FROM THE WRITINGS OF H. P. BLAVATSKY
. . . this conception of the triple body – or the vestures of Nirmanakaya, Sambhogakaya and Dharmakaya, the grandest of the doctrines of Esoteric Philosophy . . .
[“The Theosophical Glossary” p. 339, Entry for “Trikaya”]
ENQUIRER. What about them? [i.e. Nirmanakayas] And what does the name mean for you?
THEOSOPHIST. It is the name given to those who, though they have won the right to Nirvana and cyclic rest – (not “Devachan,” as the latter is an illusion of our consciousness, a happy dream, and as those who are fit for Nirvana must have lost entirely every desire or possibility of the world’s illusions) – have out of pity for mankind and those they left on earth renounced the Nirvanic state. Such an adept, or Saint, or whatever you may call him, believing it a selfish act to rest in bliss while mankind groans under the burden of misery produced by ignorance renounces Nirvana, and determines to remain invisible in spirit on this earth. They have no material body, as they have left it behind; but otherwise they remain with all their principles even in astral life in our sphere. And such can and do communicate with a few elect ones, only surely not with ordinary mediums. . . .
ENQ. And what good can they do on earth?
THEO. Not much, as regards individuals, as they have no right to interfere with Karma, and can only advise and inspire mortals for the general good. Yet they do more beneficent actions than you imagine.
[“The Key to Theosophy” p. 151-152]
Nirmanakaya (Sk.). Something entirely different in esoteric philosophy from the popular meaning attached to it, and from the fancies of the Orientalists. . . .
Occultism . . . says that Nirmanakaya, although meaning literally a transformed “body”, is a state. The form is that of the adept or yogi who enters, or chooses, that post mortem condition in preference to the Dharmakaya or absolute Nirvanic state. He does this because the latter kaya separates him for ever from the world of form, conferring upon him a state of selfish bliss, in which no other living being can participate, the adept being thus precluded from the possibility of helping humanity, or even devas. As a Nirmanakaya, however, the man leaves behind him only his physical body, and retains every other “principle” save the Kamic – for he has crushed this out for ever from his nature, during life, and it can never resurrect in his post mortem state. Thus, instead of going into selfish bliss, he chooses a life of self-sacrifice, an existence which ends only with the life-cycle, in order to be enabled to help mankind in an invisible, yet most effective, manner. (See The Voice of the Silence, third treatise, “The Seven Portals”.) Thus a Nirmanakaya is not, as popularly believed, the body “in which a Buddha or a Bodhisattva appears on earth”, but verily one, who whether a Chutuktu or a Khubilkhan, an adept or a yogi during life, has since become a member of that invisible Host which ever protects and watches over Humanity within Karmic limits. Mistaken often for a “Spirit”, a Deva, God himself, &c., a Nirmanakaya is ever a protecting, compassionate, verily a guardian angel, to him who becomes worthy of his help. Whatever objection may be brought forward against this doctrine; however much it is denied, because, forsooth, it has never hitherto been made public in Europe and therefore since it is unknown to Orientalists, it must needs be a “myth of modern invention” – no one will be bold enough to say that this idea of helping suffering mankind at the price of one’s own almost interminable self-sacrifice, is not one of the grandest and noblest that was ever evolved from the human brain.
[“The Theosophical Glossary” p. 231, Entry for “Nirmanakaya”]
According to Svetasvatara-Upanishad (357) the Siddhas are those who are possessed from birth of superhuman powers, as also of “knowledge and indifference to the world.” According to the Occult teachings, however, Siddhas are the Nirmanakayas or the “spirits” (in the sense of an individual, or conscious spirit) of great sages from spheres on a higher plane than our own, who voluntarily incarnate in mortal bodies in order to help the human race in its upward progress. Hence their innate knowledge, wisdom and powers.
[“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 636]
At the same time, “Maruts” is, in occult parlance, one of the names given to those EGOS of great Adepts who have passed away, and who are known also as Nirmanakayas; of those Egos for whom – since they are beyond illusion – there is no Devachan, and who, having either voluntarily renounced it for the good of mankind, or not yet reached Nirvana, remain invisible on earth.
