The Inner Life, v. II/Sixth Section/VI

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The Inner Life: volume II by Charles Webster Leadbeater
Sixth Section/VI: Modes of Individualisation

MODES OF INDIVIDUALISATION

Those who have been following the recent discoveries and investigations will remember that in an article not long ago I mentioned the existence, within one of the great classes of monads, of two types which, though equal to one another in development, differ greatly in their intervals between lives, one of them habitually taking nearly double the length of heaven-life which is customary with the other. As the amount of spiritual force generated is roughly equal in the two cases, it follows that one type of man must exhaust that force more speedily than the other. Into the same portion of time, as we measure it, he compresses a double amount of bliss; he works as it were at higher pressure, and therefore concentrates his experience and gets through nearly twice the amount in any given period, so that his seven hundred years is fully equivalent to the twelve hundred of a man of the other type.

The fundamental difference between these two varieties results from the way in which, in each case, individualization was attained. We know that the monad manifests itself upon the nirvanic plane as the triple spirit, and that, when an ego is called into existence as an expression of this triple spirit, its manifestation is arranged in a certain well-recognised form which has frequently been explained in our literature. Of the three aspects one, the spirit itself, remains upon its own plane; the second, the intuition (or, as our President has now decided to call it, the itself through the matter of the buddhic or rational pure reason) puts itself down one stage and expresses plane;(1) the third, intelligence, puts itself down two planes, and expresses itself through matter of the upper part of the mental plane.
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(1) Our President has recently decided to endeavour as far as possible to replace the Sanskrit terms in our literature by English words; from this point onwards, therefore, I shall use the words “pure reason” in place of “buddhi,” and “rational plane” instead of “buddhic plane”.

The personality is also triple in its manifestation, and is an accurate reflection of the arrangement of the ego; but like all other reflections, it reverses itself. The intelligence reflects itself in the lower mind on the lower part of the same mental plane: the pure reason mirrors itself in the astral body, and, in some way much more difficult to comprehend, the spirit in turn reflects itself upon the physical plane.

It is obvious that, when an ego is formed, all three of these manifestations of the spirit must be called forth, but the first connection may be made through any one of the three. It has previously been explained that individualization from the animal kingdom usually takes place through association with the humanity of the period. Such examples of it as we occasionally see taking place round us at the present time will serve as instances for us. Some particular domestic animal, well treated by its human friends, is stimulated by its constant contact with them up to the point where it breaks away from the group-soul to which it has previously belonged. The process has been fully described in Man Visible and Invisible and The Christian Creed, and I need not repeat that description here. But a point which is not mentioned in those earlier works is the possibility that the first connection may be made in various ways — between the lower mind and the higher; between the astral body and the pure reason; or between the physical body and the spirit itself.

A domestic animal (when well treated) usually developes intense affection for its master, and a strong desire to understand him, to please him, and to anticipate what he is going to do. Sometimes, for a few minutes, the master turns affectionate thought upon the animal, or makes a distinct effort to teach him something; and in these cases there is a direct and intentional action passing from the mental or astral body of the master to the corresponding vehicle of the animal. But this is comparatively rare, and the greater portion of the work is done without any direct volition on either side, simply by the incessant and inevitable action due to the proximity of the two entities concerned. The astral and mental vibrations of the man are far stronger and more complex than those of the animal, and they are consequently exercising a never-ceasing pressure upon the latter.

We can see therefore that the character and type of the master will have a great influence on the destiny of the animal. If the master be an emotional man, full of strong affections, the probability is that the development of any domestic animal of his will be chiefly through its astral body, and that the final breaking of the link with the group-soul will be due to some sudden outrush of intense affection, which will reach the rational aspect of the floating monad belonging to it, and will thus cause the formation of an ego. If, on the other hand, the master be unemotional and if the chief activities in his nature are of the intellectual type, it is the nascent mental body of the animal which will be stimulated, and the probabilities are that individualization will be reached because that mental development rises to a level too great to permit any longer of enfoldment within the group-soul. In yet another case, if the master be a man of great spirituality or of intensely strong will, while the animal will develope great affection and admiration for him, it will yet be the will within the animal which is principally stimulated. This will show itself in the physical body by intense activity, and indomitable resolution to achieve whatever the creature may attempt, especially in the way of service to his master.

