The Wolseley Hornet 1960s model
An upmarket version of the Mini
A 1930s Wolseley Hornet sports car
The bodywork for these was made to order by a coachbuilder
of the customer’s choice and there were many variations of this car.
The series ran from 1930 to 1935
The Wolseley Hornet both in its 1930s sports car
incarnation, and its 1960s posh mini version, has
very little (in fact nothing) to do with Theosophy
but we have found that Theosophists and new
enquirers do like pictures of classic cars
and we get a lot of positive feedback.
The Ancient Wisdom
We are now in a position to study one of the pivotal doctrines of the Ancient Wisdom, the doctrine of reincarnation. Our view of it will be clearer and more in congruity with natural order, if we look at it as universal in principle, and then consider the special case of the reincarnation of the human soul.
In studying it, this special case is generally wrenched from its place in natural order, and is considered as a dislocated fragment, greatly to its detriment. For all evolution consists of an evolving life, passing from form to form as it evolves, and storing up in itself the experiences gained through the forms ; the reincarnation of the human soul is not the introduction of a new principle into evolution, but the adaptation of the universal principle to meet the conditions rendered necessary by the individualisation of the continuously evolving life.
Mr. Lafcadio Hearn ( "Mr. Hearn has lost his way in expressing – but not, I think, in his inner view – in part of his exposition of the Buddhist statement of this doctrine, and his use of the word "Ego" will mislead the reader of his very interesting chapter on this subject, if the distinction between real and illusory ego is not readily kept in mind.") has put this point well in considering the bearing of the idea of the pre-existence on the scientific thought of the West. He says: -
"With the acceptance of the doctrine of evolution, old forms of thought crumbled ; new ideas everywhere arose to take the place of worn-out dogmas ; and we now have the spectacle of a general intellectual movement in directions strangely parallel with Oriental philosophy. The unprecedented rapidity and multiformity of scientific progress during the last fifty years could not have failed to provoke an equally unprecedented intellectual quickening among the non-scientific. "
"That the highest and most complex organisms have been developed from the lowest and simplest ; that a single physical basis of life is the substance of the whole living world ; that no line of separation can be drawn between the animal and vegetable ; that the difference between life and non-life is only a difference of degree, not of kind ; that matter is not less incomprehensible than mind, while both are but varying manifestations of one and the same unknown reality – these have already become the commonplaces of the new philosophy."
"After the first recognition even by theology of physical evolution, it was easy to predict that the recognition of psychical evolution could not be indefinitely delayed ; for the barrier erected by old dogma to keep men from looking backward had been broken down. And today for the student of scientific psychology the idea of pre-existence passes out of the realm of theory into the realm of fact, proving the Buddhist explanation of the universal mystery quite as plausible as any other."
"None but very hasty thinkers,’ wrote the late Professor Huxley, ‘will reject it on the ground of inherent absurdity. Like the doctrine of evolution itself, that of transmigration has its roots in the world of reality ; and it may claim such support as the great argument from analogy is capable of supplying." (Evolution and Ethics, p. 61, ed. 1894 – Kokoro, Hints and Echoes of Japanese Inner Life, by Lafcadio Hearn, pp. 237-39 london, 1896)."
Let us consider the Monad of form, Âtma-Buddhi. In this Monad, the outbreathed life of the LOGOS, lie hidden all the divine powers, but, as we have seen, they are latent, not manifest and functioning. They are to be gradually aroused by external impacts, it being of the very nature of life to vibrate in answer to vibrations that play upon it.
As all possibilities of vibrations exist in the Monad, any vibration touching it will arouse its corresponding vibratory powers, and in this way one force after another will pass from the latent to the active state. (From the static to the kinetic condition, the physicist would say.) Herein lies the secret of evolution ; the environment acts on the form of the living creature – and all things, be it remembered, live – and this action, transmitted through the enveloping form to the life, the Monad, within it, arouses responsive vibrations which thrill outwards from the Monad through the form, throwing its particles, in turn, into vibrations, and rearranging them into a shape corresponding, or adapted, to the initial impact.
This is the action and reaction between the environment and the organism, which have been recognised by all biologists, and which are considered by some as giving a sufficient mechanical explanation of evolution. Their patient and careful observation of these actions and reactions yields, however, no explanation why the organism should thus react to stimuli, and the Ancient Wisdom is needed to unveil the secret of evolution, by pointing to the Self in the heart of all forms, the hidden mainspring of all the movements of nature.
Having grasped this fundamental idea of a life containing the possibility of responding to every vibration that can reach it from the external universe, the actual response being gradually drawn forth by the play upon it of external forces, the next fundamental idea to be grasped is that of the continuity of life and forms.
Forms transmit their peculiarities to other forms that proceed from them, these other forms being part of their own substance, separated off to lead an independent existence. By fission, by budding, by extrusion of germs, by development of the offspring within the maternal womb, a physical continuity is preserved, every new form being derived from a preceding form and reproducing its characteristics. ( The student might wisely familiarise himself with the researches of Weissman on the continuity of germ-plasm.)
Science groups these facts under the name of the law of heredity, and its observations on the transmission of form are worthy of attention, and are illuminative of the workings of Nature in the phenomenal world. But it must be remembered that it applies only to the building of the physical body, into which enter the materials provided by the parents.
Her more hidden workings, those workings of life without which form could not be, have received no attention, not being susceptible of physical observation, and this gap can only be filled by the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom, given by Those who of old used superphysical powers of observation, and verifiable gradually by every pupil who studies patiently in Their schools.
There is continuity of life as well as continuity of form, and it is the continuing life – with ever more and more of its latent energies rendered active by the stimuli received through successive forms – which resumes into itself the
experiences obtained by its incasings in form ; for when the form perishes, the life has the record of those experiences in the increased energies aroused by them, and is ready to pour itself into the new forms derived from the old, carrying with it this accumulated store.
While it was in the previous form, it played through it, adapting it to express each newly awakened energy; the form hands on these adaptations, inwrought into its substance, to the separated part of itself that we speak of as its offspring, which, beings of its substance, must needs have the peculiarities of that substance; the life pours itself into that offspring with all its awakened powers, and moulds it yet further ; and so on and on.
Modern science is proving more and more clearly that heredity plays an ever-decreasing part in the evolution of the higher creatures, that mental and moral qualities are not transmitted from parents to offspring, and that the higher qualities the more patent is this fact ‘ the child of the genius is oft-times a dolt; commonplace parents give birth to a genius.
A continuing substratum there must be, in which mental and moral qualities inhere, in order that they may increase, else would Nature, in this most important department of her work, show erratic uncaused production instead of orderly continuity. On this science is dumb, but the Ancient Wisdom teaches that this continuing substratum is the Monad, which is the receptacle of all results, the storehouse in which all experiences are garnered as increasingly active powers.
These two principles firmly grasped – of the Monad with potentialities becoming powers, and of the continuity of the life form – we can proceed to the continuity of life and form – we can proceed to study their working out in detail, and we shall find that they solve many of the perplexing problems of modern science, as well as the yet more heart-searching problems confronted by the philanthropist and the sage.
Let us start by considering the monad as it is first subjected to the impacts from the formless levels of the mental plane, the very beginning of the evolution of form. Its first faint responsive thrillings draw round it some of the matter of that plane, and we have the gradual evolution of the first elemental kingdom, already mentioned. (See chapter IV, on "The Mental Plane").
The great fundamental types of the Monad are seven in number, sometimes imaged as like the seven colours of the solar spectrum, derived from the three primary. ("As above, so below." We instinctively remember the three LOGOI and the seven primeval Sons of the Fire ; in Christian Symbolism, the Trinity and the "Seven Spirits that are before the throne" ; or in Zoroastrian, Ahuramazda and the seven Ameshaspentas.)
Each of these types has its own colouring of characteristics, and this colouring persists throughout the aeonian cycle of its evolution, affecting all the series of living things that are animated by it. Now begins the process of subdivision in each of these types, that will be carried on, subdividing and ever subdividing, until the individual is reached.
The currents set up by the commencing outward-going energies of the Monad – to follow one line of evolution will suffice ; the other six are like unto it in principle – have but brief form-life, yet whatever experience can be gained through them is represented by an increasedly responsive life in the Monad who is their source and cause ; as this responsive life consists of vibrations that are often incongruous with each other, a tendency towards separation is set up within the Monad, the harmoniously vibrating forces grouping themselves together for, as it were, concerted action, until various sub-Monads, if the epithet may for a moment be allowed, are formed, alike in their main characteristics, but differing in details, like shades of the same colour.
These become, by impacts from the lower levels of the mental plane, the Monads of the second elemental kingdom, belonging to the form region of that plane, and the process continues, the Monad ever adding to its power to respond, each Monad being the inspiring life of countless forms, through which it receives vibrations, and, as the forms disintegrate, constantly vivifying new forms ; the process of subdivision also continues from the cause already described.
Each Monad thus continually incarnates itself in forms, and garners within itself as awakened powers all the results obtained through the forms it animates. We may well regard these Monads as the souls of groups of forms; and as evolution proceeds, these forms show more and more attributes, the attributes being the powers of the monadic group-soul manifested through the forms in which it is incarnated.
The innumerable sub-Monads of this second elemental kingdom presently reach a stage of evolution at which they begin to respond to the vibrations of astral matter, and they begin to act on the astral plane, becoming the Monads of the third elemental kingdom, and repeating in this grosser world all the processes already accomplished on the mental plane.
