A Study in Karma


Annie Besant


Published in 1917


Annie Besant

1847 - 1933



Return to Homepage



Out of the Past



Another point of great importance to remember is that the karma of the past is of very mixed character; we have not to breast a single current, the totality of the past, but a stream made up of currents running in various directions, some

opposing us, some helping us; the effective force we have to face, the resultant left when all these opposition have neutralized each other, may be one which it is by no means beyond our present power to overcome.


Face to face with a piece of evil karma from the past, we should ever grapple with it, striving to overcome it, remembering that it embodies only a part of our past, and that other parts of that same past are with us, strengthening and invigorating us for

the contest. The present effort, added to those forces from the past, may be, often is, just enough to overcome the opposition.

Or, again, an opportunity presents itself, and we hesitate to take advantage of it, fearing that our resources are inadequate to discharge the responsibilities it brings; but it would not be there unless our karma had brought it to us, the fruit of a past desire; let us seize it, bravely and tenaciously, and we shall find that the very effort has awakened latent powers slumbering within us,

unknown to us, and needing a stimulus from outside to arouse them into activity.


So many of our powers, created by effort in the past, are on the verge of expression, and only need opportunity to flower into action. We should always aim at a little more than we think we can do – not at a thing wholly beyond our present powers, but at that which seems to be just out of reach. As we work to achieve it, all the karmic force acquired in the past comes to our aid to strengthen us. The fact that we can nearly do a thing means that

we have worked for it in the past, and the accumulated strength of those past efforts is within us. That we can do a little means the power of doing more; and even if we fail, the power put forth to the utmost passes into the reservoir of our forces, and the failure of today means the victory of tomorrow


When circumstances are adverse, the same thing holds good; we may have reached the point where one more effort means success. Therefore did Bhishma counsel effort under all conditions, and utter the encouraging phrase; "Exertion is

greater than destiny." The result of many past exertions is embodied in our karma, and the present exertion added to them may make our force adequate for the achievement of our aim.


There are cases where the force of the karma of the past is so strong that no effort of the present can suffice to overbear it. Yet should effort be made, since few know when one of these cases is upon them, and, at the worst, the effort made diminishes that karmic force for the future. A chemist often labours for years to discover a force, or an arrangement of matter, which will enable

him to achieve a result at which he is aiming. He is often

thwarted, but he does not acknowledge himself defeated. He cannot change the chemical elements; he cannot change the laws of chemical combination; he accepts these ungrudgingly,

and there lies "the sublime patience of the investigator". But the knowledge of the investigator, ever increasing by virtue of his patient experiments, at last touches the point where it enables him to bring about the desired result.


Precisely the same spirit should be acquired by the student of karma; he should accept the inevitable without complaint, but untiredly seek the methods whereby his aim may be secured, sure that his only limitation is his ignorance, and that perfect knowledge must mean perfect power.





Return to Homepage








Find out more about

Theosophy with these links





The Cardiff Theosophical Society Website




The National Wales Theosophy Website


Cardiff Blavatsky Archive

Life & Work of H P Blavatsky

A Theosophy Study Resource


Dave’s Streetwise 

Theosophy Boards

The Theosophy Website that

Welcomes Absolute Beginners

If you run a Theosophy Group, please feel free

to use any of the material on this site


The Most Basic Theosophy

 Website in the Universe

A quick overview of Theosophy 

and the Theosophical Society

If you run a Theosophy Group you 

can use this as an introductory handout.


