Law of Karma

Law of Karma

Below are all of the known references to the Law of Karma in the writings of Alice A. Bailey (AAB) and 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?


  Fifthly, to give some information, hitherto not exoterically imparted as to the place and work of those myriads of sentient lives who form the essence of objectivity; to indicate the nature of those Hierarchies of Existences who form out of their own substance all that is seen and known, and who are themselves Fire and the cause of all the heat, warmth, life and motion in the universe. 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. To sum up the matter, the teaching in this book should tend to an expansion of conscionsness, and should bring about a recognition of the adequacy, as a working basis, for both science and religion, of that interpretation of the processes of nature which has been formulated for us by the Master Minds of all time. 


  b. They were incarnated under the law of Karma. —S. 


  The solar Logos likewise does the same during stated cycles, which are not the cycles succeeding those which we term solar pralaya, but lesser cycles succeeding the ‘days of Brahma’ or periods of lesser activity, periodically viewed. All these are governed by karma, and just as the true Man himself applies the law of karma to his vehicles, and in his tiny system is the correspondence to that fourth group of karmic entities whom we call the Lipika Lords; He applies the law to his threefold lower nature. The fourth group of extra-cosmic Entities Who have Their place subsidiary to the three cosmic Logoi Who are the threefold sumtotal of the logoic nature, can pass the bounds of the solar ring-pass-not in Their stated cycles. 


  This hinders the evolutionary plan in the case of the life involved, delays the consummation, interferes with the ordered progress of development, and puts all the factors involved in a bad position. The life (or entity) concerned receives a setback, the devas work destructively, and without participation in the purpose of the plan, and the magician is in danger, under the Law of Karma, and through the materialising of his own substance by affinity with the third aspect. Black magic of this nature creeps into all religions along this very line of the destruction of the form through outer agency, and not through the liberation of the life through inner development and preparedness. 

  b. Egoic adaptation of matter and circumstance of time and environment to the specific need under the Law of Karma. c. 


  In the seventh principle of all manifesting entities is stored up and developed capacity, acquired ability, and the atomic memory, or in other words the heredity of the Thinker, viewing him from the physical standpoint or from the emotional. There is no permanence whatever in the sheaths; they are built into temporary forms, and dissolved when the Thinker has exhausted their possibilities, but the seventh principle of each sheath gathers to itself the achieved qualities and stores them up—under the Law of Karma—to work out again and to demonstrate as the plane impulse at each fresh cycle of manifestation. This permanency is itself likewise only a relative one, and as the inner fire within the atom burns more brightly, as the external fires of the ego or solar fire beat upon it with ever increasing intensity, the atom in due time is consumed, and the inner blaze becomes so great that it destroys its encompassing wall. 


  The Factor of Karma. Every thought-form comes under the law of Karma through the effect it produces. At this stage in the history of the system—that vast transitional stage between dense physical life and existence in the logoic etheric body—it is not easy for us to differentiate between those thought forms which are effects and those which are causes. 

  The destruction of the form, in order that the evolving life may progress, is one of the fundamental methods in evolution. The Intermediate Law of Karma. —There is also an intermediate law, which is the synthetic law of the system of Sirius. 

 —There is also an intermediate law, which is the synthetic law of the system of Sirius. This law is called by the generic term, the Law of Karma, and really predicates the effect the Sirian system has on our solar system. Each of the two systems, as regards its internal economy, is independent in time and space, or (in other words), in manifestation. 

  We have practically no effect on our parent system, the reflex action is so slight as to be negligible, but very definite effects are felt in our system through causes arising in Sirius. These causes, when experienced as effects, are called by us the Law of Karma, and at the beginning they started systemic Karma which, once in effect, constitutes that which is called Karma in our occult and oriental literature. The Lipika Lords of our system, the systemic Lords of Karma, are under the rule of a greater corresponding Lord on Sirius. 

