The Master Djwhal Khul on Karma
by Carrol Joy
"The Law of Karma is today a great and incontrovertible fact in the consciousness of humanity everywhere. They may not call it by that name, but they are well aware that in all todays events the nations are reaping what they sowed. This great law at one time a theory is now a proven fact and a recognised factor in human thinking."
When the Master Djwhal Khul dictated these words to Alice Bailey for Esoteric Healing nearly half a century ago, the popular perception and misperception of karma that has to come to permeate popular culture today was mainly limited to spiritual and esoteric groups. Subconsciously, however, many people even then were wrestling with the Law of Karma as they struggled to discover the causes underlying the happenings of a troubled world and to gain a measure of control over the future.
"The question Why?," wrote DK, "brings in the factor of cause and effect with constant inevitability. The concepts of heredity and of environment ... qualities, racial characteristics, national temperaments and ideals ... historical conditions, the relationships between nations, social taboos, religious convictions and tendencies ... things of beauty and of horror, modes of living and civilisation and culture, prejudices and likings, scientific attainment and artistic expression ... are aspects of effects, initiated somewhere, on some level at some time, by human beings, both individual and en masse. Karma is therefore that which Man the Heavenly Man in whom we live, humanity as a whole, mankind in groups as nations, and individual man has instituted, carried forward, endorsed, omitted to do or has done right through the ages until the present moment." (Esoteric Healing, p262-3.)
Since Djwhal Khul so succinctly defined karma and provided, for those who had ears to hear, the most essential clue to understanding the realm of causes, thinking people around the world have developed a conscious interest in the concept of karma as a way of answering their otherwise unanswerable questions. Along with the popularization of the idea, however, has come a tendency to oversimplify, to adapt wholesale from Eastern traditions half-understood versions of what karma is and how it operates, and to adjust the concept to the personality need to justify and rationalize ones own actions. As a result, there are many misunderstandings of karma which need to be corrected if we are to work with, rather than in spite of this most important universal law. Three of these deserve particular attention. First, the common and rather resigned perception of karma as immutable predestination: "I dont really see what I can do about it. Its just my karma." This is the "sin and retribution" version which in the West probably flows from historical religious beliefs in a wrathful, vengeful God and the "original sin" theory of Calvinism and Puritanism. In effect it denies the possibility of free will and tends to rationalize passivity and inaction in dealing with lifes problems. The misunderstanding here, says the Master DK, is in confusing the Law of Karma with the Law of Retribution which is merely one of its aspects. Actually, it is more accurate to think of karma in terms of the comprehensive law of which karma is itself but an element the Law of Cause and Effect. This law, comments DK, "is not to be understood as we now interpret it. There is, to illustrate, a law called the Law of Gravitation, which has long imposed itself on the minds of men; such a law exists, but it is only an aspect of a greater law, and its power can be, as we know, relatively offset, for each time that we see an aeroplane soaring overhead, we see a demonstration of the offsetting of this law by mechanical means, symbolising the ease with which it can be surmounted by human beings." (Esoteric Healing, p20-21.)
We can, in other words, offset the limitations imposed by law if we understand the law and use our wisdom, intelligence and will properly. It is true, of course, that through past action we have indeed created what we call "bad" karma largely, DK tells us, "owing to humanitys ignorance and low stage of development." What our ignorance and want of evolution has produced in the past, our personalities will experience in the present, and the more highly developed our minds, the greater will be our suffering from this experience. At the same time, however, our increasingly sophisticated minds grant us the capacity to offset negative karma by intervening intentionally, through choice.
As Maitreya taught in Volume I of Leaves of Moryas Garden many years ago, "Karma is of great importance, but of greater gravity is the choice. Karma is but the condition of the choice."* Right choice, says DK, "is determined every time by that which is right for the whole and not so much by that which is right for the part." Thus, the offsetting of karma by the imposition of willed choice requires a certain detachment from self-interest and the capacity to focus on the well-being of humanity as a whole. Under these circumstances, DK continues, "what man has made he can unmake. This is oft forgotten. Karma is not a hard and fast rule. It is changeable, according to mans attitude and desire." (Externalisation of the Hierarchy, p225.)
A related misinterpretation of karma is described and corrected by DK without equivocation: "There are many people today who find an alibi for themselves in the present world situation, and a consequent release from definite action and responsibility by saying that what is today happening is simply karma or the working out of cause and effect, and that there is nothing, therefore, that they can do about it; they take the position that it is not their affair, and that in due course of time the process will be worked out and everything will be all right again. The slate will then be cleaner and incidentally they will not have been embroiled, but will have safely (even if uncomfortably) looked on."
If they have the capacity to analyze world events in this way, such people of course also have the mental capacity to utilize some degree of free will and, says DK, it is only through the compassionate use of that free will that the worlds evils and havoc will be transmuted into good. "Therefore," he concludes, "those who are looking on at the tragic sufferings of humanity and who refuse to be implicated, and thus succeed in evading responsibility as an integral part of the human family, are definitely storing up for themselves much evil karma." The struggle against such human suffering is the struggle for freedom, and "those who refuse to share in that struggle for freedom will be left out of the gains of freedom, even if it only means within their own home limits, in their life habits and in their private circumstances." (Externalisation of the Hierarchy, p253.)
The karmic process, then, if rightly engaged with, is transformative, constantly alchemizing evil into good, materiality into spirituality, pain and suffering into joy and happiness. From the most esoteric point of view, karma is synonymous with opportunity and constitutes a beneficient means for earning ones way back to God. This perspective sharply contrasts with the third pervasive misunderstanding of karma, namely that all karma is negative: to say "thats my karma" is the same as "thats the curse I must live with. "Karma from this perspective is a painful exacting of repayment for transgressions long since forgotten and controlled by some vague agency not easily understood, a kind of cosmic retribution. The good we experience is, therefore, not karmically created and lies outside the stern and unforgiving
Law of Karma.
