A Study in
George Sidney Arundale
First published 1926
An Extract From
“The Ancient Wisdom”
By Annie Besant
THE fifth plane, the Nirvanic, is the plane of the highest human aspect of the God within us, and this aspect is named by Theosophists, Atma or the Self. It is the plane of pure existence, of divine powers in their fullest manifestation in our fivefold universe - what lies beyond on the sixth and seventh planes is hidden in the unimaginable light of God. This Atmic, or Nirvanic, consciousness, the consciousness belonging to life on the fifth plane, is the consciousness attained by those lofty Ones, the first fruits of humanity, who have already completed the cycle of human evolution, and who are called Masters. They have solved in Themselves the problem of uniting the essence of individuality with non-separateness, and live, immortal Intelligences, perfect in wisdom, in bliss, in power.
When the human Monad comes forth from the Logos, it is as though from the luminous ocean of Atma a tiny thread of light was separated off from the rest by a film of Buddhic matter, and from this hung a spark which becomes enclosed in an egg-like casing of matter belonging to the formless levels of the mental plane. “The spark hangs from the flame by the finest thread of Fohat.” As evolution proceeds, this luminous egg grows larger and more opalescent, and the tiny thread becomes a wider and wider channel through which more and more of the Atmic life pours down. Finally, they merge - the third with the second, and the twain with the first, as flame merges with flame and no
separation can be seen.
The evolution on the fourth and fifth planes belongs to a future period of our race, but those who choose the harder path of swifter progress may tread it even now, as will be explained later. On that path the bliss-body is quickly evolved,
and a man begins to enjoy the consciousness of that loftier region, and knows the bliss which comes from the absence of separative barriers, the wisdom which flows in when the limits of the intellect are transcended. Then is the wheel escaped from, which binds the soul in the lower worlds, and then is the first foretaste of the liberty which is found perfected on the Nirvanic plane.
The Nirvanic consciousness is the antithesis of annihilation; it is existence raised to a vividness and intensity inconceivable to those who know only the life of the senses and the mind. As the farthing rushlight to the splendour of the sun at noon, so is the earth-bound consciousness to the Nirvanic, and to regard it as annihilation because the limits of the earthly consciousness have vanished, is as though a man, knowing only the rushlight, should say that light could not exist without a wick immersed in tallow. That Nirvana IS has been borne witness to in the past in the Scriptures of the world by Those who enjoy it and live its glorious life, and is still borne witness to by others of our race who have climbed that lofty ladder of perfected humanity, and who remain in touch with earth that the feet of our ascending race may mount its rungs unfalteringly.
In Nirvana dwell the mighty Beings who accomplished Their own human evolution in past universes, and who came forth with the Logos when He manifested Himself to bring this universe into existence. They are His ministers in the administration of the worlds, the perfect agents of His will. The Lords of all the Hierarchies of the Gods and lower ministrants that we have seen working on the lower planes have here Their abiding-place, for Nirvana is the heart of the universe, whence all its life-currents proceed. Hence the Great Breath comes forth, the life of all, and thither it is indrawn when the universe has reached its term. There is the Beatific Vision for which mystics long, there the unveiled Glory, the Supreme Goal.
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