Letter №68


Letter №68 (ML-16)

Mahatma K.H. - A.P. Sinnett

After 15 July, 1882

Covers - 2.  Pages - 37.


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    Letter №68, p. 9

    the people he would expect to find in such a sphere of compensative bliss. And it is that variety which guides the temporary personal Ego into the current which will lead him to be reborn in a lower or higher condition in the next world of causes. Everything is so harmoniously adjusted in nature — especially in the subjective world, that no mistake can be ever committed by the Tathagatas — or Dhyan Chohans — who guide the impulses.

    (5) On the face of the idea, a purely spiritual state would only be enjoyable to the entities highly spiritualized in this life. But there are myriads of very good people (morally) who are not spiritualized at all. How can they be fitted to pass, with their recollections of this life from a material to a spiritual condition of existence.

    (5) It is "a spiritual condition" only as contrasted with our own grossly "material condition," and, as already stated — it is such degrees of spirituality that constitute and determine the great "varieties" of conditions within the limits of Deva-Chan.

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    Letter №68, p. 10

    A mother from a savage tribe is not less happy than a mother from a regal palace, with her lost child in her arms; and although as actual Egos, children prematurely dying before the perfection of their septenary Entity do not find their way to Deva-Chan, yet all the same the mother's loving fancy finds her children there, without one missing that her heart yearns for. Say — it is but a dream, but after all what is objective life itself but a panorama of vivid unrealities? The pleasures realized by a Red Indian in his "happy hunting grounds" in that Land of Dreams is not less intense than the ecstasy felt by a connoisseur who passes aeons in the wrapt delight of listening to divine Symphonies by imaginary angelic choirs and orchestras. As it is no fault of the former, if born a "savage" with an instinct to kill — though it caused the death of many an innocent animal — why, if with it all, he was a loving father, son, husband, why should he not also enjoy his share of reward? The case would be quite different if the same cruel acts had been done by an educated and civilized person, from a mere love of sport. The savage in being reborn would simply take a low place in the scale, by reason of his imperfect moral development; while the Karma of the other would be tainted with moral delinquency. . . .

    "Red Indian" refers to American Indians; Native Americans.

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    Letter №68, p. 11

    Every one but that ego which, attracted by its gross magnetism, falls into the current that will draw it into the "planet of Death" — the mental as well as physical satellite of our earth — is fitted to pass into a relative "spiritual" condition adjusted to his previous condition in life and mode of thought. To my knowledge and recollection H.P.B. explained to Mr. Hume that man's sixth principle, as something purely spiritual could not exist, or have conscious being in the Deva-Chan, unless it assimilated some of the more abstract and pure of the mental attributes of the fifth principleor animal Soul: its manas (mind) and memory. When man dies his second and third principles die with him; the lower triad disappears, and the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh principles form the surviving Quaternary. (Read again page 6 in Fragments of O.T.) Thenceforth it is a "death" struggle between the Upper and Lower dualities. If the upper wins, the sixth, having attracted to itself the quintessence of Good from the fifth — its nobler affections, its saintly (though they be earthly) aspirations, and the most Spiritualised portions of its mind — follows its divine elder (the 7th) into the "Gestation" State; and the fifth and fourth remain in association as an empty shell — (the expression is quite correct) — to roam in the earth's atmosphere, with half the personal memory gone, and the more brutal instincts fully alive for a certain period — an "Elementary" in short. This is the "angel guide" of the average medium. If, on the other hand, it is the Upper Duality which is defeated, there, it is the fifth principle that assimilates all that there may be left of personal recollection and perceptions of its personal individuality in the sixth. But, with all this additional stock, it will not remain in Kama-Loka — "the world of Desire" or our Earth's atmosphere. In a very short time

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    Letter №68, p. 12

    like a straw floating within the attraction of the vortices and pits of the Maelstrom, it is caught up and drawn into the great whirlpool of human Egos; while the sixth and seventh — now a purely Spiritual, individual MONAD, with nothing left in it of the late personality, having no regular "gestation" period to pass through: (since there is no purified personal Ego to be reborn), after a more or less prolonged period of unconscious Rest in the boundless Space — will find itself reborn in another personality on the next planet. When arrives the period of "Full Individual Consciousness" — which precedes that of Absolute Consciousness in the Pari-Nirvana — this lost personal life becomes as a torn out page in the great Book of Lives, without even a disconnected word left to mark its absence. The purified monad will neither perceive nor remember it in the series of its past rebirths — which it would had it gone to the "World of Forms" (rupa-loka) — and its retrospective glance will not perceive even the slightest sign to indicate that it had been. The light of Samma-Sambuddh —

    ". . . that light which shines beyond our mortal ken

    The line of all the lives in all the worlds " —

    throws no ray upon that personal life in the series of lives foregone.

