Immortality

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Immortality is normally defined as the ability to live forever, to enjoy eternal life. Many religions affirm the possibility of spiritual immortality, that is, the unending existence of a person in a nonphysical state such as a soul.

The esoteric view places emphasis on the continuity of consciousness. Mahatma K.H. wrote "Complete or true immortality, which means an unlimited sentient existence, can have no breaks and stoppages, no arrest of Self-consciousness". He added that immortal is he "whose distinct consciousness and perception of Self under whatever form — undergoes no disjunction at any time not for one second, during the period of his Egoship".[1] In this view, no individual entity could be truly immortal, because its individual consciousness will be dissolved at a certain point, even if at the coming of a maha-pralaya:

The word "immortality" has for the initiates and occultists quite a different meaning. We call "immortal" but the one Life in its universal collectivity and entire or Absolute Abstraction; that which has neither beginning nor end, nor any break in its continuity. Does the term apply to anything else? Certainly it does not.[2]

However, one can qualify the concept of immortality and limit it to a certain period of time, to a particular evolutionary cycle. For example, an Adept may be so developed as to be able to remain aware during the pralaya between the present and the next Rounds, instead of falling into an unconscious nirvana as is the case of those less developed. This development may be so extended to be able to remain aware during the pralayas in future and more advanced Rounds:

Let us say I begin my immortality at the present fourth Round, i.e., having become a full adept (which unhappily I am not) I arrest the hand of Death at will, and when finally obliged to submit to it, my knowledge of the secrets of nature puts me in a position to retain my consciousness and distinct perception of Self as an object to my own reflective consciousness and cognition; and thus avoiding all such dismemberments of principles, that as a rule take place after the physical death of average humanity, I remain as Koothoomi in my Ego throughout the whole series of births and lives across the seven worlds and Arupa-lokas until finally I land again on this earth among the fifth race men of the full fifth Round beings. I would have been, in such a case — "immortal" for an inconceivable (to you) long period, embracing many milliards of years. And yet am "I" truly immortal for all that? Unless I make the same efforts as I do now, to secure for myself another such furlough from Nature's Law, Koothoomi will vanish and may become a Mr. Smith or an innocent Babu, when his leave expires. There are men who become such mighty beings, there are men among us who may become immortal during the remainder of the Rounds, and then take their appointed place among the highest Chohans, the Planetary conscious "Ego-Spirits".[3]

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Notes

  1. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 70C (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 211.
  2. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 70C (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 211.
  3. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 70C (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 211.