Rainbow body (வானவில் உடல்)

What is a rainbow body?

A fully enlightened person (a jivan mukti) who also liberates the body into light.

Now there are 3 levels of the Rainbow body:

A) Rainbow body

B) Rainbow body of light

C) Enlightenment (Moksha)
Rainbow body of great transference

A) The most common level is the "normal" Rainbow body that occurs only after body death. Every 5 years or so a Buddhist from Tibet enters into this state. There are no physical signs indicating the start of the process before death (except if you are able to detect it, the deep and absolute emptiness of ego in such a person) and once physical death occurs it takes an average 7 days for the body to shrink and dissolve into light and most of the time a small child like size body remains behind and in more advanced yogi's only hair and nails. The process of dissolving into light is actually visible around the saint (normally a orange glow) in this process as can be seen in the image below from Lama Achuk Rinpoche:

Chokgyur Lingpa rainbow body and his hand prints (Only a small body of around 5 cm remained - image on the left)

B) The more advanced level is also called the Rainbow body, but for due purposes lets call it the Rainbow body of light as in this level all the signs are showing up while the yogi is still alive. The process of dissolving into light might go really fast but in most cases it takes month to years to complete, all while remaining fully functional. It is also possible that the yogi who is in the middle of this process slows it down or is unable to continue the process and dies before the completion of the Rainbow body. This has been the case with most of the famous siddhars. If the process is continued the body will start to shrink and shine real light over time until it reaches the size of a baby and then as a flash of bright rainbow light will disappear into emptiness forever.

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (did not complete the process but was well on its way)

C) The most advanced and extremely rare level is the attainment of Enlightenment or the Rainbow body of great transference (Jalus powa chenpo). In this level the yogi not only dissolves the body completely into light but remains functional and visible as light.

In translations of the Rig Veda and several Upanishads from Sanskrit into European languages, Max Müller (1823-1900) came up with the English word “enlightenment” to render both Sanskrit mokṣa (मोक्ष), and bodhi (बोधि). Moksh in its most basic definition is the freedom from rebirths. Now I like the word enlightenment in the context of the rainbow body as it literally means liberated from rebirth by dissolving into light. Now this goes deeper then nirvana which is also defined as being liberated from rebirth but says nothing about the current body.

Padmasambava's Rainbow Body (Guru Rinpoche)

For clarification, these 3 states have nothing to do with Spontaneous Human Combustion SHC and some have made the mistake of believing some saints to have attained the Rainbow body state while in fact it was a SHC case, such as Sambandar, Appar and Sundarar.

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So lets go a little deeper into the history and background of the phenomena called the Rainbow body.

21 grams:

Dr. Duncan "Om" MacDougall (c. 1866 – October 15, 1920) was an early 20th-century physician in Haverhill, Massachusetts who sought to measure the mass lost by a human when the soul departed the body at death. MacDougall attempted to measure the mass change of six patients at the moment of death. His first subject, the results from which MacDougall felt were most accurate, lost "three-fourths of an ounce", which has since been popularized as "21 grams". The rainbow body goes way beyond this value.

Is the body really dead?

Peter Noble from the University of Washington has done some very interesting research in 2016 in the field of post mortum life where he found that certain genes, specifically 500 of them are even more active and alive after body death then before, peaking 4 days after body death. So it seems that the brain and body are still alive even though we consider it the end. Another very interesting find was that certain embryonic genes that develop the brain and eyes were once again activated after body death. It is found that the last cells to die are stem cells, they take up to 17 days after body death to die. This all is very interesting research when you continue reading about the phenomena called the rainbow body.

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The ultimate Great accomplishment in meditation is the attainment of the Rainbow body. This is widely recognized as a sign of extreme sanctity in Tibetan Buddhism and among the Bönpo. Reports of this level of transmutation are rare, but still they occur and have been chronicled far into antiquity. The rainbow body however is not limited to Buddhism only as you will see in the pictures below but to understand the process we will turn to the well documented and delineated practice of Dzogchen in Tibet and reflect this practice to the stories of Vallalar from south India who went through the same process.

