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A Few Deductions








The Germ.

From the facts established in the course of this comprehensive view of
the Universe, we are enabled to draw important deductions.

For instance, as the basis of every "cycle of life" is found the egg
or germ, that strange microcosm which appears to contain within itself
the entire organism from which it proceeds and which seems capable of
manifesting it in its entirety. The first embryologic discovery we
make as the result of this study--a discovery of the utmost
importance--is that germs are one in essence, and are all endowed with
the same possibilities and potentialities. The only difference that
can be found in them is that the more evolved have acquired the power
of developing, in the same cycle, a greater number of links, so to
speak, in the chain of forms that proceeds from the atom to the
sheath, or envelope, of the Gods-Men. Thus, the highest germ which the
microscope enables us to follow--the human ovule--is first a kind of
mineral represented by the nucleus (the point, unity) of its germinal
cell; then it takes the vegetable form--a radicle, crowned by two
cotyledons (duality); afterwards it becomes a fish (multiplicity),
which is successively transformed into a batrachian, then a bird,
afterwards assuming more and more complex animal forms, until, about
the third month of foetal life, it appears in the human form.

The process of transformation is more rapid when Nature has repeated
it a certain number of times; it then represents a more extensive
portion of the ladder of evolution, but, be it noted, the process is
the same for all, and for all the ladder is composed of the same
number of steps; beings start from the same point, follow the same
path and halt at the same stages; nothing but their age causes their
inequalities. They are more than brothers, they are all
representatives of the One, that which is at the root of the Universe,
Divinity, supreme Being.

We also see that progress, the result of the conservation of
qualities, offers us repeated instances of these stages in the
reappearance, at each step of the ladder, of the forms preceding it in
the natural series. In the course of its evolution, the germ of an
animal passes through the mineral and vegetable forms; if the animal
is a bird, its final embryological form will be preceded by the animal
forms, which, in the evolutionary series, make their appearance before
the avian type; if we are dealing with a mammifer, the animal will be
the summit of all the lower types; when it is the human germ that we
are following in its development, we see that it also has contained
within itself and is successively reproducing the potentialities of
the whole preceding series. The microscope is able to show only
clearly marked stages and the most characteristic types, for evolution
runs through its initial stages with a rapidity defying the closest
physical observation. If only Nature would slacken her pace in order
to humour our incapacity, we should see in an even more striking
fashion that she preserves everything she has attained and develops
the power of reconstruction with ever-increasing rapidity and
perfection.

True, each cycle of incarnation realises only an infinitesimal
fraction of the total progress made, each being advances only one step
at a time along this interminable series; but then, are not these
minor "cycles" in the course of which brings grow and advance towards
the final Goal, the visible, material expression, the tangible and
indisputable proof of the strict, the inexorable Law of Rebirths?


What the Germ contains.

Now let us examine a little more carefully this process of physical
germination and attempt to discover an important secret from it; let
us see whether the material germ contains the whole being, or whether,
as the ancient wisdom teaches, the vehicles of the divine Spark in
evolution are as numerous as the germs which respectively effect their
development and preservation.

Although here, too, the doctrine of the Christian churches is
inadequate, we cannot altogether pass it by in silence. We will,
therefore, state it, recommending the reader to compare it with the
theory of science and the teachings of theosophy.

The Churches deny evolution. They say: one single body, one single
state of development for each human being. For the lower kingdoms a
state of nothingness before birth and after death, whatever may have
been the fate of these beings during the short life imposed upon them;
for man a single body for which God creates a single soul and to which
He gives a single incarnation on a single planet,[48] the Earth.

It is our ardent wish that the signs of the growing acceptance of the
idea of evolution now manifesting themselves in Christian teaching may
increase, and that the Church, whatever be the influence that induces
her to take the step, will in the end loyally hold out her hand to
Science. Instead of remaining hostile, the two will then help each
other to mount the ladder of Truth; and divine Life, the light of all
sciences, philosophies, and religions, will illumine the dark path
they are treading, and guide their steps towards that One Truth which
is both without and within them.