They become more and more numerous as monadic group-souls, showing more and more diversity in detail, the number of forms animated by each becoming less as the specialised characteristics become more and more marked.
Meanwhile, it may be said in passing, the ever-flowing stream of life from the LOGOS supplies new Monads of form on the higher levels, so that the evolution proceeds continuously, and as the more-evolved Monads incarnate in the lower worlds their place is taken by the newly emerged Monads in the higher.
By this ever-repeated process of the reincarnation of the Monads, or Monadic group-soul, in the astral world, their evolution proceeds, until they are ready to respond to the impacts upon them from physical matter. When we remember that the ultimate atoms of each plane have their sphere-walls composed of the coarsest matter of the plane immediately above it, it is easy to see how the Monads become responsive to impacts from one plane after another.
When, in the first elemental kingdom, the Monad had become accustomed to thrill responsively to the impacts of matter of that plane, it would soon begin to answer to vibrations received through the coarsest forms of that matter from the matter of the plane next below. So, in its coatings of matter that were the
forms composed of the coarsest materials of the material plane, it would become susceptible to vibrations of astral atomic matter ; and, when incarnated in forms of the coarsest astral matter, it would similarly become responsive to atomic physical ether, the sphere-walls of which are constituted of the grossest astral materials.
Thus the Monad may be regarded as reaching the physical plane ; and there it begins, or, more accurately, all these monadic group-souls begin, to incarnate themselves in filmy physical forms, the etheric doubles of the future dense minerals of the physical world. Into these filmy forms the nature-spirits build
the denser physical materials, and thus minerals of all kinds are formed, the most rigid vehicles in which the evolving life in-closes itself, and through which the least of its powers can express themselves. Each monadic group-soul has its own mineral expressions, the mineral forms in which it is incarnated,
and the specialisation has now reached a high degree. These Monadic group-souls are sometimes called in their totality the mineral Monad or the Monad incarnating in the mineral kingdom.
From this time forward the awakened energies of the Monad play a less passive part in evolution. They begin to seek expression actively to some extent when once aroused into functioning, and to exercise a distinctly moulding influence
over the forms in which they are imprisoned. As they become too active for their mineral embodiment, the beginnings of the more plastic forms of the vegetable kingdom manifest themselves, the nature-spirits aiding this evolution throughout the physical kingdoms. In the mineral kingdom there had already been shown a tendency towards the definite organisation of form, the laying down of certain lines ( The axes of growth which determine form. They appear definitely in crystals ) along which the growth proceeded. This tendency governs henceforth all the building of forms, and is the cause of the exquisite symmetry of natural
objects, with which every observer is familiar.
The monadic group-souls in the vegetable kingdom undergo division and subdivision with increasing rapidity, in consequence of the still greater variety of impacts to which they are subjected, the evolution of families, generations, and species being due to this invisible subdivision.
When any genus, with its generic monadic group-soul, is subjected to very varying conditions, i.e., when the forms connected with it receive very different impacts, a fresh tendency to subdivide is set up in the Monad, and various species are evolved, each having its own specific group-soul.
When Nature is left to her own working the process is slow, although the nature-spirits do much towards the differentiation of species ; but when man has been evolved, and when he begins his artificial systems of cultivation, encouraging the play of one set of forces, warding off another, then this differentiation can be brought about with considerable rapidity, and specific
differences are readily evolved. So long as actual division has not taken place in the monadic group-soul, the subjection of the forms to similar influences may again eradicate the separative tendency, but when that division is completed the new species are definitely and firmly established , and are ready to send out
offshoots of their own.
In some of the longer-lived members of the vegetable kingdom the element of personality begins to manifest itself, the stability of the organism rendering possible this foreshadowing of individuality. With a tree, living for scores of years, the recurrence of similar conditions causing similar impacts, the seasons ever returning year after year, the consecutive motions caused by them, the rising of the sap, the putting forth of leaves, the touches of the wind, of the sunbeams, of the rain – all these outer influences with their rhythmical progression – set up responsive thrillings in the monadic group-soul, and, as
the sequence impresses itself by continual repetition, the recurrence of one leads to the dim expectation of its oft-repeated successor. Nature evolves no quality suddenly, and these are the first faint adumbrations of what will later be memory and anticipation.
In the vegetable kingdom also appear the foreshadowings of sensation, evolving in its higher members to what the Western psychologist would term "massive" sensations of pleasure and discomfort. (The "massive" sensation is one that pervades the organism and is not felt especially in any one part more than in
others. It is the antithesis of the "acute.") It must be remembered that the Monad has drawn round itself materials of the planes through which it has descended, and hence is able to contact impacts, from those planes, the strongest and those most nearly allied to the grossest forms of matter being the first to make themselves felt.
Sunshine and the chill of its absence at last impress themselves on the monadic consciousness ; and its astral coating, thrown into faint vibrations, gives rise to the slight massive kind of sensation spoken of. Rain and drought affecting the mechanical constitution of the form, and its power to convey vibrations to
the ensouling Monad – are another of the "pairs of opposites," the play of which arouses the recognition of difference, which is the root alike of all sensation, and later of all thought. Thus by their repeated plant-reincarnations the monadic group-souls in the vegetable kingdom evolve, until those that ensoul the highest members of the kingdom are ready for the next step.
This step carries them into the animal kingdom, and here they slowly evolve in their physical and astral vehicles a very distinct personality. The animal, being free to move about, subjects itself to a greater variety of conditions than can be experienced by the plant, rooted to a single spot, and this variety, as ever, promotes differentiation.
The monadic group-soul, however, which animates a number of wild animals of the same species or subspecies, while it receives a great variety of impacts, since they are for the most part repeated continually and are shared by all the members of the group, differentiates but slowly.
These impacts aid in the development of the physical and astral bodies, and through them the monadic group-soul gathers much experience. When the form of a member of the group perishes, the experience gathered through that form is accumulated in the monadic group-soul, and may be said to colour it ; the slightly increased life of the monadic group-soul, poured into all the forms which compose its group, shares among all the experiences of the perished form, and in this way continually repeated experiences, stored up in the monadic group-soul, appear as instincts, "accumulated hereditary experiences" in the new forms.
Countless birds having fallen a prey to hawks, chicks just out of the egg will cower at the approach of one of the hereditary enemies, for the life that is incarnated in them knows the danger, and the innate instinct is the expression of its knowledge. In this way are formed the wonderful instincts that guard animals from innumerable habitual perils, while a new danger finds them
unprepared and only bewilders them.
As animals come under the influence of man, the monadic group-souls evolves with greatly increased rapidity, and, from causes similar to those which affect plants under domestication, subdivision of the incarnating life is more readily brought about. Personality evolves and becomes more and more strongly marked ; in the earlier stages it may almost be said to be compound – a whole flock of wild creatures will act as though moved by a single personality, so completely are the forms dominated by the common soul, it, in turn, being affected by the impulse from the external world.
Domesticated animals of the higher types, the elephants, the horse, the cat, the dog, show a more individualised personality – two dogs, for instance, may act very differently under the impact of the same circumstances. The monadic group-soul incarnates in a decreasing number of forms as it gradually approaches the point at which complete individualisation will be reached. The desire-body, or Kâmic vehicle, becomes considerably developed, and persists for some time after the death of the physical body, leading an independent existence in Kâmaloka. At last the decreasing number of forms animated by a monadic group-soul comes down to unity, and it animates a succession of single forms – a condition differing from human reincarnation only by the absence of Manas, with its causal and mental bodies.
The mental matter brought down by the monadic group-souls begins to be susceptible to impacts from the mental plane, and the animal is then ready to receive the third great outpouring of the life of the LOGOS – the tabernacle is ready for the reception of the human Monad.
The human Monad is, as we have seen, triple in its nature, its three aspects being denominated, respectively, the Spirit, the spiritual Soul, and the human Soul, Âtma-Buddhi-Manas. Doubtless, in the course of eons of evolution, the upwardly evolving Monad of form might have unfolded Manas by progressive growth, but both in the human race in the past, and in the animals of the present, such has not been the course of Nature.
When the house was ready the tenant was sent down ; from the higher planes of being the âtmic life descended, veiling itself in Buddhi, as a golden thread ; and its third aspect, Manas, showing itself in the higher levels of the formless world of the mental plane, germinal Manas within the form was fructified, and the embryonic causal body was formed by the union. This is the individualisation of the spirit, the incasing of it in form, and this spirit incased in the causal body is the soul, the individual, the real man. This is his birth hour; for though his essence be eternal, unborn and undying, his birth in time as an individual is definite.
Further, this outpoured life reaches the evolving forms not directly, but by intermediaries. The human race having attained the point of receptivity, certain great Ones, called Sons of Mind – (Manasaputra is the technical name, being merely the Sanskrit for Sons of Mind.) – cast into men the monadic spark of
Âtma-Buddhi-Manas, needed for the formation of the embryonic soul.
And some of these great Ones actually incarnated in human forms, in order to become the guides and teachers of infant humanity. These Sons of Mind had completed Their own intellectual evolution in other worlds, and came to this
younger world, our earth, for the purpose of thus aiding in the evolution of the human race. They are in truth, the spiritual fathers of the bulk of our humanity. Other intelligences of much lower grade, men who had evolved in preceding cycles in another world, incarnated among the descendants of the race
that received its infant souls in the way just described. As this race evolved, the human tabernacles improved, and myriads of souls that were awaiting the opportunity of incarnation, that they might continue their evolution, took birth among its children.
