Sex: theosophical quotations
BCW H.P. Blavatsky: Collected Writings, Theosophical Publishing House (TPH), 1950-91 B&HT Blavatsky and Her Teachers, Jean Overton Fuller, East-West Publications, 1988 Echoes Echoes of the Orient, W.Q. Judge, Point Loma Publications (PLP), 1975-87 EST Esoteric Teachings, G. de Purucker, PLP, 1987 ET2 The Esoteric Tradition, G. de Purucker, Theosophical University Press (TUP), 2nd ed., 1940 ET3 The Esoteric Tradition, G. de Purucker, TUP, 3rd ed., 2011 FEP Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, G. de Purucker, TUP, 2nd ed., 1979 FSO Fountain-Source of Occultism, G. de Purucker, TUP, 1974 GPE Golden Precepts of Esotericism, G. de Purucker, TUP, 3rd ed., 1979 HPBM H.P. Blavatsky: The Mystery, G. de Purucker, PLP, 1974 MiE Man in Evolution, G. de Purucker, TUP, 2nd ed., 1977 ML2 The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, A. Trevor Barker (comp.), TUP, 2nd ed., 1975 MLc The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, TPH, chron. ed., 1993 RTSP Some reflections on ‘Theosophy and sex problems’, Grace F. Knoche, Sunrise, Aug/Sep 1988, pp. 214-22 SD The Secret Doctrine, H.P. Blavatsky, TUP, 1977 (1888) SOP Studies in Occult Philosophy, G. de Purucker, TUP, 1973 TJC The Judge Case, Ernest E. Pelletier, Edmonton Theos. Soc., 2004 TLTL To Light a Thousand Lamps: A theosophic vision, Grace F. Knoche, TUP, 2001 TSP Theosophy and sex problems, G. de Purucker, Encyclopaedia Sexualis, 1936, reprinted in Sunrise, Aug/Sep 1987, pp. 209-17 Voice The Voice of the Silence, H.P. Blavatsky, TUP, 1976 (1889)
‘The impersonal Eros of the universe is the cosmic energy which holds the stars and planets in their courses, and it governs the building and the structure of atoms. It is all-permeant and in consequence all-powerful. ... [I]t is this same power which guarantees the individual integrity of every cosmic unit. It is also the mystic and wonderful magnetic sympathy which brings together human beings; man to man as brothers, woman to woman as sisters, and in one of its human fields of action, man to woman and woman to man in a genuine marriage.
‘[T]he love here spoken of is the entirely impersonal love of the cosmic divinity, which, because it is all-permeant, and no smallest particle in the universe can be outside of its spheres of influence, is likewise in its most material manifestations the causal force which often takes erratic, apparently irregular, and reprehensible forms. It is not the cosmic essence which is to be reprehended, for its action is invariably impersonal; but human beings, because possessing their modicum of free will and choice, can misuse this cosmic energy to ignoble ends – and by this very same cosmic energy, such misuse is impersonally and almost automatically reactive in the production of suffering, pain, and often disease. Yet even here, because the heart of nature is infinite compassion, such suffering and pain are the means by which we learn.’ (ET3 352-3)
‘The evolutionary history of man is characterized by the development of what are called in theosophy root-races. The root-races preceding our own were four in number. ...
‘The first of these great races which appeared on our earth during the present globe-round was in its beginning a race of astral entities, ethereal, invisible they would be to us in our present state of gross materiality.
‘This first great race was sexless, and propagated itself by fission; that is to say, it divided into two, each such fission producing a new individual. ...
‘When millions of years had passed, the second root-race came into being. This second race was less ethereal than its predecessor, for the races following each other in time grew constantly more material, more solid, more opaque, down to the fourth root-race.
‘The second race was asexual and reproduced itself by a method which is still represented on earth among some of the lower creatures, that is by “budding” or gemmation. ... A swelling appeared on the superficial or outer surface of the body of one of these entities; this swelling grew in size, and as it grew became constricted near the point of junction with the parent body, until at length the bond of union became a mere filament which finally broke, thus freeing the bud, which then grew into another entity in all ways like its parent.’ (MiE 234-6)
‘About the middle period of the life-cycle of this second root-race, these buds grew more numerous and became what zoologists would probably call human spores or seeds, or what H.P. Blavatsky called “vital sweat.” Thus many of these buds at certain seasons, after the parent-entity had become mature, would leave the parent-body as do the spores or seeds of plants today. ... Millions might indeed perish, but other millions would successfully grow into beings alike unto the bodies of the parents which gave them birth.’ (ET3 152)
‘Towards the end of this second great stock-race, which by that time had become still more viscidly gelatinous and filamentoid in structure (although it was as yet more or less ovoid in form), this race even then began to show some vague approximation to the present human form. ...
‘[L]ike the first race, the second had neither bones nor flesh (therefore no skeleton), nor organs (therefore no physiological functions of any kind). Its circulations ... were carried on by what may be called osmosis combined with magnetic attractions and repulsions ...’ (MiE 236-7)
‘With the incoming of the third stock-race [the Lemurians], the filamentoid structure thickened or condensed itself, and became the different parts of what is now the human body ...
‘The method of reproduction of the third root-race was in its beginning androgynous or double-sexed; but about the middle period ... hermaphroditism died out, and our present method of reproduction ensued. ...
‘[I]n the beginning of the third race reproduction was insured by an exudation of vital cells, issuing from the superficial parts of the body, and which, collecting together, formed huge ovoid aggregates or eggs. ...
