Friday, 2 September 2016

Theosophics Basics: Karma, part 2 of 2

7- Karma operates on three planes (physical, psychical, and spiritual)
Karma is considered to operate on the five lower planes. In simpler terms, it can be considered from three levels: the physical, psychic and spiritual, that is pertaining to the act, the intention and the underlying harmony:
As a necessary consequence of the septenary division of man, it is evident that we are capable of generating force on different planes of existence. The consideration of the working of Karma on all these planes is too complicated to be treated of here, and we shall, for the sake of convenience, adopt the trinitarian division. In this view of the case the Karma of an individual is divisible into three classes, physical, psychical, and spiritual. 

The physical Karma would be the act itself; the psychical Karma, the intention or the mental counterpart of the act; the spiritual Karma has relation to the harmony underlying all Nature. From the law of spiritual dynamics, elsewhere stated, it is clear that this classification is in the order of ascending power. The Karmic value of an act is the resultant of these three sets of forces. (Chatterji/Holloway, Man, Fragments of a Forgotten History, 124)

8- There are three types of Karma
The Theosophical perspective follows Hindu philosophy in dividing Karma into three groups:

First — that which has not begun to produce any effect in our lives owing to the operation on us of some other karmic causes. This is under a law well known to physicists, that two opposing forces tend to neutrality, and that one force may be strong enough to temporarily prevent the operation of another one. This law works on the unseen mental and karmic planes or spheres of being just as it does on the material ones. (Ocean 93)
Second — that karma which we are now making or storing up by our thoughts and acts, and which will operate in the future when the appropriate body, mind, and environment are taken up by the incarnating Ego in some other life, or whenever obstructive karma is removed. (Judge, Ocean of Theosophy ,94)
Third — that karma which has begun to produce results. It is the operating now in this life on us of causes set up in previous lives in company with other Egos. And it is in operation because, being most adapted to the family stock, the individual body, astral body, and race tendencies of the present incarnation, it exhibits itself plainly, while other unexpended karma awaits its regular turn. (Ocean 94)

9- Karma is collective
Like reincarnation, although explained on an individual basis, the law of Karma is based on the idea of non-separateness, hence the idea of the interdependance of humanity. So Karma is considered to be distributive. There is national Karma and global Karma which is composed of the sum total of individual Karma. Each person has a degree of responsibility for the conditions of the environment one lives in and one’s individual Karma cannot account for all the conditions one is born in:

 It is held as a truth among Theosophists that the interdependence of Humanity is the cause of what is called Distributive Karma, and it is this law which affords the solution to the great question of collective suffering and its relief. It is an occult law, moreover, that no man can rise superior to his individual failings, without lifting, be it ever so little, the whole body of which he is an integral part. In the same way, no one can sin, nor suffer the effects of sin, alone. In reality, there is no such thing as "Separateness"; and the nearest approach to that selfish state, which the laws of life permit, is in the intent or motive. (Blavatsky, Key 202)

10- Karma operates through the cycles of nature and human evolution:
It is true, on the other hand, that the exoteric cycles of every nation have been correctly made to be derived from, and depend on, sidereal motions. The latter are inseparably blended with the destinies of nations and men. But in their purely physical sense, Europe knows of no other cycles than the astronomical, and makes its computations accordingly. Nor will it hear of any other than imaginary circles or circuits in the starry heavens that gird them —
“With centric and eccentric scribbled o’er
Cycle and epicycle, orb in orb . . .” (Secret Doctrine I, 645)

11-Awareness of Karma is essential for spiritual progress
Karma points to the path of ethics and responsibility and also a spiritual path. By listening to one’s inner voice, one can transform the outer person and avoid being lead astray by the inner astral being and thus elevate oneself to one’s ideal celestial prototype, the choice of one’s orientation is intimately connected with Karma:
 Those who believe in Karma have to believe in destiny, which, from birth to death, every man is weaving thread by thread around himself, as a spider does his cobweb; and this destiny is guided either by the heavenly voice of the invisible prototype outside of us, or by our more intimate astral, or inner man, who is but too often the evil genius of the embodied entity called man. Both these lead on the outward man, but one of them must prevail; and from the very beginning of the invisible affray the stern and implacable law of compensation steps in and takes its course, faithfully following the fluctuations. When the last strand is woven, and man is seemingly enwrapped in the net-work of his own doing, then he finds himself completely under the empire of this self-made destiny. It then either fixes him like the inert shell against the immovable rock, or carries him away like a feather in a whirlwind raised by his own actions, and this is — Karma. (Secret Doctrine I, 639)

12- Karma can be improved through human cooperation
This state will last till man’s spiritual intuitions are fully opened, which will not happen before we fairly cast off our thick coats of matter; until we begin acting from within, instead of ever following impulses from without; namely, those produced by our physical senses and gross selfish body. Until then the only palliative to the evils of life is union and harmony — a Brotherhood in actu, and altruism not simply in name. The suppression of one single bad cause will suppress not one, but a variety of bad effects. And if a Brotherhood or even a number of Brotherhoods may not be able to prevent nations from occasionally cutting each other’s throats — still unity in thought and action, and philosophical research into the mysteries of being, will always prevent some, while trying to comprehend that which has hitherto remained to them a riddle, from creating additional causes in a world already so full of woe and evil. Knowledge of Karma gives the conviction that if
“. . . . virtue in distress, and vice in triumph
Make atheists of mankind,”*
(Secret Doctrine I, 644)