[“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 615]
Mme. Blavatsky: That is just what the adepts do; they have a perfect right to Nirvana, but they won’t go; they think it is selfish to do so, and they won’t go. They refuse the Nirvanic condition. That is just like Gautama did. He wants to be present, but he has no right to interfere with Karma.
Mr. Burrows: That would be the highest form of unselfishness.
Mme. Blavatsky: Most assuredly, because it is suffering. Every Nirmanakaya suffers, because it is terrible to be there, and see the misery and sufferings of people, and not to be able to help them.
Mrs. Besant: Still, you are a force for good.
Mme. Blavatsky: Most assuredly. This is the most glorious thing, and that is what they say that Buddha did and many of the adepts.
Mr. Old: It is called the great renunciation.
Mme. Blavatsky: Yes. Remember what I speak about with reference to the Silent Watcher. This has got a very profound occult meaning.
Mrs. Besant: That is the great sacrifice.
Mr. Sneyd: Is not Gautama now in Nirvana?
Mme. Blavatsky: The orthodox Buddhist will tell you he is, but he is not.
[“The Secret Doctrine Dialogues” p. 601-602]
Mme. Blavatsky: . . . You know what that means? Nirmanakayas means, for instance, you become a great adept. You don’t want to live any more, but you are not selfish enough to go into Nirvana. (Because it is selfish: you will benefit no one by it but yourselves, and this selfishness is to be avoided.); therefore, instead of going into Devachan (You cannot go into Devachan, because it is yet an illusion for an adept; for mortals as we are, but not for a high adept.), therefore he leaves his body, and lives in all his six principles. Wherever he lives, of course, it is subjectively and in space; but he lives and helps humanity, and sometimes he will inspire people, or communicate with them, and so on. I know several cases like that. Very rarely of course, but it is because they do not generally go for individuals; but they will protect a nation, or protect a community, or something like that, and help as much as Karma permits them.
[“The Secret Doctrine Dialogues” p. 445-446]
And how can a hermit practise charity or industry if he runs away from man? Bodhisattvas, who, having fulfilled all the conditions of Buddhaship, have the right to forthwith enter Nirvana, prefer instead, out of unlimited pity for the suffering ignorant world, to renounce this state of bliss and become Nirmanakayas. They don the Sambhogakaya (the invisible body) in order to save mankind, i.e., to live a sentient life after death and suffer immensely at the sight of human miseries (most of which, being Karmic, they are not at liberty to relieve) for the sake of having a chance of inspiring a few with the desire of learning the truth and thus saving themselves. (By the bye, all that Schlagintweit and others have written about the Nirmanakaya body is erroneous.) Such is the true meaning of the Mahayana teaching. “I believe that not all the Buddhas enter Nirvana,” says, among other things, the disciples of the Mahayana school in his address to “the Buddhas (or Budhisattvas) of confession” – referring to this secret teaching.
[“World-Improvement or World-Deliverance”; “H.P. Blavatsky Theosophical Articles” Vol. 1, p. 452-453]
For we are taught that those spiritual beings that can assume a form at will and appear, i.e., make themselves objective and even tangible – are the angels alone (the Dhyan Chohans) and the nirmanakaya of the adepts, whose spirits are clothed in sublime matter. . . .
Nirmanakaya is the name given to the astral forms (in their completeness) of adepts, who have progressed too high on the path of knowledge and absolute truth, to go into the state of Devachan; and have, on the other hand, deliberately refused the bliss of nirvana, in order to help Humanity by invisibly guiding and helping on the same path of progress elect men. But these astrals are not empty shells, but complete monads made up on the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th principles. There is another order of nirmanakaya, however, of which much will be said in the Secret Doctrine.
[“Reincarnation and Spirits”; “H.P. Blavatsky Theosophical Articles” Vol. 2, p. 284]
Most of us believe in the survival of the Spiritual Ego, in Planetary Spirits and Nirmanakayas, those great Adepts of the past ages, who, renouncing their right to Nirvana, remain in our spheres of being, not as “spirits” but as complete spiritual human Beings. Save their corporeal, visible envelope, which they leave behind, they remain as they were, in order to help poor humanity, as far as can be done without sinning against Karmic law. This is the “Great Renunciation,” indeed; an incessant, conscious self-sacrifice throughout aeons and ages till that day when the eyes of blind mankind will open and, instead of the few, all will see the universal truth. These Beings may well be regarded as God and Gods – if they would but allow the fire in our hearts, at the thought of that purest of all sacrifices, to be fanned into the flame of adoration, or the smallest altar in their honour. But they will not. Verily, “the secret heart is fair Devotion’s (only) temple,” and any other, in this case, would be no better than profane ostentation.
