Point Loma edition 1993
Blavatsky Trust edition 2010
The aspects of universal Law to be considered in this chapter are periodicity and cyclic progression. These are exemplified in the rhythmic motions of heavenly bodies, including our earth and the moon, down to the lesser scale of our daily lives and our very bodies - the pulse of the heart, the alternation of inhalation and exhalation, sleeping and waking, and indeed in our living and dying. By studying the operation of the Law as it affects the individual man, we may come to understand how the events and circumstances of one incarnation result from his actions in previous lives. The retributive aspects of the Law have not been explained in technical detail, but some partial understanding may be reached by an appreciation of the factors involved, in particular of the hierarchies of entities by whom the universe in all its parts is "guided, controlled and animated." Secret Doctrine (I 274, I 295, I 317) Some preliminary information on this subject is given in the synopsis of the seven Stanzas at the end of the Proem, referring to
"the septenary hierarchy of conscious Divine Powers", mentioned in Chapter 4, who adjust and control evolution, embodying in themselves those manifestations of the ONE LAW, which we know as the Laws of Nature. Secret Doctrine (I 22, I 49, I 86)
Again in that Chapter reference was made to
The AH-HI (Dhyani-Chohans), ... the collective hosts of spiritual beings ... [who] are the Intelligent Forces that give to and enact in Nature her "laws", while themselves acting according to laws imposed upon them in a similar manner by still higher Powers ... Secret Doctrine (I 38, I 70, I 112)
The "Regents or Angels" mentioned in the previous chapter not only "rule over the Cosmical Forces of North, South, East and West" (relative to wherever one maybe on earth and its direction of spin) but are also "connected with Karma, as the latter needs physical and material agents to carry out her decrees" Secret Doctrine (I 122, I 147, I 180). It is not to be supposed, however, that it is these Beings who bring down upon man the unhappy consequences of his evil deeds. This is unequivocally stated:
It is not the "Rector" or "Maharaja" who punishes or rewards, with or without "God's" permission or order, but man himself - his deeds or Karma, attracting individually and collectively (as in the case of whole nations sometimes) every kind of evil and calamity. We produce CAUSES, and these awaken the corresponding powers in the sidereal world; which powers are magnetically and irresistibly attracted to - and react upon - those who produced these causes; whether such persons are practically the evil-doers, or simply thinkers who brood mischief. Secret Doctrine (I 124, I 148, I 181)
The grand processes of Nature operate on their appropriate scale throughout the Cosmos. There is, however, an insistence that, in the study of Nature, we must have particular regard to Man, but never view him in isolation or as separate from the Universal Whole.
Let us study man, therefore, but if we separate him for one moment from the Universal Whole or view him in isolation, from a single aspect, apart from the "Heavenly Man' ... we shall either land in black magic or fail most ingloriously in our attempt. Secret Doctrine Addendum (437, 419, 517, 350)
The "Heavenly Man' - in Kabalistic terms Adam Kadmon - is a symbol for the whole cosmic process. The "Heavenly Man" is the model or object of "ever-becoming". All is tending to become 'man' - in our planetary manvantara at least - and the Beings in the post-human kingdoms proceed from having been human. Man is not only the model for, but the critical point in, the evolutionary scheme Secret Doctrine (I 133, I 157, I 190)
Fohat holds a key place in the cosmic process. It is the energy of Fohat that quickens all the planes and subplanes which in turn are reflected in the constitution of man.
THE SPARK HANGS FROM THE FLAME BY THE FINEST THREAD OF FOHAT. IT JOURNEYS THROUGH THE SEVEN WORLDS OF MAYA ... Secret Doctrine (I 238, I 259, I 283)
In the Commentary that follows, Mme Blavatsky explains that the last phrase
... refers here to the seven globes of the planetary chain and the seven Rounds, or the 49 stations of active existence that are before the "Spark" or Monad at the beginning of every "Great Life-Cycle" or Manvantara. The "thread of Fohat" is the thread of life before referred to.
This relates to the greatest problem of philosophy - the physical and substantial nature of life, the independent nature of which is denied by modern science because that science is unable to comprehend it. The reincarnationists and believers in Karma alone dimly perceive that the whole secret of life is in the unbroken series of its manifestations, whether in, or apart from, the physical body. Secret Doctrine (I 238, I 258, I 283)
The Forty-Nine Fires, here mentioned in relation to the Cosmos as "the stations of active existence", relate also to the principles and sub-principles of man's constitution; the Monad or Spark is:-
... JIVA, the MONAD in conjunction with MANAS, or rather its aroma - that which remains from each personality, when worthy, and hangs from Atma-Buddhi, the Flame, by the thread of life. Secret Doctrine (I 238, I 258, I 283)
Here we have a description of the process of reincarnation: it is the Monad in conjunction with the aroma of Manas, the Ego, that periodically animates the vehicles of perception and action necessary for gaining
experience in the psychic and physical worlds. In accordance with the law of analogy and cyclic law, the process applies to Globes as well as to Egos.
An interesting question, incidental to our theme but often asked, is whether there is a finite, and definite, number of human Monads associated with our Earth, incarnating over and over again, only a proportion of the number being in incarnation at any one time.