Scientific materialism says:

Yes, everything is born again from its germ--thus is progress made,
but that is the limit of my concessions. Everything is matter; the
soul has no existence. There is evolution of matter, for matter, and
by matter. When a form is destroyed, its qualities, like its power of
rebirth, are stored away in a latent condition, within the germs it
has produced during its period of activity. Along with the
disappearance of matter, everything disappears--qualities, thoughts,
"ego"--and passes into a latent slate within the germ; along with the
return of the form, qualities and attributes gradually reappear
without any hypothetical soul whatever having any concern in the
matter. So long as the form is in its germ stage, the being is nothing
more than a mass of potentialities; when fully developed its faculties
reappear, but they remain strictly attached to the form, and if the
latter changes, the faculties echo the change, so to speak, with the
utmost fidelity. Matter is the parent of intelligence, the brain
manufactures thought, and the heart distills love, just as the liver
secretes bile; such is the language of present-day science.

This theory accepts the idea of universal injustice in its entirety;
we shall shortly prove that, notwithstanding its apparent logic, it
explains only one side of evolution, and that if matter is the
condition sine qua non of the manifestation of spirit, it is at
least curious that the latter acts so powerfully upon it, and is,
beyond the possibility of a doubt, its real master.[49]

Modern Theosophy, as well as the Wisdom of old, says in its turn:

Spirit is the All, the one Being, the only Being that exists.

Force-matter[50] is nothing but the product of the spirit's activity;
in it we find many and divers properties--density, weight,
temperature, volume, elasticity, cohesion, &c., because we judge it
from our sense perceptions; but in reality, we know it so little, that
the greatest thinkers have called it "a state of consciousness,"
i.e., an impression produced by it within ourselves.[51] It is the
result of the will of the supreme Spirit, which creates "differences"
(forms) in unfathomable homogeneous Unity, which is incarnated in them
and produces the modifications necessary for the development of its
powers, in other words, for the accomplishment of their evolution. As
this evolution takes place in the finite--for the Infinite can effect
its "sacrifice," i.e. its incarnation,[52] only by limiting
itself--it is progressive, proceeding from the simple to the complex.
Each incarnate, divine "fragment"[53] at first develops the simpler
qualities and acquires the higher ones only by degrees; these
qualities can appear only by means of a vehicle of matter, just as the
colour-producing properties of a ray of light only become manifest
with the aid of a prism. Form plays the part of the revealer of the
qualities latent in the divine germ (the soul); the more complex this
form becomes, the more atomic divisions it has in a state of activity;
the greater the number of senses it has awake, the greater the number
of qualities it expresses.

In this process, we see at work, three main factors; Spirit,[54]
awakening within itself vibrations,[55] which assume divers
appearances.[56] These three factors are one; force-matter and form
cannot exist without the all-powerful, divine Will (Spirit), for this
is the supreme Being, who, by his Will, creates force matter, by his
Intelligence gives it a form, and animates it with his Love.

Force-matter is the blind giant, who, in the Sankhya philosophy,
carries on his shoulders the lame man who can see--a giant, for it is
activity itself; and blind, because this activity is directed only by
the intelligent Will of the Spirit. The latter is lame, because when
it has not at its disposal an instrument of form-matter, it cannot
act, it cannot appear, it is no longer manifested, having disappeared
with the great periodical dissolution of things which the poetical
East calls the inbreathing of Brahma.

Form--all form--creates a germ which reproduces it. The germ is an
aggregate containing, in a very high state of vitalisation, all the
atomic types that will enter into the tissues of the form it has to
build up. These types serve as centres of attraction for the atoms
which are to collect round them when, under the influence of the
"vital fire,"[57] creative activity has been roused in the germ. Each
atomic type now attracts from the immediate surroundings the atoms
that resemble it, the process of segmentation which constitutes
germination begins, and the particular tissues represented by the
different atomic types are formed; in this way the fibrous, osseous,
muscular, nervous, epithelial, and other tissues are reproduced.

