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A Philosophy of
Operative Wholeness
by Dane Rudhyar

First Published in
The Glass Hive

in eight parts, 1930-31.
Part One - November 1930.

Part Seven of the series A Philosophy of Operative Wholeness, presents the key theosophical concepts of karma, reincarnation, spiritual masters and initiation in a new way. When Rudhyar speaks of the distortions, materialization and vulgarizations of these words and concepts, he is referring to a condition as prevalent, if not more so, today as seventy years ago. But here Rudhyar is also referring to the very specific situation caused by the creation and poularization of a distorted version of H. P. Blavatsky's original theosophical teachings. In a sense, it is this situation Rudhyar addresses in his Canadian Theosophist articles The Work and Aims of a Theosophical Lodge, The Second Opening, and Theosophy: the Triune Soul of the Cycles.

In this part Rudhyar mentions the work of Marc Edmund Jones, a theosophist and a great astrologer and spiritual mentor who was building a following in Hollywood during the 1920s. During the time Rudhyar was writting this series, his wife was attending one of MEJs astrology courses, and through her the two men first met. Jones was probably the first astrologer to give the ancient practice of astrology an organized, rational, psychological and truly modern foundation. It is difficult for us today to even imagine the disordered state of astrology and astrologial practice at the turn of the 20th Century. Jones work put the house of astrology in order, and his profound insight and rational approach inspired Rudhyar, who previous to meeting MEJ held no compelling interested in astrology, to seriously engage the subject.