  2. The Sirian law of Karma. 3. 

  We have the three laws of the cosmic higher planes, holding in a synthesis of beauty the greater and the lesser system. Next we have the great law of Sirius, the Law of Karma, on the third subplane of the cosmic mental plane, which law really controls our Logos, and His actions, in the same way as the ego—in due course of evolution—controls the human personality. We need to remember that, under the Law of Correspondences, we shall have a relationship in the Cosmos, similar to that existing in the microcosm between the ego and the personality. 


  The Law of Fixation. —This is the governing law of the mental plane, finding its greater correspondence in the Law of Karma on cosmic mental levels. “As a man thinks, so is he;” according to his thoughts are his desires and acts, and so results the future. 

  This law governs the crystallisation of all forms prior to their shattering in the process of evolution. It governs the time of rebirth, being one of the subsidiary branches of the Law of Karma. Each of the seven subsidiary laws is linked to one of the cosmic laws, or with the Sirian Law of Karma. 

  It governs the time of rebirth, being one of the subsidiary branches of the Law of Karma. Each of the seven subsidiary laws is linked to one of the cosmic laws, or with the Sirian Law of Karma. We need always to remember that the consciousness of the cosmic mental plane is the logoic goal of attainment, and that the Sirian Logos is to our solar Logos what the human Ego is to the personality. 

  We need always to remember that the consciousness of the cosmic mental plane is the logoic goal of attainment, and that the Sirian Logos is to our solar Logos what the human Ego is to the personality. The Law of Karma, or cosmic Fixation, is the law of the cosmic mental plane, and controls the corresponding law in our system. In the fifth round this law will act as the divider, temporarily crystallising and fixing into two great classes the human Monads, as they evolve. 


  It is not easy for us to do more than grip as a mental concept the fact that the rays, schemes, planets, chains, rounds, races and laws form a unit; seen from the angle of human vision the confusion seems unimaginable, and the key of its solution to be so hidden as to be useless; yet, seen from the angle of logoic sight, the whole moves in unison, and is geometrically accurate. In order to give some idea of the complexity of the arrangement, I would like here to point out that the Rays themselves circulate, the Law of Karma controlling the interweaving. For instance, Ray I may pass around a scheme (if it is the paramount Ray of the scheme) with its first subray manifesting in a chain, its second in a round, its third in a world period, its fourth in a root race, its fifth in a subrace, and its sixth in a branch race. 


  In the Earth scheme, They are in full tide of work, and only in the next round will They demonstrate the height of Their activity. They pass cyclically through the schemes and under Law—the Law of Karma for the planetary Logos, for They are essentially concerned with His Life as it actuates His centres. They come into a scheme on a wave of manasic energy from the head centre of the Logos, and in the process of passing through his Heart centre three things occur: 1. 


  The rhythm set up has been established and the work synchronised. The lesser builders work systematically and the law of Karma is demonstrating actively, for it should be remembered that it is the inherent karma, colouring, or vibratory response of the substance itself which is the selective reaction to the egoic note. Only that substance which has (through past utilisation) been keyed to a certain note and vibration will respond to the mantram and to the subsequent vibrations issuing from the permanent atom. 

  We can now take up the consideration of karma in its relation to the act of reincarnation. As we are well aware, the law of karma is the most stupendous law of the system and one which it is impossible for the average man in any way to comprehend, for, if traced back along its central root and its many ramifications, one eventually reaches the position where causes antedating the solar system have to be dealt with, and this point of view can only be usefully grasped by a high initiate. This great law really concerns, or is based on causes which are inherent in the constitution of matter itself and on the interaction between atomic units whether we use this expression in connection with an atom of substance, a human being, a planetary atom or a solar atom. 

  The heat of the atoms in the bodies is increased during this stage, and their atomic life co-ordinated, while the triangle between the three permanent atoms becomes a demonstrable fact and not a faint indication. During the second stage, the law of karma or karmic influence (through the inevitable reflex action produced by the increased activity of the sheaths) turns its attention to the working out of desire, and its transmutation into the higher aspiration. Through experience, the pairs of opposites are recognised by the Thinker, and he becomes no longer the victim of the vibratory impulses of his physical body; the factor of intelligent choice becomes apparent. 

