FOOTNOTES TO “PUZZLING QUERIES”
[The Theosophist, Vol. III, No. 12, September, 1882, p. 306]
[The author, B. R. Naidu, finds many contradictions among philosophers as to the causes of suffering and misery among men, and expresses his opinion that “this is a mystery to the most wise.” Referring to the doctrine of Karma, as given in the Puranas, he says: “We are also taught that we are reborn in the forms of irrational beings and sometimes even of inanimate objects.” H. P. B. comments:]
We confess here our ignorance. What is the religion which teaches such an absurdity as rebirth in an “inanimate form”?
[The writer continues. “If so, we will have to trace the causes for all these variations from the very beginning of the so-called creation . . . it is an absurdity to say that there were human or any other beings before the world’s creation.”]
We do not believe in creation, or that the universe had ever a beginning. All changes form in it—itself was ever and will never pass. Those who understand what they read will find an explanation even in the Hindu Scriptures. Nor is there any absurdity to say that there were “beings” before the world’s creation, since our world is certainly not the only one of its kind in the vast universe.
[“The Vedantists and some others are of this opinion, that the so-called Deity is diffused in and out of the universe; or, in other words, the universe itself is God, and God is the universe.”]
Less learned than our correspondent—who strongly insisted to have the above questions published—we confess again our ignorance. None of the Vedantin sects, as far as we are acquainted with them, have ever taught that God was diffused “in and out of the universe,” or that he pervaded it beyond its limits. First of all, the Vedantists cannot believe in an extra-cosmic deity, since they teach that the universe is limitless and Parabrahm—infinite. We invite Vedantin Pandits to answer these assertions.
[If such is the case, what other thing is there which can be regarded as quite distinct from that which is all in all in things animate and inanimate that can do good or bad, so as to create according to its deed a Karma.”]
Nothing, of course. The universe is not only the outward garment, the Maya, or illusionary clothing of the deity—which, nevertheless is present, as we understand it, in every atom of it—but the deity itself: Parabrahm plus Maya or Iśvara.
[“The doctrine of Karma is quite current among most of the Pandits; and this is another puzzle for many.”]
It is not the absolute that creates Karma, but the finite and sentient being evoluted out of it, or the visible projection of a finite portion of this absolute. In other words,
it is man, or matter in its highest state of perfection on earth—matter plus Brahm or the absolute. If we are wrong we hope some learned Pandit will kindly correct us. Half-learned are not required.
[In connection with Karma, Naidu asks to be enlightened as to the mystery of the differences of treatment meted out to the animals and even to inanimate objects, and says: “Abandoned deserts and hilly places are for a time turned into populous cities with splendid palaces and temples, and then again abandoned and left to re-become deserts, forests and dunghills. What kind of good or bad actions these pieces of stones, etc., could have committed to be treated so differently by men. . . .”]
With our best wishes and desire to help our esteemed correspondent in his dire perplexity, we are utterly unable to understand what he is driving at. What have the “deserts” and “dunghills,” “palaces,” and “forests” to do with Karma, or the destiny of man except as necessary accessories? It is the eternal fitness or unfitness of things, we should say, that turns the desert into a city, and vice versa. If he objects to the idea that the deity is everywhere, i.e., omnipresent; and that, notwithstanding such a presence, men and things are not all alike honoured, happy, and miserable; then surely he cannot hope to receive an answer to such exhaustive a subject—the most abstruse and incomprehensible of puzzles for the philosophers of all and every age, namely, the origin of good and evil—in a few editorial lines? Let him study occult philosophy, and perhaps, he may be then satisfied. It is not the Puranas alone, when read in their dead-letter sense, that will yield nonsense. In the Bible we find the same incongruities. Jehovah curses the ground for the sake (sin) of Adam (Genesis, iii, 17) and the earth since then—suffers! And yet the Mosaic Bible yields out of its secret meaning the Kabala, the Occult Science of the Western Philosophers.
[“Moreover we are taught to regard the so-called God as all good, all wise, omnipresent, etc. If so, why should some men be poor; others sickly . . . etc.”]
The Western Kabalists call Devil “the God reversed,” Demon est Deus inversus. The Eastern occultists do better: they reject such a god altogether.