The Law of Karma is closely interwoven with the Law of Reincarnation, and those that govern the inner planes of all life. The study of one must necessarily include its bearing on the others, just as the study of any system in the human body must include its relation to those others which make up the whole body.
Karma is the Sanskrit word that has no English equivalent. It is the name of the primal law of cause and effect and the exacting relation of one to the other. As each effect is produced, it in turn becomes a cause demanding a new effect in a different fulfilment. No two cycles of cause and effect are ever identical, just as each day is different from all others because the earth and the sun are in different places in all space. Thus, the cycle of cause of effect impels atoms, people and stars to greater expression. The Temple teaches that the purpose of these cycles is conscious unity with God.
The law of cause and effect applies to all kingdoms of nature. It is the directive for the laws of chemistry, physics, electronics, astronomy, botomy, physiology, etc. In all those fields of study their laws are accepted by man as inviolable. He knows that therein may exist no possible effect without its appropriate cause. These sciences demonstrate to him that in them he cannot get something for nothing.
The Temple teaches that in man’s activities , economics, psychology, ethics, morals, etc, the Law of Karma holds inviolably. Man is unconvinced chiefly because he cannot yet trace cause to effect through different planes of his life. If a person lets go of a heavy object then they know it will fall to earth. This they expect of natural law. In the same way if a person sees only evil in the world they may expect natural law to limit their vision.
Man’s conscience, as the repository of his moral values has been greatly stultified by the acceptance of many erroneous concepts. He believes that after death he enters a state of eternal bliss or one of perpetual and fiery damnation. He also believes that someone else, a Great Soul, has, by his crucifixion, redeemed man from all his own sins. He also believes that jealous God has visited all manner of suffering and sorrow upon his person; that when such is called predestination it represents a blind and overpowering force of discomfort which is ironclad, inescapable and unalterable and especially undeserved. However, no such questioning protest arises if life is easy. On one hand, he declares a ruthless belief in ‘eat, drink and be merry’ as opposed, on the other, to a belief incomplete, although resented, mortification of self. At every economic level he has turned these beliefs into an increasingly devastating spirit of competition, mutely justified as the survival of the fittest. Mankind can define these beliefs in only the vaguest personal and theocratic terms, yet has allowed them to cut him off dangerously from the sunlight of truth.
The Temple teaches that the Law of Karma governs the realm of man’s mind and emotions just as it does the environment of his physical body. The subtle planes of mental and emotional actions are even more exacting in demands than are physiological aspects of man. The force of a spoken word extends far beyond its power to strike the ear. As a curse or a prayer or idle greeting it returns to its originator , freighted ten-fold with the concern of good, evil or carelessness which caused it to be uttered. The look of lust or love or friendship or enmity or discernment of beauty is not lost in the intensity or failing light and focus of vision but returns to the beholding consciousness with distortion, blindness, despair and bleakness and their opposites of exaltation, well-being and spiritual enlightenment and knowledge. Each kind of thought adds to the total of similar thoughts of all mankind. One of the most literal statements of this doctrine of cause3 and effect says ‘Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God’. All of the Sermon on the Mount is the Teaching of the Masters of the White Lodge, restated by the Master Jesus in this 2000 year cycle on the subject of karma.
Another imperfect reflection of the Law of Karma is contained in the words, ‘An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth’. The author of those words says explicitly, not one jot or tittle of the law may be evaded, and then loudly proclaims, ‘Vengeance is mine.’ But man has taken it upon himself to administer this law, especially the vendetta or reprisal, thereby answering through the ages one crime with another.
The Law of Karma insists that every thought, word and deed must be accounted for in full, balanced and harmonised within the universe. Karma says it does not mean matched in kind, it means changed to the point of no recurrence.
The history of man shows his security resting falsely on his ability to do anything he desires with the appropriate reward for so doing. To date this has been a record of outrage to his fellow man and destruction of his natural environment. Man has thought to exempt himself from the fact that all else in the universe is subject to Law which even man cannot change. Consequently when the finger of God points at man as the debtor to all life, man either protests or denies, whereupon God says in effect ‘You have been held to account since your first step. My sons have told you so.’
This great Law of Karma, which totally engulfs all mankind, is an instrument of destruction only to the extent that man himself destroys. It is the instrument of God’s bounty to the extent that man is likewise living according to God’s Golden Rule. It may be described as a trinity. Its principles are involvement, responsibility and justice. Nothing can exist outside of its power.