    To the credit of mankind, I must say, that such an utter obliteration of an existence from the tablets of Universal Being does not occur often enough to make a great percentage. In fact, like the much mentioned "congenital idiot" such a thing is a lusus naturae — an exception, not the rule.

    Sammā-Sambuddha is the name traditionally given to a Buddha like Gautama, who discovered truth and gained Nirvāṇa by his own efforts without having a teacher to point it out. In the Key to Theosophy glossary, HPB defines Samma Sambuddha as the sudden remembrance of all one's past incarnations, a phenomenon of memory obtained through Yoga. A Buddhist mystic term.


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    Letter №68, p. 13

    (6) And how is a spiritual existence in which everything has merged into the sixth principle, compatible with that consciousness of individual and personal material life which must be attributed to the Ego in Deva-Chan if he retains his earthly consciousness as stated in the Theosophist Note.

    (6) The question is now sufficiently explained, I believe: the sixth and seventh principles apart from the rest constitute the eternal imperishable, but also unconscious "Monad." To awaken in it to life the latent consciousness, especially that of personal individuality, requires the monad plus the highest attributes of the fifth — the "animal Soul"; and it is that which makes the ethereal Ego that lives and enjoys bliss in the Deva-Chan. Spirit, or the unalloyed emanations of the ONE — the latter forming with the seventh and sixth principles the highest triad — neither of the two emanations are capable of assimilating but that which is

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    Letter №68, p. 14

    good, pure and holy; hence, no sensual, material or unholy recollection can follow the purified memory of the Ego to the region of Bliss. The Karma for these recollections of evil deeds and thought will reach the Ego when it changes its personality in the following world of causes. The Monad, or the "Spiritual Individuality," remains untainted in all cases. "No sorrow or Pain for those born there (in the Rupa-Loka of Deva-Chan); for this is the Pure-land. All the regions in Space possess such lands (Sakwala), but this land of Bliss is the most pure." In the Djnana Prasthana Shaster, it is said: "by personal purity and earnest meditation, we overleap the limits of the World of Desire, and enter in the World of Forms."

    (7) The period of gestation between Death and Deva-Chan has hitherto been conceived by me at all events as very long. Now it is said to be in some cases only a few days, in no cases (it is implied) more than a few years. This seems plainly stated, but I ask if it can be explicitly confirmed because it is a point on which so much turns.

    (7) Another fine example of the habitual disorder in which Mrs. H.P.B.'s mental furniture is kept. She talks of "Bardo" and does not even say to her readers what it means!

    Djnana Prasthana Shaster probably refers to the Jñāna-prasthāna-śāstra, composed by Katyayaniputra. The Jnanaprasthana ("establishment of knowledge") is one of the seven Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma Buddhist scriptures.

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    Letter №68, p. 15

    As in her writing room confusion is ten times confounded, so in her mind are crowded ideas piled in such a chaos that when she wants to express them the tail peeps out before the head. "Bardo" has nothing to do with the duration of time in the case you are referring to. "Bardo" is the period between death and rebirth — and may last from a few years to a kalpa. It is divided into three sub-periods (1) when the Ego delivered of its mortal coil enters into Kama-Loka (*) (the abode of Elementaries); (2) when it enters into its "Gestation State"; (3) when it is reborn in the Rupa-Loka of Deva-Chan. Sub-period (1) may last from a few minutes to a number of years — the phrase "a few years" becoming puzzling and utterly worthless without a more complete explanation; Sub-period (2) is "very long"; as you say, longer sometimes than you may even imagine, yet proportionate to the Ego's spiritual stamina; Sub-period (3) lasts in proportion to the good KARMA, after which the monad is again reincarnated. The Agama Sutra saying: — "in all these Rupa-Lokas, the Devas (Spirits) are equally subjected to birth, decay, old age, and death," means only that an Ego is borne thither then begins fading out and finally "dies," i.e., falls into that unconscious condition which precedes rebirth; and ends the Sloka with these words — "As the devas emerge from these heavens, they enter the lower world again:" i.e, they leave a world of bliss to be reborn in a world of causes. 

    (*) Tibetan: Yuh-Kai.

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    Letter №68, p. 16

    (8) In that case, and assuming that Deva-Chan is not solely the heritage of adepts and persons almost as elevated, there is a condition of existence tantamount to Heaven actually going on, from which the life of Earth may be watched by an immense number of those who have gone before! (9) And for how long? Does this state of spiritual beatitude endure for years? for decades? for centuries?

    (8) Most emphatically "the Deva-Chan is not solely the heritage of adepts," and most decidedly there is a "heaven" — if you must use this astro-geographical Christian term — for "an immense number of those who have gone before." But "the life of Earth" can be watched by none of these, for reasons of the Law of Bliss plus Maya, already given.

