by Andrew Rooke

2020 seems to be quite a year for natural disasters - what with the bushfires during the Australian summer, followed closely by the global Corona Virus Pandemic. It leads us to ask what are the causes of natural disasters from a Theosophical perspective – how ‘natural’ are natural disasters?

According to Theosophy, the Universe, the Sun and our Earth are all living beings. Along with humans and the other kingdoms of life, we are all part of one immense living organism. Just like the human body is made up of organs, cells, atoms, etc. all the kingdoms and forms of life are related and interweaved in a web-work of life. Further, Theosophy teaches us that the Universe is guided from within outwards. Everywhere there are intelligences of different levels guiding, building, destroying and renewing the Universe and its operations.

Factors causing disasters: A release of energy: Disharmonies in human life build up on the inner planes causing tensions in the Earth because we are part of the Earth’s constitution. These disharmonies can be anything from individual moral and ethical behaviour, through to wars and strife on a local or global scale. These energies accumulate in the astral light causing extreme tension reflected in the Earth’s crust. These tensions require periodic release manifesting to us as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, auroras, etc.

These events, though terrible for the people suffering or dying because of them, help to avoid greater disasters because if such energies/tensions were allowed to build up any further in the Earth’s crust, we would eventually experience catastrophic disasters. It is a bit the same for a human getting minor illnesses and relieving the tensions that could cause a more serious illness.

People are like living ‘dynamos’ (electrical generators). So, when enough people get together, individual people can affect the energy balance of a whole region of the Earth. The emotional atmosphere of cities, for example, is stored in the astral light surrounding it, and from time to time fed back into the material world in the form of natural disasters.

Factors causing natural disasters: Astronomical and Cyclical: The movement of the Earth through the signs of the Zodiac brings the Earth under different influences from the stars and also affects/reflects the alignment of the Earth’s axis. It is these movements which bring about the cataclysms at the endings and beginning of the cyclic ages of the Earth we call Root Races in Theosophy.  This is especially so at the end of the Kali Yuga when there is a build-up of karma to an exploding point. Other cyclic factors affecting natural disasters include the movement of the magnetic poles, and various alignments of planets and the sun within our solar system.

The quality of Humanity’s thoughts and actions can have power over the movements of lesser celestial bodies like asteroids. How is this possible? Celestial bodies are the instruments of karma at a global level, just as other human beings are the focus of karmic workings for humans. The Earth is a type of ‘hell’, ie. a place for the generation, and working out of karma and consequent suffering for most people.

Factors causing natural disasters: Energy currents: Natural energy currents flow like rivers of magnetic force over and through the Earth. This was well known in ancient times (the magical science of Geomancy) and called by different names in different parts of the world, eg. ‘Ley Lines’ in England. We should really locate our cities and buildings in harmony with these currents as was done by ancients in many parts of the world. Unfortunately, we don’t know how to do that anymore, or we don’t think that it is important, with consequent results in blocking the energy currents, perhaps resulting in natural disasters.

Factors causing natural disasters: The spiritual hierarchy: We know from Theosophy and most of the world’s religions, that there is a Spiritual Hierarchy associated with the development of life on the Earth including humanity. This Adept Hierarchy finds it necessary to initiate occasional social crises that force people to stop and think about their priorities in life. Otherwise human beings ‘en-masse’ will stay within their ‘safe’ but limited outlook of material comfort, the cultural status quo, and distrust of other people who may wish to take away what they have. On cyclical occasions, the Spiritual Hierarchy sends forth messengers, such as HP Blavatsky and the Theosophical Movement, to stimulate humanity into new orientations of thought.

If humanity ‘en masse’ does not change sufficiently with the forward spiritual progress of the Earth as a living being, then large numbers of people who are unable to change and move forward must be withdrawn from incarnation. This happens through the agency of natural disasters such as pandemics, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic activity, eg. the fate of the lost continent of Atlantis and its billions of inhabitants. These temporary ‘failures’ will then not be allowed to incarnate in the present cycle as they would otherwise slow its development to an unacceptable degree. Such a process is alluded to in the Biblical story of Noah.

