A Study in Karma


Annie Besant


Published in 1917


Annie Besant

1847 - 1933



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Two Other Points


Students are sometimes troubled because in their dreams they yield to a vice which down here they have conquered, or feel the stirring of a desire which they thought long slain. Knowledge will destroy the trouble. In a dream, a man is in his astral body, and a stirring of desire, too weak to cause physical matter to vibrate, will cause a vibration in astral matter; let the dreamer resist, as he soon will if he determines to do so, and the desire will cease.

Further, he should remember that there will be left for some time in the astral body effete matter, which was formerly used when the desire arose, but which is now, from disuse, in process of disintegration. This may be temporarily vivified by a passing desire-form and thus caused to vibrate artificially. This may happen to a man when he is either sleeping or waking.

It is but the artificial movement of a corpse. Let him repudiate it: " Thou are not from me. Get thee gone." And the vibration will be stilled. The warrior who is battling with desire must not let his mind dwell on the objects which arouse desire. Again, thought is creative.


Thought will awaken desire, and stir it into vigorous activity. Of the man who abstained from action but enjoyed in thought, Shri Krishna sternly said: "That deluded man is called a hypocrite." Nourished by thought, desires cannot die. They will but become stronger by physical repression when fed by thought. It is better not to fight desire, but rather to evade it. If it arises, turn the mind to something else, to a book, a game, to anything which is at once pure and attractive. By fighting it, the mind dwells on it, and thus feeds and strengthens it.


If you know that the desire is likely to arise, have ready

something to which to turn at once. So shall it be starved out, having no nourishment of either act or thought.


Never let us forget that objects are desirable because of the immanence of God. "There is nothing moving or unmoving that can exist bereft of Me." At a certain stage of evolution, the attraction to them makes for progress. Only later on,

are they superseded. The child plays with a doll; it is well; it draws out the germinal mother-love. But a grown woman playing with a doll would be pitiable.


Objects of desire draw out emotions which aid in development, and stimulate exertion. They cease to be useful when we have grown beyond them, and in ceasing to be useful they become mischievous.


The bearing of all this on karma is self-evident. Since by desire we create opportunities and attract within our reach the objects of desire, our desires now map out our opportunities and our possessions hereafter. By harbouring none but pure desires, and wishing for naught that cannot be used in service, we ensure a future of opportunities for helping our fellows, and of

possessions which shall be consecrated to the Masterís work.




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