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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Incarnation

Being born into a physical body. Helena P. BLAVATSKY states that there are three kinds of incarnations: those of Avataras, NIRMANAKAYA, and the rebirth of ordinary mortals.

Avatars make use of intermediate souls and physical bodies, and are incarnated not because of karma but because of the impulse which comes from BIJA, or the seed of avatarism.

Adepts or perfected human beings can voluntarily incarnate themselves in order to do some work in the physical world. Of this type there are several degrees: The lowest would allow the Adept “to choose after death another body in which he could go on with his interrupted studies, though ordinarily he would lose in it every remembrance of his previous incarnation” (CW XIV:377). H. P. Blavatsky cites as an example the rebirth of Copernicus as Nicholas de Cusa. The next degree allows the Adept to transfer the memory of his past life to his new body. The highest degree has hardly any limit in the exercise of this faculty.

The third type is the involuntarily and necessary rebirth of average individuals (CW XIV:373).

See also REINCARNATION; ADEPTS; AVATAR.

V.H.C.

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