The Word Foundation



Vol. 25 APRIL, 1917. No. 1

Copyright, 1917, by H. W. PERCIVAL.


All Ghosts Act Under Karmic Law.

IF WHAT is true of luck ghosts were taken as absolute and could be taken without background and surroundings, a false notion would be held of man and his relations. Then it would appear as if people can bring themselves under the protection of some power, and thereby stand outside and secure against the law and order in our world. Discern therefore the universe, its plan, its factors, its object, and its law, to recognize the true setting of luck.

The Universe Divided as Nature and as Mind.

The plan is concerned with the development of matter, so that it shall become conscious in ever higher degrees. In the manifested universe everything visible and invisible may be roughly classified as of two factors. One of these is nature, the other mind; however, consciousness, itself unchangeable, is present through everything. Nature includes all in the four worlds on the involutionary side. Therefore it comprises all that came into existence from the beginning of manifestations in the four worlds, from spirit on the involutionary side down to the grossest matter. Breath, life, form, and physical matter, in everyone of their phases, are included in nature and nature predominates in desire. Mind includes mind and thought. Mind reaches down into the physical, and is that along which nature rises, from its physical state to that of the perfected mind.

Nature is matter, as well as mind is matter. The difference between these states of matter lies in the degrees in which matter is conscious. Nature is not conscious as mind, but is conscious only of the state in which it is, as breath, life, form, physical matter, and desire. Mind is, however, matter which is conscious as mind, conscious of itself and of other things in its state, and which can be conscious of states below and states above itself. Nature is unevolved matter; mind is consciously evolving matter. Matter, as here used, includes spirit, spirit being the beginning or finest state of matter, and matter the end or grossest state of spirit. Instead of the accurate terms, spirit-matter and matter-spirit, the term matter is in use. The use is, however, conversational. Hence, the term, if that be not remembered, is apt to mislead. This matter, visible and invisible, is made up of ultimate units. Each unit is always spirit-matter, and none can be broken up or destroyed. It can be changed. The only change such a unit can undergo is that it is successively conscious in different states. As long as it is not conscious of anything except of its function, it is matter, spirit-matter, as distinguished from mind. Matter, then, to use the term colloquially, exists in four worlds, and in many states in each of these. The states differ in the degree in which these units are conscious.

The four worlds of spirit-matter are, to give them names—and one name will do as well as some other as long as the essence of that is understood which the name stands for—the breath world, the life world, the form world, the sex world. Other names, and these have been used in these articles on ghosts, are the sphere of the fire, the sphere of air, the sphere of water and the sphere of earth. (See The Word, Vol. 20, p. 69) In these worlds or spheres and on the various planes of each of them exist the two factors, spirit-matter or nature, and mind. The spirit-matter manifests as the four occult elements and the elemental beings in them. The mind is active as mind and thought. These two are intelligent. In this sense the manifested universe, consciousness being present throughout all, consists of nature and mind. Nature involves, and mind contacts it at all stages in its involution, meets it in the physical world more intimately, and raises it with itself by its own evolution through thought.

So spirit-matter, which is nature, involves from the spiritual to the physical, sinking and condensing through four worlds. In the lowest, our physical world, it is met by mind, which thenceforth raises it from stage to stage in the physical world and so on through the psychic world, the mental world and the spiritual world of knowledge, these three names standing here for the aspects on the evolutionary line of the form world, the life world and the breath world. The stages of evolution correspond to stages of involution. That gives seven great stages in the four worlds. The planes are the breath-mind plane in the sphere of the fire, the life-thought plane in the sphere of air, the form-desire plane—a part of which is the astral-psychic plane in the sphere of water, and the physical plane in the sphere of earth. On those planes are the stages of involution and evolution, matter being of the same degree or kind on each plane, but differing in the degree to which matter is conscious. This is the plan upon which the two factors work.

Purpose of Involution and Evolution.

The purpose of involution and evolution is, in so far as human beings are concerned, to give the minds an opportunity of coming into contact with physical matter and thereby refining the matter that it becomes conscious in ever higher degrees, and at the same time to give the minds an opportunity to gain knowledge of all things by this refining which brings them into contact with all things, through the physical bodies they inhabit. By aiding nature they benefit themselves. This outline, omitting many phases, is merely like a cross section of evolution at the human stage.

In the body of man, therefore, all nature is represented and focused. Into this wonderful body reach and are condensed parts of the four worlds. Nature is there represented as breath, life, form, and the physical body. Desire is there, too, but it is different, being more directly connected with the mind. Desire is not mind, except in a peculiar way. Desire is the lowest, darkest, grossest, the unrefined, ungoverned, unlawful part of the mind, and so has not the traits which are generally associated with mind. Therefore it was said that the two factors are nature and mind, which is represented only as mind and in thought. Mind, however, in its highest sense is knowledge; in its lowest, desire. In the middle state, which is a blend of desire and mind, it is thought.

In the human body is nature and is mind. Nature is there as a being composite. Mind is there and also as a being. The nature man or sense man is the personality (see The Word, Vol. 5, Nos. 4, 5, 6); the mind man is called the individuality (see The Word, Vol. 2, No. 4). Into the personality are drawn the four occult elements. What is in man a sense is in nature an element (see The Word, Vol. 5, No. 4, p. 2; Vol. 20, p. 75). The organs and different systems in the physical body, excepting the central nervous system, all belong to nature and to the make-up of the sense man.

The evolution and refining is accomplished as to the sense man, by re-embodiment of the matter which is the organs and the senses; as to the mind man, by his reincarnations into these elements fashioned into ever new forms, for him and his work. The plan has this purpose at the human stage.

