EFFECTS OF THE LAW OF KARMA
Leipzig, 5 July, 1906
Let us continue our considerations on
the effects of the law of Karma, and report what has already been explained:
The actions of past lives come to expression in the present life as
external life-destinies. The inclinations, the temperament, etc. of
the past life change into the physical constitution of health in this
Another connection presents
itself when we study man's life of thoughts. Our thought-life is an
activity of the astral body. The nature of our thought-life influences
the etheric body of our next life, that is to say, the lasting moral
attitude and mentality. Let us study the mood of the
who was a pessimist. To view life pessimistically or optimistically, produces
a quality in the etheric body; in the case of pessimism this attitude
is due to the fact that in a past life such a person had unsatisfactory
or unhappy experiences. When someone judges his fellow-men negatively,
does nothing but criticize, this inclination will express itself in
a next life in a definite physical constitution, namely in the fact
that this person will soon grow old and not evince much youthfulness.
A good preparatory condition for the next life is to meet all people
in a loving way and not reject them.
How is heredity linked up
with the fact of reincarnation and Karma? Many will try to oppose reincarnation
with the objection that there are our families in which all generations
were musicians, and they will trace this back to heredity. A great theosophist
once said: It is not true that children resemble their parents, it is
rather that the parents resemble the children. Let us throw light upon
the meaning of these words.
In the beginning of his
development the human being had an astral body which had not yet been
elaborated by his Ego. During the course of the incarnations the Ego
begins to work into the astral body. The astral body and thus becomes
more perfect. The capacity of distinguishing truth from error is only
an acquisition of later incarnations. Everything in life must first
be learned through experience. A true judgment only develops through
error. Mathematical truths also arise through the fact that the opposite
is false. Man continually works upon his astral body with his Ego; A
clairvoyant sees a great difference in the astral body of a developed
or undeveloped person.
As a result of this work
upon the astral body there is in every human soul a part still filled
by lower instincts and passions, and a part spiritually elaborated by
the Ego. Francis of Assisi for example had completely transformed and
elaborated his astral body. That part of the astral body which has been
transformed by the Ego is designated by the occultists with the Oriental
expression of Manas.
Far more difficult than
the work upon the astral body is the work upon the etheric body, because it is
far more difficult to permeate it. This impermeable quality of the etheric
body is in part man's own work, in so far as it is the result of former deeds,
but in part it is also the work of other higher Beings who were active when the
etheric body was formed. The more a human being works into his ehteric body,
the more he becomes what is cllled a religious, wise person.
An occultist must not only know
the method of working upon the astral body, but also that of working upon the
the etheric body. The occult disciple transforms his etheric body consciously,
so that he acquires the faculty of exercising
a harmonizing influence upon the forces of the etheric body. In the
case of an initiate this influence on the etheric body manifests itself
in such a way that in certain phases of his life he can command over
forces which he would otherwise not have. What thus arises, as a result
of the Ego's work upon the etheric body, is called Buddhi, and a person
who has reached this stage is called a Chela.
At a certain moment the
Chela grows conscious of his past earthly lives.
Last of all, upon a very
high stage of development, the human being also gains control over his
physical body. Such an initiative is called a "Master&".
The part of the physical body over which the human being gained control,
is called Atma. In this lecture we cannot deal with the mystery of
working into the physical body, and with the flashing up of Atma, which
is the result of this work.
Everything coming from
a past life which has not yet been elaborated by the human Ego, continues
along the path of ordinary heredity and faces him in a new life as the
karma of the generations. This is in the case of modern people a more
or less larger part coming from the astral body, the greatest part coming
from the etheric body and generally everything coming from the physical
In the case of an Initiate
or a “Master”, we see the following: When he is born, he
only bears a small outward resemblance to his family, and in his whole
appearance he bears a far greater resemblance to the appearance which
he had during a past incarnation, because he was already able to work
into his physical body. Heredity works most strongly of all in the incarnation
of insignificant personalities but where personality is strongly differentiated
and marked, resemblance is slight. Let us take a human nucleus with
definite capacities, that was incarnated many centuries ago and now
tends towards a new incarnation. In accordance with his capacities he
must feel attracted towards parents whose physical qualities most closely
correspond with his capacities. He seeks out the family whose bodily
constitution and being can give him the most suitable physical body,
the one he needs in order to give full expression to his capacities.
A great musician will need a line of ancestors that can give him a body
with the best organ for his musical activities. This is the meaning contained
in the seemingly paradoxical sentence: The parents resemble their children.
Another question arises:
Is man's only work in Kamaloca and Devachan to work for himself? On
the contrary, he also works on the remaining world. The fact that man
continually enters new incarnations is not devoid of meaning and purpose,
for each time he underwent an essential transformation. He returns to
the earth only when he can learn something new. The events on the physical
plane have their origin in the spiritual worlds. What produced the changes
in the fauna and flora of Central Europe since the past 1500 years? Spiritual
Beings and the not incarnated human souls! The physical is the expression
of purely spiritual processes.
Even as the stones of houses
do not accumulate of their own accord and become a house, so the animal
kingdom cannot change of its own accord. Everything that changes within
the animal kingdom proceeds from the astral plane, at least as far as
the warm-blooded animals are concerned. Everything that undergoes a
change in the vegetable kingdom is directed from the sphere of Devachan.
Natural science traces back changes in the animal kingdom to adaptations
to external life-conditions. To use the word adaptation is a make-shift.
For it is the work of Spiritual Beings. Natural science can never discover
the true causes for such transformations, a clairvoyant can see them.
There are Beings concerned
with the transformation of the vegetable and animal kingdoms of the
earth. Man also cooperates in this, when he lives in Kamaloca and Devanchan.
Nothing ever happens by “miracle” everything is determined
by lawful ordered influences.
Even as upon the physical
plane the human spirit gradually formed communities and states out of
small tents and huts, so he also transforms the fauna and the flora in
Devachan. We ourselves prepared the nest where we were born. In Kamaloca,
to be sure, man works upon the different animal species.
Before the human being incarnates,
he has a foresight of his coming earthly life. (Karma) If this life
will be a hard one, he may have a strong shock, and under certan
conditions he may become an idiot, because his etheric body rebels against
the descending into the physical body, so that its center of power becomes
dislocated outside the brain.