‘As time went by, during the life cycle of this third race, reproduction by egg laying by the parent died out ... Whereas formerly the drops of vital fluid were exuded from nearly all parts of the body, as was the case at the end of the second root-race, more and more as time passed they localized themselves in a functional part of the organism which was the root of the later reproductive organs. These vital drops collected together and became the egg in which the human infant incubated for a few years, and finally issued from it, and began life safely, walking and moving even from the opening of the shell, much as a chick does today – a still living example of the old method.
‘Such was the method of reproduction in the third root-race at about the midpoint of its evolutionary course. ...
‘Towards the middle of the third race there occurred the most marvellous and epoch-making event in the history of humanity; and this was the infilling of the unself-conscious humanity with mind and its godlike powers. [This] occurred at about the middle point of the Mesozoic era, which we may perhaps put at the beginning of the Jurassic epoch, when the kings of the earth were the gigantic reptilian monsters whose fossilized skeletons are so frequently found in the rocks of that era.’ (MiE 237-40)
‘The third great race from about the middle point of its existence on earth ... began to grow more and more towards becoming a race containing individuals such as we are today; and in its last portion, did indeed fully develop the separate sexes as now known.’ (HPBM 164)
‘[T]he separation of the sexes occurred among the animals or beasts before it took place in the human family.’ (ET3 160)
‘[A]t the end of the third race, there followed the great stock-race which we call the fourth [the Atlanteans], which was the most material of all in its physical development – that race in which matter reached its climax of evolution, its highest point of unfolding. All the powers of matter were then functioning in every direction, but spirit was correspondingly in obscuration.
‘This fourth race lived its millions of years and produced some of the most brilliant civilizations of a purely material character that this globe has seen. Finally it passed away in its turn, giving birth to the fifth root-race: to us, who are still men of flesh and bones and organs, still retaining the old method of reproduction, which nevertheless is destined to pass away in its turn, giving place to a newer and a higher method. For sex is but a passing phase, and the next great race will see its end.’ (MiE 240)
‘[T]he separation of human individuals into distinct sexes ... is founded on the dual nature of mind, of the manasic part in us. When mind entered into the previously “mindless” race, the dual character of mind immediately made itself felt ... Thus it was that the androgynous race of the time slowly drew apart into the separate individuals as they now exist ...
‘Thus the separation was a purely natural affair, based fundamentally on what you can call the positive and negative sides of mind [or] the bi-polar character of the manas within us. Thus sex is really very little higher than the lower parts of the manas, and consequently is not a spiritual thing at all, a mere passing phase in evolution. As the human race evolves and rises out of the lower mind into the higher, sex will disappear.’ (SOP 676)
‘[W]e would ask science – with regard to the origin of the human and animal species – which theory of evolution ... is the more scientific ...
(1). Is it that of an evolution which starts from the beginning with sexual propagation?
(2). Or that teaching which shows the gradual development of organs; their solidification, and the procreation of each species, at first by simple separation from one into two or even several individuals. Then follows a fresh development – the first step to a species of separate distinct sexes – the hermaphrodite condition; then again, a kind of parthenogenesis, “virginal reproduction,” when the egg-cells are formed within the body, issuing from it in atomic emanations and becoming matured outside of it; until, finally, after a definite separation into sexes, the human beings begin procreating through sexual connection?’ (SD 2:657)
‘Physical man must have passed through the same stages of the evolutionary process in the various modes of procreation as other animals have: he must have divided himself; then, hermaphrodite, have given birth parthenogenetically (on the immaculate principle) to his young ones; the next stage would be the oviparous – at first “without any fructifying element,” then “with the help of the fertilitary spore”; and only after the final and definite evolution of both sexes, would he become a distinct “male and female,” when reproduction through sexual union would grow into universal law.’ (SD 2:659)
‘[T]he progressive order of the methods of reproduction, as unveiled by science, is a brilliant confirmation of esoteric ethnology. ...
(a) As seen in the division of the homogeneous speck of protoplasm, known as Moneron or Amoeba, into two.
(b) As seen in the division of the nucleated cell, in which the cell-nucleus splits into two sub-nuclei, which either develop within the original cell-wall or burst it, and multiply outside as independent entities. (Cf. the first root-race.)
A small portion of the parent structure swells out at the surface and finally parts company, growing to the size of the original organism; e.g., many vegetables, the sea-anemone, etc. (Cf. the second root-race.)
A single cell thrown off by the parent organism, which develops into a multicellular organism reproducing the features of the latter, e.g., bacteria and mosses.
IV. Intermediate hermaphroditism:-
Male and female organs inhering in the same individual; e.g., the majority of plants, worms, and snails, etc.; allied to budding. (Cf. second and early third root-races.)