Part Seven

Life is wholeness in space. It is circle, or sphere; Life is wholeness in time.It is cycle; beginning, middle and end. According as we emphasize space-values or time-values our philosophy changes. This has become evident of late in relation not only to modern scientific thought, but also to vital ideas affecting the very nature of man, especially the ideas of reincarnation and karma.
      It has been said previously that God is the universal Whole as "being," that is essentially and eternally; that Man is the consummation of wholeness in the realm of "becoming." God is cosmic space, vast beyond imagining, infinite from the point of view of the matter contained therein, yet a Form. This spherical form is changeless as a whole, though every particle of substance in it is a whorl of changes, the realization of absolute wholeness by every finite unit of life in the infinitude of space.
      The law of the cycle is the law of periodical change. Every cycle being an entity (that is, a One) because of being a whole in time, it follows that every entity re-appears constantly throughout endless time. The law of space-organization (or form) is the law of harmonization. Every part must fit with another part within some particular whole, be the latter a cell, a man, a galaxy, or an entire cosmos. Thus every form has a complementary form, every cell is a part of an organ, every action in space is harmonized or neutralized by another action somewhere else, so that the universal Sphere of God be not altered. Yet from the point of view of God nothing every happens, for wholeness is eternally the same.
      Time, Space, Wholeness: three points of view. Every idea that is true from one of these viewpoints is wrong from the others. Thus a great deal of confusion in the minds of most people who cling, either by ignorance or because of some official duty laid upon them by higher powers, to only one viewpoint. Everything reappears in time; nothing reappears in space; there is but one eternal happening for that which manifests wholeness. Man reincarnated as a time-being; man does not reincarnate as a space-being; man IS eternally. Let everyone choose what suits him best. The choice, however, is of vast importance. It transforms the entire life and being of him who chooses. One may obviously refuse to choose and accept the three viewpoints. This is still a choice, and possibly the most dangerous.
      Reincarnation is a most ancient teaching. It was believed practically throughout the earth until the council of Constantinpole, which declared it heresy. As a result the Christian world accepted the theory that God creates each soul and its destiny afresh at birth, and having given to it a very slim chance to do good, curses or blesses it for all eternity – a cheerless idea. H. P. Blavatsky, in order to destroy this orthodox concept, brought back publicly to the Western world the idea of reincarnation, though denying most strongly the theory of personal reembodiment which had been advanced a few years before by French spiritualists. Reincarnation and the attendant idea of karma have been hopelessly materialized ever since. Not one in a thousand who "believes" in reincarnation has a grasp of what Blavatsky taught; just as not one in a thousand Hindus ever understood the ideas presented in the Upanishads on this and related levels.
      The results has been, in both cases, a subtle type of spiritual bondage, better usually than that produced by the orthodox Christian teachings, but often not so different after all. Thus a few teachers have been renouncing of late the theory of reincarnation on earth. What they denounce is not Blavatsky’s true teachings, but what people have made of it. They say that man appears only once on earth in order to become "formed" and that this form once developed passes after death through various cosmic spheres in space. In other words, they teach that man-the-form finds itself related to ever more subtle types of substance and thus grows into ever purer and more spiritual cosmic states. Doing this, man becomes interrelated to celestial hierarchies which are the very substance of cosmic space and which thus complement man’s being; so that spiritual progress consists in ascending through ever purer yet always substantial spheres of being, man merging thereby his individuality (form-principle) with ever more glorious types of cosmic or divine substance (life or Soul-principle).
      This does not really disprove Blavatsky’s teachings. In fact the students of the original theosophical teachings will see in the above the development of the seven globes idea which, curiously enough, later day theosophists have completely ignored. The 777 incarnations theory is the time viewpoint, the 7 globes theory is the space viewpoint; the union of celestial beings with human egos is the rather secret teaching which has appeared here and there in the world. Masters and White Lodge and "Initiations" have become so dreadfully materialized that it seems safer and better to some teachers to replace them in celestial realms where at least men cannot chum with then in such a trivial manner. The same thing occurred in India when, after Buddhism had opened the secret knowledge to unprepared masses, it became necessary to distort, or conceal, the true facts to hid them from prurient intellects. Thus Sankaracharya is knownn as the enemy of Buddhism, while he was, in a sense, spiritual identical to Gautama himself. Similar things may be happening at present.
      The "truth about reincarnation" is that all depends upon what you call man. Man is a very complex being. Parts of him may be said to reincarnate, others not to. As for man’s "ego" . . . who can say what he exactly he means by that world? There is no truth but the eternal and changeless I AM. There is but one complete and unbreakable Whole. Wholeness is but an abstract Principle, which cannot very well be said to "reincarnate" as such; because it is eternally present everywhere. Even "form" is an abstraction, an archetype. Does the archetype ever incarnate? Does anything ever incarnate? Or is it not rather that all things operate at the appointed time and place?
      The problem is ever so complex that one cannot help but smile at people who gravely enumerate the file of their glorious incarnations. In his book on ritual, Marc Edmund Jones has a very interesting discussion concerning reincarnation. It may help the intellectually proficient reader grasp new aspects on this so badly abused idea.
      For him who lives with his consciousness firmly rooted in the universal soil of Wholeness the matter of reincarnation or no reincarnation, of karma or no karma, is but an interesting phantasm of the lower mind. For him, Life is one and eternal and we are it. We are it now. Our hands must do things. Our brains must concoct philosophies. Our hearts may have to beat a little faster or a little slower. What does it really matter?
      Human beings talk so much and are so disturbed about unimportant things. There is but one thing that matters – to be fully what we are. THAT is eternal; because fulfillment is another face of eternity. God is eternally fulfilled in Its wholeness. But are we fulfilled in God? We are wondering about what we were, and how we can find our soul-mate, and what of the beyond of death. It is all so naive. Everything is; now, around us. As I write this, my complement in some unknown regions of space-time has to unwrite it, to reestablish the universal balance which my action disturbed. It is all here. It is all in my mind; for mind is the tool of wholeness – positively and negatively.
      Fulfill that which IS; that is the Law. All evil is in shrinking from that which is. All good is confrontational. Therefore, though non-killing is the universal law, if you are born a warrior: Take your bow and fight, O Arjuna!

Read Part Eight.

Copyright © 2000 by Michael R. Meyer.
All Rights Reserved.

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