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RE: "Nirmanakaya" Part I - [Part 2 is to follow ]

Nov 26, 2001 05:37 AM
by dalval14

Monday, November 26, 2001
Re: Nirmanakaya -- Mahatma -- etc...

Dear Eldon:

Many thanks for clearing this matter up.

Some time back I was looking over the matter of the designations
used in Theosophical literature to designate the WISE -- those
who had passed through our particular stage of education and

I found and noted the following, and perhaps this amplifies some
of the information you have made available to us.

Best wishes,






In the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna declares to Arjuna the
origin of the doctrines of that "song:" Bhagavad Gita or,

In verse 1, chapter 4, he says: --

"This exhaustless doctrine of Yoga, I formerly taught
unto Vivaswat (the Central Divine Sun, the first manifestation of
divine wisdom at the beginning of evolution); Vivaswat
communicated it to Manu (a generic title for the reigning spirit
of the sensuous universe; the present one being Vivaswata Manu);
and Manu made it known unto Ikshwaku (the founder of the Indian
solar--Suravansa dynasty); and being thus transmitted from one
unto another it was studied by the Raja Rishees (the Royal Sages,
teachers of the Brahmins); until at length in the course of time
the mighty art was lost, O harasser of thy foes! It is even the
same exhaustless, secret eternal doctrine I have this day
communicated unto thee because thou art my devotee and my
friend." Gita, p. 30

Krishna then explains that reincarnation is a fact in
Nature, and is the Path of experience which leads to the Goal of
perfection for all mankind. All beings, including men, are
immortals and are evolving in consciousness towards a
"realization" that the whole Universe is One. This implies a
perception of the action of Law-Karma before any acting is done.

Krishna, the manifested Logos, corresponds to the
Atma-Higher Self in man [ the "Ray" from the Spiritual Sun ]. It
is immortal and eternal. Mankind, in general, finds itself
mid-way in evolution, uniting the Spiritual and the material
streams of evolution in the third stream, that of his own
free-willed Self-consciousness mirrored directly from his
Atma-Buddhi-Manasic Monad--the "Ray" of the Real Self innate to
him. For this reason he "makes" Karma; and, he hastens or
retards his own evolution, as a personal being, towards

Perfection is a mental and a moral condition, where the
free-willed mind, perceiving the equality and brotherhood of all
beings, has chosen to discipline itself to be harmless to all of
Nature's beings. It acts unselfishly, and perceiving the
universal action of Karma, it is compassionate to all. Such an
"awakened" man, harmonizes and equilibrizes all the powers and
forces of Nature, which he sees are within himself as everywhere
else, and he deliberately and consciously makes of the "army of
the "skandhas" he has drawn together, a "permanent Astral"--a
Manvantaric Body for use on the several "planes," and "spheres"
of evolutionary life. [ see HPB Art III 265 ]

"Perfection" is relative to "imperfection;" the ideal of
perfection is held and worked toward because it is potential in
us as in every other being. It is in a way a limited goal, as it
is a goal we construct with the embodied mind so as to help raise
it to a more universal position. When attained to, it will
disclose further "perfections" to be striven for.

"Perfection is an ever-receding goal; "we can always
approach the light, but we may never touch the flame," because it
is our very Self, the Perceiver and Knower within. The Self is
neither perfect nor imperfect for it includes all perceptions;
there could be no knowledge of any degree of perfection or
imperfections unless the perceiver could see both an distinguish
between them." A to Q, 14

"An Adept is one on the way to Mastership; there are
many degrees of Adeptship." (A to Q, 27) Adeptship is the
progressive mastery of himself and of the corresponding planes of
Nature in all departments. It is essential to grasp clearly the
fact that truth is not selfish isolation nor is it the possible
abuse of Nature's powers. Any tinge of selfishness, in desire,
in discipline inevitably leads to failure.

"Master" is a word used by early students in the T.S. to
designate their mentors: members of the Brotherhood of Adepts.
It is not to suggest any abasement, slavery or servitude by an
individual student to "authority." It was used as a mark of
gratitude, and respect for the fact that there are those, who
like the professors in a University, have studied, and learned
what Nature can teach and these have delayed their advance to
present to us the facts they have verified.