It is difficult to rid oneself of the idea that the distance between the spirit and the physical body must be far greater than that between the lower mind and the intelligence, or between the astral and rational bodies. But this is not really so, for it is not a question of distance in space at all, but of the conveying of a sympathetic vibration from the reflection to the original. When we think of it in this way; it is obvious that each reflection must be in direct connection with its original, whatever the distance between them may be — in closer connection than it is with any object which is out of the direct line, no matter how much nearer in space the latter object may be. The desire of the animal to rise constitutes a steady upward pressure along all these lines, and the point at which that pressure finally breaks through the restrictions, and forms the required link between the monad and its personality, determines certain characteristics of the new ego which thus comes into existence. The actual formation of the link is usually instantaneous if the first connection is made through affection or will, but it is much more gradual when it is a case of mental development; and this also makes a considerable difference in the current of the future evolution of the entity.

In the course of the recent investigations we discovered that, out of a great mass of people who were individualized practically simultaneously at a certain point in the moon-chain, those who had attained individualization gradually by intellectual development came into incarnation upon earth roughly about one million years ago, and have since taken between any two lives an average interval of about twelve hundred years; whereas those who had attained individualization through an instantaneous uprush of affection or will did not come into terrestrial incarnation until about four hundred thousand years later, though as they have since taken an average interval between lives of about seven hundred years their condition at the present time is practically the same.

I cannot emphasise too strongly that this difference of interval must not in the least be supposed to indicate that those who came in later generate less of spiritual force during their earth-lives. If there be any difference, it appears to be in favour of the men of shorter interval, for they (being as a rule more devotional) seem to be able to generate even more force in a given space of time than the others. Perhaps it would express the facts still better to say that they produce in a way a different kind of force; probably both are necessary, each as a complement to the other. The difference of interval between lives means merely that they take their bliss in a much more concentrated form, and therefore work out the result of an equal expenditure of force in much less time. Indeed, it appears very much as though the period of their respective entries upon terrestrial life had been arranged especially in order that, after running through about the same number of incarnations, they might arrive at the same point, and be able to work together.

Later investigations have convinced us that there is far greater flexibility with regard to these intervals between lives than we at first supposed. It is quite true that the amount of force which a man has to work out, first in the astral plane and then in the heaven-world, is precisely what he has developed during his earthly life — plus of course such further force of the same kind as he may generate during his astral or heaven-lives respectively. But it is evident that the rate at which this amount of force exhausts itself is by no means always the same. The necessity of bringing groups of people into incarnation together, in order not only that they may work out mutual karmic inter-relations, but also that they may all learn to labour together towards one great end, is evidently a dominant factor in regulating the rate of the expenditure of force.

A study of the lives of Alcyone will show that this must be so, since it is unquestionable that a number of people, living each his or her own life, must inevitably generate widely-varying amounts of spiritual force; yet in life after life of that entrancing story it is contrived that these people shall come back together, in order that they may pass through similar preparatory experiences, and that the bonds of affection between them may be knit so strongly that they will be incapable of misunderstanding or mistrusting one another, when the strain of the real work comes upon them in the future.

Besides the differences in the mode of individualization which I have just mentioned, there are also differences in the degree of individualization, which corresponds to the stage of development at which it takes place. It has been explained in Theosophical literature that as an animal group-soul gradually evolves within its own kingdom it breaks up into smaller and smaller subdivisions. Quadrillions of flies or mosquitoes are attached to one group-soul, millions of rats or mice, hundreds of thousands of rabbits or sparrows. But when we come to such animals as the lion, the tiger, the leopard, the deer, the wolf or the wild boar, only a few thousand will be found to belong to one soul, while among domesticated animals such as sheep and oxen the number is smaller still.

