessary for 116-8
three stages of 118

Aryan root-race 105, 125

Aspects, three, of the Logos 11
three, of man 11, 41

Astral body, after death 68-71, 73-5, 81, 86
cell-life of 65
colours of 56-8
disintegration of 86
effect of thought on 51-2
ego casts off 42, 63
ego takes an 42, 61
entity occupying 66-72
is bridge to mental body 58
man in his, during sleep 62, 71
matter of, is in constant motion 70
never fatigued 62
no separate senses in 69-70
of animal 32
of group-soul 32
permanent colours of 58
reacts on causal body 47
reacts on mental body 47
shape of 56, 61
shell around 68, 70, 78-80, 81
simile of boiling water 69-70
size of 56
temptations caused by 66-8
vibrations of 56-8, 65-7, 75-6

Astral corpse 86
counterparts 72-3, 78-80
entity 66-8
shell 68, 78-81, 86-7
shell, result of 70
vitality of 86-7

Astral globe of Earth 26-7, 71-2
globe of Moon 26-7
globes of Earth-chain 122

Astral matter, arrangement of 71-3
attracts mental matter 60
physical body attracts 60
vibrations of 24

Astral sight 68-9

Astral world, the appearance of 71, 78-83
death in 89
delights of 76-8
descent of ego to 42-3
extent of 26-7, 71
inhabitants of 83
the, is the home of emotions 71
is the home of lower thoughts 71
life period in, after death 43, 64-5, 81
man in, during sleep 62, 70
man's freedom in 73, 76
matter, simile of onion 72
nature spirits in 84
no measurement of time in 75
non-human inhabitants of 84
of Moon 27
scenery of 77, 81
second outpouring enters 30
second outpouring indrawn to 31
sections of 78-83
the sixth plane is named 23, 41
the summerland of 80
withdrawal of ego from 82

Astro-mental forms 51, 57

Atlantean root-race 105, 125

Atomic matter 25

Atoms charged with vitality of interpenetrating worlds 20-1
physical ultimate 25
ultimate 19-22

Attainment is certain for all 132

Besant, Dr. 1
author of _The Ancient Wisdom_ 1

Birth of man, factors determining 104-5

Blavatsky, H.P. 14
author of _Isis Unveiled_ 15
was a founder of the T.S. 14
was an apprentice to a Master 14

Bliss of the higher worlds 89-91

Books, oriental sacred 18

Brain, connection with astral body 59
connection with ego 59
connection with mental body 49
etheric part of 62

Branch-races 104-5, 125

Bridges to ego 59, 61

Brotherhood, the Great, of Adepts 12-4, 116-9, 132
entry into 119
Great White, the 12
Head of 12
Lords of the Flame hold highest office in 132
man may join in 116

Brotherhood of humanity, the universal 138-9

Bubbles in space 19-21
aggregations of 19-22, 23-4
form material of nebula 19

Casual body, the, abstract thoughts arouse 46
appearance of 45-9
bad qualities do not affect 47, 58
colours in 46-8
composition of 45
is the vehicle of ego 42
life in 95-6
mental body reacts upon 58
of Adept 45, 48
of developed man 48
of primitive man 46
of saint 48
of savage 48
only good affects 47, 58
permanent vehicle of ego 45
unselfish emotions arouse 47

Cause and effect, law of 100-7
adjustment of 101
angels connected with 101
cannot be modified 101
exactness of 100-1
explains problems of life 100-1

Cause and effect, is universal 100
simile of debts and 102-7

Cell-life of astral body 65
of mental body 65
of physical body 65

Centres of force 60

Ceremonial, angels approach men through 85

Chain, a, consists of seven rounds 124
life-wave of a 121, 123-5
lunar, the 123, 126-7
periods 125

Chains of globes 121
descent of, into matter 121-4
incarnation of 121-5

Character and simile of muscles 114
how, is formed 111-5

Chemical elements 21, 28

Children of the Fire-mist 131
(also see Lords of Flame)

Christ, the, learning the lesson of 96
spoke of the "aeonian condemnation" 119, 133

Church, the angels approach men through 85

Clairvoyant sight 46
character seen by 50
force-centres seen by 60

Colours of astral body 56-8
of causal body 46-8
of mental body 48
of thoughts 54

Consciousness, development of 45-6
of developed man 62-3
states of 64

Corpse, astral 86
physical 86
the Moon is a 123

Counterparts, astral 73-4
of globes 122

Crookes, Sir William 22

Dead, the, can be helped 77-9
can continue studies 77
can help their fellowmen 77
communicate with living 74
cravings of the 75-7
first feeling of 76
friends of, in mental world 93-4
have no measurement of time 75
in astral world 73-89
in mental world 89-95
in the three sections of astral world 74-5, 78-83
most of, are happy 76
period in astral world, 64-5, 82
period in mental world 64
relation of, to Earth 73-4
some seize other bodies 88
thought-creations of 80
what they see 73

Death, a second 63, 89
artists after 77
average men after 64-5
character not changed by 74
conditions of life after 74
cultured men after 65
etheric double at 87
happiness after 74, 76
in astral world 68, 89
lovers of music after 77
misery after 75
philanthropists after 77
primitive men after 63
sensualists after 75-6
spiritual men after 65
students of science after 77
what is 3, 63, 137, 144

Deity (see Solar Deity)

Demons, tempting 53, 67

Departments of the world 11

Devas, hosts of 11
(also see Angels)

Discrimination 118

Divine Life 29
ensouls matter 29-40
responds to vibrations 33

Divine world, extent of 26-7
first plane named 23, 41
"Door, shutting the" 131

Dreams 62

Earth, Adepts from Venus come to 131
astral globe of 26-7
-chain 121
first men of the 125-30
nature spirits of the 85
purpose of life on 142

Earth-chain, the 121
animal-men build early
forms on 127-8
explained 121-4
incarnation of 122-5
Moon-animals come to 128

Education, department of 11-2

Ego, the, assumes bodies 42, 61
bridges of to physical body 58, 61
connection of, with brain 59
desire of, for vivid life 97

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