In the Himalayan regions, the early indigenous religion was that of the Bön. Bön pre-existed the creation of both the sovereign territories, later to become the country of Tibet as well as of Buddhism. When the great Indian tantric sage Padmasambhava (look at drawing above) brought Buddhism from India to Tibet in the 8th Century AD he found the richly tilled ground of the Bönpo. This land and its peoples took easily to the Buddha’s teachings and the Buddhist beliefs melded well with the rituals of the Bön.

When Padmasambhava left at the end of his time in physical form he dissolved his body completely back to their natural elements leaving nothing behind. At that moment a new lineage of Buddhist teachings was created. This was the start of what has become the Nyingma tradition and is the foundation of Tibetan Buddhism as we have come to know it. At the heart of the Nyingma tradition is the practice of Dzogchen otherwise called Ati Yoga or the Great Perfection.

According to Tibetan Buddhism and Bön, Dzogchen is the natural, primordial state or natural condition of a human being and the practice of Dzogchen is a body of teachings and meditations aimed at realizing that condition. According to Dzogchen literature, Dzogchen is the highest and most definitive path to enlightenment.
From the perspective of Dzogchen, the ultimate nature of all sentient beings is said to be pure, all-encompassing, primordial clarity or naturally occurring timeless clarity. This intrinsic clarity has no form of its own and yet is capable of perceiving, experiencing, reflecting, or expressing all form. It does so without being affected by those forms in any ultimate, permanent way.

The analogy given by Dzogchen masters is that one's nature is like a mirror which reflects with complete openness but is not affected by the reflections, or like a crystal ball that takes on the color of the material on which it is placed without itself being changed. The knowledge that ensues from recognizing this mirror-like clarity (which cannot be found by searching nor identified) is what Dzogchenpas refer to as rigpa. The most direct way to realizing this state are the practices of Trekchö - an advanced practice in Dzogchen.

Trekchö practice consists of the common and superior form. The common form is the pointing out of appearances as mind so that the true nature, being emptiness, is revealed. What remains is pure presence, nonduel spaciousness-presence otherwise called Dharmakaya. The superior form is what you see with Ramesh Balsekar, basically Control-Alt-Delete all mental doingness. Both are seen in satsangs, especially the first form. (The Sat in Satsang actually refers to Dharmakaya).

As Drubwang Tsoknyi Rinpoche once explained:

"Trekchö is the thorough cut of cutting through, cutting the obscurations completely to pieces, like slashing through them with a knife. So the past thought has ceased, the future thought hasn't yet arisen, and the knife is cutting through this stream of present thought. But one doesn't keep hold of this knife either; one lets the knife go, so there is a gap. When you cut through again and again in this way, the string of thought falls to pieces. If you cut a rosary in a few places, at some point it doesn't work any longer."

(Picture of Tsoknyi Rinpoche the 3rd, my teacher)

Tögal is the final practice in Dzogchen Buddhism enabling the master yogi or yogini to dissolve his or her physical body into the essence of the elements at the time of death. Mantra's like in TM (transcendental meditation) aim to dissolve the source of thought but Tögal is superior in that it uses visualizations to dissolve the whole mind and body. It has no use practicing or understanding Tögal if you cannot answer the following question: Who creates visualizations? You may have realised that there is no individual doing anything but that is just the beginning. That is why Trekchö must come to full fruition first before taking this final step. Tögal is a full time practice from morning to midnight and even into sleep.

What happens if Tögal reaches fruition. The master disappears into a body of light becoming the wisdom body (Yeshe), the term is called ‘Ja’-lus or Rainbow body in Tibetan. This level of attainment is also the central aim of Indian Buddhist tantricism known as Vajrayana that the Taoists call the golden body. Another term frequently used is Soruba Samadhi or Deham as Vallalar used to call it. It is a golden body, a state of God-realization in which Divinity descends and transforms the spiritual, intellectual, mental, vital and physical bodies. It is considered physical immortality or the highest perfection, but I would argue that physical immortality is only written by those who do not recognise there is no you in the first place, so who has physical immortality - also the word physical does not make sense as the physical dissolves.