Individualization is possible only from seven kinds of animals — one for each of the seven great lines or types. Of these we already know certainly the elephant, the monkey, the dog and the cat; and the horse is possibly a fifth. Up to each of these heads of types leads a long line of wild animals, which has not yet been fully investigated; but we know that wolves, foxes, jackals and all such creatures culminate in the dog, and lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars and ocelots in the domestic cat. When we reach these seven individualisable animals we find usually only a few hundred attached to each group-soul, and as their development continues the souls break up rapidly. The pariah dog of India or Constantinople is nothing but a half-tamed wolf, and a thousand of such creatures may well represent only one soul; but in the case of the really intelligent pet dog or cat one soul hovers over not more than ten or a dozen bodies.

Now it makes much difference at what stage of this higher animal life individualization takes place, and this is dependent largely upon the opportunities which offer themselves. Even a pariah dog is presumably capable of individualization, but it could be only a very low type of individualization. The animals of the moon-chain were not the same as those of to-day, and so we cannot draw exact parallels; but assuredly the pariah dog could at most individualize into nothing more than a separated fragment of the group-soul with a monad hovering over it, connected perhaps by a line or two of spiritual matter — corresponding therefore to the animal-men from the moon, who led the way in filling the forms in the first round. On the other hand the really intelligent and affectionate pet dog or cat, whose owner looks after him properly and makes a friend of him, would certainly, when he individualized, obtain a causal body at least equivalent to that of the first order of moon-men, while various intermediate types of domestic animals would produce the basket-work causal body, such as that obtained by the second order of the moon-men.

It will be seen therefore that the amount of real work done in the attainment of any given level is practically always the same, though in some cases more of it is done in one kingdom and less in another. It has already been made abundantly clear, in the course of our investigations, that entities attaining to the culminating point in one kingdom do not enter the lower levels of the next higher kingdom. The life which ensouls an oak-tree, a banyan, or a rose-bush will pass directly into the mammalian order when it enters the animal kingdom; whereas the life which leaves the vegetable kingdom at a much lower level may pass into the stage of insects and reptiles.

In just the same way, a being who reaches the summit of intelligence and affection possible in the animal kingdom will overleap the absolutely primitive conditions of humanity, and will show himself as a first-class individuality from the beginning of his human career; whereas one who leaves the animal kingdom at a lower level will quite naturally have to begin correspondingly lower down in the scale of humanity. This is the explanation of a remark once made by one of our Masters, when referring to the cruelty and superstition shown by the great mass of humanity: “They have individualized too soon; they are not yet worthy of the human form.”

The three methods of individualization which I have already mentioned, through the development of affection, intellect, and will, are the normal lines which we may suppose to have been intended in the scheme of things. Individuality is, however, occasionally attained in certain other ways which we may perhaps define as irregular methods, since it would seem that they can scarcely have been part of the original plan.

For example, at the beginning of the seventh round of the moon-chain a certain group of beings were at the point of individualization, and were drawn towards it by their association with some of the perfected inhabitants whom we call the Lords of the Moon. An unfortunate twist, however, entered into their development, and they began to take so great a pride in their intellectual advance, that that became the prominent feature in their character, so that they were working not to gain the approval or affection of their masters, but to show their advantage over their fellow-animals, and to excite their envy. It was this latter motive which pushed them on to make the efforts which resulted in individualization, and so the causal bodies which were formed showed almost no colour but orange. The authorities in charge of that stage of evolution nevertheless allowed them to individualize, apparently because if they had been permitted to continue their evolution in the animal kingdom any further, they would have become worse instead of better. We have therefore the extraordinary spectacle of a detachment of egos (what we have lately been calling a ship-load), numbering about two millions, who had individualized themselves entirely by pride, and who, though clever enough in their way, possessed but little of any other quality.

The fruitage of the first, second and third globes of the seventh round of the lunar chain was intended to play a certain part in the development of humanity on the earth. At a certain stage in the development of that planet we know that seven of the Lords of the Moon — one belonging to each great type — descended to the earth and began to cast off etheric bodies for the shaping of the new race. The entities who occupied these vehicles intermarried, and when their descendants became numerous these three ship-loads of egos were called upon to descend and occupy these vehicles, and thus establish the type of the humanity that was to come. “One-third refuses; two-thirds obey.” It was the members of this orange-coloured ship-load from planet A of the lunar chain who declined these lowly vehicles, while the golden-coloured egos from globe B and the rose-coloured group from globe C accepted the conditions, entered into the vehicles, and fulfilled their destiny.

