LOOKING beyond our relatively short physical lives on Earth, Theosophy teaches that the soul and spirit alone are eternal.
Further, the perennial wisdom tradition declares we don’t just ‘have’ a soul, we are Souls. (The Ocean of Theosophy, Chapter One)
Yet, there are many human beings who live physically to a ripe old age, and according to Wikipedia, the United Nations estimated in 2012 there were 316,600 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 here only to the outward earthly physical body.
But the Spiritual and Astral Bodies that wise adepts have learned to occupy and control — achieving what is termed self-conscious immortality — have no expiration date.
Such Masters as Buddha remain fully alive while occupying their spiritual form (or Bodhisattvic Body). They are called Nirmanakayas, and remain invisible to the uninitiated. Such enlightened masters live a “secret life” of service to humanity.
One who selects the Path of Renunciation is described as a Bodhisattva, a “Buddha of Compassion.” The term literally means “one whose essence is wisdom” or “one of enlightened essence.”
The Buddhist sage Aryasangha refers to Gautama Buddha as “the Supreme Nirmanakaya.” H. P. Blavatsky echoes his assertion, writing in a footnote: “The Esoteric School teaches that Gautama Buddha, with several of his Arhats, is such a Nirmânakâya, higher than whom, on account of the great renunciation and sacrifice for mankind, there is none known.”
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 remains in the world, invisibly watching over and protecting mankind.”
And the Buddha is not alone. What is called a living, spiritual “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.”
The “Guardian Wall” may also be called the “Wall of Protection.”
Those Masters are likened to ‘stones’ which go to form this spiritual Wall: “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.”
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.” (Voice, fn 28)
These advanced beings assist suffering 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.
In their own words: “There never was a time within or before the so-called historical period when our predecessors were not moulding events and ‘making history’… We never pretended to be able to draw nations in the mass to this or that crisis in spite of the general drift of the world’s cosmic relations. 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.”
(Video 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. Karma gives the eternal law of action, and Reincarnation furnishes the boundless field for its display.”
“The most intelligent being in the universe, man, has never, then, been without a friend, but has a line of elder brothers who continually watch over the progress of the less progressed, preserve the knowledge gained through aeons of trial and experience, and continually seek for opportunities of drawing the developing intelligence of the race on this or other globes to consider the great truths concerning the destiny of the soul.”
(The Ocean of Theosophy, Chapter One,
Theosophy and the Masters)