CAUSES OF MISERY: NIDAYA, MAYA
Erle Frayne D. Argonza
What causes misery? Perfected Ones, embodied as great Teachers, have echoed the same theme time and again. And so did they declare it, in Sloka 4 of Stanza, Book of Dzyan: “ THE SEVEN WAYS TO BLISS (Moksha* or Nirvana) WERE NOT (a). THE GREAT CAUSES OF MISERY (Nidana† and Maya) WERE NOT, FOR THERE WAS NO ONE TO PRODUCE AND GET ENSNARED BY THEM (b).
The sloka was further clarified, in pp. 38-39 of Volume I, Secret Doctrine, to wit:
(a) There are seven “Paths” or “Ways” to the bliss of Non-Existence, which is absolute Being, Existence, and Consciousness. They were not, because the Universe was, so far, empty, and existed only in the Divine Thought. For it is . . .
(b) The twelve Nidanas or causes of being. Each is the effect of its antecedent cause, and a cause, in its turn, to its successor; the sum total of the Nidanas being based on the four truths, a doctrine especially characteristic of the Hînayâna System.* They belong to the theory of the stream of catenated law which produces merit and demerit, and finally brings Karma into full sway. It is based upon the great truth that re-incarnation is to be dreaded, as existence in this world only entails upon man suffering, misery and pain; Death itself being unable to deliver man from it, since death is merely the door through which he passes to another life on earth after a little rest on its threshold—Devachan. The Hînayâna System, or School of the “Little Vehicle,” is of very ancient growth; while the Mahâyânâ is of a later period, having originated after the death of Buddha. Yet the tenets of the latter are as old as the hills that have contained such schools from time immemorial, and the Hînayâna and Mahâyânâ Schools (the latter, that of the “Great Vehicle”) both teach the same doctrine in reality. Yana, or Vehicle (in Sanskrit, Vahan) is a mystic expression, both “vehicles” inculcating that man may escape the sufferings of rebirths and even the false bliss of Devachan, by obtaining Wisdom and Knowledge, which alone can dispel the Fruits of Illusion and Ignorance.
Maya or illusion is an element which enters into all finite things, for everything that exists has only a relative, not an absolute, reality, since the appearance which the hidden noumenon assumes for any observer depends upon his power of cognition. To the untrained eye of the savage, a painting is at first an unmeaning confusion of streaks and daubs of colour, while an educated eye sees instantly a face or a landscape. Nothing is permanent except the one hidden absolute existence which contains in itself the noumena of all realities. The existences belonging to every plane of being, up to the highest Dhyan-Chohans, are, in degree, of the nature of shadows cast by a magic lantern on a colourless screen; but all things are relatively real, for the cogniser is also a reflection, and the things cognised are therefore as real to him as himself. Whatever reality things possess must be looked for in them before or after they have passed like a flash through the material world; but we cannot cognise any such existence directly, so long as we have sense-instruments which bring only material existence into the field of our consciousness. Whatever plane our consciousness may be acting in, both we and the things belonging to that plane are, for the time being, our only realities. As we rise in the scale of development we perceive that during the stages through which we have passed we mistook shadows for realities, and the upward progress of the Ego is a series of progressive awakenings, each advance bringing with it the idea that now, at last, we have reached “reality;” but only when we shall have reached the absolute Consciousness, and blended our own with it, shall we be free from the delusions produced by Maya.
We were all sent forth down to the dense planes, in coherence with the Law of Devolution. For a human entity to evolve, one has to devolve, and then take the Path of nirvana or self-realization in order to ascend back to the upward arc of his/her evolutionary trajectory.
Sure, we began as Monad (God-essence). Yes, in each one of us inheres a Christed One (mahaparinirvanic body) or Buddha within. Yes, each one of us are endowed with Soul (atma, 5th body). But we must all accept the fact that we are down here on the physical plane, as the descent down the arc of devolution is coherent with cosmic laws.
Those who declare themselves as ‘enlightened’ or ‘starseed’ or ‘lightworker’, but who do nothing to move upward the evolutionary arc, are wallowing in maya. One must take the ‘7 ways to bliss’ as the great Teachers lovingly counseled us, yet how many among the self-acclaimed ‘lightworkers’ today are into that Path to the heights of the Spirit?
Rather than take the Path to bliss, many among our fellow Terrans, upon the partial opening of their astral bodies (seat of emotions, feelings), hear voices from beings of dubious nature there, astral beings that reinforce the illusion. Ascending the evolutionary arc that way will not lead one to self-realization, but endangers one to be ensnared in nidaya and maya all the more, and “miss the boat” back to Godhead during the pralaya (dissolution) phase of the Maha-Kalpa.
But nobody forces the Ways to liberation on anybody. We are free will beings, so those who choose the Path to self-realization will be freed from the chains of reincarnation till they become Perfected Ones, while those who choose to be mired in nidaya and illusion will perish at the end of the Maha-Kalpa.
[Philippines, 12 December 2011]
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