[“The Roots of Ritualism in Church and Masonry”; “H.P. Blavatsky Theosophical Articles” Vol. 3, p. 204]
FROM “THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE” TRANSLATED BY H.P. BLAVATSKY FROM THE BOOK OF THE GOLDEN PRECEPTS
This is an allusion to a well-known belief in the East (as in the West, too, for the matter of that) that every additional Buddha or Saint is a new soldier in the army of those who work for the liberation or salvation of mankind. In Northern Buddhist countries, where the doctrine of Nirmanakayas – those Bodhisattvas who renounce well-earned Nirvana or the Dharmakaya vesture (both of which shut them out forever from the world of men) in order to invisibly assist mankind and lead it finally to Paranirvana – is taught, every new Bodhisattva, or initiated great Adept, is called the “liberator of mankind.”
[Fragment III: “The Seven Portals,” Footnote by HPB on p. 69]
Yea; on the Arya Path thou art no more Srotapatti, thou art a Bodhisattva. The stream is cross’d. ‘Tis true thou hast a right to Dharmakaya vesture; but Sambhogakaya is greater than a Nirvanee, and greater still is a Nirmanakaya – the Buddha of Compassion.
[Fragment III: “The Seven Portals” p. 77]
This same popular reverence calls “Buddhas of Compassion” those Bodhisattvas who, having reached the rank of an Arhat (i.e., have completed the fourth or seventh Path), refuse to pass into the Nirvanic state or “don the Dharmakaya robe and cross to the other shore,” as it would then become beyond their power to assist men even so little as Karma permits. They prefer to remain invisibly (in Spirit, so to speak) in the world, and contribute toward man’s salvation by influencing them to follow the Good Law, i.e., lead them on the Path of Righteousness. It is part of the exoteric Northern Buddhism to honour all such great characters as Saints, and to offer even prayers to them, as the Greeks and Catholics do to their Saints and Patrons; on the other hand, the Esoteric teachings countenance no such thing. There is a great difference between the two teachings. The exoteric layman hardly knows the real meaning of the word Nirmanakaya – hence the confusion and inadequate explanations of the Orientalists. . . . The real teaching is, however, this:
The three Buddhic bodies or forms are styled:
The first is that ethereal form which one would assume when leaving his physical he would appear in his astral body – having in addition all the knowledge of an Adept. The Bodhisattva develops it in himself as he proceeds on the Path. Having reached the goal and refused its fruition, he remains on Earth, as an Adept; and when he dies, instead of going into Nirvana, he remains in that glorious body he has woven for himself, invisible to uninitiated mankind, to watch over and protect it.
Sambhogakaya is the same, but with the additional lustre of “three perfections,” one of which is entire obliteration of all earthly concerns.
The Dharmakaya body is that of a complete Buddha, i.e., no body at all, but an ideal breath: Consciousness merged in the Universal Consciousness, or Soul devoid of every attribute. Once a Dharmakaya, an Adept or Buddha leaves behind every possible relation with, or thought for, this earth. Thus, to be enabled to help humanity, an Adept who has won the right to Nirvana, “renounces the Dharmakaya body” in mystic parlance; keeps, of the Sambhogakaya, only the great and complete knowledge, and remains in his Nirmanakaya body. The Esoteric School teaches that Gautama Buddha, with several of his Arhats, is such a Nirmanakaya, higher than whom, on account of the great renunciation and sacrifice for mankind, there is none known.
[Fragment III: “The Seven Portals,” Footnote by HPB on p. 77-78]
Alas! Shall SELVES be sacrificed to Self; mankind, unto the weal of Units?
Know, O beginner, this is the Open PATH, the way to selfish bliss, shunned by the Bodhisattvas of the “Secret Heart,” the Buddhas of Compassion.
To live to benefit mankind is the first step. To practise the six glorious virtues is the second.
