The after-death Consciousness and Processes - by Geoffrey Farthing



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Key to titles
Table A
Chapter I  Constitution of Man
Chapter II        Dying and Immediately Afterwards
Chapter III     The "Death Struggle" and "Gestation" Period
Chapter IV    The Second Death and Devachan
Chapter V     Karma and Reincarnation
Chapter VI   Exceptions, Suicides and Accidents
Chapter VII        Psychic and Spiritualistic Phenomena
Chapter VIII    Immortality and Other Matters
Appendix A             Mahatma Letter 16
Appendix B  Mahatma Letter 20c


"They forget, or never knew, that he who holds the keys to the

secrets of Death is possessed of the keys of Life." (ML 359:365)



It will doubtless come as a surprise to most people that a book of this size can be written on the subject of the after-death states and processes. We are deeply imbued with the idea that nothing on it can be known; any ideas we may have are most likely to be based on our religious belief. What follows, however, purports to be an authoritative account by those who do know. The book tells us something about these knowers, and not only what they know, but how they come to know it. It is all strange territory for the great majority. Perhaps to start with it should be regarded as a story, but as we read, the story unfolds in such a way as to become credible. We begin to master a set of strange ideas, a strange terminology, a mass of detail which eventually aggregates into a wonderfully comprehensive concept of such significant meaning for us that we wonder how we ever managed happily without it. It then certainly ceases to have the character of a story.

This book is presented to two classes of reader; 1) the interested 'lay' reader who has begun seriously to enquire as to what goes on after death and 2) the student of Theosophy. Theosophy is the immense and comprehensive system of thought introduced at the end of the nineteenth century. It is a compendium of aspects of the Ancient Wisdom scattered widely throughout world literature in numerous philosophical and religious writings. To these it adds explanations and some material never made public before. Students of Theosophy will be familiar with the esoteric constitution of man and the main after-death stages. For the lay man, what is written here must come as a revelation. There is much information, of an 'authoritative' nature, , whereas previously virtually nothing has been made public. It is to accommodate this lay reader that the Introductory Information has been given. This is necessary for the understanding of what follows. It is rudimentary and incomplete but it is hoped enough is given to make the earlier extracts in the numbered Sections intelligible. The later material will then become virtually self explanatory. The book comprises a mass of information, with much duplication, but at each iteration something is added, some more information, further explanation, a different point of view, all helping to paint a richer picture.

The book is a compilation making available in one volume all the information given in the 'theosophical' classics. It tells of the universal process of the cyclic coming and going of everything in existence. The birth, death and re-birth of men are included in this process. The story also tells something of the universal law which governs the process and what happens in the period between lives. All references to the subject have been quoted verbatim, and the references to the source books given.

A problem arose in the compilation as to the order in which the extracts should be arranged. They could have been in date order, or by the books from which they were taken, or in the order of the after-death processes, from dying to re-birth. This last was chosen. The material is arranged in Sections, each Section dealing with a phase of what happens after death. The account mainly relates to the normal case of someone dying peacefully at the end of a normal life-span. There are, however, exceptions to the normal rule. Information about these exceptional cases is given. Much information of a general character not specially related to any one of these phases is included. The Table of Contents gives a descriptive title to each Section.

Very little 'connective tissue' has been inserted between extracts, and then only when it was felt to be necessary.

The great mass of this information on death and the hereafter was given out, amongst much else, in the voluminous classical literature on Theosophy made available to the general public at the end of the nineteenth century. The subject of death, survival, rebirth, both as states and as processes, together with descriptions of the nature of consciousness and its contents, at the different stages, and under widely differing circumstances, is particularly dealt with; the size of this book is evidence of the amount of information we were given.

Although the subject matter has been arranged generally in the order of the post-mortem happenings, there are many extracts with no clear demarcation lines; some single extracts contain some material properly belonging in other Sections. In these cases it was felt desirable to preserve the extracts intact rather than split them up, even though some are lengthy, because they contain a sequence of thought and ideas better unbroken. The extracts within the Sections are in random order. The whole work can be regarded as a jigsaw puzzle with the extracts as pieces. The Introductory Information provides a thumbnail sketch, without detail or colours, of the whole picture, constituting a guide to the would-be solver. As the story unfolds, and the picture assumes shape, each piece of additional information will be found to fit naturally into place. Where this might seem not to be the case to begin with, continued reading will remove many difficulties, and eventually the whole picture, the full panorama, surprising in its extent and magnificence, will be complete. Continued viewing of the great scene brings an ever-increasing awareness of its significance. Each of us is inextricably, and interminably, not only involved in but also one with the vast cosmic process of EVER BECOMING.



Chapter I : The Constitution of Man

As described.

Chapter II : Dying and Immediately Afterwards

At the time when the Letters and books based on them were published, the subject of near-death experiences had not attracted attention. These experiences, now much in the public eye, were not specifically touched on in the literature. However, there is reference to the review of the past life and to our being at a high level of consciousness momentarily, on passing. This might be the explanation of the experience of meeting or communing with the "Shining One", as variously described.

The thoughts passing through the mind during the last moments of the dying process are of the utmost importance and should not be disturbed. They are significant factors in determining the whole tenor of the next life. In the normal case the brain still functions right to the end of the dying stage. It is during these last moments that the review of the past life takes place. When this is complete and the brain is at last dead, the defunct then goes unconscious.

Chapter III : The "Death Struggle" and "Gestation" Period

Soon after death the higher group of principles (Egoic Triad) prepares to separate from the lower four constituting the personality. This preparation includes what is described as a 'struggle'. It is the period when the past life is evaluated in terms of its spiritual content. The 'struggle' is between the really spiritual elements of the dead man's last life experience and the lower, purely personal, maybe selfish and carnal, ones. The next stage of the death process can only be entered if there is a sufficiency of spiritual content to be assimilated by the Egoic entity. What happens if there is not is fully described.

After the death struggle, a period of "gestation" is entered. It is during this time that the spiritual aroma of the past life is 'ingested' into the Egoic entity. Without this aroma the Ego would have no personal identity at the next stage.

During the "death struggle" and the "gestation" period, the deceased is normally unconscious. At the end of the "gestation" period, there is a second review of the life just passed. At the end of the gestation all that is left of the late personality are the psychic reliquiae, its worldly experiences, its desires, passions, ambitions, memories of achievements, disasters, and so on. The Spiritual aroma or residue of the deceased's experiences, its noble thoughts, unselfish sacrifices, higher aspirations, etc., will have been assimilated by the Ego.

What happens to these two classes of residue, the base and the noble, is described in the Chapters. The personal bodily and psychic remains do not last long; they disintegrate relatively quickly, leaving their conditioned essences as a carried-forward balance, so to speak, to the next personality.

Chapter IV : The Second Death and Devachan

When the separation of the lower from the higher results of the ex-personality's living is finished, a second 'death' occurs, and the Ego proceeds to the next stage. What is left of the late personality then deprived of its source of real life and consciousness, i.e. the Ego, becomes literally a mere 'shell'. The fate of that shell and its state of consciousness in the world of shades is described in detail.

After the second death when Ego is freed from the encumbrance of the impure remains of its last personality, consciousness slowly returns to it. As this happens it awakes slowly to find itself in a state or condition of unadulterated bliss: it is in surroundings where, and with those with whom, it would most have wanted to be. It is in the state known as Devachan, a blissful but purely subjective state: one quite private to the Devachanee. It is as a dream which no-one else can share.

Devachan is not a place, it is a state. It is the most enduring one for most of us after death. It lasts for centuries, but eventually it does come to an end. There is a gradual decline into 'old age' and then 'death' or unconsciousness , prior to starting the processes of re-birth into a new body. The new baby is born into circumstances entirely determined by law, Karma, as will be the nature of the new personality and the circumstances, at least of the early part, of its next life.

Chapter V : Karma and Reincarnation

The factors which determine the nature of the new personality are all the result of the life of the old one. There is a mechanism, a kind of psychic or non-physical one, whereby the sum of personal characteristics of the old personality are transmitted to the new one. This is a somewhat similar process to the one whereby the physical body is endowed with hereditary characteristics from its parents, but the old personality assumes the role of both parents as far as the character qualities of the new being are concerned. In this way we all get our due deserts, neither more nor less. This is the law of Karma in action as regards our human condition from a purely individual point of view. There is a tremendous complexity in the workings of this law with regard to any one life because of the interaction of the Karma of the mass of individuals, by families, groups and nations which must be taken into account.

Chapter VI : Exceptions, Suicides and Accidents

All that has so far been described of the after- death processes relates to the normal case only. There are exceptions; and all of these come under the heading of premature deaths. These are deaths by disease, at various ages, suicides, accidents and murders. All these are special cases and the after-death processes are affected accordingly.

The law of Karma has a moral content. It is this which determines the effect of motive in our actions, even to the taking of our own life. There is a difference between a soldier who kills but under orders, and a murderer. The fate of the suicide, responsible for his own death, is different from that of the 'accident' whose death may be so sudden that he does not know what happened, and who certainly had no intention to die. All these variations from the normal are examined.

Chapter VII : Psychic and Spiritualistic Phenomena

It will be apparent that the inner principles of man are in the same realms of being (subjective to us) whence originate psychic and spiritualistic phenomena, usually by way of communication but sometimes by materialization, apparitions and other 'psycho-psychic' phenomena. In this Chapter we learn the nature of the various kinds of entity that can communicate through mediums. The mechanism of materialization is also described.

Chapter VIII : Immortality and Other Matters

Personalities come and go; so does everything else in a manifest Universe. This must even apply to the Ego, that persisting divine element of man's being, which must have, in our terms, an almost infinite span of life. There comes a time, however, when it has fulfilled its purpose in the grand scheme. What then? Does anything endure for ever? If it does, is it of any interest to us either individually or personally? Some answers even to these questions are vouchsafed us.

There are areas of being of which the post mortem states as described are only an aspect. Worlds as well as men have their inner principles; they too have their life cycles, their periods of rest and activity, and their birth and death. After a period of activity, referred to sometimes as one of causes, there is a corresponding period of inactivity, of rest, which is one of effects. These effects are then assimilated and resolved, but in that state no new cause can be originated. Likewise with man: a devachanee in his world of effects cannot, for instance, affect what goes on in our world of causative activity. The balancing effects of all causes must be worked out on the plane on which they were generated. There is no punishment as such after death; the retributive effects of our sins on earth are visited on us there, not in the after life.


From here on the extraordinary story of what happens when we die is told in the multitude of extracts from the source books, giving us an impressive outline of the ancient but ageless wisdom of which the knowledge of the after-death states is but a part.



"From the moment when the foetal embryo is formed until the old man, gasping his last, drops into the grave, neither the beginning nor the end is understood by scholastic science; all before us is a blank, all after us chaos. For it there is no evidence as to the relations between spirit, soul and body, either before or after death. The mere life-principle itself presents an unsolvable enigma, upon the study of which materialism has vainly exhausted its intellectual powers. In the presence of a corpse the skeptical physiologist stands dumb when asked by his pupil whence came the former tenant of that empty box, and whither it has gone. The pupil must either, like his master, rest satisfied with the explanation that protoplasm made the man, and force vitalized and will now consume his body, or he must go outside the walls of his college and the books of its library to find an explanation of the mystery."
(ISIS I, 336)


The main source of information we have as to what happens after death is The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett and the voluminous writings of H.P. Blavatsky, a pupil of one of the Mahatmas.

The Mahatma Letters are a series of letters written between 1880 and 1885 to A.P. Sinnett, a journalist and author. The letters are now kept in the British Library. Who were these Mahatmas? They are reported to be members of a Brotherhood of Initiates into the Mysteries. In these Mysteries were taught some of the secrets of the grand cosmic process and man's part in it, and they were a vehicle for conveying, from age to age, a knowledge of the inner workings of Nature. To become heir to this knowledge requires an intellect of the highest calibre, the greatest purity of life, an unblemished character, an ardent desire to be of effective service to humanity, and an indomitable will. Very few attain these qualifications but tradition has it that there has been a continuous line of such men from time immemorial. Their knowledge and strength of character give them access to power in an exceptional degree. This is not only over the inherent powers of Nature but in the inner psychological realms, where they can operate in full self-consciousness. It is in this way that they can know of the processes we all go through in those inner realms of being after death. They get this knowledge directly, by a direct spiritual perception (of a different order altogether from clairvoyance) and not through any intermediary such as a spiritualistic medium.

Their account of what happens when we die had not been made public, in plain language nor in such detail, before it was given to Sinnett in those letters. The letters were not published until 1924, but Sinnett had earlier written an account of the post mortem states from the information given in the letters, in his book Esoteric Buddhism.

The common belief is that as no man has ever returned from the other side of death to tell us what it is like, we therefore cannot know. The spiritualists have given us accounts from "spirits", assumed to know since they are 'there', but as we shall see, not only are their accounts contradictory and inconsistent between themselves, but also the reliability of the 'spiritual' informants is questionable for very good reasons. The Mahatmas, living, highly trained men in full possession of all their faculties - and those developed to a quite extraordinary degree - are the 'authority' for what is written here. The "spirits" on the other hand are entities of quite another much lower order altogether and cannot have, or have become acquainted with any knowledge they did not possess before they died.

To understand the after-death processes we must have knowledge of the complex nature of man. He is not to be regarded merely as a physical being, alive on earth, maybe having a soul, or even both a soul and spirit. The teaching is that he is essentially a spiritual entity, who during life operates at various levels of being: the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical. He is said to be constituted of seven aspects or principles, grouped to correspond with those levels. By means of these principles he has 'being' at each level and, depending on his evolutionary development, he is able to operate more or less consciously on those levels.

No doubt the idea of Mahatmas in the sense used here and of this sevenfold constitution of man will be strange to most readers. The idea of the evolutionary unfoldment of faculties will perhaps appear less strange, but in the teaching that idea is extended to include a long term psychological and spiritual development far beyond what could normally be envisaged. This is supplementary to the commonly accepted view of evolution which is all at physical level by way of the survival of the fittest.

The Mahatmas are men who have 'evolved' in this way. Their ability consciously to operate on the various levels of being by the development of their inner principles is a result of evolutionary process. In this way we all, in time, may become Mahatmas, but we cannot do this in one lifetime. The teaching tells of this progressive development through a long series of lives, each of which is a link in a causative chain joined both to its predecessors and successors by way of its inner, non-physical principles, i.e. its soul and spiritual aspects.

During our stay on earth we pass from infancy, adolescence, maturity, old age, to eventual death. The questions now are: what is reborn; what can constitute another life; what connects it to past and future lives?

The teaching is that the processes of Nature, indeed of the whole Universe, are cyclical, like the round of the seasons: a coming and going which applies to everything including every man and all that comprises him, physically or internally. Behind this coming and going, however, it is postulated that there is always a self-existent something - THAT which always IS. When we are thinking of an active Universe, THAT is regarded as the One Life. This One Life is as a flame at which innumerable candles can be lit. The essential, spiritual inner nature of every thing and being, including men, is as one of these candle flames. This is the indispensable spiritual essence of everything - identical with the One Life. It becomes temporarily a separate life in a sea of other lives during, say, the life of our globe earth.

This one 'Life' needs vehicles in which to operate, to become effective, at the various levels of being. In man it is these vehicles which are referred to as his principles. The three uppermost of these, the most spiritual, form a threefold entity, a triad, the spiritual Ego of the man, known also as the INDIVIDUALITY.

The principles are conventionally as follows: Spirit; the Vehicle of Spirit; and Mind; this last seen as having two aspects, higher and lower. The higher is associated with the two spiritual principles above it. This triad is virtually an immortal, divine entity. It is this which manifests periodically in successive PERSONALITIES. Each personality is composed of the four lower principles. These are: the Physical Body; a Vehicle for 'life' energies, the life force; the Life Force itself, vitality; and an emotional, passional desire Vehicle. This vehicle is closely associated with the lower aspect of Mind. For convenient reference these principles are numbered one to seven, the physical body being number one and Spirit, the highest, number seven.

As said, Mind (in Sanskrit: Manas), the fifth principle, is regarded as dual, having two aspects, although it is always one single principle. The upper or higher aspect is always closely associated with the 6th principle (in Sanskrit: Buddhi), forming a dual combination (Buddhi-Manas). The lower aspect associates with the fourth principle (in Sanskrit: Kama), forming a duad, Kama-Manas. This mento-emotional complex, the middle duad, so called, is the man's soul or psyche and we shall see that it is mortal, whereas the spiritual Ego is virtually immortal.

For clarity man's principles are set out in Table A at the end of this section.

There is a 'bridge' between the upper and lower aspects of Manas, forming a connection, at mind level, between the temporary or mortal soul and the persisting Individuality or Ego. Lastly the three lower principles, referred to sometimes as the lower triad, are the Physical Body, the Life Force (Prana) and its vehicle (Linga Sarira). The middle duad and the lower triad constitute the man's Personality, as opposed to his Individuality. The distinction between these two is important and must be kept in mind otherwise confusions can arise. For example, it is never (or nearly so) the personality which reincarnates.

In considering reincarnation which is inseparable from the after-death processes, there is a link between one personality and the next. This link is two-fold: on the one hand there is the persisting spiritual Ego, and on the other, some 'tendencies' (formed during previous lives) of a psycho-mental nature, but they can also have an effect on the physical body of the next personality. These tendencies, referred to as skandhas, are, so to speak, a residue of previous personal lives, distilled out in the after-death processes. They determine the character of the next personality, both psychically and, to some extent, physically.

This classification and numbering of man's principles is used consistently throughout the original classical theosophical literature. Other classifications, with resulting confusions, were introduced later. The account of the after-death states and processes given here can only be understood in terms of this original nomenclature and numeration.

The 'processes' of the after-life as they relate to man reflect the greater cosmic ones pertaining not only to worlds, but also analogously to galaxies of universes themselves. All the processes are within the operation of universal Law which operates throughout and at all levels of being. This overall Law (Karma) ensures the origination or coming into manifest being, of everything in its proper season. It also ensures its survival, by way of intelligent regulation, and its eventual demise after it has fulfilled its programme of development. This latter as applying to worlds, for example, is effected by innumerable streams of life in an infinity of forms. In this programme on our earth mankind plays a central, key role.

The account given here of what happens after death is complicated. Without some framework, an overall pattern of successive happenings, it would be difficult to fit the numerous items of information into the whole picture. It is hoped that taken together the Sections will give such an outline, so as to give shape to the whole panorama. There is a degree of overlap between the Sections. Some of the Mahatma Letters are long, covering more than one aspect of the subject. Occasionally the longer letters have been split up and their contents allocated to appropriate Sections. Two of these letters have been reproduced entire in the Appendix so that the relationship of a paragraph to the others can be seen.




"From the moment when the foetal embryo is formed until the old man, gasping his last, drops into the grave, neither the beginning nor the end is understood by scholastic science; all before us is a blank, all after us chaos. For it there is no evidence as to the relations between spirit, soul and body, either before or after death. The mere life-principle itself presents an unsolvable enigma, upon the study of which materialism has vainly exhausted its intellectual powers. In the presence of a corpse the skeptical physiologist stands dumb when asked by his pupil whence came the former tenant of that empty box, and whither it has gone. The pupil must either, like his master, rest satisfied with the explanation that protoplasm made the man, and force vitalized and will now consume his body, or he must go outside the walls of his college and the books of its library to find an explanation of the mystery."

(ISIS I, 336)


The main source of information we have as to what happens after death is The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett and the voluminous writings of H.P. Blavatsky, a pupil of one of the Mahatmas.

The Mahatma Letters are a series of letters written between 1880 and 1885 to A.P. Sinnett, a journalist and author. The letters are now kept in the British Library. Who were these Mahatmas? They are reported to be members of a Brotherhood of Initiates into the Mysteries. In these Mysteries were taught some of the secrets of the grand cosmic process and man's part in it, and they were a vehicle for conveying, from age to age, a knowledge of the inner workings of Nature. To become heir to this knowledge requires an intellect of the highest calibre, the greatest purity of life, an unblemished character, an ardent desire to be of effective service to humanity, and an indomitable will. Very few attain these qualifications but tradition has it that there has been a continuous line of such men from time immemorial. Their knowledge and strength of character give them access to power in an exceptional degree. This is not only over the inherent powers of Nature but in the inner psychological realms, where they can operate in full self-consciousness. It is in this way that they can know of the processes we all go through in those inner realms of being after death. They get this knowledge directly, by a direct spiritual perception (of a different order altogether from clairvoyance) and not through any intermediary such as a spiritualistic medium.

Their account of what happens when we die had not been made public, in plain language nor in such detail, before it was given to Sinnett in those letters. The letters were not published until 1924, but Sinnett had earlier written an account of the post mortem states from the information given in the letters, in his book Esoteric Buddhism.

The common belief is that as no man has ever returned from the other side of death to tell us what it is like, we therefore cannot know. The spiritualists have given us accounts from "spirits", assumed to know since they are 'there', but as we shall see, not only are their accounts contradictory and inconsistent between themselves, but also the reliability of the 'spiritual' informants is questionable for very good reasons. The Mahatmas, living, highly trained men in full possession of all their faculties - and those developed to a quite extraordinary degree - are the 'authority' for what is written here. The "spirits" on the other hand are entities of quite another much lower order altogether and cannot have, or have become acquainted with any knowledge they did not possess before they died.

To understand the after-death processes we must have knowledge of the complex nature of man. He is not to be regarded merely as a physical being, alive on earth, maybe having a soul, or even both a soul and spirit. The teaching is that he is essentially a spiritual entity, who during life operates at various levels of being: the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical. He is said to be constituted of seven aspects or principles, grouped to correspond with those levels. By means of these principles he has 'being' at each level and, depending on his evolutionary development, he is able to operate more or less consciously on those levels.

No doubt the idea of Mahatmas in the sense used here and of this sevenfold constitution of man will be strange to most readers. The idea of the evolutionary unfoldment of faculties will perhaps appear less strange, but in the teaching that idea is extended to include a long term psychological and spiritual development far beyond what could normally be envisaged. This is supplementary to the commonly accepted view of evolution which is all at physical level by way of the survival of the fittest.

The Mahatmas are men who have 'evolved' in this way. Their ability consciously to operate on the various levels of being by the development of their inner principles is a result of evolutionary process. In this way we all, in time, may become Mahatmas, but we cannot do this in one lifetime. The teaching tells of this progressive development through a long series of lives, each of which is a link in a causative chain joined both to its predecessors and successors by way of its inner, non-physical principles, i.e. its soul and spiritual aspects.

During our stay on earth we pass from infancy, adolescence, maturity, old age, to eventual death. The questions now are: what is reborn; what can constitute another life; what connects it to past and future lives?

The teaching is that the processes of Nature, indeed of the whole Universe, are cyclical, like the round of the seasons: a coming and going which applies to everything including every man and all that comprises him, physically or internally. Behind this coming and going, however, it is postulated that there is always a self-existent something - THAT which always IS. When we are thinking of an active Universe, THAT is regarded as the One Life. This One Life is as a flame at which innumerable candles can be lit. The essential, spiritual inner nature of every thing and being, including men, is as one of these candle flames. This is the indispensable spiritual essence of everything - identical with the One Life. It becomes temporarily a separate life in a sea of other lives during, say, the life of our globe earth.

This one 'Life' needs vehicles in which to operate, to become effective, at the various levels of being. In man it is these vehicles which are referred to as his principles. The three uppermost of these, the most spiritual, form a threefold entity, a triad, the spiritual Ego of the man, known also as the INDIVIDUALITY.

The principles are conventionally as follows: Spirit; the Vehicle of Spirit; and Mind; this last seen as having two aspects, higher and lower. The higher is associated with the two spiritual principles above it. This triad is virtually an immortal, divine entity. It is this which manifests periodically in successive PERSONALITIES. Each personality is composed of the four lower principles. These are: the Physical Body; a Vehicle for 'life' energies, the life force; the Life Force itself, vitality; and an emotional, passional desire Vehicle. This vehicle is closely associated with the lower aspect of Mind. For convenient reference these principles are numbered one to seven, the physical body being number one and Spirit, the highest, number seven.

As said, Mind (in Sanskrit: Manas), the fifth principle, is regarded as dual, having two aspects, although it is always one single principle. The upper or higher aspect is always closely associated with the 6th principle (in Sanskrit: Buddhi), forming a dual combination (Buddhi-Manas). The lower aspect associates with the fourth principle (in Sanskrit: Kama), forming a duad, Kama-Manas. This mento-emotional complex, the middle duad, so called, is the man's soul or psyche and we shall see that it is mortal, whereas the spiritual Ego is virtually immortal.

For clarity man's principles are set out in Table A at the end of this section.

There is a 'bridge' between the upper and lower aspects of Manas, forming a connection, at mind level, between the temporary or mortal soul and the persisting Individuality or Ego. Lastly the three lower principles, referred to sometimes as the lower triad, are the Physical Body, the Life Force (Prana) and its vehicle (Linga Sarira). The middle duad and the lower triad constitute the man's Personality, as opposed to his Individuality. The distinction between these two is important and must be kept in mind otherwise confusions can arise. For example, it is never (or nearly so) the personality which reincarnates.

In considering reincarnation which is inseparable from the after-death processes, there is a link between one personality and the next. This link is two-fold: on the one hand there is the persisting spiritual Ego, and on the other, some 'tendencies' (formed during previous lives) of a psycho-mental nature, but they can also have an effect on the physical body of the next personality. These tendencies, referred to as skandhas, are, so to speak, a residue of previous personal lives, distilled out in the after-death processes. They determine the character of the next personality, both psychically and, to some extent, physically.

This classification and numbering of man's principles is used consistently throughout the original classical theosophical literature. Other classifications, with resulting confusions, were introduced later. The account of the after-death states and processes given here can only be understood in terms of this original nomenclature and numeration.

The 'processes' of the after-life as they relate to man reflect the greater cosmic ones pertaining not only to worlds, but also analogously to galaxies of universes themselves. All the processes are within the operation of universal Law which operates throughout and at all levels of being. This overall Law (Karma) ensures the origination or coming into manifest being, of everything in its proper season. It also ensures its survival, by way of intelligent regulation, and its eventual demise after it has fulfilled its programme of development. This latter as applying to worlds, for example, is effected by innumerable streams of life in an infinity of forms. In this programme on our earth mankind plays a central, key role.


