Karma and the Principle Of Equilibrium
The following is but one simplistic interpretation of Gurdjieffs cosmology. This brief description, that is written below, is given so it can be used as a frame of reference to better understand the 'Principle Of Equilibrium' that is described by Boris Mouravieff. Excerpts from Mouravieff's book on the 'Principle Of Equilibrium' is also given below.
In the Gurdjieff cosmology, before the creation of the universe, there existed a primordial state of things that he called 'The Absolute' or 'Endlessness' where All was One and One was All. The Absolute was completely independent. There was only one Law in the Absolute, that is, the Absolute was a law unto itself. It depended on nothing external to itself and was completely self sufficient.
However, in order for The Absolute to create anything it needed a residence or "sole point of concentration" to focus its creative activity.
The Absolute then 'begot' a "local residence" that Gurdjieff called the 'Sun Absolute' (The term "begot" is used here since this was all before the creation of the Universe).
The Sun Absolute was held together and maintained by independent forces that consisted of two interlocking laws. In the Sun Absolute these two laws, 'The Law Of Three' and 'The Law Of Seven', were perfectly balanced with respect to each other. This perfect blending of these two primordial Laws is what kept the Sun Absolute stable without any need for influences from outside to sustain it
However, nothing ever could change in the Sun Absolute since it was perfectly balanced and static. Nothing could happen there since the Sun Absolute was in a pure potential state of 'Eternal Unchanging.'
In order for anything to happen within the Sun Absolute, that is, in order for The Absolute to create anything, then the infinitude of potentialities that comprised it would have to give way to the finitude of actualization. This dynamism is what Gurdjieff called the "merciless Heropass," that is, this is what he called the FLOW OF TIME. The diminution of potentialities that would result whenever anything 'happened' or was 'actualized' within the Sun Absolute, threatened the infinite reservoir of potentialities existing within it, thereby threatening to diminish the volume of the Sun Absolute itself.
The Sun Absolute was now threatened by the "merciless" flow of Time.
In order for the Sun Absolute to maintain its infinite state of potential so as not to suffer a progressive diminuation of potentialities due to their actualization, the Absolute, out of necessity, adjusted or modified the two fundamental laws that comprised the Sun Absolute, so that any created thing would send a counter flow of energy back into the Sun Absolute and maintain its existing (potential) state over time.
It was from this changing of these two fundamental laws, where they no longer operated independently but were now dependent on outside forces, that the original independent maintenance of the Sun Absolute became altered into a mutual exchange of force with all created materials.
The result of changing the function of these two fundamental laws directed their actions from within the Sun Absolute outwards into the space of the universe. The redirection of these two fundamental laws outwardly, by the Will of the Absolute, is what Gurdjieff calls the "Theomertmalogos or Word-God," which is, according to Gurdjieff, an "'Emanation-of-the-Sun-Absolute'" which is an 'utterance' or vibration which organizes the undifferentiated Etherkrilno into repeating yet varying patterns of matter/form. This sound vibration, like light and all oscillations, is an energy vector that continuously moves from positive to negative through 'zero', the point of equilibriation between those two directions.
Once these two fundamental laws were changed, then the three forces that comprised the Law Of Three, which were originally united within the Absolute, were now SEPARATED from each other in the phenomenal universe, since they are no longer part of one Whole and can now only be brought together by the PARTS of the whole, due to the division and differentiation that arises from the diversity of phenomenon that comprise the existing universe.
The separation of these three forces, which caused creation, would now spark an inherent striving for these three forces to REBLEND and be reconciled back into the primordial perfection and unification of the Absolute.
Thus, for the ABSOLUTE the three forces are united. But for the UNIVERSE the three forces are separated, and always striving for an equilibration that mirrors their unity within the Absolute.
The below excerpts are taken from Mouravieff's book Gnosis Vol.I. pp. 126-134 that relate to The Principle Of Equilibrium and the Law Of Karma:
To summarize, we can say that Life is the effect of a vibratory play at every step of the Universe, a play which in every case takes the form of a perturbation of equilibrium, followed by its restoration.
These perturbations are possible because all that exists in the Universe, though equilibrated, is in unstable equilibrium.