The future career of these orange-coloured egos showed clearly enough the undesirability of the line along which they had come, for not only did they refused to take the primitive bodies which were assigned to them (thus leaving them to be occupied by very much lower animal types, and so leading to the sin of the mindless), but all through their history their arrogance and unruliness caused constant trouble to themselves and to others who were infected by their foolishness. Eventually the law of evolution forced them to occupy bodies in many respects considerably worse than those which had at first been offered to them; and though that lesson taught them something, and they seem to have recognised that a mistake had been made, even when they mingled with ordinary humanity we find them invariably in opposition, and perpetually making trouble by standing upon their own dignity at inopportune moments. By constant collision with natural laws the great majority of them have by degrees been driven more or less into line with the rest of humanity; but even now we may distinguish some of them by the occasional recrudescence of their old objectionable characteristics; they are still “turbulent and aggressive, independent and separative, prone to discontent and eager for change,” as our President has described them.

Some few of the cleverest of them have made no inconsiderable mark upon human history, for they developed into the celebrated “Lords of the Dark Face” of Atlantis, of whom we read so much in The Secret Doctrine; and later such special distortions became world-devastating conquerors, caring nothing for the thousands who were slain or starved in the course of the gratification of their mad ambition, or (later still) equally unscrupulous American millionaires, well called by their parasites “Napoleons of finance.”

Another abnormal method in which individuality has been gained is through fear. In the case of animals who have been cruelly treated by man, there have been cases in which the cunning developed by strenuous efforts to understand and avoid the cruelty has caused the breaking away from the group-soul, and produced an ego possessing only a very low type of intellectuality — an ego who, when he puts himself down into the lower planes, must inevitably, because of the nature of his permanent atoms, draw round him mental and astral vehicles capable only of expressing the less desirable passions.

A variant of this case is the type of ego in which the attitude caused by the cruelty has been rather that of intense hatred than of fear. That force also is strong enough to develope such intelligence as may be necessary to injure the oppressor, and in that way also individuality has been secured. It is not difficult to imagine the kind of human being that would be produced along such lines as these, and this is the explanation of the existence of the fiendishly cruel and blood-thirsty savages of whom we sometimes hear, of the inquisitors of the Middle Ages, and of those who torture children in the present day. Of them it is distinctly true that they have come into humanity far too soon, and are displaying under its guise an exaggerated form of some of the very worst characteristics of the most unpleasant types of animals.

Yet another variant is the entity who is individualized by an intense desire for power over others, such as is sometimes shown by the chief bull of a herd. An ego developed in such a way often manifests great cruelty, and appears to take pleasure in it, probably because to torture others is a manifestation of his power over them.

On the other hand those who have been individualized at a comparatively low level along one of the regular lines — as by affection — provide us with a type of equally primitive but joyous and good-natured savages — savages, in fact, who are not savage but kindly, as are many of the tribes to be found in some of the islands of the Southern Seas.

As we look at these early stages of our development upon the Moon-chain, it often seems as though the mode of individualization of an ego depended upon mere chance — upon “the accident of environment.” Yet I do not believe that this is so; even for animals the environment is not accidental, and there is no room for chance in a perfectly-ordered universe. I should not be surprised if further investigation should reveal to us that the very mode of the individualization was somehow pre-determined either for or by the monad himself, with a view to preparation for whatever portion of the great work he is to undertake in the future. There will come a time when we shall be part of the great Heavenly Man — not in the least as a myth or a poetic symbol, but as a vivid and actual fact, which we ourselves have seen. That celestial body has many members; each of these members has its own function to fulfil, and the living cells which are to form part of them need widely-different experiences to prepare them. It may well be that from the dawn of evolution the parts have been chosen — that each monad has his destined line of evolution, and that his freedom of action is concerned chiefly with the rate at which he shall move along that line. In any case our duty is clear — to push ahead as rapidly as we can, watching ever to discern the divine purpose, living only to fulfil it, striving always to help onwards the great scheme of the LOGOS by helping our fellowman.