The highest state attainable is called jalus powa chenpo or the rainbow body of great transference or Gnana Deham. In my decates of research it has become obvious that all who attained this level did not eat nor drink anything anymore in the last part of their lives (like breatharian Victor Truviano and Prahlad Jani) and ALSO did not need to breathe - a state called Vegaak Kaal or Saagaak Kalai or breath of light, or Gathi (like Manikeshwari Matha, Trailinga swami and Poondi Mahan). Apart from Victor Truviano who is still alive, the others have all passed away and there are many other cases with the same outcome. So clearly there is more to the story then mere breatharian without the breath :)

What is missing is that you also need to completely clear all the 3 granthi's otherwise known as the 3 dantien (used as the 3 bandhas in yoga). This is the Togal level in Dzogchen Buddhism. How do you know when this is done completely:

1. Brahma Granthi completely stress free - Sexual energy and the universe are one and the same. No more blockages found with tantra. Sexual desire is gone because there are no more triggers. The energy does not touch the layers causing horniness as these layers are completely dissolved. Erection still possible but not triggered and no interest afterward like eating is still possible even though you are not hungry. So basically there is no more sexual energy as everthing is fully open.

2. Vishnu Granthi completely stress free - no more breathing needed and as an immediate effect and also no food consumption needed anymore.

3. Rudra Granthi completely stress free - no more thoughts or dreams. Absolute ego death.


Urgyen Rinpoche explaining what is possible in meditation and the state of rainbow body.

Often masters that attain the Rainbow body will return one last time out of compassion for their beloved disciples and give what are known as posthumous teachings, delivered in the form of a last testament. Often the master is in the transfigured state on occasion suspended in the sky.

Jesus Christ

A great book coming out in 2020 about the rainbow body : www.pointingoutthegreatway.org/

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A) The Rainbow body

Lama Achuk Rinpoche

At age of 84, Lama Achuk entered into paranirvana and achieved the rainbow body, a great inspiration to disciples to persevere in their practice of the Great Perfection teachings. 29 August 2011, the cremation ceremony of Lama Achuk commenced. The body of Lama Achuk shrunk from a height of 1.8 meters shrunk to about 3 cm tall, a sign of achieving the rainbow body.

Lama Achuk Rinpoche who manifested the rainbow body in
photograph (by the way, the lotus at the bottom is not there when
they took the photo, in case you are wondering…)

Rainbow body of Lama Achuk Rinpoche - 2011, size about 3 cm.

Chogye Trichen

Chogye Trichen rainbow body - 2007


The highest teaching

Nima Cultrim Rinpoche

Khenpo Acho 1998

Lama Karma Rinpoche
November 2013

Lama Karma Rinpoche's Rainbow body of 20cm in size.

Tasha Lamo

She is the mother of Lokgar Rinpoche which is one of the Tulku in Nyingma Katok Monastery.

Tasha Lamo Rainbow body 50 cm long

Vallabha Acharya
(a Hindu) who attained the rainbow body in 1530 AD

Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen

Lama Thubsher


60 cm rainbow body

Khandro Pema Dechen (2006)

Chak Zach Khenpo (june 2017)

Nyala Pema Duddul 1872


Ogyen Tendzin

Ayu Khandro

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B) Rainbow body of light
(otherwise referred to as Soruba samadhi or in more detail Pranava Deham, Suddha Deham and finally Gnana Deham

According to the description done by Vallalar, in those who have reached the state of Pranava and Suddha Deham, the beginning stages of the rainbow body while still alive, body changes start occurring starting off with a the inner and outer skin becoming extraordinarily smooth; nerves and muscles relax gradually; bones, membranes and cartilages become automatically flexible; blood and semen changes from a liquid to a thickened state; the brain and all its parts became spongy expanded like a flower; through the entire body leaks the Amrit - "Nectar of the Goddess" - the drink flowing from the crown chakra down into the body and tastes sweet like burned sugar when it passes through the throat chakra and grants immortality when it flows nonstop. The face become brilliant, delicate and harmonious, making evident the internal state of supreme happiness.
When this state deepens the senses can perceive all without being limited by any barrier or obstacle; the eyes can have a view of whole Universe, by that reason they aren't interested in observing the things of the world; they are able to see the content of all the worlds and beings (as much external as internally), without this vision may be hindered by dense barriers like walls or high like mountains; their tongue taste all the flavours, their skin experiences all tactile sensations, their nose sniffs all the smells, their ears are filled of melodies being able to listen any sound produced in any place. With their arms and hands they can take one thing independently of the distance, or give it to other there where he may be; they can reach any destiny without need that their legs do some physical movement, moving without step the ground; with their voice can communicate with anybody in any place of the universe and still beyond. They will be free from the need to consume food, from satisfy the sexual impulse and from feel fear; the body exempt from defects and impurities is refreshed, does not excrete, does not perspire and does not project shadow on the ground; their external appearance corresponds approximately to twelve years old; their hair doesn't become grey, their skin doesn't become wrinkle, they do not age and do not be under the control of death. Their breast and heart swell up palpitating of Love; the four aspects of the mind are illuminated and in total harmony; all the visible parts of the body radiate ecstacy; the ego has disappeared. God, in the form of Supreme Love, fills those Pure bodies with Divine Life.