  It deals with the evolution of the petals of the egoic lotus, and with the blending of solar fire and of fire by friction. Reflex action between the lower and the higher during this middle period produces three effects, which will be seen, if carefully studied to convey much information anent the working out of the law of Karma. These three effects are: 1. 

  In the working out of the law we must therefore note that man is first of all the victim of the impulses of dense substance or of the brahma aspect, and thus repeats rapidly the evolutionary process of the preceding solar system; in the second stage he is the victim of desire, or of his own love nature. In the third stage, the law of karma works through a man’s mental nature, and awakens in him recognition of the law, and an intellectual apprehension of cause and of effect. This is the shortest stage but is also the most powerful; it concerns the evolution of the three inner petals shielding the “jewel,” and their ability to disclose at the right moment that which lies hidden. 

  The three permanent atoms form a triangle of light, and the petals of the lotus are rapidly unfolding. When the will and purpose of the Ego are realised by man in his waking consciousness in the physical brain, then the law of karma in the three worlds is becoming neutralised, and man is on the verge of liberation. He has exhausted the initial vibration, and there is no response within his sheaths to the threefold vibration of the three worlds; he stands freed from the three kingdoms and the fourth. 


  Responsibility to the community in which a man is placed will likewise be emphasised. Men will be taught the true esoteric meaning of citizenship—a citizenship based upon egoic group relations, the law of rebirth, and the real meaning of the law of karma. They will be taught national responsibility, and the place of the community within the nation, and of the nation within the comity of nations. 


  It is this piece of creative bungling, if so it might be called, which the Great Ones are occupied in destroying. Under the Law of Karma it has to be dissipated by those who have created it; the work of the Masters has to be carried on, therefore, indirectly, and must take the form of illuminating the sons of men in gradually increasing degree, so that they can see clearly this “Dweller on the Threshold” of the new life, and the antagonist who stands between the fourth kingdom of nature and the fifth. Every time a son of man stands upon the Probationary Path Their work is facilitated, for it means that one small stream of life-energy is directed into new channels, and away from the old stream, which tends to vitalise and feed the evil form, and one more conscious assailant can be trained to co-operate in the work of destruction. 


  All these energies have their effects, and serve either to speed, or in some cases, to retard the evolutionary process. It should be borne in mind by students that all egoic groups come under the Law of Karma, but only as it affects the Heavenly Man, and not the law as it demonstrates in the three worlds. This karmic law, which is the governing impulse of His centres, will show itself in peculiar ways, and as the human monads compose those centres, each group will have its own “activity” problems, will spiral through the round of Being in its own peculiar manner, and will demonstrate qualities and motions different from its brothers. 


  The ground is by no means covered but enough has been shown to indicate its magnitude and extent. In closing, it must be pointed out that the Law of Karma is from some angles of vision the sum total of this Law of Attraction for it governs the relation of all forms to that which uses the form, and of all lives to each other. Students of the Law of Attraction must be careful to bear in mind certain things. 


  The burning-ground which lies between the Hall of Ignorance, and the Hall of Learning. This is the destructive fire which man creates under the working of the Law of Karma.


  One of two things: First the aspirant can follow his inclination and choose that line of action out of the residue of possible lines which seems to him the wisest and the best. This involves belief in the working of the law of Karma and also a demonstration of that firm decisiveness which is the best way in which his personality can learn to abide by the decisions of his own soul. It involves also the ability to go forward upon the grounds of the decision made, and so to abide by the results without forebodings or regrets. 


  Here is known and embodied the Purpose of the planetary Logos under the meditative impression of the group which knows His will and which wields the Law of Synthesis. In the hands of this august Council, the Law of Karma finds adequate planetary guidance; this does not refer to the law as it affects the individual human being because of such individuals the Council Members have no knowledge, for the reason that They think and meditate only in terms of the Whole; but They know the nature of planetary karma and of its delayed or rapid application, according to transient planetary indications. The great Wheel of Life, with its passing manifestations and its recurring civilisations, is directed by Them; the manifesting kingdoms in nature, great cyclic expressions of life, are controlled by Them, and all this is produced through the potency of Their creative meditation which impresses the needed inspiration (another phrase for the breath of life itself) upon the Nirmanakayas and through Them upon the spiritual Hierarchy. 