The account given here of what happens after death is complicated. Without some framework, an overall pattern of successive happenings, it would be difficult to fit the numerous items of information into the whole picture. It is hoped that taken together the Sections will give such an outline, so as to give shape to the whole panorama. There is a degree of overlap between the Sections. Some of the Mahatma Letters are long, covering more than one aspect of the subject. Occasionally the longer letters have been split up and their contents allocated to appropriate Sections. Two of these letters have been reproduced entire in the Appendix so that the relationship of a paragraph to the others can be seen.

KEY to the Book-title Abbreviations :-


KEY   = The Key to Theosophy


CW     = The Collected Writings of H.P. Blavatsky (de Zirkov)


SD      = The Secret Doctrine


ISIS    = Isis Unveiled


ML      = The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett


EST    = Esoteric School of Theosophy - Instructions


EWS   = Esoteric Writings of Subba Rao



The page numbers of The Secret Doctrine and The Key to Theosophy are those of the original editions.

The page numbers of The Mahatma Letters are 3rd Edition followed by 2nd Edition.












Ego or


Ego or

Upper Triad

Spirit or


Vehicle of Spirit







Human Soul




Middle Duad

Psyche or

Animal Soul

Vehicle of Emotions etc.



Life Force



Lower Triad

Vehicle of

Life Force

Linga Sarira


Physical Body

Sthula Sarira






Key 90 Theo: Believing in seven planes of Kosmic being and states of Consciousness, with regard to the Universe or the Macrocosm, we stop at the fourth plane, finding it impossible to go with any degree of certainty beyond. But with respect to the Microcosm, or man, we speculate freely on his seven states and principles.

Enq: How do you explain these?

Theo: We find, first of all, two distinct beings in man; the spiritual and the physical, the man who thinks, and the man who records as much of these thoughts as he is able to assimilate. Therefore we divide him into two distinct natures; the upper or the spiritual being, composed of three "principles" or aspects; and the lower of the physical quaternary, composed of four - in all seven.



Sanskrit Terms

Esoteric Meaning


LOWER QUATERNARY – (Principles a to d)

(a) Rupa, or Sthula-sarira

(a) Physical body

(a) Is the vehicle of all the other “principles” during life.

(b) Prana

(b) Life, or Vital Principle

(b) Necessary only to a, c, d, and the functions of the lower Manas, which embrace all those limited to the (physical) brain.

(c) Linga-sarira

(c) Astral Body

(c) The Double, the phantom body.

(d) Kama-rupa

(d) The seat of animal desires and passions

(d) This is the centre of the animal man, where lies the lines of demarcation which separates the mortal man from the immortal entity.

UPPER IMPERISHABLE TRIAD – (Principles e to g)

(e) Manas – a dual principle in its functions

(e) Mind, intelligence: which is the higher human mind, whose light or radiation links the MONAD, for the lifetime to the mortal man.

(e) The future state and the Karmic destiny of man depend on whether Manas gravitates more downward to Kama rupa, the seat of the animal passions, or upwards to Buddhi, the Spiritual Ego. In the latter case, the higher consciousness of the individual Spiritual aspirations of mind (Manas), assimilating Buddhi, are absorbed by it and form the Ego, which goes into Devachanic bliss.

(f) Buddhi

(f) The Spiritual Soul

(f) The vehicle of pure universal spirit.

(g) Atma

(g) Spirit

(g) One with the Absolute, as its radiation.

Key 98 Theo: Here you have our doctrine, which shows man a Septenary during life; a quintile [counting Manas as two] just after death, in Kama-Loka; and a threefold Ego, Spirit Soul, and consciousness in Devachan ... [Then follows a colourful description in Plutarch's words of the post mortem processes until the Ego reaches Devachan.]

Key 100 Theo: Do not imagine that because man is called septenary, then quintuple and triad, he is a compound of seven, five or three entities; ... The "principles", as already said, save the body, the life, and the astral eidolon, all of which disperse at death, are simply aspects and states of consciousness. There is but one real man, enduring through the cycle of life and immortal in essence, if not in form, and this is Manas, the Mind-man or embodied Consciousness ... Are you acquainted with all the states of matter, you who hitherto knew but three? And how do you know whether that which we refer to as ABSOLUTE CONSCIOUSNESS or Deity for ever invisible and unknowable be not that which, though it eludes for ever our human finite conception, is still universal Spirit-matter or matter-Spirit in its absolute finitude?. It is then one of the lowest, and in its manvantaric manifestations fractioned - aspects of this Spirit-matter, which is the conscious Ego that creates its own paradise, a fool's paradise, it may be, still a state of bliss.

Enq: But what is Devachan?

Theo: The "land of gods" literally; a condition, a state of mental bliss. Philosophically a mental condition analogous to, but far more vivid and real than, the most vivid dream. It is the state after death of most mortals.

Key 118 Theo: Just the same, we could easily make of the body the vehicle of the "vital Double"; of the latter the vehicle of Life or Prana: of Kama-rupa or (animal) soul, the vehicle of the higher and the lower mind, and make of this six principles, crowning the whole with the one immortal spirit. In Occultism every qualificative change in the state of our consciousness gives to man a new aspect, and if it prevails and becomes part of the living and acting Ego, it must be (and is) given a special name, to distinguish the man in that particular state from the man he is when he places himself in another state.

Enq: It is just that which it is so difficult to understand.

Theo: It seems to me very easy, on the contrary, once that you have seized the main idea, i.e., that man acts on this or another plane of consciousness, in strict accordance with his mental and spiritual condition. But such is the materialism of the age that the more we explain the less people seem capable of understanding what we say. Divide the terrestrial being called man into three chief aspects, if you like, and unless you make of him a pure animal you cannot do less. Take his objective body; the thinking principle in him - which is only a little higher than the instinctual element in the animal - or the vital conscious soul; and that which places him so immeasurably beyond and higher than the animal - i.e., his reasoning soul or "spirit". Well, if we take these three groups or representative entities, and subdivide them according to the occult teaching, what do we get?

First of all, Spirit (in the sense of the Absolute, and therefore, indivisible ALL), or Atma. As this can neither be located nor limited in philosophy, being simply that which is in Eternity, and which cannot be absent from even the tiniest geometrical or mathematical point of the universe of matter or substance, it ought not to be called, in truth, a "human" principle at all. Rather, and at best, it is in Metaphysics that point in space which the human Monad and its vehicle man occupy for the period of every life. Now that point is as imaginary as man himself, and in reality is an illusion, a maya; but then for ourselves, as for other personal Egos, we are a reality during that fit of illusion called life, and we have to take ourselves into account, in our own fancy at any rate, if no one else does ... Occultism calls this seventh principle the synthesis of the sixth, and gives it for vehicle the Spiritual Soul, Buddhi ... In conjunction, these two [Atma and Buddhi] are one, impersonal and without any attributes (on this plane, of course), and make two spiritual principles. If we pass on to the Human Soul, Manas or mens, every one will agree that the intelligence of man is dual to say the least: e.g. the high-minded man can hardly become low-minded; the very intellectual and spiritual-minded man is separated by an abyss from the obtuse, dull, and material, if not animal-minded man.

Enq: But why should not man be represented by two principles or two aspects, rather?

Theo: Every man has these two principles in him, one more active than the other, and in rare cases one of these is entirely stunted in its growth, so to say, or paralysed by the strength and predominance of the other aspect, in whatever direction. These, then, are what we call the two principles or aspects of Manas, the higher Manas, or the thinking conscious Ego gravitating towards the spiritual Soul (Buddhi); and the latter, or its instinctual principle, attracted to Kama, the seat of animal desires and passions in man. Thus we have four principles justified; the last three being (1) the "Double", which we have agreed to call Protean, or Plastic Soul; the vehicle of (2) the life principle; and (3) the physical body ...

Enq: But what is it that reincarnates, in your belief?

Theo: The Spiritual thinking Ego, the permanent principle in man, or that which is the seat of Manas. It is not Atma, or even Atma-Buddhi, regarded as the dual Monad, which is the individual, or divine man, but Manas; for Atman is the Universal ALL, and becomes the HIGHER-SELF of man only in conjunction with Buddhi, its vehicle, which links IT to the individuality (or divine man). For it is the Buddhi-Manas which is called the Causal body (the United 5th and 6th Principles), and which is Consciousness that connects it with every personality it inhabits on earth. Therefore, Soul being a generic term, there are in men three aspects of Soul - the terrestrial, or animal; the Human Soul; and the Spiritual Soul; these, strictly speaking, are one Soul in its three aspects. Now of the first aspect nothing remains after death; of the second (nous or Manas) only its divine essence if left unsoiled survives, while the third in addition to being immortal becomes consciously divine, by the assimilation of the higher Manas.

Key 134 Enq: But what is the difference between the two? [Individuality and Personality] I confess that I am still in the dark. Indeed it is just that difference, then, that you cannot impress too much on our minds.

Key 135 Theo: To understand the idea well, you have to first study the dual sets of principles: the spiritual, or those which belong to the imperishable Ego; and the material, or those principles which make up the ever-changing bodies or the series of personalities of that Ego. Let us fix permanent names to these, and say that:

I. Atma, the "Higher Self," is neither your spirit nor mine, but like sunlight shines on all. It is the universally diffused "divine principle," and is inseparable from its one and absolute Meta-Spirit, as the sunbeam is inseparable from sunlight.

II. Buddhi (the spiritual soul) is only its vehicle. Neither each separately, nor the two collectively, are of any more use to the body of man than sunlight and its beams are for a mass of granite buried in the earth, unless the divine Duad is assimilated by, and reflected in, some consciousness. Neither Atma nor Buddhi are ever reached by Karma, because the former is the highest aspect of Karma, its working agent of ITSELF in one aspect, and the other is unconscious on this plane. This consciousness or mind is,

III. Manas, the derivation or product in a reflected form of Ahamkara, "the conception of I," or EGO-SHIP. It is, therefore, when inseparably united to the first two, called the SPIRITUAL EGO, and Taijasa (the radiant). This is the real Individuality, or the divine man. It is this Ego which - having originally incarnated in the senseless human form animated by, but unconscious (since it had no consciousness) of, the presence in itself of the dual monad - made of that human-like form a real man. It is that Ego, that "Causal Body", which overshadows every personality Karma forces it to incarnate into: and this Ego which is held responsible for all the sins committed through, and in, every new body or personality - the evanescent masks which hide the true Individual through the long series of rebirths.

Key 135 Footnote: MAHAT or the "Universal Mind" is the source of Manas. The latter is Mahat i.e., mind, in man. Manas is ... "embodied Spirit" ... It is Manas, therefore, which is the real incarnating and permanent Spiritual Ego, the INDIVIDUALITY, and our various and numberless personalities only its external masks. [This note makes reference also to "Manasa-putras, third Race, our Round", not directly relevant to the after-death story at this stage.]

Key 175 Theo: To avoid henceforth such misapprehensions [concerning Higher Self, Ego, etc.], I propose to translate literally from the Occult Eastern terms their equivalents in English, and offer these for future use.

THE HIGHER SELF is Atma, the inseparable ray of the Universal and ONE SELF. It is the God above, more than within, us. Happy the man who succeeds in saturating his inner Ego with it!

THE SPIRITUAL divine EGO is the Spiritual soul or Buddhi, in close union with Manas, the mind-principle, without which it is no EGO at all, but only the Atmic Vehicle.

THE INNER or HIGHER EGO is Manas, the "Fifth" Principle, so called, independently of Buddhi. The Mind-Principle is only the Spiritual Ego when merged into one with Buddhi - no materialist being supposed to have in him such an Ego, however great his intellectual capacities. It is the permanent Individuality or the "Reincarnating Ego."

THE LOWER or PERSONAL EGO is the physical man in conjunction with his lower Self, i.e. animal instincts, passions, desires, etc. It is called the "false personality", and consists of the lower Manas combined with Kama-rupa, and operating through the Physical body and its phantom or "double".

The remaining Principle "Prana", or "Life", is, strictly speaking, the radiating force or Energy of Atma - as the Universal Life and the ONE SELF - ITS lower or rather (in its effects) more physical, because manifesting, aspect. Prana or Life permeates the whole being of the objective Universe; and is called a "principle" only because it is an indispensable factor and the deus ex machina of the living man.

Key 183 Enq: But you wanted to tell me something of the essential nature of Manas, and of the relation in which the Skandhas of physical man stand to it?

Theo: It is this nature, mysterious, Protean, beyond any grasp, and almost shadowy in its correlations with the other principles, that is most difficult to realize, and still more so to explain. Manas is a principle, and yet it is an Entity and individuality or Ego. He is a "God", and yet he is doomed to an endless cycle of incarnations, and for each of which he has to suffer. All this seems as contradictory as it is puzzling; nevertheless, there are hundreds of people, even in Europe, who realize all this perfectly, for they comprehend the Ego not only in its integrity but in its many aspects. Finally, if I would make myself comprehensible, I must begin at the beginning and give you the genealogy of this Ego in a few lines.

Enq: Say on.

Theo: Try to imagine a "Spirit", a celestial Being, whether we call it by one name or another, divine in its essential nature, yet not pure enough to be one with the ALL, and having, in order to achieve this, to so purify its nature as to finally gain that goal. It can do so only by passing individually and personally, i.e., spiritually and physically, through every experience and feeling that exists in the manifold or differentiated Universe. It has, therefore, after having gained such experience in the lower kingdoms, and having ascended higher and still higher with every rung on the ladder of being, to pass through every experience on the human planes. In its very essence it is THOUGHT, and is, therefore, called in its plurality Manasa-putras, "the Sons of the (Universal) mind". This individualized "Thought" is what we Theosophists call the real human EGO, the thinking Entity imprisoned in a case of flesh and bones. This is surely a Spiritual Entity, not Matter, and such Entities are the incarnating EGOS that inform the bundle of animal matter called mankind, and whose names are Manasa or "Minds". But once imprisoned, or incarnate, their essence becomes dual: that is to say, the rays of the eternal divine Mind, considered as individual entities, assume a twofold attribute which is (a) their essential inherent characteristic, heaven-aspiring mind (higher Manas), and (b) the human quality of thinking, or animal cogitation, rationalized owing to the superiority of the human brain, the Kama-tending or lower Manas. One gravitates towards Buddhi, the other, tending downwards, to the seat of passions and animal desires. The latter have no room in Devachan, nor can they associate with the divine triad which ascends as ONE into mental bliss. Yet it is the Ego, the Manasic Entity, which is held responsible for all the sins of the lower attributes, just as a parent is answerable for the transgressions of his child so long as the latter remains irresponsible.

Enq: Is this "child" the personality?

Theo: It is. When, therefore, it is stated that the personality dies with the body it does not state all. The body, which was only the objective symbol of Mr A. or Mrs B. fades away with all its material Skandhas, which are the visible expressions thereof. But all that which constituted during life the spiritual bundle of experiences, the noblest aspiration, undying affections, and unselfish nature of Mr A or Mrs B., clings for the time of the Devachanic period to the EGO, which is identified with the spiritual portion of that terrestrial Entity, now passed away out of sight. The ACTOR is so imbued with the role just played by him that he dreams of it during the whole Devachanic night, which vision continues till the hour strikes for him to return to the stage of life to enact another part.

CW I, 331 In the grain of sand, and each atom of the human material body, the spirit is latent, not active; hence, being but a correlation of the highest light, something concrete as compared with the purely abstract, the atom is vitalized and energized by spirit, without being endowed with distinct consciousness. A grain of sand, as every minutest atom, is certainly "imbued with that vital principle called spirit". So is every atom of the human body, whether physical or astral, and thus every atom of both, following the law of evolution, whether of objective or semi-concrete astral matter, will have to remain eternal throughout the endless cycles, indestructible in their primary, elementary constituents ...

Our opponents repeat the words Trinity, Body, Soul, Spirit, as they might say the cat, the house and the Irishman inhabiting it - three perfectly dissimilar things. They do not see that, dissimilar as the three parts of the human trinity may seem, they are in truth but correlations of the one eternal essence - which is no essence; but unfortunately the English language is barren of adequate expression, and, though they do not see it, the house, the physical Irishman, and the cat are, in their last analysis, one.

CW IV, 53 ... the Linga-Sarira "... is the subtile, ethereal element of the ego of an organism [whether human or animal or vegetable]; inseparably united to ... the latter; it never leaves it but at death". And if so, how could the "astral body" of man, if we call it Linga-Sarira, leave him during his lifetime and appear as his double, as we know, is repeatedly the case with mediums and other peculiarly endowed persons? The answer is simple; that which appears, or the "double", is called Mayavi-Rupa (illusionary form) when acting blindly; and - Kama-Rupa, "will" or "desire-form" when compelled into an objective shape by the conscious will and desire of its possessor. The Jivatma (vital principle) and Linga-Sarira (Sex-body) are inner principles; while the Mayavi-Rupa is the outside soul so to say: one which envelops the physical body, as in a filmy ethereal casing. It is a perfect counterpart of the man and even of the clothing which he happens to wear. And this principle is liable to become condensed into opacity, compelled to it, either by the law of intermagnetic action, or by the potentiality of Yoga-ballu or "adept-power".

Thus, the "Linga-Sarira" is "dissolved with the external body at the death of the latter". It dissolves slowly and gradually, its adhesion to the body becoming weaker, as the particles disintegrate. During the process of decay, it may, on sultry nights, be sometimes seen over the grave. Owing to the dry and electric atmosphere it manifests itself and stands as a bluish flame, often as a luminous pillar, of "odyle", bearing a more or less vague resemblance to the outward form of the body laid under the sod. Popular superstition, ignorant of the nature of these post-mortem gaseous emanations, mistakes them for the presence of the "suffering" soul, the personal spirit of the deceased, hovering over his body's tomb. Yet, when the work of destruction has been completed, and nature has broken entirely the cohesion of corporeal particles, the Linga-Sarira is dispersed with the body of which it was but an emanation.

CW IV, 184 It is sufficient to .. ponder over the septenary constitution of man into which the triple human entity is divided by the occultists, to perceive that the "astral" monad is not the "Spiritual" monad and vice versa. .. we say again that "Reincarnation", i.e., the appearance of the same individual, or rather, of the astral monad [or the personality as claimed by the modern Reincarnationists], twice on the same planet, is not a rule in nature" and that "it is an exception". Let us try once more to explain our meaning. The reviewer speaks of the "spiritual Individuality" or the Immortal Monad as it is called, i.e., the seventh and sixth Principles .. In Isis we refer to the personality or the finite astral monad, a compound of imponderable elements composed of the fifth and fourth principles. The former as an emanation of the ONE absolute is indestructible; the latter as an elementary compound is finite and doomed sooner or later to destruction with the exception of the more spiritualized portions of the fifth principle (the Manas or mind) which are assimilated by the sixth principle when it follows the seventh to its "gestation" state" to be reborn or not reborn, as the case may be, in the Arupa Loka (the Formless World). The seven principles, forming, so to say, a triad and a quaternary, or, as some have it a "Compound Trinity", subdivided into a triad and two duads, may be better understood in the following groups of Principles:



7. Atma – “Pure Spirit”.

6. Buddhi – “Spiritual Soul or Intelligence”.

Spiritual Monad or “Individuality” – and its vehicle. Eternal and indestructible.



5. Manas – “Mind or Animal Soul”.

4. Kama-Rupa – “Desire” or “Passion” Form.

Astral Monad - or the personal Ego and its vehicle.

Survives Group III and is destroyed after a time, unless reincarnated, as said, under exceptional circumstances.



3. Linga-sarira – “Astral or Vital Body”.

2. Jiva – “Life Principle”.

1. Sthula-sarira – “Body”.

Compound Physical, or the “Earthly Ego”. The three die together invariably.

CW V, 49 What are these principles or "Entities" [which constitute a whole man]?

1st Principle: the physical body which decomposes and disappears.

2nd Principle: LIFE or rather the vital ray which animates us and which is borrowed from the inexhaustible reservoir of the Universal Life.

3rd Principle: the astral body, the double or doppelgaenger, the shadow of, or emanation from the physical body, which disappears when the latter ceases to exist. Every living being has one, even the beasts; and it is called illusory because it has no material consistence, properly speaking, and cannot last ...

4th Principle: the will which directs Principles 1 and 2.

5th Principle: the human or animal intelligence, or the instinct of the brute.

6th Principle: the spiritual or divine soul, and the

7th Principle: the SPIRIT. The last is what the Christians call Logos, and we - our personal God. We know no other; because the absolute and the One - that is the All - Parabrahm, is an impersonal principle beyond all human speculation."

CW XI, 451 ... if indeed the physical brain is of only a limited area, the field for the containment of rapid flashes of unlimited and infinite thought, neither will nor thought can be said to be generated within it, even according to materialistic Science, the impassable chasm between matter and mind having been confessed both by Tyndall and many others. The fact is that the human brain is simply the canal between two planes - the psycho-spiritual and the material - through which every abstract and metaphysical idea filters from the Manasic down to the lower human consciousness. Therefore, the ideas about the infinite and the absolute are not, nor can they be, within our brain capacities. They can be faithfully mirrored only by our Spiritual consciousness, thence to be more or less faintly projected onto the tables of our perceptions on this plane. Thus while the records of even important events are often obliterated from our memory, not the most trifling action of our lives can disappear from the "Soul's" memory, because it is no MEMORY for it, but an ever present reality on the plane which lies outside our conceptions of space and time. "Man is the measure of all things," said Aristotle; and surely he did not mean by man, the form of flesh, bones and muscles!

CW XII, 14 As Shakespeare says of the genius of great men - what we perceive of his substance "is not here" -


"For what you see is but the smallest part

And least proportion of humanity:

I tell you, madam, were the whole frame here,

It is of such a spacious lofty pitch

Your roof were not sufficient to contain it."

This is precisely what the Esoteric philosophy teaches. The flame of genius is lit by no anthropomorphic hand, save that of one's own Spirit. It is the very nature of the Spiritual Entity itself, of our Ego, which keeps on weaving new life-woofs into the web of reincarnation on the loom of time, from the beginnings to the ends of the great Life-Cycle. This it is that asserts itself stronger than in the average man, through its personality; so that what we call "the manifestations of genius" in a person, are only the more or less successful efforts of that EGO to assert itself on the outward plane of its objective form - the man of clay - in the matter-of-fact, daily life of the latter. The EGOS of a Newton, an Aeschylus, or a Shakespeare are, of the same essence and substance as the Egos of a yokel, an ignoramus, a fool, or even an idiot; and the self-assertion of their informing genii depends on the physiological and material construction of the physical man. No Ego differs from another Ego, in its primordial or original essence and nature. That which makes one mortal a great man and another a vulgar, silly person is, as said, the quality and makeup of the physical shell or casing, and the adequacy or inadequacy of brain and body to transmit and give expression to the light of the real, Inner man; and this aptness or inaptness is, in its turn, the result of Karma. Or, to use another simile, physical man is the musical instrument, and the Ego, the performing artist. The potentiality of perfect melody of sound, is in the former - the instrument - and no skill of the latter can awaken a faultless harmony out of a broken or badly made instrument. This harmony depends on the fidelity of transmission, by word or act, to the objective plane, of the unspoken divine thought in the very depths of man's subjective or inner nature. Physical man may - to follow our simile - be a priceless Stradivarius, or a cheap and cracked fiddle, or again a mediocrity between the two, in the hands of the Paganini who ensouls him.

CW XII, 526 .. neither Atman, which is no individual "principle" but a radiation from and one with the Unmanifested Logos; nor the body, which is the material rind or shell of the Spiritual Man, can be in strict truth, referred to as "principles". Moreover the chief "principle" of all, one not even mentioned heretofore, is the "Luminous Egg" (Hiranyagarbha) or the invisible magnetic sphere in which every man is enveloped. [Footnote: So are the animals, the plants and even the minerals. Reichenbach never understood what he learned through his sensitives and clairvoyants. It is the odic, or rather the auric or magnetic fluid which emanates from man, but it is also something more. It is the direct emanation: (a) from the Atmic Ray in its triple aspect of Creator, Preserver and Destroyer (Regenerator); and (b) from Buddhi-Manas. The seventh aspect of this individual aura is the faculty of assuming the form of its body and becoming the "Radiant", the Luminous Augoeides. It is this, strictly speaking, which at times becomes the form called Mayavi-Rupa. Therefore as explained in the second face of the diagram (the astral man), the Spiritual Man consists of only five principles, as taught by the Vedantins, who substitute tacitly for the physical this sixth, or Auric Body, and merge the dual Manas (the dual mind or consciousness) into one. Thus they speak of five kosas (sheaths or principles), and call Atman the sixth yet no "principle".

CW XII, 526 It is this Body which at death assimilates the essence of Buddhi and Manas and becomes the vehicle of these spiritual principles, which are not objective, and then with the full radiation of Atman upon it, ascends as Manas-Taijasa into the Devachanic state. Therefore, it is called by many names. It is the Sutratman, the silver "thread" which "incarnates" from the beginning of Manvantara to the end, stringing upon itself the pearls of human existence - in other words, the spiritual aroma of every personality it follows through the pilgrimage of life.

CW XII, 704 THE LINGA-SARIRA. The Linga-Sarira, as often said before, is the vehicle of Prana, and supports life in the Body. It is the reservoir or sponge of life, gathering it up from all the natural kingdoms around, and it is the intermediary between the kingdoms of Pranic and physical life. Life cannot pass immediately and directly from the subjective to the objective, for nature passes gradually from sphere to sphere, overleaping none. The Linga-Sarira serves as the intermediary between Prana and Sthula-Sarira, drawing life from the ocean of Jiva, and pumping it in the physical Body as Prana. For life is, in reality, Divinity, Parabrahman, the Universal Deity. But in order that it may manifest on the physical plane it must be assimilated to the matter of that plane; this cannot be done directly, as the purely physical is too gross, and thus it needs a vehicle - the Linga-Sarira.

