Law of Cause and Effect (Karma)

Below are all of the known references to the Law of Cause and Effect by Alice A. Bailey (AAB) in her voluminous writings and those given to her by Djwhal Khul (DK). Links on these pages of the Laws of Alice A. Bailey are to the online books at the Lucis Trust website.

For a discussion of what AAB means by a “law” please see  Alice A. Bailey – What is a Law?

For AAB the Law of Cause and Effect is just another name for Karma as witnessed in many of the quotes below.

Author Joseph J. Dewey writes:

“Of all the principles that govern the universe this is the most basic of them all. This is the principle from which all others are derived. There is no effect or creation without a cause and no cause that does not produce effect.”

“Cause and effect is the foundation of duality, which is the cause of all manifestation. “-Principle Two: Cause & Effect


In this way the action of Fire on Water, of Heat in Matter, whether macrocosmically or microcosmically considered, will be touched upon and some light thrown upon the Law of Cause and Effect (the Law of Karma) and its significance in the solar system.

A Treatise on Cosmic Fire , FOREWORD


The reason for this removal lies in the cosmic Law of Cause and Effect, or cosmic karma, and in the composite, yet individual, history of that one of the Heavenly Men Whose body, the Moon or any other dead planet at any time happened to be.

A Treatise on Cosmic Fire , DIVISION C – THE ETHERIC BODY AND PRANA – Part 1


When, therefore, the esoteric side of astrology, and of mystical geometry, has been studied, and alliance has been made between these two sciences, a flood of light will be thrown upon this matter of the intelligent principle; when the inner workings of the Law of Cause and Effect (the law whereby the Lipika Lords govern all Their action) is better comprehended, …

A Treatise on Cosmic Fire , II. THE POSITION OF MANAS


These [Solar] avatars are of three types though there are really many more. They are also extra-systemic visitors, and are mainly concerned with certain processes in the system, among others the administration of the law of cause and effect, or of karma.

A Treatise on Cosmic Fire , 3. THE SOLAR ANGELS, THE AGNISHVATTAS. – Part 2


The Lipika are the Spirits of the Universe. They are connected with the Law of Cause and Effect (Karma) and its recorders.

A Treatise on Cosmic Fire , DIVISION C. SEVEN ESOTERIC STANZAS. – Part 2


The builder of any form is first of all a controller of lives and the arbiter of the destinies of certain entities. In this thought we have light thrown upon the subject of free will and upon the Law of Cause and Effect.

A Treatise on White Magic , ANALYSIS OF THE THREE SENTENCES – Part 1


All that can be posited is that, under the Law of Cause and Effect, spirit and matter coalesced and the worlds were made.

A Treatise on White Magic , ANALYSIS OF THE THREE SENTENCES – Part 1


Every form is built by an impulsive spark of life, emanated by a creator, and growing stage by stage under the law of accretion—an aspect of the law of attraction, which is the law of life. This law cooperates with the Law of Cause and Effect, which, as we know, is the law governing matter.

A Treatise on White Magic , ANALYSIS OF THE THREE SENTENCES – Part 1


There is another form of adjustment which grows out of conditions which are self-initiated and which are based on the effort to handle your own life and a capacity to recognise the place and time to effect changes and, ruthlessly and as a soul, bring about those conditions and situations to which the personality—under the urgency of the soul—must adjust itself. One situation, the first, is based upon the past, under the Law of Cause and Effect.

Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I , SECTION TWO – PERSONAL INSTRUCTIONS TO DISCIPLES – Part 5


Good must ultimately triumph but the Hierarchy does not know what the immediate future holds for humanity because men determine their own destiny. The Law of Cause and Effect cannot be offset.

Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I , SECTION ONE – DISCIPLESHIP IN THE NEW AGE – Part 4


In reality, you have here a phase of the working of the Law of Cause and Effect, demonstrated in a most illustrative manner. As the Law of Karma makes its presence felt upon the outer physical plane, you have the evidence before your eyes of the three stages of Penetration, Polarisation and Precipitation.

Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. II , SECTION THREE – TEACHINGS ON INITIATION – Part 4


The next sequential revelation will be that of creativity, the world of thoughtforms and the desire which each human being and humanity as a whole have created, and (note this well) the setting in motion by humanity and in relation to its own destiny, the Law of Cause and Effect, or of Karma.

Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. II , SECTION THREE – TEACHINGS ON INITIATION – Part 4


The mental development of disciples everywhere is today of such a calibre that it does not take as long for them to make the needed adjustments or to change their attitudes and conditions of life as it did formerly; it does not take as long for them to assimilate a presented truth or to respond to an intuitive perception. Their grasp of the Law of Cause and Effect and their appreciation of the subsidiary Law of Consequences is far more prompt than in the past.

Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. II , SECTION THREE – TEACHINGS ON INITIATION – Part 4


Manifestation and the Law of Cause and Effect are related; where manifestation exists, there this great Law—governing substance and innate in matter—must control and must condition form. The Master, however, stands free, endowed with the Christ-consciousness. He then wields this Law, but is not wielded by it.

Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. II , SECTION THREE – TEACHINGS ON INITIATION – Part 5


Right interpretation of this formula gives insight into the past and into the Law of Cause and Effect; it also gives intelligent appreciation of present opportunity as well as an intuitive perception of the future possibilities which confront the Hierarchy.

Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. II , SECTION THREE – TEACHINGS ON INITIATION – Part 6


Earlier I said that “the next sequential revelation will be that of creativity, of the world of thoughtforms which humanity as a whole has created and the setting in motion—by humanity and in relation to its own destiny—of the Law of Cause and Effect or Karma.

Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. II , SECTION THREE – TEACHINGS ON INITIATION – Part 6


As I write this instruction I would call your attention to the subject of karma. There comes ever in the life of a disciple and in the soul’s experience some one particular life wherein the Law of Cause and Effect assumes importance in the consciousness.

Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. II , SECTION FOUR – PERSONAL INSTRUCTIONS TO DISCIPLES – Part 5


The bewilderment of humanity as a whole requires recognition by the forces of reconstruction. Time and effort must be given to clear explanation and to the pointing out of the law of cause and effect.

Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. II , SECTION FOUR – PERSONAL INSTRUCTIONS TO DISCIPLES – Part 7


The basic approach for all who endeavour to grasp esotericism, or to teach esoteric students, is to lay the emphasis upon the world of energies and to recognise that behind all happenings in the world of phenomena (and by that I mean the three worlds of human evolution) exists the world of energies; these are of the greatest diversity and complexity, but all of them move and work under the Law of Cause and Effect.

Education in the New Age , CHAPTER II – The Cultural Unfoldment of the Race – Part 1


The three water signs give us, therefore, a brief and symbolic history of man’s growth and true personality development. It is a picture of the law of cause and effect.

Esoteric Astrology , 3. Spiritual Effects of the Zodiacal Constellations. – Part 10


8. The law of cause and effect, called Karma in the East, governs all this. Karma must be regarded in reality as the effect (in the form life of our planet) of causes, deep-seated and hidden in the mind of God.

Esoteric Healing , Part One – The Basic Causes of Disease


It is difficult for me to convey to you anything of the truth as it really exists, owing to the pre-conceived ideas as to the ancient Law of Cause and Effect which are necessarily in your mind.

Esoteric Healing , Part One – The Basic Causes of Disease


The Law of Karma is not the Law of Retribution, as one would surmise as one reads the current books upon the subject; that is but one aspect of the working of the Law of Karma. The Law of Cause and Effect is not to be understood as we now interpret it.

Esoteric Healing , Part One – The Basic Causes of Disease


An enlightened public opinion—informed as to man’s constitution and aware of the great Law of Cause and Effect—will deal with the criminal through medical means, right environmental conditions, and the penalties of boycott and sanctions.

Esoteric Healing , Esoteric Healing CHAPTER II – Causes Emanating from Group Life – Part 1


What has really been happening, therefore, in the lives of individuals, in the lives of nations and in the life of humanity? A tremendous move to put right most ancient evil, to offset consciously the Law of Cause and Effect by a recognition of the causes in the personal, national and international worlds which have produced the effects under which humanity today suffers.

Esoteric Healing , CHAPTER III – Our Karmic Liabilities – Part 1


The outstanding evidence of the Law of Cause and Effect is the Jewish race. All nations prove this Law, but I choose to refer to the Hebrew peoples because their history is so well known and their future and their destiny are subjects of worldwide, universal concern.

Esoteric Healing , CHAPTER III – Our Karmic Liabilities – Part 1


Their demand has been for the Gentile nations to put the matter right, and many Gentiles have attempted to do so. Until, however, the Jews themselves face up to the situation and admit that there may be for them the working out of the retributive aspect of the Law of Cause and Effect, and until they endeavour to ascertain what it is in them, as a race, which has initiated their ancient and dire fate, this basic world issue will remain as it has been since the very night of time.

Esoteric Healing , CHAPTER III – Our Karmic Liabilities – Part 1


Karma is necessarily a topic which is general and not specific; it is not yet accepted in the occult sense by the general public. It must be considered along broad lines until such time that the Law of Cause and Effect is accepted as a major conditioning factor in the human consciousness, not only on a large scale but in relation to individual lives.