Not being subjected to any limitation, those who have achieved the Pranava and Suddha Deham states are able to create and destroy according to their own will, to resurrect a dead person and return an elder to the youth. Their knowledge is God's Knowledge, their action is God's Action, their experiences come from God himself, being manifested the Divine Grace through them. Even the most insignificant inanimate thing will be called to enter into a conscious life only by the Grace of their Look and by their mere Presence; the Greatness and the Glory of their Divine State necessarily will cover what is said by the six traditional spiritual disciplines (Vedanta, Siddhanta, Kalanta, Bodhanta, Nadanta -Tantra- and Yoganta), but will transcend and surpass all of them, being this Divine State what will carry them to achieve the Total and Perfect Bliss.

In one of his poems Vallalar assures having experienced Pranava Deham transformation and evolved even more. By doing it, the Supreme Grace was manifested as total Bliss. Ramalinga explains how he realized the experience of the highest and ultimate transformation: the transmutation in the Divinity, which he described as the fusion with the Supreme God's Body. This Body of Bliss, or Gnana Deham, is omnipresent but imperceptible for the senses.

Rangjung Rigpe Dorje (16th Karmapa)

Rangjung Rigpe Dorje - see past incarnations

On internet this picture is claimed to be the rainbow body of Rangjung Dorje, however I have come to belief that this is rather a long exposure blur (similar to stroboscopic photography) than the beginning stages of a rainbow body such as that Vallalar described.


Stroboscopic photography

Motion blur


Below you find an image of Lama Achuk that I belief is real and is a sign of the beginning stages of the rainbow body, exactly as Vallalar described.

Lama Achuk beginning stage of the rainbow body

The following 8 pictures are from individuals who were approaching the rainbow body of light state (all individuals below reached the state of non breathing - while remaining alive), however not completing the process such as what Vallalar did, but entered Jeeva or Maha samadhi.


Adi Shankara

Lahiri Mahasaya

Mayamma Devi

Mayamma Devi

Parameshti Guru H.H. Sadasiva Bhremendra Saraswathi [Sri Sri Judge Swamigal] of Pudukkottai


Devaraha Baba




Sri Arunagirinathar swamigal 15th century in Tamil Nadu

Legend of the Parrot:
When Sambandandan lost a competition with the Saint, he took revenge by telling the blind King:- 'If your highness can persuade Arunagirinathar to bring a parijata flower from svargaloka [one of the heavenly worlds], a few drops squeezed from the flower onto your eyes will restore your eyesight.' The King, eager to regain his vision, commissioned Arunagirinathar to do the job. In order to reach the heavenly world, Arunagirinathar entered the body of a parrot that had recently died and reanimated it. He left his own body in one of the niches of a Gopura at Arunachaleswarar Temple and flew off to find and collect the flower. After the parrot had departed on its mission, Sambandandan, who had been watching Arunagirinathar's movements, showed the lifeless body of the poet to Pravuda Devaraya, announced that it was dead, and asked for permission to cremate it. The King agreed and the body was quickly burned. Some time later Arunagirinathar returned with the flower only to discover that he no longer had a human body to return to. He went to the King in his parrot body, restored the King’s eyesight with the parijata flower juice and explained what had happened. Realising that he had been tricked, the King was struck with grief because he knew that it would now be impossible for Arunagirinathar to again resume human form. Arunagirinathar, untroubled by this bizarre turn of events happily spent the remainder of his life in the parrot's body and even continued to compose poetry in praise of Lord Muruga. It is said that he composed and sang his famous work Kandar Anubhuti and several other poems while he was still occupying the parrot's body. Two large coloured mortar parrots representing Saint Arunagirinathar are on this Gopura.

