One Life

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The One Life is a central Theosophical concept, representing the one single source from which everything in the universe manifests. It is defined as "the Absolute Deity",[1] "formless and Uncreate [from which] proceeds the Universe of lives".[2]

General Description

H. P. Blavatsky wrote:

THE ONE LIFE—is deity itself, immutable, omnipresent, eternal. It is “subtle supersensuous matter” on this lower plane of ours.[3]

The One Life includes both what we call spirit and matter:

When we speak of our One Life we also say that it penetrates, nay is the essence of every atom of matter; and that therefore it not only has correspondence with matter but has all its properties likewise, etc. — hence is material, is matter itself.[4]

Although matter (as well as spirit) is essentially not different from the One Life, on the manifested planes the former is seen as a vehicle of the Absolute Reality:

[M]atter in all its phases being merely a vehicle for the manifestation through it of LIFE—the Parabrahmic Breath——in its physically pantheistic aspect (as Dr. Richardson would say, we suppose) it is a super-sensuous state of matter, itself the vehicle of the ONE LIFE, the unconscious purposiveness of Parabrahm.[5]

The One life is frequently connected to the Great Breath,[6] or the Intra-Cosmic Breath,[7] where the "countless lives" are "the outbreathings of the One Life".[8]

The One Being

Stanza I.7 in the first volume of The Secret Doctrine we read:

The visible that was, and the invisible that is, rested in eternal non-being, the one being.[9]

Mme. Blavatsky explained:

The idea of Eternal Non-Being, which is the One Being, will appear a paradox to anyone who does not remember that we limit our ideas of being to our present consciousness of existence; making it a specific, instead of a generic term. . . . The One Being is the noumenon of all the noumena which we know must underlie phenomena, and give them whatever shadow of reality they possess, but which we have not the senses or the intellect to cognize at present. . . . Alone the Initiate, rich with the lore acquired by numberless generations of his predecessors, directs the “Eye of Dangma” toward the essence of things in which no Maya can have any influence. [10]

Unity of all beings

The Theosophical view postulates that every entity, from the celestial beings to animals, plants, and even minerals, are just a limited manifestations of the One Life:

The radical unity of the ultimate essence of each constituent part of compounds in Nature—from Star to mineral Atom, from the highest Dhyāni-Chohan to the smallest infusoria, in the fullest acceptation of the term, and whether applied to the spiritual, intellectual, or physical worlds—this is the one fundamental law in Occult Science.[11]

A poetical rendering of this concept can be found in The Secret Doctrine, in a dialog between a spiritual teacher and his pupil:

— Lift thy head, oh Lanoo; dost thou see one, or countless lights above thee, burning in the dark midnight sky?

— I sense one Flame, oh Gurudeva, I see countless undetached sparks shining in it.
— Thou sayest well. And now look around and into thyself. That light which burns inside thee, dost thou feel it different in anywise from the light that shines in thy Brother-men?

— It is in no way different, though the prisoner is held in bondage by Karma, and though its outer garments delude the ignorant into saying, 'Thy Soul and My Soul'.[12]

See also

Online resources

Articles

Notes

  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 248.
  2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 250.
  3. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. IX (Wheaton, Ill: Theosophical Publishing House, 1974), 78.
  4. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 88 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 271.
  5. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. IX (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1974), 80.
  6. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 226, fn.
  7. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 258.
  8. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 268.
  9. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 44.
  10. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 45.
  11. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 120.
  12. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 120.