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Esoteric Healing - Chapter III - Our Karmic Liabilities
1. Karmic Liabilities of the Individual

We have already studied (perhaps without realizing its implications) our first point under this heading. This concerns the karmic liabilities of the individual, emerging from the subjective vehicles and from the personality as a whole.

As we discussed the psychological causes of disease as they arise in the subtle vehicles in the three worlds or from the disciple's tension as he endeavors to tread the Path, we were in reality concerned entirely with karma or the effect of the inner causes of events, equipment and circumstances upon the physical plane. We saw how the inner bodies, via the etheric body, conditioned the man's outer manifestation, and that disease or health was largely dependent upon them. They are the immediate karmic cause of physical plane existence. If the idea is then extended to include previous incarnations - as must inevitably be the case - then we arrive at the conclusion that the condition of these inner bodies, their limitations and their richness, their defects and their assets, and their general psychic and psychological tendencies are inherited from previous lives, and are therefore responsible for the present earthly situation. We have, consequently, simply pushed the causes of present day conditions still further back, and we could - if we so desired - enter a field of such intricacy and detail that nothing profitable would eventuate. The whole problem of the recovery [290] of past incarnations is one of infinite possibility, and when I use this word "infinite" I immediately put the whole subject out of the control of the finite mind. We are then dealing with something which it is not possible to handle rationally.

Karma was, for infant humanity and for the undeveloped individual, a group matter. The man was a member of a group but without any thought as to the implications and the responsibilities entailed. Later, as the process of individualization became more effective in character and purpose and more pronounced in temperament, karma became also more personal and definite, and the man in a position to make or work off more causes and effects. The personality not being thoroughly unfolded and integrated, the man was still involved in group life and the interrelations became more extensive. Later on, the personality became the conscious creator of its own causes and the conscious participator in the effects. Upon the Path, the karma of the chosen group, of the individual, and of those with whom the man chooses association through unity of spiritual purpose involves him, and another factor is added to the previous categories of karmic responsibility. Later still, karma in the three worlds is met, overcome and negated; at the same time karma connected with the initiating of causes through world service is added to that which the individual has already experienced, and he shares in the karmic responsibility of the Hierarchy itself. All these stages:

  1. Elementary group karma - of the primitive man,
  2. Individual karma of the self-conscious developing man,
  3. Karma, related to the life of the disciple,
  4. Hierarchical karma, [291]

must be added to the well known Karma of Retribution with which the disciple is already familiar; to it must also be added national and racial karma, plus the educational karma which all disciples bring upon themselves when they are desirous of entering an Ashram to prepare for initiation.

There is also the Karma of Reward in contradistinction to that of Retribution; this is a type of karma oft forgotten, but one which will become better known in the coming world cycle. Humanity has worked off much evil karma, and the karma based on causes later to be initiated will not generate such dire effects as that of the past. Not all karma is bad, in spite of what man thinks. Much of it is necessarily punitive and distressing, owing to humanity's ignorance and low stage of development. When karmic retribution becomes acute and terrible, as it is in today's appalling world experience, it indicates that humanity has reached a point where consequences can be meted out on a large scale and with justice. Very little suffering is attached to karma where there is ignorance, leading to irresponsibility and complete lack of thought and there is attached to affairs but little true sense of guilt. There may be unhappy conditions and distressing circumstances, but the ability to respond to such conditions with commensurate pain is lacking; there is little mental reaction to the processes of karmic retribution. This should be borne in mind. The Aryan race is now, however, so developed mentally and on a large scale that karma is truly horrible and agonizing and can express itself through world conditions. At the same time, the present widespread distress indicates the extent and success of human unfoldment and is a most hopeful and promising sign. In this idea, you have the clue as to why the good, the holy and the saintly servers of the race carry - in this world cycle - such a heavy load of karmic ill. [292]

It is consequently quite impossible in the scope of this treatise to deal more fully with this subject of karma as it produces the many types of human ills, including disease - only one of its manifestations. The theme is too vast, too complicated and too widely diffusing in its effect. All that one can do is to posit the fact that past actions and reactions have established in previous lives such a karmic rhythm, that today all the aspects of the lower nature are involved; and among the commonest and most ordinary effects, and one in which the great Law of Retribution takes effect, is that of disease. This is a point which healers and metaphysicians, so-called, should most carefully consider.

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