These partially evolved souls are also spoken of in the ancient records as Sons of Mind, for they were possessed of mind, although comparatively it was but little developed – childish souls we may call them, in distinguishment from the
embryonic souls of the bulk of humanity, and the mature souls of the great Teachers.
These child-souls, by reason of their more evolved intelligence, formed the leading types of the ancient world, the classes higher in mentality, and therefore in the power of acquiring knowledge, that dominated the masses of less developed men in antiquity.
And thus arose, in our world, the enormous differences in mental and moral capacity which separate the most highly evolved
from the least evolved races, and which, even within the limits of single race, separate the lofty philosophic thinker from the well-nigh animal type of the most depraved of his own nation. These differences are but differences of the stage of evolution, of the age of the soul, and they have been found to exist throughout the whole of history of humanity on this globe. Go back as far as we
may in historic records, and we may find lofty intelligence and debased ignorance side by side, and the occult records, carrying us backwards, tell a similar story of the early millennia of humanity.
Nor should this distress us, as though some had been unduly favoured and others unduly burdened for the struggle of life. The loftiest soul had its childhood and its infancy, albeit in previous worlds, where other souls were as high above it as others are below it now ; the lowest soul shall climb to where our highest are standing, and souls yet unborn shall occupy its present place in evolution.
Things seem unjust because we wrench our world out of its place in evolution, and set it apart in isolation, with no forerunners and no successors. It is our ignorance that sees the injustice ; the ways of Nature are equal, and she brings to all her children infancy, childhood, and manhood. Nor hers the fault if our
folly demands that all souls shall occupy the same stage of evolution at the same time, and cries "Unjust!" if the demand be not fulfilled.
We shall best understand the evolution of the soul, if we take it up at the point where we left it, when animal-man was ready to receive, and did receive, the embryonic soul. To avoid a possible misapprehension, it may be well to say that there were not henceforth two Monads in man – the one that had built the
human tabernacle, and the one that descended into that tabernacle, and whose lowest aspect was the human soul.
To borrow a simile again from H. P. Blavatsky, as two rays of the sun may pass through a hole in a shutter, and mingling together form but one ray though they had been twain, so is it with these rays from the Supreme Sun, the divine Lord
of our universe. The second ray, as it entered into the human tabernacle, blended with the first, merely adding to it fresh energy and brilliance, and the human Monad, as a unit, began its mighty task of unfolding the higher powers in man of that divine Life whence it came.
The embryonic soul, the Thinker, had at the beginning for its embryonic mental body the mind-stuff envelope that the Monad of form had brought with it, but had not yet organised into any possibility of functioning. It was the mere germ of a mental body, attached to a mere germ of a causal body, and for many a life the
strong desire-nature had its will with the soul, whirling it along the road of its own passions and appetites, and dashing up against it all the furious waves of its own uncontrolled animality.
Repulsive as this early life of the soul may at first seem to some when looked at from the higher stage that we have now attained, it was a necessary one for the germination of the seeds of mind. Recognition of difference, the perception that one thing is different from another, is a preliminary essential to thinking
at all. And, in order to awaken this perception in the as yet unthinking soul, strong and violent contrasts had to strike upon it, so as to force differences upon it – blow after blow of riotous pleasure, blow after blow of crushing pain.
The external world hammered on the soul through the desire nature, till perceptions began to be slowly made, and, after countless repetitions, to be registered. The little gains made in each life were stored up by the Thinker, as we have already seen, and thus slow progress was made.
Slow progress, indeed, for scarcely anything was thought, and hence scarcely anything was done in the way of organising the mental body. Not until many perceptions had been registered in it as mental images was there any material on which mental action, initiated from within, could be based ; this would begin
when two or more of these mental images were drawn together, and some inference, however elementary, was made from them. That inference was the beginning of reasoning, the germ of all the systems of logic which the intellect of man has since evolved or assimilated. These inferences would at first all be made in the service of the desire-nature, for the increasing of pleasure, the lessening of pain ; but each one would increase the activity of the mental body, and would stimulate it into more ready functioning.
It will readily be seen that at this period of his infancy man had no knowledge of good or of evil; right and wrong for him had no existence. The right is that which is in accordance with the divine will, which helps forward the progress of the soul, which tends to the strengthening of the higher nature of man and to the training and subjugation of the lower, the wrong is that which retards
evolution, which retains the soul in the lower stages after he has learned the lessons they have to teach, which tends to the mastery of the lower nature over the higher, and assimilates man to the brute he should be outgrowing instead of to the God he should be evolving.
Ere man could know what was right, he had to learn the existence of the law, and this he could only learn by following all that attracted him in the outer world, by grasping every desirable object, and then by learning from experience, sweet
or bitter, whether his delight was in harmony or in conflict with the law. Let us take an obvious example, the taking of pleasant food, and see how infant man might learn therefrom the presence of a natural law. At the first taking, his hunger was appeased, his taste was gratified, and only pleasure resulted from the experience, for his action was in harmony with law. On another occasion, desiring to increase pleasure, he ate overmuch and suffered in consequence, for he transgressed against the law. A confusing experience to the dawning intelligence, how the pleasurable became painful by excess.
Over and over again he would be led by desire into excess, and each time he would experience the painful consequences, until at last he learned moderation, i.e., he learned to conform his bodily acts in this respect to physical law; for he found that there were conditions which affected him and which he could not control, and that only by observing them could physical happiness be insured.
Similar experiences flowed in upon him through all the bodily organs, with undeviating regularity ; his outrushing desires brought him pleasure or pain just as they worked with the laws of Nature or against them, and, as experience increased, it began to guide his steps, to influence his choice, It was not as though he had to begin his experience anew with every life, for on each new
birth he brought with him mental faculties a little increased, and
I have said that the growth in these early days was very slow, for there was but the dawning of mental action, and when the man left his physical body at death he passed most of his time in Kâmaloka, sleeping through a brief devachanic period of unconscious assimilation of any minute mental experience not yet sufficiently developed for the active heavenly life that lay before him after many days.
Still, the enduring causal body was there, to be the receptacle of his qualities, and to carry them on for further development into his next life on earth. The part played by the monadic group-soul in the earlier stages of evolution is played in man by the causal body, and it is this continuing entity who, in all cases, makes evolution possible. Without him, the accumulation of mental and moral experiences, shown as faculties, would be as impossible as
would be the accumulation of physical experiences, shown as racial and family characteristics without the continuity of physical plasm.
Souls without a past behind them, springing suddenly into existence, out of nothing, with marked mental and moral peculiarities, are a conception as monstrous as would be the corresponding conception of babies suddenly appearing from nowhere, unrelated to anybody, but showing marked racial and family types.
Neither man nor his physical vehicle is uncaused, or caused by the direct power of the LOGOS ; here, as in so many other cases, the invisible things are clearly seen by their analogy with the visible, the visible being, in very truth, nothing more than the images, the reflections, of things unseen.
Without a continuity in the physical plasm, there would be no means for the evolution of physical peculiarities ; without the continuity of the intelligence, there would be no means for the evolution of mental and moral qualities. In both cases, without continuity, evolution would be stopped at its first stage, and the world would be a chaos of infinite and isolated beginnings instead of a cosmos continually becoming.
We must not omit to notice that in these early days much variety is caused in the type and in the nature of individual progress by the environment which surrounds the individual. Ultimately all the souls have to develop all their powers, but the order in which these powers are developed depends on the circumstances amid which the soul is placed. Climate, the fertility or sterility of nature, the life of the mountain or of the plain, of the inland forest or the ocean shore – these things and countless others will call into activity one set or another of the awakening mental energies.
A life of extreme hardship, of ceaseless struggle with nature, will develop very different powers from those evolved amid the luxuriant plenty of a tropical island ; both sets of powers are needed, for the soul is to conquer every region of nature, but striking differences may thus be evolved even in souls of the same age, and one may appear to be more advanced than the other, according as the observer estimates most highly the more "practical" or the more
"contemplative" powers of the soul, the active outward-going energies, or the quiet inward-turned musing faculties. The perfected soul possesses all, but the soul in the making must develop them successively, and thus arises another cause of the immense variety found among human beings.
For again, it must be remembered that human evolution is individual. In a group informed by a single monadic group-soul the same instincts will be found in all, for the receptacle of the experiences is that monadic group-soul, and it pours its life into all forms dependent upon it.
But each man has his own physical vehicle and one only at a time, and the receptacle of all experiences is the causal body, which pours its life into its one physical vehicle, and can affect no other physical vehicle, being connected with none other. Hence we find differences separating individual men greater, than the ever separated, closely allied animals, and hence also the evolution of qualities cannot be studied in men in the mass, but only in the continuing individual. The lack of power to make such a study leaves science unable to explain why some men tower above their fellows, intellectual and moral giants, unable to trace the intellectual evolution of a Shankarâchârya or a Pythagoras, the moral evolution of a Buddha or of a Christ.
Let us now consider the factors in reincarnation, as a clear understanding of these is necessary for the explanation of some of the difficulties – such as the alleged loss of memory – which are felt by those unfamiliar with the idea. We have seen that man, during his passage through physical death, Kâmaloka and Devachan, loses one after the other, his various bodies, the physical, the astral, and the mental. These are all disintegrated, and their particles remix with the materials of their several planes. The connection of the man with the physical vehicle is entirely broken off and done with ; but the astral and mental bodies hand on to the man himself, to the Thinker, the germs of the faculties and qualities resulting from the activities of the earth-life, and these are stored within the causal body, the seeds of his next astral and mental bodies.