V. True sexual union:-
(Cf. later third root-race.)’ (SD 2:166-7)
‘Creative powers in man were the gift of divine wisdom, not the result of sin. This is clearly instanced in the paradoxical behaviour of Jehovah, who first curses Adam and Eve (or Humanity) for the supposed committed crime, and then blesses his “chosen people” by saying “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Gen. ix. 1). The curse was not brought on mankind by the Fourth Race, for the comparatively sinless Third Race, the still more gigantic Antediluvians, had perished in the same way; hence the Deluge [destruction of Atlantis] was no punishment, but simply a result of a periodical and geological law. Nor was the curse of KARMA called down upon them for seeking natural union, as all the mindless animal-world does in its proper seasons; but, for abusing the creative power, for desecrating the divine gift, and wasting the life-essence for no purpose except bestial personal gratification. When understood, the third chapter of Genesis will be found to refer to the Adam and Eve of the closing Third and the commencing Fourth Races. In the beginning, conception was as easy for woman as it was for all animal creation. Nature had never intended that woman should bring forth her young ones “in sorrow.” Since that period, however, during the evolution of the Fourth Race, there came enmity between its seed, and the “Serpent’s” seed, the seed or product of Karma and divine wisdom. For the seed of woman or lust, bruised the head of the seed of the fruit of wisdom and knowledge, by turning the holy mystery of procreation into animal gratification; hence the law of Karma “bruised the heel” of the Atlantean race, by gradually changing physiologically, morally, physically, and mentally, the whole nature of the Fourth Race of mankind, until, from the healthy King of animal creation of the Third Race, man became in the Fifth, our race, a helpless, scrofulous being, and has now become the wealthiest heir on the globe to constitutional and hereditary diseases, the most consciously and intelligently bestial of all animals!’ (SD 2:410-1)
‘[T]he fire [of selfconsciousness] received [by mankind in the allegory of Prometheus] has turned into the greatest curse: the animal element, and consciousness of its possession, has changed periodical instinct into chronic animalism and sensuality.* It is this which hangs over humanity like a heavy funereal pall. Thus arises the responsibility of free-will; ... “the restless insatiability of the lower passions and desires, when, with self-asserting insolence, they bid defiance to the restraints of law.” [intro. to Prometheus Bound]
‘*The animal world, having simple instinct to guide it, has its seasons of procreation, and the sexes become neutralized during the rest of the year. Therefore, the free animal knows sickness but once in its life – before it dies.’ (SD 2:412)
‘[M]an at a certain former period of his evolution was without sex, was sexless, and ... in the next coming root-race, the sixth root-race, he will be without sex as we now understand it. Sex is but a passing phase in evolutionary development ... Nature has followed that line, as it were, under protest, through the evildoing involved in our past karma, as the only way by which souls can find incarnation at present; but as the race grows in spiritual strength and in spiritual knowledge, and looks with closer self-analysis into its own inner being, children will come into the world without fathers; and from being at first an unheard of phenomenon, and presumably to be called a portent or a prodigy when it first appears, this procedure of generation will become the natural course of things in the sixth root-race. Our present sexually separated men and women, the present method of generation of human beings, of animals, and of some plants, will, in those far distant times of the future, be no more.’ (FEP 394-5)
‘[T]he present sex condition in mankind ... will be succeeded in due course of time by ... a partial return to hermaphroditism or androgyny, to be followed again by something still less suggestive of sex; and it is obvious that these methods will be preceded in the human kingdom’s evolutionary history by facts casting their shadows before, which will be looked upon at first at playthings of nature, lusus naturae, and then become universal; and the present system will be looked upon as a rapidly dying out reproduction-method of degenerates, until it disappears. The animals, although dying out as a kingdom, will reflect likewise and copy more or less what the human kingdom goes through ...’ (SOP 457)
‘[I]n 4,000,000 years from now more or less, the sixth root-race will be individuals leaving sex behind. The embryonic organs of sex that nature still preserves with us, shows us what she is intending to bring forth in the future, and androgyny will again appear, but in a more refined form ...’ (SOP 284)
‘[S]ex is but a passing phase in racial evolution and, strictly speaking, is not normal to mankind on globe D of our planetary chain. This method of procreation actually was copied from the beasts, which “separated” before “man.” ... [A]s we have already passed in fact beyond the first steps of the luminous arc, of the arc of ascent, we shall find as the ages pass that our present physiological status as men and women is to be outgrown. ...
‘[T]he teaching tells us that at the end of our own fifth race, men and women will be disappearing as opposite sexes; and that by the middle of the sixth root-race (the race to come) men and women as separate sexes shall be no longer. ... [T]he first examples of parthenogenetic reproduction are already due, and would have shown themselves already, were it not for our being belated by the heavy weight of our Atlantean karma ...
‘About the middle of the sixth race humanity ... will evolve or give birth to their own genus, by a process similar to that which took place in the early third race, a process called in the esoteric wisdom “creating sons by passive yoga”; that is to say, by meditation and by unconscious will, at first, later to be succeeded by conscious will in the seventh or following root-race. ... The sixth will [produce children], much as the flowers grow from the plants, almost unconsciously as it were, hence by “passive yoga”; not so much unconsciously from the mental standpoint but physiologically almost unconscious of any “procreative” act, or of any creative act. The seventh will “create” their offspring with conscious and fully active imagination, a force called kriyashakti in Sanskrit.’ (FEP 398-9)
‘[T]he time [has] even now come when children might be produced without fathers; but the race is belated in its evolutionary course, and probably ages will yet pass before this parthenogenetic process begins. Yet even this process is merely the first step to a still more different process to come later, but it will take place before this our fifth root-race ends; it will come to pass partly because men and women are growing more alike, instead of more unlike. As long as marriage lasts, however, it ought to be a union of mutual respect and kindness, in which each helps the other to grow morally and intellectually.
