Laya Centre

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Laya Centre (sometimes spelled layu) is a phrase used in Theosophical literature to refer to "the point of matter where every differentiation has ceased"[1] the Sanskrit word laya (devanāgarī: लय) meaning "extinction, dissolution, rest".

Laya state

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky quoted an "esoteric axiom" as follows:

Whatsoever quits the Laya (homogenous) state, becomes active conscious life. Individual consciousness emanates from, and returns into Absolute consciousness, which is eternal MOTION.[2]

She defined the laya state as follows:

Laya does not mean any particular something or some plane or other, but denotes a state or condition. It is a Sanskrit term, conveying the idea of something in an undifferentiated and changeless state, a zero point wherein all differentiation ceases.[3]
The seven Layu centres are the seven Zero points, using the term Zero in the same sense that Chemists do, to indicate a point at which, in Esotericism, the scale of reckoning of differentiation begins. From the Centres . . . begins the differentiation of the elements which enter into the constitution of our Solar System.[4]

When applied in a general way, the term laya can be used as a synonym for nirvāṇa and pralaya, in the sense of a state where there is no differentiation:

The latter term [Laya] is a synonym of Nirvana. It is, in fact, the Nirvanic dissociation of all substances, merged after a life-cycle into the latency of their primary conditions. It is the luminous but bodiless shadow of the matter that was, the realm of negativeness—wherein lie latent during their period of rest the active Forces of the Universe.[5]
Pralaya is dissolution of the visible into the invisible, the heterogeneous into the homogeneous—a time of rest, therefore. Even cosmic matter, indestructible though it be in its essence, must have a time of rest, and return to its Laya state. The absoluteness of the all-containing One essence has to manifest itself equally in rest and activity.[6]
. . . Every atom of the seven principles . . . must remain outside the portal of Nirvāṇa. Alone divine ideation--the consciousness, the bearer of Absolute memory, of its personalities now merged into the one impersonal--can cross the threshold of the Laya point, which lies at the very gate of manifestation. . .[7]

Each plane of the universe has, on its first sub-plane, homogeneous matter in the laya condition for that particular plane:

Laya is what Science may call the Zero-point or line; the realm of absolute negativeness, or the one real absolute Force, the NOUMENON of the Seventh State of that which we ignorantly call and recognise as “Force”; or again the Noumenon of Undifferentiated Cosmic Substance which is itself an unreachable and unknowable object to finite perception; the root and basis of all states of objectivity and subjectivity too; the neutral axis, not one of the many aspects, but its centre. It may serve to elucidate the meaning if we attempt to imagine a neutral centre—the dream of those who would discover perpetual motion. A “neutral centre” is, in one aspect, the limiting point of any given set of senses. Thus, imagine two consecutive planes of matter as already formed; each of these corresponding, to an appropriate set of perceptive organs. We are forced to admit that between these two planes of matter an incessant circulation takes place; and if we follow the atoms and molecules of (say) the lower in their transformation upwards, these will come to a point where they pass altogether beyond the range of the faculties we are using on the lower plane. In fact, to us the matter of the lower plane there vanishes from our perception into nothing—or rather it passes on to the higher plane, and the state of matter corresponding to such a point of transition must certainly possess special and not readily discoverable properties. Such “Seven Neutral Centres,”* then, are produced by Fohat.[8]

Imperishable centres

In Slokas VI.2 and VI.4 there is a reference to "centres" that are in the laya condition:

2. The Swift and Radiant One produces the Seven Laya Centres, against which none will prevail to the great day “Be-with-Us,” and seats the Universe on these Eternal Foundations.[9]
4. He [Fohat] builds them in the likeness of older Wheels (worlds), placing them on the imperishable centres.[10]

These centres are connected with the formation and dissolution of worlds. However, the word "centre" does not refer so much to a point in space, but to the state of matter in the undifferentiated condition:

The “imperishable Laya Centres” have a great importance, and their meaning must be fully understood if we would have a clear conception of the Archaic Cosmogony, whose theories have now passed into Occultism. At present, one thing may be stated. The worlds are built neither upon, nor over, nor in the Laya centres, the zero-point being a condition, not any mathematical point.[11]

These centres become the "repository" of the principles of a planet after its dissolution, awaiting for its reawakening in a higher cycle of activity:

It is Fohat who guides the transfer of the principles from one planet to the other, from one star to another—child-star. When a planet dies, its informing principles are transferred to a laya or sleeping centre, with potential but latent energy in it, which is thus awakened into life and begins to form itself into a new sidereal body. . . .


When Fohat is said to produce “Seven Laya Centres,” it means that for formative or creative purposes, the GREAT LAW (Theists may call it God) stops, or rather modifies its perpetual motion on seven invisible points within the area of the manifested Universe. “The great Breath digs through Space seven holes into Laya to cause them to circumgyrate during Manvantara” (Occult Catechism).[12]

Online resources

Articles

Notes

  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 138, fn.
  2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980), 133.
  3. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 307.
  4. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 138.
  5. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 140, fn.
  6. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 309.
  7. Michael Gomes (transcriber), The Secret Doctrine Commentaries (The Hague: I.S.I.S. foundation, 2010), 384.
  8. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 148, fn.
  9. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 138.
  10. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 144.
  11. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 145.
  12. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 147.