Nov 10, 1993 09:39 PM
by Eldon B. Tucker
Nirvana is an important teaching in Theosophy, something with
considerable depth to it, something that plays a key role in the
process of human evolution and the functioning of consciousness.
Literally meaning "blown out", much like the flame of a candle can be
extinguished, nirvana, in its first level of meaning is just that,
meaning self-extinction, annihilation. And this is taught in some
Going deeper, the second level of meaning leads us to see that we
persist, and re-emerge from nirvana at a future date. It is something
that is gone into, but is not a final, irreversible state. But how
and when we re-emerge is an involved topic.
The third level of meaning shows us that our experience in it has a
scope based upon individual capacity, that there are qualities, if we
can use such a word, to the experience.
Nirvana is not *the* end to the existence, the manifestation of a
Monad, just *a* end. A Monad has neither beginning nor end, being
rooted in the timeless, the unknowable, Tat, but can obtain final
release from birth and rebirth, from having to exist, for an eternity,
for a manvantara.
This release that has been obtained, though, is for the current
evolutionary period, and when the Monad is swept back into the
evolutionary current with the next manvantara, it must resume its
evolution where it had left off. It has not escaped, only postponed
the lessons of life.
The experience of nirvana is perfection, since we are beyond all sense
of finite limitation. It is the experience of unmanifest existence,
where no conditions are imposed, no other is needed to co-create
In nirvana, when there is no blockage between us and everything else,
and no veil over our consciousness, we cannot be more that we have
made ourselves. Even here, there are no "gifts", nothing added to us
that we haven't made a part of ourselves. We are able to express
consciousness freely, without qualification, and embrace all of life,
*but* there is a scope to that embrace, a reach to our arms' embrace,
a Ring Pass Not that even here is the horizon to what we experience.
For bodhisattvas, remaining behind in the world to aid suffering
humanity, when their eventual reward does come, their experience of
nirvana is vastly superior, richer, more wondrous, than that of the
Pratkeya Buddha, one who has sought rapid liberation for himself and
left the world behind early on in life.
Nirvana is both a state of consciousness, one that can be final with
destruction of our higher vehicles for the duration of the planetary
manvantara, as well as an experience of life. It is the overshadowing
awareness of the unknown, the void, sunyata, the unmanifest, that
comes from our eighth principle of consciousness. And it finds
expression, but thinly veiled, in our Atman, the seventh principle,
the principle of the unity of life as it expresses itself in
Nirvana can be experienced in a part of our constitution, and we can
still function on earth. It is an unqualified way of embracing life.
It is a higher sense of fulfillment, of completion, than personal
bliss, bakti, than a sense of union with the beloved. It is a form of
completion that goes beyond needing something to be united with.
Nirvana has two poles, it represents the ultimate completion of life
on the one pole, and the utter failure in life on the other. There is
a nirvana of perfection on the upper pole, and a Avichi Nirvana, one
of utter misery, on the other pole. Each is the reward for following
the path in one of the two respective directions.
As a reward for completion of the human evolution, one to be had
before the evolution in the next kingdom begins in the next planetary
manvantara, nirvana might be compared to summer vacation from college,
where the student is free to go and do what he likes. It is a time to
withdraw into the spirit, stepping away from life, as the forces of
destruction tear apart the world, during the period of dissolution,
the pralaya, that our world enters into upon its death.
Nirvana is a subtle, complex, difficult to grasp, and without a solid
basis in the core teachings, it would be easy to be led astray and not
understand it right, or to reach a roadblock where no further
understanding of it can arise, because of some blockage in ones
thoughts, a rigidity in understanding it, the forming of a mold of
Like many terms, when used in the Teachings, there are many meanings
that apply, and sometimes the simple meaning is a blind, something to
hide what is really being said from those who are not ready, who have
not been given the right keys to see what is there. It is a worthy
subject, though, one deserving the deepest thought.
Eldon Tucker (email@example.com)
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