As regards the remainder of humanity who are sufficiently advanced spiritually to proceed to the next ‘classroom’ of life experience that the Earth can offer, the high Adepts, once they have telepathically projected their suggestions to lesser initiates for the future of human culture and civilization – can only watch and hope that progressive evolutionary ‘common sense’ will prevail before they give any further assistance. The rest, as they say, is up to us!

Hence the importance of us reaching up to the Gods by living up to the best of ourselves, as well as expecting the Gods to reach down and help us out. As Katherine Tingley, former leader of our Theosophical Society said: ‘The Gods Await’.

What about people caught up in natural disasters? So, what about the fate of innocent people seemingly caught up at random as victims of natural disasters. People with similar karma are drawn together so that an ‘accident’ or ‘natural disaster’ can balance similar types of karma experienced by large groups of people in former lives. Sometimes even death is not the worst thing that can happen to people if old negative karma needs to be resolved, if old karmic patterns need to be broken so new ones can be introduced, or if people are suffering (even unconsciously) and a new start needs to be made by ‘wiping the slate clean’. Nature is impartial in this way, and natural law will affect everyone in the region of the disaster if we are born there by karma, or choose to be there of our own free will. In Hindu philosophy this is the work of ‘Lord Narada’, the balancer of karma for an ultimately compassionate purpose. For those interested, further information on Narada is available in: ‘Narada’, the Hindu god/ agent of destiny or vengeance of the divine Law’, at:

Who will save us? Essentially it is up to us! We need to change our values and behaviour to become more harmonious – to become co-workers or co-creators with Nature and then we will have the mighty force of evolving Nature behind us instead of against us in various ways including the generation of many of our ‘natural disasters’.

Astronomical influences and dangers are the realm of the Gods, to safely guide and protect the Sun and the Solar System so we lesser beings [humans, animals, plants, minerals and their equivalents on other planets] have the time and opportunity to grow spiritually over countless lifetimes to one day join the Gods in their work of self-consciously ‘managing’ the operations of the Universe.

‘The Guardian Wall’ of advanced human beings, Mahatmas, Ascended Masters, Avataras, Christs, Buddhas, etc. as members of the Hierarchy of Compassion whose job it is to guide and protect humanity from itself and its unconscious transgressions of karma and other natural laws. They do this in many and unusual ways including by ‘singing’ [ie. by the use of sounds/vibrations] to protect us against asteroids and other dangerous influences in space, and ‘damming back’ our karma and letting it out over longer periods of time than might otherwise destroy us.

We owe the members of the Hierarchy of Compassion our grateful thanks, rather than reverence, for this quiet and largely unrecognized work of the ages as we go about our daily lives.

What of the Future? Naturally during times of crisis, we ask ourselves: How long is this going on? Can life ever be like it was before? What of the future? Theosophical writer, John Van Mater Snr., comments:

“…Earth has seen many flowerings of human greatness and has had to suffer many depredations. But Mother Nature is still in command and in time will strike her balance. If we abuse the earth, then parts of it will become unliveable. Think of the titanic forces humankind is sending forth: not only the diverse energies of our technological civilization, but our hates, antagonisms, jealousies, greed; also their opposites, such as the forces of love, forgiveness, brotherhood, generosity, and understanding. Nature absorbs it all and will eventually react. No wonder there are times when earth seems to shake mankind as a dog shakes off fleas, until at the end of a cycle a new time emerges. Or perhaps a glaciation will occur covering an entire hemisphere under thousands of feet of ice, to lie fallow so that it can be revivified; or portions of continents may slip under the oceans and others rise.

What is the future of mankind? Just as it has taken the reincarnating souls of humanity a long, long time to reach where we are now, so it will take many, many more incarnations for mankind collectively to realize its destiny. The human race will begin gradually to achieve its potentials; to become truly human and then bring into human life the wise influence of its innate divinity. In some era in the far future a true brotherhood will surely be realized. The examples of the Christs and Buddhas illustrate what we too may one day become.”