Monday, April 7, 2014

Eighty Four Lakhs

Baba referred to the phrase "84 lakhs" many times, in different contexts. I have personally not heard this multiple-use stated exactly like this anywhere else. Of course it is possible it is part of a tradition or ancient knowledge.

A lakh is a South Asian term for 100,000 of something, much as many of us use the word "dozen" to represent a quantity of 12. In that part of the world it is also used in English, often officially, and its plural can be stated either with or without an "S." For instance, "ten lakh rupees" is just as proper as saying "ten lakhs of rupees." Enough then on the word "Lakh." It means 100,000.

84 lakhs means 84 x 100,000, which of course equals 8,400,000. So 84 lakh or 84 lakhs simply means the quantity of 8,400,000 of something.

Now Baba used this term in four cases I am aware of. According to Baba, there are:
  1. 84 lakhs of human lifetimes in Reincarnation, prior to beginning the process of Involution or planes of higher consciousness. This is the most commonly known and repeated of his three uses of the number. (Lord Meher, pp. 1191, 2352 of the online revised edition) 
  2. 84 lakhs of species in Evolution. (How a Master Works, pp. 451-454. Go here. Also Lord Meher pp. 2882-84 of the 1986 print edition. Also Intelligence Notebooks, pp. 43, 208)
  3. 84 lakhs of human beings at all times who experience the subtle world of Involution. (Lord Meher, p. 2884 of the 1986 print edition)
  4. 84 lakhs of human beings at all times who experience the mental world of Involution. These last two are likely the least known or quoted of the four uses of the number 84 lakh. (Lord Meher, p. 2884 of the 1986 print edition)
Although the number of lifetimes in reincarnation, according to Baba, can sound like a bitter pill to those who yearn for the goal of all of this illusion, there is a little good news.
Although 84 lakhs of reincarnations are necessary according to the divine law for a human soul to become Realized, a Sadguru can directly raise, or make complete, any consciousness in no time. So for those who come even in temporary connection to a Sadguru, they too can skip off or pass over many stages of births and rebirths. (Lord Meher, pp. 2352-3 of revised online edition) 
This last quote does not appear in the original print edition of Lord Meher.

Also see: 8,400,000: A Numerological Coincidence – by Ward Parks


  1. Trying to see how it may subdivide...
    8,400,000 / 7 = 1,200,000 / 4 = 300,000 / 3 = 100.000 = 1 lakh

  2. Chris,

    A Sikh friend remarked -- when hearing mention of the 84-lakh number in connection with Meher Baba's teachings -- that this number is likewise found as the number of human reincarnations according to the Sikh gurus (presumably starting with the 1st such, Guru Nanak, who I believe was identified by Meher Baba as a Sadguru of his time).


  3. It is also a Hindu tradition. It is referenced in Sri Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 19.138: "In this universe there are limitless living entities in 8,400,000 species, and all are wandering within this universe." This is not a terribly old text; Caitanya and Nanak were contemporaries.

  4. In the Bijak of Kabir, translated by Linda Hess and Shukdeo Singh, Oxford 2002, on page 18 of the Introduction, there is a reference to 8,400,000 clay pots or vessels inhabited by the Jiva...

    1. Wonderful. Thank you. I am going to append the article above with another sent to me by Ward Parks, with his permission to use it as I like.

  5. I was told that according the book, An Indian Religion of Salvation, edited by Helmuth von Glasenapp, it is believed in Jainism that there are 84 lakh life-forms in which a soul can be reincarnated.