The creative activity that builds up tissues, if left to itself, could
create nothing but formless masses; it must have the help of the
intelligence to organise the atoms into molecules, the molecules into
tissues, and these again into organs capable of a corporate life as a
single organism, supplied with centres of sensation and action. This
intelligence cannot proceed from the mind bodies of the various
beings, for the latter manifest their qualities only when they possess
a fully-developed form--which is not the case with the germs;
moreover, the lower kingdoms show nothing but instinct, and even the
superior animals possess only a rudimentary form of mentality. The
most skilful human anatomist knows nothing more than the eye can teach
him regarding the forms he dissects, though even if he were acquainted
with their whole structure, he would none the less be quite incapable
of creating the simplest sense organ. The Form is the expression of
cosmic intelligence, of God incarnated in the Universe, the Soul of
the world, which, after creating matter, aggregates it into divers
types, to which it assigns a certain duration. The type of the form
varies with the stage of development of the being (the soul)
incarnated therein, for the instrument must be adapted to the artist's
capacity; the latter could not use an instrument either too imperfect
or too perfect for his degree of skill. What could the rudimentary
musician of a savage tribe do if seated before the complex organ of
one of our cathedrals; whilst, on the other hand, what kind of
harmony could a Wagner produce from a shepherd's pipe? The Cosmic
intelligence would appear to have created a single, radical form-type,
which gradually develops and at each step produces an apparently new
form, until its series has reached the finished type of evolution. It
stops the evolutionary process of each germ at the requisite point in
the scale; in the case of the most rudimentary souls it allows a
single step to be taken, thus supplying an instrument that possesses
the requisite simplicity; the process is continued longer for the more
advanced souls, but stops just when the form has become a suitable
instrument. When it does not furnish the fecundated germ with the
"model" which is to serve as a ground-plan for atomic deposits,
segmentation takes place in a formless mass, and in this the tissues
are shown without organisation; it is then a mole, a false conception.

It is the same cosmic Intelligence that derides the period during
which the form shall remain in a state of activity in the world. Until
a soul has learnt the lesson that incarnation in a form must teach it,
this form is necessary, and is given to it again and again until the
soul has assimilated the experience that form had to supply; when it
has nothing more to learn from the form, on returning to incarnation
it passes into one that is more complex. The soul learns only by
degrees, beginning with the letters of the alphabet of Wisdom, and
gradually passing to more complex matter; thus the stages of evolution
are innumerable and the transition from one to the other
imperceptible; modern science states this fact, though without
explaining it, when she says that "Nature makes no leaps."

The building up of forms is effected by numerous Beings, forming an
uninterrupted chain that descends from the mighty Architect, God, to
the humblest, tiniest, least conscious of the "builders."[58] God, the
universal Spirit, directs evolution, and could accomplish every detail
of it directly; but it is necessary, for their own development, that
the souls, whatever stage they have reached, should work in the whole
of creation, and therein play the part, whether consciously or
unconsciously, that they are fitted to play. Consequently they are
employed at every stage; and, in order to avoid mistakes, their
activity is guided by more advanced souls, themselves the agents of
higher cosmic Entities, right on up to God, the sovereign controller
of the hierarchies. Consequently there are no mistakes--if, indeed,
there are any real ones at all--in Nature, except those that are
compatible with evolution and of which the results are necessary for
the instruction of souls; but the Law is continually correcting them
in order to restore the balance. Such, in general outline, is the
reason for the intervention of beings in the evolutionary process.

So far as man is concerned, the highest of these Beings supply the
ideal type of the form which is to give the soul, when reincarnated,
the best means of expression; others take charge of these models and
entrust them to entities whose sole mission is to keep them before
their mental eyes and guide the thousands of "builders" who build
round them the atoms which are to form the tabernacle of flesh in its
minutest details; these Liliputian builders may be seen at work by the
inner eye; they are as real as the workmen who construct material
edifices in accordance with an architect's plans.