All that is to be learned or studied is already in
Nature. We have access to its deepest and most remote "secrets"
because we are already One with It.

The service of others, especially those who know less
than we do, or have lesser advantages, is a necessary aspect of
personal self-evolution. The "perfection" (or graduation) that
can be achieved in any system of Worlds or on any of the
"Globes," depends on a voluntary compliance with evolutionary
laws that are the same for all.

There is a "rebellious spirit" in most humans, which, at
this stage, objects to this. Or, objects to the use of the word:
"master." On analysis, this may be found to arise because the
word is known to have been used in a distorted manner, to abuse
the innocence of an inquirer. This psychological fact (of
instinctive resistance) ought to be examined impartially, just as
why it should be that some accept unquestioningly, the imposition
of claims of "authority."

A vision, a vista, of the future opens to our mental eye.
We see that there may be a goal of universal and perfect
knowledge, obtainable, as the result of great personal effort to
achieve moral and mental self-mastery. And this may be continued
through many lives. Theosophy emphasizes the moral aspect of all
thoughts and actions. We, being immortals, have the necessary
time to achieve this. But, in this life, it means we have to
reinforce through understanding, the awakened vision of the
possibility of such an attainment. Some limit their sight, and
as a result they work for limited goals. This may result in
delays, and they will eventually have to continue, under the
general urging of evolution from whatever level they have

In a way it is, now, at our present stage, a view of our
own potential future--when physically, mentally and spiritually
we may develop our own understanding. We have a vision, so to
say, of our place in the brotherhood of the "Servants of
Humanity." This, of course, may not appeal to the recognition
seeker. If such a repugnance arises it is due either to
misunderstanding of the universality of Karma, or to an
orientation of his mind-set, which has biased his understanding
by directing his desires to his own isolated advancement, without
taking humanity into account. The Body of the Adepts, who,
unknown and unseen, and careless of any worldly recognition,
assist those who strive to master their kama-manasic personal
natures, is said in Theosophical doctrine to be an actuality. To
some of us, it may appeal as a vision of our own future, and of
our potential worth in the Universe.

Thus, the Adepts should be considered living men like us.
They have achieved a higher level of wisdom; and offer to assist
us. They do not require "payment" in any way. They have
attained their status by free choice and free devotion to wisdom,
and they would encourage us to do this likewise, while making
themselves available to assist, To merit direct assistance we
have to demonstrate our capacity for independent work in terms of
Nature's needs and universal consideration of the rights of
others: gentleness, honest and compassion. Unlike us, at our
present stage, they have mastered the Hermetic riddle: "Man, Know
Thyself." They are examples of the level of attainment which we
can also reach to. They use physical bodies, but those bodies
are formed of highly refined and spiritualized
substance...purified skandhas.

"In those bodies all the forces belonging to man, and
these mean the very highest expression of the great forces of
nature, constantly play, and must have corresponding effect upon
anyone who may come in Their direct range. With such a
conception of the nature of Their bodies, we may be able to dimly
perceive to what a pitch of power and glory Their inner natures
have been raised. If we thus dimly grasp the nature of Masters
we may be able to reverence Them in our hearts, and to endeavor
to draw near to Them in our innermost being...Masters are facts
in Nature, facts however which our highest ideals will not fully
encompass...Let us therefore endow Them with the highest we can
conceive of, try to assimilate that "highest" within ourselves,
endeavor to draw near to Them in our hearts, and thus form for
ourselves that line of communication which They have said They
are always ready to help establish; and let us keep that ideal
as a sacred thing in the repository of our hearts..." A to Q,
p. 27-8

"The Bodhisattva is one whose "essence (sattva) has
become intelligence (bodhi);" those who need but one more
incarnation to become perfect Buddhas, i.e., to be entitled to
Nirvana. This, as applied to Manushi (terrestrial) Buddhas. In
the metaphysical sense, Bodhisattva is a title given to the sons
of the celestial Dhyani Buddhas." T. Glos., 59

At this point, in the Voice of the Silence, p.78, he
hears the final question before the last "initiation:"

