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Northern India was the cradle of the present race--the fifth--the Eden

of our humanity, our physical, moral, mental, and spiritual

mother.[81] From her womb issued the emigrant hordes that peopled

Europe after spreading over Egypt, Asia Minor, and Siberia; it was her

code of ethics that civilised Chaldaea, Greece, Rome, and the whole of

the East; our own code is full of traces of the Laws of Manu, whilst

both the Old a
d New Testament are, in many respects, an abridged and

often almost a literal copy of the sacred Books of ancient Aryavarta.

The presence of the doctrine of reincarnation in the Vedic hymns has

been disputed; this proves nothing more than the present fragmentary

condition of the Vedas. Nothing, indeed, could be more absurd than to

find that the sacred Scriptures of India had maintained silence on a

doctrine which, along with that of Karma, form the two main columns of

the Hindu temple; for the Brahman as well as for the Buddhist--who is

only a member of a powerful offshoot of Hinduism--these two laws rule

throughout the whole Universe, from the primordial kingdoms up to the

gods, including man; and the principal, nay, the only goal of human

life is Moksha--salvation, in Christian terminology--liberation from

the chain of rebirths.

In this land, in which, along with strict obedience to the rules of

conduct set forth by its great Teachers, there existed the most

complete freedom of opinion, and where the most divergent and numerous

philosophic sects consequently developed, there has always been

perfect unanimity regarding the doctrine of rebirth, and in that

inextricable forest of metaphysical speculations two giant trees have

always overtopped the rest: the tree of Karma and the tree of


In spite of the intentional obscurity in which we are left as to the

teachings regarding rebirth from the time of the decadence of India,

it is no difficult matter, with the aid of theosophy, to discover its

main points. Thus we find in them the return of the "life-atoms"[82]

and animal souls[83] to existence in new physical bodies; the rebirths

of the human Egos are indicated in their main phases; but here, the

deliberate omission of certain points which had long to remain

incomprehensible--and consequently dangerous--to the masses, makes

obscure, and at times absurd, certain aspects of transmigration. I

have heard a great Teacher clearly explain these points to some of the

most enlightened of the Hindu members of the Theosophical Society, but

I do not feel authorised to repeat these explanations, and so will

leave this portion of the subject under a veil, which the reader will,

with the aid of intuition, be able to lift after reflecting on the

following pages.

The Sages of ancient India, then, teach three distinct phases in the

return-to-birth process: Resurrection, Transmigration or

Metempsychosis and Reincarnation properly so-called.