The question has been asked for centuries, “Where are the memories of past lives stored that they may be carried over from one life to another?”
The founder of the Theosophical Society, Mme. Helena Blavatsky, was a Russian woman of good birth who was married at the age of eighteen to an old general, whom she left at once, and set off to study the religions of Tibet and India. She was well equipped for this, being a natural medium and psychic, and able to grasp the abstractions of the religions of these two ancient lands.
After getting all she could out of the Tibetan wise men, she went to India and began sorting the several hundred cult beliefs, taking from each a little, and in due time she came up with a fairly straight line of beliefs dating back to the original Vedas and the Sanskrit-speaking days. This she carefully set down in books and it was not long before the Western world began to read what she had written, also to understand the religious concepts of Yoga, the Vedas and much that she tried to fill in and make reasonable.
Among the things which she unearthed was the very old belief that there were seven “bodies of man”. This was almost a full recovery of Huna and its TEN ELEMENTS of man, including a double of the body, but missing the High Self and its shadowy body. It is now evident that there was an intercourse with the original KAHUNAS sometime in the very formative days of the Vedas, but that, as time passed, the lore was distorted and partly lost.
To tell the truth, Blavatsky was a little vague about these “bodies”, and when her younger friend, Annie Besant came to take over a part of the Society, and to start her own writing in an endeavor to make clear the earlier and more ponderous writings of the Madame, the explanations she gave still lacked considerably. She mixed the shadowy bodies with the elements of the three selves, giving us an “emotional body” for the low self aka body. Then there was a “Mental body” for the middle self or conscious mind’s shadowy body.
When it came to naming the three vital forces or manas of the man, one frequency for each of the three selves, she was especially flustered. It so happened that in Sanskrit the word “mind” happened to be manas, so you couldn’t use mana in that language for vital force, and the early men of India had used the word, prana, for a substitute. They knew that there was more than one kind of this force, and took to speculating about it. Everything has its own mana to hold it together and make it alive, and for man they soon had several manas or pranas, one for thinking with, one for feeling emotions, one for this and that. As years rolled on, the Secret was lost and they had added dozens of pranas, one for almost anything a man could imagine himself doing.
For the three selves they gradually lost the Huna concept and decided to settle for two, one included the low self and the middle, the other vaguely covered the High Self. But they had, however, the “monad” or a unit of “self” that was the forerunner of the High Self — perhaps a level above it in the scale of existence. It was the “divine spark” that gives life and form and consciousness and is more like what we postulate as a “Nature Spirit” presiding over vegetable and animal forms and keeping everything working under the LAW. This monad also came down a step and incarnated in man as the Atma-Buddhi-Manas — which covers roughly the SELVES of Huna.
As there may be a learned Theosophist listening, and who may take issue with what I have said, let me set all right by quoting from Hoult’s “Dictionary of Theosophical Terms”, page 126, under the heading of “Seven Principles of Man”. He writes:
“In the earlier writings of the Theosophical Movement these principles were referred to as
- Atma, Spirit
- Buddhi, spiritual soul
- Manas, mind
- Kama, feeling
- Prana, life
- Linga-sharira, the etheric double
- Sthula-sharira, the physical body
“But there is confusion between ‘bodies’ and ‘principles’, between the objective and the subjective, and it would appear that it is the five-fold universe — not the seven-fold — that man, as thus described, is related. The analysis is by no means satisfactory.
“Objectively considered, man is, perhaps, best described as consisting of a Mental Body (Causal and Manasic), an Astral Body, and a Physical Body (Dense and Etheric). These correspond with, and are in relation to, ‘the three worlds’, and it is through, or by means of these bodies that the ‘Principles’, the Jivatmic expression, manifest themselves. Higher than these three worlds, existence is arupa or formless, and the ‘Principles’ are Divine rather than human.”
So, you see, it takes a little understanding of Huna to put things straight. And that brings us back to our original question of where man kept his memories between incarnations when he had no physical body.
The kahunas say in the shadowy body of the low or subconscious self. This body is, as I was at pains to explain in my last talk, PRACTICALLY INDESTRUCTIBLE. In it are stored the memories of many lives, but as we have no associated thoughts to help us to recall past lives, we seldom can relive them. But the THREE SELVES have, in some way, access to these memories, and can LEARN. If you are an old soul, or one who has lived several times, there are certain things which you automatically KNOW. We tend to avoid making the same very large mistake again and again and again. That is why people are so different. They have had different experiences and they will react differently in a similar situation according to their automatically recalled inner experience. The young soul is given to letting his emotions run away with him. Emotions are the things made for us by the low self, and are of the animal man. As we grow older in terms of incarnations, we tend to CONTROL OUR EMOTIONS instead of letting them control us.
