Year succeeds year and newsletter succeeds newsletter. This one comes at a time of stress in a number of world situations: e.g. that in Iraq, in Serbia, Jakarta and the ongoing disagreement between Jews and Arabs in Palestine. Apart from these there are the fragile situations in several countries in Africa and in Northern Ireland, and the continuing threat of violence by the Muslim Fundamentalists in many different countries.
In previous letters we have mentioned the obvious solution to these quarrels which never seem to achieve anything positive, temporary or permanent. That obvious solution promotion of the idea of brotherhood, mutual respect and regard, kindliness, helpfulness, cooperation; all the things that should apply in an affectionate family. These simplicities are only too often completely forgotten but everyone in his or her right mind would subscribe to them.
In the larger context there are other factors which disturb the even tenor of human lives. These are the great natural catastrophes and political upheavals affecting thousands of innocent people: ethnic cleansing, tribal wars, national wars and even local outbursts of terrorism and lawlessness generally. All these levy an enormous toll in human suffering.
Esotericism tells us that the whole universal process, including that of human affairs, is subject to an inexorable but perfectly just Law. The main features of the Law are that everything in Nature in long periods of time demonstrates a slow unfolding of spiritual potentialities, existing in everything. It is the evolutionary process in operation. The Law says that this ever-onward march proceeds by cycles wherein, however, progress is not uniformly upward; things take downturns and upturns alternately. Every main cycle is further along the progressive road than its predecessor. Some progress has been made in spite of apparent periodical worsening of the situations. Another aspect of this Law is that of alternation, like that of the rise and fall of the tides, our in-breathing and out-breathing, etc. A third major aspect is that everything is, and is as it is as a result of what went before. Every present time event and state of affairs is the result of the past. There is a still further aspect of this Law and that is that it restores balance, maintains equilibrium. For every event which disturbs its harmony there is a restorative, compensative, counterbalancing effect. This Law has been known as that of cause and effect. In the East its name is Karma.
At first glance when we are confronted with the accounts of some of the awful happenings, atrocities, and the human tragedies that result from the events outlined above, we wonder how this Law could possibly be one of justice. How could any 'governing power' allow such apparent injustices with their consequent welter of suffering? It appears that there could be no answers to this question. If, however, the enquirer will take the long term view of world events, he can see that a calamity of whatever magnitude never lasts for ever. A mighty upheaval is an occurrence for a time only and then things subside to normal, healing takes place. In time huge adjustments are made to restore a balance so that, for example, human life can carry on as it has done for thousands of years. In that sense the balance is restored. Existence becomes not completely intolerable and there are periods, locally maybe, on the surface of the Earth when life is very tolerable for those who are there to enjoy it.
To understand the Law and its workings completely we would need far more information than we have of all the factors involved in its operation. These are innumerable, involving both the inner invisible realms of existence as well as the outer objective ones. No one can know which of the factors or in what admixture, are involved in these calamitous happenings. We have seen that, as far as natural catastrophes are concerned, in the long term they subside and their effects melt into the past and are forgotten. Life proceeds by way of adaptability. In the case of the catastrophes made by man, when the causes of them are examined, they are nearly all the result of some kind of human immaturity, stupidity or greed, and this is so particularly among those who are in the position to wield the power of death-dealing and destruction.
Against this background the idea of the law being equitable, perfectly just, and inexorable in its progressive march, seems quite untenable. In time, however, all disastrous events and their consequences subside, and the tenor of normal life is restored. The problem remains for the individuals who may have suffered so sorely as a result of callous and inhuman behaviour. What redress have they when perhaps their situation has reached extreme limits in disfigurement or even death; what recompense is there for them?
The solution to this huge problem cannot be seen against the common notion of our only having one personal life or existence. The grand teaching has it that 'Life' is one and ever-lasting, not only in Cosmic terms but also, in a reflected way, in each human being. There is an aspect to his being that is virtually eternal. In Eastern terms this is a spiritual 'Individuality' which persists for many millennia, but periodically it 'puts down' and overshadows a 'personal' existence.
This is 'reincarnation' which, at physical level, goes for each 'life' through all the processes of being born, growing up, maturing, ageing and eventually dying. During that process very much has happened to it in the way of experience. All the spiritual aspects of that experience are gathered into and comprise the development of the immortal spiritual Entity. This Entity thereby grows in stature and magnificence during its long, long journey to maturity. Its associated successive personalities, however, come and go as we all know only too well. They are related to each other by a mechanism corresponding to physical heredity, but at psychic levels. Whereas the bodies of each personality are distinct from those that have lived before, these persisting psychic elements provide a continuity. The Law also has an effect in determining the parents that will bring them into the world. The whole process is marvellously continuous; however, each personality is quite distinct in one sense from the previous ones overshadowed by the continuing spiritual Entity and it does not have any knowledge (in the ordinary way) of previous personalities.
How is this process of rebirth relevant to the operations of the Law in the large scale? It obviously relates to individual men and women. It does, however, tell us something of what goes on in the inner worlds. The greater part of the time spent between lives is in a condition corresponding very loosely to the common idea of heaven. This is a purely subjective state, i.e. one wherein we create our own circumstances from the previous life experiences, but they are entirely private to us, as indeed a dream is. It is said, however, that this is a restorative period wherein we enjoy the results of our meritorious deeds. We do not suffer in any way for our misdeeds (that comes later in the next life), and most importantly, we are compensated in that state by way of long periods of ecstatic bliss for all the undeserved suffering we were subjected to in our last personal life.
The Law also governs the circumstances of our next lives. In these of course it has to resolve many, many factors affecting those lives. The ultimate resolution is one that we may not understand immediately, but it will be such that perfect justice is done every time. The factors involved in determining the nature of any personal existence will of course go back over the whole period of our past lives and not just the previous one. It could very well be therefore that any given life would on the whole be no happier than the last one. In a long life-after-life period, however, all our debts by way of wrong-doing, selfishness, etc. will be so to speak be paid off and our future existences on earth become increasingly tolerable and because of our experience probably also more and more useful to the communities in which we live.
Such in brief are some thoughts on what is known as the Good Law, and how the seeming injustices of a short term view of the results to human life of great calamities and catastrophes can be reconciled with it.