Technical Terms in Stanza II

by David Reigle
Book of Dzyan Research Report Cotopaxi, CO: Eastern School Press, 1997. Pp. 8.

This second in a series of discussions of the technical terms used in the Stanzas of Dzyan points out that of seven such terms in stanza 2, two occur also in stanza I (Ah-hi and Paranishpanna) and so need no further treatment (see American Theosophist, 84.3 [Late Spring 1996], 14), and four are relatively straight forward: manvantara, maya, devimatri and matripadma. That leaves only swabhavat, but it is a very great problem indeed.

Swabhavat is the essence or substance principle underlying both spirit and matter, also called mulaprakriti. In The Mahatma Letters the concept and term are attributed to "the Nepaulese Swabhavikas, the principal Buddhist philosophical school in India." But Reigle's efforts to document that attribution ran into a variety of difficulties, which he reports in this study. The problems are in the form of the term (svabhava is more usual), the existence of a Swabhavika school, and the meaning of the term, which Reigle says was rejected by both the Vedantins and existing Buddhist schools.

Reigle's last word is that a Svabhavika tradition may have existed in Nepal in the nineteenth century, as reported by early Buddhist scholars, but have died out. To document it, however, would require searching thousands of pages of Sanskrit texts. Reigle concludes: "Theosophists will have to find it, because no one else is likely to be interested." But the finder will also have to be one like Reigle himself, with background and interest in these philological and historical matters. We hope one day for a monograph on svabhava and the Svabhavikas from his pen.

February 1997