To don Nirmanakaya’s humble robe is to forego eternal bliss for Self, to help on man’s salvation. To reach Nirvana’s bliss but to renounce it, is the supreme, the final step – the highest on Renunciation’s Path.
Know, O Disciple, this is the Secret PATH, selected by the Buddhas of Perfection, who sacrificed the SELF to weaker Selves.
Yet, if the “Doctrine of the Heart” is too high-winged for thee, if thou needest help thyself and fearest to offer help to others – then, thou of timid heart, be warned in time: remain content with the “Eye Doctrine” of the Law. Hope still. For if the “Secret Path” is unattainable this “day,” it is within thy reach “to-morrow” [Footnote: “ “To-morrow” means the following rebirth or reincarnation.”]. Learn that no efforts, not the smallest – whether in right or wrong direction – can vanish from the world of causes.
[Fragment II: “The Two Paths” p. 35-37]
Know that the Bodhisattva who Liberation changes for Renunciation to don the miseries of “Secret Life,” [Footnote: “The “Secret Life” is life as a Nirmanakaya.”] is called “thrice Honoured,” O thou candidate for woe throughout the cycles.
The PATH is one, Disciple, yet in the end, two-fold. Marked are its stages by four and seven Portals. At one end – bliss immediate, and at the other – bliss deferred. Both are of merit the reward: the choice is thine.
The One becomes the two, the Open and the Secret. The first one leadeth to the goal, the second, to Self-Immolation.
When to the Permanent is sacrificed the Mutable, the prize is thine: the drop returneth whence it came. The Open PATH leads to the changeless change – Nirvana, the glorious state of Absoluteness, the Bliss past human thought.
Thus, the first Path is LIBERATION.
But Path the second is – RENUNCIATION, and therefore called the “Path of Woe.”
That Secret Path leads the Arhan to mental woe unspeakable; woe for the living Dead, [Footnote: “Men ignorant of the Esoteric truths and Wisdom are called “the living Dead”.”] and helpless pity for the men of karmic sorrow; the fruit of Karma Sages dare not still.
For it is written: “Teach to eschew all causes; the ripple of effect, as the great tidal wave, thou shalt let run its course.”
The “Open Way,” no sooner hast thou reached its goal, will lead thee to reject the Bodhisattvic body, and make thee enter the thrice glorious state of Dharmakaya which is oblivion of the World and men for ever.
The “Secret Way” leads also to Paranirvanic bliss – but at the close of Kalpas without number; Nirvanas gained and lost from boundless pity and compassion for the world of deluded mortals.
But it is said: “The last shall be the greatest.” Samyak Sambuddha, the Teacher of Perfection, gave up his SELF for the salvation of the World, by stopping at the threshold of Nirvana – the pure state.
Thou hast the knowledge now concerning the two Ways. Thy time will come for choice, O thou of eager Soul, when thou hast reached the end and passed the seven Portals. Thy mind is clear. No more art thou entangled in delusive thoughts, for thou hast learned all. Unveiled stands Truth and looks thee sternly in the face. She says:
“Sweet are the fruits of Rest and Liberation for the sake of Self; but sweeter still the fruits of long and bitter duty. Aye, Renunciation for the sake of others, of suffering fellow men.”
He, who becomes Pratyeka-Buddha* makes his obeisance but to his Self. The Bodhisattva who has won the battle, who holds the prize within his palm, yet says in his divine compassion:
“For others’ sake this great reward I yield” – accomplishes the greater Renunciation.
A SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD is he.
Behold! The goal of bliss and the long Path of Woe are at the furthest end. Thou canst choose either, O aspirant to Sorrow, throughout the coming cycles!
* Footnote: Pratyeka Buddhas are those Bodhisattvas who strive after and often reach the Dharmakaya robe after a series of lives. Caring nothing for the woes of mankind or to help it, but only for their own bliss, they enter Nirvana and – disappear from the sight and the hearts of men. In Northern Buddhism a “Pratyeka Buddha” is a synonym of spiritual Selfishness.
[Fragment II: “The Two Paths” p. 44-47]
Self-doomed to live through future Kalpas, unthanked and unperceived by men; wedged as a stone with countless other stones which form the “Guardian Wall”,* such is thy future if the seventh Gate thou passest. Built by the hands of many Masters of Compassion, raised by their tortures, by their blood cemented, it shields mankind, since man is man, protecting it from further and far greater misery and sorrow.