The Linga-Sarira is in a sense the permanent seed for the Sthula-Sarira of man, and Weissmann, in his theory of the hereditary germ, is not far from the truth. But it would be an error to say that there is one permanent seed oversouled by a single Ego in a series of incarnations. The Linga-Sarira of one incarnation fades out, as the Sthula-Sarira to which it belongs rots out; the Auric Egg furnishes the basis of the new Linga-Sarira and the Tanhic Elementals form it within the Auric Envelope, the continuity being thus preserved; it lies dormant in the foetal state, during the Devachan of the entity to whom it belongs, and enters, in due course, a woman's womb. It is first in the womb, and then comes the germ that fructifies it, from the male parent. It is the subjective image of the man that is to be, the model of the physical body in which the child is to be formed and developed. It is then clothed with matter, as were the Lunar Pitris, and is therefore often called the Chhaya. Up to the age of seven, it forms and moulds the Body; after that age, the Body forms the Linga-Sarira. The Mind and the Linga-Sarira mutually act and react on each other and so is prepared a mould for the next incarnation. It is the perfect picture of the man, good or bad, according to his own nature. It cannot therefore be said that there is one permanent Linga-Sariric seed in the incarnations of the Ego; it is a perpetual succession of destruction and reformation, the Manas by the Auric Egg affording the permanent seed; "it is Heaven and Earth kissing each other".

During incarnation the germ, or life essence, of the Linga Sarira, is, as said, in the Spleen; the Chhaya lies curled up therein. And now let the student escape from much confusion by distinguishing between the various Astral Bodies and the true Astral. The Astral, par excellence, the Second Principle in Man, corresponding to the Second Principle in Cosmos, is the progeny of the Chhaya of the Lunar Pitris and the Auric Essence that absorbed it. This is the moulder of the infant's Body, the model spoken of above. This has for its physical organ the Spleen, and during incarnation has its seat there. It affords the basis for all Astral Bodies, for the Linga-Sarira proper, and the Mayavi-Rupas used as vehicles for different Principles. Let us then now call it the Chhaya, in view of its origin. When an Astral Body is to be formed, the Chhaya evolves a shadowy, curling or gyrating essence like smoke, which gradually takes form as it emerges. In order that this essence may become visible, the Chhaya draws on the surrounding atmosphere, attracting to itself certain minute particles floating therein, and so the Linga-Sarira, or other Astral vehicle is formed outside the physical Body. This process has often been observed at spiritualistic séances, at which materialization has occurred. An Esotericist has seen the Chhaya emerging from Eglinton's left side, and forming in the way here described.

This ethereal Body, built outside the Sthula-Sarira, is the Linga-Sarira, properly so termed; it could not form in vacuo; it is built up temporarily, with the Chhaya as its foundation, and disperses when the Chhayic foundation is withdrawn into the Body. This Linga-Sarira is united to the physical Body by an umbilical cord, a material cord, and cannot therefore travel very far from it. It may be hurt by a sharp instrument, and would not face a sword or bayonet, although it can easily pass through a table or other piece of furniture. When swords are struck at Shades, it is the sword itself, not its Linga- Sarira, or Astral that cuts. Sharp instruments alone can penetrate such Astrals; thus, under water, a blow with a blunt object would not affect you so much as a cut would.

CW XII, 707 KAMA AND KAMA-RUPA. Although the student can no longer look on Prana as one of the Seven Principles, since it is the Universal Life, he must not forget that it vivifies all, as Pranic energy. Every Principle is a differentiation of Jiva, and the life-motion in each is Prana, "the Breath of Life". It is Nephesh: and Jiva becomes Prana only when the child is born. Thus Kama depends on Prana, without which there would be no Kama. Prana wakes the Kamic germs to life, and it makes all desires vital and living.

Prana is not, it must be remembered, the production of the countless "lives" that make up the human Body, nor of the congeries of the cells and atoms of the Body. It is the parent of the "lives", not their product. As an example, a sponge may be immersed in an ocean; the water in the sponge's interior may be compared to Prana; the water outside is Jiva. Prana is the motor-principle in life. The Body leaves Prana, Prana does not leave it. Take out the sponge from the water, and it becomes dry - thus symbolizing death.

(708) The Kama during life does not form a Body which can be separated from the physical Body. It is intermolecular, answering molecule for molecule to the physical Body, and inseparable from it molecularly. Thus it is a form yet not a form; a form within the physical Body, but incapable of being projected outward as a form. This is the Inner, or Astral Man, in whom are located the centres of sensation, the psychic senses, and on whose intermolecular rapport with the physical Body, all sensation and purposive action depend. At death, every cell and molecule gives out this essence, and from it, with the dregs of the Auric Envelope, is formed the separate Kama-Rupa; but this can never come during life. The Blood is a good symbol of Kama-Rupa, for while within the Body, filling every portion but confined in vessels, it takes the shape of the Body and has a form, though in itself formless. If the term Kama-Rupa be used to indicate this intermolecular structure which is the Psychic Man, then the post mortem separate form must be called the Kama-Rupa-Astral, or Astral of the Kama-Rupa.

During life the Lower Manas acts through this Kama-Rupa, and so comes into contact with the Sthula-Sarira; this is why the Lower Manas is said to be "enthroned in Kama-Rupa". After death it ensouls the Kama-Rupa for a time, until the Higher Triad, having reabsorbed the Lower Manas, or such portion of it as it can reabsorb, passes into Devachan. The normal period during which any part of the consciousness remains in Kama-Loka, i.e., is connected with the Kama-Rupa, is one hundred and fifty years. The Kama-Rupa eventually breaks up, and leaving in Kama-Loka the Tanhic Elementals, its remaining portions go into animals, of which the red-blooded come from man. Cold-blooded animals are from the matter of the past.

We have already seen that, in the Body, Kama is specially connected with the Blood, Liver, Stomach, Navel and Generative Organs, leaving out now its organs in the Head, which are connected with its psychic rather than with its animal aspect. Connected so strongly with the organs that support and propagate life, the acme of Kama is the sexual instinct. Idiots show such desires, and also appetites connected with food, etc., but nothing higher. Therefore, to get rid of Kama, you must crush out all your material instincts - "crush out matter". But at the same time you must remember that Kama, while having as part of it bad passions and emotions, animal instincts, yet helps you to evolve, by giving also the desire and impulse necessary for rising. For in Kama-Prana are the physical elements which impel to growth both physically and psychically, and without these energetic and turbulent elements progress could not be made. The Sun has a physical as well as a mental effect on man, and this effect of the Sun on humanity is connected with Kama-Prana, with these most physical Kamic elements, for from the Sun flows the Vital Principle which, falling on these, impels to growth. Hence the student must learn to dominate and purify Kama, until only its energy is left as a motor power, and that energy directed wholly by the Manasic Will.

CW XII, 709 LOWER MANAS, OR KAMA-MANAS. The Lower Manas is, in many respects, most difficult to understand. There are enormous mysteries connected with it. We shall here consider it as a Principle, taking later the workings of Consciousness in the Quaternary, and in each member of it.

The important point to grasp is its relationship to the Higher Manas.

Manas is, as it were, a globe of pure, Divine Light, a Ray from the World Soul, a unit from a higher sphere, in which is no differentiation. Descending to a plane of differentiation it emanates a Ray which is itself, which it can only manifest through the personality already differentiated. This Ray is the Lower Manas, while the globe of Divine Light, a Kumara on its own plane, is the Higher Ego, or Higher Manas, Manas Proper. But it must never be forgotten that the Lower Manas is the same in its essence as the Higher.

This Higher Ego, at incarnation, shoots out the Ray, the Lower Ego. At every incarnation a new Ray is emitted, and yet in essence it is the same Ray, for the essence is always one, the same in you and in me and in everybody. Thus the Higher Ego incarnates in a thousand bodies. The Flame is eternal. From the Flame of the Higher Ego the Lower is lighted, and from this a lower vehicle, and so on. For this Ray can manifest on this Earth, sending out its Mayavi-Rupa. The Higher Ego is the Sun, we may say, and the personal Manases are its Rays; the mission of the Higher Ego is to shoot out a Ray to be a soul in a child. Only thus can the Higher Ego manifest, for thus it manifests through its attributes. Only thus also can it gather experience; and the meaning of the passage in the Upanishads, where it says that the Gods feed upon men, is that the Higher Ego obtains its Earth experience through the Lower.

(710) These relationships may be better conceived by a study of the following diagram:


Diagram on p 710 of H.P.B.’s Collected Writings Vol XII

When the ray is thus shot forth, it clothes itself in the highest degree of the Astral Light, and is then ready for incarnation; it has been spoken of at this stage as the Chhaya, or shadow, of the Higher Mind, as indeed it is. This clothing of itself in a lower form of Matter is necessary for action in the Body; for as an emanation of the Higher manas and of the same nature, it cannot, in that nature, make any impression on this plane nor receive any. An archangel, having no experience, would be senseless on this plane, and could neither give nor receive impressions. Hence the Lower Manas clothes itself with the essence of the Astral Light, and this Astral Envelope shuts it out from its Parent, except through the Antaskarana. The Antaskarana is therefore that portion of the Lower Manas which is one with the Higher, the essence, that which retains its purity; on it are impressed all good and noble aspirations, and in it are the upward energies of the Lower Manas, the energies and tendencies which become its Devachanic experiences. The whole fate of an incarnation depends on whether this pure essence, Antaskarana, can restrain the Kama-Manas or not. It is the only salvation. Break this and you become an animal.

But while the inner essence of the higher Ego is unsoilable, that part of it which may be spoken of as its outer garment, the portion of the Ray which takes up Astral Matter, may be soiled. This portion of it forms the downward energies of the Lower Manas, and these go towards Kama, and this portion may, during life, so crystallize itself and become one with Kama, that it will remain assimilated with Matter.

(711) Thus the Lower Manas, taken as a whole, is, in each Earth-Life, what it makes itself. It is possible for it to act differently on different occasions, although surrounded each time by similar conditions, for it has Reason and self-conscious knowledge of Right and Wrong, of Good and Evil, given to it. It is, in fact, endowed with all the attributes of the Divine Soul, and one of these attributes is Will. In this the Ray is the Higher Manas. The part of the Essence is the Essence, but while it is out of itself, so to say, it can get soiled and polluted, as above explained. So also it can emanate itself, as said above, and can pass its essence into several vehicles, e.g., the Mayavi-Rupa, the Kama-Rupa, etc., and even into Elementals, which it is able to ensoul, as the Rosicrucians taught.

CW XIV, 386 THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES. The "Mystery of Buddha" is that of several other Adepts - perhaps of many. The whole trouble is to understand correctly that other mystery: that of the real fact, so abstruse and transcendental at first sight, about the "Seven Principles" in man, the reflections in man of the seven powers in Nature, physically, and of the seven Hierarchies of Being, intellectually and spiritually. Whether a man - material, ethereal, and spiritual - is for the clearer comprehension of his (broadly-speaking) triple nature, divided into groups according to one or another system, the foundation and the apex of that division will be always the same. There being only three Upadhis (bases) in man, any number of Kosas (sheaths) and their aspects may be built on these without destroying the harmony of the whole. Thus, while the Esoteric System accepts the septenary division, the Vedantic classification gives five Kosas, and the Taraka Raja Yoga simplifies them into four - the three Upadhis synthesized by the highest principle, Atman.

That which has just been stated will, of course, suggest the question: "How can a spiritual (or semi-spiritual) personality lead a triple or even a dual life, shifting respective 'Higher Selves' ad libitum, and be still the one eternal Monad in the infinity of a Manvantara? The answer to this is easy for the true Occultist, while for the uninitiated profane it must appear absurd. The "Seven Principles" are, of course, the manifestation of one indivisible Spirit, but only at the end of the Manvantara, and when they come to be re-united on the plane of the One Reality, does the unity appear; during the "Pilgrim's" journey the reflections of that indivisible One Flame, the aspects of the one eternal Spirit, have each the power of action on one of the manifested planes of existence - the gradual differentiations from the one unmanifested plane - on that plane namely to which it properly belongs. Our earth affording every mayavic condition, it follows that the purified Egotistical Principle, the astral and personal Self of an Adept, though forming in reality one integral whole with its Highest Self (Atman and Buddhi), may, nevertheless, for purposes of universal mercy and benevolence, so separate itself from its divine Monad as to lead on this plane of illusion and temporary being a distinct independent conscious life of its own, under a borrowed illusive shape, thus serving at one and the same time a double purpose: the exhaustion of its own individual Karma, and the saving of millions of human beings less favoured that itself from the effects of mental blindness. If asked: "When the change described as the passage of a Buddha or a Jivanmukta into Nirvana takes place, where does the original consciousness which animated the body continue to reside - in the Nirvani or in the subsequent reincarnations of the latter's 'remains' (the Nirmanakaya)?" the answer is that imprisoned consciousness may be a "certain knowledge from observation and experience," as Gibbon puts it, but disembodied consciousness is not an effect, but a cause. it is a part of the whole, or rather a Ray on the graduated scale of its manifested activity, of the one all-pervading, limitless Flame, the reflections of which alone can differentiate; and, as such, consciousness is ubiquitous, and can be neither localized nor centred on or in any particular subject, nor can it be limited. Its effects alone pertain to the regions of matter, for thought is an energy that affects matter in various ways, but consciousness per se, as understood and explained by Occult philosophy, is the highest quality of the sentient spiritual principle in us, the Divine Soul (or Buddhi) and our Higher Ego, and does not belong to the plane of materiality. After the death of the physical man, if he be an Initiate, it becomes transformed from a human quality into the independent principle itself; the conscious Ego become Consciousness per se without any Ego, in the sense that the latter can no longer be limited or conditioned by the senses, or even by space or time. Therefore it is capable, without separating itself from or abandoning its possessor, Buddhi, of reflecting itself at the same time in its astral man that was, without being under any necessity for localizing itself. This is shown at a far lower state in our dreams. For if consciousness can display activity during our visions, and while the body and its material brain are fast asleep - and if even during those visions it is all but ubiquitous - how much greater must be its power when entirely free from, and having no more connection with, our physical brain.

ML 75:75 Besides which every kingdom (and we have seven - while you have but three) is sub-divided into seven degrees or classes. Man (physically) is a compound of all the kingdoms, and spiritually - his individuality is no worse for being shut up within the casing of an ant than it is for being inside a king. [This is not to say that any man has ever been an ant - it is the spiritual Monadic essence passing up through the kingdom that is referred to.] It is not the outward or physical shape that dishonours and pollutes the five principles but mental perversity. Then it is but at his fourth round when arrived at the full possession of his Kama-energy and is completely matured, that man becomes fully responsible, as at the sixth he may become a Buddha and at the seventh before the Pralaya - a "Dhyan Chohan".

ML 77:77 The whole individuality is centred in the three middle or 3rd, 4th and 5th principles. During earthly life it is all in the fourth, the centre of energy, volition - will ... The former (the personality) hardly survives - the latter, to run successfully its sevenfold downward and upward course has to assimilate to itself the eternal life-power residing but in the seventh and then blend the three (fourth, fifth and seventh) into one - the sixth. Those who succeed in doing so become Buddhas, Dhyan Chohans, etc. The chief object of our struggles and initiations is to achieve this union while yet on this earth. Those who will be successful have nothing to fear of during the fifth, sixth and seventh Rounds.




CW I, 294 Plutarch taught that at death Proserpine separated the body and the soul entirely, after which the latter became a free and independent demon (daimon). Afterward, the good underwent a second dissolution: Demeter divided the psyche from the nous or pneuma. The former was dissolved after a time into ethereal particles - hence the inevitable dissolution and subsequent annihilation of the man who at death is purely psychical; the latter, the nous ascended to its higher Divine power and became gradually a pure, Divine spirit. Kapila, in common with all Eastern philosophers, despised the purely psychical nature. It is this agglomeration of the grosser particles of the soul, the mesmeric exhalations of human nature imbued with all its terrestrial desires and propensities, its vices, imperfections and weakness, forming the astral body - which can become objective under certain circumstances - which the Buddhists call skandhas (the groups) ... Therefore, we may correctly say, that so long as the disembodied man is throwing off a single particle of these skandhas, a portion of him is being reincarnated in the bodies of plants and animals. And if he, the disembodied astral man, be so material that "Demeter" cannot find even one spark of the pneuma to carry up to the "divine power", then the individual, so to speak, is dissolved, piece by piece, into the crucible of evolution, or, as the Hindus allegorically illustrate it, he passes thousands of years in the bodies of impure animals.

CW VI, 347 MAN is composed of two bodies, the internal and the external; the inner one being moreover, double i.e., having, in its turn, a semi-physical outer shell which serves as the astral being only during the life-time of man; while the latter is still in seeming health, the dissolution of the former, or rather of its outer shell, may have already begun. For during its captivity in the living body the "double" - or that covering of the astral form that alone survives - is too closely bound by its jailor (man), too much encumbered with the physical particles derived from the prison of flesh within which it is confined, not to imperiously require, before the astral form proper is set entirely free, to be thrown off from the latter. Thus, this preliminary process of purification may be justly called "the dissolution of the inner man", and it begins much earlier than the agony or even the final disease of the physical man. Let us admit so much and then ask: why should we require, in such a case, in order to account for the insight some persons have of the hour of their death, - to explain the phenomenon by "revelation" from without, supernaturalism, or the still more unsatisfactory hypothesis of a purely physiological character as given by Hunter and Wakley, and that explain to us moreover nothing at all? During and after the dissolution of the "double", the darkness of our human ignorance beginning to be dispelled, there are many things we can see.

Footnote: That such dissolution has to precede that of the physical body, is proved to us by several things. One of these is the well ascertained fact (to those, of course, who believe in such facts) that the astral doubles of living men - of sorcerers for instance - fear steel, and may be wounded by sword or fire; their wounds, moreover, reacting upon and leaving marks and scars upon the physical shells - whereas the astral bodies of even the "Elementary apparitions" - cannot be hurt. - Ed.

Among these, things hidden in futurity, the nearest events of which overshadowing the purified "soul", have become to her as the present. The "former-self" is making room for the actual-self, the latter to be transformed in its turn, after the final dissolution of both the "double" and the physical body into the "Eternal Ego". Thus the actual-self" may pass its knowledge to the physical brain of man; and thus also we may see and hear the precise hour of our death striking on the clock of eternity. It is made visible to us through the decaying nature of our dying "double", the latter surviving us during a very short period, if at all, and through the newly acquired powers of the purified "soul" (the higher tetraktis or quaternary) as yet in its integral whole, and which is already possessing itself of those faculties that are in store for it, on a higher plane.

Footnote: When the "double" of the living man has been disintegrated before the death of man, it is annihilated for ever. When, however, death comes suddenly, it may survive the body that held it captive, but then, the process of dissolution going on outside of the dead body, the "soul" suffers, and in its impatience tries often to throw off the particles that encumber its freedom and chain it to the earth, upon the living... - Ed.

Through our "soul" it is then that we see, clearer and still clearer, as we approach the end; and it is through the throbs of dissolution that horizons of vaster, profounder knowledge are drawn on, bursting upon our mental vision, and becoming with every hour plainer to our inner eye. Otherwise, how account for those bright flashes of memory, for the prophetic insight that comes as often to the enfeebled grandsire, as to the youth who is passing away? The Nearer some approach death, the brighter becomes their long lost memory and the more correct the pre-visions. The unfoldment of the inner faculties increases as life-blood become more stagnant.

Truly is life on earth like a day passed in a deep valley surrounded on all sides by high mountains and with a cloudy, stormy sky above our heads. The tall hills conceal from us every horizon, and the dark clouds hide the sun. It is only at the close of the stormy day, that the sunshine, breaking through the clefts of the rocks affords us its glorious light to enable us to catch occasional glimpses of things around, behind and before us.

CW X, 260 Q.   How does sleep differ from death?

A.    There is an analogy certainly, but a very great difference between the two. In sleep there is a connection, weak though it may be, between the lower and higher mind of man, and the latter is more or less reflected into the former, however much its rays may be distorted. But once the body is dead, the body of illusion, Mayavi Rupa, becomes Kama Rupa, or the animal soul, and is left to its down devices. Therefore, there is as much difference between the spook and man as there is between a gross material, animal but sober mortal, and a man incapably drunk and unable to distinguish the most prominent surroundings; between a person shut up in a perfectly dark room and one in a room lighted, however imperfectly, by some light or other.


The lower principles are like wild beasts, and the higher Manas is the rational man who tames or subdues them more or less successfully. But once the animal gets free from the master who held it in subjection; no sooner has it ceased to hear his voice and see him than it starts off again to the jungle and its ancient den. It takes, however, some time for an animal to return to its original and natural state, but these lower principles or "spook" return instantly, and no sooner has the higher Triad entered the Devachanic state than the lower Duad rebecomes that which it was from the beginning, a principle endued with purely animal instinct, made happier still by the great change.

CW XI, 447 [Material corroborating the Masters' statement, " - the brain thinks and the Ego lives over in those few brief seconds - his whole life again"]

Dr. Ferre has communicated quite recently to the Biological Society of Paris a very curious note on the mental state of the dying, which marvellously corroborates the above lines. For, it is to the special phenomenon of life-reminiscences, and that sudden re-emerging on the blank walls of memory, from all its long neglected and forgotten "nooks and corners", of "picture after picture" that Dr. Ferre draws the special attention of biologists.

(448) We need notice but two among the numerous instances given by this Scientist in his Rapport, to show how scientifically correct are the teachings we receive from our Eastern Masters.

The first instance is that of a moribund consumptive whose disease was developed in consequence of a spinal affection. Already consciousness had left the man, when, recalled to life by two successive injections of a gramme of ether, the patient slightly lifted his head and began talking rapidly in Flemish, a language no one around him, nor yet himself, understood. Offered a pencil and a piece of white cardboard, he wrote with great rapidity several lines in that language - very correctly, as was ascertained later on - fell back, and died. When translated - the writing was found to refer to a very prosaic affair. He had suddenly recollected, he wrote, that he owed a certain man a sum of fifteen francs since 1868 - hence more than twenty years - and desired it to be paid.

But why write his last wish in Flemish? The defunct was a native of Antwerp, but had left his country in childhood, without ever knowing the language, and having passed all his life in Paris, could speak and write only in French. Evidently his returning consciousness, that last flash of memory that displayed before him, as in a retrospective panorama, all his life, even to the trifling fact of his having borrowed twenty years back a few francs from a friend, did not emanate from his physical brain alone, but rather from his spiritual memory, that of the Higher Ego (Manas or the re-incarnating individuality). The fact of his speaking and writing Flemish, a language that he had heard at a time of life when he could not yet speak himself, is an additional proof. The EGO is almost omniscient in its immortal nature. For indeed matter is nothing more than "the last degree and as the shadow of existence." as Ravaisson, member of the French Institute, tells us.

(449) But to our second case.

Another patient, dying of pulmonary consumption and likewise re-animated by an injection of ether, turned his head towards his wife and rapidly said to her: "You cannot find that pin now; all the floor has been renewed since then." This was in reference to the loss of a scarf pin eighteen years before, a fact so trifling that it had almost been forgotten, but which had not failed to be revived in the last thought of the dying man, who having expressed what he saw in words, suddenly stopped and breathed his last. Thus any one of the thousand little daily events, and accidents of a long life would seem capable of being recalled to the flickering consciousness, at the supreme moment of dissolution. A long life, perhaps, lived over again in the space of one short second!

A third case may be noticed, which corroborates still more strongly that assertion of Occultism which traces all such remembrances to the thought-power of the individual, instead of to that of the personal (lower) Ego. A young girl, who had been a sleepwalker up to her twenty-second year, performed during her hours of somnambulic sleep the most varied functions of domestic life, of which she had no remembrance upon awakening.

Among other psychic impulses that manifested themselves only during her sleep, was a secretive tendency quite alien to her waking state. During the latter she was open and frank to a degree, and very careless of her personal property; but in the somnambulic state she would take articles belonging to herself or within her reach and hide them away with ingenious cunning. This habit being known to her friends and relatives, and two nurses, having been in attendance to watch her actions during her night rambles for years, nothing disappeared but what could be easily restored to its usual place. But on one sultry night, the nurse falling asleep, the young girl got up and went to her father's study. The latter, a notary of fame, had been working till a late hour that night. It was during a momentary absence from his room that the somnambule entered, and deliberately possessed herself of a will left open upon the desk, as also of a sum of several thousand pounds in bonds and notes. These she proceeded to hide in the hollow of two dummy pillars set up in the library to match the solid ones, and stealing from the room before her father's return, she regained her chamber and bed without awakening the nurse who was still asleep in the armchair.

(450) The result was, that, as the nurse stoutly denied that her young mistress had left the room, suspicion was diverted from the real culprit and the money could not be recovered. The loss of the will involved a lawsuit which almost beggared her father and entirely ruined his reputation, and the family were reduced to great straits. About nine years later the young girl who, during the previous seven years had not been somnambulic, fell into consumption of which she ultimately died. Upon her death-bed, the veil which had hung before her physical memory was raised; her divine insight awakened; the pictures of her life came streaming back before her inner eye; and among others she saw the scene of her somnambulic robbery. Suddenly arousing herself from the lethargy in which she had lain for several hours, her face showed signs of some terrible emotion working within, and she cried out "Ah! what have I done? ... It was I who took the will and the money ... Go search the dummy pillars in the library, I have ..." She never finished her sentence for her very emotion killed her. But the search was made and the will and money found within the oaken pillars as she had said. What makes the case more strange is, that these pillars were so high, that even by standing upon a chair and with plenty of time at her disposal instead of only a few moments, the somnambulist could not have reached up and dropped the objects into the hollow columns. It is to be noted, however, that ecstatics and convulsionists Vide the Convulsionnaires de St. Medard et de Morzine) seem to possess an abnormal facility for climbing blank walls and leaping even to the tops of trees.

(451) Taking the facts as stated, would they not induce one to believe that the somnambulic personage possesses an intelligence and memory of its own apart from the physical memory of the waking lower Self; and that it is the former which remembers in articulo mortis, the body and physical senses in the latter case ceasing to function, and the intelligence gradually making its final escape through the avenue of psychic, and last of all of spiritual consciousness?

CW XI, 452 ... since man is a bundle of obscure, and to himself unconscious perceptions, of indefinite feelings and misunderstood emotions, of ever-forgotten memories and knowledge that becomes on the surface of his plane - ignorance. Yet, while physical memory in a healthy living man is often obscured, one fact crowding out another weaker one, at the moment of the great change that man calls death - that which we call "memory" seems to return to us in all its vigour and freshness.