"Now bend thy head and listen well, O
Bodhisattva--Compassion speaks and saith: "Can there be bliss
when all that lives must suffer? Shalt thou be saved and hear
the whole world cry ?
Now thou hast heard that which was said.
Thou shalt attain the seventh step and cross the gate of
final knowledge, but only to wed woe--if thou would'st be
Tathagata, follow upon thy predecessor's steps, remain unselfish
till the endless end.
Thou art enlightened--choose thy way..."
Voice, p. 78

"...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." Voice, p.77

HPB has given us a brief survey of the steps to "perfection."
The Bodhisattva (Purity and Wisdom) has refined and purified his
personality so that it now transmits, or "mirrors" the perfection
of the Individuality, Atma, the Higher Self, the Monad; and all
personal selfishness, all sense of superiority or of isolation
has been finally and totally eliminated. All aspects of our
"personality" have been harmonized and raised in quality of
sensitivity and vibration to the divine level.

There remains, then, the potential of Spiritual
selfishness as a final test of our personal nature. In the Voice,
we find :

"Yea, he is mighty. The living power made free in him,
that power which is Himself, can raise the tabernacle of illusion
high above the Gods, above great Brahm and Indra. Now he shall
surely reach his great reward !" Voice, p. 71

And a further question is asked:

"Shall he not use the gifts which it confers for his own
rest and bliss, his well-earn'd weal and glory--he, the subduer
of the Great Delusion ?" Voice, p.71

Reading the footnote in Voice, p. 78, one realizes that
the Sambhogakaya vesture [ if donned, as one of the three
'perfections,'] implies the 'entire obliteration of all earthly
concerns.' That is an isolation which is "spiritual

The Bodhisattva, who perceives this, but has adopted the
ideal of service as his method, resolves to remain in the
Nirmanakaya vesture and retains the full knowledge of that state
in which he could have donned the Sambhogakaya sheath. (see
HPB Art. I, p. 452 fn., T. Glos. p. 343)

The Dharmakaya, the third vesture, represents the final
stage of the Trikaya [Glos. p. 338-9] and the Trisharna [Glos.
p.343]. It is "essential Bodhi"--wisdom, and excludes the
entity, if accepted and donned, from further relations with the
present stream of evolving mankind. It is said that a "mere
wish" achieves this.

In the Voice, p. 47, mention in made of those who choose
the limited Nirvana of spiritual selfishness: he "makes his
obeisance but to his Self." "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."
Such an individual is called a Pratyeka Buddha. Having a high
intellectual development (Lower Manas, or Kama-Manas ) with no
spiritual compassion...he chooses to work selfishly for his own
salvation. His is a nature that is far below that of a "Buddha
of Compassion." He strives only for the reaching of his own
personally constructed and isolated Nirvana, where he lives
environed by his own ideas, and is unperceived by anyone but
himself. ( see T. Glos., p. 261, Voice, p. 47fn.)

>From this personal Nirvana he is eventually, "after an
immensity of years," forced--by the power of Universal Karma--to
return. Then he has to again take an appropriate place in the
stream of evolution. The Karma of his selfish isolation acts.
The onward movement of Nature demands a complete and true
perfection, to us it has been pictured as "compassion absolute."
For many, at present, this is a condition that is difficult to
understand. Our civilization has so emphasized our Personality,
that we automatically view our life and objectives possessively.
We thus fail to realize that no one owns anything or anyone.
Every being is pursuing its own evolution, and we are blessed but
with a temporary role as an "assistant," in that process.

In the Secret Doctrine, II, p. 79-80, H.P.B. reminds us that
mankind, the vast band of evolving human Egos consists, in part,
of "returning Nirvanees, from preceding Maha-Manvantaras--ages of
incalculable duration which have rolled away in the Eternity"...

"doomed by the law of Karma and evolution to be reborn (or
incarnated) on Earth. Some of these were Nirmanakayas from other
Manvantaras". S D II 93-4, 233 fn.

In another place she observed:

"Ordinarily, a man is said to reach Nirvana when he evolutes into
a Dhyan Chohan. The condition of a Dhyan Chohan is attained in
the ordinary course of Nature, after the completion of the 7th
round in the present planetary chain. After becoming a Dhyan
Chohan, a man does not, according to the Law of nature, incarnate
in any of the other planetary chains of this Solar system. The
whole Solar system is his home.