Withal man sees it not, will not perceive it, nor will he heed the word of Wisdom . . . for he knows it not.
But thou hast heard it, thou knowest all, O thou of eager, guileless Soul . . . and thou must choose.
* Footnote: The “Guardian Wall” or the “Wall of Protection.” It is taught that the accumulated efforts of long generations of Yogis, Saints and Adepts, especially of the Nirmanakayas, have created, so to say, a wall of protection around mankind, which wall shields mankind invisibly from still worse evils.
[Fragment III: “The Seven Portals” p. 74]
FROM THE WRITINGS OF WILLIAM Q. JUDGE
From R.L.R. – (1) What is a Nirmanakaya?
Answer – Such is one of the appellations given to an Adept who, in order to devote himself to mankind, has consciously given up his right to pass into Nirvana. He has no material body, but possesses all the other principles; and for such an one space is no obstacle. There are many of them, and they perform various works; some take full possession of great reformers, or statesmen who carry on a beneficial policy; others overshadow sometimes several persons, causing them to act, speak, and write in such a way as to produce needed changes in their fellow men. These Nirmanakayas pass through the haunts of men unseen and unknown; only the effects of their influence and presence are perceived, and these results are attributed to the genius of the individual or to chance alone.
(2) Has a Nirmanakaya any sex?
Answer – No. The pronoun “He” has been used because it has a general application just as “man” or “men” has. In such a development as that of a Nirmanakaya the distinctions of sex have disappeared, because in the spiritual plane there is no sex.
[“Answers to Questioners”; “William Q. Judge Theosophical Articles” Vol. 2, p. 477-478]
But frequently during the minor cycles it is necessary, as the Egyptian Wisdom says, “to impart a beneficent impulse in the republics of mankind.” This can be done by using less power than would be dissipated were a celestial Being to descend upon earth, and here the doctrine of the influence among us of Nirmanakayas or Gnanis is supported in the Egyptian scheme in these words:
For there is indeed in the terrestrial abode the sacred tribe of heroes, who pay attention to mankind, and who are able to give them assistance even in the smallest concerns.
This heroic tribe is, as it were, a colony from the gods established here in order that this terrene abode may not be left destitute of a better nature.
These “heroes” are none other than Nirmanakayas – Adepts of this or previous Manwantaras – who remain here in various states or conditions. Some are not using bodies at all, but keep spirituality alive among men in all parts of the world; and others are actually using bodies in the world. Who the latter are it would of course be impossible for me to know, and if I had the information, to give it out would be improper.
And among this “sacred tribe of heroes” must be classed other souls. They are those who, although now inhabiting bodies and moving among men, have passed through many occult initiations in previous lives, but are now condemned, as it were, to the penance of living in circumstances and in bodies that hem them in, as well as for a time make them forget the glorious past. But their influence is always felt, even if they themselves are not aware of it. For their higher nature being in fact more developed than that of other men, it influences other natures at night or in hours of the day when all is favorable. The fact that these obscured adepts are not aware now of what they really are, only has to do with their memory of the past; it does not follow, because a man cannot remember his initiations, that he has had none. But there are some cases in which we can judge with a degree of certainty that such adepts were incarnated and what they were named. Take Thomas Vaughan, Raymond Lully, Sir Thomas More, Jacob Boehme, Paracelsus, and others like them, including also some of the Roman Catholic saints. These souls were as witnesses to the truth, leaving through the centuries, in their own nations, evidences for those who followed, and suggestions for keeping spirituality bright – seed-thoughts, as it were, ready for the new mental soil. And as well as these historical characters, there are countless numbers of men and women now living who have passed through certain initiations during their past lives upon earth, and who produce effects in many directions quite unknown to themselves now. They are, in fact, old friends of “the sacred tribe of heroes,” and can therefore be more easily used for the spreading of influences and the carrying out of effects necessary for the preservation of spirituality in this age of darkness.