May not this be due, as just said, simply to the fact that, for a few seconds at least, our two memories (or rather the two states, the highest and the lowest state, of consciousness) blend together, thus forming one, and that the dying finds himself on a plane wherein there is neither past nor future, but all is one present? Memory, as we all know, is strongest with regard to its early associations, then when the future man is only a child, and more of a soul than of a body; and if memory is a part of our Soul, then, as Thackeray has somewhere said, it must be of necessity eternal. Scientists deny this; we, Theosophists, affirm that it is so. They have for what they hold but negative proofs; we have, to support us, innumerable facts of the kind just instanced, in the three cases described by us. The links of the chain of cause and effect with relation to mind are, and must ever remain a terra incognita to the materialist. For if they have already acquired a deep conviction that as Pope says:


"Lulled in the countless chambers of the brain

Our thoughts are link'd by many a hidden chain ..."

and that they are still unable to discover these chains, how can they hope to unravel the mysteries of the higher, Spiritual, Mind!

CW XII, 663 Auric Consciousness. [Astral Prakritic].

The consciousness is on this plane at the moment of death, or in exceptional visions. Here is the consciousness of the drowning man when he remembers all the past incidents of his life in a flash. The memory of this consciousness must be stored in the heart, "the seat of Buddhi". Then it will remain there, but impressions from this Atmic plane cannot be made on the physical brain.

[Note in connection with near death experiences the 6th State of Objective Prakritic Consciousness - CW XII, 662]

Buddhic, or Spiritual-Emotional Consciousness. The plane of Buddhi or of the Auric Envelope. From this plane consciousness goes to the "Father in Heaven", Atman, reflecting all that is in the Auric Envelope. The Manasic and Buddhic states cover the planes from the Noetic to the Divine, but it is impossible at this stage to define them intelligibly.

Isis I, 179 That flash of memory which is traditionally supposed to show a drowning man every long-forgotten scene of his mortal life - as the landscape is revealed to the traveller by intermittent flashes of lightning - is simply the sudden glimpse which the struggling soul gets into the silent galleries where his history is depicted in imperishable colours.

Isis I, 476 Kircher, Digby, and Vallemont have demonstrated that the forms of plants could be resuscitated from their ashes. ... Ashes of burned plants contained in vials, when heated, exhibited again their various forms. "A small obscure cloud gradually rose in the vial, took a defined form, and presented to the eye the flower or plant the ashes consisted of ... And, if the astral form of even a plant when its body is dead still lingers in the ashes, will skeptics persist in saying that the soul of man, the inner ego, is after the death of the grosser form at once dissolved, and is no more? "At death", says the philosopher, "the one body exudes from the other, by osmose and through the brain; it is held near its old garment by double attraction, physical and spiritual, until the latter decomposes; and if the proper conditions are given the soul can reinhabit it and resume the suspended life. It does it in sleep; it does it more thoroughly in trance; most surprisingly at the command and with the assistance of the Hermetic adept. Iamblichus declared that a person endowed with such resuscitating powers is 'full of God'. All the subordinate spirits of the upper spheres are at his command, for he is no longer a mortal, but himself a god.

Isis I, 480 The kabalists say that a man is not dead when his body is entombed. Death is never sudden; for, according to Hermes, nothing goes in nature by violent transitions. Everything is gradual, and as it required a long and gradual development to produce the living human being, so time is required to completely withdraw vitality from the carcass. "Death can no more be an absolute end, than birth a real beginning. Birth proves the preexistence of the being, as death proves immortality," says the same French Kabalist.

Isis I, 482 Thus, the question at issue is not whether a dead body can be resuscitated - for, to assert that would be to assume the possibility of a miracle, which is absurd - but, to assure ourselves whether the medical authorities pretend to determine the precise moment of death. The kabalists say that death occurs at the instant when both the astral body, or life-principle, and the spirit part forever with the corporeal body. The scientific physician who denies both astral body and spirit, and admits the existence of nothing more than the life-principle, judges death to occur when life is apparently extinct. When the beating of the heart and the action of the lungs cease, and rigor mortis is manifested, and especially when decomposition begins, they pronounce the patient dead. But the annals of medicine teem with examples of "suspended animation" as the result of asphyxia by drowning, the inhalation of gases and other causes; life being restored in the case of drowning persons even after they had been apparently dead for twelve hours.

In cases of somnambulic trance, none of the ordinary signs of death are lacking; breathing and the pulse are extinct; animal-heat has disappeared; the muscles are rigid, the eye glazed, and the body is colourless. In the celebrated case of Colonel Townshend, he threw himself into this state in the presence of three medical men; who, after a time, were persuaded that he was really dead, and were about leaving the room, when he slowly revived. He describes his peculiar gift by saying that he "could die or expire when he pleased, and yet, by an effort, or somehow, he could come to life again".

There occurred in Moscow, a few years since, a remarkable instance of apparent death. The wife of a wealthy merchant lay in the cataleptic state seventeen days, during which the authorities made several attempts to bury her; but, as decomposition had not set in, the family averted the ceremony, and at the end of that time she was restored to life.

The above instances show that the most learned men in the medical profession are unable to be certain when a person is dead. What they call "suspended animation", is that state from which the patient spontaneously recovers, through an effort of his own spirit, which may be provoked by any one of many causes. In these cases, the astral body has not parted from the physical body; its external functions are simply suspended; the subject is in a state of torpor, and the restoration is nothing but a recovery from it.

But, in the case of what physiologists would call "real death", but which is not actually so, the astral body has withdrawn; perhaps local decomposition has set in. How shall the man be brought to life again? The answer is, the interior body must be forced back into the exterior one, and vitality reawakened in the latter. The clock has run down, it must be wound. If death is absolute; if the organs have not only ceased to act, but have lost the susceptibility of renewed action, then the whole universe would have to be thrown into chaos to resuscitate the corpse - a miracle would be demanded. But, as we said before, the man is not dead when he is cold, stiff, pulseless, breathless, and even showing signs of decomposition; he is not dead when buried, nor afterward, until a certain point is reached. That point is, when the vital organs have become so decomposed, that if reanimated, they could not perform their customary functions; when the mainspring and cogs of the machine, so to speak, are so eaten away by rust, that they would snap upon the turning of the key. Until that point is reached, the astral body may be caused, without miracle to reenter its former tabernacle, either by an effort of its own will, or under the resistless impulse of the will of one who knows the potencies of nature and how to direct them. The spark is not extinguished, but only latent - latent as the fire in the flint, or the heat in the cold iron.

Isis I, 484 When a man falls into the last sleep, he is plunged at first into a sort of dream, before gaining consciousness in the other side of life. He sees, then, either in a beautiful vision, or in a terrible nightmare, the paradise or hell, in which he believed during his mortal existence. This is why it often happens that the affrighted soul breaks violently back into the terrestrial life it has just left, and why some who were really dead, i.e., who, if left alone and quiet, would have peaceably passed away forever in a state of unconscious lethargy, when entombed too soon, reawake to life in the grave.

Isis I, 485 Levi says that resuscitating is not impossible while the vital organism remains undestroyed, and the astral spirit is yet within reach. "Nature," he says, "accomplishes nothing by sudden jerks, and eternal death is always preceded by a state which partakes somewhat of the nature of lethargy. It is torpor which a great shock or the magnetism of a powerful will can overcome."

Isis II, 367 In the Egyptian notions, as in those of all other faiths founded on philosophy, man was not merely, as with the Christians, a union of soul and body; he was a trinity when spirit was added to it. Besides, that doctrine made him consist of kha - body; khaba - astral form, or shadow; ka - animal soul or life-principle; ba - the higher soul; and akh - terrestrial intelligence. They had also a sixth principle named Sah - or mummy; but the functions of this one commenced only after the death of the body. After due purification, during which the soul, separated from its body, continued to revisit the latter in its mummified condition, this astral soul "became a god", for it was finally absorbed into "the Soul of the world". It became transformed into one of the creative deities, "the god of Phtah", the Demiurgos, a generic name for the creators of the world, rendered in the Bible as the Elohim. In the Ritual the good or purified soul, "in conjunction with its higher or uncreated spirit, is more or less the victim of the dark influence of the dragon Apophis. If it has attained the final knowledge of the heavenly and the infernal mysteries - the gnosis, i.e., complete reunion with the spirit, it will triumph over its enemies; if not the soul could not escape its second death. It is 'the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone' (elements), into which those that are cast undergo a 'second death'" Apocalypse. This death is the gradual dissolution of the astral form into its primal elements, alluded to several times already in the course of this work. But this awful fate can be avoided by the knowledge of the "Mysterious Name" - the "Word", say the kabalists.

And what then was the penalty attached to the neglect of it? When a man leads a naturally pure, virtuous life, there is none whatever; except a delay in the world of spirits, until he finds himself sufficiently purified to receive it from his Spiritual "Lord", one of the mighty Host. But if otherwise, the "soul", as a half animal principle, becomes paralyzed, and grows unconscious of its subjective half - the Lord - and in proportion to the sensuous development of the brain and nerves, sooner or later, it finally loses sight of its divine mission on earth. Like the Vourdalak, or Vampire, of the Servian tale, the brain feeds and lives and grows in strength and power at the expense of its spiritual parent. Then the already half-unconscious soul, now fully intoxicated by the fumes of earthly life, becomes senseless, beyond hope of redemption. It is powerless to discern the splendour of its higher spirit, to hear the warning voice of its "guardian Angel", and its "God". It aims but at the development and fuller comprehension of natural, earthly life; and thus, can discover but the mysteries of physical nature. Its grief and fear, hope and joy, are all closely blended with its terrestrial existence. It ignores all that cannot be demonstrated by either its organs of action or sensation. It begins by becoming virtually dead; it dies at last completely. It is annihilated. Such a catastrophe may often happen long years before the final separation of the life-principle from the body. When death arrives, its iron and clammy grasp finds work with life as usual; but there is no more a soul to liberate. The whole essence of the latter has been already absorbed by the vital system of the physical man. Grim death frees but a spiritual corpse; at best an idiot. Unable either to soar higher or awaken from lethargy, it is soon dissolved in the elements of the terrestrial atmosphere.

Seers, righteous men, who had attained to the highest science of the inner man and knowledge of truth, have, like Marcus Antoninus, received instructions "from the gods" in sleep and otherwise. Helped by the purer spirits, those that dwell in "regions of eternal bliss", they have watched the process and warned mankind repeatedly. Skepticism may sneer; faith, based on knowledge and spiritual science, believes and affirms.

ML 124:127 ... remember, both, that we create ourselves our devachan as our avitchi while yet on earth, and mostly during the latter days and even moments of our intellectual, sentient lives. That feeling which is the strongest in us at that supreme hour; when, as in a dream, the events of a long life, to their minutest details, are marshalled in the greatest order in a few seconds in our vision, [Footnote: That vision takes place when a person is already proclaimed dead. The brain is the last organ that dies.] - that feeling will become the fashioner of our bliss or woe, the life principle of our future existence. In the latter we have no substantial being, but only a present and momentary existence, - whose duration has no bearing upon, as no effect, or relation to its being - which as every other effect of a transitory cause will be as fleeting, and in its turn will vanish and cease to be ... Thus, when a man dies, his 'Soul' (fifth prin.) becomes unconscious and loses all remembrance of things internal as well as external. Whether his stay in Kama Loka has to last but a few moments, hours, days, weeks, months or years; whether he died a natural or a violent death; whether it occurred in his young or old age, and, whether the Ego was good, bad, or indifferent, - his consciousness leaves him as suddenly as the flame leaves the wick, when blown out. When life has retired from the last particle in the brain matter, his perceptive faculties become extinct forever, his spiritual powers of cogitation and volition - (all those faculties in short, which are neither inherent in, nor acquirable by organic matter) - for the time being. His Mayavi-rupa may be often thrown into objectivity, as in the cases of apparitions after death; but, unless it is projected with the knowledge of (whether latent or potential), or owing to the intensity of the desire to see or appear to someone, shooting through the dying brain, the apparition will be simply - automatical; it will not be due to any sympathetic attraction, or to any act of volition, and no more than the reflection of a person passing unconsciously near a mirror, is due to the desire of the latter.




CW V, 42 ... four principles or constituent elements can never be found together in the gestation state which preceded the Devachan (the paradise of the Buddhist Occultists). They are separated at the entrance into gestation. The seventh and the sixth, that is to say the immortal spirit and its vehicle, the immortal or spiritual soul, enter therein alone (an exceptional case) or, which nearly always takes place, the soul carries in the case of very good people (and even the indifferent and sometimes the very wicked), the essence, so to speak, of the fifth principle which has been withdrawn from the personal EGO (the material soul). It is the latter only, in the case of the irredeemably wicked and when the spiritual and impersonal soul has nothing to withdraw from its individuality (terrestrial personality) because the latter had nothing to offer but the purely material and sensual - that becomes annihilated. Only the individuality, which possesses the most spiritual feelings, can survive by uniting with the immortal principle. The "Kama-rupa", the vehicle, and the manas, the soul in which the personal and animal intelligence inheres, after having been denuded of their essence, as described, remain alone in Kama-loka, the intermediate sphere between our earth and the Devachan (the Kama-loka being the hades of the Greeks, the region of the shades) to be extinguished and to disappear from it after a while. This unfortunate duad forms the cast-off "tatters" of the "spiritual ego" and of the personal EGO, superior principles which, purified of all terrestrial uncleanliness, united henceforth with the divine monad in eternity, pass into regions where the mire of the purely terrestrial ego cannot follow, to glean therein their reward - the effects of the causes generated - and from which they do not emerge until the next incarnation. If we maintain that the shell, the reflexion of the person who was, survives in the land of shades for a certain time proportionate to its constitution and then disappears, we offer nothing but the logical and philosophical. Is that annihilation? Are we annihilationists without knowing it because we keep insisting that the human shadow disappears from the wall when the person to whom it belongs leaves the room? And even in the case of the most depraved, when dissociated from its divine and immortal double principle, and unable to give anything to the spiritual EGO, the material soul is annihilated without leaving anything behind of its personal individuality, is that annihilation for the spiritual EGO? Is it the reincarnationist-Spiritists who protest? Is it these believers who teach that Mr X becomes after his death Mr T ..., and Mrs A - Mrs B, etc., who refuse to believe in the losing of all recollection by the spiritual soul of one of its thousands of personalities, annihilated because there was nothing in it spiritual enough to survive? Let us clearly understand each other once and for all. It is not the divine soul, the immortal individuality, that perishes, but only the animal soul with its consciousness of a personality too gross, too terrestrial, for the former to assimilate. Millions of people who have never heard of reincarnation and even those who believe in it, live and die in absolute ignorance of who they were in their former incarnations - and they are not a bit the worse for that. Those whose spirit is open to the great truths, those who understand absolute justice and reject every doctrine based on favoritism or personal grace will fully understand what we mean. For the immortal soul this is nothing but justice. That cast-off existence is for it but a page torn out of the great book of life before the pages are numbered, and the SOUL suffers no more from it than a saint in ecstasy would suffer because he had lost all recollection of one wretched day among the 20,000 days that he has passed on earth. On the contrary, had he retained that recollection, it would have been enough to prevent him from ever feeling happy. Only one drop of gall is enough to make the water bitter in the largest vessel. And after all, the doctrine teaches us that these cases of total annihilation of a personality are extremely rare.

CW VI, 129 ... the average stay of shells in Kamaloka before the final disintegration is sometimes of very long duration. 25 to 30 years would not be too long, with a medium to preserve its vitality.

CW VI, 195 [To a passage from Isis Unveiled, I, 310, on the subject of Larvae, or the lower principles of all disembodied beings, H.P.B. adds the following explanation, after having stated that they are to be divided into three general groups:]

These are, properly, the disembodied Souls of the depraved; these Souls having at some time prior to death separated themselves from their divine Spirits, and so lost their chance of immortality. Eliphas Levi and some other Kabalists make little if any, distinction between Elementary Spirits who have been men, and those beings which people the elements, and are the blind forces of nature. Once divorced from their bodies, these Souls (also called "astral bodies"), especially those of purely materialistic persons, are irresistibly attracted to the earth, where they live a temporary and finite life amid elements congenial to their gross natures. From having never, during their natural lives, cultivated their spirituality, but subordinated it to the material and gross, they are now unfitted for the lofty career of the pure, disembodied being, for whom the atmosphere of earth is stifling and mephitic. Its attractions are not only away from earth, but it cannot, even if it would, owing to its Devachanic condition, have aught to do with earth and its denizens consciously. Exceptions to this rule will be pointed out later on. After a more or less prolonged period of time these material souls will begin to disintegrate, and finally, like a column of mist, be dissolved, atom by atom, in the surrounding elements.

These are the "shells" which remain the longest period in the Kama Loka; all saturated with terrestrial effluvia, their Kama Rupa (body of desire) thick with sensuality and made impenetrable to the spiritualizing influence of their higher principles, endures much longer and fades out with difficulty. We are taught that these remain for centuries sometimes, before the final disintegration into their respective elements.

The second group includes all those, who, having had their common share of spirituality, have yet been more or less attached to things earthly and terrestrial life, having their aspirations and affections more centered on earth than in heaven; the stay in Kama Loka of the reliquiae of this class or group of men, who belonged to the average human being, is of a far shorter duration, yet long in itself and proportionate to the intensity of their desire for life.

Remains, as a third class, the disembodied souls of those whose bodies have perished by violence, and these are men in all save the physical body, till their life-span is complete.

Among Elementaries are also reckoned by Kabalists what we have called psychic embryos, the "privation" of the form of the child that is to be.

CW IX, 163 [To the Editors of Lucifer] As you invite questions, I take the liberty of submitting one to your consideration. Is it not to be expected (basing one's reasoning on Theosophical teaching) that the meeting and intercourse in Kama-loka of persons truly attached to each other must be fraught with disappointment, nay frequently even with deep grief? Let me illustrate my meaning by an example:

A mother departs this life twenty years before her son, who, deeply attached to her, longs to meet her again, and only finds her "shell" from which all those spiritual qualities have fled which to him were the essential part of the being he loved. Even the "shell" itself, by its resemblance to the former body, only adds to his grief by keeping early memories more vividly alive, and showing him the vast difference between the entity he knew on earth and the remnant he finds.

Or take a second case:

The son meets his mother in Kama-loka after a short separation, only to find her entity in a state of disintegration, as her pure spirit has already begun to leave her astral body and to ascend towards Devachan. He has to witness this process of gradual dissolution, and day by day he feels his mother's spirit slip away whilst his more material nature prevents him from joining in her rapid progress....

[Editor's Reply.] Our Correspondent seems to have been misled as to the state of consciousness which entities experience in Kama-loka. He seems to have formed his conceptions on the visions of living psychics and the revelations of living mediums. But all conclusions drawn from such data are vitiated by the fact, that a living organism intervenes between the observer and the Kama-loka state per se. There can be no conscious meeting in Kama-loka, hence no grief. There is no astral disintegration pari passu with the separation of the shell from the spirit.

According to the Eastern teaching the state of the deceased in Kama-loka is not what we, living men, would recognize as "conscious". It is rather that of a person stunned and dazed by a violent blow, who has momentarily "lost his senses". Hence in Kama-loka there is as a rule (apart from vicarious life and consciousness awakened through contact with mediums) no recognition of friends or relatives, and therefore such a case as stated here is impossible.

We meet those we loved only in Devachan, that subjective world of perfect bliss, the state which succeeds the Kama-loka, after the separation of the principles. In Devachan all our personal, unfulfilled spiritual desires and aspirations will be realized; for we shall not be living in the hard world of matter but in those subjective realms wherein a desire finds its instant realization; because man himself is there a god and a creator.

In dealing with the dicta of psychics and mediums, it must always be remembered that they translate, automatically and unconsciously, their experiences on any plane of consciousness, into the language and experience of our normal physical plane. And this confusion can only be avoided by the special study-training of occultism, which teaches how to trace and guide the passage of impressions from one plane to another and fix them on the memory.

Kama-loka may be compared to the dressing-room of an actor, in which he divests himself of the costume of the last part he played before rebecoming himself properly - the immortal Ego of the Pilgrim cycling in his Round of Incarnations. The Eternal Ego being stripped in Kama-loka of its lower terrestrial principles, with their passions and desires, it enters into the state of Devachan. And therefore it is said that only the purely spiritual, the non-material emotions, affections and aspirations accompany the Ego into that state of Bliss. But the process of stripping off the lower, the fourth and part of the fifth, principles is an unconscious one in all normal human beings. It is only in very exceptional cases that there is a slight return to consciousness in Kama-loka: and this is the case of very materialistic unspiritual personalities, who, devoid of the conditions requisite, cannot enter the state of absolute Rest and Bliss.

CW X, 262 Q.       Can there be any connection between a dreamer and an entity in "Kama Loka"?

A.        The dreamer of an entity in Kama Loka would probably bring upon himself a nightmare, or would run the risk of becoming "possessed" by the "Spook" so attracted, if he happened to be a medium, or one who had made himself so passive during his waking hours that even his higher Self is now unable to protect him. This why the mediumistic state of passivity is so dangerous, and in time renders the Higher Self entirely helpless to aid or even warn the sleeping or entranced person. Passivity paralyzes the connection between the lower and higher principles. It is very rare to find instances of mediums who, while remaining passive at will, for the purpose of communicating with some higher Intelligence, some exterraneous spirit not disembodied, will yet preserve sufficiently their personal will so as not to break off all connection with the higher Self.

ML 124:127 The real full remembrance of our lives will come but at the end of the minor cycle - not before. In Kama Loka those who retain their remembrance, will not enjoy it at the supreme hour of recollection. - Those who know they are dead in their physical bodies can only be either adepts or sorcerers; and these two are the exceptions to the general rule. Both having been "co-workers with nature", the former for good, the latter for bad, in her works of creation and in that of destruction. They are the only ones who may be called immortal in the kabalistic and the esoteric sense of course. Complete or true immortality, - which means an unlimited sentient existence, can have no breaks and stoppages, no arrest of Self-consciousness. And even the shells of those good men whose page will not be found missing in the great Book of Lives at the threshold of the Great Nirvana, even they will regain their remembrance and an appearance of Self-consciousness, only after the sixth and seventh principles with the essence of the 5th (the latter having to furnish the material for even that partial recollection of personality which is necessary for the object in Deva Chan) - have gone to their gestation period, not before. Even in the case of suicides and those who have perished by violent death, even in their case, consciousness requires a certain time to establish its new centre of gravity, and evolve, as Sir W. Hamilton would have it - its "perception proper" henceforth to remain distinct from "sensation proper".

ML 144:147 Q. You say: "And even the shells of those good men whose pages will not be found missing in the great book of lives:- even they will regain their remembrance and an appearance of self consciousness only after the sixth and seventh principles with the essence of the fifth have gone to their gestation period.

ML 168:171 A. Verily so. Until the struggle between the higher and middle duad begins - (with the exception of suicides who are not dead but have only killed their physical triad, and whose Elemental parasites, therefore, are not naturally separated from the Ego as in real death), until that struggle, I say, has not begun and ended, no shell can realize its position. When the sixth and seventh principles are gone, carrying off with them the finer, spiritual portions of that which once was the personal consciousness of the fifth, then only does the shell gradually develop a hazy consciousness of its own from what remains in the shadow of the personality.

ML 169:173 But what is then "the nature of the remembrance and self-consciousness of the shell?" you ask. As I said in your note - no better than a reflected or borrowed light. "Memory" is one thing, and "perceptive faculties" quite another. A madman may remember very clearly some portions of his past life; yet he is unable to perceive anything in its true light for the higher portion of his Manas and his Buddhi are paralysed in him, have left him. Could an animal - a dog, for instance - speak, he would prove you that his memory in direct relation to his canine personality, is as fresh as yours; nevertheless his memory and instinct cannot be called "perceptive faculties". A dog remembers that his master thrashed him when the latter gets hold of his stick - at all other times he has no remembrance of it.

ML 144:147 Q. A little later on:- "Whether the personal Ego was good, bad or indifferent, his consciousness leaves him as suddenly as the flame leaves the wick - his perceptive faculties become extinct for ever". (Well? can a physical brain once dead retain its perceptive faculties: that which will perceive in the shell is something that perceives with a borrowed or reflected light. See notes.)

Then what is the nature of the remembrance and self-consciousness of the shell? This touches on a matter I have often thought about - wishing for further explanation - the extent of personal identity in elementaries.

ML 168:171 A. All that which pertains to the materio-psychological attributes and sensations of the five lower skandhas; all that which will be thrown off as a refuse by the newly born Ego in the Deva Chan, as unworthy of, and not sufficiently related to the purely spiritual perceptions, emotions and feelings of the sixth, strengthened, and so to say, cemented, by a portion of the fifth, that portion which is necessary in the devachan for the retention of a divine spiritualized notion of the "I" in the Monad - which would otherwise have no consciousness in relation to object and subject at all - all this "becomes extinct for ever": namely at the moment of physical death, to return once more, marshalling before the eye of the new Ego at the threshold of Deva Chan and to be rejected by it. It will return for the third time fully at the end of the minor cycle, after completion of the seven Rounds when the sum total of collective existences is weighed - "merit" in one cup, "demerit" in the other cup of the scales. But in that individual, in the Ego - "good, bad, or indifferent" in the isolated personality, - consciousness leaves as suddenly as "the flame leaves the wick". Blow out your candle, good friend. The flame has left that candle "for ever"; but are the particles that moved, their motion producing the objective flame annihilated or dispersed for all that? Never. Relight the candle and the same particles drawn by mutual affinity will return to the wick. Place a long row of candles on your table. Light one and blow it out; then light the other and do the same; a third and a fourth, and so on. The same matter, the same gaseous particles - representing in our case the Karma of the personality - will be called forth by the condition given them by your match, to produce a new luminosity; but can we say that candle No.1 has not had its flame extinct for ever? Not even in the case of the "failures of nature", of the immediate reincarnation of children and congenital idiots, etc., that so provoked the wrath of C.C.M., can we call them the identical ex-personalities; though the whole of the same life-principle and identically the same MANAS (fifth principle) re-enters a new body and may be truly called a "reincarnation of the personality" - whereas, in the rebirth of the Egos from devachans and avitchis into Karmic life it is only the spiritual attributes of the Monad and its Buddhi that are reborn. All we can say of the reincarnated "failures" is, that they are the reincarnated Manas, the fifth principle of Mr Smith or Miss Grey, but not certainly that these are the reincarnations of Mr S and Miss G.

