Portrait of Madame Blavatsky resized


No Religion Higher Than Truth

Pre-Existence, Metempsychosis, Reincarnation
Isis Unveiled Studies Series
Part 5 of 10

Theosophy Magazine
Vol. 5, No. 9, July 1917
pages 399 - 400

The accompanying article is made up of textual extracts from Isis Unveiled, topically and sequentially arranged. The page references from which the statements are taken, are given at the conclusion of the article. –EDITORS.

Where, WHO, WHAT is GOD? Who ever saw the IMMORTAL SPIRIT of man, so as to be able to assure himself of man’s immortality?

The Oriental philosophy has room for no other faith than an absolute and immovable faith in the omnipotence of man’s own immortal self. This omnipotence comes from the kinship of man’s spirit with the Universal Soul — God! The latter can never be demonstrated but by the former. Man-spirit proves God-spirit, as the one drop of water proves a source from which it must have come. Prove the soul of man by its wondrous powers — you have proved God!

The unity of God, the immortality of the spirit, belief in salvation only through our works, merit and demerit(1); such are the principal articles of faith of the Wisdom-religion. Nirvana represents the dogma of the spirit’s immortality. To reach the Nirvana means absorption into the great universal soul, the latter representing a state, not an individual being or an anthropomorphic god, as some understand the great EXISTENCE. A spirit reaching such a state becomes a part of the integral whole, but never loses its individuality for all that. Henceforth; the spirit lives spiritually, without any fear of further modifications of form; for form pertains to matter, and the state of Nirvana implies a complete purification or a final riddance from even the most sublimated particle of matter.

Nirvana means the certitude of personal immortality, immortality in Spirit, not in Soul, which, as a finite emanation, must certainly disintegrate its particles, a compound of human sensations, passions, and yearning for some objective kind of existence.

Both the human spirit and soul are pre-existent. But while the former exists as a distinct entity, an individualization, the soul exists as pre-existing matter, an unscient portion of an intelligent whole. Matter is as indestructible and eternal as the immortal spirit itself, but only in its particles, and not as organized forms. Annihilation means only a dispersion of matter, in whatever form or semblance of form it may be; for everything that bears a shape was created, and thus must sooner or later perish, i.e., change that shape; even our astral bodies, pure ether, are but illusions of matter, so long as they retain their terrestrial outline. The latter changes according to the merits or demerits of the person during his lifetime, and this is metempsychosis. The purifying process of transmigrations — the metempsychoses — esoterically relates to the purely spiritual peregrinations of the human soul. The key to it lies in the refined and mystical tenets of the spiritual influx of divine life.

The cause of reincarnation is ignorance of our senses, and the idea that there is any reality in the world, anything except abstract existence. Thus, like the revolutions of a wheel, there is a regular succession of death and birth, the moral cause of which is the cleaving to existing objects, while the instrumental cause is karma (the power which controls the universe, prompting it to activity), merit and demerit. “It is, therefore, the great desire of all beings who would be released from the sorrows of successive birth, to seek the destruction of the moral cause, the cleaving to existing objects, or evil desire.” They, in whom evil desire is entirely destroyed, are called Arhats. At his death, the Arhat is never reincarnated; he invariably attains Nirvana, the world of cause, in which all deceptive effects or delusions of our senses disappear.

The metempsychosis was a succession of disciplines through refuge-heavens(2) to work off the exterior mind, or soul,(3)that principle that lives from Karma and the Skandhas (groups). It is the latter, the metaphysical personations of the “deeds” of man, whether good or bad, which, after the death of the body, incarnate themselves, so to say, and form their many invisible but never-dying compounds into a new body, or rather into an ethereal being, the double of what man was morally. It is the astral body of the kabalist and the “incarnated deeds” which form the new sentient self, as his Ahancara (the ego, self-consciousness),(4) can never perish, for it is immortal per se as a spirit; hence the sufferings of the newly-born self till he rids himself of every earthly thought, desire, and passion. Thus the disembodied Ego, through this sole undying desire in him, unconsciously furnishes the conditions of his successive self-procreations in various forms, which depend on his mental state and Karma, the good or bad deeds of his preceding existence, commonly called “merit and demerit.”

The doctrine of Metempsychosis has been abundantly ridiculed by men of science and rejected by theologians, yet if it had been properly understood in its application to the indestructibility of matter and the immortality of spirit, it would have been perceived that it is a sublime conception. If the Pythagorean metempsychosis should be thoroughly explained and compared with the modern theory of evolution it would be found to supply every “missing link” in the chain of the latter. There was not a philosopher of any notoriety who did not hold to this doctrine, as taught by the Brahmans, Buddhists, and later by the Pythagoreans.

NOTE.–The volume and page references to Isis Unveiled, from which the foregoing article is compiled, are, in the order of the excerpts, as follows:– I, vi; II, 116-17; II, 320; I, 316-17; I, 328; I, 290; I, 289; I, 346; II, 286-87; II, 320; I, 8-9; I, 12.

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