[“Cycles”; “William Q. Judge Theosophical Articles” Vol. 1, p. 192-194]
For an exhaustive disquisition upon Adepts, Mahatmas and Nirmanakayas, more than a volume would be needed. The development illustrated by them is so strange to modern minds and so extraordinary in these days of general mediocrity, that the average reader fails to grasp with ease the views advanced in a condensed article; and nearly everything one would say about Adepts – to say nothing of the Nirmanakayas – requiring full explanation of recondite laws and abstruse questions, is liable to be misunderstood, even if volumes should be written upon them. The development, conditions, powers, and function of these beings carry with them the whole scheme of evolution; for, as said by the mystics, the mahatma is the efflorescence of an age. The Adepts may be dimly understood today, the Nirmanakayas have as yet been only passingly mentioned, and the Mahatmas are misconceived by believers and deniers alike.
But one law governing them is easy to state and ought not to be difficult for the understanding. They do not, will not, and must not interfere with Karma; that is, however apparently deserving of help an individual may be, they will not extend it in the manner desired if his Karma does not permit it; and they would not step into the field of human thought for the purpose of bewildering humanity by an exercise of power which on all sides would be looked upon as miraculous. Some have said that if the Theosophical Adepts were to perform a few of their feats before the eyes of Europe, an immense following for them would at once arise; but such would not be the result. Instead of it there would be dogmatism and idolatry worse than have ever been, with a reaction of an injurious nature impossible to counteract.
Hypnotism – though by another name – has long been known to them. The hypnotic condition has often aided the schemes of priests and churches. To compel recognition of true doctrine is not the way of these sages, for compulsion is hypnotism. To feed a multitude with only five loaves would be easy for them; but as they never act upon sentiment but continually under the great cosmic laws, they do not advance with present material aid for the poor in their hands. But, by using their natural powers, they every day influence the world, not only among the rich and poor of Europe and America, but in every other land, so that what does come about in our lives is better than it would have been had they not had part therein.
The other class referred to – Nirmanakayas – constantly engage in this work deemed by them greater than earthly enterprises: the betterment of the soul of man, and any other good that they can accomplish through human agents. Around them the long-disputed question of Nirvana revolves, for all that they have not been distinctly considered in it. For, if Max Muller’s view of Nirvana, that it is annihilation, be correct, then a Nirmanakaya is an impossibility. Paradoxically speaking, they are in and out of that state at one and the same time. They are owners of Nirvana who refuse to accept it in order that they may help the suffering orphan, Humanity. They have followed the injunction of the Book of the Golden Precepts: “Step out from sunlight into shade, to make more room for others.”
A greater part is taken in the history of nations by the Nirmanakayas than anyone supposes. Some of them have under their care certain men in every nation who from their birth are destined to be great factors in the future. These they guide and guard until the appointed time. And such protégés but seldom know that such influence is about them, especially in the nineteenth century. Acknowledgment and appreciation of such great assistance are not required by the Nirmanakayas, who work behind the veil and prepare the material for a definite end. At the same time, too, one Nirmanakaya may have many different men – or women – whom he directs. As Patanjali puts it, “In all these bodies one mind is the moving cause.”
Strange, too, as it may seem, often such men as Napoleon Buonaparte are from time to time helped by them. Such a being as Napoleon could not come upon the scene fortuitously. His birth and strange powers must be in the order of nature. The far-reaching consequences going with a nature like his, unmeasurable by us, must in the eastern Theosophical philosophy be watched and provided for. If he was a wicked man, so much the worse for him; but that could never deter a Nirmanakaya from turning him to his uses. That might be by swerving him, perchance, from a path that would have plunged the world into depths of woe and been made to bring about results in after years which Napoleon never dreamed of. The fear of what the world might think of encouraging a monster at a certain point never can deter a sage who sees the end that is best. And in the life of Napoleon there are many things going to show at times an influence more powerful than he could grapple. His foolhardy march to Moscow was perhaps engineered by these silent campaigners, and also his sudden and disastrous retreat. What he could have done had he remained in France, no present historian is competent to say. The oft-doubted story of the red letter from the Red Man just when Napoleon was in a hesitating mood, may have been an encouragement at a particular juncture. “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.” Nor will the defeat at Waterloo be ever understood until the Nirmanakayas give their records up.
