Compass Newsletter Autumn 2018, No.37
Compass – “an aid to orientation. A reference point to aid direction.” We hope Compass Newsletter helps that reference point and aids to orientation.
Heard early morning BBC Radio 4 broadcast
Some clarity on Reincarnation
Some Words on Daily Life
My First Meeting with H. P. Blavatsky’s Teacher
From K H’s (Koot Hoomi) first letter
Life-Atoms, Their Origin and Destiny
Walking within the garden of his heart, the pupil suddenly came upon the Master, and was glad, for he had but just finished a task in His service which he hastened to lay at His feet.
“See, Master,” said he, “this is done: now give me other teaching to do.”
The Master looked upon him sadly yet indulgently, as one might upon a child which can not understand.
“There are already many to teach intellectual conceptions of the Truth,” he replied. “Thinkest thou to serve best by adding thyself to their number?”
The pupil was perplexed.
“Ought we not to proclaim the Truth from the very housetops, until the whole world shall have heard?” he asked.
“And then — ”
“Then the whole world will surely accept it.”
“Nay,” replied the Master, “the Truth is not of the intellect, but of the heart. See!”
The pupil looked, and saw the Truth as though it were a White Light, flooding the whole earth; yet none reaching the green and living plants which so sorely needed its rays, because of dense layers of clouds intervening.
“The clouds are the human intellect,” said the Master. “Look again.”
Intently gazing, the pupil saw here and there faint rifts in the clouds, through which the Light struggled in broken, feeble beams. Each rift was caused by a little vortex of vibrations, and looking down through the openings thus made the pupil perceived that each vortex had its origin in a human heart.
“Only by adding to and enlarging the rifts will the Light ever reach the earth,” said the Master. “Is it best, then, to pour out more Light upon the clouds, or to establish a vortex of heart force? The latter thou must accomplish unseen and unnoticed and even unthanked. The former will bring thee praise and notice among men, Both are necessary: both are Our work; but — the rifts are so few! Art strong enough to forego the praise and make of thyself a heart centre of pure impersonal force?” The pupil sighed, for it was a sore question.
“A while ago when my husband and I were visiting London we wandered into St Paul’s Church in Covent Garden (London). Sometimes known as the ‘actors’ church’ because of its long association with the theatre community in the West End, the walls of the church are covered with memorials remembering some of the great actors who attended the church. As we walked around I was familiar with many of the names on the memorials: Charlie Chaplin, Noel Coward, Gracie Fields, Vivien Leigh, Ivor Novello and many others. Among all the star-studded names, however, there was one plaque which simply read:
“inspired player of small parts”
I didn’t recognise the name of the actor, but later discovered that while Tony Sympson had apparently never had a star role in any production he had acted in many small roles in films and on television. Since that day I have thought about the description of him as an ‘inspired player of small parts’. In many ways, I suppose that is what so many of us are called to be.
Mother (now St) Teresa who served among the poor in Kolkata said on one occasion that, “We can’t all do great things, but we can all do small things with great love.” I believe she was right. Just think of what a difference it makes when someone does something small for us: The smile of encouragement, the offer of help from a colleague. Perhaps it’s true that only because there are ‘inspired players of small parts’ can the show go on.”
Some clarity on Reincarnation
In Answer to a Question (published in The Path Magazine, Vol.V, March 1891, pp382-4)
…Considering the questions of the atoms in their march along the path of evolution, another cause for a belief wrongly held in transmigration into lower forms can be found. The initiates could teach and thoroughly understand how it is that each ego is responsible for the use he makes of the atoms in space, and how each may and does imprint a definite character and direction upon all the atoms used throughout life, but the uninitiated just as easily would misinterpret this also and think it referred to transmigration. Each man has a duty not only to himself but also to the atoms in use. He is the great, the highest educator of them. Being each instant in possession of some, and likewise ever throwing them off, he should so live that they gain a fresh impulse to the higher life of man as compared with the brute. This impress and impulse given by us either confer an affinity for human bodies and brains, and for that which, corresponding to brutal lives and base passions, belong to the lower kingdoms. So the teachers inculcated this, and said that if the disciple lived a wicked life his atoms would be precipitated down instead of up in this relative scale. If he was dull and inattentive, the atoms similarly impressed traveled into stocks and stones. In each case they to some extent represent the man, just as our surroundings, furniture, and clothing generally represent us who collect and use them. So from both these true tenets the people might at last come to believe in transmigration as being a convenient and easy way of formulating the problem and of indicating and of indicating a rule of conduct.