  All these desires, longings, wishes, visions and dreams are the “ingredients” of the focussed meditation which they will some day know; they are the first results which produce success in the three worlds, and which lead eventually to an integrated personality, ready to appreciate the higher aspects of meditation when concentration upon worldly material success and benefits has proved no longer appealing. That which they have, through meditative concentration, succeeded in creating (and all men, under the Law of Karma, create their own world) no longer satisfies; their meditation then shifts into the creation of higher things, into the world of spiritual values and of that which we cover by the unsuccessful and inadequate term of “heaven. ” See you, therefore, how all that is, is created by meditation, by desire merging into transient thought, and transient thought becoming clear thinking and, eventually, abstract and transcendent thought. 


  Sacrifice must not be regarded as a “giving-up,” but rather as a “taking-over. ” It has a mysterious relation to the Law of Karma, but on such high levels that only the advanced initiate can grasp it. b. 


  Difficult though this task may be (and, my brother, is), it is of major importance to disciples in training for initiation, because it will steadily tend to facilitate their entry into the world of causes and their emergence from the world of effects. You can see also from this that this formula is related to the Law of Karma; in fact, in the ancient records from which these formulas are taken, Formula IV has the symbol of one of the four Lords of Karma at the four corners of this square or oblong design. This formula is sometimes called that of “the Sun upon the Square. 

  You will note that I choose the word “destiny” in preference to the word “karma” because in this type of work the initiate is working and practising and progressing under a Law of Destiny. This law affects the Ashram and the Hierarchy as a whole, and neither is under the Law of Karma, as usually understood. This Law of Destiny has been brought into being since the foundation of the Hierarchy on Earth; it is the result of the pledged and united dedication to service which is the outstanding note of the united Ashrams. 


  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. At the same time, on the inner planes, and because of the existence of the inner reality, you have the three corresponding stages of Advancing Light, Right Direction, Impact. 


  Behind this definition, however, lies a real or true time of which the initiate becomes increasingly aware. The great Law of Karma has received little attention from the standpoint of time; yet it is that which determines the sequence of evolution, of evolutionary progress, the period of karmic recognitions, and the conclusion of a karmic cycle. The ordinary teaching on Karma (particularly as to the time element) has been terribly prostituted by the purely selfish rendering given to it by those early theosophical teachers who misunderstood and misinterpreted what H. 


  By that sacrifice much good came to me, and we, the Masters of the Wisdom, lay much emphasis upon gratitude. It—with service—is deeply scientific in nature and closely related to the Law of Karma. Gratitude is something about which you need to learn, or the steady friendship of F. 


  There are deep significances in what I am here telling you and I beg you to strive to understand my meaning. I would ask you (in order to help you to see clearly and so be of greater service to others) to make a study this winter of the Law of Karma. Read the books upon the subject but take not too seriously their deductions. 


  Two questions will then arise, requiring reasoned answers: 1. Is the subject a personality, progressing around and around the wheel, perfecting self-consciousness and developing a rounded out personality through experience and the working of the Law of Karma, subject to the Great Illusion and arriving eventually at the height of personality ambition in Capricorn. 2. 


  Ponder on this. When crystallisation has reached a certain degree of density and so-called “hardness,” it is easily shattered and destroyed and man, born in Capricorn, then brings about his own destruction; this is due to his fundamentally materialistic nature, plus the “blows of fate” which are the enactments of the law of karma. Again and again, a certain measure of concreteness is achieved, only again to undergo destruction, prior to the release of the life and the rebuilding of the form. 


  The great experiences upon the various mountain tops as related in the Bible have all to do with Capricorn. Moses, the Lawgiver on Mount Sinai, is Saturn in Capricorn imposing the law of karma upon the people. A clue to the significance of the Jewish people as a karmic clearing house can be found here. 