The principle of Equilibrium finds its practical application in compensating for perturbations. Yet rare are the cases where this compensatory action succeeds in reestablishing exactly the ante-actum situation. In general this would not be desirable. As a result of the principle of Imperfection, that exists is in a state of movement. Especially in organic life, the vibratory play - perturbation - compensation - often takes the form of an open cycle -a spiral.
Here we can again constate the perfect logic of the system. know, in fact, that a translational movement - such as evolution - always difficult. The spiral slows the rate of progress, yet makes it easier. In case of a fall, it brakes the regression.
Time, Space and Equilibrium, the three preliminary conditions of the, Manifestation and Creation of the Universe, have given birth to the forces in the created Universe: active, passive and neutralizing, as already mentioned.
The principle of Equilibrium takes dynamic form in the their category, as a reactive force with the task of compensating perturbations to restore the balance. Its manifestation always has the character of unilateral reaction. Applied to the whole of the Universe, the principle of Equilibrium acts mechanically and is initiated automatically. As a result, all action, in every place, in every cosmos, is necessarily counterbalanced.
The above considerations allow us to understand and grasp the meaning of certain phenomena which remain unexplained by positive science. To begin with, the great problem of death. As life is born from perturbation, death is necessary because of the principle of Equilibrium. In every case without exception, the perturbation has to be compensated, an equilibrium reestablished. It is by death that compensation is made. Birth on all planes, is the work of a revolutionary and perturbing act which Love. Love itself is born before Creation, with the appearance - in consciousness of the Absolute-of the idea of You, which necessarily arise from that of 'I'. This was the first perturbation of the stable pre-eternal equilibrium. That is why we have good reason, even if only instinctively, contrast Death with Love, and not with Life. It is with equally good reason - against all evidence of the thinking mind - that the human heart feels that
Love is the superior force which is able to overcome Death.
To overcome Death, that is the watchword of esoteric science. But let us early come to a common understanding of the true sense of this expression.
As they propagate themselves, the three forces act throughout the universe. They manifest in the following manner in the System of Cosmoses and the Rays of Creation: Love appears as the active perturbing force, death as the passive stabilizing force, and life as the neutralizing force, which measures out existence between limits defined by the first two. From the preceding, death is an indispensable condition of existence - and therefore of life - the fruit of which, in a later triad, is posterity. The question is whether the fight against death to win eternal life - humanity's highest hope, as preached by all religions - can in reality be undertaken with reasonable chances of success. The question is complex. To resolve it, one must examine it from many points of view. Religions treat this on the plane of belief, and make an article of faith out of it. But now that we are on the threshold of a new Era, that of the Cycle of the Holy Spirit, such a position is no longer entirely satisfying to enlightened minds. They now want to grasp and understand something that yesterday was still considered as an article of Belief.
It is certainly easier to ask true believers to trust on this question, rather than attempt to explain something so difficult to explain. But esoteric science proposes an answer to the question.
The face of the world changes. The Cycle of the Son, as happened before with that of the Father, is coming to its end. With Christ, the Law received long ago by Moses, came to an end and was replaced by the rule of Faith, Hope and Love. At the present time, with the wars and revolutions of this century, and with the extraordinary progress of positive science, we have entered a period of transition whose purpose is to give us entry to the Cycle of the Holy Spirit. During this period, Faith will be progressively replaced by Knowledge, and Hope will end in Accomplishment. This will be the final triumph of Love; 'For Love will never perish, - even though prophecies will end, tongues will be no more, and knowledge will be abolished."
In the Tradition, we mean by victory over Death the victory of our perfected Personalities over Death. This is the meaning of Salvatio object of prayers and aim of the religious practices of Christianity. We have already quoted the words of St Paul:
'Behold, I tell you a mystery: we shall all die but we shall all be changed.'
The underlying meaning of the word 'changed' in this sentence lies the fact that all exterior men, as well as those who have reached the levels 5 or 7, will sooner or later be called to leave their physical bodies.
The difference is that the latter will do it as one abandons an old suit to that of another, while the death of the physical body for men 1, 2 or 3 will result the decomposition of their foetal - Personalties. Death is an astral abortion Salvation comes with the second Birth, when the entirely developed at born Personality is indissolubly joined to the real 'I' to form Individuality. Once born, this Individuality no longer depends on the physical body, in the same way that the child who has been born does not die even if his birth has been at the cost of his mother's life. It is this to which the apostle alluded, saying, we shall not all die.
