The balance of karmic justice is an exact balance; nothing remains unpunished, nothing unrewarded.
Jacob recognised this and separated himself from his family so that they might remain unscathed. He waited alone on this side of the river, because he knew that he was destined to death. But he did not succumb to the temptation of fatalism; he defended himself against death.
He did not allow himself to be led astray by the spiritual falsehood of fatalism, but set love against the knowledge of inevitable death. The power that preserved his breathing is expressed in the words indicating the successful issue of his wrestling: “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me” (Genesis 32.26).
If he had yielded to the knowledge of death, his breathing would have ceased, and he would have died. The balance of the first principles of breathing – knowledge and love – would have been overthrown in favour of knowledge. But as he resisted knowledge with the whole force of love, at the “breaking of the day” the angel of death, the archai being, surrendered. Love proved itself stronger than death.
Valentin Tomberg, Christ and Sophia
The Law of Compensation is that the swing in one direction determines the swing in the opposite direction, or to the opposite pole–the one balances, or counterbalances, the other.
On the Physical Plane we see many examples of this Law. The pendulum of the clock swings a certain distance to the right, and then an equal distance to the left. The seasons balance each other in the same way. The tides follow the same Law. And the same Law is manifested in all the phenomena of Rhythm. The pendulum, with a short swing in one direction, has but a short swing in the other; while the long swing to the right invariably means the long swing to the left.
An object hurled upward to a certain height has an equal distance to traverse on its return. The force with which a projectile is sent upward a mile is reproduced when the projectile returns to the earth on its return journey. This Law is constant on the Physical Plane, as reference to the standard authorities will show you. But the Hermetists carry it still further. They teach that a man’s mental states are subject to the same Law. The man who enjoys keenly, is subject to keen suffering; while he who feels but little pain is capable of feeling but little joy.
There are temperaments which permit of but low degrees of enjoyment, and equally low degrees of suffering; while there are others which permit the most intense enjoyment, but also the most intense suffering. The rule is that the capacity for pain and pleasure, in each individual, are balanced. The Law of compensation is in full operation here. But the Hermeticists go still further in this matter. They teach that before one is able to enjoy a certain degree of pleasure, he must have swung as far, proportionately, toward the other pole of feeling.
They hold, however, that the Negative is precedent to the Positive in this matter, that is to say that in experiencing a certain degree of pleasure it does not follow that he will have to “pay up for it” with a corresponding degree of pain; on the contrary, the pleasure is the Rhythmic swing, according to the Law of Compensation, for a degree of pain previously experienced either in the present life, or in a previous incarnation. This throws a new light on the Problem of Pain.
It is recorded that, at the hour of his death, “the veil of the temple was rent in twain” (Mark 15.38); this indicated that a new karmic balance had been established between good and evil when the curtain was lifted from Hell. Then, too, the curtain (or “veil”) was lifted from the “Holy of Holies”.
Now, however, the consequence of this new karmic relationship is this: when the mystery of good and the secret of evil have both become available to human experiential knowledge, goodness gains by being known, while evil loses by being recognised as such. This is the essential difference between good and evil: good gains by being recognised; evil loses when it is recognised.
The most sublime act of cognitive courage occurred when Jesus Christ renounced the “veil of Hell” and (instead of witnessing the life tableau) descended with his whole being into the darkness of the subterranean spheres. That “descent into Hell” was an event that no human speech can describe. There is nothing more unsettling than the disappearance of Jesus Christ into the darkness of the lower spheres, out of sight of he beings watching from the spiritual world.
A breathless expectation was maintained in expectation of either the most triumphant victory or the most disastrous catastrophe. During those days, only one thought and one question filled the whole world of the hierarchies: Will he return? Will he emerge from the abyss? Again, all human speech is powerless to give even the faintest reflection of the cosmic exultation that ensued when the risen Christ reappeared from the darkness of that abyss in the realm of twilight. Cosmic Easter was celebrated in the realms of heaven, a cosmic festival that continues for all time as the archetype of all human festivals on Earth.
Valentin Tomberg, Christ and Sophia (The Mystery of Golgotha)
In the last analysis it is KARMA which is the law governing the adjustment of mutual debts between beings. But the working of the “heaven-earth” balance surpasses the justice of karma; it is that of the justice of grace.
“Gratia gratis data….” the sun shines on the good and wicked alike. Is this morally right? Is it the justice of grace here which is higher than the protective, distributive, punitive justice of the law? This is so. There is the sublime “other justice” of grace, which is the meaning of the New Testament. For the Old Testament is to the New Testament as karma is to grace.
Grace also makes use of the balance, ie justice. It is the balance whose one scale is on the earth and whose other scale is heaven. The Lord’s prayer reveals to us the principle of the justice of grace and the operation of weighing by means of the “heaven-earth” balance.
There it is said: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” And then the Master adds: “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew vi, 12, 14 – 15).
The sun shines on the good and wicked alike. But it is certainly necessary to open the windows of a dark room in order for light to be able to enter there. The light of the sun is in no way created or merited by us. It is a gift, pure and simple – gratia gratis data. Nevertheless, it is necessary to open our windows in order for it to enter into our abode, just as it is necessary to open our eyes in order to see it. The practical meaning of the “heaven-earth” balance is that of cooperation with grace. Human effort is therefore not for nothing in the domain of the working of grace.
Neither election from above (Calvinism) nor faith alone below (Lutheranism) suffice for the requirements of the “heaven-earth” balance. Chosen or not chosen, having faith or not, it is necessary for us, for example to “forgive those who trespass against us” here below in order for our trespasses to be forgiven above.
Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter VIII Justice