A Study in Karma


Annie Besant


Published in 1917


Annie Besant

1847 - 1933



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The Three Fates



"God created man in His own image," says a Hebrew Scripture, and the Trinities of the great religions are the symbols of the three aspects of the divine consciousness, reflected in the triplicity of the human. The first Logos of the Theosophist, the Mahadeva of the Hindu, the Father of the Christians, has Will as predominant, and shows forth the power of sovereignty, the Law by which the universe is built. The Second Logos, Vishnu, the Son, is Wisdom, that all-sustaining and all-pervading power by which the universe is preserved. The Third Logos, Brahma, the Holy Spirit, is the Agent, the creative power by which

the universe is brought into manifestation. There is nothing in divine or human consciousness which does not find itself within one or other of these modes of Self-expression.


Again, matter has three fundamental qualities responsive severally to these modes of consciousness, and without these it could no more be manifested than Consciousness could express itself without its modes.


It has inertia (tamas), the very foundation of all, the stability necessary to existence, the quality

which answers to Will.


It has mobility (rajas), the capacity to be moved, answering to Activity. It has rhythm (sattva), the equaliser of movement (without which movement would be chaotic, destructive), answering to Cognition.


The Yoga system, considering all from the standpoint of consciousness, names this rhythmic quality "cognisability," that which makes that matter should be known by Spirit.


All that is in our consciousness, affecting the environment, and all the environment affected by our consciousness, make up our world. The interrelation between our consciousness and our environment is our karma.


By these three modes of consciousness we spin our individual karma, the universal interrelation between Self and Not-Self being specialized by us into this individual interrelation As we rise above separateness, the individual again becomes the universal interrelation, but this universal interrelation cannot be transcended while manifestation endures.


This specializing of the universal, and the later universalizing of the special make up of the "world’s eternal ways" – the Path of Forthgoing to gather experience, the Path of Return, bringing the sheaves of experience home; this is the Great Wheel of Evolution, so relentless when seen from the standpoint of Matter, so beauteous when seen from the standpoint of Spirit.


"Life is not a cry, but a song."


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