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denial strengthens it, as error adds to error), and this by the very concentrated devotion on the negative side of nature, by which he attains his object. If man tries to run away from the duties which he owes to nature, for his own pleasure, he betrays his trust in diverting to his own selfish use, spiritual powers to which he has rightful access only as the servant of all. The powers are real-their exercise is magical in effects. The wrong motive in using them makes it “Black Magic."
I think we should clearly realize this. By the sustained effort to "deny" the existence of "Mortal Mind," the Christian Scientist is continually thinking about "Mortal Mind," i. e., his lower nature) and thus supplies it with a constant flow of mental energy and force; while denying its existence he is perpetually feeding it with currents of life force, energizing it anew. It is then more than ever bound to break out somewhere! It matters nothing whether we think about a thing as existent or non-existent. So long as we think about it at all, whether in positive or negative fashion, we give it new life: the difference in the fashion only denotes the nature of the force with which we keep it supplied. The negative modes of thought and force are those, precisely, which are most injurious to nature and to man. One trembles to think of the amount of potential mischief which is thus being stored up and with concentrated determination-adding a deadly element. Having re-discovered the marvellous power of the individual creative will and the force of the imagination, which have their real place in nature on immaterial planes and work for good there, Christian Science drags them down on to material planes (while decrying the existence of the matter !) and makes them subservient to the procuration of material prosperity and happiness. Truly a wolf in sheep's clothing. From the point of view of life eternal, material well being is of no consequence at all, and Christian Science is thus beguiling man to sell his own birthright, his heavenly treasures for a mess of pottage. By betrayal of man's real life and desertion of his duty, Christian Science leads him away by a mirage of material prosperity, and by an appearance of vastly improved minds and characters on the surface of things.
Motive is at the root of it all, and is the only touchstone by which a human being may examine Christian Science. Not its professed motives; for it cloaks itself carefully in an altruistic guise: with the apparent object of casting away the material, it rivets material chains more firmly on the victim by debasing the spiritual forces to material ends, enticing men to desert their posts and leave their duty. Verily a "d'evil" masquerading in most specious fashion as an angel of light.
EAR FRIEND: You will have noticed that the word "cycle"
is quite frequently used by writers on Theosophical subjects, and it is very likely that you have been perplexed by its
application to so many different things and in so many different ways. That is exactly my experience, and it is my reason for writing this letter, for I want to help you out of the tangle and lead you into a study that is both helpful and interesting. I do not say this because I have come to a perfect understanding of the number and nature of cycles, far from it. I am but a student like yourself, although I may have gone one step farther, on this way that seems to have no end.
The subject was one of great interest to the ancients, as it now is to some of our modern historians. It has been noticed that certain diseases reappear at regular intervals, and I recently read an able and interesting article which undertook to prove that this was true of great wars—that they recur at stated times and come in waves. This seems also to be true of famines, and also of the duration of fevers. A few philosophical historians have gone further and assure us that the rise and fall of civilizations is governed by a law as sure and regular as that which governs the rise and fall of the ocean tides.
This has led to the two sayings, “Cycle and Epicycle,” and “History repeats itself." The word cycle means a ring, a wheel, or a turning round, that is, one periodical recurrence of events.
In eastern books the word Yuga is synonymous with our word cycle, but the words Kalpa and Manvantara are sometimes used with that meaning. Some cycles are greater and some are smaller, and as the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel says (Ez. I, 16) there is "a wheel within a wheel”—cycles within cycles. Cycles physical, psychic, and spiritual, out of which comes individual, national, and race cycles.
Our planets circle round the sun, and it is said that our sun and many other solar systems circle round the star Alcyone. It may be that many such systems circle around some point central to them all.
The Secret Doctrine speaks of the seven “Imperishable Laya Centers” produced by Fohat. “The Great Breath digs through space seven holes into Laya to cause them to circumgirate during Manvantaras” (vol. I, p. 147). And the idea is given that around these are other neutral centers, and around these yet others again and again.
Each cycle, great or small, is an evolution complete in itself, but also forms a part of a larger evolution. The human body is a beautiful example of this. Each cell in the body has its cycle of birth, growth and decay; but each cell is part of a tissue that is born, grows, matures, and dies; each tissue is part of an organ that also has its cycle of birth and death; and again, each organ helps to form a body that passes through all these stages. The idea may be carried further, for each individual forms part of a family, each family is part of a nation, while again, each nation is an organic part of a race, and all are subject to the same law of birth, growth and death.
In Isis Unveiled (vol. I, 5) Madame Blavatsky says that the Chaldean philosophers “Divided the interminable periods of human existence into cycles, during each of which mankind gradually reached the culminating point of highest civilization, and gradually relapses into abject barbarism.”
Cyclic law seems to be universal, each planet, for instance, has its cycle. The moon has a cycle of nineteen years—that is after a period of nineteen years the new and full moons return on the same days of the month. The sun's cycle is 28 years, at the end of which the days of the month fall again on the same days of the week. The cycle of Jupiter is thirty-six years. These astronomical cycles are not without effect on our race.