He continues to discharge his duties in the Government of this
Solar system until the time of Solar Pralaya, when his monad,
after a period of rest, will have to overshadow in another Solar
system a particular human being during his successive
incarnations, and attach itself to his higher principles when he
becomes a Dhyan Chohan in his turn.

There is progressive spiritual development in the innumerable
solar systems of the infinite cosmos. Until the time of Cosmic
Pralaya, the Monad will continue to act in the manner above
indicated, and it is only during the inconceivable period of
cosmic sleep which follows the present period of activity, that
the highest condition of Nirvana is realized...our Mahatmas have
not yet affirmed that there are exactly 7 planetary chains in
this Solar system." (Theosophist, Vol. 5, p. 246, July

In answer to a later query, she wrote:

"I maintain as an occultist, on the authority of the Secret
Doctrine, that though merged entirely into Parabrahm, man's
spirit while not individual per se, yet preserves its distinct
individuality in Paranirvana owing to the accumulation in it of
the aggregates, or skandhas that have survived after each death,
from the highest faculties of the Manas.

The most spiritual--i.e., the highest and divinest aspirations of
every personality follow Buddhi and the Seventh Principle into
Devachan (Swarga) after the death of each personality along the
line of rebirths, and become part and parcel of the Monad. The
personality fades out, disappearing before the occurrence of the
evolution of the new personality (rebirth) out of Devachan: but
the individuality or the preserved to the end of
the great cycle (Maya-Manwantara) when each Ego enters
Paranirvana, or is merged in Parabrahm. To our talpatic, or
mole-like, comprehension the human spirit is then lost in the One
Spirit, as the drop of water thrown into the sea can no longer be
traced out and recovered.

But de facto it is not so in the world of immaterial thoughts.
This latter stands in relation to the human dynamic thought, as,
say, the visual power through the strongest conceivable
microscope would to the sight of a half-blind man: and yet this
is a most insufficient simile--the difference is "inexpressible
in terms of foot-pounds."

That such Parabrahmic and Paranirvanic "spirits," or units have
and must preserve their divine (not human) individualities, is
shown in the fact that, however long the "night of Brahma" or
even the Universal Pralaya (not the local Pralaya affecting some
one group of worlds) yet, when it ends, the same individual
Divine Monad resumes its majestic path of evolution though on a
higher, hundredfold perfected and more pure chain of earths than
before and brings with it all the essence of compound
spiritualities from its previous countless rebirths."
(Theosophist, January 1886) --HPB Articles, II, p. 265)

In 1888, she offered in The Secret Doctrine a general

"The closer the approach to one's prototype "in Heaven," the
better for the mortal whose personality was chosen by his own
personal deity (the 7th principle), as its terrestrial abode.
For, with every effort of will toward purification and unity with
that "Self-god," one of the lower rays breaks and the spiritual
entity of man is drawn higher and ever higher to the ray that
supersedes the first, until from ray to ray, the inner man is
drawn into the one and highest beam of the Parent-SUN."
(The Secret Doctrine, I, p. 638-9 )

The Nirmanakaya, is the highest stage. If renunciation (of
Nirvana) is chosen, Bodhi ( Wisdom ) is "practiced" by those who
live in that vesture. The Mahatma, the Master of Devotion (the
Jains would call him a Tirthankara) employs this nirmanakayic
body for his further compassionate work which embraces Humanity
and its many individuals in particular, while at the same time,
he proceeds, working on other planes of nature, which necessarily
include harmonic relations with vast and other aspects of the
Universe, of which we are not given the details The karmic
future of individuals, of the "race," of our Earth, lies in front
of his gaze, as an "open book." His part in the grand scheme of
Life is clear, as is that of others. This enables him to employ
discrimination in his actions of assistance. He knows when
cycles are due to mature, and whether the time may be correct to
initiate the action of some or another type of learning
opportunity for humanity, a race, or an individual.