Esoteric Healing , CHAPTER III – Our Karmic Liabilities – Part 1


I have already suggested to you that the entire question of karma is as yet imperfectly comprehended. A great Law of Cause and Effect exists, but one particular aspect of it has never been emphasised, and the knowledge of humanity on the subject of karma is very elementary.

Esoteric Healing , CHAPTER IV – Some Questions Answered – Part 2


1. A recognition of the great Law of Cause and Effect, if possible. This is not always possible when dealing with the totally unenlightened.

Esoteric Healing , Part Two – The Basic Requirements for Healing – Part 1


4. The law of cause and effect governs disease as it governs all else in manifestation.

Esoteric Healing , CHAPTER I – The Psychological Causes of Disease – Part 1


I am not referring to death as it comes through war or accident, through murder or through suicide. These causes of death, and other causes, come under a totally different directive process: they may not even involve the karma of a man or his individual destiny, as in the case of war. Then vast numbers of people are killed. This has nothing to do with the Law of Cause and Effect as a factor in the soul career of any individual.

Esoteric Healing , CHAPTER V – The Process of Restitution – Part 1


7. The Law of Cause and Effect, or of Karma, governs all disease. This embraces individual, group, national and total human karma.

Esoteric Healing , CHAPTER I – The Psychological Causes of Disease – Part 5


For them, the way of understanding, the recognition of the great Law of Cause and Effect (working out from life to life) and the interpretation of the problem in terms of a lesson to be mastered would spell release from negativity and blind, unintelligent acceptance.

Esoteric Psychology – Volume II , 3. Some Problems of Psychology – Part 4


In the two schools of thought, the truth about destiny as it works out under the Law of Cause and Effect and the truth about man’s innate divinity are taught and emphasised, but, in both cases, the man himself is a negative subject, and the victim either of a cruel fate or of his divinity.

Esoteric Psychology – Volume II , 3. Some Problems of Psychology – Part 4


This work of forgiveness is the age-long work of the soul in matter or form. The Oriental believer calls this karma. The Western believer talks of the Law of Cause and Effect. Both, however, are dealing with the working out by a man of his soul’s salvation, and the constant paying of the price which the ignorant pay for mistakes made and so-called sins committed.

From Bethlehem To Calvary , CHAPTER FIVE – The Fourth Initiation . . . The Crucifixion – Part 2


This matter, therefore, we deduce, held latent certain faculties that were forced to demonstrate in a peculiar way, under the law of Cause and Effect, as does all else in the universe.

Initiation, Human And Solar , CHAPTER I – Introductory Remarks


Metaphysically, the law of retribution; the law of cause and effect, or ethical causation. There is the karma of merit and the karma of demerit.

Initiation, Human And Solar , CHAPTER XIX – RULES FOR APPLICANTS – Part 1


It is closely linked to the Lords of Karma, and it is through the Manu’s department that the Law of Cause and Effect is wielded. The four Lords of Karma work closely with the Manu, for They impose the Law, and He manipulates the forms of men, of continents, of races, and of nations so that that law may be duly worked out.

Letters On Occult Meditation , LETTER VI – THE USE OF FORM IN MEDITATION – Part 2


d. The method of this development and the place of the microcosm within the macrocosm as revealed through the study of the periodicity of all manifestation and the basic law of cause and effect.

Letters On Occult Meditation , LETTER IX – FUTURE SCHOOLS OF MEDITATION. – Part 1


Karma. Physical action. Metaphysically, the law of retribution; the law of cause and effect, or ethical causation.

Letters On Occult Meditation , GLOSSARY


We deal with the Law of Cause and Effect, as demonstrated in the groups national, religious or family.

Letters On Occult Meditation , LETTER III – POINTS CONSIDERED WHEN ASSIGNING MEDITATIONs – Part 2


The spirit in man is undying; it forever endures, progressing from point to point and stage to stage upon the Path of Evolution, unfolding steadily and sequentially the divine attributes and aspects. This truth involves necessarily the recognition of two great natural laws: the Law of Rebirth and the Law of Cause and Effect.

Problems Of Humanity , CHAPTER V – THE PROBLEM OF THE CHURCHES – Part 1


The essential truth lies elsewhere. “Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap” is the truth which needs re-emphasizing. In these words, St. Paul phrases for us the ancient and true teaching of the Law of Cause and Effect called in the Orient, the Law of Karma.