The operation of the Law of Karma is clearly demonstrated by the principle of ecology. In our day, the strict balance of the wilderness and the cultivated areas of the earth has been realised as a condition which may not be abused without serious disruption and destruction of all kingdoms of nature, organic and inorganic. The results of such violation become quickly known. Immediate loss in the animal and vegetable kingdoms is reflected in the destruction of land, water and air to a point where they cannot sustain any form of life. This intimate relation of cause and effect and balance is a matter of mutual evolutionary survival.
While man’s greed continues to wreck his natural economy, the handwriting of this greed is on every wall in the world. This patent evidence of cause and effect shows man bringing on self-destruction. Each family of life, from tree to grass, from great animals to single cells, from birds and fish to plankton bears most vital relationship to others; death of one brings loss of another until the earth, water and air turn to poison. The cause and effect of purity is not perchance at any level. It is most deliberate.
Man has always regarded the terror and destruction of volcano, flood, earthquake and windstorm as a scourge, perpetrated upon him by either an unjustified Deity or an elementary blunder of blind natural forces. If there is any truth to the philosophy of cause and effect, then no aspect of manifestation can operate outside of the power of cause and effect. Man’s misuse of natural kingdoms is responsible for nature’s violence. Man’s angry use of fire by his bullets, his cursing, his abusive disregard of human rights and total disregard of the right life of forms lesser than himself, all this is a crime against nature.
It is absorbed by the elements which make up nature until the imbalance may no longer be contained and volcanoes and earthquakes result. The tempest in a man’s emotions is joined with those of other men until the whirlwind is reaped. The lighting of a match, a familiar and sometimes careless gesture is still an occult mystery wherein a fire, which is not understood at all by man releases a force that had to come from somewhere, and is not destroyed by merely being blown out. It becomes a blessing or curse according to its karmic use. Whether its use is intended or careless destruction, its cumulative effect can well result in any natural disaster such as earthquake, volcano, flood etc. Or it may be a source of comfort and healing to the man who drew it forth. The same holds for the fire released in the operation of all things. For instance, the minds and emotions of people driving the automobile turn it into an instrument of destruction or constructive service. The blessing or curse is according to the motive of the user. Possibly the greatest crime against nature is waste as represented by self-indulgence or wanton abuse of material. Great critical balances of fire and water, air and earth are destroyed or restored karmically by everything man does.
Everything man does is an expression of a balancing of opposites – love and hate, greed or sympathy, construction or destruction. Every utterance of man is a measure of truth or falsehood. A pound of iron cannot be created simply out of nothing, nor can it be reduced to non-existence. No less subject to the laws of creation is man’s simplest syllable of expression. It came from somewhere; it has not ceased to exist because it is no longer heard. No less potent is man’s most private thought, which could not possibly originate out of nothing, and could not possibly cease to exist because its user had simply forgotten or dismissed it from his mind. According to its motive, its use, does it become one with the great balance of fire and air, earth and water with more subtle realism than even the physical correspondences, to bless or curse mankind. The karma of such interaction is readily demonstrated in man’s physical and psychological well-being. It is now readily acknowledge, for instance, that anger creates devastating poisons in the human body. The analogy invites speculation on the consequences of chronic lying, fear, frustration, self-righteousness, or refusal to listen.
The Temple teaches that all disease originates on what may be called inner planes, the mind and emotions of man himself. Today what man calls security may bring him to a realisation of the Law of Karma. The assurance of well-being for himself and those he loves obliges him to be concerned with the rest of the world. His treatment of the world determines his assurance of security.
Man’s acceptance of false standards, false values of social and economic status eventually produce a karmic reaction of fear and greed and desperation. Man recognises it well. The more intense the reaction, the greater is the drive to escape periodically be way of indulgence, drugs, alcohol, etc. These and other contrivances distort the natural responsibility of man to his world in exchange for the privilege of living in it and contributing to the well-being of the earth itself. This relationship of man to the whole universe is called karma.
When faith becomes distrust or hope becomes despair, and the cry of all ages is re-echoed, ‘Why has this thing happened to me?’, the karma compels the crier to recognise, sooner or later, that he has brought this thing on himself. Karma also puts the sufferer in a position to restore himself, for once he admits to the cause and effect within himself, his power of endurance is no longer wasted on resentment or protest. Thus, karma is truly the expression of justice or balance, which is its ultimate purpose.