– Hadji – (William Quan Judge)
…Theosophy should not represent merely a collection of moral verities, a bundle of metaphysical ethics, epitomized in theoretical dissertations. Theosophy must be made practical; and it has, therefore, to be disencumbered of useless digressions, in the sense of desultory orations and fine talk. Let every Theosophist only do his duty, that which he can and ought to do , and very soon the sum of human misery…will be found visibly diminished. Forget SELF in working for others – and the task will become an easy and a light one for you.
…In the fields of Theosophy none is held to weed out a larger plot of ground than his strength and capacity will permit him…
– Lucifer Magazine, January, 1888 –
“I remember very vividly the morning I met H. P. Blavatsky’s teacher on the mountainside near Darjiling. He was dressed plainly in the Tibetan style, and had an English pocket knife in his hand and was whittling a piece of wood with it. In the field below, not far away, a young Hindu was plowing with a brace of oxen; and the whittling, he told me, was to make a little plug or peg which, inserted in the yoke, would make it easier for the beasts. He drew my attention to the plowman, one of his own chelas he said.
“Were a battery of guns firing and the shells falling all around him,” said the Teacher, “he would not stir from his work. Indeed, he would hardly be aware of the noise or the peril, so absorbed he is. Those two oxen with anyone else are most unmanageable creatures; with him they are always, as now, perfectly quiet. He does not control them with his will; his mind does not concern itself with them at all. But you see there for yourself proof that those dumb things can feel the atmosphere of purity of thought…. You know, the atoms of the human body become weighed down as a rule with the burdens of the mind — the irrelevant ideas, the preoccupations and anxieties. They go through series of changes momently, affected by the thoughts of the brain-mind. The lack of trust, the lack of inspiration that people suffer from — the hopelessness — bring these atoms down halfway to death. But they can be quickened to a kind of immortality by the fire of the divine life and attuned into universal harmony. Men anywhere could get rid of all that burden of unnecessities, and carry themselves like that young chela does, if they had the mental balance…
… The days are long and the path is wide: Go forward, then, with far-seeing hope and trust, towards the Great Ultimate! “The Gods await!”“
…every thought of man upon being evolved passes into the inner world and becomes an active entity by associating itself — coalescing, we might term it — with an elemental; that is to say with one of the semi-intelligent forces of the kingdoms. It survives as an active intelligence, a creature of the mind’s begetting, for a longer or shorter period proportionate with the original intensity of the cerebral action which generated it. Thus, a good thought is perpetuated as an active beneficent power; an evil one as a maleficent demon. And so man is continually peopling his current in space with a world of his own, crowded with the offsprings of his fancies, desires, impulses, and passions, a current which reacts upon any sensitive or and nervous organisation which comes in contact with it in proportion to its dynamic intensity. The Buddhist calls this his “Skandha,” the Hindu gives it the name of “Karma”; the Adept evolves these shapes consciously, other men throw them off unconsciously…
. . . Occultism does not accept anything inorganic in the Kosmos. The expression employed by Science, “inorganic substance,” means simply that the latent life slumbering in the molecules of so- called “inert matter” is incognizable. ALL IS LIFE, and every atom of even mineral dust is a LIFE, though beyond our comprehension and perception, because it is outside the range of the laws known to those who reject Occultism. “The very Atoms,” says Tyndall, “seem instinct with a desire for life.” Whence, then, we would ask, comes the tendency “to run into organic form”? Is it in any way explicable except according to the teachings of Occult Science?
“The worlds, to the profane,” says a Commentary, “are built up of the known Elements. To the conception of an Arhat, these Elements are themselves collectively a divine Life; distributively, on the plane of manifestations, the numberless and countless crores of lives. Fire alone is ONE, on the plane of the One Reality: on that of manifested, hence illusive, being, its particles are fiery lives which live and have their being at the expense of every other life that they consume. Therefore they are named the “DEVOURERERS.” . . . “Every visible thing in this Universe was built by such LIVES, from conscious and divine primordial man down to the unconscious agents that construct matter.” . . . “From the ONE LIFE formless and Uncreate, proceeds the Universe of lives. — The Secret Doctrine, I, 248-50
Every monad is literally a creative center, continually pouring forth from its heart a stream of life- atoms born within and from its own essence. And each such life-atom has as its own core an as yet unexpressed god. There is not a mathematical point in infinite Space which is not such a life-atom. More specifically, a life-atom is an astral monad, which merely means a phase of the spiritual monad itself operating by remote control in and on the astral plane. A ray or projection of the native energy of the spiritual monad thus passes through all intermediate planes of matter and consciousness until it reaches the astral, and there it forms an infinitesimal whirl, a vortex, in the astral substance. This is the astral monad, called monad because, with the essential monadic consciousness, it participates directly along this ray or extension of the monadic energy on the astral plane. The physical atom in its turn is similarly formed by the operation in physical matter of a ray from the astral monad; and the fundamental of the physical atom, according to science, is electricity. Thus we can trace the root of the life-atom back along this ray of energy to the monadic essence. … …Every life-atom therefore is such a potential divinity, for the inner god is at the core of it.