At this stage, then, only the man himself is left, the labourer who has brought his harvest home, and has lived upon it till it is all worked up into himself. The dawn of a new life begins, and he must go forth again to his labour until the even.
The new life begins by the vivifying of the mental germs, and they draw upon the materials of the lower mental levels, till a mental body has grown up from them that represents exactly the mental stage of the man, expressing all his mental faculties as organs ; the experiences of the past do not exist as mental images in this new body; as mental images they perished when the old mind-body perished, and only their essence, their effects on faculty, remain ; they were the food of the mind, the materials which it wove into powers, and in the new body they reappear as powers, they determine its materials, and they form its organs. When the man, the Thinker, has thus clothed himself with a new body for his coming life on the lower mental levels, he proceeds, by vivifying the astral germs, to provide himself with an astral body for his life on the astral plane.
This, again, exactly represents his desire-nature, faithfully reproducing the qualities he evolved in the past, as the seed reproduces its parent tree. Thus the man stands, fully equipped for his next incarnation, the only memory of these events of his past being in the causal body, in his own enduring form, the one body that passes on from life to life.
Meanwhile, action external to himself is being taken to provide him with a physical body suitable for the expression of his qualities. In past lives he has made ties with, contracted liabilities towards, other human beings, and some of these will partly determine his place of birth and his family. – ( This and the following causes determining the outward circumstances of the new life will be fully explained in Chapter IX, on "Karma".) He has been a source of happiness or of unhappiness to others ; this is a factor in determining the conditions of his coming life. His desire-nature is well disciplined, or unregulated and riotous ; this will be taken into account in the physical heredity of the new body. He has cultivated certain mental powers, such as the artistic ; this must be considered, as here again physical heredity is an important factor where delicacy of nervous organisation and tactile sensibility are required.
And so on, in endless variety. The man may, certainly will, have in him many incongruous characteristics, so that only some can find expression in any one body that could be provided, and a group of his powers suitable for simultaneous expression must be selected. All this is done by certain mighty spiritual Intelligences,( Spoken of by H.P.Blavatsky in the Secret Doctrine. They are the Lipika, the Keepers of the kârmic records, and the Mahârâjas, who direct the practical working out of the decrees of the Lipika.) - often spoken of as the Lords of Karma, because it is their function to superintend the working out of causes continually set going by thoughts, desires, and actions. They hold the threads of destiny which each man has woven, and guide the reincarnating man to the environment determined by his past, unconsciously self-chosen through his past life.
The race, the nation, the family, being thus determined, what may be called the mould of the physical body – suitable for the expression of the man’s qualities, and for the working out of the causes he has set going – is given by these great Ones, and the new etheric double, a copy of this, is built within the mother’s womb by the agency of an elemental, the thought of the Karmic Lords being its motive power.
The dense body is built into the etheric double molecule by molecule, following it exactly, and here physical heredity has full sway in the materials provided.
Further, the thoughts and passions of surrounding people, especially of the continually present father and mother, influence the building elemental in its work, the individuals with whom the incarnating man had formed ties in the past thus affecting the physical conditions growing up for his new life on earth.
At a very early stage the new astral body comes into connection with the new etheric double, and exercises considerable influence over its formation, and through it the mental body works upon the nervous organisation, preparing it to become a suitable instrument for its own expression in the future. This influence commenced in ante natal life – so that when a child is born its brain-formation reveals the extent and balance of its mental and moral qualities – is continued after birth, and this building of brain and nerves, and their correlation to the astral and mental bodies, go on till the seventh year of childhood, at which age the connection between the man and his physical vehicle is complete, and he may be said to work through it henceforth more than upon it.
Up to this age, the consciousness of the Thinker is more upon the astral plane than upon the physical, and this is often evidenced by the play of psychic faculties in young children. They see invisible comrades and fairy landscapes, hear voices inaudible to their elders, catch charming and delicate fancies from
the astral world. These phenomena generally vanish as the Thinker begins to work effectively through the physical vehicle, and the dreamy child becomes the commonplace boy or girl, oftentimes much to the relief of the bewildered parents, ignorant of the cause of their child’s "queerness."
Most children have at least a touch of this "queerness," but they quickly learn to hide away their fancies and visions from their unsympathetic elders, fearful of blame for "telling stories," or of what the child dreads far more – ridicule.
If parents could see their children’s brains, vibrating under an inextricable mingling of physical and astral impacts, which the children themselves are quite incapable of separating, and receiving sometimes a thrill – so plastic are they – even from the higher regions, giving a vision of ethereal beauty, of heroic
achievement, they would be more patient with, more responsive to, the confused prattlings of the little ones, trying to translate into the difficult medium of unaccustomed words the elusive touches of which they are conscious, and which they try to catch and retain. Reincarnation, believed in and understood, would relieve child life of its most pathetic aspect, the unaided struggle of the soul to gain control over its new vehicles, and to connect itself fully with its densest body without losing power to impress the rarer ones in a way that would enable them to convey to the denser their own more subtle vibrations.
The ascending stages of consciousness through which the Thinker passes as he reincarnates during his long cycle of lives in the three lower worlds are clearly marked out, and the obvious necessity for many lives, in which to experience them, if he is to evolve at all, may carry to the more thoughtful
minds the clearest conviction of the truth of reincarnation.
The first of the stages is that in which all the experiences are sensational, the only contribution made by the mind consisting of the recognition that contact with some object is followed by a sensation of pleasure, while contact with others is followed by a sensation of pain. These objects form mental pictures, and the pictures soon begin to act as a stimulus to seek the objects
associated with pleasure, when those objects are not present, the germs of memory and of mental initiative thus making their appearance. This first rough division of the external world is followed by the more complex idea of the bearing of quantity on pleasure and pain, already referred to.
At this stage of evolution, memory is very short lived, or, in other words, mental images are very transitory. The idea of forecasting the future from the past, even to the most rudimentary extent, has not dawned on the infant Thinker,
and his actions are guided from outside, by the impacts that reach him from the external world, or at furthest by the promptings of his appetites and passions, craving gratification. He will throw away anything for an immediate satisfaction, however necessary the thing may be for his future well being; the need of the moment overpowers every other consideration. Of human souls in thisembryonic condition, numerous examples can be found in books of travel, and the necessity for many lives will be impressed on the mind of any one who studies the mental condition of the least evolved savages, and compares it with the mental condition of even average humanity among ourselves.
Needless to say that the moral capacity is no more evolved than the mental; the idea of good and evil has not yet been conceived. Not is it possible to convey to the quite undeveloped mind even elementary notion of either good or bad. Good and pleasant are to it interchangeable terms, as in the well-known case of the Australian savage mentioned by Charles Darwin. Pressed by hunger, the man speared the nearest living creature that could serve as food, and this happened to be his wife; a European remonstrated with him on the wickedness of his deed, but failed to make any impression; for from the reproach that to eat his wife was very, very bad he only deduced the inference that the stranger thought she had proved nasty of indigestible, and he put him right by smiling peacefully as he patted himself after his meal, and declaring in a satisfied way, "She is very good."
Measure in thought the moral distance between that man and St. Francis of Assisi, and it will be seen that there must either be evolution of souls as there is evolution of bodies, or else in the realm of the soul there must be constant miracle, dislocated creations.
There are two paths along either of which man may gradually emerge from this embryonic mental condition. He may be directly ruled and controlled by men far more evolved than himself, or he may be left slowly to grow unaided. The latter case would imply the passage of uncounted millennia, for, without example and without discipline, left to the changing impacts of external objects, and to friction with other men as undeveloped as himself, the inner energies could be but very slowly aroused.
As a matter of fact, man has evolved by the road of direct precept and example and of enforced discipline. We have already seen that when the bulk of the average humanity received the spark which brought the Thinker into being, there were some of the greater Sons if Mind who incarnated as Teachers, and that there was also a long succession of lesser Sons of Mind, at various stages of evolution, who came into incarnation as the crest-wave of the advancing tide of humanity.
These ruled the less evolved, under the beneficent sway of the great Teachers, and the compelled obedience to elementary rules of right living – very elementary at first, in truth – much hastened the development of mental and moral faculties in the embryonic souls. Apart from all other records the gigantic remains of civilizations that have long since disappeared – evidencing great engineering skill, and intellectual conceptions far beyond anything possible by the mass of the then infant humanity – suffice to prove that there were present on earth men with minds that were capable of greatly planning and greatly executing.
Let us continue the early stage of the evolution of consciousness. Sensation was wholly lord of the mind, and the earliest mental efforts were stimulated by desire. This led the man, slowly and clumsily, to forecast, to plan. He began to recognise a definite association of certain mental images, and, when one
appeared, to expect the appearance of the other that had invariably followed in its wake. He began to draw inferences, and even to initiate action on the faith of these inferences – a great advance. And he began also to hesitate now and
again to follow the vehement promptings of desire, when he found, over and over again, that the gratification demanded was associated in his mind with the subsequent happening of suffering.
This action was much quickened by the pressure upon him of verbally expressed laws; he was forbidden to seize certain gratifications, and was told that suffering would follow disobedience. When he had seized the delight-giving
object and found the suffering follow upon pleasure, the fulfilled declaration made a far stronger impression on his mind than would have been made by the unexpected – and therefore to him fortuitous – happening of the same thing un foretold. Thus conflict continually arose between memory and desire, and the
mind grew more active by the conflict, and was stirred into livelier functioning. The conflict, in fact, marked the transition to the second great stage.