  I question it. When I say to you that the emphasis given to the Law of Karma as it explains apparent injustices and stresses always the appearance of pain, disease, and suffering gives only partial presentation of the basic cosmic truth, is your mind in any way clarified. When I point out that the Law of Karma, rightly understood and rightly wielded, can bring that which produces happiness, good, and freedom from pain more easily than it brings pain, with its chain of consequences, do you feel able to grasp the significance of what I am saying. 

  When I say to you that the emphasis given to the Law of Karma as it explains apparent injustices and stresses always the appearance of pain, disease, and suffering gives only partial presentation of the basic cosmic truth, is your mind in any way clarified. When I point out that the Law of Karma, rightly understood and rightly wielded, can bring that which produces happiness, good, and freedom from pain more easily than it brings pain, with its chain of consequences, do you feel able to grasp the significance of what I am saying. The world of glamour is at this time so strong and the sense of illusion so potent and vital that we fail to see these basic laws in their true significance. 

  The world of glamour is at this time so strong and the sense of illusion so potent and vital that we fail to see these basic laws in their true significance. 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. 

  Its orientation and purposes are right and good and hopeful of results; its conclusions and modes of work are at present woefully at fault, and most misleading. I have referred to this misunderstanding of the Law of Karma as I am anxious to have you set out on this study of the Laws of Healing with a free and open mind as far as may be, realising that your understanding of these laws is limited by: 1. Old theologies, with their static, distorted, and erroneous points of view. 


  There must therefore be brought about a healing of those conditions which are present upon our planet on a large scale, and consequently my emphasis will not be upon the specific and the individual. I am laying a foundation also for a discussion of our next theme—the relation of the Law of Karma to disease and death and to humanity as a whole. In the consideration of racial and national diseases, I do not intend to point out that tuberculosis is distinctively a disease of the middle classes in every country, that diabetes is a major trouble among the rice-eating peoples of the world, and that cancer is rampant in Great Britain, whilst heart disease is a prime cause of death in the United States. 


  must see to it that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are facts and not a dream. Only thus can the inevitable working of the Law of Karma (which is our theme today) be offset. The Negroes are Americans, as well as the New Englanders and all other stocks which are not indigenous in this country, and the Constitution is theirs also. 

  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. The Law of Karma is today a great and incontrovertible fact in the consciousness of humanity everywhere. They may not call it by that name, but they are well aware that in all today’s events the nations are reaping what they sowed. 

  It will be obvious to you that it is entirely needless for me to deal with the symptomatic aspect of diseases and with the facts that have been so ably ascertained by orthodox medical science. We have been for some time considering the causes of such diseases, and I propose to deal with occult methods of producing cures—where such cures are permissible under the Law of Karma and where the healer is willing to work in an occult manner. I have attempted to make clear to you that the fundamental cause is related to energy, to its presence in excess as it pours through the centres, or to its deficiency. 


  The energy of faith can set in motion superior energies which can negate or retard disease. The whole subject of faith, and its vital significance and potency, is as little understood as is the Law of Karma. This is a tremendous subject, and I cannot further enlarge upon it. 

  I desire to say naught that could place a premium on suicide. But I do say, and I say with emphasis, that the Law of Karma is oft set aside when forms are preserved in coherent expression which should be discarded, for they serve no useful purpose. This preservation is, in the majority of cases, enforced by the subject’s group and not by the subject himself—frequently an unconscious invalid, an old person whose response apparatus of contact and response is imperfect, or a baby who is not normal. 

  This preservation is, in the majority of cases, enforced by the subject’s group and not by the subject himself—frequently an unconscious invalid, an old person whose response apparatus of contact and response is imperfect, or a baby who is not normal. These cases constitute definite instances of an offsetting of the Law of Karma. The soul, through alignment, enters into a right use of time; or rather the brain, which is the only time-conscious factor in man, is no longer the dominant attribute; the mind, as the agent of the soul (whose consciousness is inclusive of the past, present, and the future), sees life and experience as it truly is. 