ML 184:186 Every just disembodied four-fold entity - whether it died a natural or violent death, from suicide or accident, mentally sane or insane, young or old, good, bad, or indifferent - loses at the instant of death all recollection, it is mentally annihilated; it sleeps its akasic sleep in the Kama-loka. This state lasts from a few hours (rarely less), days, weeks, months - sometimes several years. All this according to the entity, to its mental status at the moment of death, to the character of its death, etc. That remembrance will return slowly and gradually toward the end of the gestation (to the entity or Ego), still more slowly but far more imperfectly and incompletely to the shell, and fully to the Ego at the moment of its entrance into the Devachan. And now the latter being a state determined and brought by its past life, the Ego does not fall headlong but sinks into it gradually and by easy stages. With the first dawn of that state appears that life (or rather is once more lived over by the Ego) from its first day of consciousness to its last. From the most important down to the most trifling event, all are marshalled before the spiritual eye of the Ego; only, unlike the events of real life, those of them remain only that are chosen by the new liver (pardon the word) clinging to certain scenes and actors, these remain permanently - while all others fade away to disappear for ever, or to return to their creator - the shell. Now try to understand this highly important because so highly just and retributive law, in its effects. Out of the resurrected Past nothing remains but what the Ego has felt spiritually -that was evolved by and through and lived over by his spiritual faculties - be they love or hatred. All that I am now trying to describe is in truth - indescribable. As no two men, not even two photographs of the same person, nor yet two leaves resemble line for line each other, so no two states in Deva-Chan are alike. Unless he be an adept, who can realize such a state in his periodical Deva-chan - how can one be expected to form a correct picture of the same?




Key 132 Enq: ... Where, then, is that vaunted omniscience during his Devachanic life, as you call it?

Theo: During that time it is latent and potential, because, first of all, the Spiritual Ego (the compound of Buddhi-Manas) is not the Higher SELF, which being one with the Universal Soul or Mind is alone omniscient; and, secondly, because Devachan is the idealized continuation of the terrestrial life just left behind, a period of retributive adjustment, and a reward for unmerited wrongs and sufferings undergone in that special Life. It is omniscient only potentially in Devachan, and de facto exclusively in Nirvana, when the Ego is merged in the Universal Mind-Soul. Yet it rebecomes quasi omniscient during those hours on earth when certain abnormal conditions and physiological changes in the body make the Ego free from the trammels of matter.

Key 148 He who has placed himself beyond the veil of maya - and such are the highest Adepts and Initiates - can have no Devachan. As to the ordinary mortal, his bliss in it is complete. It is an absolute oblivion of all that gave it pain or sorrow in the past incarnations, and even oblivion of the fact that such things as pain or sorrow exist at all. The Devachanee lives its intermediate cycle between two incarnations surrounded by everything it had aspired to in vain, and in the companionship of everyone it loved on earth. It has reached the fulfillment of all its soul-yearnings. And thus it lives throughout long centuries an existence of unalloyed happiness, which is the reward for its sufferings in earth life.

Key 149 Theo: To believe that a pure spirit can feel happy while doomed to witness the sins, mistakes, treachery, and, above all, the sufferings of those from whom it is severed by death and whom it loves best, without being able to help them, would be a maddening thought.

Key 150 ... We are with those whom we have lost in material form, and far, far nearer to them now, than when they were alive. And it is not only in the fancy of the Devachanee, as some may imagine, but in reality. For pure divine love is not merely the blossom of a human heart, but has it roots in eternity. Spiritual holy love is immortal, and Karma brings sooner or later all those who loved each other with such a spiritual affection to incarnate once more in the same family group. Again we say that love beyond the grave, illusion though you may call it, has a magic and divine potency which reacts on the living. A mother's Ego filled with love for the imaginary children it sees near itself, living a life of happiness, as real to it as when on earth - that love will always be felt by the children in flesh. It will manifest in their dreams, and often in various events -in providential protections and escapes, for love is a strong shield, and is not limited by space or time. As with this Devachanic "mother", so with the rest of human relationships and attachments, save the purely selfish or material. Analogy will suggest to you the rest.

Enq: In no case, then, do you admit the possibility of the communication of the living with the disembodied spirit?

Theo: Yes, there is a case, and even two exceptions to the rule. The first exception is during the few days that follow immediately the death of a person and before the Ego passes into the Devachanic state. Whether any living mortal, save a few exceptional cases (when the intensity of the desire in the dying person to return for some purpose forced the higher consciousness to remain awake, and therefore it was really the individuality, the "Spirit" that communicated) has derived much benefit from the return of the spirit into the objective plane is another question. The spirit is dazed after death and falls very soon into what we call "pre-devachanic unconsciousness". The second exception is found in the Nirmanakayas.

Enq: What about them? And what does the name mean for you?

Theo: It is the name given to those who, though they have won the right to Nirvana and cyclic rest - (not Devachan, as the latter is an illusion of our consciousness, a happy dream, and as those who are fit for Nirvana must have lost entirely every desire or possibility of the world's illusions) - have out of pity for mankind and those they left on earth renounced the Nirvanic state. Such an adept, or Saint, or whatever you may call him, believing it a selfish act to rest in bliss while mankind groans under the burden of misery produced by ignorance, renounces Nirvana, and determines to remain invisible in spirit on this earth. They have no material body, as they have left it behind; but otherwise they remain with all their principles even in astral life in our sphere. And such can and do communicate with a few elect ones, only surely not with ordinary mediums.

Key 156 Enq: ... Do we possess more knowledge in Devachan than we do in Earth life?

Theo: In one sense, we can acquire more knowledge; that is, we can develop further any faculty which we loved and strove after during life, provided it is concerned with abstract and ideal things, such as music, painting, poetry, etc., since Devachan is merely an idealized and subjective continuation of earth-life.

Enq: But if in Devachan the Spirit is free from matter, why should it not possess all knowledge?

Theo: Because, as I told you, the Ego is, so to say, wedded to the memory of its last incarnation. Thus, if you think over what I have said, and string all the facts together, you will realize that the Devachanic state is not one of omniscience, but a transcendental continuation of the personal life just terminated. It is the rest of the soul from the toils of life.

If they [the scientific materialists] say that self-consciousness ceases with the body, then in their case they simply utter an unconscious prophecy, for once they are firmly convinced of what they assert, no conscious after-life is possible for them. For there are exceptions to every rule.

Enq: ...This is but an aberration of the blind man, who denies the existence of the sun because he does not see it. But after death his spiritual eyes will certainly compel him to see. Is that what you mean?

Theo: He will not be compelled, nor will he see anything. Having persistently denied during life the continuance of existence after death, he will be unable to see it, because his spiritual capacity having been stunted in life, it cannot develop after death, and he will remain blind. By insisting that he must see it, you evidently mean one thing and I another. You speak of the spirit from the spirit, or the flame from the flame - of Atma, in sort - and you confuse it with the human soul - Manas ... The whole gist of your question is to know whether, in the case of a downright materialist, the complete loss of self-consciousness and self-perception after death is possible? ... I answer, it is possible. Because, believing firmly in our Esoteric Doctrine, which refers to the post-mortem period, or the interval between two lives or births, as merely a transitory state, I say, whether that interval between two acts of the illusionary drama of life lasts one year or a million, that post-mortem state may, without any breach of the fundamental law, prove to be just the same state as that of a man who is in a dead faint.

Key 158 [We must] understand what we mean by Buddhi and the duality of Manas to gain a clear perception why the materialist may fail to have a self-conscious survival after death. Since Manas, in its lower aspect, is the seat of the terrestrial mind, it can, therefore, give only that perception of the Universe which is based on the evidence of that mind; it cannot give spiritual vision ...

Key 160 Theo: ... both immortality and consciousness after death become, for the terrestrial personality of man, simply conditioned attributes, as they depend entirely on conditions and beliefs created by the human soul itself during the life of its body. Karma acts incessantly: we reap in our after-life only the fruit of that which we have ourselves sown in this.

CW IV, 444 [About Devachan] .... To realize the conditions of spiritual existence of any sort it is necessary to get above the plane of merely physical perceptions. One cannot see the things of the spirit with the eyes of the flesh, and one cannot successfully appreciate subjective phenomena by help only of those intellectual reflections which appertain to the physical senses. "How can a conscious existence without activity or pursuit be one of satisfaction or enjoyment?" It would only emphasize the mistaken idea which this question embodies if one were to ask instead, "how can a conscious existence without athletic sports and hunting be one of enjoyment?" The cravings of man's animal or even bodily human nature are not permanent in their character. The demands of the mind are different from those of the body. In physical life an ever-recurring desire for change impresses our imagination with the idea that there can be no continuity of contentment, without variety of occupation and amusement. To realize completely the way in which a single vein of spiritual consciousness may continue for considerable periods of time to engage the attention - not only the contented, but the delighted attention - of a spiritual entity, is probably possible only for persons who already in life have developed certain inner faculties, dormant in mankind at large. But meanwhile our present correspondent may perhaps derive some satisfaction from the fact - as explained in recent essays on the subject - that one sort of variety is developed in Devachan in a very high degree; viz., the variety which naturally grows out of the simple themes set in vibration during life. Immense growths, for example, of knowledge itself are possible in Devachan, for the spiritual entity which has begun the "pursuit" of such knowledge during life. Nothing can happen to a spirit in Devachan, the keynote of which has not been struck during life; the condition of a subjective existence are such that the importation of quite external impulses and alien thoughts is impossible. But the seed of thought once sown, the current of thoughts once set going (the metaphor may freely be varied to suit any taste), and then its developments in Devachan may be infinite, for the sixth sense there and the sixth principle are our instructors; and in such society there can be no isolation, as physical humanity understands the term. The spiritual ego in fact, under the tuition of his own sixth principle, need be in no fear of being dull, and would be as likely to sigh for a doll's house or a box of ninepins as for the harps and palm leaves of the mediaeval Heaven.

CW V, 70 [Answering some objections] We constantly hear of the "dreamers in Devachan", of the "subjective isolation" of this state. And then we are forthwith reproached for regarding it as "less real" than our present condition! Take the case of the association of friends there. What we want to know is whether there is any REAL intercourse of personalities - of 5th principles - there ... Of course for the disembodied

consciousness in Devachan the bodily presence which to us here is the outward and visible sign of intercourse can have no reality. It was surely unnecessary to insist much upon the fact. "Two sympathetic souls," we are told, "both disembodied, will each work out its own Devachanic sensations, making the other a sharer in its subjective bliss. This will be as real to them, naturally, as though both were yet on this earth." So far so good; the truth and reality of the intercourse seem to be quite unmistakably affirmed, though of course the mode of the intercourse is not such as we can at present recognize from experience. But in the next passage our doubt revives. "Nevertheless, each is dissociated from the other as regards personal or corporeal association."

Footnote: If we understand the spirit of the objection at all, it rests simply upon a mistake. The conjunction placed between the words "personal" and "corporeal" is sufficient to show that the term personal stands here for "external" or "bodily". Why should it then be taken in the sense of the mental representation of a personality? The "or" makes the two adjectives identical. - Ed.

As regards corporeal, granted, but what as regards personal, since it is just the personal, 5th principle, consciousness that survives in Devachan? Here are two disembodied personal consciousnesses in Devachan. Are they really and truly affected the one by the other so as to constitute a veritable

intercourse, or is it merely that the one personality imagines the presence of the other, as taking that image to be reality, whereas it does not correspond with any fact of which the other personality could take cognizance? I deny that I am "postulating an incongruity" in objecting that such an "intercourse" is not real, is a "mere dream", for I can conceive a real intercourse - conscious on both sides and truly acting and reacting - which does not apply "only to the mutual relationship of physical existence".

(71) It is asked "... what actual companionship could there ever be other than the purely idealistic one as above described, between two subjective entities which are not even as material as that ethereal body-shadow - the Mayavi-rupa?" Now actual companionship implies the mutual action and reaction of consciousness - which need not be by any bodily mediation whatever. You must really and truly affect me, and I must know that you are in this sense (the most real of all) present with me, and vice versa. Anything short of that, any subjective consciousness of mine, whereby some representation of you arises in me if not correspondent to, and caused by, some act or thought of yours, is a mere dream, and I am 'cheated by nature' if I am made to believe what is not the fact. What we want to know, and cannot quite make out from these teachings, is whether Devachan is a state corresponding to our waking life here, or to our sleep with dreams? The former we call real and true, the latter fictitious.

(72) The whole doubt arises out of the following statement: "The person whose happiness of the higher sort on earth had been entirely centred in the exercise of the affections" [that is the case with few of us - enough that the affections are an essential element of our higher happiness] "will miss none in Devachan of those whom he or she loved. But at once it will be asked, if some of these are not themselves fit for Devachan, how then? The answer is, that does not matter. For the person who loved them they will be there". And then it is truly pointed out that there is nothing absolutely real in what is objective to us here - all is relative. "As real as the realities of this world to us, and even more so, will be the realities of Devachan to those who go into that state." But it will not be denied that there is a real intercourse between personalities here, albeit by very imperfect and not essentially real means. Your body, and the voice I hear, as well as my body and those organs of sense by which I hear, are mere phenomena, at least as unreal to a spiritual consciousness, as spirits are unperceived and therefore unreal to us. But you and I are not unreal. There is real intercourse between us. Through our present defective means, it is true that you are very imperfectly, very partially, with me - I only get a symbol of your presence. Still it is a perfectly honest symbol as far as it goes, and you are really speaking to me when I hear you. I do not merely seem to myself to hear you, who may be absent or non-existent all the while. But if in Devachan I can realistically imagine the presence - the living, communicating presence - of some one who is not there; what security have I that I am truly in communication with any one who is there? Am I truly in such communication in any case? Or is each personality perfectly secluded and isolated, merely feigning and dreaming the companions around it, you of me, and I of you, even though we are both really in the same state, and might just as well be really in each other's company? But again, how, for any one who had attained the conception of Devachan in earth life - you and I for instance - would such dreams be possible? Why, we should know perfectly well all the time that we were merely dreaming, and then the dream would lose all its apparent reality - and we should in fact be awake. I should know that the friend I have left on earth is there still, and that what of him seems to be with me is a mere subjective image of my own. I should know that because I have learned the doctrine of Devachan, and because "the continuity of our speculative ideas is one of the characteristics of Devachan,"...

(73) There seems to be one way out of this, and I should like to know if that is the true idea. It may be that for the Devachanee, that which is only future and potential for us here, is actual and present. Say that you are in Devachan, I upon earth. I of course as a person upon earth should have only that objective consciousness. But my higher personality, though not yet translated into terms of my objective consciousness, may all this while have a subjective consciousness of its own, that into which I shall come, and with which I shall identify myself in Devachan. And you in Devachan might be en rapport with this higher subjective consciousness of mine. You would thus know all that is best in me, all that in me which is in most affinity with your own Devachanic consciousness. Yet it would still be only so much of my 5th principle as is capable of elevation into the Devachanic state.

CW V, 74 The "misunderstanding" arises from a natural misconception of the sense in which certain terms are made use of rather than from any "inconsistent language" used. The alternative of moving for ever in a vicious circle faces the European student of Occult philosophy, who begins his study before having made himself familiar with the technical mode of thought and peculiarity of expression of its teachers. His first necessity is, to know the esoteric views of the ultimate nature of Spirit, of Matter, Force and Space; the fundamental and axiomatic theories as to the Reality and Unreality, Form and the Formless rupa and a-rupa, dream and waking.

Footnote: The Vedanta philosophy teaches as much as Occult philosophy that our monad during its life on earth as a triad (7th, 6th, and 5th principles), has, besides the condition of pure intelligence, three conditions; namely, waking, dreaming, and sushupti - a state of dreamless sleep - from the standpoint of terrestrial conceptions; of real, actual soul-life - from the occult standpoint. While man is either dreamlessly, profoundly asleep or in a trance state, the triad (Spirit, Soul and Mind) enters into perfect union with the Paramatma, the Supreme Universal Soul. - Ed.

Especially should he master - at least approximately - the distinction between the "objective' and the "subjective" in the living man's sensuous perceptions and the same as they appear to the psychic perceptions of a disembodied entity (Devachanee). It will not strengthen his case to put forth the objection that "the mode of the intercourse is not such as we can at present recognize from experience"; in other words, that until one becomes a "Devachanee" one cannot enter into sympathy with his feelings or perceptions. For, the disembodied individuality being identical in nature with the higher triad of the living man, when liberated as the result of self-evolution effected by the full development of conscious and trained will, the adept can through this triad learn all that concerns the Devachanee; live for the time being his mental life, feel as he feels and sharing thoroughly in his supersensuous perceptions, bring back with him on earth the memory of the same, unwarped by mayavic deceptions, hence - not to be gain-said. This, of course, assuming the existence of such lusus naturae as an "adept", which may, perhaps, be conceded by the objectors for the sake of argument. And the further concession must be asked that no comparison shall be made to the adept's detriment between the perceptive powers of his triad, when so freed from the body, and those of the half liberated monad of the entranced somnambule or medium which is having its dazed glimpse into the "celestial arcana". Still less, is it allowable to gauge them by the reveries of an embodied mind, however cultured and metaphysical, which has no data to build upon, save the deductions and inductions which spring from its own normal activity.

CW V, 77 [About the Devachanic "dream"] the Occultist replies that there are dreams and dreams. That there is a difference between a dream produced by outward physiological causes, and the one which reacts and becomes in its turn the producer of super-sensuous perceptions and feelings. That he divides dreams into the phenomenal and the noumenal, and distinguishes between the two; and that, moreover, the physiologist is entirely unfit to comprehend the ultimate constitution of a disembodied Ego - hence the nature of its "dreams". This, he does for several reasons, of which one may be particularly noticed: the physiologist rejects a priori WILL, the chief and indispensable factor of the inner man. He refuses to recognize it apart from particular acts of volition, and declares that he knows only the latter, viewed by him simply as a reaction or desire of determination of energy outward, after ... "the complex interworking and combination of ideas in the hemispheral ganglia". Hence the physiologist would have to reject at once the possibility of consciousness - minus memory; and the Devachanee having no organs, no sensory ganglia, no "educated" nor even "idiotic centres", nor nerve cells, cannot naturally have that, what the physiologists would regard and define, as memory. Unfettered from the personal sensations of the manas, the devachanic consciousness would certainly have to become universal or absolute consciousness, with no past as with no future, the two merging into one eternal PRESENT - but for the trammels of the personal Ego. But even the latter, once severed from its bodily organs, can have no such memory as defined by Professor Huxley, who fathers it upon the "sensigenous molecules" of the brain - those molecules, which, begotten by sensation, remain behind when it has passed away, and that constitute, we are told, the physical foundation of memory; hence also the foundation of all dreams. What can these molecules have to do with the ethereal atoms that act in the spiritual consciousness of the monad, during its bliss wholly based and depending upon the degree of its connection with only the essence of that personal Ego!

(78) What may then be the nature of the Devachanic dream - we are asked - and how does the occultist define the dream of the still embodied man? To Western science a dream is a series of thoughts, of connected acts or rather "states" which are only imagined to be real. The uninitiated metaphysician, on the other hand, describes it in his exoteric way, as the passage of sense from darkness into light - the awakening of spiritual consciousness. But the occultist, who knows that the spiritual sense pertaining to the immutable can never sleep or even be dormant per se, and is always in the "Light" of reality, says that during the state of sleep, Manas (the seat of the physical and personal intelligence) becomes able - its containing vehicle Kama, the WILL, being allowed the full freedom of its conscious action owing to volition being rendered passive, and unconscious by the temporary inactivity of the sensory centres - to perceive that reality in the subjective world which was hidden from it in waking hours. That reality does not become less real, because upon awakening the "sensigenous molecules", and "uneducated centres" throw and toss in the mayavic light of actual life the recollection and even the remembrance of it into confusion. But the participation of the manas in the Devachanic bliss, does not add to, but on the contrary takes away from,, the reality that would fall to the lot of the monad were it altogether free from its presence. Its bliss is an outcome of Sakkayaditthi, the delusion or "heresy of individuality", which heresy, together with the attavadic [a Buddhist term meaning, false belief in a permanent separate 'self'] chain of causes, is necessary for the monad's future birth. It is all this that leads the occultist to regard the association or "intercourse" between two disembodied entities in the Devachan -however more real than life it may be - as an illusion, and from his standpoint still "a dream", and so to speak of it; while that which his critics would fain call - however regretfully -dreams - "the interludes which fancy makes" - is in the knowledge of the former simply glimpses of the Reality.

(79) Let us take an instance: a son loses a much beloved father. In his dreams he may see and converse with him, and for the time it lasts feel as happy and unconscious of his death as though the father had never left this earth. This upon awakening, he will regard with sorrow as a mere dream that could not last. Is he right to so regard it? The occultist says that he is wrong. He is simply ignorant of the fact that his spirit being of the same essence and nature as that of his father, - as all spirits are -and the inherent property of mutual attraction and assimilation being in their special case strengthened by the paternal and filial love of their personal Egos - that they have, in fact, never separated from each other, death itself being powerless to sever psychic association there, where pure spiritual love links the two. The "dream" was in this instance the reality; the latter a maya, a false appearance due to avidya (false notions). Thus it becomes more correct and proper to call the son's ignorance during his waking hours a "dream" and "a delusion", than to so characterize the real intercourse. For what has happened? A Spiritualist would say: "the spirit of the father descended upon earth to hold communion with his son's spirit, during the quiet hours of sleep". The Occultist replies: "Not so; neither the father's spirit descended, nor has the son's triad ascended (strictly and correctly speaking)". The centre of Devachanic activity cannot be localized: it is again avidya. Monads during that time even when connected with their five finite Kosas (sheaths or principles) know neither space nor time, but are diffused throughout the former, are omnipresent and ubiquitous. Manas in its higher aspect is dravya - an eternal "substance" as well as the Buddhi, the spiritual soul - when this aspect is developed; and united with the Soul Manas becomes spiritual self-consciousness, which is a Vikara (a production) of its original "producer" Buddhi.

(80) Footnote: It is only when Ego becomes Ego-ism deluded into a notion of independent existence as the producer in its turn of the five Tanmatras that Manas is considered Maha-bhutic and finite in the sense of being connected with Ahancara, the personal "I-creating" faculty. Hence Manas is both eternal and non-eternal: eternal in its atomic nature (paramanu rupa); finite (or karya-rupa) when linked as a duad - with kama (Volition), a lower production. - Ed.

Unless made utterly unfit, by its having become hopelessly mixed with, and linked to, its lower Tanmatras, to become one with Buddhi, it is inseparable from it. Thus the higher human triad, drawn by its affinity to those triads it loved most, with Manas in its highest aspect of self-consciousness - (which is entirely disconnected with, and has no need as a channel of the internal organ of physical sense called antahkarana - helping, it is ever associated with and enjoys the presence of all those it loves - in death, as much as it did in life. The intercourse is real and genuine.

The critic doubts whether such an intercourse can be called a "veritable one". He wants to know whether the two disembodied entities are "really and truly affected the one by the other"; or, "is it merely that the one personality imagines the presence of the other", such intercourse corresponding with no fact "of which the other personality [either embodied or disembodied] could take cognizance"; and while doubting, he denies that he is "'postulating an incongruity' in objecting that such an 'intercourse' is not real, is a 'mere dream'", for he says, he "can conceive a real intercourse - conscious on both sides and truly acting and reacting - which does not apply 'only to the mutual relationship of physical existence'". If he really can, then where is the difficulty complained of? The real meaning attached by the occultist to such words as dream, reality and unreality, having been explained, what further trouble is there to comprehend this specific tenet? The critic may also be asked, how he can conceive of a real conscious intercourse on both sides, unless he understands the peculiar, and - to him as yet unknown - intellectual reaction and inter-relation between the two. [This sympathetic reaction is no fanciful hypothesis but a scientific fact known and taught at initiations, though unknown to modern science and but hazily perceived by some metaphysicians - spiritualists].

(81) Footnote: It is demonstrated to Occultists by the fact that two adepts separated by hundreds of miles, leaving their bodies at their respective habitations and their astral bodies (the lower manas and volition, kama) to watch over them, can still meet at some distant place and hold converse and even perceive and sense each other for hours as though they were both personally and bodily together, whereas, even their lower mayavi-rupas are absent. - Ed.

Or is it that, alternatively, he anthropomorphises Spirit - in the spiritualistic mistaken sense? Our critic has just told us that "the mode of the intercourse is not such as we [he] can at present recognize from experience". What kind of intercourse is it then that he can conceive of?