There must be a limited number of Monads evolving and growing more and more perfect through their assimilation of many successive personalities, in every new Manvantara. This is absolutely necessary in view of the doctrines of Rebirth, Karma, and the gradual return of the human Monad to its source - absolute Deity. Thus, although the hosts of more or less progressed Monads are almost incalculable, they are still finite, as is everything in this Universe of differentiation and finiteness
... there is an eternal concatenation of causes and effects, and a perfect analogy which runs through, and links together, all thelines of evolution. One begets the other - globes as personalities. Secret Doctrine (I 171, I 194, I 224)
This gaining of experience in the inner, spiritual realms of being leads to a consideration of how we, as individual persons, come to be as we are. Two factors are involved: the Elementals, as the operative agents of the Law, and the Akasha and the Astral Light as the reservoirs, at their respective levels, of all experience and thus the seat of memory. It is through these two, the Elementals and the Universal Memory, that the fruit of what was becomes the seed of what will be. The pattern of what-is-to-be has been determined by all the conditioning factors in the past to which we, individually and collectively, have contributed. These are impressed into Nature's unfading memory, a memory that is inherent in the Maharajas or Regents. The dynamism that brings forth the new order in due season and in accordance with the patterns so established is Fohat and the elemental life. This, in general terms, is the nature of the reincarnation process.
The origins of the personal make-up of an individual when he returns to a new life on earth is explained in The Secret Doctrine in the following passage. Occultism, says Mme Blavatsky, teaches that
(a) the life atoms of our life-principle (Prana) are never entirely lost when a man dies. That the atoms best impregnated with the life-principle (an independent, eternal, conscious factor) are partially transmitted from father to son by heredity, and partially are drawn once more together and become the animating principle of the new body in every new incarnation of the Monads. Because(b) as the individual Soul is ever the same, so are the atoms of the lower principles (body, its astral, or life-double, etc.) drawn as they are by affinity and karmic law always to the same individuality in a series of various bodies, etc., etc. Secret Doctrine (II 671, II 709, IV 241)
A footnote to this passage adds:
The collective aggregation of these atoms forms thus the Anima-Mundi of our Solar System, the soul of our little universe, each atom of which is of course a soul, a monad, a little universe endowed with consciousness, hence with memory. Secret Doctrine (II 672 fn, II 709 fn, IV 241)
To understand more fully the processes of reincarnation as they affect the personal characteristics with which we are born, one has to keep in mind the nature of the Auric Envelope and its function as the accumulator of Karma, and as that in which the new Astral Body is formed. In lay parlance, the process may be described as the re-animation, at the dawn of a new earth life, of the dormant, residual properties and qualities formed as a result of all the actions and experiences of the previous personality. Here too the law of analogy applies, and the process is seen to be universal as well as individual.
In [the Kosmic] ... Auric envelope ... [is all] the karma of the manifesting Universe ... Jiva is everywhere ... and so with the other principles ... Secret Doctrine Addendum (555, 528, 657, 436)
When a new universe is to come into being, its processes are started in the same way as for a man, the smaller reflecting the greater. Further, the teaching says that the Karma of a planet, for example, is the collective Karma of the beings it has nurtured. In the aggregate, the thoughts and actions of men determine not only their own Karma but that of their environment and their world. It is in this sense that an individual man plays his part in the evolutionary development of his planet and likewise even in that of the solar system.
The law has its inner as well as its outer manifestations. Although in one respect its cycles can be regarded as mechanistically objective, like tidal ebb and flow, they have corresponding inner aspects which affect periodically the quality and conditions of life. There are times like the seasons, for instance, when qualitative aspects of communal life can and do manifest changes, as in periods of peace or of strife.
Using the axial revolution of our planet as a simile, Mme Blavatsky states that
The revolution of the physical world, according to the ancient doctrine, is attended by a like revolution in the world of intellect - the spiritual evolution of the world proceeding in cycles, like the physical one.
Thus we see in history a regular alternation of ebb and flow in the tide of human progress. The great kingdoms and empires of the world, after reaching the culmination of their greatness, descend again, in accordance with the same law by which they ascended; till, having reached the lowest point, humanity reasserts itself and mounts up once more, the height of its attainment being, by this law of ascending progression by cycles, somewhat higher than the point from which it had before descended. Isis Unveiled, I 34
An important comment on this doctrine of cycles points out that "these cycles - wheels within wheels ... do not affect all mankind at one and the same time" Secret Doctrine (I 641, I 703, II 366)
This raises the question of predestination and free will. The general principle is clear:
There is a purpose in every important act of Nature, whose acts are all cyclic and periodical ...
There is a predestination in the geological life of our globe, as in the history, past and future, of races and nations. This is closely connected with what we call Karma ... Secret Doctrine (I 640, I 702, II 365)
It must not be supposed that the responsibility of the individual is in any way diminished, whether that individual be a person or a nation.
KARMA-NEMESIS is the creator of nations and mortals, but once created, it is they who make of her either a fury or a rewarding Angel ... There is no return from the paths she cycles over; yet those paths are our own making, for it is we, collectively or individually, who prepare them. Karma- Nemesis is the synonym of PROVIDENCE, minus design, goodness, and every other finite attribute and qualification ... Secret Doctrine (I 642, I 704, I 367)
Deity Cosmos and Man >Next Page Part 2 Chapter VIII Death and Rebirth