‘At the end of this fifth root-race, man and woman as sexes will have nearly passed away; and in the sixth race, naturally, at certain specified times, without passion, by meditation and by passive will and thought, humans will evolve forth their offspring, much in the “unconscious” way (though the term unconscious is incorrect) that the flowers bring forth their blooms; and in the seventh race of this round on this planet the humans of that splendid time will bring forth from within themselves glorious creations of the active will and of the imagination, their “children”; and there will then be a race of Adepts, of incarnate devas upon earth. ... It is only because we have sunken morally and are belated that the phenomenon of virginal birth has not yet appeared on earth as a physical fact; though ... it has been “prophesied” in religious mysteries, and the initiation ceremonies contained one where the initiant, after certain conditions had been complied with, was said to be “born of a virgin,” thus anticipating, or rather forecasting, what was to come to the entire race in the future ...’ (FEP 409-10)
Process of reembodiment
‘Before the time of actual physical reincarnation on this earth-globe, the psycho-spiritual energies which had attracted the ego to the bosom of the spiritual monad during its post-mortem peregrinations reach a point when they become relatively exhausted; coincidently new attractions to the lower spheres begin to come into operation, impelling the ego back to earth. As the reimbodying ego works its ray “downwards,” irresistibly drawn by the reawakening of memories of a previous incarnation, it is gradually pulled psychomagnetically to the planes wherein it had lived before, and finally enters the most physical part of the planetary chain of earth – actually the atomic world of globe D, including its inter-atomic and intra-atomic “ethers.” With its gradual descent from the spiritual realms, the lower portions of its auric egg begin to stir. Simultaneously, the consciousness of the ego begins to sink from dreaming into unconsciousness, and the gestation period preceding rebirth begins. This is the time when the auric egg, acting automatically and instinctively under the driving urge of the awakening karma, gradually forms within itself the vague outlines of the astral form, which latter slowly drifts to the family or the woman to which the karmic psychomagnetic attraction is strongest. ...
‘The tanhic elementals may be ... described as the emotional and mental thought-deposits ...; and these remain after the second death – and before the ego’s entering the devachan – stamped upon the various kinds of life-atoms which had functioned on all the lower planes of man’s constitution. Some of these tanhic elementals or life-atoms peregrinate, and finally are psychomagnetically attracted back to the reincarnating ego during its process of bringing forth a new astral form preceding rebirth. Others belong to the monadic substances of the auric egg, and consequently remain therein in a latent condition, to awaken only when the devachani leaves the devachan. Then these dormant tanhic elementals, in combination with the other life-atoms which had been peregrinating, combine in building up the new astral form ...; and it is largely these two classes of tanhic life-atoms or elementals which compose the skandhas [a Sanskrit word meaning bundles or aggregates] of the man in his coming incarnation. And these skandhas are the various groups of mental, emotional, psychovital and physical characteristics which, when all collected together, make the new personality through which the higher man or egoic individuality works. ...
‘From the moment when the ego leaves the devachanic condition, the astral form becomes steadily more complete or definite as the gestating entity approaches the entrance into the womb. The ray from the reincarnating ego enters first the aura and later the womb of the mother-to-be by means of the growing astral form, which takes its rise in and from the most appropriate life-center or life-atom latent in the auric egg of the incoming entity.
‘The term astral form is descriptive ... of an ethereal agglomerate of life-atoms in the auric egg which is at first but vaguely shadowed, yet gradually assumes more or less a definite human outline, and usually one of extremely small size. ...
‘As the radiance or ray of the reincarnating ego reaches this plane, it gradually entangles itself in physical substance, and establishes thereby its link with the human reproductive cell. That link is made because of electromagnetic, or rather psychomagnetic, affinity between the reimbodying ray and the living germ cell. Every germ cell is a compact of inner forces and substances ranging from the divine to the physical, and therefore is the “precipitation” onto our plane of a psycho-ethereal radiance. In other words, it is an imbodiment of a ray-point that, originating in the invisible worlds and contacting physical matter by affinity, thus arouses a molecular aggregate of living substance into becoming a reproductive cell. ...
‘The vital germ cell, whether of a man or of a woman, is originally an integral part of the model-body, which is an electromagnetic body of astral substance belonging to the plane just above the physical; and around this astral form the physical body is built cell for cell, bone for bone, and feature for feature.
‘When the life-atom as the chosen ray-point is invigorated by the descending energies of the reincarnating ray, it enters by psychomagnetic attraction into the father’s astral body, and is in due course deposited into his appropriate physical organ as an astral precipitate. It thus becomes physicalized as a germ cell. In the mother this process of astral precipitation is the same in general outline, the precipitation being from the identic ray in both cases: in fact, each parent contains in his or her appropriate organ life-atoms belonging to and used by the reincarnating ego in past lives.
‘The female parent is the vehicle of what may be called the vegetative or passive side of the ray-point, and the male parent the vehicle for the positive or active side. The ray-point seems to split into two, later to reunite by the coalescence of the positive and negative sides after the fertilizing of the germinal cell. ...
‘To restate the above in somewhat different language: the more material part of the new astral form is drawn first into the woman’s aura and then into the womb wherein it produces the living ovum and finds its suitable milieu; coincidently the inner and more manasic portion of the astral form, which is the more ethereal part of the tip of the ray from the reincarnating ego, flashes to the male parent and produces in its appropriate physiological seat the positive life-germ. The father sows the seed, the mother receives it, fosters it, and brings it forth.