CW V, 81 It is incorrect to use the term "personal soul" in connection with the monad, "The personal or animal soul" is, as already said, the 5th principle, and cannot be in Devachan, the highest state permitted to it on earth being samadhi. It is only its essence that has followed the monad into Devachan, to serve it there as its ground-tone, or as the background against which its future dream-life and developments will move; its entity, or the reliquiae is the "shell", the dross that remains behind as an elementary to fade away and in time disappear. That which is in Devachan is no more the persona - the mask, than the smell of a rose is the flower itself. The rose decays and becomes a pinch of dust: its aroma will never die, and may be recalled and resurrected ages thence. Correctly expressed, the sentence would have to read: "... the living image before the Spiritual Soul, which being now saturated with the essence of the personality, has thus ceased to be Arupa (formless or rather devoid of all substance) for its Devachanic duration, and craves for their presence, etc". The gestation period is over, it has won the day, been reborn as a new out of the old ego, and before it is ushered again into a new personality, it will reap the effects of the causes sown in its precedent birth in one of the Devachanic or Avitchian states, as the case may be, though the latter are found wide apart. Avasyam eva bhoktavyam kritam karma subhasubham. [The fruit of the tree of action, whether good or bad, must unavoidably be eaten.] The Devachanic condition in all its aspects is no doubt similar to a dreamy state when considered from the standpoint of our present objective consciousness when we are in our waking condition. Nevertheless, it is as real to the Devachanee himself as our waking state is to us. Therefore, when it is asked "Whether Devachan is a state corresponding to our waking life here or to our sleep with dreams", - the answer given is that it is not similar to either of these conditions; but it is similar to the dreamy condition of a man who has no waking state at all, if such a being can be supposed to exist. A monad in Devachan has but one state of consciousness, and the contrast between a waking state and a dreamy state is never presented to it so long as it is in that condition. Another objection urged is, that if a Devachanee were to think of an object or person as if the object or person were present before him when they are not so (when judged from the common ideas of objective perception) then the Devachanee is "cheated by nature". If such is really the case, he is indeed always "cheated by nature"; and the suggestion contained in the foregoing letter as to the possible mode of communication between a Devachanee and one living on earth will not save him from delusion. Leaving aside for a moment the nature of a Devachanee's communication with another monad either in or out of Devachan, let the nature of his ideas be examined so far as they are connected with objects; and then the truth of the above mentioned statement will be easily perceived. Suppose, for instance, Galileo in Devachan, subjectively engaged in his favourite intellectual pursuit. It is natural to suppose that his telescope often comes within the range of his Devachanic consciousness, and that the Devachanee subjectively directs it toward some planet. It is quite clear that according to the general ideas of objectivity, Galileo has no telescope before him, and it cannot be contended that his train of ideas in any way actually affects the telescope which he left behind him in this world. If the objector's reasoning is correct, Galileo is "being cheated by nature", and the suggestion above referred to will in no way help him in this case.

(83) Thus, the inference that it is neither correct nor philosophical to speak of a Devachanee as being "cheated by nature" becomes once more unavoidable. Such words as cheating, delusion, reality are always relative. It is only by contrast that a particular state of consciousness can be called real or illusionary; and these words cease to have any significance whatever, when the said state of consciousness cannot be compared with any other state. Supposing one is justified in looking upon Devachanic experience as delusion from his present standpoint as a human being living on this earth, what then? We fail to see how any one means to make use of this inference. Of course from the foregoing remarks the reader is not to suppose that a Devachanee's consciousness can never affect or influence the state of consciousness of another monad either in or out of Devachan. Whether such is the case or not, the reality or the unreality of Devachanic experience, so far as a Devachanee is concerned, does not depend upon any such communicative influence.

(84) In some cases it is evident that the state of consciousness of one monad whether in Devachan or yet on earth, may blend with, as it were, and influence the ideation of another monad also in Devachan. Such will be the case where there is strong, affectionate sympathy between the two egos arising from participation in the same higher feelings or emotions, or from similar intellectual pursuits or spiritual aspiration. Just as the thoughts of a mesmerizer standing at a distance are communicated to his subject by the emanation of a current of magnetic energy attracted readily towards the subject, the train of ideas of a Devachanee are communicated by a current of magnetic or electric force attracted towards another Devachanee by reason of the strong sympathy existing between the two monads, especially when the said ideas relate to things which are subjectively associated with the Devachanee in question. It is not to be inferred, however, that in other cases when there is no such action or reaction, a Devachanee becomes conscious of the fact that his subjective experience is a mere delusion, for it is not so. It was already shown that the question of reality or unreality does not depend upon any such communication or transmission of intellectual energy.

We are asked, "if some of these (the Devachanee loved) are not themselves fit for Devachan, how then?" We answer: "Even in the case of a man still living on earth, or even of one suffering in Avitchi, the ideation of a monad in Devachan may still affect his monad if there is strong sympathy between the two as indicated above. Yet the Devachanee will remain ignorant of the mental suffering of the other".

Footnote: The reader is reminded in this connection that neither Devachan nor Avitchi is a locality, but a state which affects directly the being in it and all others only by reaction. - Ed.

(85) If this generous provision of nature that never punishes the innocent outside this our world of delusion, be still called "a cheating of nature", and objected to, on the ground that it is not an "honest symbol" of the other personality's presence, then the most reasonable course would be to leave the occult doctrines and Devachan alone. The noble truths, the grandest goal in soul-life, will remain for ever a closed book to such minds. Devachan instead of appearing what it is - a blissful rest, a heavenly oasis during the laborious journey of the Monad toward a higher evolution, will indeed present itself as the culmination, the very essence of death itself. One has to sense intuitionally its logical necessity; to perceive in it, untaught and unguided, the outcome and perpetuation of that strictest justice absolutely consonant with the harmony of the universal law, if one would not lose time over its deep significance. We do not mean it in any unkind spirit, yet with such an opposition to the very exposition (since no one is pressed for its acceptance) of our doctrine by some Western minds, we feel bound to remind our opponents that they have the freedom of choice. [Here follows a passage comparing Devachan and Avitchi to the (then) current conventional ideas on Heaven and Hell.]

CW V, 86 The bliss of a Devachanee is complete, and nature secures it even at the risk of being accused of cheating by the pessimists of this world unable to distinguish between Vastu - the one reality and Vishaya - the "mayas" of our senses. It is fetching rather too far the presumption that our objective and subjective shall be the true standards for the realities and unrealities of the rest of the universe; that our criterion of truth and honesty is to stand as the only universal land-mark of the same. Had we to proceed upon such principles, we would have to accuse nature of cheating incessantly not only her human but also her animal offspring. Who, of our objectors, when treating of facts of natural history and the phenomena of vision and colour, would ever hazard the remark that because ants are utterly unable to see and distinguish colours as human beings do (the red, for instance, having no existence for them), therefore, are they also "cheated by nature"? Neither personality nor objectivity as known to us, have any being in the composition of a monad; and could, by any miracle, any living human creature come within the range of the Devachanic vision, it would be as little perceived by the Devachanee as the elementals that throng the air around us are perceived with our natural eyes.

(87) One more error of the critic. He seems to be labouring under the impression that if one has some conception of Devachanic state of subjective consciousness while in this life, he will know that such experience is illusory when he is actually there; and then Devachanic beatitudes will have lost all their reality so far as he is concerned. There is no reason to apprehend any such catastrophe. It is not very difficult to perceive the fallacy that underlies this argument. Suppose, for instance, A, now living at Lahore, knows that his friend B is at Calcutta. He dreams that they are both at Bombay engaged in various transactions. Does he know at the time he is dreaming that the whole dream is illusory? How can the consciousness that his friend is really at Calcutta, which is only realized when he is in his waking condition, help him in ascertaining the delusive nature of his dream when he is actually dreaming? Even after experiencing dreams several times during his life and knowing that dreams are generally illusionary, A will not know that he is dreaming when he is actually in that condition.

Similarly, a man may experience the devachanic condition while yet alive, and call it delusion, if he pleases, when he comes back to his ordinary state of objective consciousness and compares it to the said condition. Nevertheless, he will not know that it is a dream either when he experiences it a second time (for the time being) while still living, or when he dies and goes to Devachan.

(88) The above is sufficient to cover the case were even the state under discussion indeed "a dream" in the sense our opponents hold it in. But it is neither a "dream" nor in any way "cheating". It may be so from the standpoint of Johnson's dictionary; from that of fact independent of all human definition, and the standpoint of him who knows something of the laws that govern the worlds invisible, the intercourse between the monads is real, mutual, and as actual in the world of subjectivity, as it is in this our world of deceptive reality. It is the old story of Zoellner's man from the two-dimensional region disputing the reality of the phenomena taking place in the three-dimensional world.

CW V, 89 [H.P.B. examines the background to Westerners' difficulties in understanding Eastern esoteric teachings, then concludes]: His difficulty is to reconcile "isolation", as he understands it, with "intercourse" as we understand it. Though the monad is not like a seed dropped from a tree, but in its nature is ubiquitous, all-pervading, omnipresent; though in the subjective state time, space and locality are not factors in its experiences; though, in short, all mundane conditions are reversed; and the now thinkable becomes the then unthinkable and vice-versa - yet the London friend goes on to reason as though all this were not so.

(90) Now, Buddhistically speaking, there are states and states and degrees upon degrees in Devachan, in all of which, notwithstanding the (to us) objective isolation of the principal hero, he is surrounded by a host of actors in conjunction with whom he had during his last earth-life created and worked out the causes of those effects that are produced first on the field of Devachanic or Avitchian subjectivity, then used to strengthen the Karma to follow on the objective (?) plane of the subsequent rebirth. Earth-life, is so to say, the Prologue of the drama (or we should, perhaps, call it mystery), that is enacted in the rupa and arupa lokas. Now were we to say that nature, with every due regard to personality and the laws of objectivity as understood in exotericism, "constitutes a veritable intercourse" between the devachanic heroes and actors; and, instead of dissociating the monads not only as regards "personal or corporeal" but even astral "association" -establishes "actual companionship" between them, as on the earth-plane, we might, perhaps, avoid the strange accusation of "nature cheating" in Devachan. On the other hand, after thus pandering to emotional objections, we could hardly help placing our European Chelas in a far more inextricable dilemma. They would be made to face a problem of personal post-mortem ubiquity, throwing that of the Western deity far into the background of illogical absurdity. Suppose for one moment a Devachanic father, twice wedded, and loving both his wives as he does his children, while the step-mother loves neither his progeny nor their mother, the coolest indifference if not actual aversion reigning between the two. "Actual companionship", and "real personal intercourse" (the latter applied even to their astral bodies) implies here bliss for the father and irritation for the two wives and children, all equally worthy of Devachanic bliss. Now imagine again the real mother attracting by her intense love the children within her devachanic state, and thus depriving the father of his legitimate share of bliss. It has been said before, that the devachanic mind is capable only of the highest spiritual ideation; that neither objects of the grosser senses nor anything provocative of displeasure could even be apprehended by it - for otherwise, Devachan would be merging into Avitchi, and the feeling of unalloyed bliss destroyed for ever. How can nature reconcile in the above case the problem without either sacrificing her duty to our terrestrial sense of objectivity and reality, or, without compromising her status before our criterion of truth and honest dealing? On one hand, the children would have to double and treble themselves ad infinitum - as they too may have disembodied, devachanic objects of spiritual attachment clamouring elsewhere for their presence - which process of ubiquity would hardly be consistent with our notions of personal, actual presence, at one and the same time and at several different places; or, there would always be somebody, somewhere "cheated by nature". To place the monads promiscuously together, like one happy family - would be fatal to truth and fact: each man, however insignificant he may have been on earth, is yet mentally and morally sui generis in his own distinct conceptions of bliss and desires, and has, therefore, a right to, and an absolute necessity for, a specific, personal, "isolated" devachan ...

(91) According even to exoteric Buddhistic philosophy disincarnate beings are divided into three classes of - (1) Kamawachara, or those who are still under the dominion of the passions in Kamaloka; (2) Rupawachara, or those who have progressed to a higher stage, but still retain vestiges of their old form in Rupa loka; and (3) Arupawachara, or those who are become formless entities in the Arupa lokas of the highest Devachan. All depends on the degree of the monad's spirituality and aspirations. The astral body of the 4th principle - called Kama, because inseparable from Kama loka, - is always within the attraction of terrestrial magnetism; and the monad has to work itself free of the still finer yet equally potent attractions of its Manas before it ever reaches in its series of Devachanic states, the upper-Arupa regions. Therefore, there are various degrees of Devachanees. In those of the Arupa lokas the entities are as subjective and truly "not even as material as that ethereal body-shadow - the Mayavi-rupa". And yet even there, we affirm there is still "actual companionship". But only very few reach there skipping the lower degrees. There are those Devachanees, men of the highest moral calibre and goodness when on earth, who, owing to their sympathy for old intellectual researches and especially for unfinished mental work, are for centuries in the Rupa lokas in a strict Devachanic isolation - literally so, since men and loved relatives have all vanished out of sight before this intense and purely spiritual passion for intellectual pursuit. For an example of the study-bound (pardon the new word for the sake of its expressiveness) condition, take the mental state of the dying Berzelius, whose last thought was one of despair that his work should be interrupted by death. This is Tanha (Hindu Trishna) or an unsatisfied yearning which must exhaust itself before the entity can move on to the purely a-rupa condition. A provision is made for every case, and in each case it is created by the dying man's last, uppermost desire. The scholar who had mainly lived under the influence of manas, and for the pleasure of developing his highest physical intelligence kept absorbed in the mysteries of the material universe, will still be magnetically held by his mental attractions to scholars and their work, influencing and being influenced by them subjectively - (though in a manner quite different from that known in séance-rooms and by mediums), until the energy exhausts itself and Buddhi becomes the only regnant influence. The same rule applies to all the activities, whether of passion or sentiment, which entangle the travelling monad (the Individuality) in the relationships of any given birth. The discarnate must consecutively mount each rung of the ladder of being upward from the earthly subjective to the absolutely subjective. And when this limited Nirvanic state of Devachan is attained, the entity enjoys it and its vivid though spiritual realities until that phase of Karma is satisfied and the physical attraction to the next earth-life asserts itself. In Devachan, therefore, the entity is affected by and reciprocally affects the psychic state of any other entity whose relationship is so close with it as to survive as was above remarked, the purgatorial evolution of the lower post-mortem spheres. Their intercourse will be sensed spiritually, and still, so far as any relationship until now postulated by Western thinkers goes, each will be "dissociated from the other". If the questioner can formulate to himself the condition of the monad as pure spirit, the most subjective entity conceivable, without form, colour, or weight, even so great as an atom; an entity whose recollections of the last personality (or earth-birth) are derived from the late union of the Manas with the lower five principles - he may then find himself able to answer his own interrogatory. According to Esoteric Doctrine this evolution is not viewed as the extinguishment of individual consciousness but its infinite expansion. The entity is not obliterated, but united with the universal entity , and its consciousness becomes able not merely to recall the scenes of one of its earth-evolved Personalities, but of each of the entire series around the Kalpa, and then those of every other Personality. In short from being finite it becomes infinite consciousness. But this comes only at the end of all the births at the great day of the absolute Resurrection. Yet, as the monad moves on from birth to birth and passes its lower and Devachanic spheres after each fresh earthly existence, the mutual ties created in each birth must weaken and at last grow inert, before it can be reborn. The record of those relationships imperishably endures in the Akasa, and they can always be reviewed when, in any birth, the being evolves his latent spiritual powers to the "fourth stage of Dhyana": but their hold upon the being gradually relaxes. This is accomplished in each internatal Devachan; and when the personal links - magnetic or psychic, as one may prefer to call them -binding the Devachanee to other entities of the next previous life, whether relatives, friends or family, are worn out, he is free to move on in his cyclic path. Were this obliteration of personal ties not a fact, each being would be travelling around the Kalpa entangled in the meshes of his past relationships with myriad fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, wives, etc., etc., of his numberless births: a jumble, indeed! It was the ignorant delusion of the geocentric hypothesis which begot all the exoteric theologies, with their absurd dogmas. So, likewise, it is the ignorant theory of monogenesis, or but one earth life for each being, which makes it so hard for European metaphysicians to read the riddle of our existence and comprehend the difference between the monad's individuality, and its physical appearance in a series of earth-lives as so many different, totally distinct personalities. Europe knows much about atomic weights and chemical symbols, but has little idea of Devachan.

CW X, 47 [... the Devachanic state ... is purely a state of bliss, in which man receives compensation for the undeserved misery of his past life.]

Quite correct; but it is not the injustice or mistakes of Karma which are the causes of such "undeserved misery", but other causes, independent of the past Karma of either the producer or the innocent victim of their effects, new actions generated by the wickedness of men and circumstances; and which arouse Karmic law to fresh activity, i.e., the punishment of those who caused these new Nidanas (or causal connections), and the reward of him who suffered from them undeservedly.

CW X, 262 Q.        Can a dreamer be "en rapport" with an entity in Devachan?

A.        The only possible means of communicating with Devachanees is during sleep by a dream or vision, or in trance state. No Devachanee can descend into our plane; it is for us - or rather our inner Self - to ascend to his.

CW X, 269 ... the question raised was whether or not all stayed 1500 years in Devachan.

Well, Judge, you must know well that under the philosophy we don't all stay there so long. It varies with the character of each. A thoroughly material thinker will emerge sooner than one who is a spiritual philosopher and good. Besides, recollect that all workers for the Lodge, no matter of what degree, are helped out of Devachan if they themselves permit it. Your own idea which you have stated, that 1500 years had not elapsed since you went into Devachan, is correct, and what I tell is what Master himself tells me. So there you are.

ML 97:99 The Deva-Chan, or land of "Sukhavati", is allegorically described by our Lord Buddha himself. What he said may be found in the Shan-Mun-yi-Tung. Says Tathagata:-

"Many thousand myriads of systems of worlds beyond this (ours) there is a region of Bliss called Sukhavati ... This region is encircled with seven rows of railings, seven rows of vast curtains, seven rows of waving trees; this holy abode of Arhats is governed by the Tathagatas (Dhyan Chohans) and is possessed by the Bodhisatwas. It hath seven precious lakes, in the midst of which flow crystalline waters having 'seven and one' properties, or distinctive qualities (the 7 principles emanating from the ONE). This, O, Sariputra is the 'Deva Chan'. Its divine Udambara flower casts a root in the shadow of every earth, and blossoms for all those who reach it. Those born in the blessed region are truly felicitous, there are no more griefs or sorrows in that cycle for them ... Myriads of Spirits (Lha) resort there for rest and then return to their own regions. Again, O, Sariputra, in that land of joy many who are born in it are Avaivartyas ..."

ML 98:100 Certainly the new Ego once that it is reborn [in Deva Chan], retains for a certain time - proportionate to its Earth-life, a "complete recollection of his life on earth". (See your preceding query). But it can never return on earth, from the Deva Chan, nor has the latter - even omitting all "anthropomorphic ideas of God" - any resemblance to the paradise or heaven of any religion, and it is H.P.B.'s literary fancy that suggested to her the wonderful comparison.

ML 98:l00 "Who goes to Deva Chan?" The personal Ego of course, but beatified, purified, holy. Every Ego - the combination of the sixth and seventh principles - which after the period of unconscious gestation is reborn into the Deva-Chan, is of necessity as innocent and pure as a new-born babe. The fact of his being reborn at all, shows the preponderance of good over evil in his old personality. And while the Karma (of evil) steps aside for the time being to follow him in his future earth-reincarnations, he brings along with him but the Karma of his good deeds, words, and thoughts, into this Deva-Chan. Bad is a relative term for us - as you were told more than once before, - and the Law of Retribution is the only law that never errs. Hence all those who have not slipped down into the mire of unredeemable sin and bestiality - go to the Deva Chan. They will have to pay for their sins, voluntary and involuntary, later on. Meanwhile they are rewarded; receive the effects of the causes produced by them.

Of course it is a state, one, so to say, of intense selfishness during which an Ego reaps the reward of his unselfishness on earth. He is completely engrossed in the bliss of all his personal earthly affections, preferences and thoughts, and gathers in the fruits of his meritorious actions. No pain, no grief nor even the shadow of a sorrow comes to darken the bright horizon of his unalloyed happiness; for it is a state of perpetual "Maya".

Since the conscious perception of one's personality on earth is but an evanescent dream that sense will be equally that of a dream in the Deva-Chan - only a hundred fold intensified. So much so indeed, that the happy Ego is unable to see through the veil the evils, sorrows and woes to which those it loved on earth may be subjected to. It lives in a sweet dream with its loved ones - whether gone before, or yet remaining on earth; it has them near itself, as happy, as blissful and as innocent as the disembodied dreamer himself; and yet, apart from rare visions the denizens of our gross planet feel it not. It is in this, during such a condition of complete Maya that the Souls or astral Egos of pure, loving sensitives, labouring under the same illusion, think their loved ones come down to them on earth, while it is their own Spirits that are raised towards those in the Deva-Chan.

ML 100:102 Yes, there are great varieties in the Deva-Chan states, and it is all as you say. As many varieties of bliss, as on earth there are shades of perception and of capability to appreciate such reward. It is an ideated paradise, in each case of the Ego's own making, and by him filled with the scenery, crowded with the incidents, and thronged with the people he would expect to find in such a sphere of compensative bliss. It is that variety which guides the temporary personal Ego into the current which will lead him to be reborn in a lower or higher condition in the next world of causes. Everything is so harmoniously adjusted in nature - especially in the subjective world, that no mistake can ever be committed by the Tathagatas - or Dhyan Chohans - who guide the impulses.

ML 100:102 Q. On the face of the idea, a purely spiritual state would only be enjoyable to the entities highly spiritualized in this life. But there are myriads of very good people (morally) who are not spiritualized at all. How can they be fitted to pass, with their recollections of this life from a material to a spiritual condition of existence?

A. It is "a spiritual condition" only as contrasted with our own grossly "material condition", and, as already stated - it is such degrees of spirituality that constitute and determine the great "varieties" of conditions within the limits of Deva-Chan. A mother from a savage tribe is not less happy than a mother from a regal palace, with her lost child in her arms; and although as actual Egos, children prematurely dying before the perfection of their septenary Entity do not find their way to Deva-Chan, yet all the same the mother's loving fancy finds her children there, without one missing that her heart yearns for. Say - it is but a dream, but after all what is objective life itself but a panorama of vivid unrealities? The pleasures realized by a Red Indian in his "happy hunting grounds' in that Land of Dreams is not less intense than the ecstasy felt by a connoisseur who passes aeons in the rapt delight of listening to divine Symphonies by imaginary angelic choirs and orchestras. As it is no fault of the former, if born a "savage" with an instinct to kill - though it caused the death of many an innocent animal - why, if with it all, he was a loving father, son, husband, why should he not also enjoy his share of reward? The case would be quite different if the same cruel acts had been done by an educated and civilized person, from a mere love of sport. The savage in being reborn would simply take a low place in the scale, by reason of his imperfect moral development; while the Karma of the other would be tainted with moral delinquency ...

Every one but that ego which, attracted by its gross magnetism, falls into the current that will draw it into the "planet of Death" - the mental as well as physical satellite of our earth - is fitted to pass into a relative "spiritual" condition adjusted to his previous condition in life and mode of thought. To my knowledge and recollection H.P.B. explained to Mr. Hume that man's sixth principle, as something purely spiritual could not exist, or have conscious being in the Deva-Chan, unless it assimilated some of the more abstract and pure of the mental attributes of the fifth principle or animal Soul: its manas (mind) and memory.

ML 102:104 Q. And how is a spiritual existence in which everything has merged into the sixth principle, compatible with that consciousness of individual and personal material life which must be attributed to the Ego in Deva-Chan if he retains his earthly consciousness as stated in the Theosophist Note?

A. The question is now sufficiently explained, I believe: the sixth and seventh principles apart from the rest constitute the eternal imperishable but also unconscious "Monad". To awaken in it to life the latent consciousness, especially that of personal individuality, requires the monad plus the highest attributes of the fifth - the "animal soul"; and it is that which makes the ethereal Ego that lives and enjoys bliss in the Deva-Chan. Spirit, or the unalloyed emanations of the ONE - the latter forming with the seventh and sixth principles the highest triad - neither of the two emanations are capable of assimilating but that which is good, pure and holy; hence no sensual, material or unholy recollection can follow the purified memory of the Ego to the region of Bliss. The Karma for these recollections of evil deeds and thought will reach the Ego when it changes its personality in the following world of causes. The Monad, or the "Spiritual Individuality", remains untainted in all cases. "No sorrow or Pain for those born there (in the Rupa-Loka of Deva-Chan); for this is the Pureland. All the regions in Space possess such lands (Sakwala), but this land of Bliss is the most pure." In the Djnana Prasthana Shaster, it is said: "by personal purity and earnest meditation, we overleap the limits of the World of Desire, and enter in the World of Forms".

ML 103:105 "Bardo" is the period between death and rebirth - and may last from a few years to a kalpa. It is divided into three sub-periods (1) when the Ego delivered of its mortal coil enters into Kama-Loka (the abode of Elementaries [or shells]; (2) when it enters into its "Gestation State"; (3) when it is reborn in the Rupa-Loka of Deva-Chan. Sub-period (1) may last from a few minutes to a number of years - the phrase "a few years" becoming puzzling and utterly worthless without a more complete explanation; Sub-period (2) is "very long"; as you say, longer sometimes than you may even imagine, yet proportionate to the Ego's spiritual stamina; Sub-period (3) lasts in proportion to the good Karma, after which the monad is again reincarnated. The Agama Sutra saying:- "in all these Rupa-Lokas, the Devas (Spirits) are equally subjected to birth, decay, old age, and death," means only that an Ego is borne thither then begins fading out and finally "dies", i.e., falls into that unconscious condition which preceded rebirth; and ends the Sloka with these words: "As the devas emerge from these heavens, they enter the lower world again:" i.e., they leave a world of bliss to be reborn into a world of causes.

ML 103:106 Most emphatically the "the Deva-Chan is not solely the heritage of adepts", and most decidedly there is a "heaven" - if you must use this astro-geographical Christian term - for "an immense number of those who have gone before". But "the life of Earth" can be watched by none of these, for reasons of the Law of Bliss plus Maya, already given.

ML 103:106 Q. And for how long? Does this state of spiritual beatitude endure for years? for decades? for centuries?

A. For years, decades, centuries and millenniums oftentimes multiplied by something more. It all depends upon the duration of Karma. Fill with oil Den's [Sinnett's son] little cup, and a city Reservoir of water (sic), and lighting both see which burns the longer. The Ego is the wick and Karma the oil; the difference in the quantity of the latter (in the cup and the reservoir) suggesting to you the great difference in the duration of various Karmas. Every effect must be proportionate to the cause. And, as man's terms of incarnate existence bear but a small proportion to his periods of inter-natal existence in the manvantaric cycle, so the good thoughts, words and deeds of any one of these "lives" on a globe are causative of effects, the working out of which requires far more time than the evolution of the causes occupied. Therefore, when you read in the Jats and other fabulous stories of the Buddhist Scriptures that this or the other good action was rewarded by Kalpas of several figures of bliss, do not smile at the absurd exaggeration, but bear in mind what I have said. From a small seed, you know, sprung a tree whose life endures now for 22 centuries; I mean the Anuradha-pura Bo tree. Nor must you laugh, if ever you come across Pindha-Dhana or any other Buddhist Sutra and read: "Between the Kama-Loka and the Rupa-Loka there is a locality, the dwelling of 'Mara' (Death). This Mara filled with passion and lust, destroys all virtuous principles, as a stone grinds corn. His palace is 7000 yojanas square, and is surrounded by a seven-fold wall", for you will feel now more prepared to understand the allegory.