The greatest cycle with which we are acquainted is the Brahmarandeha, or complete life of Brahma. It is made up (according to eastern teachings) of four yugas or cycles, but the races of men are not all affected by the same yuga at the same time—some races being in one cycle and some in another.
The eastern books call these cycles Krita, Treta, Dva para, and Kali (black). The last mentioned yuga—Kali, or the black—is the one
). which effects our mental and spiritual development most powerfully to-day. The first five-thousand years of this cycle ended with the close of the nineteenth century.
A Krita yuga contains 1,728,000 of our years; a Treta yuga is made up of 1,296,000 of these years; a Dvapara yuga contains 864,000 mortal years; and a Kali yuga is the shortest and holds 432,000 of these years. These four yugas make up a Maha, or great yuga of 4,320,000 years, and seventy-one of these make the reign of one Manu, or, 306,720,000 years, and fourteen Manus make 4,294,080,000 years. If we add the dawns or twilights between each Manu we have 25,920,000 years more. These reigns and dawns (of Manus) make a thousand Maha yugas, which is one Kalpa, or day of Brahma-4,320,000,000 years.
Brahma's nights equal his days, so a day and night of Brahma make 8,640,000,000 years. Three hundred and sixty of these days make a year of Brahma, and one hundred of these years make a complete life of Brahma, that is, 311,040,000,000,000 years of our solar system. An enormous period that we can hardly form any conception of.
If we think of it in another way we may get a glimpse of what it means. Our earth is now in a condition of molecular vibration, and this dominant vibration continues through one day of Brahma, or, 4,320 millions of years. This is the time required for all the planets of our solar system to come into conjunction, an event that will surely make great changes in our planet, and we are told that at the beginning and end of these cycles great cataclysms occur—floods, earthquakes, fire, etc.
This cycle will comprise the duration of our world in its present state before it passes into pralaya, or changes its present rate of vibration for another. There are several smaller cycles that ended with the close of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth. I have already noted that the first five thousand years of Kali yuga ended at that time. Madam Blavatsky says, “The Messianic cycle of the Samaritan Jesus, of man connected with Pisces” also ended then.
She goes on to say that it is a cycle “Historic and not very long, but very occult, lasting about 2,155 solar years but having a true significance only when computed by lunar months. It occurred 2410 B. C. and 255 B. C., or when the Equinox entered into the sign of the Ram, and again into that of Pisces."
She further says that when it enters the sign Aquarius (which it did about the year 1900 )“Psychologists will have some extra work to do, and the psychic idiosyncrasies of humanity will enter on a great change" (Studies in Occultism, vol. V, note on page 233).
There are two cycles that are of very great importance to us, and which it will greatly profit us to study.
The first of these is the one hundred year cycle under which the Theosophical Society was born and lives. “A year of the gods” is a hundred years of mortals, and this year of the gods is the hundred year cycle under which all the work of the Theosophical Society is done. If we read carefully what H. P. Blavatsky, W. Q. Judge, and other theosophical writers have said on this topic it seems clear that a year of the gods is like any other year in that it has its times and seasons, such as seed time and harvest, and these seasons must be carefully observed by us if we would work successfully for Theosophy. For instance, during the last quarter of the century it is possible for the Masters to work with us and give us help from the material and psychic sides of life. Physical and psychic phenomena are then possible and easy to produce, but at the close of the cycle, that ceases to be possible and we can only then come into contact with the Masters on their own spiritual plane. All teaching and influence from the Lodge during the first quarter of the century must come from the inside, and not from the outside.
As at the beginning of the second half of the last century the thoughts of men began to change, and the scientific doctrine of evolution, the appearance of spiritualism, and the study of Orientalism opened the way for the Messenger of the Lodge, so it will be at the half cycle in this century, the way will begin to open for the coming of the new Messenger who will appear about the year 1975 and will carry our movement upward and forward. This is a subject well worth careful study.
The second cycle to which I desire to draw your attention is that of Reincarnation, for by it most important effects are produced on human life. The law is, that individuals and nations return to earth life in streams at regular recurring intervals of (roughly speaking) fifteen hundred years. “One generation cometh and another goeth,” but both have been before and will come again, producing new civilizations as the cycles sweep round.
Each generation carries away with it experiences that in Devachan are worked up into faculty, and then returning with this increased power takes hold of civilization as it finds it and carries it forward another stage. In this way the old Aryan, Greek, and Roman civilizations return, but each time on a higher plane.
But with each century there are individuals reincarnating who by special work and training in a previous life gave special development to certain faculties, and so reappear as geniuses in that direction. Sometimes they are soldiers like Napoleon; or again they are artists, musicians, statesmen, mechanics, or inventors.
A study of this cycle is most important in practical life. We are here to gather experience, to perform the duties that knowledge reveals to us, and to build up the future by our experience of the past. The thoughts we think now will form the world in which we shall have to live. Thoughts of selfishness make one kind of a world for us, while thoughts of unselfishness, compassion and aspiration will lift us into an entirely different world and finally set us free from this cycle of birth, death and rebirth.