‘The human egos awaiting incarnation are exceedingly numerous, so that there may be scores of entities which could become children of any one couple, yet there is always one whose attraction is strongest to the mother-to-be at any specific physiological moment, and it is this astral form which becomes the child. Many are the cases where the astral form, thus “rayed” in two directions, so to speak, finds its progress into physical birth stopped because the man and the woman are either celibate or prefer no children, or for some other reason. In such cases, the astral form under karmic urge and natural law tries again. Should the first environment prove a failure, the reincarnating ego may find itself drawn to another couple because of karmic relationships in other lives. ...
‘[O]nce conception has taken place and the embryo begins its growth, any attempt whatsoever to stop its development or to destroy it is plain murder. In the teaching of the esoteric philosophy, it is considered as being only a little less bad than the murder of an adult human – little less only because such destruction or abortion takes place before the self-consciousness of the victim has had a chance to come into flower. ...
‘When the astral form has definite union with the human ovum, it begins to grow as the foetus. The lower or grosser portions of the astral form become the linga-sharira [astral model-body] of the child, in combination with the two general classes of tanhic elementals; whereas its higher portions, the vehicles of the “ray” from the reincarnating ego (as the embryo and later as the child grows), become the intermediate parts of the constitution of the man. ...
‘The astral form begins its first growth within the reimbodying auric egg, gestates within it and continues to be “fed” by its essences throughout the prenatal processes, and in time brings about the stages of birth, infancy, childhood and adulthood; for, in fact, the auric egg is really the true manifested man considered as being the vital auric pranas flowing forth from the various foci of the reincarnating monad.
‘When the ray-point of the reimbodying ego, itself a ray from the spiritual monad, reaches its own intermediate sphere, it descends no farther into matter. But its psychomagnetic ray, having stronger affinities for the material worlds, descends still farther, awakening into activity the life-atoms in each one of the planes between that of the reimbodying ego and the astral-physical matter of our earth.’ (FSO 621-6)
‘[I]t is only when the infant first moves in the mother that occurs what may be called the actual entrance into the unborn child of the higher attributes and qualities of the reincarnating ego. ... Hitherto the fetus has been growing of the vegetative, the vital-astral part of the incarnating being. But from the first movement of the unborn child till birth, and indeed all through life, the life-atoms of the various classes on the different planes, which belonged to the same ego in its former lives, are swept by irresistible psychomagnetic attraction into the constitution anew, each life-atom or group of life-atoms seeking its own plane in the constitution of the inner man, physical and otherwise.’ (ET3 489)
‘The mystery of human birth is not solely a physiological phenomenon by any means, but is in fact a very holy one. If men and women only knew the sacredness of it, then for their own self-protection, outside of the sense of mutual respect and of decency that every normal man and woman possesses at the bottom of his or her heart, this subject would always be approached in a spirit of truly religious awe, and marriage would become what it ever ought to be: a most beautiful, because a most holy state: and the acts which lead to the “procreation” and birth of a little child would be undertaken as a truly religious function.’ (ET2 907)
‘We are ageless sparks of eternity, with a beginningless and endless pattern of destiny that has been in the making for aeons. In every atom of our being, from the physical to the divine, we are stamped with the memory essences of what we have been and aspired to be. Our individual DNA is the physical record of our inner explorations, adventures, progress – and of our future too, because we are the future in seed.
‘In reality the reincarnation of a human being is primarily a spiritual event. Life is sacred at all times. It does not start with conception; its manifestation on this plane may begin then, but life is a continuing process. We have confused our values largely because we know so little about who we are. We think that we as parents own our children and that because sperm and ovum meet and an embryo forms within the body of a mother, that the mother makes the child. That is not true. The living entity that is animating a fetus is not a new creation, freshly minted by God for this life only; rather, it represents a reentry into earth-life of a returning ego or soul that has had a long series of lives reaching back into eternity’s past. In this context, indeed, abortion is highly questionable, except to save the life of the mother. Who are we to decide to cut short the soul’s experience in midstream? We cannot cut it off completely, but we can and do interrupt its process of incarnation – fortunately only for a time, because the returning soul will try again and again, if need be, until it finds an opening for rebirth.
‘Undoubtedly there are instances when the decision is extremely difficult: victims of rape, of willful assault and incest, draw deeply upon our sympathies. Nevertheless, the fact remains: a child who has been begun has as much right for a chance on this earth as any other, painful though the circumstances may be for it and all concerned. None of us knows the interlinkings of karma that impel that child to seek just those parents and those conditions which, if worked through intelligently and with love, will benefit child and parents alike.
‘Paradoxically, we know too much and too little about the mystery of birth. Modern technology enables parents to see the growing embryo and discover perchance that their baby will be badly crippled or mentally handicapped. The thought instinctively comes: wouldn’t it be kinder to end the baby’s life before it is born, so as to save it and its parents needless suffering? It is a harrowing decision; but with the larger perspective that a knowledge of reincarnation and karma yields, the question remains: should we not give the benefit to life rather than to death? We have to distinguish between the immortal element and the body. Oftentimes physical handicaps are of signal import for soul development; we are not trained or wise enough to comprehend the inner purpose behind an incoming ego’s choice of a mental or physical abnormality. ...