ML 123:127 Most of those, whom you may call, if you like, candidates for Deva-Chan - die and are reborn in the Kama-Loka "without remembrance"; though (and just because) they do get some of it back in Deva-Chan. Nor can we call it a full, but only partial remembrance. You would hardly call "remembrance" a dream of yours; some particular scene or scenes, within whose narrow limits you would find enclosed a few persons - those whom you loved best, with an undying love, that holy feeling that alone survives, and - not the slightest recollection of any other events or scenes? Love and Hatred are the only immortal feelings, the only survivors from the wreck of Ye-damma, or the phenomenal world. Imagine yourself then, in Deva-Chan with those you may have loved with such immortal love; with the familiar, shadowy scenes connected with them for a background and - a perfect blank for everything else relating to your interior, social, political, literary and social life. And then, in the face of that spiritual, purely cogitative existence, of that unalloyed felicity which, in proportion with the intensity of the feelings that created it, last from a few to several thousand years, - call it the "personal remembrance of A.P.Sinnett" - if you can. Dreadfully monotonous! - you may think. - Not in the least - I answer. Have you experienced monotony during - say - that moment which you considered then and now so consider it - as the moment of the highest bliss you have every felt? - Of course not. - Well no more will you experience it there, in that passage through Eternity in which a million of years is no longer than a second. There, where there is no consciousness of an external world there can be no discernment to mark differences, hence, - no perception of contrasts of monotony or variety; nothing in short, outside that immortal feeling of love and sympathetic attraction whose seeds are planted in the fifth, whose plants blossom luxuriantly in and around the fourth, but whose roots have to penetrate deep into the sixth principle if it would survive the lower groups.

ML 131:134 ... unless he [any man] has a strong desire to live, he need not trouble himself about Deva-Chan. Unless a man loves well or hates as well, he will be neither in Deva-Chan nor in Avitchi. "Nature spews the luke-warm out of her mouth" means only that she annihilates their personal Egos (not the shells nor yet the sixth principle) in the Kama Loka and the Deva-Chan. This does not prevent them from being immediately reborn - and, if their lives were not very very bad, - there is no reason why the eternal Monad should not find the page of the life intact in the Book of Life.

ML 143:147 Q. When you wrote "Have you experienced monotony during that moment which you considered then and now so consider it, - as the moment of the highest bliss you have ever felt?" - did you refer to any specific moment and any specific event in my life, or were you merely referring to an X quantity - the happiest moment whatever it might have been?

ML 166:170 A. No, good friend; I am not as indiscreet as all that, I left you simply to your own reminiscences. Every mortal creature, even the less favoured by Fortune, has such moments of relative happiness at some time of his life. Why shouldn't you? Yes, it was an X quantity I referred to.

ML 143:147 Q. You say:- Remember we create ourselves, our Deva Chan, and our Avitchi and mostly during the latter days and even moments of our sentient lives.

ML 167:170 A. It is a widely spread belief among all the Hindus that a person's future pre-natal state and birth are moulded by the last desire he may have at the time of death. But this last desire, they say, necessarily hinges on to the shape which the person may have given to his desires, passions, etc., during his past life. It is for this very reason, viz. - that our last desire may not be unfavourable to our future progress - that we have to watch our actions and control our passions and desires throughout our whole earthly career."

ML 143:147 Q. But do the thoughts on which the mind may be engaged at the last moment necessarily hinge on to the predominant character of its past life? Otherwise it would seem as if the character of a person's Deva Chan or Avitchi might be capriciously and unjustly determined by the chance which brought some special thought uppermost at the last?

ML 167:170 A. It cannot be otherwise. The experience of dying men - by drowning and other accidents - brought back to life, has corroborated our doctrine in almost every case. Such thoughts are involuntary and we have no more control over them than we would over the eye's retina to prevent it perceiving that colour which affects it most. At the last moment, the whole life is reflected in our memory and emerges from all the forgotten nooks and corners picture after picture, one event after the other. The dying brain dislodges memory with a strong supreme impulse, and memory restores faithfully every impression entrusted to it during the period of the brain's activity. That impression and thought which was strongest naturally becomes the most vivid and survives so to say all the rest which now vanish and disappear for ever, to reappear but in Devachan. (Footnote: Good gracious! had I forgotten in my hurry to add the last five words, would not I have caught it as a charge of flat contradiction!) No man dies insane or unconscious - as some physiologists assert. Even a madman, or one in a fit of delirium tremens will have his instant of perfect lucidity at the moment of death, though unable to say so to those present. The man may often appear dead. Yet from the last pulsation, from and between the last throbbing of his heart and the moment when the last spark of animal heat leaves the body - the brain thinks and the Ego lives over in those few brief seconds his whole life over again. Speak in whispers, ye who assist at a death-bed and find yourselves in the solemn presence of Death. Especially have you to keep quiet just after Death has laid her clammy hand upon the body. Speak in whispers, I say, lest you disturb the quiet ripple of thought, and hinder the busy work of the Past casting its reflection upon the Veil of the Future.

ML 184:187 Therefore, there is no contradiction in saying, that the ego once reborn in the Devachan, "retains for a certain time proportionate to its earth life a complete recollection of his (Spiritual) life on earth". Here again the omission of the word "Spiritual" alone, produced a misunderstanding!

All those that do not slip down into the 8th sphere - go to the Devachan. Where's the point made or the contradiction?

The Devachan State, I repeat, can be as little described or explained, by giving a however minute and graphic description of the state of one ego taken at random, as all the human lives collectively could be described by the "Life of Napoleon" or that of any other man. There are millions of various states of happiness and misery, emotional states having their source in the physical as well as the spiritual faculties and senses, and only the latter surviving. An honest labourer will feel differently from an honest millionaire. Miss Nightingale's state will differ considerably from that of a young bride who dies before the consummation of what she regards as happiness. The two former love their families; the philanthropist - humanity; the girl centres the whole world in her future husband; the melomanic knows of no higher state of bliss and happiness than music - the most divine and spiritual of arts. The devachan merges from its highest into its lowest degree - by insensible gradations; while from the last step of devachan, the Ego will often find itself in Avitcha's faintest state, which, towards the end of the spiritual selection of events may become a bona fide "Avitcha". Remember every feeling is relative. There is neither good nor evil, happiness nor misery per se. The transcendent, evanescent bliss of an adulterer, who by his act murders the happiness of a husband, is no less spiritually born for its criminal nature. If a remorse of conscience (the latter proceeding always from the Sixth Principle) has only once been felt during the period of bliss and really spiritual love, born in the sixth and fifth, however, polluted by the desires of the fourth, or Kamarupa - then this remorse must survive and will accompany incessantly the scenes of pure love. I need not enter into details, since a physiological expert, as I take you to be, need hardly have his imagination and intuitions prompted by a psychological observer of my sort. Search in the depths of your conscience and memory and try to see what are the scenes that are likely to take their firm hold upon you; when once more in their presence you find yourself living them over again; and that, ensnared, you will have forgotten all the rest - this latter among other things, since in the course of events it will come far later on in the panorama of your resurrected life. I have no right to look into your past life. Whenever I may have caught glimpses of it, I have invariably turned my eyes away, for I have to deal with the present A.P. Sinnett - (also and by far more "a new invention" than the ex A.P.S.) - not with the ancient man.

Yes; Love and Hatred are the only immortal feelings; but the gradations of tones along the seven by seven scales of the whole key-board of life, are numberless. And, since it is those two feelings - (or, to be correct, shall I risk being misunderstood again and say those two poles of man's "Soul" which is a unity?) - that mould the future state of man, whether for devachan or Avitcha then the variety of such states must also be inexhaustible.

ML 188:191 Why should it be supposed that devachan is a monotonous condition only because one moment of earthly sensation is infinitely perpetuated - stretched, so to say, throughout aeons? It is not, it cannot be so. This would be contrary to all analogies and antagonistic to the law of effects under which results are proportioned to antecedent energies. To make it clear you must keep in mind that there are two fields of causal manifestation, to wit, the objective and the subjective. So the grosser energies, those which operate in the heavier or denser conditions of matter manifest objectively in physical life, their outcome being the new personality of each birth included within the grand cycle of the evolving individuality. The moral and spiritual activities find their sphere of effects in "devachan". For example, the vices, physical attractions, etc. - say, of a philosopher may result in the birth of a new philosopher, a king or a merchant, a rich Epicurean, or any other personality whose make-up was inevitable from the preponderating proclivities of the being in the next preceding birth. Bacon, for inst.: whom a poet called - "The greatest, wisest, meanest of mankind" - might reappear in his next incarnation as a greedy money-getter, with extraordinary intellectual capacities. But the moral and spiritual qualities of the previous Bacon would also have to find a field in which their energies could expand themselves. Devachan is such a field. Hence - all the great plans of moral reform, of intellectual and spiritual research into abstract principles of nature, all the divine aspirations, would in devachan come to fruition, and the abstract entity previously known as the great Chancellor would occupy itself in this inner world of its own preparation, living, if not quite what one would call a conscious existence, at least a dream of such realistic vividness that none of the life-realities could ever match it. And this "dream" lasts - until Karma is satisfied in that direction, the ripple of force reaches the edge of its cyclic basin, and the being moves into the next area of causes. This, it may find in the same world as before, or another, according to his or her stage of progression through the necessary rings and rounds of human development.

Then - how can you think that "but one moment of earthly sensation only is selected for perpetuation"? Very true, that "moment" lasts from the first to the last; but then it lasts but as the key-note of the whole harmony, a definite tone of appreciable pitch, around which cluster and develop in progressive variations of melody and as endless variations on a theme, all the aspirations, desires, hopes, dreams, which, in connection with that particular "moment" had ever crossed the "dreamer's" brain during his lifetime, without having ever found their realization on earth, and which he now finds fully realized in all their vividness in devachan, without ever suspecting that all that blissful reality is but the progeny begotten by his own fancy, the effects of the mental causes produced by himself. That particular one moment which will be most intense and uppermost in the thoughts of his dying brain at the time of dissolution will of course regulate all the other "moments"; still the latter - minor and less vivid though they be - will be there also, having their appointed plan in his phantasmagoric marshalling of past dreams, and must give variety to the whole. No man on earth, but has some decided predilection if not a domineering passion; no person, however humble and poor - and often because of that - but indulges in dreams and desires unsatisfied though these be. Is this monotony? Would you call such variations ad infinitum on the one theme, and that theme modelling itself, on, and taking colour and its definite shape from, that group of desires which was the most intense during life "a blank destitution of all knowledge in the devachanic mind" - seeming "in a measure ignoble"? Then, verily, either you have failed, as you say, to take in my meaning, or it is I who am to blame. I must have sorely failed to convey the right meaning, and have to confess my inability to describe the -indescribable. The latter is a difficult task, good friend. Unless the intuitive perceptions of a trained chela come to the rescue, no amount of description - however graphic - will help. Indeed, - no adequate words to express the difference between a state of mind on earth, and one outside of its sphere of action; no English terms in existence, equivalent to ours; nothing -but unavoidable (as due to early Western education) preconceptions, hence - lines of thought in a wrong direction in the learner's mind to help us in this inoculation of entirely new thoughts! You are right. Not only "ordinary people" - your readers - but even such idealists and highly intellectual units as Mr C.C.M. will fail, I am afraid, to seize the true idea, will never fathom it to its very depths. Perhaps, you may some day, realize better than you do now, one of the chief reasons for our unwillingness to impart our Knowledge to European candidates.

ML 190:193 "A man in the way to learn something of the mysteries of nature seems in a higher state of existence to begin with on earth than that which nature apparently provides for him as a reward for his best deeds."

Perhaps "apparently" - not so in reality. When the modus operandus of nature is correctly understood. Then that other misconception: "The more merit, the longer period of devachan. But then in Devachan ... all sense of the lapse of time is lost; a minute is as a thousand years ... a quoi bon then, etc."

This remark and such ways of looking at things might as well apply to the whole of Eternity, to Nirvana, Pralaya, and what not. Say, at once that the whole system of being, of existence separate and collective, of nature objective and subjective are but idiotic, aimless facts, a gigantic fraud of that nature, which meeting with little sympathy with Western philosophy, has, moreover, the cruel disapprobation of the best "lay-chela". A quoi bon, in such a case, this preaching of our doctrines, all this uphill work and swimming in adversum flumen? Why should the West be so anxious then to learn anything from the East, since it is evidently unable to digest that which can never meet the requirements of the special tastes of its Esthetics. Sorry outlook for us, since even you fail to take in the whole magnitude of our philosophy, or to even embrace at one scope a small corner - the devachan - of those sublime and infinite horizons of "after life". I do not want to discourage you. I would only draw your attention to the formidable difficulties encountered by us in every attempt we make to explain our metaphysics to Western minds, even among the most intelligent. Alas, my friend, you seem as unable to assimilate our mode of thinking, as to digest our food, or enjoy our melodies!

(191:194) No; there are no clocks, no timepieces in Devachan, my esteemed chela, though the whole Cosmos is a gigantic chronometer in one sense. Nor do we mortals, - ici bas meme - take much, if any, cognizance of time during moments of happiness and bliss, and find them ever too short, a fact that does not in the least prevent us from enjoying that happiness all the same, when it does come. Have you ever given a thought to this little possibility that, perhaps, it is because their cup of bliss is full to its brim, that the "devachanee" loses "all sense of the lapse of time"; and that is something that those who land in Avitchi do not, though as much as the devachanee, the Avitchee has no cognizance of time - i.e., of our earthly calculations of periods of time? I may also remind you in this connection that time is something created entirely by ourselves; that while one short second of intense agony may appear, even on earth, as an eternity to one man, to another, more fortunate, hours, days, and sometimes whole years may seem to flit like one brief moment; and that finally, of all the sentient and conscious beings on earth, man is the only animal that takes any cognizance of time, although it makes him neither happier nor wiser. How then, can I explain to you that which cannot feel, since you seem unable to comprehend it? Finite similes are unfit to express the abstract and the infinite; nor can the objective ever mirror the subjective. To realize the bliss in Devachan, or the woes in Avitchi, you have to assimilate them - as we do. Western critical idealism (as shown in Mr Roden Noel's attacks) has still to learn the difference that exists between the real being of super-sensible objects, and the shadowy subjectivity of the ideas it has reduced them to. Time is not a predicate conception and can, therefore, neither be proved nor analyzed, according to the methods of superficial philosophy. And, unless we learn to counteract the negative results of that method of drawing our conclusions agreeably to the teachings of the so-called "system of pure reason", and to distinguish between the matter and the form of our knowledge of sensible objects, we can never arrive at correct, definite conclusions. The case in hand, as defended by me against your (very natural) misconception is a good proof of the shallowness and even fallacy of that "system of pure (materialistic) reason". Space and time may be - as Kant has it - not the product but the regulators of the sensations, but only so far, as our sensations on earth are concerned, not those in Devachan. There we do not find the a priori ideas of those "space and time" controlling the perceptions of the denizen of Devachan in respect to the objects of his sense; but, on the contrary, we discover that it is the devachanee himself who absolutely creates both and annihilates them at the same time. Thus, the "after states" so called, can never be correctly judged by practical reason since the latter can have active being only in the sphere of final causes or ends, and can hardly be regarded with Kant (with whom it means on one page reason and on the next - will) as the highest spiritual power in man, having for its sphere that WILL. The above is not dragged in - as you may think - for the sake of an (too far stretched, perhaps) argument, but with an eye to a future discussion "at home", as you express it, with students and admirers of Kant and Plato that you will have to encounter.

(192:195) In a plainer language, I will now tell you the following, and, it will be no fault of mine if you still fail to comprehend its full meaning. As physical existence has its cumulative intensity from infancy to prime, and its diminishing energy thenceforward to dotage and death, so the dream-life of devachan is lived correspondentially. Hence you are right in saying that the "Soul" can never awake to its mistake and find itself "cheated by nature" - the more so, as strictly speaking, the whole of the human life and its boasted realities, are no better than such "cheating". But you are wrong in pandering to the prejudices and preconceptions of the Western readers (no Asiatic will ever agree with you upon this point) when you add that "there is a sense of unreality about the whole affair which is painful to the mind", since you are the first one to feel that, it is no doubt due much more to "an imperfect grasp of the nature of the existence" in devachan - than to any defect in our system. Hence - my orders to a chela to reproduce in an Appendix to your article extracts from this letter and explanations calculated to disabuse the reader, and to obliterate, as far as possible, the painful impression this confession of yours is sure to produce on him. The whole paragraph is dangerous. I do not feel myself justified in crossing it out, since it is evidently the expression of your real feelings, kindly, though - pardon me for saying so - a little clumsily white-washed with an apparent defence of this (to your mind) weak point of the system. But it is not so, believe me. Nature cheats no more the devachanee than she does the living, physical man. Nature provides for him far more real bliss and happiness there, than she does here, where all the conditions of evil and chance are against him, and his inherent helplessness - that of a straw violently blown hither and thither by every remorseless wind - has made unalloyed happiness on this earth an utter impossibility for the human being, whatever his chances and condition may be. Rather call this life an ugly, horrid nightmare, and you will be right. To call the devachan existence a "dream" in any other sense but that of a convenient term, well suited to our language all full of misnomers - is to renounce for ever the knowledge of the esoteric doctrine - the sole custodian of truth. Let me then try once more to explain to you a few of the many states in Devachan and -Avitchi.

As in actual earth-life, so there is for the Ego in devachan -the first flutter of psychic life, the attainment of prime, the gradual exhaustion of force, passing into semi-unconsciousness, gradual oblivion and lethargy, total oblivion and - not death but birth; birth into another personality, and the resumption of action which daily begets new congeries of causes, that must be worked out in another term of Devachan, and still another physical rebirth as a new personality. What the lives in devachan and upon Earth, shall be respectively in each instance is determined by Karma. And this weary round of birth upon birth must be ever and ever run through until the being reaches the end of the seventh round, or - attains in the interim the wisdom of an Arhat, then that of a Buddha and thus gets relieved for a round or two, - having learned how to burst through the vicious circles - and to pass periodically into the Paranirvana.

(193:196) But suppose it is not a question of a Bacon, a Goethe, a Shelley, a Howard, but of some hum-drum person, some colourless, flackless personality, who never impinged upon the world enough to make himself felt, what then? Simply that his devachanic state is as colourless and feeble as was his personality. How could it be otherwise since cause and effect are equal. But suppose a case of a monster of wickedness, sensuality, ambition, avarice, pride, deceit, etc., but who nevertheless has a germ or germs of something better, flashes of a more divine nature - where is he to go? The said spark smouldering under a heap of dirt will counteract, nevertheless, the attraction of the eighth sphere, whither fall but absolute nonentities, "failures of nature", to be remodelled entirely, whole divine monad separated itself from the five principles during their life-time, (whether in the next preceding or several preceding births, since such cases are on our records), and who having lived as soulless human beings.

Footnote: ...the word 'soul' standing for 'Spiritual Soul', of course, which, whenever it leaves a person "Soulless" becomes the cause of the fifth principle (Animal Soul) sliding down into the eighth sphere.

These persons whose sixth principle has left them (while the seventh having lost its vahan (or vehicle) can exist independently no longer) their fifth or animal Soul of course goes down "the bottomless pit". This will perhaps make Eliphas Levi's hints still more clear to you, if you read over what he says, and my remarks on the margin, thereon (see Theosophist, October, 1881, Article "Death") and reflect upon the words used: such as drones etc. Well, the first named entity then, cannot with all its wickedness go to the eighth sphere - since his wickedness is of a too spiritual, refined nature. He is a monster - not a mere Soulless brute. He must not be simply annihilated but PUNISHED; for, annihilation, i.e. total oblivion, and the fact of being snuffed out of conscious existence, constitutes per se no punishment, and as Voltaire expressed it: "le neant ne laisse pas d'avoir du bon". Here is no taper-glimmer to be puffed out by a zephyr, but a strong, positive, maleficent energy, fed and developed by circumstances, some of which may have really been beyond his control. There must be for such a nature a state corresponding to Devachan, and this is found in Avitchi, the perfect antithesis of devachan - vulgarized by the Western nations into Hell and Heaven, and which you have entirely lost sight of in your "Fragment". Remember: "To be immortal in good one must identify himself with Good (or God); to be immortal in evil -with evil (or Satan)". Misconceptions of the true value of such terms as "Spirit", "Soul", "individuality", "personality", and "Immortality" (especially) - provoke wordy wars between a great number of idealistic debaters, besides Messrs C.C.M. and Roden Noel. And, to complete your Fragment without risking to fall again under the mangling tooth of the latter honourable gentleman's criticism - I found it necessary to add to devachan - Avitchi as its complement and applying to it the same laws as to the former. This is done, with your permission, in the Appendix.

(194:197) Having explained the situation sufficiently I may now answer your query No.1 directly. Yes, certainly there is "a change of occupation", a continual change in Devachan, just as much - and far more - as there is in the life of any man or woman who happens to follow his or her whole life one sole occupation whatever it may be; with that difference, that to the Devachanee his special occupation is always pleasant and fills his life with rapture. Change then there must be, for that dream-life is but the fruition, the harvest-time of those psychic seed-germs dropped from the tree of physical existence in our moments of dreams and hopes, fancy-glimpses of bliss and happiness stifled in an ungrateful social soil, blooming in the rosy dawn of Devachan, and ripening under its ever fructifying sky. No failures there, no disappointments! If man had but one single moment of ideal happiness and experience during his life - as you think - even then, if Devachan exists, - it could not be as you erroneously suppose the indefinite prolongation of that "single moment", but the infinite developments the various incidents and events, based upon, and outflowing from, that one "single moment" or moments, as the case may be; all in short that would suggest itself to the "dreamers" fancy. That one note, as I said, struck from the lyre of life, would form but the Key-note of the being's subjective state, and work out into numberless harmonic tones and semi-tones of psychic phantasmagoria. There - all unrealized hopes, aspirations, dreams, become fully realized, and the dreams of the objective become the realities of subjective existence. And there behind the curtain of Maya its vapours and deceptive appearances are perceived by the adept, who has learnt the great secret how to penetrate thus deeply into the Arcana of being.

Doubtless my question whether you had experienced monotony during what you consider the happiest moment of your life has entirely misled you. This letter thus, is the just penance for my laziness to amplify the explanation.

ML 195:198 Deva Chan is a state, not a locality. Rupa Loka, Arupa-Loka and Kama-Loka are the three spheres of ascending spirituality in which the several groups of subjective entities find their attractions. In the Kama-Loka (semi-physical sphere) dwell the shells, the victims and suicides; and this sphere is divided into innumerable regions and sub-regions corresponding to the mental states of the comers at their hour of death. This is the glorious "Summerland" of the Spiritualists, to whose horizons is limited the vision of their best seers - vision imperfect and defective because untrained and non-guided by Alaya Vijnana (hidden knowledge). Who in the West knows anything of true Sahalo-Kadhatu, the mysterious Chiliocosm out of the many regions of which but three can be given out to the outside world, the Tribuvana (three worlds) namely: Kama, Rupa, and Arupa-Lokas.

ML 196:199 Roden Noel says a few pages further on, that, theosophists are endowing "shells" with simulated consciousness. See the difference one word will make. If the word "assimilated" instead of "simulated" had been written the true idea would have been conveyed that the shells' consciousness is assimilated from the medium and living persons present, whereas now --! But of course, it is not our European critics, but our Asiatic chelas' expositions that "seem absolutely Protean in their ever shifting variety". The man has to be answered and set right anyhow, whether by yourself or Mr Massey. But alas! the latter knows but little, and you, - you look at our conception of devachan with more than "discomfort"! But to resume.

From Kama Loka then in the great Chiliocosm, - once awakened from their post-mortem torpor, the newly translated "Souls" go all (but the shells) according to their attractions either to Devachan or Avitchi. And these two states are again differentiating ad infinitum - their ascending degrees of spirituality deriving their names from the locas in which they are induced. For instance; the sensations, perceptions and ideation of a devachanee in Rupa-Loka will, of course, be of less subjective nature than they would be in Arupa-Loka, in both of which the devachanic experiences will vary in their presentation to the subject-entity, not only as regards form, colour, and substance, but also in their formative potentialities. But not even the most exalted experience of a monad in the highest devachanic state in Arupa-Loka (the last of the seven states) - is comparable to that perfectly subjective condition of pure spirituality from which the monad emerged to "descend into matter", and to which at the completion of the grand cycle it must return. Nor is Nirvana itself comparable to Para Nirvana.

ML 197:199 Reviving consciousness begins after the struggle in Kama-Loka at the door of devachan, and only after the "gestation" period.

ML 197:200 The stay in Devachan is proportional to the unfinished psychic impulses originating in earth-life; those persons whose attractions were preponderatingly material will sooner be drawn back into rebirth by the force of Tanha. As our London opponent truly remarks: these subjects (metaphysical) are only partly for understanding. A higher faculty belonging to the higher life must see, - and it is truly impossible to force it upon one's understanding - merely in words. One must see with his spiritual eye, hear with his Dharmakayic ear, feel with the sensations of his Ashta-vijnyana (spiritual "I") before he can comprehend this doctrine fully, otherwise it may but increase one's "discomfort", and add to his knowledge very little.

ML 197:200 The "reward provided by nature for men who are benevolent in a large, systematic way" and who have not focussed their affections upon an individual or speciality, is that -if pure - they pass the quicker for that through the Kama and Rupa Lokas into the higher sphere of Tribuvana, since it is one where the formulation of abstract ideas and the consideration of general principles fill the thought of its occupants. Personality is the synonym for limitation, and the more contracted the person's ideas, the closer will he cling to the lower spheres of being, the longer loiter on the plane of selfish social intercourse.

ML 397:404 It is difficult to perceive what relations you wish to establish between the different states of subjectivity in Deva Chan and the various states of matter. If it be supposed that in Deva Chan the Ego passes through all these states of matter, then the answer would be that existence in the seventh state of matter is Nirvana and not Devachanic conditions. Humanity, although in different states of development, yet belongs to the three dimensional condition of matter. And there is no reason why in Deva Chan the Ego should be varying its "dimensions".

