What happens when we die?
The question has been asked many times in the great religions and the writings of serious thinkers. Most of them affirm that life continues beyond the grave, and that the quality of the future lif is related to the quality of the life that preceded death. They speak in terms of faith and hope; yet few of them suggest that there is knowledge to be had.
And what happens before birth?
Information on the subject is hardly to be found – except in those religions where reincarnation is accepted. Written records provide ample evidence of the antiquity and universality of this doctrine.
What does the doctrine of reincarnation mean?
Humanity is a stage in the process at which latent possibilities are brought into activity. Having attained to self-consciousness, Man can now take responsibility for his own evolution. Each of us has an immeasurably long past, during which, by trial and error, life after life, we have been slowly and often painfully learning to co-operate in the process of nature.
How little can be achieved in a lifetime! How unequal is the equipment with which each of us is endowed at birth! Yet law is at work: endowment and opportunity are of one’s own making, every past act being the seed of the present harvest, whether of weeds or of good grain.
There are lives past and lives to come. No matter how short and apparently worthless, no life is wasted. For the doctrine of reincarnation cannot be understood apart from that of karma, the law by which, in things visible and invisible, effects and their causes are inseparably linked. There is no cause that, sooner or later, does not show itself in an effect; there is no event or circumstance that is not the effect of a past cause. Here, as in all departments of science, knowledge is power; so in human life karma makes us master of our destiny. In each today we choose our tomorrow.
And the end?
Can there indeed be an end to the process of unfoldment, the realisation of life’s infinite possibilities? We may think of degrees of perfection, of stages along the road towards fulfilment. But beyond that, must not the concept of a final goal give way to that of a limitless horizon! Enough for us to know the direction and so to harmonise our lives with the grand universal scheme.
Theosophy, the ageless Wisdom, presents a picture of the vast evolutionary process of which we are a part.
The teachers who handed down this picture were adepts in the science of life having developed within themselves the powers that enabled them to explore nature and discover her mysteries. Someof their knowledge has been made available in modern theosophical literature. Members of The Theosophical Society find the opportunity and encouragement to study this literature in a spirit of freedom.
The Theosoiphical Society has no creed.
Its motto is: There is no religion higher than Truth.