The Mahatma is a Nirmanakaya who uses a physical body. This can
be done in several ways: normal birth, substitution ( as in a
"borrowed body," ), and by Kriyasakti, whereby a new body is
formed, not "born of woman." The various methods and reasons for
their use have a significance known only to them. For us to
inquire into those particular reasons is curiosity.

Gautama the Buddha chose to remain with mankind as a
Nirmanakaya, occasionally incarnating as in the case of Sri
Sankaracharya, and later as Tson-Kha-Pa. So says HPB.
( see Glos 307-8), and Son-Kha-pa. (Glos. p. 305).

"...those Egos of great Adepts who have passed away, and are also
known as Nirmanakayas; ...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...they are re-born
over and over again ... Who they are, "on earth"--every student
of Occult science knows..." SD II 615

"When our great Buddha--the patron of all the adepts, the
reformer and the codifier of the occult system, reached first
Nirvana on earth, he became a Planetary Spirit, i.e.,--his spirit
could at one and the same time rove the interstellar spaces in
full consciousness, and continue at will on Earth in his original
and individual body. For the divine Self had so completely
disfranchised itself from matter that it could create at will an
inner substitute for itself, and leaving it in the human form for
days, weeks, sometimes years, affect in no wise by the change
either the vital principle or the physical mind of its
body...that is the highest form of adeptship man can hope for on
our planet. But it is as rare as the Buddhas themselves, (44)
the last Khobilghan who reached it being Sang-Ko-Pa of Kokonor
(XIV Century), the reformer of esoteric as well as of vulgar
lamaism. Many are those who "break through the egg shell," few
who, once out are able to exercise their Nirira namastaka fully,
when out of the body. Conscious life in Spirit is as difficult
for some natures as swimming, is for some bodies...The planetary
Spirit of that kind (the Buddha like) can pass at will into other
bodies--of more or less etherealized matter, inhabiting other
regions of the Universe. There are many other grades and orders,
but there is no separate and eternally constituted order of
Planetary Spirits..." Mahat. Let. 43-4

The nature and function of the Dhyan Chohans [ Lords of Wisdom ]
is explained in SD II 233fn. They are "The divine Intelligences
charged with the supervision of Kosmos." Glos. p.101.

" will be sufficient to point to the following:--

(1) the Nirmanakaya vesture is preferred by the "Buddhas of
Compassion" to that of the Dharmakaya state, precisely because
the latter precludes him who attains it from any communication or
relation with the finite, i.e., with humanity;

(2) it is not Buddha (Gautama, the mortal man...) who lives
ubiquitously in "three different spheres, at the same time," but
Bodhi, the universal and abstract principle of divine wisdom,
symbolized in philosophy by Adi-Buddha. It is the latter that is
ubiquitous because it is the universal essence or principle. It
is Bodhi, or the spirit of Buddhaship, which having resolved
itself into its primordial homogeneous essence and merged into
it, as Brahma (the universe) merges into Parabrahm, the
Absoluteness is meant under the name of "essential Bodhi." For
the Nirvanee, or Dhyani-Buddha, must be supposed--to be that
"essential Bodhi" itself. It is the Dhyani Bodhisattvas, the
primordial rays of the universal Bodhi, who live in "reflected
Bodhi" in Rupadathu, or the world of subjective "forms;" and it
is the Nirmanakayas (plural) who upon casting their lives of
"practical Bodhi," in the "enlightened" or Buddha forms, remain
voluntarily in the Kamadathu (the world of desire), whether in
objective forms on earth or in subjective states in its sphere
(the 2nd Buddhakshetra). This they do in order to watch over,
protect and help mankind."
[Glos 129 - Guardian Wall; Voice 74, L on P 19,
M L 57, Q & A 160, Key 212-3, F P 75,]

Thus, it is neither one Buddha who is meant, nor any particular
Avatar of the collective Dhyani Buddhas, but verily
Adi-Bodhi--the first Logos, whose primordial ray is Mahabuddhi,
the Universal Soul, Alaya whose flame is ubiquitous, and whose
influence has a different sphere in each of the three forms of
existence, because, once again, it is Universal Being itself or
the reflex of the Absolute..." Glos 343



Part 2 is to follow DTB

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