Problems Of Humanity , CHAPTER V – THE PROBLEM OF THE CHURCHES – Part 1


I prefer the word “effect” to the word “result,” for the initiate increasingly works consciously with the Law of Cause and Effect on planes other than the physical.

Rays and The Initiations , SECTION ONE – THE ASPIRANT AND THE MYSTERIES OF INITIATION – Part 5


Initiation is a progressive sequence of directed energy impacts, characterised by points of crisis and of tension and governed—in a sense not hitherto realised—by the Law of Cause and Effect.

Rays and The Initiations , SECTION TWO – THE ASPIRANT AND THE MAJOR INITIATIONS – Part 1


I would remind you that we must attempt to see the picture whole in some such manner as the Agents of the divine Will see it, embracing the past of the nations involved (a past which is seldom good), seeing the effects of that past as they work out in the present and as they are the inevitable result of the Law of Cause and Effect, and attempting also to foresee the future in terms of lessons learnt and new habits of a better nature established (written in 1948).

Rays and The Initiations , SECTION TWO – THE ASPIRANT AND THE MAJOR INITIATIONS – Part 3


The three worlds of material living and the inner world of meaning which the soul has revealed to him are now left behind; he is suddenly confronted with the world of significances, with the true world of causes and of origination, and by the realm of the universal. He discovers that all he had thought anent the Law of Cause and Effect was so limited that—in the light of this Higher Evolution—it has practically become meaningless, …

Rays and The Initiations , SECTION TWO – THE ASPIRANT AND THE MAJOR INITIATIONS – Part 5


Initiation has been defined as “a progressive sequence of directed energy impacts.” These impacts are characterised by points of tension, and these lead inevitably to points of crisis; the whole process is governed by the Law of Cause and Effect.

Rays and The Initiations , SECTION TWO – THE ASPIRANT AND THE MAJOR INITIATIONS – Part 7


This also brings about significant changes in the vehicles of humanity. There is also a direct relation between the four aspects of karma (the Law of Cause and Effect) and the four physical ethers, as well as the four cosmic ethers; this relationship will later constitute the basis of a new occult science.

Telepathy And The Etheric Vehicle , SECTION TWO – TEACHING ON THE ETHERIC VEHICLE – Part 2


The Law of Cause and Effect holds good eternally and particularly so in the realm of spiritual insight (so rapidly developing at this time) which enables the seer to see the future as it may be and to forecast coming eventualities.

The Destiny of the Nations , The Influence of the Rays Today. – Part 1


I have stated also that we are reaching a climaxing period in human history; in this period the Lords of Karma are unusually active; the Law of Cause and Effect is bringing the results of past activities, the subjective thinking and the secret impulses to the surface, and exacting penalty and the planned cleaning of the slate of human history.

The Externalisation Of The Hierarchy , SECTION THREE – FORCES BEHIND THE EVOLUTIONARY PROGRESS OF THE RACE – Part 6


The Law of Cause and Effect is of far greater importance than the Law of Rebirth, because it necessitates action upon the part of the aspirant, and that action inevitably conditions the future..

The Externalisation Of The Hierarchy , THE RETURN OF THE CHRIST – Part 5


This is all I can say at this time, for the Hierarchy itself knows not which forces will prevail. They know that good must ultimately triumph but They do not know what the immediate future holds for humanity because men determine their own courses. The Law of Cause and Effect can seldom be offset.

The Externalisation Of The Hierarchy , SECTION ONE – INTRODUCTORY REMARKS – Part 3


These four stages of the Law of Cause and Effect (as it affects humanity at this time) might be called:

The Externalisation Of The Hierarchy , SECTION TWO – THE GENERAL WORLD PICTURE – Part 2


2. The precipitation of karma……………………. Law of Cause and Effect

The Externalisation Of The Hierarchy , SECTION TWO – THE GENERAL WORLD PICTURE – Part 2


It is not my intention to explain or elaborate the subject of Karma. This occult yet fundamentally exoteric theme, the Law of Cause and Effect, evokes a general recognition when called by this name.

The Externalisation Of The Hierarchy , SECTION TWO – THE GENERAL WORLD PICTURE – Part 3


This literally involves a study of the law of cause and effect, or karma, the object of the karmic law being to bring the opposite pole of Spirit, matter, into strict conformity with the requirements of spirit so that matter and form can perfectly express the nature of spirit.

The Light Of The Soul , BOOK II – THE STEPS TO UNION – Part 3


The great Law of Cause and Effect and the entire process of evolutionary unfoldment are recognized and that which is, is seen to be the result of that which has been.