  Freedom from the limitations of the physical body is of real beneficence. Patients must learn to recognise and accept the Law of Karma.

  You will find, as you work along these lines, that it will be necessary to have short expositions of the work to be done, of the restitutions which the patient must be prepared to make in order to facilitate the inflow of the healing force. He must be induced to “clean the slate” (if I may use such a symbolic phrase) if the work of healing is to be successful under the Law of Karma. This phase of the preparatory work is not easy. 

  He is free from karmic impositions in the three worlds, but is still under the impulse of karmic necessity which exacts from him the last possible ounces of service that he is in a position to render to those still under the Law of Karmic Liability. You have, therefore, three aspects of the Law of Karma, as it affects the principle of rebirth: 1. The Law of Karmic Liability, governing life in the three worlds of human evolution, and which is ended altogether at the fourth initiation. 


  So obscure is the subject at this time that I shall not attempt to elucidate. You do not know enough about the Law of Karma, about karmic group involvement, or about relationships and obligations established in past lives. When I say, for instance, that on occasion the “soul may leave the door of protection open so that the forces of death itself may enter anew, having no focal point behind the door” in order “more rapidly to obliterate past penalties due,” you can see how obscure this whole matter can be. 


  It will be brought into activity by the spiritual will of man. This law throws a man in his thinking back to the basic law of karma which, as you know, there is no avoiding, and which the modern healer in the present healing cults and organisations consistently overlooks. With these influences and predisposing causes we have already dealt, and there is no need further to elaborate them here, beyond remarking that one of the most helpful things for a patient to remember and for the healer to bear in mind is that disease has its roots in the past (a group past or an individual past) and may, in the last analysis, be a beneficent way of paying off ancient debts. 

  Disease is not going to disappear miraculously and suddenly from a world in the immediate period, heralding the New Age. If it did, the implications would be that the Law of Karma no longer controlled, and this is not the case. The final sentence of this second law gives a basic indication of the time period: the Law of Dominating Good will be brought into activity by the spiritual will of man. 


  Complete spiritual healing will be divinely possible ultimately; but this is not materially possible at certain given moments in time and space and with people at widely differing points on the ladder of evolution. Right timing and a sound knowledge of the working of the Law of Karma, plus a large measure of intuitive perception, are essential to the high art of spiritual healing. To this must be added the knowledge that the form nature and the physical body are not essentially the major considerations or of the vast importance that some may think. 


  These ideas are basically true, but are based upon a misapprehension—in time and space. If all healers were Masters of the Wisdom, if they were all clairvoyant, if they comprehended the Law of Karma and its working out in the life of the patient, if they had the full cooperation of the patient, and if they had the ability to add to all the above requirements the use of certain Words and Mantrams, then the academic knowledge would indeed be needless. But these requirements are not and can not be met. 


  This takes place under divine impulsion and human aspiration, and both act equally under: 1. The Law of Karma.


  A close study of this subject is not possible here. The appropriation by a soul of those energy units which will constitute its body or sheath, as it passes from one plane to another and from one state of consciousness to another, is a study so abstruse and complicated that only those initiates whose development equips them and whose interest impels them to work with the application of the law of karma (which is identified in time and space with substance and force), can readily comprehend the complexities of the subject. Two words are emerging today in connection with modern psychology which have a close relation to this difficult law; they indicate two basic ideas with which these trained initiates work. 


  b. The law of karma. He is, after this, in a position to do two things, without which he cannot work off that which hinders, and thus achieve liberation; he can read the akashic records and ascertain the past, thereby enabling himself to work intelligently in the present, and he can begin to balance his karma, to work off his obligations, and to understand how karma in the three worlds can be negated. 

