Seven Eternities

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Seven Eternities is a phrase used in Stanza I.1 in The Secret Doctrine to refer to the duration of a Maha-Pralaya (and therefore of a Maha-Manvantara or Maha-Kalpa). The word "eternity" is here used to refer to finite period of time. H. P. Blavatsky wrote:

The Seven Eternities meant are the seven periods, or a period answering in its duration to the seven periods, of a Manvantara, and extending throughout a Maha-Kalpa or the “Great Age”—100 years of Brahmâ—making a total of 311,040,000,000,000 of years; each year of Brahmâ being composed of 360 “days,” and of the same number of “nights” of Brahmâ (reckoning by the Chandrayana or lunar year); and a “Day of Brahmâ” consisting of 4,320,000,000 of mortal years.[1]

However, the phrase "seven eternities" can also be applied to the duration of a smaller cycle:

The opening sentence of Stanza I., when mentioning “Seven Eternities,” is made to apply both to the Maha-Kalpa or “the (great) Age of Brahma,” as well as to the Solar pralaya and subsequent resurrection of our Planetary System on a higher plane. There are many kinds of pralaya (dissolution of a thing visible), as will be shown elsewhere.[2]

Since time is not present during pralaya, Blavatsky was asked how we can talk about a particular duration for it. Her answer was:

The term “Seven Eternities” is employed owing to the invariable law of analogy. As Manvantara is divided into seven periods, so is Pralaya; as day is composed of twelve hours so is night. Can we say that because we are asleep during the night and lose consciousness of time, that therefore the hours do not strike? Pralaya is the “Night” after the Manvantaric “Day.” There is no one by, and consciousness is asleep with the rest. But since it exists, and is in full activity during Manvantara; and since we are fully alive to the fact that the law of analogy and periodicity is immutable, and, being so, that it must act equally at both ends, why cannot the phrase be used?[3]

The "Last Vibration"

The phrase "last vibration of the seventh eternity" is used in Stanza III.1 to refer to the end of the pralaya. H. P. Blavatsky explains:

The “last vibration of the Seventh Eternity” was “fore-ordained” — by no God in particular, but occurred in virtue of the eternal and changeless Law which causes the great periods of Activity and Rest, called so graphically, and at the same time so poetically, the “Days and Nights of Brahma.”[4]

Notes

  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 36.
  2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 36.
  3. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 308.
  4. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 62.