LOOKING past our relatively short physical lives on Earth, Theosophy views the soul as eternal. Further, this wisdom tradition declares, we don’t ‘have’ a soul, we are Souls.
There are many human beings who live to a ripe old age, and according to Wikipedia, the United Nations estimated in 2009 there were 455,000 living centenarians worldwide.
Methuselah is mentioned in the Bible as living 969 years. “But I have never heard of mortal man, layman, or Adept,” H. P. Blavatsky wrote in The Key to Theosophy, “who could live even half the years allotted to Methuselah.”
“Some Adepts do exceed, by a good deal, what you would call the ordinary age,” she said, “yet there is nothing miraculous in it, and very few of them care to live very long.”
Mme. Blavatsky refers there only to the Earthly body, not to the Spiritual Body that high adepts have earned to occupy and control, achieving what is termed self-conscious immortality — fully alive but invisible to the uninitiated.
Gautama, the Buddha, after reaching the goal of enlightenment, refused its rewards and remained on earth as a Teacher-Reformer, it is explained, and esoteric tradition teaches that he still remains in the world, invisibly watching over and protecting mankind.
And the Buddha is not alone. What is called the living “Wall of Protection” still exists established to protect humanity, built by the “accumulated efforts of long generations of Yogis, Saints and Adepts, those Buddhas of Compassion
who have woven for themselves glorious bodies in which they remain invisibly in the world, contributing towards man’s salvation.”
These advanced beings assist humans “by influencing them to follow the Good Law, and to tread the Path of Righteousness. Silently they impress the invisible atmosphere of our earth with their Ideation, thus keeping the balance on the side of right.”
Writes an Adept: “There never was a time within or before the so-called historical period when our predecessors were not moulding events and ‘making history’… The cycles must run their rounds. Periods of mental and moral light and darkness succeed each other, as day does night. The major and minor yugas must be accomplished according to the established order of things. And we, borne along on the mighty tide, can only modify and direct some of its minor currents.”
If we had the powers of the imaginary Personal God, and the universal and immutable laws were but toys to play with, then indeed might we have created conditions that would have turned this earth into an Arcadia for lofty souls. But having to deal with an immutable Law, being ourselves its creatures, we have had to do what we could and rest thankful.
In the Hindu Sacred books, that which undergoes periodical incarnation is the ‘Sutratma,’ which means literally the ‘Thread Soul,’ Blavatsky explained. “It is a synonym of the reincarnating Ego. It is so called, because, like the pearls on a thread, so is the long series of human lives strung together on that one thread.”
“In some Upanishads these recurrent re-births are likened to the life of a mortal which oscillates periodically between sleep and waking.”
“Death is sleep,” HPB reminds her students, and about the “practically universal teaching of the two kinds of conscious existence: the terrestrial and the spiritual.”
If the soul for everyone is eternal, its integrity and continuity must be accounted for somehow after physical limits are reached. Theosophy supplies the formula for soul advancement: “Learn, then, well the doctrines of Karma and Reincarnation, and teach, practice, promulgate that system of life and thought which alone can save the coming races.” (H. P. Blavatsky to the American Conventions, Letter 3)
(Excerpt from The Path: Afterlife)
For most of us, life is a process whose “beginnings are unknown, and whose outcome cannot be discerned.” Wrote H. P. Blavatsky’s co-worker William Q. Judge. It’s “a glimpse of what might be, a hope of what should be.”
“But in the light of Karma and Reincarnation evolution becomes the logic of what must be.”
“The links in the chain of being are all filled in, and the circles of reason and of life are complete,” Judge wrote. “Karma gives the eternal law of action, and Reincarnation furnishes the boundless field for its display.”