The young soul loves to fly into a rage when crossed. The old one endures in silence. BUT, there is one emotion which we do not live down, and that is LOVE. Instead, we learn to refine and refine and refine it as we grow. It is the great common denominator of growth. A perfect capacity to love marks the advanced soul. Eventually we learn to love well enough to be joined and blended with the intended mate — the Adam or Eve of the veiled mystery — and graduate to the High Self level. (I discuss this at much length in my book, Huna Code In Religions.)
The kahunas taught that the only sin was that of hurting another. Nothing else one might do counted. Their belief might be reduced to a slogan, “No Hurt: No Sin.” This is a most inclusive doctrine and is the negative side of the command to stop hurting and LOVE. In religions the priests have laid a vast burden of SINS on the people. They found a fine target in sex, and in Christianity, whose dogmas were almost entirely formed by Paul, we find sex condemned as a great sin. He also invented the dogma that Jesus was crucified to save the world from the original sin of Adam and Eve, which mankind had never outlived. These things were most unreasonable and illogical, but they were largely what the Christian Church was built upon. Men and women became hermits to avoid sex. Women became nuns, and men became monks. Their priests were celibate. But Jesus didn’t instruct them to avoid sex at all costs, and the reason he was not married is because, as a High Self, he was already united in the “marriage made in Heaven” to his own Eve.
But to get back to the shadowy body of the low self as the place in which the memories of other lives are stored to bring them across with us. It must be remembered that “thoughts are things” and that when we think them, the low self makes a tiny impression in the shadowy substance in some way, and stores it in its memory collection. It may be likened to a tape on which sounds are recorded. Each memory has a place on the tape — a place in time — and if you set the low self hunting for a name you can’t recall, it will, so to speak, run its tape, for the time and place where the person was met, and in due time will come up with the name. As we move out of past incarnations into the present, we lose the time and place part of the tape so that we have little to go on when we try to remember back so far.
In recent days we have had hypnotic regression into other lives, and a number of people have tried to go back for clients and see what they did and give them a “life reading” — usually not very accurate, I fear. In any case, the evidence is gradually mounting to show that some people DO recall, naturally, or under hypnosis their past lives. These recollections are usually very disconnected and vague, but often a life just lived will be recalled, and things we feared in that life, will be found to be causing our low selves to visit on us various mysterious ills.
Geraldine Cummings, a good medium, writes in one of her books of going back into the past life of a man who had a fixation and couldn’t bring himself to sign papers of any kind. She saw that in the life just ahead he had had his hands cut off in connection with signing papers, and had carried over the fears. Once he understood this, he overcame his fears — drained off his complex, we say.
In a book by Joan Grant and Denys Kelsey, MANY LIFETIMES, Dr. Kelsey, who is a psychiatrist, throws much light on the fact that consciousness resides in the shadowy bodies of the united low and middle selves both in and between incarnations. In treating patients with mysterious physical or mental ills, he has often used hypnosis and caused them to go back, searching for lost memories of childhood, babyhood, and life before being born.
One of the most interesting cases which he describes, had particular bearing on what we are discussing. There was a young woman who had a bad “rejection” complex. It did things to her health and kept her unhappy, even though married and with two children. He regressed her back to the time when she was conceived, even a bit before conception, and the memories of her sensations as an egg in the womb were clear and vivid. She described herself as a “spot” there and her deep feeling that she must NOT touch something else (the sperm) that was near… but touch it she did, and impregnation resulted. Later investigation turned up the fact that HER mother had been greatly afraid of having a baby and had tried to avoid it, this mental state seeming to affect the daughter who must have been hanging around in her shadowy bodies wanting to get a new body and incarnating again. The memory was there of the fact that she should not do it, but she did, and suffered all down the line thereafter with the feeling of not being wanted, as, indeed, she was not. But, once she understood the source of the trouble, she got rid of the fixation and began to enjoy her love of husband and children in a normal way. Get the book and read it so that you can see for yourself. It may be on the newsstands as a paperback by now. In it Joan Grant also tells of her natural ability to recall past lives, and recounts some of the far past experiences. She is famous for her book, “The Winged Pharaoh”, in which she went all the way back to the time of King Tut in Egypt. She might be called an expert in such matters and her comments carry some weight in our considerations.
In her book she makes a statement which will bear measure from the Huna point of view. Let me read to you from page 2. “By this time I had acquired sufficient empirical experience to see the broad outlines of the progress of an individual during the initial four phases of his evolution. He starts with only enough energy to organize a single molecule. As energy increases, and his consciousness begins to expand, he requires more complex forms through which to express them.
After growing to adult to be container in the mineral phase of existence, he enters the vegetable kingdom, and then graduates, by a series of incarnations as various species of animal, to his first in carnation as a member of the race of homo sapiens.
During his first few lifetimes as a human-being the whole personality incarnates, so he is likely to have approximately the same capacities and perceptions whether he happens to be incarnate or excarnate. But as his conscious expands, it becomes too wide to be contained within the framework of a single personality. So the incarnate individual is now both a single personality and an integrated component of his total self.