…A life-atom is a manifestation of a jiva; a jiva is a monad; and the heart of a monad is indestructible, because it is divinity itself. The very atoms of our body are the identic ones that formed our last earthly vehicle. These same atoms in the next incarnation will make the body that then we shall have; and this applies not only to our physical body, but to all the sheaths of consciousness of our sevenfold constitution. Each one of these sheaths is formed of life-atoms, these jivas making up the hosts of entities composing the complete man through which the inner god works. Some of the Upanishads speak about Brahman seated at the heart of the atom — that Brahman which is smaller than the smallest, and greater than the greatest, encompassing the universe.
Such then are the life-atoms. All matter, all substance, is composed of them and of nothing else. They are the building stones of the universe. They are composite of consciousness in the core of each, manifesting in its two forms of energy and will — for energy and will are themselves forms of consciousness, the ultimate Reality.
Every life-atom originating in the supreme hierarch of any hierarchy has a tremendous evolutionary journey to perform. Beginning in the highest stages, it slowly, as the ages roll by, descends the arc of shadows into the matter formed of other similar life-atoms which have preceded it on their ‘downward’ way; and this journey continues until the pilgrim life-atom reaches the lowest possible point of its own hierarchy — but only of that hierarchy, because that is where it is undergoing its typical evolutionary experience. Then, having reached this point, it begins the reascent along the luminous arc, until at length it reattains union with its divine essence, the god within.
During this evolutionary process it passes from unself-consciousness through manifold and all- various stages of experience to relative self-consciousness, then to full self-consciousness, evolving into impersonal consciousness, and finally merging into divinity — now no longer a mere god- spark but a god, one of the co-laborers in the great work of the building of worlds.
Everything is composed of life-atoms, from the superspiritual to the inframaterial. To those who accept without question the appearance of things, relying solely on their outer sense perceptions, inanimate matter may seem lifeless, or at best asleep. But the physical life-atoms are very lively little entities, constantly at work, even when we are sleeping. Were they to stop for the fraction of a second, our bodies would vanish. As a matter of fact, the physical life-atoms are more intensely at work than are the life-atoms of spiritual things. They are aggressively active, as all matter is. Intensive movement is a sign of matter; consequently the less there is of it, the higher the entity is. Peace, tranquillity and quiet are the insignia of greatness; and it is so in the spirit as it is in material things. The great things are accomplished in the quiet, in the silences.
All the various monads which make up the composite nature of man evolve forth from themselves children monads which form their successive vehicles, the outermost being the physical body built of physical life-atoms which are the atoms of previous incarnations simply because they have been our children in other lives. During each lifetime we are not only pouring them forth, but absorbing them, for there is a constant interchange of atoms. In addition, a great many of the life-atoms, hosts of them, that form our physical vehicle have flowed forth from us as new ‘creations.’
Man’s sevenfold constitution, including every organ of his body, is composed of life-atoms of varying degrees of evolution. A life-atom may be the vehicle of a god in a lower sphere which for karmic reasons it must at least reach toward and touch. For instance, the human brain may contain at times life-atoms which are the fingers of a divinity reaching down into our material sphere and seeking the most evolved physical matter that it can find, which is the human cerebral substance, wrapped as it is during earth life in a veil of akasa.1
This is karma for the human being who can contain such life-atoms in his brain-substance; but it is, as it were, unmerited. Absolutely everything that happens to a man is his karma; but here is an instance where we can say that the individual by his free will did not really cause this god to choose a life-atom in his brain; and yet it happens because his karma made him a fit vehicle for this. The man receives the benefit.