‘When we trust that life is inherently just and compassionate, regardless of appearances and seeming injustices and cruelties that beset people all over the world, we know that no child is born to a family or into circumstances where it does not belong. In principle, it is fairly simple to agree to this. However, if our higher self invites into our home a child who is severely impaired, mentally, physically, or psychologically, it may be difficult at first not to feel we have been cheated. There are thousands, probably millions of these “special” children, but this by no means indicates they are spiritually handicapped. If we can take the long-range view we will know that this little one has chosen us as parents, to love and nurture it through its present ordeal. To give love and tenderness unconditionally calls for a magnanimity of soul that accepts the present karma as a gift. The wonder is that many parents, after the initial shock, are doing just this, drawing upon resources of love and resilience they were unaware they had. ...
‘We are many-splendored beings, with a karmic history stretching far into the past and with an ever receding horizon of opportunity before us.’ (TLTL 37-40)
‘Food, sexual relations, drink, are all natural necessities of life; yet excess in them brings on disease, misery, suffering, mental and physical, and the latter are transmitted as the greatest evils to future generations ...’ (ML2 57, MLc 274)
‘Esotericism has never proscribed sexual or marital functions created by nature herself. Esotericism works in, with, for nature, and condemns but immorality, abuse and excess. Moreover, of all the animals, man is the most animal in his excesses; the beast has its seasons, but man has none.’ (BCW 8:88)
‘Man has fallen to so material a level that it is impossible to suppress sexual passion, but its exaltation is manifestly his ruin. ... The apotheosis of passion, from the bitter fruit of which man has everlasting need to be redeemed, is the surest sign of moral degradation. Liberty to love according to the impulse of the senses, is the most profound slavery. From the beginning nature has hedged that pathway with disease and death. Wretched as are countless marriages, vile as are the man-made laws which place marriage on the lowest plane, the salvation of free love is the whisper of the snake anew in the ear of the modern Eve.’ (BCW 12:258- 9)
‘If a man is taught that he is but a more evolved beast, a higher species of ape, and that when he dies that is the total end of him and of all of him, he naturally says to himself: “Why not enjoy life while I have it? Why not use every function that nature has given to me in the manner that is most pleasing to emotion and passion?” ...
‘Sex in the present human physical vehicle really serves two purposes: (a) first and most important, the continuance of the human family; (b) second, the strengthening and building up of the human body as a whole, and of all its tissues and organs as particulars, by the retention therein of the vital sex-essences. ...
‘It is perhaps too much to hope in these days of nervous tension and moral slackness that the sexual function will be used solely for the purposes for which nature has evolved it ...; so that possibly for ages hence the function will be misused even in marriage for purposes of merely sensuous gratification; but ... abuse of the function ... is apt to bring about disease, both psychological and physical ...’ (TSP 213-4)
‘[E]very single instance of the use of the generative function, whether for generation or for sensual indulgence, has its effect, immediate or remote, not only on the brain and nervous system, but likewise has its karmic reaction or consequences on one’s moral nature; and thus not only does every such act bring about a shortening of the normal life-span of the body, but habit or frequent repetition coarsens and therefore worsens all the lower layers of the auric egg.
‘Human nature in so many of its aspects, nevertheless, is today so ethically frail, and human emotions are in our age of kali-yuga so strongly bound up with personal affections, that any attempt to enforce too rigid a rule of marital conduct might actually eventuate in scores and perhaps hundreds of cases of deliberate or wilful immorality and conjugal infidelity ...
‘H.P.B. has written very pointedly on this matter in The Key to Theosophy [pp. 240, 262-3]. She shows very clearly that the true theosophist reveres the marriage-state, and far from condemning it or urging abstinence from it for everybody, she points to it as being, for the average man or woman, who is neither Master nor advanced chela, a perfectly proper state and indeed one highly to be commended. ...
‘[T]he matter of the proper conduct of those who are married is one which is left wholly to their own conscience, to their sense of mutual responsibility and affection, with, however, a constant and ever watchful eye to a sincere attempt to make of their married state one of growing and increasing continence by mutual consent. ...
‘[Marriage] is the best safeguard against immorality, and largely because of the fact that it evokes from both man and woman the nobler qualities of self-sacrifice, patience, mutual forgiveness, and the beginning at least of the learning to live for others.’ (EST 12:99-101)
‘I have known of individuals who walked around in the cloak and mask of an immaculate saintship yet whose lives were immoral to the core; so it is perfectly clear that what students ... should strive for is inner purity of thought and feeling and of action, whether married or single.’ (EST 2:133)
‘[N]o marriage, provided the best health of the child-to-be is hoped for, should ever be consummated during the fortnight comprised between the full moon and the new moon; furthermore, no procreative act should ever take place when the mother-to-be is either unwilling or physiologically in a non-receptive condition; in other words, the periodic menstrual function should enter into consideration.