Padakacheri Ramalinga

Just like the 4 examples above, the 18 siddhars of Tamil nadu and the 84 tantric mahasiddhars of the himalaya underwent a similar process towards the rainbow body but most of them have not completed the process.

So it is written that Sivavakkiyar disappeared into thin air with his body. It is also written that Siddhar Agasthiar, Bhogar and Kalanginathar had their bodies become completely indestructable by means of kayakalpa.

All the pictures below are from individuals who have dissolved their bodies into the ‘Light Body’ and disappears completely into space.


Andal Nachair


Chetsun Nyingtig


Hand-drawn by Chidambara swamigal. The only one of the 64 Nayanmars who reached the rainbow body state.

Jigmed Gyalwai Nyugu

Kunkyen Longchen Rabjampa (1308–1364)
Known of as the "all-knowing", was perhaps the most famous of the realized scholars in the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Shri Singha

He was the teacher of Padmasambhava, Jnanasutra, Vimalamitra, and of Vairocana.



He was the greatest of all Tibetan lotsawas.
Together with Padmasambhava and Vimalamitra, he was one of the three main masters to bring the Dzogchen teachings to Tibet.

Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava)



He was an 8th-century Indian monk and student of the great Indian Guru Padmasambhava.

Pang Mipham Gonpo, student of Vimalamitra

Mahavir (The 24th Tirthankara of Jainism)

Below the other 23 Tirthankara's of Jainism who all attained the rainbow body of light state:
























Tapihritsa (7th ~ 8th century)

Nirmanakaya Garab Dorje (Prahevajra)


He became the main student of Garab Dorje and a teacher of Dzogchen.

Jampal Shenyen Vajrapani

Student of Garab Dorje


Khandro Yeshi Tshogyal

He was the first human lineage-holder of the Dzogchen teachings. When he died at the source of the Danatika River, his body dissolved into immaculate space amid masses of rainbow light. His main disciple, Manjushrimitra, was overcome and cried out to his master. Suddenly, Prahevajra appeared in the sky within a mass of light and with the sound of a thunderclap, a tiny golden casket descended into the palm of Manjushrimitra’s hand. Within it he found the last testament of Prahevajra, Tsiksum Nedek (The Three Lines That Penetrate the Essence), written in blue malachite on a leaf.

C) Enlightenment: Rainbow body of great transference / ja lü phowa chenpo

This state is similar to the rainbow body of light state, however the process of shrinking goes much faster and in most cases almost instantaneous and the light body remains visible for those who are in need for their help. Now keep in mind that the light body that remains is not a person or individual as we know it. It is divine itself in the form of light. It has no will nor desire and only remains for those who are attuned to it.

Also there seems to be a very thin dividing line between the rainbow body of light and that of great transference. It might even be that they are one and the same, this is almost impossible to verify.

Vallalar (Ramalinga)

There is a complete webpage dedicated to Vallalar. Click on this link

Jyothi Darshan (from the Gnana Sabai temple)


(Siddhar Boganathar mentioned in one of his poems that Murugan went through the same process of shrinking and dissolving as described above to attain the rainbow body of light. - this quaote originates from Vallalar but needs verification.)

Mahavatar Babaji

It is said that this flower grew near the place where Babaji meditated. Indeed it eminates a strong energy.

The 8 Taoist Immortals

There is more research to be done here, so I cannot say with full certainty that these 8 belong in this catagory.

- He Xiangu
- Cao Guojiu
- Li Tieguai
- Lan Caihe
- Lü Dongbin
- Han Xiangzi
- Zhang Guolao
- Zhongli Quan

Nyang Tingdzin Zangpo

Student of Vimalamitra

Chetsun Senge Wangchuk

At the age of 125, he attained the rainbow body, vanishing into the sky in a cloud of rainbow light.