Here began to show itself the germ of will. Desire and will guide a man’s actions, and will has even been defined as the desire which emerges triumphant from the contest of desires. But this is a crude and superficial view, explaining nothing. Desire is the outgoing energy of the Thinker, determined in its direction by the attraction of external objects. Will is the outgoing energy
of the Thinker, determined in its direction by the conclusions drawn by the reason, from past experiences, or by the direct intuition of the Thinker himself. Otherwise put: desire is guided from without – will from within. At the beginning of man’s evolution, desire has complete sovereignty, and hurries him
hither and thither; in the middle of his evolution, desire and will are in continual conflict, and victory lies sometimes with the one, sometimes with the other; at the end of his evolution desire has died, and will rules with unopposed, unchallenged sway.
Until the Thinker, is sufficiently developed to see directly, will is guided by him through the reason; and as the reason can draw its conclusions only from its stock of mental images – its experiences – and that stock is limited, the will constantly commands mistaken actions. The suffering which flows from these mistaken actions increases the stock of mental images, and thus gives the reason an increased store from which to draw its conclusions. Thus progress is made and wisdom is born.
Desire often mixes itself up with will, so that what appears to be determined from within is really largely prompted by the cravings of the lower nature for objects which afford it gratification. Instead of an open conflict between the
two, the lower subtly insinuates itself into the current of the higher and turns its course aside. Defeated in the open field, the desire of the personality thus conspire against their conqueror, and often win by guile what they failed to win by force. During the whole of this second great stage, in which the faculties of
the lower mind are in full course of evolution, conflict is the normal condition, conflict between the rule of sensations and the rule of reason.
The problem to be solved in humanity is the putting an end to conflict while preserving the freedom of the will; to determine the will inevitably to the best, while yet leaving that best as a matter of choice. The best is to be chosen, but by a self-initiated volition, that shall come with all the certainty of a foreordained necessity. The certainty of a compelling law is to be obtained
from countless wills, each one left free to determine its own course.
The solution of that problem is simple when it is known, though the contradiction looks irreconcilable when first presented. Let man be left free to choose his own actions, but let every action bring about an inevitable result; let him run loose amid all objects of desire and seize whatever he will, but let him have
all the results of his choice, be they delightful or grievous. Presently he will freely reject the objects whose possession ultimately causes him pain; he will no longer desire them when he has experienced to the full that their possession ends in sorrow.
Let him struggle to hold the pleasure and avoid the pain, he will none the less be ground between the stones of law, and the lesson will be repeated any number of times found necessary; reincarnation offers us many lives as are needed by the most sluggish learner. Slowly desire for an object that brings suffering in its train will die, and when the thing offers itself in all its attractive glamour it will be rejected, not by compulsion but by free choice.
It is no longer desirable, it has lost its power. Thus with thing after thing; choice more and more runs in harmony with law. "There are many roads of error; the road of truth is one"; when all the paths of error have been trodden, when all have been found to end in suffering, the choice to walk in the way of truth is unswerving, because based on knowledge. The lower kingdoms work harmoniously, compelled by law; man’s kingdom is a chaos of conflicting wills, fighting against, rebelling against law; presently there evolves from it a nobler unity, a harmonious choice of voluntary obedience, an obedience that, being voluntary, based on knowledge and on memory of the results of disobedience, is stable and can be drawn aside by no temptation. Ignorant, inexperienced, man would always have been in danger of falling; as a God, knowing good and evil by experience, his choice of the good is raised forever beyond possibility of change.
Will in the domain of morality is generally entitled conscience, and it is subject to the same difficulties in this domain as in its other activities. So long as actions are in question which have been done over and over again, of which the consequences are familiar either to the reason or to the Thinker himself, the conscience speaks quickly and firmly. But when unfamiliar problems arise as to the working out of which experience is silent, conscience cannot speak with certainty; it has but a hesitating answer from the reason, which can draw only a doubtful inference, and the Thinker cannot speak if his experience does not include the circumstances that have now arisen.
Hence conscience often decides wrongly; that is, the will, failing clear direction from either the reason or the intuition, guides action amiss. Nor can we leave out of consideration the influences which play upon the mind from without, from the thought-forms of others, of friends, of the family, of the community, of the nation. (Chapter 11, "The Astral Plane.") These all surround and penetrate the mind with their own atmosphere, distorting the appearance of everything, and throwing all things our of proportion. Thus influenced, the reason often does not even judge calmly from its own experience, but draws false conclusions as it studies its materials through a distorting medium.
The evolution of moral faculties is very largely stimulated by the affections, animal and selfish as these are during the infancy of the Thinker. The laws of morality are laid down by the enlightened reason, discerning the laws by which Nature moves, and bringing human conduct into consonance with the Divine Will.
But the impulse to obey these laws, when no outer force compels, has its roots in love, in that hidden divinity in man which seeks to pour itself out to give itself to others. Morality begins in the infant Thinker when he is first moved by love to wife, to child, to friend, to do some action that serves the loved one without any thought of gain to himself thereby. It is the first conquest over the lower nature, the complete subjugation of which is the achievement of moral perfection.
Hence the importance of never killing out or striving to weaken, the affection, as is done in many of the lower kinds of occultism. However impure and gross the affections may be, they offer possibilities of moral evolution from which the cold-hearted and self-isolated have shut themselves out. It is an easier task to
purify than to create love, and this is why "the sinners" have been said by great Teachers to be nearer to the kingdom of heaven than the Pharisees and Scribes.
The third great stage of consciousness sees the development of the higher intellectual powers; the mind no longer dwells entirely on mental images obtained from sensations, no longer reasons on purely concrete objects, nor is concerned with the attributes which differentiate one from another. The Thinker having learned clearly to discriminate between objects by dwelling upon their unlikenesses, now begins to group them together by some attribute which appears in a number of objects otherwise dissimilar and makes a link between them.
He draws out, abstracts, his common attribute, and sets all objects that posses it, apart from the rest which are without it; and in this way he evolves the power of recognising identity amid diversity, a step toward the much later recognition of the One underlying the man, he thus classifies all that is around him, developing the synthetic faculty, and learning to construct as well as analyse. Presently he takes another step, and conceives of the common property as an idea, apart from all the objects in which it appears, and thus constructs a higher kind of mental image of a concrete object – the image of an idea that has no phenomenal existence in the worlds of form, but which exists on the higher levels of the mental plane, and affords material on which the Thinker himself can work.
The lower mind reaches the abstract idea by reason, and in thus doing accomplishes its loftiest flight, touching the threshold of the formless world, and dimly seeing that which lies beyond. The Thinker sees these ideas, and lives among them habitually, and when the power of abstract reasoning is developed and exercised the Thinker is becoming effective in his own world, and is beginning his life of active functioning in his own sphere.
Such men care little for the life of the senses, care little for external observation, or for mental application to images of external objects; their powers are indrawn, and no longer rush outwards in the search for satisfaction.
They dwell calmly within themselves, engrossed with the problems of philosophy, with the deepest aspects of life and thought, seeking to understand causes rather than troubling themselves with effects, and approaching nearer and nearer to the recognition of the One that underlies all the diversities of external Nature.
In the fourth stage of consciousness that One is seen, and with the transcending the barrier set up by the intellect the consciousness spreads out to embrace the world, seeing all things in itself and as parts of itself, and seeing itself as a ray of the LOGOS, and therefore as one with Him. Where is then the Thinker?
He has become Consciousness, and, while the spiritual Soul can at will use any of his lower vehicles, he is no longer limited to their use, nor needs them for this full and conscious life. Then is compulsory reincarnation over and the man has destroyed death; he has verily achieved immortality. Then has he become "a pillar in the temple of God and shall go out no more."
To complete this part of our study, we need to understand the successive quickenings of the vehicles of consciousness, the bringing them one by one into activity as the harmonious instruments of the human Soul.
We have seen that from the very beginning of his separate life the Thinker has possessed coatings of mental, astral, etheric, and dense physical matter. These form the media by which his life vibrates outwards, the bridge of consciousness, as we may call it, along which all impulses from the Thinker may reach the dense
physical body, all impacts from the outer world may reach him.
But this general use of the successive bodies as parts of a connected whole is a very different thing from the quickening of each in turn to serve as a distinct vehicle of consciousness, independently of those below it, and it is this quickening of the vehicles that we have now to consider. The lowest vehicle, the
dense physical body, is the first one to be brought into harmonious working order; the brain and the nervous system have to be elaborated and to be rendered delicately responsive to every thrill which is within their gamut of vibratory power. In the early stages, while the physical dense body is composed of the grosser kinds of matter, this gamut is extremely limited, and the physical organ of the mind can respond only to the slowest vibrations sent down.
It answers far more promptly, as is natural, to the impacts from the external world caused by objects similar in materials to itself. Its quickening as a vehicle of consciousness consists in its being made responsive to the vibrations that are initiated from within, and the rapidity of this quickening depends on the co-operation of the lower nature with the higher, its loyal subordination of itself in the service of its inner ruler.
When after many, many life-periods, it dawns upon the lower nature that it exists for the sake of the soul, that all its value depends on the help it can bring to the soul, that it can win immortality only by merging itself in the soul, then its evolution proceeds in giant strides. Before this, the evolution has been unconscious; at first, the gratification of the lower nature was the object of life, and, while this was a necessary preliminary for calling out the energies of the Thinker, it did nothing directly to render the body a vehicle of consciousness; the direct working upon it begins when the life of the man establishes its centre in the mental body, and when thought commences to dominate sensation.