‘Furthermore, in view of the cyclically annual risings of the generative forces of nature, it would be extremely wise to have all procreative acts take place during the early spring when the forces of nature are unfolding after the winter sleep, when vegetation is burgeoning, and when all life feels the new and rising impulse of the vital flow. So well was this known in ancient times that the month corresponding to late January and early February among the Attic Greeks was called Gamelion, from the Greek word gameo, to marry, and Gamelion was the fashionable month for marriages.’ (TSP 216)
‘Madame Blavatsky said she would not judge a poor woman who availed herself of the [contraceptive] means offered, but those means did nothing to reduce the root of the problem, which was that: “the abnormal development of the sexual instinct in man – in whom it is far greater and more continuous than in any brute – is due to the mingling with it of the intellectual element, all sexual thoughts, desires and imaginations having created thought-forms, which have been wrought into the human race, giving rise to a continual demand, far beyond nature ...” whereas sexual passion could be “trained and purified into a human emotion, which may be used as one of the levers in human progress, one of the factors in human growth”. It was therefore for men and women “to hold this instinct in complete control, to transmute it from passion into tender and self-denying affection”.’ (B&HT 216-7)
‘If instead of being taught in Sunday Schools useless lessons from the Bible, the armies of the ragged and the poor were taught Astrology – so far, at any rate, as the occult properties of the Moon and its hidden influences on generation are concerned, then there would be little need to fear increase of the population nor to resort to the questionable literature of the Malthusians [on birth control] for its arrest. For it is the Moon and her conjunctions that regulate conceptions, and every astrologer in India knows it. During the previous and present races, at least at the beginning of this one, those who indulged in marital relations during certain lunar phases that made those relations sterile were regarded as sorcerers and sinners. But even now those sins of old, based on the Occult knowledge and the abuse of it, would appear preferable to the crimes of to-day, which are perpetrated because of the complete ignorance of, and disbelief in all such occult influences.’ (SD 1:228-9fn)
‘Nothing can be more moral or conducive to human happiness and perfectibility than the application of [the law of continence in its esoteric meaning]. Animals follow it instinctively, as do also the savage tribes. Once pregnant, to the last day of the nursing of her babe, i.e., for eighteen or twenty months, the savage squaw is sacred to her husband; the civilised and semi-civilised man alone breaking this beneficent law.’ (BCW 12:244)
‘The seclusion of women during the period of menstruation is a time-honoured custom amongst several nations. Elementals, it is said, are easily attracted towards the female during this period; and so are the infernal incubi. If a woman is moving about freely, the contagion of bad magnetic aura is supposed to infect every person and thing in the house and render them amenable to the same influence; and hence seclusion and purification are strictly enjoined in this case by the codes of several nations.’ (BCW 6:340-1)
‘Sexual intercourse is a right and proper thing when used for its right object as intended by nature, i.e., the propagation of children. But if indulged in simply for personal and sensual gratification it becomes like any other passion and as regards this you can decide for yourself.
‘The arguments pro and con on this point will not help you much. Better get them out of your mind and depend on the leading of the spirit and the voice of conscience.
‘Endeavour to do that which is right from the standpoint of your inner consciousness, and you will be led in the right way.’ (Judge, TJC 464)
‘[T]he problems arising from overpopulation are becoming increasingly severe, but from the long-range view we cannot help but wonder what type of karma we are building for the future by our rather casual way of attracting returning souls and then preventing their incarnation. ...
‘The only real protection for any one of us against becoming enslaved by our body and psychomental and emotional nature is to guard against overindulgence of any faculty or appetite. By forgetting ourselves and channeling our energies into service-oriented fields, we build constructive habits of thinking and emotion that keep the nature in health and in balance. ...
‘We are touching on man’s and woman’s basic urge to unite as one in loving communion. Ideally, as has been stated, this should occur only when children are desired. But we do not live in an ideal world, and it is scarcely to be expected that most people would choose a life of continence, especially when the act is an “expression of deepest love and care.” ...
‘[To] live a more spiritual life ... we must first change the direction of our thinking from self-interest to genuine concern for others. ... [M]arriage and parenting are probably one of the finest training schools, for where are patience, self-sacrifice, discipline and, above all, love in greater demand ...?’ (RTSP 218-9, 221-2)
‘[T]he idea of some rather sensuous people that the higher nature of human evolution is to be achieved by “the union of twin souls” is altogether wrong. The secret lies in the individual himself or herself, for in each individual there are the two poles. Thus it comes about that a human individual for two or three or more incarnations is a man or a woman; and as karman makes for adjustments in these things and prevents extremes, slowly such an individual begins to lean or have a bias towards the other half of mankind, ... and when that reaches a certain point, then the man’s incarnations become feminine, and the woman’s incarnations ... become masculine. Thus it is that our destiny swings us from incarnations as a man to incarnations as a woman, then back to a man, then back to a woman, and this will last until sex disappears slowly and inevitably. ...