That everything may be faithfully reproduced in form the entity that
controls the building must not lose sight of the model for a single
moment. Nor does it do so, generally speaking, for one may say that
this being is, as it were, the soul of the model, being one with it
and conscious only of the work it has to perform. In many cases,
however, it receives certain impressions before birth from the
mother's thoughts: an influence capable either of forwarding or
hindering its work. The ancient Greeks were well acquainted with this
fact when they assisted Nature to create beautiful forms by placing in
the mother's room statues of rare plastic perfection, and removing
from her sight every suggestion of ugliness. More than this; certain
intense emotions of the pregnant woman are capable of momentarily
effacing the image of the model which the builder has to reproduce,
and replacing certain of its details with images arising from the
mother's imagination. If these images are sufficiently vivid, the
being follows them; and if they endure for a certain length of time
they are definitely incorporated in the building of the body. In this
fashion, many birth marks (naevi materni) are produced; strawberries
or other fruit, eagerly desired at times when they cannot be procured,
have appeared on the child's skin; divers objects that have left a
vivid impression on the imagination may have the same effect. The
clearness and perfection of the impression depend on the intensity and
continuance of the mental image; the part where it is to appear
depends on the sense impressions of the mother coinciding with the
desire which forms the image--for instance, a spot on the body touched
rather sharply at the moment. This has given rise to the idea that
the "longing" is impressed on that part of the body which the mother
is touching during her desire. When the image is particularly strong
and persistent considerable modifications of the body have been
obtained; in such cases, children are born with animal-like heads, and
treatises on teratology relate the case of a foetus born with the
head detached from the trunk, because the mother, after witnessing an
execution, had been horribly impressed by the sight of the separated
heads of the victims. Malebranche, in his Recherche de la Verite,
tells of a child that was born with broken limbs because his mother
had seen the torture of the wheel. In this case, the image must have
been of enormous vibratory power and of considerable persistence.[59]

A general or even a local arrest of development is almost always due
to the phenomenon of mental inhibition experienced by the same being;
it definitely ceases to see the plan, evolution stops, and the
embryo, expelled before the time takes on the form of the evolutionary
stage it had reached at that moment; if it ceases to deal with a
single detail only that detail remains in statu quo, and is often
embedded in portions of the organism quite away from the point where
it would have been found had it continued to evolve; certain cysts
belong to this class.

The third factor, the Spirit, the Soul--or, to be more exact, the
incarnated divine ray--follows a line of evolution parallel to that of
the matter which constitutes its form, its instrument; this
parallelism is so complete that it has deceived observers
insufficiently acquainted with the wonders of evolution. It is thus
that scientific materialism has taken root. We will endeavour to set
forth the mistake that has been made, and call to mind the correctness
of the Vedantin symbol, which represents the soul as lame, incapable
of acting without the giant, force-matter; though the latter, without
the guidance of the former, could not advance along the path of
evolution.

This soul is a "no-thing," which, in reality, is everything; a ray of
the spiritual sun (God), a divine spark incarnated in the vibration
(matter) produced by the supreme Being, it is a "centre," capable
of all its Father's potentialities. These potentialities, which may be
grouped together under three general heads--power, love, and
wisdom--we may sum up in the one word: consciousness. It is, indeed, a
"centre of consciousness" in the germinal state, that is about to
blossom forth, realising all its possibilities and becoming a being
fully aware of its unity with the Being from which it comes and which
it will then have become.