The exercise of the mental powers works on the brain and the nervous system, and the coarser materials are gradually expelled to make room for the finer, which can vibrate in unison with the thought-vibrations sent to them. The brain becomes finer in constitution, and increases by ever more complicated
convolutions the amount of surface available for the coating of nervous matter adapted to respond to thought-vibrations. The nervous system becomes more delicately balanced, more sensitive, more alive to every thrill of mental activity. And when the recognition of its function as an instrument of the Soul,
spoken of above, has come, then active co-operation in performing this function sets in. The personality begins deliberately to discipline itself, and to set the permanent interests of the immortal individual above its own transient gratifications.
It yields up the time that might be spent in the pursuit of lower pleasures to the evolution of mental powers; day by day time is set apart for serious study; the brain is gladly surrendered to receive impacts from within instead of from without, is trained to answer to consecutive thinking, and is taught to refrain
from throwing up its own useless disjointed images, made by past impressions.
It is taught to remain at rest when it is not wanted by its master; to answer, not to initiate vibrations. (One of the signs that it is being accomplished is the cessation of the confused jumble of fragmentary images which are set up during sleep by the independent activity of the physical brain. When the brain is
coming under control this kind of dream is very seldom experienced.)
Further, some discretion and discrimination will be used as to the food-stuffs which supply physical materials to the brain. The use of the coarser kinds will be discontinued, such as animal flesh and blood and alcohol, and pure food will build up a pure body. Gradually the lower vibrations will find no materials
capable of responding to them, and the physical body thus becomes more and more entirely a vehicle of consciousness, delicately responsive to all the thrills of thought and keenly sensitive to the vibrations sent outwards by the Thinker.
The etheric double so closely follows the constitution of the dense body that it is not necessary to study separately its purification and quickening; it does not normally serve as a separate vehicle of consciousness, but works synchronously with its dense partner, and when separated from it either by accident or by death, it responds very feebly to the vibrations initiated from
within. It function in truth is not to serve as a vehicle of mental-consciousness, but as a vehicle of Prâna, of specialised life-force, and its dislocation from the denser particles to which it conveys the life-currents is therefore disturbing and mischievous.
The astral body is the second vehicle of consciousness to be vivified, and we have already seen the changes through which it passes as it becomes organised for the work. (see Chapter II, "The Astral Plane".). When it is thoroughly organised, the consciousness which has hitherto worked within it, imprisoned by it, when in sleep it has left the physical body and is drifting about in the astral world, begins not only to receive the impressions through it of astral objects that form the so-called dream-consciousness, but also to perceive astral objects by its senses – that is, begins to relate the impressions received to
the objects which give rise to those impressions.
These perceptions are at first confused, just as are the perceptions at first made by the mind through a new physical baby-body, and they have to be corrected by experience in the one case as in the other. The Thinker has gradually to discover the new powers which he can use through this subtler vehicle, and by which he can control the astral elements and defend himself against astral dangers. He is not left alone to face this new world unaided, but is taught and helped and – until he can guard himself – protected by those who are more experienced than himself in the ways of the astral world. Gradually the new
vehicle of consciousness comes completely under his control, and life on the astral plane is as natural and as familiar as life on the physical.
The third vehicle of consciousness, the mental body, is rarely, if ever, vivified for independent action without the direct instruction of a teacher, and its functioning belongs to the life of the disciple at the present stage of human evolution. (See Chapter XI, "Man’s Ascent"). As we have already seen, it is rearranged for separate functioning (See Chapter IV, "The Mental Plane"), on the mental plane, and here again experience and training are needed ere it comes fully under its owner’s control. A fact – common to all these three vehicles of consciousness, but more apt to mislead perhaps in the subtler than in the denser, because it is generally forgotten in their case, while it is so obvious that it is remembered in the denser – is that they are subject to evolution, and that with their higher evolution their powers to receive and to respond to vibrations increase.
How many more shades of a colour are seen by a trained eye than by an untrained. How many overtones are heard by a trained ear, where the untrained hears only the single fundamental note. As the physical senses grow more keen the world becomes fuller and fuller, and where the peasant is conscious only his furrow and his plough, the cultured mind is conscious of hedgerow flower and quivering aspen, of rapturous melody down-dropping from the skylark and the whirring of tiny wings through the adjoining wood, of the scudding of rabbits under the curled fronds of the bracken, and the squirrels playing with each other through the branches of the beeches, of all the gracious movements of wild things, of all the fragrant odours of filed and woodland, of all the changing glories of the cloud-flecked sky, and of all the chasing lights and shadows on the hills. Both the peasant and the cultured have eyes, both have brains, but of what differing powers of observation, of what differing powers to receive impressions.
Thus also in other worlds. As the as the astral and mental bodies begin to function as separate vehicles of consciousness, they are in, as it were, the peasant stage of receptivity, and only fragments of the astral and mental worlds, with their strange and elusive phenomena, make their way into consciousness; but they evolve rapidly, embracing more and more, and conveying to consciousness a more and more accurate reflection of its environment. Here, as everywhere else, we have to remember that our knowledge is not the limit of Nature’s powers, and that in the astral and mental worlds, as in the physical, we are still children, picking up a few shells cast up by the waves, while the treasures hid in the ocean are still unexplored.
The quickening of the causal body as a vehicle of consciousness follows in due course the quickening of the mental body, and opens up to a man a yet more marvelous state of consciousness, stretching backwards into an illimitable past, onwards into the reaches of the future. Then the Thinker not only possesses the
memory of his own past and can trace his growth through the long succession of his incarnate and excarnate lives, but he can also roam at will through the storied past of the earth, and learn the weighty lessons of world-experience, studying the hidden laws that guide evolution and the deep secrets of life hidden in the bosom of Nature.
In that lofty vehicle of consciousness he can each the veiled Isis, and lift a corner of her down-dropped veil; for there he can face her eyes without being blinded by her lightening glances, and he can see in the radiance that flows from her the causes of the world’s sorrow and its ending, with heart pitiful and
compassionate, but no longer wrung with helpless pain. Strength and calm and wisdom come to those who are using the causal body as a vehicle of consciousness, and who behold with opened eyes the glory of the Good law.
When the buddhic body is quickened as a vehicle of consciousness the man enters into the bliss of non-separateness, and knows in full and vivid realisation his unity with all that is.
As the predominant element of consciousness in the causal body is knowledge, and ultimately wisdom, so the predominant element of consciousness in the buddhic body is bliss and love.
The serenity of wisdom chiefly marks the one, while the tenderest compassion streams forth inexhaustibly from the other; when to these is added the godlike and unruffled strength that marks the functioning of Âtma, then humanity is crowned with divinity, and the God-man is manifest in all the plenitude of his power, of his wisdom, of his love.
The handing down to the lower vehicles of such part of the consciousness belonging to the higher as they are able to receive does not immediately follow on the successive quickening of the vehicles. In this matter individuals differ very widely, according to their circumstances and their work, for this quickening of the vehicles above the physical rarely occurs till probationary
discipleship is reached, ( See Chapter XI, "Man’s Ascent"), and then the duties to be discharged depend on the needs of the time.
The disciple, and even the aspirant for discipleship, is taught to hold all his powers entirely for the service of the world, and the sharing of the lower consciousness in the knowledge of the higher is for the most part determined by the needs of the work in which the disciple is engaged. It is necessary that the disciple should have the full use of his vehicles of consciousness on the higher
planes, as much of his work can be accomplished only in them; but the conveying of knowledge of that work to the physical vehicle, which is in no way concerned in it, is a matter of no importance and the conveyance or non-conveyance is generally determined by the effect that the one course or the other would have on the efficiency of his work on the physical plane.
The strain on the physical body when the higher consciousness compels it to vibrate responsively is very great, at the present stage of evolution, and unless the external circumstances are very favourable this strain is apt to cause nervous disturbance, hyper-sensitiveness with its attendant evils.
Hence most of those who are in full possession of the quickened higher vehicles of consciousness, and whose most important work is done out of the body, remain apart from the busy haunts of men, if they desire to throw down into the physical consciousness the knowledge they use on the higher planes, thus
preserving the sensitive physical vehicle from the rough usage and clamour of ordinary life.
The main preparation to be made for receiving in the physical vehicle the vibrations of the higher consciousness are: its purification from grosser materials by pure food and pure life; the entire subjugation of the passions, and the cultivation of an even, balanced temper and mind, unaffected by the
turmoil and vicissitudes of external life ; the habit of quiet meditation on lofty topics, turning the mind away from the objects of the senses, and from the mental images arising from them, and fixing it on higher things ; the cessation of hurry, especially of that restless, excitable hurry of the mind, which keeps the brain continually at work and flying from one subject to another ; the genuine love for the things of the higher world, that makes them more attractive than the objects of the lower, so that the mind rests contentedly in their companionship as in that of a well-loved friend.
In fact, the preparations are much the same as those necessary for the conscious separation of "soul" from "body" and those were elsewhere stated by me as follows:
The student –
"Must begin by practising extreme temperance in all things, cultivating an equable and serene state of mind, his life must be clean and his thoughts pure, his body held in strict subjection to the soul, and his mind trained to occupy itself with noble and lofty themes; he must habitually practise compassion,
sympathy, helpfulness to others, with indifference to troubles and pleasures affecting himself, and he must cultivate courage, steadfastness, and devotion.