  He is, after this, in a position to do two things, without which he cannot work off that which hinders, and thus achieve liberation; he can read the akashic records and ascertain the past, thereby enabling himself to work intelligently in the present, and he can begin to balance his karma, to work off his obligations, and to understand how karma in the three worlds can be negated. The relation of that hierarchy of spiritual beings who are connected with the law of karma as it affects man is demonstrated to him, and he knows with first-hand knowledge that the lords of karma are no myth, or symbolical units, but are highly intelligent entities who wield the law for the benefit of humanity, and thus enable men to become fully self-conscious and self -reliant in the occult sense, and to become creators through perfected knowledge. At the third initiation “the secret of fohat” is given to him, and then the mystery of the threefold body of the triple Logos is his, and the why of the phenomena of the dense liquid and gaseous bodies of the Supreme Being is enfolded before his amazed vision. 


  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. To that, he adds in another place the injunction to “work out your own salvation” and—as that contradicts the theological teaching and above all else is not possible to do in any one life—he implicitly endorses the Law of Rebirth, and makes the school of life a constantly recurring experience until man has fulfilled the command of the Christ (and this refers to every man) “Be ye, therefore, perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect”. 


  This is due entirely to the factor of time, leading to their inability to “bring through” past events with accuracy, by a false humility as well (inculcated by the Christian Church, as it attempts to keep people subjugated by the sin idea), and by the intensely forward-looking anticipatory consciousness of the average aspirant. When a true perspective and a balanced point of view have been attained, and some awareness of the Eternal Now is beginning to penetrate into their understanding, then the past, the present and the future will be lost to sight in the consciousness of the inclusiveness of the moment that IS; then the limitations of time will be ending and the Law of Karma will be negated; it is at present so closely related to past and future. The dual life of the disciple will then be ended, giving place to the cosmic dualism of the Master. 


  This evolutionary pushing forward along the Lighted Way, out of darkness into light, from the unreal to the real, and from death to immortality, is an inherent urge in all forms. It constitutes one of the most subtle and one of the least understood laws of the universe, being related to the Life principle, of which we know as yet naught; it underlies the Law of Evolution as well as the Law of Karma and is, in reality, the Law of the Life Purpose of the planetary Logos; it is an expression of His dynamic intention as it forces all substance in manifestation and in time and space to act and react in conformity to His Will. He thus enables His form—the planet which is a compound of all the seven kingdoms in nature—to express logoic intention for the “duration of the Great Breath”; of this breath, time and space are the two aspects. 


  It is the Principle of Conflict, latent in every atom of substance, which produces, first of all, conflict, then renunciation, and finally emancipation; which produces war in some form or another, then rejection, and finally liberation. This principle is, as you can well see, closely linked to the law of Karma; it is to this principle that Mrs. Besant refers when she speaks in one of her books of the fact that the substance whereof all forms are made is already—from the very dawn of the creative process—tinged with karma. 

  This Principle of Decision, as a controlling factor, is put to the test at the sixth initiation, the Initiation of Decision; at that time, the will aspect of divinity summarises in a unique manner all past achievements of the two principles and brings in a final cycle of unfoldment to which I can give no truly appropriate name, but which climaxes in the ninth Initiation of Refusal. You have, therefore, in relation to these principles (which are all related to the Law of Karma) three great initiations at which the effectiveness of the liberation brought about by their inherent action is finally tested: 1. The Initiation of Renunciation. 


  This is not so with the initiate of the sixth initiation. He is entirely liberated from his past; the Law of Karma no longer has any hold over Him; He makes free decision, and His future is decided by Him not on the basis of its inevitability or as providing Him with a field in which to work off karma, but on the basis solely of qualification for service. This creates a very different situation. 


  b. It is also brought into activity through the determinations of humanity itself which—under the Law of Karma—makes man the master of his own destiny, leading him to initiate those causes which are responsible for the cyclic events and consequences in human affairs. There is naturally a close connection between the first Ray of Will or Power, the energies concentrated at Shamballa and the Law of Karma, particularly in its planetary potency and in relation to advanced humanity. 