As a change in the thought of a people who have been tending to gross atheism is one always desired by the Sages of the Wisdom Religion, it may be supposed that the wave of spiritualistic phenomena resulting now quite clearly in a tendency back to a universal acknowledgment of the soul, has been aided by the Nirmanakayas. They are in it and of it; they push on the progress of a psychic deluge over great masses of people. The result is seen in the literature, the religion and the drama of today. Slowly but surely the tide creeps up and covers the once dry shore of Materialism, and, though priests may howl, demanding “the suppression of Theosophy with a firm hand” and a venal press may try to help them, they have neither the power nor the knowledge to produce one backward ripple, for the Master hand is guided by omniscient intelligence propelled by a gigantic force, and – works behind the scene.
[“Echoes from the Orient” p. 32-35]
FROM LETTERS OF H.P. BLAVATSKY TO WILLIAM Q. JUDGE
It means that unless you consent, you will force me to a miserable life & a miserable death with the idea preying on my mind that there is an end of theosophy. That for several years I will not be able to help it on & stir its course, because I will have to act in a body which will have to be assimilated to the nirmanakaya; because even in Occultism there are such things as a failure, & a retardment, and a misfit.
– – –
The trouble with you is that you do not know the great change that came to pass in you a few years ago. Others have occasionally their astrals changed and replaced by those of Adepts (as of Elementaries) and they influence the outer, and the higher man. With you, it is the NIRMANAKAYA not the ‘astral’ that blended with your astral. Hence the dual nature & fighting.
~ BlavatskyTheosophy.com ~
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6 thoughts on “The Greatest Doctrine of Esoteric Philosophy”
A very interesting article. I have a question regarding the ability of a Nirmanakaya to remain on earth after death. This quote is from Blavatsky’s article, “Tibetan Teachings”.-
“The periods allotted for these exceptional cases vary. In the first
case, owing to the knowledge acquired in his condition of Anuttara
Samyak Sambodhi—the most holy and enlightened heart—the
Bodhisatwa has no fixed limit. Accustomed to remain for hours and
days in his astral form during life, he has power after death to create
around him his own conditions, calculated to check the natural tendency
of the other principles to rejoin their respective elements, and can
descend or even remain on earth for centuries and millenniums.”
So, can a Nirmanakaya remain in objective appearance on earth for centuries and even milenniums after the death of their physical body?
This is an intriguing thought. In light of everything else that’s said about Nirmanakayas/Bodhisattvas, one might naturally be inclined to view that last phrase in the sense of “even remain in the psychic atmosphere of the earth for centuries and millenniums.”
And yet it says – and this from “the Venerable Chohan-Lama” whose words HPB was relating for most of the “Tibetan Teachings” article – “remain ON EARTH.”
Does this mean visibly or invisibly?
We can’t say because we don’t know but thank you for your comment and question.
I cant remember if i have some pseudo theosophy mixed up in here but from what ive read of theosophy, I got the impression that nirvana is a state of temporary rest during minor pralayas and that paranirvana is a state of also temporary rest, even though time does not exist, during a mahamanvantara. And that even though a being is united into the ONE and enjoys absolute bliss, he retains his individuality, somehow returning on each manvantara, through the LAW. And now, in this article, nirvana, paranirvana and dharmakaya are equated, being described as a state of union with the absolute, although dharmakaya is described as a state of selfish bliss in wich no other Living being can participate. Now, i pray you first enlighten me on the real theosophical view on the subject and second, agree or rebutte my following line of thought and concepts. For me, nirvana is the same as paranirvana but on an individual level. It is not a temporary state, but perfect absolute union with Brahman, wich is not currently realized due to our ignorance. Individuality is an illusion and one must necessarily destroy this illusory view to become the absolute. This union with the absolute is absolutely eternal, for one loses himself in the ONE wich admidts no change.As for dharmakaya, the selfish bliss part, i get it that it is selfish but only from a limited standpoint, for how can the absolute be selfish? Also, the nirvanic bliss is the same for both the nirmanakaya and the dharmakaya, for they will be one with the Absolute. I understand that the sacrifitial path is indeed far nobler, but quotes like “the fruits of hard work are sweeter” confuse me, as I am more accostumed to the ” All is Brahman” point of view.