The law and the only law which controls these two processes of re-embodiment and reincarnation is the law of karma. Nature ghosts are the means used to prepare the situations in which man lives, and which are the karma of the man. They act under what is called the laws of nature, and these laws, another name for karma, are supervised by the Intelligences presiding over the actions of nature. In this manner elementals build when the time for re-embodiment has arrived, in the mother, the body of the unborn. They build according to the design furnished them. That design, carried over by the mind, is the beginning of the new sense man, and is the bond which unites the two germs of father and mother. The elementals fill out the design with matter drawn from the four elements, and have completed the structure by the time of birth.

So the child is born with winning or displeasing features, with deformities or afflictions, to reward the indwelling ego or to teach it to refrain from thoughts and actions which have produced such results (see The Word, Vol. 7, No 6, pp. 13-19). Nature ghosts thereafter mature the child to the adult state and develop in the child the psychic tendencies inherent in it, which are also elementals. Nature ghosts provide the environment of home life, pleasure, pastimes, obstacles, and all that causes joy and trouble, all that makes man’s sensuous life. Ambitions, recognition of opportunities, adventures are suggested by nature ghosts, and they provide them, too, and carry the man through, if he gives his thought and attention to these things. The ghosts furnish them as his karma permits. Industry, persistence, attention, thoroughness, courtesy, bring rewards which are often also physical, as wealth and comfort. Laziness, slothfulness, lack of tact, unconcern for others’ feelings, bring effects which are often physical, as poverty, desertion, trouble. All pleasing or unpleasant events in the external world are due to the action of elementals under the control of the Intelligences which regulate the person’s karma.

And now in these vast worlds, in which our visible earth is only a small and impotent body with unsoundable abysses within and without, where all proceeds according to law fixed and unalterable, where there is no disorder, where nature and mind meet and the results of their interaction are according to law, where innumerable streams of spirit-matter and matter-spirit whirl, flow, and precipitate, melt, dissolve, sublimate, spiritualize, and concrete again, all through the thoughts and the body of man, the lemniscates of nature and mind, where in this way nature from high and spiritual planes under law involves into physical matter, and under law evolves through man up to the state of matter conscious as mind, where this goal as a fixed purpose is attained through the re-embodiment of matter and the reincarnations of mind, and where in all these realms and processes karma is the universal and supreme law holding the four worlds with all their gods and ghosts down to the smallest that exists for a second only, in its sure reign, where is there room for luck and luck ghosts?

Man’s Prerogative Is the Right to Choose.

Man has the right to choose, though within certain limits. Man may choose to commit wrongs. Karma permits that, within the limits of the karma of others and not beyond the power of his own accumulated karma to react on him. Among other things he has the right to choose what gods he will worship, if gods, or whether gods or Intelligences, and whether in the realms of the sense man or on the heights of an enlightened mind. He may worship, too, by performances of duty, industry, persistence, attention, thoroughness. While the acts are done for worldly ends, they bring their worldly rewards, but they bring them legitimately, and more, they aid in the development of the mind and character and so bring good karma in a worldly sense. Nature ghosts, of course, are the servants which bring about earthly conditions under such karma. In the reverse, others may choose to be slothful, indolent, tactless, and not to respect the rights and feelings of others. They, too, meet eventually their deserts, and nature ghosts furnish the condition for downfall and trouble. All this is according to karma. Chance has nothing to do with it.

There are some persons who choose to worship the notion of chance. They do not want to work by the legitimate method for success. They desire a short cut, though they feel it is illegitimate. They want favors, to be exceptions, to get around the general order, and want to have what they do not pay for. They have the choice to do this, just as some have the choice to do wrong. The more ardent and powerful of these worshippers of chance create good luck ghosts in the way explained. It is a question of time when these ardent worshippers will change their devotion to some other god and so, incurring the jealousy and anger of the god they had worshipped, bring on their bad luck. But all this is according to law; their good luck is their karma within the limits of their power to choose. Karma uses as its very means the power which the lucky have gained, to bring about its own just ends.

Seldom does a man with a good luck ghost use his luck for righteous ends. The man favored by a luck ghost receives his rewards too easily; he believes in chance, and that fortune is acquired easily without arduous efforts. These efforts are, however, required by the cosmic law. He believes that much may be had for little, because that has been his experience, or what he believes to be the experience of others.

His attitude of mind brings of itself the turn of his cycle of luck.

Bad luck ghosts, it will be remembered, are of two kinds, those that a wrathful elemental god sent because the former worshipper has bowed to other shrines at the turn of his cycle of luck, and those that were elementals already existing in nature and attached themselves to certain humans because their attitude of mind was an invitation to the ghosts to have the fun of the sensation of worry, deception, self-pity, and so on. These bad luck ghosts are allowed to attach themselves by the karma of the human. It is simple. Where a human has a tendency to look upon himself as being martyrized—being exceptional, not understood—he is apt to dwell on this. So he develops an attitude of mind where the qualities of gloom, worry, fear, uncertainty, self-pity, are dominant. All this is a phase of concealed egotism. This attitude attracts, and invites, through these avenues, elementals. Karma then, to cure the person of these unnecessary woes, lets the elementals play with him. This is in accordance with the law which looks to the evolution of the mind by letting it learn lessons, through the experience of situations it has produced.

Therefore the work of good luck ghosts and bad luck ghosts, no matter how contrary their actions may seem to the general course of affairs under the rule of karma, are, if all the facts surrounding their working were known, well within the operations of the law.