  It is also brought into activity through the determinations of humanity itself which—under the Law of Karma—makes man the master of his own destiny, leading him to initiate those causes which are responsible for the cyclic events and consequences in human affairs. There is naturally a close connection between the first Ray of Will or Power, the energies concentrated at Shamballa and the Law of Karma, particularly in its planetary potency and in relation to advanced humanity. It will be apparent, therefore, that the more rapidly the individual aspirant approaches the third initiation, the more rapidly and directly will the individual’s karma be worked out. 


  For ages man has generated energies which must inevitably produce events upon the physical plane, evoke response upon the plane of the emotions, and induce mental reactions. It is here that natural law and the law of karma meet and interact upon each other. There are many people today who find an alibi for themselves in the present world situation, and a consequent release from definite action and responsibility, by saying that what is today happening is simply karma or the working out of cause and effect, and that there is nothing, therefore, that they can do about it; they take the position that it is not their affair, and that in due course of time the process will be worked out and everything will be all right again. 


  has introduced under her own name to the public (in so doing acting under my instructions). For the first time in human history, the purpose of past events—historical and psychological—can be clearly noted as the foundation for all present happenings, thus bringing the mysterious Law of Karma in an easy manner to public attention. The present can also be seen, indicating the way of the future and revealing clearly the Will-to-Good which is animating the entire evolutionary process—a process in which humanity (again for the first time) is intelligently participating and cooperating. 


  He must let go of his own separative tendencies and of his deep sense of persecution. He will do this latter with great facility, when he grasps, as a race, the significance and inevitability of the Law of Karma, and from a close study of the Old Testament and of the acts and deeds there claimed by him as his racial acts and deeds (conquest, terrorism and cruelty), realises that the law is working out and incidentally releasing him for a greater future. There must, at the same time, be a realisation by the Jew and Gentile of equal responsibility and equal liability for the present world difficulty. 


  This occult yet fundamentally exoteric theme, the Law of Cause and Effect, evokes a general recognition when called by this name. When called the Law of Karma, it is immediately regarded as mysterious, Oriental and new. Called (as it sometimes is) the Law of Retribution, an entirely erroneous connotation has become attached to it. 


  So little is as yet known about force emanations from the human being, or acting upon the human mechanism, that what may be called “scientific purification” is as yet in its infancy. Contentment is productive of conditions wherein the mind is at rest; it is based upon the recognition of the laws governing life and primarily the law of karma. It produces a state of mind wherein all conditions are regarded as correct and just, and as those in which the aspirant can best work out his problem and achieve the goal for any specific life. 


  The same basic knowledge enables the adept to raise a dead body, as Christ did in Palestine, or occupy the vehicle of a disciple for purposes of service, as Christ occupied the body of the disciple Jesus. This knowledge and its use, we are told, is subject to the great law of karma, of cause and effect, and even the Christ Himself may not set the law aside in any case unless there is adequate “weakening” of the cause producing the bondage. 39. 


  Temporarily, he is so abstracted that his thought, perfectly concentrated and having no relation to aught in the three worlds, produces no outward-going vibration, relates to no form, affects no substance. When this concentrated meditation becomes a habit and is the normal daily attitude of his life, then the man becomes free from the law of karma. He becomes aware then of the effects still remaining to be worked off, and learns to avoid the creation of new ones, initiating no actions which will “create organs” in the three worlds. 

  Those of other people are of three kinds. This sutra expresses the teaching in connection with the law of karma in such a strictly oriental manner as to confuse the western student considerably. An analysis of the significance of these words and a study of the commentary of the great teacher Vyasa may serve to elucidate the meaning. 


  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. 6. 


  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 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. 


  Perhaps, also, we are afraid of happiness and push it away from us under the influence of man’s great outstanding characteristic—FEAR. 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. Yet I would guarantee that, taking it by and large, there is far more general good karma than evil; I say this in spite of the world war, the unutterable horror by which we have been and are still surrounded and in spite of a real knowledge of the things with which all social workers constantly have to deal. 


  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. 


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

Also see:

Law of Karmic Liability

Law of Cause and Effect.

The Laws of Alice A. Bailey