Perhaps it is because, as DK tells us, humanity is capable of taking on its own negative karma and is doing so painfully but positively that we are so inclined to believe and quite illogically that the Law of Cause and Effect is really the law of negative causes and negative effects. "Today," says DK, " the karma of humanity is descending upon it," a fact of life in the period during which he was dictating material to Alice Bailey and which has colored the attitudes of both those who lived through that period and their children. Even in such dark times, however, we should not forget that there is another side to the Law of Karma: "I would remind you ... that the continuous emphasis laid upon the malevolent aspects of karma conveys a wrong impression and negates the full grasp of the truth. There is as much good karma as there is bad... The good karma emanating from the soul of humanity balances the evil which comes from the material aspect and is continuously over-emphasised." Bad karma, then, is best understood as "the rhythm of matter in contradistinction to the rhythm of the soul." (Externalisation of the Hierarchy, p117.)
Karma of Reward
There is, in fact, a "Karma of Reward... This is the 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." Already one can perceive the prophetic wisdom of these words as the world enters the Age of Maitreya, an age of divine intervention and the externalization of the Hierarchy only made possible by the use of human free will to offset its karmic liabilities. Similarly, more and more individuals are experiencing an increased capacity to generate good karma and gradually become conscious actors in their evolutionary dramas. "In time to come," DK said in the 1940s, "man will develop that mental attitude which will consider causes of greater importance than effects; he will then learn to consider with care the first steps taken in initiating any line of action, pondering upon and deducing the probable effects before committing himself to any specific deed." (Externalisation of the Hierarchy, p117.)
Surely the presence worldwide of the New Group of World Servers is further evidence that many thousands of people are already sufficiently free of the need to spend most of their time struggling with past negative karma and can reap, as their reward for past and present efforts, a great reward: the right and capacity to serve. Perhaps we are in fact on the verge of a period when, as DK taught, the difficult karma of the past "will be changed into the good karma which is the true destiny of humanity and will usher in the new era of joy and of peace and spiritual synthesis that synthesis which we call brotherhood." (Externalisation of the Hierarchy, p256.)
Leaves of Moryas Garden is a two-volume work from the Agni Yoga series of writings dictated to Helen Roerich under the supervision of the Master Morya in the 1920s and 1930s.
This article was prepared with the assistance and collaboration of Judy Kretmar, Charles Tebbs, and Ann Finneran in New York
It was in the January/February 1985
issue of Share International
Leaves Of Morya's Garden Book One The CallInto the New World my first message. You who gave the Ashram, And you who gave two lives, Proclaim. Builders and warriors, strengthen the steps. Reader, if you have not grasped — read again, after a while. The predestined is not accidental, The leaves fall in their time. And winter is but the harbinger of spring. All is revealed; all is attainable. I will cover you with My shield, if you but tend to your labors. I have spoken.--- The Agni Yoga books can be freely downloaded (available in seven languages): http://agniyoga.org/index.html
There is no salvation surer than that through devotion. One can forgive much where there is unswerving devotion. The man who is devoted in heart can be relied upon. It is cause for rejoicing when Hierarchy is upheld by devotion. At present it is especially needed. If yesterday's confusion seemed enormous, what can one say of tomorrow's? I have already prepared you for the growth of Armageddon, and you know that the black wings of darkness will not withstand the Fiery Sword. Be not astonished, the Battle increases!
Agni Yoga: Fiery World I, 605.
Excerpts from some of the books by the Master Djwhal Khul (also known as the Tibetan and the Master DK)
For Newcomers: Extract from a Statement by the Tibetan
Harmlessness (the scientific method, par excellence...of cleaning house & purifying the centres)
Transmission Meditation Groups
It is the creation, in co-operation with the Hierarchy of Masters, of a vortex or pool of higher energy for the benefit of humanity. There are more than 600 Transmission groups in 40 countries worldwide meeting on a regular basis. You may join an existing group in your area, or form your own group by simply inviting a few interested friends to meet with you at least once a week. All you need is the intention to do so and the desire to serve. There is never any fee to participate. http://www.transmissionmeditation.org
An excellent online catalogue and library documents the stages of return to the modern world of Maitreya & the Masters of Wisdom. An ongoing process for which some have been preparing humanity since 1875.
Collection of articles by Aart Jurriaanse
He wrote some compilations from Alice A. Bailey's books along with commentaries on those teachings. His work has helped many students of the Ancient Wisdom Teachings.
Agni Yoga Teachings (all the books in seven languages can be downloaded at www.agniyoga.org)
Agni Yoga Teachings regarding sex
If we compare two individuals, of whom one dissipates the vital substance while the other consciously conserves it, we will be amazed at how much more sensitive the spiritual apparatus of the second becomes. The quality of his labors becomes entirely different, and the quantity of his projects and ideas multiplies. The centers of the solar plexus and brain are being heated, as it were, by an invisible fire.
This article was dictated by the Tibetan teacher, Djwhal Khul, in 1934. It is printed in the book, The Externalisation of the Hierarchy, pp. 3-20, published by the Lucis Publishing Company. The need for trained esotericists is more urgent today than it was then.
The Alice Bailey books were published by Lucis Trust and can be purchased directly from them, or from fine bookstores everywhere: http://www.lucistrust.org
Lucis Trust has a ~new 14-page introductory PDF booklet about the 3 major full festivals