In this development the vibrations of outer matter play the part of
the steel, which, on striking flint, causes the life latent within the
latter to dart forth. Each vibration which strikes the soul arouses
therein a dormant faculty, and when all the vibrations of the universe
have touched it, this soul will have developed as many faculties as
that universe admits of, until, in the course of successive worlds, it
becomes increasingly divine in the one Divine Being. In order that all
the vibrations of which a universe is capable may reach the soul the
latter must surround itself with all the different types of atoms that
exist in the world, for every vibration is an atomic movement, and the
nature of the vibration depends on the quality of the atoms in motion.
Now, the first part of evolution consists in condensing round vital
centres[60] (souls) atoms aggregated in combinations of a
progressively increasing density, on to those that make up the
physical plane; when the soul has thus clothed itself with the
elements of all the planes, the resulting form is called a
"microcosm"--a small Cosmos--for it contains, in reality, all the
elements contained in the Universe. During this progressive
development, the soul, which thus effects its "fall" into matter,
receives from all the planes through which it passes and from all the
forms in which it incarnates, varied vibrations which awake within it
correspondingly responsive powers and develop a non-centred, diffused,
non-individualised consciousness.

In the second phase of evolution, the forms are limited, the
vibrations they receive are transmitted by specialised sensorial
groups, and the soul, hitherto endowed with a diffused consciousness,
begins to feel varieties of vibrations that grow ever more numerous,
to be distinguished from the surrounding world, to separate itself, so
to speak, from everything around; in a word, to develop
self-consciousness. This separation first takes place on the physical
plane; it is made easier by hard, violent contacts, and the forms, in
their turn, become more complex, varied, and specialised in proportion
as the soul is the more perfectly individualised. When it has
developed all the self-conscious responsive powers in the physical
body, it begins to develop those faculties which have as their organs
of transmission the finer bodies, and as planes of vibration the
invisible worlds.

In our planetary system the number of the invisible planes is
seven.[61] Each of them in turn supplies the soul with a form; thus,
when evolution--which in its second phase successively dematerialises
matter, i.e., disassociates the atoms from their combinations,
beginning with the denser ones--has dissolved the physical plane, the
human soul will utilise, as its normal body, a finer one which it is
at present using as a link between the mental and the physical
bodies. Before this dissolution is effected, however, human beings
will have developed, to some extent, several finer bodies, already
existing, though hitherto not completely organised.

The first of these bodies, the astral--a very inappropriate name,
though here used because it is so well known--is a copy, more or less,
of the physical form in its general aspect; the resemblance and
clearness of the features are pronounced in proportion to the
intellectual development of the person, for thought-vibration has
great influence over the building up of the centres of force and of
sensation in this body.[62]

The second is an even finer aggregate, composed of mental substance
and assuming, during incarnation, the form of a smaller or larger
ovoid--the causal body--surrounding the physical form.[63] At its
centre, and plunged in the astral body during incarnation, is another
kind of ovoid not so large and composed of denser substance--the
mental body.[64]

Above these states of matter, at the present stage there appears no
form to the consciousness of human beings, though perfect seers can
perceive, within the causal body, still higher grades of matter, which
will only subsequently become centres of self-consciousness.

During incarnation, the soul, in the majority of men, is clearly
conscious of itself and of its surroundings only when it is
functioning through the nervous system (the brain); when it leaves the
denser body, during sleep, its consciousness is in the astral body,
and there it thinks,[65] but without being conscious of what is taking
place around it. After disincarnation, it generally becomes highly
conscious in its astral body, where it passes its purgatorial life;
and this latter endures until the soul leaves the astral body. As soon
as the latter is thrown off, consciousness centres in the mental body;
this is the period of Devachan or Heaven. When the mental body is
put off, paradise is at an end, and the soul, sheathed only in the
causal body, finds itself on a very lofty plane, but here,
consciousness is vague, when we are dealing with a man of average
development. Instead of laying aside this garment, as so far it has
done with the rest, it recommences, after the lapse of a certain
time, another descent into the matter of the lower planes and a new
incarnation begins.

To the centre of the causal body are drawn atoms from the inner mental
plane; these represent a new mental body.[66] When this latter has
been formed, there are attracted to it atoms of the astral plane, and
these form a new astral body; the soul, clothed in these two sheaths,
if one may so express it, is brought into conscious or unconscious
relation, according to its degree of development, with the two
corresponding planes, lives there generally for a short time, and is
directed to a mother's womb, in which is created the visible body of
flesh within the centre of its astral body.