Theosophy Cardiff’s Instant Guide

to Theosophy


Cardiff Theosophy Start-Up

A Free Intro to Theosophy


Cardiff Theosophical Archive


Blavatsky Blogger

Independent Theosophy Blog


Quick Blasts of Theosophy

One liners and quick explanations

About aspects of Theosophy


Great Theosophists

The Big Names of Theosophy

H P Blavatsky is usually the only

Theosophist that most people have ever

heard of. Let’s put that right





The Blavatsky Blogger’s

Instant Guide To

Death & The Afterlife


Blavatsky Calling

The Voice of the Silence Website


The Blavatsky Free State

An Independent Theosophical Republic

Links to Free Online Theosophy 

Study Resources; Courses, Writings, 

Commentaries, Forums, Blogs




Visit the Feelgood Lodge

The main criteria for the inclusion of

links on this site is that they have some

relationship (however tenuous) to Theosophy

and are lightweight, amusing or entertaining.

Topics include Quantum Theory and Socks,

Dick Dastardly and Legendary Blues Singers.


Theosophy and Reincarnation

A selection of articles on Reincarnation

by Theosophical writers

Provided in response to the large 

number of enquiries we receive at 

Cardiff Theosophical Society on this subject


Nothing answers questions

like Theosophy can!

The Key to Theosophy


Applied Theosophy

Henry Steel Olcott


Blavatsky Calling

and I Don’t Wanna Shout

The Voice of the Silence Website


The South of Heaven Guide

To Theosophy and Devachan


The South of Heaven Guide

To Theosophy and Dreams


The South of Heaven Guide

To Theosophy and Angels


Theosophy and Help From

The Universe


Wales! Wales! Theosophy Wales

The All Wales Guide to

Getting Started in Theosophy

This is for everyone, you don’t have to live

in Wales to make good use of this Website


Theosophy Avalon

The Theosophy Wales

King Arthur Pages







No Aardvarks were harmed in the

preparation of this Website




Heavy Metal Overview




Rock ‘n Roll Chronology


The Tooting Broadway

Underground Theosophy Website

The Spiritual Home of Urban Theosophy


The Mornington Crescent

Underground Theosophy Website

The Earth Base for Evolutionary Theosophy


H P Blavatsky’s Heavy Duty

Theosophical Glossary

Published 1892



Complete Theosophical Glossary in Plain Text Format




The Ocean of Theosophy

William Quan Judge


Preface    Theosophy and the Masters    General Principles


The Earth Chain    Body and Astral Body    Kama – Desire


Manas    Of Reincarnation    Reincarnation Continued


Karma    Kama Loka    Devachan    Cycles


Septenary Constitution Of Man


Arguments Supporting Reincarnation


Differentiation Of Species Missing Links


Psychic Laws, Forces, and Phenomena


Psychic Phenomena and Spiritualism



Instant Guide to Theosophy

Quick Explanations with Links to More Detailed Info


What is Theosophy ? Theosophy Defined (More Detail)


Three Fundamental Propositions  Key Concepts of Theosophy


Cosmogenesis  Anthropogenesis  Root Races  Karma


Ascended Masters  After Death States  Reincarnation


The Seven Principles of Man  Helena Petrovna Blavatsky


  Colonel Henry Steel Olcott William Quan Judge


The Start of the Theosophical Society


History of the Theosophical Society


Theosophical Society Presidents


History of the Theosophical Society in Wales


The Three Objectives of the Theosophical Society


Explanation of the Theosophical Society Emblem


Glossaries of Theosophical Terms



Elementary Theosophy

An Outstanding Introduction to Theosophy

By a student of Katherine Tingley


Elementary Theosophy Who is the Man?  Body and Soul   


Body, Soul and Spirit  Reincarnation  Karma


The Seven in Man and Nature


The Meaning of Death



Try these if you are looking for a local

Theosophy Group or Centre



UK Listing of Theosophical Groups


Worldwide Directory of 

Theosophical Links


International Directory of 

Theosophical Societies



Wales Theosophy Links Summary


All Wales Guide to Theosophy


Instant Guide to Theosophy


Theosophy Wales Hornet


Theosophy Wales Now


Cardiff Theosophical Archive


Elementary Theosophy


Basic Theosophy


Theosophy in Cardiff


Theosophy in Wales


Hey Look! Theosophy in Cardiff


Streetwise Theosophy


Grand Tour