Dzogchen master Khenchen Tsewang Rigdzin

Nyoshul Khenpo writes in A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems: During the conflict [which brought great tragedy to Tibet], people of evil intent seized Tsewang Rigdzin and sentenced him to prison. As they escorted him there, he began chanting the Vajra Guru mantra. In a manner reminiscent of the learned Indian Buddhist master Shantideva, Tsewang Rigdzin rose higher and higher into the air in plain view of everyone, finally dissolving into a mass of light, an event still remembered throughout eastern Tibet.

Kagabujandar (Sri Kaagapujandar)

Sri Kaagapujandar is the master in the art of Immortality. According to legend he lived around the 7th century CE. There are stories that would place him next to Babaji as a light being, however there is also a jeeva samadhi indicating he still had a body. Further research is needed.
A Jeeva samadhi of Sri Kaagapujandar is present in the Sornapureeshwar Temple in Thenponparapi village situated near Chinna salem, Villupuram District.


Shuka Deva was a born hermit. Son of Rishi Veda Vyasa, he discarded the comforts of home at a very early age. When Veda Vyasa tried to talk him out of living the life of a sanyasi, Shuka Deva silenced his old father, saying that the longer he stayed at home, the more tightly he would be caught in the web of maya. In time, Shuka Deva acquired the knowledge of all that was worth knowing and his fame spread far and wide.

Here a quote from Shukadeva and his father: And as the story went, Sukadeva got married and he had two children. And he educated his children. He gave his daughter and son in marriage and he fixed their marriage, and set them up in their own households with their own livelihoods, and when they were firmly established he said, “Ok.” And he ascended to heaven. And Veda Vyasa called out, “Sukadeva, come back down here, wait a minute, I wanted a son so that posterity would be here in order to perform my funeral rites so that I could go to heaven. And here you’ve achieved liberation and you are ascending to heaven and leaving me here.” And Sukadeva called down to his father Veda Vyasa, “Father, don’t look at me through the eyes of attachment, look at me through the eyes of wisdom. And know that I have fulfilled my dharma, I fulfilled my highest purpose on this earth, and now I am free to ascend. You still have karma left to perform, you remain and perform it.”


The life story of Sukhasiddhi is very wonderful. When she was about sixty years old, or maybe sixty-five, she experienced a great deal of suffering.
Due to that, she engaged in the practice of vajrayana and attained a state where she appeared like a sixteen-year-old girl. Her story is that she and her
family were very poor and they got to the point where they only had one container of rice left. So, her husband and son went out to look for food.
They went all over, searching, begging for food. Though they went through a great deal of difficulties, they were unable to find any food. Thinking that
they had one container of rice left, they went back home to eat it. However, while they were gone, Sukhasiddhi, out of great compassion, had given the
food to a beggar. When her husband and son came back, they were very hungry and expecting to eat the last container of rice, but they found that
there was no rice left, that she had given it away to a beggar. They were very upset and very angry with her, saying that though they were all experiencing
a great deal of suffering, a great deal of problems, she had given their last food away. They were so upset with her that they threw her out of the house.
Then she became very upset and cried about her husband and son throwing her out of her home. Leaving her town, she gave rise to a very strong
renunciation for samsara, and based upon this very strong renunciation and good fortune, she was able to meet with a siddha from whom she received
oral instructions. She meditated upon them and realized mahamudra, the supreme siddhi. Her mind was liberated within this state of luminosity, and
her body became an empty form like a rainbow. She looked like a sixteen- year-old girl. She unified luminosity and the illusory body. It is said that even
at this time she resides in India and can be found in various places there.

-From Mahamudra Shamatha and Vipashyana, Rocky Mountain Shambhala Center, 1991, p.195. Translated by Elizabeth Callahan.

Simandhar swami

Simandhar Swami is a living Tirthankar, an Arihant, who is said to be currently present on another world in the Jain mythological universe. The Arihant Simandhar Swami is believed to be currently 150,000 earth years old and lives in the city of Pundarikgiri, the capital of Pushpakalavati, one of 32 geographical divisions on Mahavideh Kshetra.

Is this a story like the eight great boddhisattva's or the Five Tathagatas (the Amitābha's) or the many different Gods and Goddesses in the different religions or is there more physical evidence to this, you be the judge...

Samantabhadra & Samantabhadri (One of the 8 boddhisattva's)

Our true nature, always good, always well...

This is who we truly are...