This force of atomic attraction has its centre in the causal body, a
kind of sensitive plate on which are registered all those vibrations
which disturb or affect human vehicles during incarnation. This body is,
in effect, the present abode of the soul, it represents the terminal
point of human consciousness,[67] the real centre of man.[68] It
receives all the impressions of the plane on which it finds itself, as
well as those which come to it from the lower planes, and responds to
them the more readily as it has now attained a fuller development. It
possesses the power to attract and to repel; a microcosm, it has its
outbreathing and inbreathing, as has the Macrocosm; like Brahma, it
creates its bodies and destroys them, although in the vast majority of
mankind it exercises this power more or less unconsciously and under the
irresistible impulsion of the force of evolution--the divine Will. When
it attracts, it causes to recur within itself the vibrations it has
received and registered--like a phonographic roll--during the past
incarnations; these vibrations reverberate in the outer world, and
certain of them attract from this world[69]--in this case the mental
world--the atoms capable of responding to them. When they have created
the mental body, other vibrations can be transmitted through this body
to the astral world and attract atoms which will form the body bearing
the same name--the astral--and finally other vibrations, making use of
these two bodies as a means of transmission, will affect the physical
plane and attract atoms which will assist in the building up of the
denser body.

Everywhere the formative power of vibration is guided by cosmic
intelligence, but it is effected far more easily in the reconstruction
of the higher bodies, that precedes incarnation properly so-called,
than in the creation of the now physical body. Indeed, in the astral
and mental bodies, nothing is produced but an atomic mass, the many
elements of which will be aggregated into complete organisms only
during incarnation properly so-called, whilst the construction of the
visible body admits of a mass of extremely delicate and important
details. It is for this reason that we have seen this work of
construction entrusted to special Beings who prepare, control and
watch over it unceasingly.

It is because the causal body registers every vibration the
personality[70] has generated or received in the course of its series
of incarnations, that the vices and virtues are preserved, as is the
case with the faults or the good qualities of the physical body. The
man who has created for himself a coarse astral body by feeding the
passions and thoughts which specially vivify the coarser matter of
this body will on returning to earth find a new astral body composed
of the same elements, though then in a dormant state. He who, by the
cultivation of a lofty intellect, has built up a refined mental body,
will return to incarnation with a like mental body, whilst the one
who, by meditation and the practice of devotion which bring into being
the noblest qualities of the heart, has set vibrating the purest
portions of the causal body and of the divine essence (Atma-Buddhi, as
it is named in Sanskrit), with which it is filled, will return to
birth endowed with those qualities which make apostles and saints, the
Saviours of the world.

In other words:

Matter has more remote boundaries than science recognises; the
numberless grades of atoms of which it consists, their powers of
aggregation, the multiplicity and duration of the bodies they form,
are not even suspected by materialism.

Materialism sees nothing but the part played by matter; it denies that
intelligence plays any part, and will by no means admit--in spite of
evolution and progress--that above man there exists an almost endless
chain of higher and higher Beings, whilst below him are kingdoms of an
increasingly restricted range of consciousness. By refusing to believe
in the multiplicity of the vehicles which the human soul uses, it is
unable to understand individual survival or to solve the problem of
heredity. Indeed, evolution is only partially explained by the
physical germ; the latter, in order to act alone and of itself in the
development of the human embryo should possess a degree of
intelligence considerably superior to that of man. This is the
opposite of what we find, however, and we are brought face to face
with the absurd fact of a cause vastly inferior to its effect. Indeed,
the intelligence shown by the germ is not its own; it is that of the
cosmic Mind reflected by mighty Beings, its willing servants. Besides,
this germ contains only the qualities that belong to physical matter,
and, as we shall show, the moral, mental, and spiritual qualities are
preserved by the finer--the causal--body, which represents the real
man at the present time.





Next: The Problem Of Human Heredity

Previous: The Goal Of Evolution



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