    (9) For years, decades, centuries and milleniums, oftentimes — multiplied by something more. It all depends upon the duration of Karma. Fill with oil Den's little cup, and a city Reservoir of water, and lighting both see which burns the longer. The Ego is the wick and Karma the oil: the difference in the quantity of the latter (in the cup and the reservoir) suggesting to you the great difference in the duration of various Karmas. Every effect must be proportionate to the cause. And, as man's terms of incarnate existence bear but a small proportion to his periods of

    "Den's little cup" probably refers to the Sinnett's young son Dennis.

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    Letter №68, p. 17

    inter-natal existence in the manvantaric cycle, so the good thoughts, words, and deeds of any one of these "lives" on a globe are causative of effects, the working out of which requires far more time than the evolution of the causes occupied. Therefore, when you read in the Jats and other fabulous stories of the Buddhist Scriptures that this or the other good action was rewarded by Kalpas of several figures of bliss, do not smile at the absurd exaggeration, but bear in mind what I have said. From a small seed, you know, sprung a tree whose life endures now for 22 centuries; I mean the Anuradha-pura Bo tree. Nor must you laugh, if ever you come across Pindha-Dhana or any other Buddhist Sutra and read: "Between the Kama-Loka and the Rupa-Loka there is a locality, the dwelling of 'Mara' (Death). This Mara filled with passion and lust, destroys all virtuous principles, as a stone grinds corn. (*) His palace is 7000 yojanas square, and is surrounded by a seven-fold wall," for you will feel now more prepared to understand the allegory. Also, when Beal, or Burnouf, or Rhys Davids in the innocence of their Christian and materialistic souls indulge in such translations as they generally do, we do not bear them malice for their commentaries, since they cannot know any better. But what can the following mean: — "The names of the Heavens (a mistranslation; lokas are not heavens but localities or abodes) of Desire, Kama- — 

    (*) This Mara, as you may well think, is the allegorical image of the sphere called the "Planet of Death" — the whirlpool whither disappear the lives doomed to destruction. It is between Kama and Rupa-Lokas that the struggle takes place.

    Jats are the accounts of the Buddha's previous lives in the Jataka Tales.

    The Anuradha-pura Bo tree is a Bodhi Tree (or "Bo tree", in Sinhalese) still existing in Anuradhapura, a major city in Sri Lanka, which is said to date back to the year 245 BC.

    Yojana is a Vedic measure of distance that was used in ancient India. It is equivalent to about 1.6 km (1 mi) as per modern measures of distance, although the exact value is disputed among scholars (between 2 and 5 km (1 and 3 mi)).

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    Letter №68, p. 18

    Loka so called, because the beings who occupy them are subject to desires of eating, drinking, sleeping and love. They are otherwise called the abodes of the five (?) orders of sentient creatures — Devas, men, asuras, beasts, demons" (Lau-tan Sutra, trans. by S. Beal). They mean simply that, had the reverend translator been acquainted with the true doctrine a little better — he would have (1) divided the Devas into two classes — and called them the "Rupa-devas" and the "Arupa-devas" (the "form" — or objective, and the "formless" or subjective Dhyan Chohans; and (2) — would have done the same for his class of "men," since there are shells, and "Mara-rupas" — i.e. bodies doomed to annihilation. All these are:

    (1) "Rupa-devas" — Dhyan Chohans (*) having forms } Ex-men.

    (2) "Arupa-devas" [Dhyan Chohans] having no forms } Ex-men.

    (3) "Pisachas" — (two-principled) ghosts.

    (4) "Mara-rupa" — Doomed to death (3 principled).

    (5) Asuras — Elementals — having human form } Future men.

    (6) Beasts — [Elementals] 2nd class — animal Elementals } Future men.

    (7) Rakshasas (Demons) Souls or Astral Forms of sorcerers; men who have reached the apex of knowledge in the forbidden art. Dead or alive they have, so to say cheated nature; but it is only temporary — until our planet goes into obscuration, after which they have nolens volens to be annihilated.

    It is these seven groups that form the principal divisions of the Dwellers of the subjective world around us. It is in stock No. 1, that are the intelligent Rulers of this world of Matter, and who, with all this intelligence are but the blindly obedient instruments of the 

    (*) The Planetary Spirits of our Earth are not of the highest, as you may well imagine — since, as Subba Row says in his criticism upon Oxley's work that no Eastern Adept would like to be compared with an angel or Deva. See May The Theosophist.

    In the book Man: Fragments of Forgotten History the same table of "dwellers" is printed and some concepts are added. About the Pisachas it is said that they are "shells left in Kama Loka after the passage of the ego into Devachan". About the mara-rupas it is added: "Shells of persons with abnormally material attractions, whose spiritual and psychic life, being a complete blank, cannot carry them on to Devachan". As for the "Beasts" the book says: "Elementals of the lower order connected with the different elements and animals".

    Lau-tan Sutra. The reference is taken from Rev. Samuel Beal's book A Catena of Buddhist Scriptures from the Chinese.