In fact, he must live the religion and ethics that other people for the most part only talk. Having by persevering practice learned to control his mind to some extent so that he is able to keep it fixed on one line of thought for some little time, he must begin its more rigid training, by a daily practice of concentration on some difficult or abstract subject, or on some lofty object of
devotion; this concentration means the firm fixing of the mind on one single point, without wandering, and without yielding to any distraction caused by external objects, by the activity of the senses, or by that of the mind itself.
It must be braced up to an unswerving steadiness and fixity, until gradually it will learn so to withdraw its attention form the outer world and from the body that the senses will remain quiet and still, while the mind is intensely alive with all its energies drawn inwards to be launched at a single point of thought, the highest to which it can attain.
When it is able to hold itself thus with comparative ease it is ready for a further step, and by a strong but calm effort of the will it can throw itself beyond the highest thought it can reach while working in the physical brain, and in the effort will rise and unite itself with the higher consciousness and find
itself free of the body. When this is done there is no sense of sleep or dream nor any loss of consciousness; the man finds himself outside his body, but as though he merely slipped off a weighty encumbrance, nor as though he had lost any part of himself; he is not really "disembodied", but had risen out of the
gross body ‘in a body of light’ which obeys his slightest thought and serves as a beautiful and perfect instrument for carrying out his will. In this he is free of the subtle worlds, but will need to train his faculties long and carefully for reliable work under the new conditions.
"Freedom from the body may be obtained in other ways; by the rapt intensity of devotion or by special methods that may be imparted by a great teacher to his disciple.
Whatever the way, the end is the same – the setting free of the soul in full consciousness, able to examine its new surroundings in regions beyond the treading of the flesh of the man of flesh. At will it can return to the body and re-enter it, and under these circumstances it can impress on the brain-mind, and thus retain while in the body, the memory of the experiences it has undergone." [ Conditions of life after death" Nineteenth Century of Nov. 1896 ]
Those who have grasped the main ideas sketched in the foregoing pages will feel that these ideas are in themselves the strongest proof that reincarnation is a fact in nature. It is necessary in order that the vast evolution implied in the phrase, " the evolution of the soul," may be accomplished. The only alternative – putting aside for the moment the materialistic idea that the soul is only the aggregate of the vibrations of a particular kind of physical matter – is that each soul is a new creation, made when a babe is born, and stamped with virtuous or with vicious tendencies, endowed with ability or with stupidity, by the arbitrary whim of the creative power.
As the Muhammadan would say, his fate is hung round his neck at birth, for a man’s fate depends on his character and his surroundings, and a newly created soul flung into the world must be doomed to happiness or misery according to the
circumstances environing him and the character stamped upon him.
Predestination in its most offensive form is the alternative of reincarnation. Instead of looking on men as slowly evolving, so that the brutal savage of today will in time evolve the noblest qualities of saint and hero, and thus, seeing in the world a wisely planned and wisely directed process of growth, we shall be
obliged to see in it a chaos of most unjustly treated sentient beings, awarded happiness or misery, knowledge or ignorance, virtue or vice, wealth or poverty, genius or idiocy, by an arbitrary external will, unguided by either justice or
mercy – a veritable pandemonium, irrational and unmeaning.
And this chaos is supposed to be the higher part of the cosmos, in the lower regions of which are manifested all the orderly and beautiful workings of a law that ever evolves higher and more complex form from the lower and the simpler, that obviously "makes for righteousness," for harmony and for beauty.
If it be admitted that the soul of the savage is destined to live and evolve, and that he is not doomed for eternity to his present infant state, but that his evolution will take place after death and in other worlds, then the principle of soul-evolution is conceded, and the question of the place of evolution alone remains. Were all souls on earth at the same stage of evolution, much might be
said for the contention that further worlds are needed for the evolution of souls beyond the infant stage.
But we have around us souls that are far advanced, and that were born with noble mental and moral qualities. But parity of reasoning, we must suppose them to have been evolved in other worlds ere their one birth in this, and we cannot but wonder why an earth that offers varied conditions, fit for little-developed and
also for advanced souls, should be paid only one flying visit by souls at every stage of development, all the rest of their evolution being carried on in worlds similar to this, equally able to afford all the conditions needed to evolve the souls of different stages of evolution, as we find them to be when they are born here.
The Ancient Wisdom teaches, indeed, that the soul progresses through many worlds, but it also teaches that he is born in each of these worlds over and over again, until he has completed the evolution possible in that world. The worlds themselves, according to its teaching, form an evolutionary chain, and
each plays its own part as a field for certain stages of evolution.
Our own world offers a field suitable for the evolution of the mineral, vegetable, animal and human kingdoms, and therefore collective or individual reincarnation goes on upon it in all these kingdoms. Truly, further evolution lies before us in other worlds, but in the divine order they are not open to us until we have
learned and mastered the lessons of our own world has to teach.
There are many lines of thought that lead us to the same goal of reincarnation, as we study the world around us. The immense differences that separate man from man have already been noticed as implying an evolutionary past behind each soul; and attention has been drawn to these differentiating the individual
reincarnation of men – all of whom belong to a single species – from the reincarnation of monadic group-souls in the lower kingdoms.
The comparatively small differences that separate the physical bodies of men, all being externally recognisable as men, should be contrasted with the immense differences that separate the lowest savage and the noblest human type in mental and moral
capacities. Savages are often splendid in physical development and with large cranial contents, but how different their minds from that of a philosopher or saint!
If high mental and moral qualities are regarded as the accumulated results of civilised living, then we are confronted with the fact that the ablest men of the present are over-topped by the intellectual giants of the past, and that none of our own day reaches the moral altitude of some historical saints.
Further, we have to consider that genius has neither parent nor child; that it appears suddenly and not as the apex of a gradually improving family, and is itself generally sterile, or, if a child be born to it, it is a child of the body, not of the mind.
Still more significantly, a musical genius is for the most part born in a musical family, because that form of genius needs for its manifestation a nervous organisation of a peculiar kind, and nervous organisation falls under the law of heredity. But how often in such a family its object seems over when it has provided a body for a genius, and it then flickers out and vanishes in a few generations into the obscurity of average humanity. Where are the descendants of Bach, of Beethoven, of Mozart, of Mendelssohn, equal to their sires? Truly genius does not descend from father to son, like the family types of the Stuart and the Bourbon.
On what ground, save that or reincarnation, can the "infant prodigy" be accounted for? Take as an instance the case of the child who became Dr.Young, the discoverer of the undulatory theory of light, a man whose greatness is scarcely yet sufficiently widely recognised. As a child of two he could read "with considerable fluency", and before he was four he had read through the Bible twice; at seven he began arithmetic, and mastered Walkingham’s Tutor’s Assistant before he had reached the middle of it under his tutor, and a few years later we find him mastering, while at school, Latin, Greek, Hebrew,
mathematics, book-keeping, French, Italian, turning and telescope-making and delighting in Oriental literature.
At fourteen he was to be placed under private tuition with a boy a year and a half younger, but, the tutor first engaged failing to arrive, Young taught the other boy. (Life of Dr. Thomas Young, by G. Peacock, D.D.). Sir William Rowan Hamilton showed power even more precocious. He began to learn Hebrew when he was barely three, and "at the age of seven he was pronounced by one of the Fellows of Trinity College, Dublin, to have shown a greater knowledge of the language than many candidates for a fellowship. At the age of thirteen he had acquired considerable knowledge of at least thirteen languages.
Among these, besides the classical and the modern European languages, were included Persian, Arabic, Sanskrit, Hindustani, and even Malay….. He wrote, at the age of fourteen, a complimentary letter to the Persian Ambassador, who happened to visit Dublin; and the latter said that he had not thought there was a man in Britain who could have written such a document in the Persian language.
A relative of his says: "I remember him a little boy of six, when he would answer a difficult mathematical question, and run off gaily to his little cart.
At twelve he engaged Colburn, the American ‘calculating boy,’ who was then being exhibited as a curiosity in Dublin, and he had not always the worst of the encounter." When he was eighteen, Dr. Brinkley (Royal Astronomer of Ireland) said of him in 1823: "This young man, I do not say will be, but is, the first mathematician of his age." "At college his career was perhaps unexampled.
Among a number of competitors of more than ordinary merit, he was first in every subject, and at every examination. (North British Review, September 1866).
Let the thoughtful student compare these boys with a semi-idiot, or even with an average lad, note how, starting with these advantages, they become leaders of thought, and then ask himself whether such souls have no past behind them.
Family likenesses are generally explained as being due to the "law of heredity," but differences in mental and in moral character are continually found within a family circle, and these are left unexplained. Reincarnation explains the likenesses by the fact that a soul in taking birth is directed to a family which provides by its physical heredity a body suitable to express his characteristics; and it explains the unlikenesses by attaching the mental and moral character to the individual himself, while showing that ties set up in the past have led him to take birth in connection with some other individual of that family. (See Chapter IX, on "Karma").
A "matter of significance in connection with twins is that during infancy they will often be indistinguishable from each other, even to the keen eye of the mother and of nurse; whereas, later in life, when Manas has been working on his physical encasement, he will have so modified it that the physical likeness lessens and the differences of character stamp themselves on the mobile features." [ Reincarnation by Annie Besant, ] Physical likeness with mental and moral unlikeness seems to imply the meeting of two different lines of causation.