‘What we must strive to do is to rise above sex in both thought and feeling, directing our efforts towards the spiritual within us, in which there is neither sex nor any of its attributes.’ (SOP 676-7)
* * *
‘The ceaseless efforts of frail man not to fulfil his end, namely to liberate his Spiritual Ego from the thraldom of matter, but to adopt a particularly comfortable condition of life, will probably be continued so long as the present race continues to infest the surface of the earth. ... The higher grades of the condition of man, virginity and its consequent glory, are set aside for the objects of sensual pleasures and pecuniary advantages of marriage.’ (BCW 11:40)
‘A very pernicious doctrine is again making an appearance. ... This is the dreadful doctrine of satiation: that the only way to deal with lust and other things of the lower plane is to satisfy all cravings. ... [I]t is easy to discern the truth to be that satiation of a craving does not remove its cause. If we eat, and dissipate hunger, the need for food will soon be felt again. And so with all cravings and tendencies which are classified as bad or low, or those which we wish to get rid of. They must be opposed. To satisfy and give way to them will produce but a temporary dullness. The real cause of them all is in the inner man, on the plane of desire whether mental or physical. So long as no effort is made to remove them they remain there. The Voice of the Silence is against the doctrine of satiation most clearly, and so are the voices of all the sages.’ (Echoes 1:472-3)
‘Do not believe that lust can ever be killed out if gratified or satiated, for this is an abomination inspired by Mara [temptation personified]. It is by feeding vice that it expands and waxes strong, like to the worm that fattens on the blossom’s heart.’ (Voice 17)
The eastern occultists consider the ‘sexual relation ... as a “Karma” pertaining only to the mundane relation of man, who is dominated by Illusion, a thing to be put aside, the moment that the person becomes “wise.” They considered it a most fortunate circumstance if the Guru (teacher) found in his pupil an aptitude for the pure life of Brahmacharya.’ (SD 2:458)
‘The question is often asked, Why should celibacy and chastity be a sine quâ non rule and condition of regular chelaship, or the development of psychic and occult powers? ... When we learn that the “third eye” was once a physiological organ, and that later on, owing to the gradual disappearance of spirituality and increase of materiality (spiritual nature being extinguished by the physical), it became an atrophied organ [the pineal gland], as little understood now by physiologists as the spleen is – when we learn this, the connection will become clear. During human life the greatest impediment in the way of spiritual development, and especially to the acquirement of Yoga powers, is the activity of our physiological senses. Sexual action being closely connected, by interaction, with the spinal cord and the grey matter of the brain, it is useless to give any longer explanation. Of course, the normal and abnormal state of the brain, and the degree of active work in the medulla oblongata, reacts powerfully on the pineal gland ...’ (SD 2:295-6)
‘[N]o one can properly or with safety enter on the study of practical occultism, in the real sense of the word, unless he or she is a celibate ... The spinal cord puts into connection the brain and the generative organs, and this connection is further strengthened by the sympathetic system. The cord, however, gives an open passage, which opens into the important cavities of the brain. Excitement of the generative organs sends up impulses and subtle essences to the brain by way of the spinal canals. Now the three vital airs are ruled by the will, and will and desire are the higher and lower aspects of one and the same thing. These airs ... play in the canals, and hence the importance of their absolute purity. For if they soil the vital airs energized by the will, disease results at the best, black magic at the worst. Therefore all sexual intercourse is forbidden to the students of practical occultism.’ (BCW 12:702)
‘[T]he real adepts ... are the most happy of mankind, since their pleasures are connected with the higher existence, which is cloudless and pangless. The earliest among the changes felt by the true chela is a sense of unmixed joy to be rid of the carking cares of common life, and to exist in the light of a supremely great Ideal. Not that any true adept would say aught against the naturalness and sacredness of pure sexual relationships; but that, to become an adept one must expand the finite into the Infinite, the personal into the universal, man into Parabrahm ...’ (BCW 4:342)
‘[I]t is the relatively few only who in the present stage of human evolution are able with perfect success deliberately to set aside normal human relations and duties in order to tread the lonely but nevertheless sublime path of chelaship. Yet this is not said in order to discourage anyone from taking the first steps on this sublime path, for anyone can do this whose life is normally decent and upright; but it is said with an eye to those somewhat unstable minds who imagine that a forced celibacy of the body, although the mind may be a cesspool of infamous propensities, is either admirable or to be commended or recommended.
‘These first steps on the glorious path of chelaship, discipleship, can, as just stated, be taken by anyone, and consist in inner purification, involving both heart and mind, and in cleansing the Augean Stables of the filth, mental or emotional or psychical, which encrusts man’s lower mental-passional constitution. It is not the celibate in body whose mind is befouled with evil dreams of sense who is following the path, but the man or woman in whatever station in life, who with vigorous will and rigorous training, takes himself or herself strongly in hand, and begins to do so by rendering the strictest meed of kindliest justice and consideration to those with whom he or she may have ties of honour or duty or bonds or moral obligation of whatever kind.’ (ET2 668)
* * *
‘Love is the cement of the universe; it holds all things in place and in eternal keeping; its very nature is celestial peace, its very characteristic is cosmic harmony, permeating all things, boundless, deathless, infinite, eternal. It is everywhere, and is the very heart of the heart of all that is. ...
‘Love is the great attractive power which links thing to thing, human heart to human heart; and the higher one goes in evolution, the closer does love enwrap its tendrils through all the fiber of one’s being ...
‘Personal love is but a reflection of it; and personal love is fallible, because the ray is so feeble. Anything that has as its motivating cause the desire for personal benefit is not true love.
‘In personal love the veils of personality begin to thicken before the inner eye, because personal desire collects and thickens into one’s aura – the surrounding psychic atmosphere – and condenses it, and this it is which causes the thickening of the psychic veils, obscuring the inner vision and understanding. The essence of true love is self-forgetfulness ...
‘If a man’s heart and mind are filled solely with a personal love, then he loves this but he does not love that ... Impersonal love [is] always kindly to everything and to everybody ...
‘Impersonal love is divine. It illuminates the heart; it broadens the mind; it fills the soul with a sense of oneness with all that is ... Love all that lives and you then ally yourself with invincible cosmic powers and you become strong and spiritually and intellectually clairvoyant. ...
‘Let your heart expand with the divine energies latent within it: love, compassion, pity, understanding of others ... Be kindly; refuse to hate. ...
‘Forgive and love; and you thereby place your feet on the pathway that will lead you direct to the spiritual sun which rises eternally with healing in its wings. Forgive and love; and before you know it, you will feel the sweet influence of the buddhic splendor – the Christ spirit – stealing all through your being. You will then become a beneficent power on earth, not merely beloved of your fellow men, but a blessing to all beings.’ (GPE 111-24)
Compiled by David Pratt. March 2002. Updated: May 2016
Sex and sexuality