When man moves with implicit faith in the divine power, which has brought him into being, he will no longer be terrorised by anything or being. He will demand no vengeance, no reprisal. He will leave all such to karma.
Karmically, no man may live alone. His joy and sorrow are his share of the world’s joy and sorrow. Therefore it becomes man’s karmic responsibility to enhance the world’s joy and alleviate its suffering.
Ultimately, poverty and wealth, joy and sorrow, pain and suffering result in change and growth. This growth becomes contentment, which helps expand man’s consciousness to the point of loving his fellow man and recognising a common Father. This equanimity is the goal of the operation of karma. It is the third aspect of a trinity of action, reaction and realisation of Divinity. This is the divine Law of Karma. Divinity itself uses cause and effect to attain this balance and can accept no less.
Karma is not predestination – predestination that brings either privilege or plague. Except to say that there can be no effect of any sort without a suitable cause, karma in no way precludes any possibility of action. Karma is the inexorable operation of Law. It is not a blind, irresponsible pattern, superimposed on unrelated things or conditions.
Karma in no way interferes with the right of man to choose a course of action. The limitations of that choice are the evolutionary status of that man. He is free to make of it what he will. Each thought, word and deed of his life are effects of previous such commitments which in turn become the causes of future effects. Each cycle of cause and effect, however great or small, provides the opportunity for enhancing or demeaning the man who made the choice. Karma is a trinity of cause, effect and corresponding balance. No two cycles of cause and effect can possibly be identical.
There is no such qualification as good karma or bad karma. The circumstances in which finds himself are those which provide him with the only possible way that he can draw his next breath, take the next step in his life, learn the next lesson the law of life requires him to learn. The law has been invoked by himself. His limitations of whatever nature, spiritual, emotional, mental or physical are the effects of his own created karma. But they are not barriers or handicaps that may not be overcome. On the contrary, they offer him the maximum of opportunity and means to commence a greater life. The resistance of the water to the boat also provides the only means for the boat to move through the water.
Karma uses reincarnation to place man in every circumstance of growth. Material wealth and dire poverty, both, teach the lesson of responsibility, the simple fact that the earth is the Lord’s and man is at best the custodian of its fullness. His own progress depends not on the amount of his wealth but on his use of it for the benefit of his fellow man. Such use will increase his custodianship just as the selfish use of the same will decrease the total, if necessary, to the point of starvation.
Karma sys that a man will be identified with any given race according to the needs and traits of the man. The karmic relation of one race to another varies with the lesson to be learned by any group of people so attracted to each other karmically. The race thus serves in the evolutionary growth of all men, providing the karmic conditions for the learning of those special lessons, very much like grades of departments of education in a school.
Man, in order to learn all the lessons of life, will have lived in all races of humanity. Each race has its turn to lead humanity on its evolutionary path. It also represents the effect of leadership abused. Its apogee and degeneracy are the results, effects of previous causes, the accumulated choices of its members. Democracy, autocracy, monarchy, dictator ship, all are th3e accumulated result of acts of mankind. He lives therein because he has so chosen, and in it he will then learn the wisdom of his choice.
Karma draws him to whatever family, whatever friends, whatever enemies surround him. To them he owes a relationship of causes and effects as do they to him. This is the beginning of his karmic involvement. Just knowing the needs of a fellow man is karmic involvement. This age of almost instant audio and visual communication bears an enormous karmic responsibility. No longer may man say “I did not know”.
Karma and reincarnation are interdependent in accounting for the possession of all talents and capabilities. Each man must earn his own. Karma says a man is born great in his life only because he has earned such capability and responsibility in previous lifetimes. The degree of greatness is relative. He may be a leader to those around him; he is a follower of those who have gone before him and made his progress possible.
The Law of Karma identifies each man with a form of religion that is the summary of his own past deeds. As these deeds represent the Golden Rule do they place the doer closer and closer to the true source of all life. This sense of spiritual unity is embodied in a hierarchy of countless Great Souls, who have lived a succession of lives in the service of humanity. So much so that they are one with all Law. They are servitors of the Will of God. They are the instruments of the Law of Karma. Their lives administer the exact justice which rules the universe. They are teaching younger members of humanity to recognise and abide by that exact justice.
A true Temple member culled conceive of no greater privilege and responsibility in all life than the karma of conscious association with The Temple of the People. Such a realisation is the karmic crown of the labour of his/her lifetimes.