The striking dissimilarity found to exist between people of about equal intellectual power in assimilating particular kinds of knowledge is another "pointer" to reincarnation. A truth is recognised at once by one, while the other fails to grasp it even after long and careful observation. Yet the very opposite may be the case when another truth is presented to them, and it may be seen by the second and missed by the first. "Two students are attracted to Theosophy and begin to study it, at a year’s end one is familiar with its main conceptions and can apply them, while the other is struggling in a maze. To the one each principle seemed familiar on presentation ; to the other new, unintelligible, strange.
The believer in reincarnation understands that the teaching is old to the one, and new to the other; one learns quickly because he remembers, he is but recovering past knowledge; the other learns slowly because his experience has not included these truths of nature, and he is acquiring them toil fully for the
first time.[ Reincarnation by annie Besant, ] " So also ordinary intuition is "merely recognition of a fact familiar in a past life, though met with for the first time in the present," another sign of the road along which the individual has traveled in the past.
The main difficulty with many people in the reception of the doctrine of reincarnation is their own absence of memory of their past. Yet they are every day familiar with the fact that they have forgotten very much even of their lives in their present bodies, and that the early years of childhood are blurred and those of infancy a blank. They must also know that events of the past which have entirely slipped out of their normal consciousness are yet hidden away in dark caves of memory and ban be brought out again vividly in some forms of disease or under the influence of mesmerism.
A dying man has been known to speak a language heard only in infancy, and unknown to him during a long life; in delirium, events long forgotten have presented themselves vividly to the consciousness. Nothing is really forgotten; but much is hidden out of sight of the limited vision of our waking consciousness, the most limited form of our consciousness, although the only
consciousness recognised by the vast majority. Just as memory of some of the present life is in-drawn beyond the reach of this waking consciousness, and makes itself known again only when the brain is hypersensitive and thus able to respond to vibrations that usually beat against it unheeded, so is the memory of
the past lives stored up our of reach of the physical consciousness. It is all with the Thinker, who alone persists from life to life; he has the whole book of memory within his reach, for he is the only " I " that has passed through all the experiences recorded therein.
Moreover, he can impress his own memories of the past on his physical vehicle, as soon as it has been sufficiently purified to answer his swift and subtle vibrations, and then the man of flesh can share his knowledge of the storied past. The difficulty of memory does not lie in forgetfulness, for the lower vehicle, the physical body, has never passed through the previous lives of its
owner; it lies in the absorption of the present body in its present environment, in its coarse unresponsiveness to the delicate thrills in which alone the soul can speak. Those who would remember the past must not have their interests centred in the present, and they must purify and refine the body till it is able to receive impressions from the subtler spheres.
Memory of their own past lives, however, is possessed by a considerable number of people who have achieved the necessary sensitiveness of the physical organism, and to these of course, reincarnation is no longer a theory, but has become a matter of personal knowledge. They have learned how much richer life
becomes when memories of past lives pout into it, when the friends of this brief day are found to be the friends of the long-ago, and old remembrances strengthen the ties of the fleeting present. Life gains security and dignity when it is seen with a long vista behind it, and when the loves of old reappear in the
loves of today. Death fades into its proper place as a mere incident in life, a change from one scene to another, like a journey that separates bodies but cannot sunder friend from friend. The links of the present are found to be part of a golden chain that stretches backwards, and the future can be faced with a glad security in the thought that these links will endure through days to come, and form part of that unbroken chain.
Now and then we find children who have brought over a memory of their immediate past, for the most part when they have died in childhood and are reborn almost immediately. In the West such cases are rarer than in the East, because in the West the first words of such a child would be met with disbelief, and he would quickly lose faith in his own memories. In the East, where belief in reincarnation is almost universal, the child’s remembrances are listened to, and where the opportunity serves they have been verified.
There is another important point with respect to memory that will repay consideration. The memory of past events remains, as we have seen, with the Thinker only, but the results of those events embodied in faculties are at the service of the lower man.
If the whole of these past events were thrown down into the physical brain, a vast mass of experiences in no classified order,
without arrangement, the man could not be guided by the out come of the past, nor utilise it for present help. Compelled to make a choice between two lines of action, he would have to pick, out of the un-arranged facts from his past, events similar in character, trace out their results, and after long and weary
study arrive at some conclusion – a conclusion very likely to be vitiated by the overlooking of some important factor, and reached long after the need for decision had passed.
All the events, trivial and important, of some hundreds of lives would form a rather unwieldy and chaotic mass for reference in an emergency that demanded a swift action. The far more effective plan of Nature leaves to the Thinker the memory of the events, provides a long period of excarnate existence for the mental body, during which all events are tabulated and compared and their results are classified; then these results are embodied as faculties, and these faculties form the next mental body of the Thinker.
In this way, the enlarged and improved faculties are available for immediate use, and, the faculties of the past being in them, a decision can be come to, in accordance with those results and without any delay. The clear quick insight and prompt judgment are nothing else than the outcome of past experiences, moulded into an effective form for use; they are surely more useful instruments than would be a mass of unassimilated experiences, out of which the relevant ones would have to be selected and compared, and from which inferences would have to be drawn, on each separate occasion on which a choice arises.
From all these lines of thought, however, the mind turns back to rest on the fundamental necessity for reincarnation if life is to be made intelligible, and if injustice and cruelty are not to mock the helplessness of man. With reincarnation man is a dignified, immortal being, evolving towards a divinely glorious end; without it, he is a tossing straw on the stream of chance circumstances , irresponsible for his character, for his actions, for his destiny.
With it, he may look forward with fearless hope, however low in the scale of evolution he may be today, for he is on the ladder to divinity, and the climbing to its summit is only a question of time; without it, he has no reasonable ground of assurance as to progress in the future, nor indeed any reasonable ground of assurance in a future at all. Why should a creature without a past look forward to a future?He may be a mere bubble on the ocean of time. Flung into the world from non-entity, with qualities of good or evil, attached to him without reason or desert, why should he strive to make the best of them? Will not his future, if he have one, be as isolated, as uncaused, as unrelated as his present? In dropping reincarnation from its beliefs, the modern world has deprived God of His justice and has bereft man of his security; he may be "lucky" or "unlucky" but the strength and dignity conferred by reliance on a changeless law are rent away from him, and he is left tossing helplessly on an un-navigable ocean of life.
A “G” reg Aug 1968 – July 1969 Wolseley Hornet MK III
The 1960s Wolseley Hornet was produced by the British Motor Corporation
(BMC) from 1961 to 1969 and was upgraded thro’ MKI, II & III models
although the outward design remained the same.
The Wolseley Hornet was similar to the more expensive Riley Elf which ran
for the same period with only the Riley grill and badge to distinguish
it to the casual observer.
More Theosophy Stuff
with these links
A 1931 Wolseley Hornet saloon style convertible
The Wolseley Hornet was a lightweight saloon car produced by the Wolseley Motor Company from 1930 to 1935.
It had a six cylinder (1271cc) engine with a single overhead cam, and hydraulic brakes. The engine was modified in 1932 to make it shorter and it was moved forwards on the chassis. In 1935 the engine size was increased to 1378 cc.
Wolseley supplied the firsts cars as either an enclosed saloon with steel or fabric body or open two seater. From 1931 it was available without the saloon body, and was used as the basis for a number of sporting specials for which the customer could choose a styling from a range of coachbuilders. In 1932 Wolsley added two and four seat coupés to the range. For its final year of production the range was rationalised to a standard saloon and coupé.
A three speed gearbox was fitted to the earliest cars but this was upgraded to a four speed in 1932 and fitted with synchromesh from 1933. A freewheel mechanism could be ordered in 1934.The engine was also used in a range of MG cars.
1930s Wolseley Hornet racing car circuiting the track in modern times
Wolseley Hornet on a rally circa 1963
Early 1930s Wolseley Hornet customized roadster design
Basic front mudguards not extending to runner boards.
Only the driver gets a windscreen wiper
Patriotic Wolseley Hornet on the race track in 1965
Early 1930s Customized Wolseley Hornet with integrated front mudguards
and runner boards. Two windscreen wipers on this one.
Four views of the car in the picture above
Swallow Wolseley Hornet 1932
A leaflet promoting the new hydrolastic suspension introduced in the mid sixties.
This became standard on many BMC models including the Mini, 1100, 1300
& 1800 models. Suspension was maintained by means of a sealed fluid system
which was claimed to be very comfortable but appeared to make some people
seasick in the larger cars. As the cars got older, the suspension might burst
causing the car’s suspension to collapse on one side meaning a difficult
drive home or to a garage.
1930s Corsica Wolseley Hornet
A 1966 Wolseley Hornet convertible by Crayford Engineering
Convertible 1960s Hornets were not standard and were very rare as
were all convertibles in the Mini range.
Crayford did a run of 57 Hornet convertibles for Heinz to be given
as prizes in a competition
Another good example of a 1930s Wolseley Hornet
1960s Riley Elf
Outwardly the same as the Wolseley Hornet except for the badge & grill
A bit more expensive
Classic Introductory Theosophy Text
A Text Book of Theosophy By C W Leadbeater
1930’s Wolseley Hornet on a hill climb trial
An Outline of Theosophy
Charles Webster Leadbeater
Side and rear view of a 1960s Wolseley Hornet
Try these if you are looking for a local
Theosophy Group or Centre
1960s Wolseley Hornet promotional leaflet