It is also true that the brain can harbor life-atoms of a diabolical character which bring suffering. This too is karma because the man’s past acts have made him a vehicle for such life-atoms. Nevertheless, it is unmerited suffering for him because he did not with his will choose to bring these diabolic life-atoms into his body. Hence, there may be life-atoms in the brain or in other vital organs which actually could be characterized as being in nature diabolic — or again, spiritual or divine….Every life-atom of every entity, born in and from the heart of the monadic essence, forever after is the child of that monadic essence, just as the human soul is the more or less developed child of the spiritual monad. In the beginning of their evolutionary journey in man, these children monads manifest first as the life-atoms of the lower parts of the human constitution; and then, throughout the many minor manvantaras 2 that succeed each other, they grow from small to great, from great to greater, and find their ultimate destiny for the solar manvantara as liberated jivamuktas, 3 dhyani- chohans, 4 gods…
…All nature proceeds after one rule. Every entity, then, may be said to originate in the life-substance of some dhyani-chohan as a life-atom; and thence it begins to evolve by descending slowly into matter. When it reaches the deepest depths of the arc of that particular hierarchy, it begins to turn upwards and becomes a complete man, which will develop into a monad or a god — not by accretions of growth from outside, but by bringing forth what is locked up within itself; and thereafter, when it attains the state of the monad of a dhyani-chohan, it becomes a cosmic spirit…
…Every monad in our home-universe, which means everything within the Milky Way, is an atom, so to speak, a particle of the spiritual essence belonging to the life — the individual vital essence — of a cosmic entity still more sublime. We ourselves are life-atoms, children monads, of a cosmic divinity, just as our bodies are composed of young life-atoms beginning their journey to the gods.
There are multitudes of such glorious beings in boundless Space, so we must not call any one of them ‘God.’ This very concept gave rise to the idea that we are all ‘children of God’ — the early Christians had the original thought, but soon lost the key.
These children monads are by no means all of contemporaneous birth date. Furthermore, they are in all degrees of evolution, some beginning for this manvantara are already old in it, and others not yet evolved forth from the monadic essence. Out of this host of children monads a very much smaller aggregate has attained an evolutionary stage approximating the human, and of this a still smaller number are human beings. These last, of course, are not all living on earth at the same time, as some may be in the devachanic 5 state, and others in the intermediate phase.
It should be clear that we are responsible for the evolution of the atoms of our bodies throughout all future ages. In other words, the evolution of the life-atoms, not only of our physical vehicle, but of the other sheaths through which we express ourselves, is dependent upon our thoughts, our feelings, our aspirations, our very life. So in future cycles, as we and they evolve to greater and greater heights, shall we continue as their guides and instructors, even as we in turn have ours.
The spiritual part of the human being is the hierarch, the Silent Watcher, of all the smaller lives which compose the vehicles through and in which this higher nature of man expresses itself. These smaller lives are offsprings from the fountain of vitality welling up in the heart of the spiritual being of man. And as the human being advances, so do these come trailing along behind, evolving, and entering a constantly greater life and expanding consciousness. Everything in the solar system ultimately springs from the sun which, as said, is not so much the parent as the elder brother of the other bodies of its kingdom. This becomes more easily understood when we bear in mind that every life-atom, even those composing our physical body, is a part of us, lives in us, and yet each one of them is the expression of its own individual monad — a monad which in its core is just as glorious and high as our own, but whose vehicle is not as highly developed as ours.
The human body is more fit to express the monadic essence than is the life-atom fit to express the essence of its monad or inner god. Once we humans, individually speaking, were manifesting in simple life-atoms — all sons of the sun as well as brothers of the sun. Each one of us, although forming a part of the solar essence, is nevertheless in his inmost part a divine being; and in the future, if we follow the path faithfully to the end, we shall become a glorious sun in the cosmic spaces. We shall then be a manifesting god in our inmost part and a sun will be our body.
(Extracted from The Fountain Source of Occultism, G. de Purucker)
1 akasa – the kosmical spirit-substance. The reservoir of Being and of beings
2 manvantara – literally between two Manus where manu means the entities appearing at the beginning of manifestation
3 jivanmukta – a freed jiva. An entity reaching a point in evolutionary development released as an individual Monad
4 dhyani-chohan – Lord of Meditation. A Planetary Spirit. Full blown ‘flowers’ of of former manvantaras. We were born from them, being the atoms emanated by them.
5 devachan – the state between earth lives into which the human entity, the human Monad, enters and there rests in bliss and repose