[...] We have established that death is one of the manifestations of principle of Equilibrium, which automatically reacts to the perturbing action of carnal love in the created world. The latter, although perfect, then gives birth to life. Human love is imperfect because it is instinctive and impulsive. As long as man automatically follows his impulses, his love will serve only the cosmic goals of the ensemble. pleasure he always gains from this is as much an equilibrating element as a reward. As it is, it will not serve his esoteric evolution in any way. Love is the surest and most powerful means of achieving this evolution, This is because Love is the one objective element in our lives. That objectivity remains true in all Love's many aspects, and through all variety of its manifestations.
Love can, in effect, serve man in his esoteric evolution. However, to achieve this aim, man must apply conscious efforts to this love, not allow himself to be led on by impulses. In this way he will neutralize the perturbing action of Love on him, which will inhibit - and render powerless - intervention of the principle of Equilibrium, with its lethal reaction. In case, the contribution of energy which Love provides will not be spent immediately to serve general aims, but will remain in man's possession. can then be used to accelerate the growth of his Personality and its progress towards the second Birth, the first tangible result of esoteric practices.
This is the theory of monastic work, and it essentially applies to sexual center. We strive to master its impulses by exercises. Without detailed examination of the advantages and inconveniences of this method we must say that, in the new Era, esoteric work is to come out of crypts and the monasteries. From now on, it must instead be pursued inside life, in the field of everyday activity of human society. This is certainly more difficult, for we are neither protected within life, as it monastery, nor sheltered from the greatest part of 'A' influences. On other hand, life offers more effective means, and leads to less fragile results; esoteric practice inside life also allows simple control of the sexual center permitting cultivation of the manifestations of love by means of the emotional and intellectual centers, making the creative spirit spring up in all, different forms. This higher order of culture will have as its aim to focus creative efforts towards one and the same point of application, the integral development of the Personality: the second Birth; the crystallization of astral body, and its junction with the real '1' to form an Individuality. This work, done by man and woman working together, can develop with extraordinary power and give rapid results... on condition that from the esoteric point of view the two beings entirely suit each other, and also on condition that they are a perfect couple, that is, that their combination with reservations concerning the peculiarities of their human type - reflects the relation between the absolute 'I' and the 'You' before the Creation of the Universe
[...] The principle of Equilibrium, by virtue of which all perturbations and all free movements - particularly in organic life, and especially in its human sector - demand and receive compensation, appears as a severe yet impartial guardian. With the Law of Seven, it assures the duration of all existence according to law. Human wisdom has been conscious of this fact from time immemorial. It is the principle of Karma, the Nemesis of the Greeks, the Archangel Uriel of the Christian celestial hierarchy - according to the Tradition one of the seven Spirits of God, who - alone in the Universe - never change. He supervises the restoration of broken equilibrium at every degree of the cosmic scale, including the Micro-Microcosmos.
[...] Karmic action is initiated automatically. We should always remember this automatic response, and take it into account at least in our premeditated actions. This is not easy, for we are rarely conscious of the perturbations and effects that our acts produce. That is why karmic action so often surpasses the limits of the predictable. We must however repeat that Karma loses its threatening aspect for the Just; it only brings them joy. This is because their acts never create perturbations that transgress general and local cosmic laws. The just do not fall into error, while ordinary men, even acting in good faith and believing they are acting correctly, do commit errors. They start with errors of conception, which are the actual source of sin. Sin does not hold in itself any element of a so called Mystic nature. In the sense that it is error, sin can be liquidated by adequate compensation. The Tradition points to the preceding statement when it says: 'There is no unforgivable sin except sin without repentance.' We can easily understand the true meaning of this maxim. Repentance is above all an act of consciousness, resulting naturally in benevolent and effective compensation for the error that has been made. This is the theory. In practice it not so simple; it requires the minutest study of each case. It is obviously easier to commit no sin, rather than finding them and making compensation afterwards. If repentance, in the exact sense attributed to that word here, does not come in time, the equilibrating karmic action automatic acts strongly. Once this has started, we are obliged to submit to passively.
Once karmic action is launched automatically and acts mechanically, compensates for each perturbation on its own plane. Compensation made for each account individually, as in a ledger, and not between totals of good and bad results. [End Of Quote]