Lipika

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Lipika (devanāgarī: लिपिक) is a Sanskrit word that means "scribe". In Hindu thought the lipikas (also referred to as the four Maharājas) are gods that regulate Karma. Mme. Blavatsky defined them as follows:

Lipikas (Sk.). The celestial recorders, the “Scribes”, those who record every word and deed, said or done by man while on this earth. As Occultism teaches, they are the agents of KARMA-the retributive Law.[1]

General description

The Lipika are a hierarchy connected with the "recording" of karma. Mme. Blavatsky wrote:

The Lipi-ka, from the word lipi, “writing,” means literally the “Scribes.” Mystically, these Divine Beings are connected with Karma, the Law of Retribution, for they are the Recorders or Annalists who impress on the (to us) invisible tablets of the Astral Light, “the great picture-gallery of eternity”—a faithful record of every act, and even thought, of man, of all that was, is, or ever will be, in the phenomenal Universe. As said in “Isis,” this divine and unseen canvas is the BOOK OF LIFE.[2]

As with all the hierarchies, there are different "degrees" of lipikas in the highest, intermediate, and lower worlds:

The Lipika . . . are the Spirits of the Universe, whereas the Builders are only our own planetary deities. The former belong to the most occult portion of Cosmogenesis, which cannot be given here. Whether the Adepts (even the highest) know this angelic order in the completeness of its triple degrees, or only the lower one connected with the records of our world, is something which the writer is unprepared to say, and she would incline rather to the latter supposition. Of its highest grade one thing only is taught: the Lipika are connected with Karma—being its direct Recorders.[3]

In a passage of the The Secret Doctrine Mme. Blavatsky describes them in a way that resembles the Primordial Seven who are the Seven Rays:

As it is the Lipika who project into objectivity from the passive Universal Mind the ideal plan of the universe, upon which the “Builders” reconstruct the Kosmos after every Pralaya, it is they who stand parallel to the Seven Angels of the Presence, whom the Christians recognise in the Seven “Planetary Spirits” or the “Spirits of the Stars;” for thus it is they who are the direct amanuenses of the Eternal Ideation—or, as called by Plato, the “Divine Thought.”[4]
The Lipika "make an impassible barrier between the personal EGO and the impersonal SELF. . . . They circumscribe the manifested world of matter within the RING “Pass-Not.”[5]

They are also connected to the close of the maha-manvantara:

The Lipika proceed from Mahat and are called in the Kabala the four Recording Angels; in India, the four Maharajas, those who record every thought and deed of man; they are called by St. John in the Revelation, the Book of Life. They are directly connected with Karma and what the Christians call the Day of Judgment; in the East it was called the Day after Mahamanvantara, or the “Day-Be-With-Us.”[6]

Stanza IV.6 call the Lipikas "the second seven", that is, the hierarchy that emanates after the primordial seven:

Then the Second Seven, who are the Lipika, produced by the three (Word, Voice, and Spirit).[7]

The primordial seven being on the highest manifested plane (frequently referred to as the third), the lipika appear on the fourth plane, the highest of our Planetary Chain:

The Lipika are on the plane corresponding to the highest plane of our chain of globes.[8]

The four Maharajas

The four Maharajas are the rulers of the cardinal points, and are also connected to karma:

These are the “four Maharajahs” or great Kings of the Dhyan-Chohans, the Devas who preside, each over one of the four cardinal points. They are the Regents or Angels who rule over the Cosmical Forces of North, South, East and West, Forces having each a distinct occult property. These BEINGS are also connected with Karma, as the latter needs physical and material agents to carry out her decrees, such as the four kinds of winds, for instance, professedly admitted by Science to have their respective evil and beneficent influences upon the health of Mankind and every living thing.[9]
It is not the “Rector” or “Maharajah” who punishes or rewards, with or without “God’s” permission or order, but man himself—his deeds or Karma, attracting individually and collectively (as in the case of whole nations sometimes), every kind of evil and calamity. We produce CAUSES, and these awaken the corresponding powers in the sidereal world; which powers are magnetically and irresistibly attracted to—and react upon—those who produced these causes; whether such persons are practically the evil-doers, or simply Thinkers who brood mischief.[10]

Although Blavatsky sometimes talks indistinctly of the Lipikas and the four Maharajas, there seems to be a difference between them:

They are the protectors of mankind and also the Agents of Karma on Earth, whereas the Lipika are concerned with Humanity’s hereafter.[11]

According to Besant and Leadbeater

According to Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater the Lipikas and the Maharajas (or Devarajas) are different.

The great karmic deities of the Kosmos (called in The Secret Doctrine the Lipika) weigh the deeds of each personality when the final separation of its principles takes place at the end of its astral life, and give as it were the mould of an etheric double exactly suitable to its karma for the man s next birth; but it is the Devarajas who, having command of the "elements" of which that etheric double must be composed, arrange their proportion so as to fulfil accurately the intention of the Lipika.[12]

Annie Besant explains that once the Maharajahs receive this "mould" of the etheric double they chose for its composition the elements suited to the qualities that are to be expressed through it, so that the etheric double becomes a fitting karmic instrument for the reincarnating Ego. The Maharajahs will then guide it to the appropriate country, race, family, and social surroundings for the working out of the karma allotted to the particular life-spam in question. This constitutes what the Hindu calls the prarabdha karma; i.e., the one that is to be worked out through the present incarnation.[13]

Lipikas and Astrology

Connected as the Lipika are with the destiny of every man and the birth of every child, whose life is already traced in the Astral Light—not fatalistically, but only because the future, like the PAST, is ever alive in the PRESENT—they may also be said to exercise an influence on the Science of Horoscopy. We must admit the truth of the latter whether we will or not. For, as observed by one of the modern adepts of Astrology, “Now that photography has revealed to us the chemical influence of the Sidereal system, by fixing on the sensitized plate of the apparatus milliards of stars and planets that had hitherto baffled the efforts of the most powerful telescopes to discover them, it becomes easier to understand how our solar system can, at the birth of a child, influence his brain—virgin of any impression—in a definite manner and according to the presence on the zenith of such or another zodiacal constellation.”[14]

Notes

  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 190.
  2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 103-104.
  3. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 128.
  4. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 103-104.
  5. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 129.
  6. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 405.
  7. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 103.
  8. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 406.
  9. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 122-123.
  10. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 124.
  11. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 126.
  12. Charles Webster Leadbeater, The Astral Plane, (Adyar, Madras: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1987), 123.
  13. Annie Besant, Karma (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1975) 48-49.
  14. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 105.

Further reading