We agree with the first part. It is reasonable and fits the Huna idea of evolution. But her last statement needs explaining, and she leaves the question there. Is she speaking of “integrating” what we call the three selves? (For what else is there to “integrate”?) Or has she something else in mind. But she gives a good general idea of what we live through as we come along in evolving up to the human stage. According to Huna, it joins a middle self at this point, and they go on together. This makes the animal or low self a companion to a more evolved self, and together they double their mental capacity, learn to talk and to use the higher or inductive type of reason. Over all of this growth the High Self is acting as the guide and director. It is the Self which has evolved a step beyond the middle self, and stands in the place of the Father and Mother combined.
It watches over us, never encroaching on our free will, and helping us as it watches us gain experience and grow in many ways. One of the ways in which we grow is in the accumulation of such experience as may teach us to be good and helpful and to LOVE more selflessly. We love because we understand. We understand what makes the less evolved people act like animals, grasping and greedy. Behind each of us lies our CONSCIENCE. This is something of which we of the more evolved sort accept and understand. It is something within us that suffers guilt pangs if we do something unjust or refuse help where we might easily give it — if we do or do not do a thousand things.
Just what IS conscience? we may ask. The answer may well be that it is the unrecognized memories of all past experiences — the experiences of many incarnations. We do not have the ability to look back into earlier lives, but when confronted by a situation, we subconsciously recall what happened when we hurt another and later learned the hard way not to do it again. Sympathy and imagination unite in this background of knowledge, and indeed, it is the only knowledge granted to us that really counts.
Like Napoleon, when he had conquered Egypt and went to stand before the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx, saying, “Five thousand years look down upon us” — we stand with such consciences as we have developed and may say, “Five thousand years of life and experience are now breathing down my neck every time I am tempted to do something that is not worthy of the best that is in me.”
Remember as you go along to avoid hurting others, and such other things as you may have done that you consider “sinful” will be forgiven you. Strive to learn to LOVE more fully, more expertly, for there is the way out.
Questions & Answers
Q: How do you explain the fact that some people seem not to have a conscience, but take a fine delight in cheating and hurting others?
A: These are the late arrivals on the scene or they are those who have not yet learned that in the long run it does not pay to take advantage of others. There is a built-in justice which will eventually catch up with them.
Q: Why does God allow some to impose on others and let them “flourish as the green bay tree” and never seem to have to pay up?
A: In living as a low self in the animal body, the theory is that we are subject to all the accidental difficulties of the animal level. God is supposed NOT to send diseases and plagues and poverty and sickness — but who knows what God is or wants? We seem to exist under some set LAW of growth and being, and as middle selves we share the trials and tribulations of the physical body. As fish or bird we may be eaten by some larger and stronger beast. As a man in a physical body we may be subject to hurts done to us by the strong and ruthless. But we do not die. We go to the other side for a while and rest up, absorb the lessons we have learned, and then return to incarnate once more. What looks like rank injustice to us may be just NECESSITY under some great Law which guides all of evolution. (Or can you think of a better answer?)
Q: Where and when and how does this train of evolution end?
A: The traditions of religion vary, and aside from them, we have little to guide us in the matter. The Vedic lore of India teaches that there is a great outpouring that goes on for a long cycle, then comes a turn in the opposite direction and the outgoing becomes the ingoing as each cycle ends. Between cycles there are periods of rest. This is reincarnation on a world scale, you will notice. We blow up our short lives and incarnations to world size in time and space.
In the Bible we have a more materialistic approach and read of the Day of Judgment. The subject has held the fascinated attention of true believers for many years, and they have combed the Prophesies looking for signs that the Last Day was around the comer. Some have thought that they had even the date figured out, and I remember as a child the rumor that had circulated giving a certain day and hour for the great event. I heard the elders talking in hushed voices about it, and was not at all certain what might happen. I prayed twice as loud and long on the eve of the Day, and… awoke in the morning delighted to find myself safe.
Be that as it may, the Indian concept may be closer to the truth. We are asked to believe by some that the fabled Atlantis rose to be a great civilization, then destroyed itself… leaving the world populated by a few pockets of isolated people who began all over from scratch. It is an interesting speculation that makes us wonder if we are not drawing to a close of an age. Mathematically, we have in incarnation about as many souls as there may be in existence, and with the population explosion threatening in another few years all by itself to exterminate the human race, that might be one way out. Then there is the threat of an atomic war which might break out at any moment and exterminate all life with radiation. What Divine Power would be watching as the last act was staged, no one knows.
If we are judged, no one knows by what standards, nor do we know what will become of the selves in their shadowy bodies. The world will not be fit for habitation again until the radiation wears itself out, and so, what the Vedas speak of as the “Long Night” may follow. We may all rest and try again, or just rest……………….. Meantime, we do well to do the best we can while there is time left, and try NOT TO HURT OTHERS, but LOVE THEM. MFL