Now in the savage the growth is very slow. Hundreds of lives sometimes pass and little change is seen. But where the Sages I spoke of are present, there the growth is more rapid, for there comes in the recognition of the law, and the understanding of the sequence of events. The man comes back again for many births, until he comes back as an average common-place semi-civilised man. As a savage, he has hardly any power of thought; through the lives that pass the power of thought has grown. And now, you come to a man who, in a comparatively civilised country, is born as an ordinary mediocre man–“the man in the street,” we often call him. Now his experience is more varied. He has many loves and hates, many unjust desires, but also some higher aspirations; and as he goes through a life, the result of his own past, he gathers together fresh experiences, whereof presently more faculty will be manufactured. Just as a sea-gull, sweeping through the air, sweeps down into the ocean, catches a fish, comes up again and flies away to feed upon the fish, so does the human being, out of the great expanse of life in the higher world, sweep down into physical existence to gain the food of experience there. He carries it away through the gateway of death, and feeds upon it in the worlds on the other side of death. Again, more fully and more subtly than in the early stages of life, he reaps the result of the evil that he has done; but his mind is now larger, his mind is more intelligent, he traces the evil act bringing about the suffering, and that is imprinted on the tablet of the mind. Then he goes on into Svarga, and there turns over the good experience he has gained. The experience in love-emotion, that turns into higher powers of loving, greater desire to serve, greater recognition of the claims of others upon him, until he has formed a better and higher love-emotion, ready to return with him to his next experience of life. But he has also gathered much thought; he has gained experience in knowledge; he has exerted mental faculties. He gathers up all the mental experiences and these he works up into intellectual faculties. Is it not written that man is created by thought, and what a man thinks upon that he becomes? The life of Svarga is a life of changing experience into faculty. Every experience that you are making now, intellectual experience, you will weave into mental power on the other side of death. Whatever you may have gained, whatever knowledge you have acquired, that you carry with you through the gateway of death, and you work it up into mental power during your life in Svarga. You may have been weak in some faculty, in judgment, we will say, and you made many errors in judgment here: you suffer for them on the other side of death. You remember them in Svarga, and you build up that experience into an increased power of judgment, and you bring that back with you as an innate quality, and it shows itself in your childhood as part of your intellectual equipment. And, so with every faculty, with reason, with memory, with logic, with the power of understanding; not one of your efforts here is wasted; they all come back to you as food-experience in your heavenly life. You brood over them, you change them into faculty, and that faculty is yours for evermore. For that passes on into the intellectual side of the Spirit, as the emotions pass on into the moral, which is the wisdom side; and so, you come back to earth with higher intellectual power, with greater moral faculty. That continues, on and on, life after life, and when you are born into the world with high ability, it only means the many lives you have studied, the many lives you have laboured in, the many after-death periods during which you have assimilated.
See how the process resembles your life here, which is, indeed, its reflection on the physical plane. You take food; you are satisfied. That food passes down, and is digested. The nutritive part of that is assimilated, and your brain, your muscles, your nerves, all grow by the assimilated nourishment; and when it is assimilated you begin to feel hungry again. You have used up what you took, and you are hungry for more food, in order that you may grow again; and then, you have again another meal, and the whole process is repeated.
So in your spiritual life also. You take the food of experience; you digest it; you assimilate the nutritive part of it, and by that you unfold the hidden powers of the Spirit, and, when you have assimilated all, when nothing remains to be transmuted, then in the heavenly world you are hungry for more experience, and your hunger brings you back to birth in the world in which that hunger can be satisfied. That is the Law. That is the Law of Reincarnation.