On another note, I also got the impression that theosophy postulates that he universe, or Maya if you will, keeps somehow evolving higher and higher with each mahamanvantara. I can understand if it is meant that, for example, after a pralaya, the beings on earth go to another plane of existence, etc, but I cant understand the logic if it is meant that after an absolute disappearance of all limited existence, existence wich is said to be of endless forms, the universe reappears more “evolved”. Sorry if this text is confusing, english is not my main language and i am on mobile. Thanks in advance.
Thank you very much for your comment and questions.
The Absolute is not selfish; the selfishness referred to is in regard to one choosing to enter Nirvana during the active evolutionary cycle, thus losing the possibility of directly helping and interacting with humanity (those who have not yet reached to that high point of development, which is the majority) for their benefit.
The Nirmanakaya keeps renouncing Nirvana until the very end of the Universal Life Cycle, which is when all is finally reabsorbed into the Absolute. It is the end of the Universe, the end of manifestation, and for an unimaginably lengthy period all is in the Unmanifested, the ONE Infinite Divine Principle. This is the state of Paranirvana, also spelt Parinirvana, also called Paranishpanna.
Paranirvana is equivalent to the state of Universal Pralaya, as described in the first Stanza on Cosmogenesis in Vol. 1 of “The Secret Doctrine.”
It’s true that even Paranirvana is ultimately temporary, since when the Universe is reborn after 311,040,000,000,000 years all beings are projected back into manifested existence which is, as you rightly say, on a higher level than before.
There are many mysteries connected with Nirvana and Paranirvana. We cannot claim to be able to currently understand much of it. However, you will surely find it interesting and worthwhile to study this subject for yourself, particularly using “The Secret Doctrine” and the Index volume.
This passage, from “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 79-80, may seem confusing but it may also help in some way:
“If the reader were told, as in the semi-esoteric allegories, that these Beings [i.e. the Manasaputras/Agnishvattas/Kumaras who incarnated as the Higher Egos of humanity in the Third Root Race] were returning Nirvanees, from preceding Maha-Manvantaras – ages of incalculable duration which have rolled away in the Eternity, a still more incalculable time ago – he would hardly understand the text correctly; while some Vedantins might say: “This is not so; the Nirvanee can never return”; which is true during the Manvantara he belongs to, and erroneous where Eternity is concerned. For it is said in the Sacred Slokas:
“The thread of radiance which is imperishable and dissolves only in Nirvana, re-emerges from it in its integrity on the day when the Great Law calls all things back into action. . . .”
Thank you for your reply. That is indeed a rather strange teaching for me as I cannot understand the logic behind it. Nor can i quite understand the notion of existence returning in a higher level. Many questions arise, for example, since the ONE is absolute and Maya is supposedly infinite, how can it be higher than previously and why? What of the returning nirvanees? How can they return to samsara after they’ve lost their personality and became One with the absolute? Do they have all 7 principles or not or do they sacrifice themselves again by going into matter? Are they able to return immediatly to paranirvana or are they condemned to suffer again the whole cycle of being, from mineral to god? What would they do if not be in constant bliss? These and many more questions arise. I am unsure if Blavatsky wrote anything else on the subject, but mere reference to supposed Sacred Slokas don’t appeal me. To my increasing dismay, I most certainly won’t be an iniciate in this current life and you probably won’t be able to provide answers for these questions. My heart wavers at the thought of eternal condicioned exitence and I cannot fathom how, after attaining absoluteness, one would return to existence. I could think only of a couple evidences supporting the return to existence but then again, I am a little above ignorance. My fear is that this teaching is a complete mystery for limited beings, like the reason behind Maya. I again apologize for the jumble of ideas but the hour is running late here and i have to meditate, for the only true solace I find in this life is when I meditate on the absolute unity of all in the ONE, even though the ONE is beyond thoughts.
As you say that “mere reference to supposed Sacred Slokas” doesn’t appeal to you, there is probably little point in us attempting to refer you to further places in the Theosophical teachings which can help to shed light on this admittedly rather complex subject.
Much of it is bound to remain a mystery to us, in our present state of consciousness, but plenty has been said and taught which – if studied carefully, collated, and thought over reflectively – can help to clarify things a lot.
While we are happy to answer questions from time to time, the more important aim of this site is to encourage people to go direct to the teachings for themselves and do their own study. We could answer question after question but it is usually the case that this leads only to more questions, which can never be truly satisfied except through patient and diligent study at the source.
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