The Light Of The Soul , BOOK III. – UNION ACHIEVED AND ITS RESULTS – Part 2


Desire produces effects, and the organs of sentient consciousness then come inevitably the law of cause and effect, of karma, which governs the relation of form—consciousness.

The Light Of The Soul , BOOK IV. – ILLUMINATION – Part 1


The law of cause and effect as it functions in the three worlds no longer controls the liberated soul; his individual karma comes to an end, and though he may still be subservient to group karma (planetary or solar), he himself has nothing to work out nor does he initiate anything which can serve to bind him, by the chains of desire, to the three worlds.

The Light Of The Soul , BOOK IV. – ILLUMINATION – Part 2


The predominant work of the occult student is the manipulation of force, and the entering of that world wherein forces are actively set in motion which result in phenomenal effects. He has to study and comprehend practically and intelligently the working of the law of Cause and Effect, and he leaves off dealing with effects and centres his attention on their producing causes.

The Light Of The Soul , BOOK II – THE STEPS TO UNION – Part 2


The three words birth, life and experience sum up human existence, its object, method and goal and with them we need not deal. The whole subject of karma (or the law of Cause and Effect) is dealt with in this sutra, and is of too vast a subject to be enlarged upon here.

The Light Of The Soul , BOOK II – THE STEPS TO UNION – Part 2


The bringing of good out of human so-called evil is no easy task; the vision of the Christ is so vast and His grasp of the Law of Cause and Effect, of Action and Reaction is such that the arriving at right decision as to activity and time is no simple one. Human beings are apt to look at all that happens, or that could happen, from the purely human and immediate angle; they have little understanding of the problems, decisions and implications with which Christ is today faced.

The Reappearance Of The Christ , CHAPTER FOUR – THE WORK OF THE CHRIST TODAY AND IN THE FUTURE – Part 1


3. It is closely related to and conditioned by the Law of Cause and Effect.

The Reappearance Of The Christ , CHAPTER FIVE – THE TEACHINGS OF THE CHRIST – Part 1


5. It accounts for the differences among men and—in connection with the Law of Cause and Effect (called the Law of Karma in the East)—it accounts for differences in circumstances and attitudes to life.

The Reappearance Of The Christ , CHAPTER FIVE – THE TEACHINGS OF THE CHRIST – Part 1


The spirit in man is undying; it forever endures, progressing from point to point and stage to stage upon the Path of Evolution, unfolding steadily and sequentially the divine attributes and aspects. This truth involves necessarily the recognition of two great natural laws; the Law of Rebirth and the Law of Cause and Effect.


“Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap” (Gal. VI.7) is a truth which needs re-emphasising. In these words, St. Paul phrases for us the ancient and true teaching of the Law of Cause and Effect, called in the Orient the Law of Karma.

The Reappearance Of The Christ , CHAPTER SIX – THE NEW WORLD RELIGION


The immortality of the human soul, and the innate ability of the spiritual, inner man to work out his own salvation under the Law of Rebirth, in response to the Law of Cause and Effect, are the underlying factors governing all human conduct and all human aspiration.

The Reappearance Of The Christ , CHAPTER SIX – THE NEW WORLD RELIGION


The doctrines of reincarnation and of the law of cause and effect had solved the problems of my questioning mind.

The Unfinished Autobiography , CHAPTER V – Part 2


In esoteric circles, there is much learned talk about the Law of Karma which is, after all, only the Eastern name for the great Law of Cause and Effect; the emphasis is ever upon evil karma and how to avoid it.

The Unfinished Autobiography , CHAPTER I – Part 1


a. The Law of Cause and Effect.

The Unfinished Autobiography , III. The Truths Taught in the True Esoteric Schools


The third teaching which I came across and which pulled me up short for a long time was the dual belief in the law of re-birth and the law of cause and effect, called Karma and Reincarnation by Theosophists who, so often, like to sound learned. Personally, I believe that all this most necessary teaching would have made far more rapid progress if Theosophists had not been so overcome and glamored by the Sanskrit terms. If they had taught about the law of re-birth instead of the doctrine of reincarnation and if they had presented the Law of Cause and Effect instead of the Law of Karma, we might have had a more general recognition of the truth. I say this in no critical spirit, because I succumbed to the same glamour.

The Unfinished Autobiography , CHAPTER IV – Part 1


In the ancient scriptures of the East, it is pointed out that the human kingdom is “the food of the gods” and in that statement the great “chain of sacrifice” is complete. My second point has reference to the law of cause and effect, or of Karma, as the Theosophists call it.

The Unfinished Autobiography , CHAPTER IV – Part 1


You are welcome to post your comments and understanding of this law. 

Also see:

The Laws of Alice A. Bailey

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