A HINDU'S VIEW.
I have read with great interest in November PATH the article headed "Some Notes on the Mahatmas." The word Mahatma is but roughly translated "a great soul"; it means literally "High Self" — that is, our Higher Self. In the Key to Theosophy you will find that this Higher Self is called "Manas taijasi", our three higher principles, or Atma-Budhi-Manas, which are yet undeveloped in us. Every one of us has therefore the germ of the Mahatma in him.
As an individual, we Hindus call only him a Mahatma who, having brought his lower self completely under control, has transferred his individual consciousness to the Divine consciousness. He acts in unison with it, and can therefore commit no sin. He may or may not have a body (physical or astral); in the former case we call him "Jivan Mukta", meaning literally "Living Liberated", in the latter case "Nideha Mukta", or "Bodiless Liberated".
Mukti with us does not necessarily mean Nirvana, which is but its highest aspect. A Mukta Purusha, or liberated individual, therefore can and often does remain in our Loka or sphere to assist us morally and spiritually until the last particle of his Karma or Vasana is exhausted, when he goes into Nirvana.
It is written that there are seven ways or seven Paths for an Upasaka; the first (or lowest and most primary) is the intellectual appreciation; the second is self restraint (self sacrifice); the third is a Spirit of humility and veneration for those who have reached the goal; the fourth is a feeling of nearness, close connection, or friendliness; the fifth, a feeling of attraction (compared to the attraction of a mother to her son); the sixth is love; the seventh (last and greatest) is one-ness — " Soham." Upasaka! choose for thyself and proceed.
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