Molecules occupying a place in infinity is an inconceivable proposition. The confusion arises out of the Western tendency of putting an objective construction upon what is purely subjective. The book of Khiu-te teaches us that space is infinity itself. It is formless, immutable and absolute. Like the human mind, which is the exhaustless generator of ideas, the Universal Mind or Space has its ideation which is projected into objectivity at the appointed time; but space itself is not affected thereby. Even your Hamilton has shown that infinity can never be conceived by any series of additions. Whenever you talk of place in infinity, you dethrone infinity and degrade its absolute, unconditioned character.

What has the number of incarnations to do with the shrewdness, cleverness, or the stupidity of an individual? A strong craving for physical life may lead an entity through a number of incarnations and yet these may not develop its higher capacities. The Law of Affinity acts through the inherent Karmic impulses of the Ego, and governs its future existence. Comprehending Darwin's Law of Heredity for the body, it is not difficult to perceive how the birth-seeking Ego may be attracted at the time of rebirth to a body born in a family which has the same propensities as those of the reincarnating Entity.




Key 33 Theo: .. we must argue upon what you mean by "I" or Ego. We distinguish between the simple fact of self-consciousness, the simple feeling that "I am I", and the complex thought that "I am Mr Smith" or "Mrs Brown". Believing as we do in a series of births for the same Ego, or reincarnation, this distinction is the fundamental pivot of the whole idea. You see "Mr Smith" really means a long series of daily experience strung together by the thread of memory, and forming what Mr Smith calls "himself". But none of these "experiences" are really the "I" or the Ego, nor do they give Mr Smith the feeling that he is himself, for he forgets the greater part of his daily experiences, and they produce the feeling of Egoity in him only while they last. We Theosophists, therefore, distinguish between this bundle of "experiences", which we call the false (because so finite and evanescent) personality, and that element in man to which the feeling of "I am I" is due. It is this "I am I" which we call the true individuality; and we say that this Ego or individuality plays, like an actor, many parts on the stage of life ...

Key 34 Enq: .. surely the actor is at liberty .. to return if he likes to the scene of his former actions?

Theo: We say not, simply because such a return to earth would be incompatible with any state of unalloyed bliss after death ... We say that man suffers so much unmerited misery during his life, through the fault of others with whom he is associated, or because of his environment, that he is surely entitled to perfect rest and quiet, if not bliss, before taking up again the burden of life.

Key 123 Enq: .. no single man has yet been found to remember that he has lived, least of all who he was, during his previous life.

Theo: .. Yet when you take into consideration (a) the utter inability of the best modern psychologists to explain to the world the nature of mind; and (b) their complete ignorance of its potentialities, and higher states, you have to admit that this objection is based on an a priori conclusion drawn from prima facie and circumstantial evidence more than anything else.

Key 124 .. there is a great difference between the three accepted forms of memory. Besides memory in general you have Remembrance, Recollection and Reminiscence .. Memory is simply an innate power in thinking beings, and even in animals, of reproducing past impressions by an association of ideas principally suggested by objective things or by some action on our external sensory organs. Memory is a faculty depending entirely on the more or less healthy and normal functioning of our physical brain; and remembrance and recollection are the attributes and handmaidens of that memory. But reminiscence is an entirely different thing. Reminiscence is defined by the modern psychologist as something intermediate between remembrance and recollection, or "a conscious process of recalling past occurrences, but without that full and varied reference to particular things which characterizes recollection". Locke, speaking of recollection and remembrance, says: "When an idea again recurs without the operation of the like object on the external sensory, it is remembrance; if it be sought after by the mind, and with pain and endeavour found and brought again into view, it is recollection" .. while memory is physical and evanescent and depends on the physiological conditions of the brain - a fundamental proposition .. we call reminiscence the memory of the soul. And it is this memory which gives the assurance to almost every human being, whether he understands it or not, of his having lived before and having to live again. Indeed, as Wordsworth has it:


Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting,

The soul that rises with us, our life's Star,

Hath had elsewhere its setting,

And cometh from afar.

Key 127 Enq: .. how do they [the seven principles] account for our complete loss of any recollection of having lived before?

Theo: Very easily. Since those principles which we call physical .. are disintegrated after death with their constituent elements, memory along with its brain, this vanished memory of a vanished personality can neither remember nor record anything in the subsequent reincarnation of the EGO. Reincarnation means that this Ego will be furnished with a new body, a new brain and a new memory. Therefore it would be as absurd to expect this memory to remember that which it has never recorded as it would be idle to examine under a microscope a shirt never worn by a murderer, and seek on it for the stains of blood which are to be found only on the clothes he wore.

Key 128 Theo: To get convinced of the fact of reincarnation and past lives, one must put oneself in rapport with one's real permanent Ego, not one's evanescent memory."

Key 130 Theo: .. Yet the record or reflection of all the past lives must survive, .. and anyone who attains to the state of Jhana can thus retrospectively trace the line of his lives. This proves to you that while the undying qualities of the personality - such as love, goodness, charity, etc. - attach themselves to the immortal Ego, photographing on it, so to speak, a permanent image of the divine aspect of the man who was, his material Skandhas (those which generate the most marked Karmic effects) are as evanescent as a flash of lightning, and cannot impress the new brain of the new personality; yet their failing to do so impairs in no way the identity of the reincarnating Ego.

Enq: Do you mean to infer that that which survives is only the Soul-memory .. while nothing of the personality remains?

Theo: Not quite; something of each personality unless the latter was an absolute materialist with not even a chink in his nature for a spiritual ray to pass through, must survive, as it leaves its eternal impress on the incarnating permanent Self or Spiritual Ego.

[There is a footnote here (131) explaining that .. "Spiritual [here is] in contradistinction to the personal Self. This Spiritual Ego must not be confused with the "HIGHER SELF" which is Atma, the God within us, and inseparable from the Universal Spirit."]

The personality with its Skandhas is ever changing with every new birth. It is, as said before, only the part played by the actor (the true Ego) for one night. This is why we preserve no memory on the physical plane of our past lives, though the real Ego has lived them over and knows them all.

Key 131 Theo: .. the Spiritual Ego can act only when the personal Ego is paralysed. The Spiritual "I" in man is omniscient and has every knowledge innate in it; while the personal self is the creature of its environment and the slave of the physical memory. Could the former manifest itself uninterruptedly, and without impediment, there would be no longer men on earth, but we should all be gods.

Key 137 Enq: I have heard you say that the Ego, whatever the life of the person he incarnated in may have been on Earth, is never visited with post-mortem punishment.

Theo: Never, save in very exceptional and rare cases of which we will not speak here, as the nature of the "punishment" in no way approaches any of your theological conceptions of damnation.

Key 138 Enq: But if it is punished in this life for the misdeeds committed in a previous one, then it is this Ego that ought to be rewarded also, whether here, or when disincarnated.

Theo: And so it is. If we do not admit of any punishment outside of this earth, it is because the only state the Spiritual Self knows of, hereafter, is that of unalloyed bliss.

Enq: What do you mean?

Theo: Simply this: crimes and sins committed on a plane of objectivity and in a world of matter, cannot receive punishment in a world of pure subjectivity. We believe in no hell or paradise as localities; in no objective hell-fires and worms that never die, nor in any Jerusalems with streets paved with sapphires and diamonds. What we believe in is a post-mortem state or mental condition, such as we are in during a vivid dream. We believe in an immutable law of absolute Love, Justice, and Mercy. And believing in it, we say: "Whatever the sin and dire results of the original Karmic transgression of the now incarnated Egos, no man (or the outer material and periodical form of the Spiritual Entity) can be held, with any degree of justice, responsible for the consequences of his birth. He does not ask to be born, nor can he choose the parents that will give him life. In every respect he is the victim to his environment, the child of circumstances over which he has no control; and if each of his transgressions were impartially investigated, there would be found nine out of every ten cases when he was the one sinned against, rather than the sinner.

Key 139 .. Whether a great or average sinner, good or bad, guilty or innocent, once delivered of the burden of physical life, the tired and worn-out Manu ("thinking Ego") has won the right to a period of absolute rest and bliss. The same unerringly wise and just rather than merciful Law, which inflicts upon the incarnated Ego the Karmic punishment for every sin committed during the preceding life on Earth, provided for the now disembodied Entity a long lease of mental rest, i.e. the entire oblivion of every sad event, aye, to the smallest painful thought, that took place in its last life as a personality, leaving the soul-memory but the reminiscence of that which was bliss, or led to happiness.

Key 140 Enq: "Then am I to understand that the murderer, the transgressor of law divine and human in every shape, is allowed to go unpunished?

Theo: Who ever said that? Our philosophy has a doctrine of punishment as stern as that of the most rigid Calvinist, only far more philosophical and consistent with absolute justice. No deed, not even a sinful thought, will go unpunished; the latter more severely even than the former, as a thought is far more potential in creating evil results than even a deed. We believe in an unerring law of Retribution, called Karma, which asserts itself in a natural concatenation of causes and their unavoidable results.

Enq: And how, or where, does it act?

Theo: Every labourer is worthy of his hire, said Wisdom in the Gospel; every action, good or bad, is a prolific parent, ... After allowing the Soul, escaped from the pangs of personal life, a sufficient, aye, a hundredfold compensation, Karma, with its army of Skandhas, waits at the threshold of Devachan, whence the Ego re-emerges to assume a new incarnation. It is at this moment that the future destiny of the now-rested Ego trembles in the scales of just Retribution, as it now falls once again under the sway of active Karmic law. It is in this rebirth which is ready for it, a rebirth selected and prepared by this mysterious, inexorable, but in the equity and wisdom of its decrees infallible LAW, that the sins of the previous life of the Ego are punished. Only it is into no imaginary Hell, with theatrical flames and ridiculous tailed and horned devils, that the Ego is cast, but verily on this earth, the plane and region of his sins, where he will have to atone for every bad thought and deed. As he has sown, so will he reap. Reincarnation will gather around him all those other Egos who have suffered, whether directly or indirectly, at the hands, or even through the unconscious instrumentality, of the past personality. They will be thrown by Nemesis in the way of the new man, concealing the old, the eternal Ego, and ...

Enq: But where is the equity you speak of, since these new personalities are not aware of having sinned or been sinned against?

Theo: Has the coat torn to shreds from the back of a man who stole it, by another man who was robbed of it and recognizes his property, to be regarded as fairly dealt with? The new personality is no better than a fresh suit of clothes with its specific characteristics, colour, form and qualities; but the real man who wears it is the same culprit of old. It is the individuality that suffers through his personality. And it is this, and this alone, that can account for the terrible, still only apparent injustice in the distribution of lots in life to man.

Key 153 Enq: I begin to understand better now. It is the Spirit, so to say, of those Skandhas which are the most ennobling, which, attaching themselves to the incarnating Ego, survive, and are added to the stock of its angelic experiences. And it is the attributes connected with the material Skandhas with selfish and personal motives, which, disappearing from the field of action between two incarnations, re-appear at the subsequent incarnation as Karmic results to be atoned for; and therefore the Spirit will not leave Devachan. Is it so?

Theo: Very nearly so. If you add to this the law of retribution or Karma, rewarding the highest and most spiritual in Devachan, never fails to reward them again on earth by giving them a further development, and furnishing the Ego with a body fitted for it, then you will be quite correct.

Key 154 Enq: "What becomes of the other, the lower Skandhas of the personality, after the death of the body? Are they quite destroyed?

Theo: They are and yet they are not - a fresh metaphysical and occult mystery for you. They are destroyed as the working stock in hand of the personality; they remain as Karmic effects, as germs, hanging in the atmosphere of the terrestrial plane, ready to come to life, as so many avenging fiends, to attach themselves to the new personality of the Ego when it reincarnates.

Enq: This really passes my comprehension, and is very difficult to understand.

Theo: Not once that you have assimilated all the details. For then you will see that for logic, consistency, profound philosophy, divine mercy and equity, this doctrine of Reincarnation has not its equal on earth. It is a belief in a perpetual progress for each incarnating Ego, or divine soul, in an evolution from the outward into the inward, from the material to the Spiritual, arriving at the end of each stage at absolute unity with the divine Principle. From strength to strength, from beauty and perfection, of one plane to the greater beauty and perfection of another, with accessions of new glory, of fresh knowledge and power in each cycle, such is the destiny of every Ego, which thus becomes its own Saviour in each world and incarnation.

Key 160 Enq: But if my Ego can, after the destruction of my body, become plunged in a state of entire unconsciousness, then where can be the punishment for the sins of my past life?

Theo: Our philosophy teaches that Karmic punishment reaches the Ego only in its next incarnation. After death it receives only the reward for the unmerited sufferings endured during its past incarnation.

[Footnote paraphrased: Some people have taken exception to this statement .. the essential idea was that men often suffer from the effects of the actions done by others, effects which thus do not strictly belong to their own Karma - and for those sufferings they of course deserve compensation.]

The whole punishment after death, even for the materialist, consists, therefore, in the absence of any reward, and the utter loss of consciousness of one's bliss and rest. Karma is the child of the terrestrial Ego, the fruit of the actions of the tree which is the objective personality visible to all, as much as the fruit of all the thoughts and even motives of the Spiritual "I"; but Karma is also the tender mother, who heals the wounds inflicted by her during the preceding life, before she will begin to torture this Ego by inflicting upon him new ones. If it may be said that there is not a mental or physical suffering in the life of a mortal which is not the direct fruit and consequence of some sin in preceding existence; on the other hand, since he does not preserve the slightest recollection of it in his actual life, and feels himself not deserving of such punishment, and therefore thinks he suffers for no guilt of his own, this alone is sufficient to entitle the human soul to the fullest consolation, rest, and bliss in his post-mortem existence. Death comes to our spiritual selves ever as a deliverer and friend. For the materialist, who, notwithstanding his materialism, was not a bad man, the interval between the two lives will be like the unbroken and placid sleep of a child, either entirely dreamless, or filled with pictures of which he will have no definite perception; while for the average mortal it will be a dream as vivid as life, and full of realistic bliss and visions.

Enq: Then the personal man must always go on suffering blindly the Karmic penalties which the Ego has incurred?

Theo: Not quite so. At the solemn moment of death every man, even when death is sudden, sees the whole of his past life marshalled before him, in its minutest details. For one short instant the personal becomes one with the individual and all-knowing Ego. But this instant is enough to show to him the whole chain of causes which have been at work during his life. He sees and now understands himself as he is, unadorned by flattery or self-deception. He reads his life, remaining as a spectator looking down into the arena he is quitting; he feels and knows the justice of all the suffering that has overtaken him.

Enq: Does this happen to everyone?

Theo: Without exception. Very good and holy men see, we are taught, not only the life they are leaving, but even several preceding lives in which were produced the causes that made them what they were in the life just closing. They recognize the law of Karma in all its majesty and justice.

Enq: Is there anything corresponding to this before rebirth?

Theo: There is. As the man at the moment of death has a retrospective insight into the life he has led, so, at the moment he is reborn on to earth, the Ego, awaking from the state of Devachan, has a prospective vision of the life which awaits him, and realizes all the causes that have led to it. He realizes them and sees futurity, because it is between Devachan and rebirth that the Ego regains his full manasic consciousness, and rebecomes for a short time the god he was, before, in compliance with Karmic law, he first descended into matter and incarnated in the first man of flesh. The "golden thread" sees all its "pearls" and misses not one of them.

Key 163 Theo: "... In some Upanishads these recurrent rebirths are likened to the life of a mortal which oscillates periodically between sleep and waking.

Enq: This, I must say, does not seem very clear, and I will tell you why. For the man who awakes, another day commences, but that man is the same in soul and body as he was the day before; whereas at every incarnation a full change takes place not only of the external envelope, sex, and personality, but even of the mental and psychic capacities ... The man who arises from sleep remembers quite clearly what he has done yesterday, the day before, and even months and years ago. But none of us has the slightest recollection of a preceding life or of any fact or event concerning it ... I may forget in the morning what I have dreamt during the night, still I know that I have slept and have the certainty that I lived during sleep; but what recollection can I have of my past incarnation until the moment of death? How do you reconcile this?

Theo: Some people do recollect their past incarnations during life; but these are Buddhas and Initiates. This is what the Yogis call Samma-Sambuddha, or the knowledge of the whole series of one's past incarnations.

Enq: But we ordinary mortals who have not reached Samma-Sambuddha, how are we to understand this simile?

Theo: By studying it and trying to understand more correctly the characteristics and the three kinds of sleep. Sleep is a general and immutable law for man as for beast, but there are different kinds of sleep and still more different dreams and visions.

Enq: .. Let us return to the materialist who, while not denying dreams, which he could hardly do, yet denies immortality in general and the survival of his own individuality.

Theo: And the materialist, without knowing it, is right. One who has no inner perception of, and faith in, the immortality of his soul, in that man the soul can never become Buddhi-taijasi, but will remain simply Manas, and for Manas alone there is no immortality possible. In order to live in the world to come a conscious life, one has to believe first of all in that life during the terrestrial existence. On these two aphorisms of the Secret Science all the philosophy about the post-mortem consciousness and the immortality of the soul is built. The Ego receives always according to its deserts. After the dissolution of the body, there commences for it a period of full awakened consciousness or a state of chaotic dreams, or an utterly dreamless sleep undistinguishable from annihilation, and these are the three kinds of sleep. If our physiologists find the cause of dreams and visions in an unconscious preparation for them during the waking hours, why cannot the same be admitted for the post-mortem dreams? I repeat it: death is sleep. After death, before the spiritual eyes of the soul, begins a performance according to a programme learnt and very often unconsciously composed by ourselves: the practical carrying out of correct beliefs or of illusions which have been created by ourselves. The Methodist will be Methodist, the Mussulman a Mussulman, at least for some time - in a perfect fool's paradise of each man's creation and making. These are the post-mortem fruits of the tree of life. Naturally, our belief or unbelief in the fact of conscious immortality is unable to influence the unconditioned reality of the fact itself, once that it exists, but the belief or unbelief in that immortality as the property of independent or separate entities, cannot fail to give colour to that fact in its application to each of these entities.

Key 165/6 Enq: ".. The materialist, disbelieving in everything that cannot be proven to him by his five senses, or by scientific reasoning, based exclusively on the data furnished by these senses in spite of their inadequacy, and rejecting every spiritual manifestation, accepts life as the only conscious existence. Therefore according to their beliefs so will it be unto them. They will lose their personal Ego, and will plunge into a dreamless sleep until a new awaking. Is it so?

Theo: Almost so. Remember the practically universal teaching of the two kinds of conscious existence: the terrestrial and the spiritual. The latter must be considered real from the very fact that it is inhabited by the eternal, changeless and immortal Monad; whereas the incarnating Ego dresses itself up in new garments entirely different from those of its previous incarnations, and in which all except its spiritual prototype is doomed to a change so radical as to leave no trace behind.

Enq: How so? Can my terrestrial "I" perish not only for a time, like the consciousness of a materialist, but so entirely as to leave no trace behind?

Theo: According to the teaching, it must so perish and in its fullness, all except the principle which, having united itself with the Monad, has thereby become a purely spiritual and indestructible essence, one with it in the Eternity. But in the case of an out-and-out materialist, in whose personal "I" no Buddhi has ever reflected itself, how can the latter carry away into the Eternity one particle of that terrestrial personality? Your spiritual "I" is immortal; but from your present self it can carry away into Eternity that only which has become worthy of immortality, namely, the aroma alone of the flower that has been mown by death.

Enq: Well, and the flower, the terrestrial "I"?

Theo: The flower, as well as all past and future flowers which have blossomed and will have to blossom on the mother bough, the Sutratma, all children of one root or Buddhi - will return to dust. Your present "I", as you yourself know, is not the body now sitting before me, nor yet is it what I would call Manas-Sutratma, but Sutratma-Buddhi.

Key 167 Enq: But this does not explain to me, at all, why you call life after death immortal, infinite and real, and the terrestrial life a simple phantom or illusion; since even that post-mortem life has limits, however much wider they may be than those of terrestrial life.

Theo: No doubt. The Spiritual Ego of Man moves in eternity like a pendulum between the hours of birth and death. But if these hours, marking the periods of life terrestrial and life spiritual, are limited in their duration, and if the very number of such stages in Eternity between sleep and awakening, illusion and reality, has its beginning and its end, on the other hand, the spiritual pilgrim is eternal. Therefore are the hours of his post-mortem life, when, disembodied, he stands face to face with truth and not the mirages of his transitory earthly existences, during the period of that pilgrimage which we call "the cycle of rebirths" - the only reality in our conception. Such intervals, their limitation notwithstanding, do not prevent the Ego, while ever perfecting itself, from following undeviatingly, though gradually and slowly, the path to its last transformation, when that Ego, having reached its goal, becomes a divine being. These intervals and stages help towards this final result instead of hindering it; and without such limited intervals the divine Ego could never reach its ultimate goal. I have given you once already a familiar illustration by comparing the Ego, or the individuality, to an actor, and its numerous and various incarnations to the parts it plays. Will you call these parts or their costumes the individuality of the actor himself? Like that actor, the Ego is forced to play during the cycle of necessity, up to the very threshold of Paranirvana, many parts such as may be unpleasant to it. But as the bee collects its honey from every flower, leaving the rest as food for the earthly worms, so does our spiritual individuality, whether we call it Sutratma or Ego. Collecting from every terrestrial personality, into which Karma forces it to incarnate, the nectar alone of the spiritual qualities and self-consciousness, it unites all these into one whole and emerges from its chrysalis as the glorified Dhyan-Chohan. So much the worse for those terrestrial personalities from which it could collect nothing. Such personalities cannot assuredly outlive consciously their terrestrial existence.

(168) Enq: Thus, then, it seems that, for the terrestrial personality, immortality is still conditional. Is then, immortality itself not unconditional?

Theo: Not at all. But immortality cannot touch the non-existent: for all that which exists as SAT, or emanates from SAT, immortality and Eternity are absolute. Matter is the opposite pole of spirit, and yet the two are one. The essence of all this, i.e. Spirit, Force and Matter, or the three in one, is as endless as it is beginningless; but the form acquired by this triple unity during its incarnations, its externality, is certainly only the illusion of our personal conceptions. Therefore do we call Nirvana and the Universal life alone a reality, while relegating the terrestrial life, its terrestrial personality included, and even its Devachanic existence, to the phantom realm of illusion.

(169) Enq: But why in such a case call sleep the reality, and waking the illusion?

Theo: It is simply a comparison made to facilitate the grasping of the subject, and from the standpoint of terrestrial conceptions it is a very correct one.

Enq: And still I cannot understand, if the life to come is based on justice and the merited retribution for all our terrestrial suffering, how in the case of materialists, many of whom are really honest and charitable men, there should remain of their personality nothing but the refuse of a faded flower.

Footnote: "Retribution" formerly included the meaning of "compensation".

Theo: No one ever said such a thing. No materialist, however unbelieving, can die for ever in the fullness of his spiritual individuality. What was said is that consciousness can disappear either fully or partially in the case of a materialist, so that no conscious remains of his personality survive.

Enq: Surely this is annihilation?

Theo: Certainly not. One can sleep a dead sleep and miss several stations during a long railway journey, without the slightest recollection or consciousness, and awake at another station and continue the journey past innumerable other halting-places till the end of the journey or the goal is reached. Three kinds of sleep were mentioned to you: the dreamless, the chaotic, and the one which is so real, that to the sleeping man his dreams become full realities. If you believe in the latter, why can't you believe in the former? According to the after-life a man has believed in and expected, such is the life he will have. He who expected no life to come will have an absolute blank, amounting to annihilation, in the interval between the two rebirths. This is just the carrying out of the programme we spoke of, a programme created by the materialists themselves. But there are various kinds of materialists, as you say. A selfish, wicked Egoist, one who never shed a tear for anyone but himself, thus adding entire indifference to the whole world to his unbelief, must, at the threshold of death, drop his personality for ever. This personality having no tendrils of sympathy for the world around and hence nothing to hook on to Sutratma, it follows that with the last breath every connection between the two is broken. There being no Devachan for such a materialist, the Sutratma will reincarnate almost immediately. But those materialists who erred in nothing but their disbelief will oversleep but one station. And the time will come when that ex-materialist will perceive himself in the Eternity and perhaps repent that he lost even one day, one station, from the life eternal."

(170) Enq: Still, would it not be more correct to say that death is birth into a new life, or a return once more into eternity?

Theo: You may if you like. Only remember that births differ, and that there are births of "still-born" beings, which are failures of nature. Moreover, with your Western fixed ideas about material life, the words "living" and "being" are quite inapplicable to the pure subjective state of post-mortem existence. It is just because, save in a few philosophers who are not read by the many, and who themselves are too confused to present a distinct picture of it, it is just because your Western ideas of life and death have finally become so narrow, that on the one hand they have led to crass materialism, and on the other to the still more material conception of the other life, which the spiritualists have formulated in their Summerland. There the souls of men eat, drink, marry, and live in a paradise quite as sensual as that of Mohammed, but even less philosophical. Nor are the average conceptions of the uneducated Christians any better, being if possible still more material. What between truncated angels, brass trumpets, golden harps, and material hell-fires, the Christian heaven seems like a fairy scene at a Christmas pantomime.

It is because of these narrow conceptions that you find such difficulty in understanding. It is just because the life of the disembodied soul, while possessing all the vividness of reality, as in certain dreams, is devoid of every grossly objective form of terrestrial life, that the Eastern philosophers have compared it with visions during sleep.

Key 177 Enq: .. It is there [in the Buddhist Catechism] stated that the Skandhas - memory included - change with every new incarnation. And yet, it is asserted that the reflection of the past lives, which, we are told, are entirely made up of Skandhas, "must survive". At the present moment I am not quite clear in my mind as to what it is precisely that survives .. Is it only that "reflection" or those Skandhas, or always that same EGO, the Manas?

Theo: I have just explained that the reincarnating Principle, or that which we call the divine man, is indestructible throughout the life cycle: indestructible as a thinking Entity, and even as an ethereal form. The "reflection" is only the spiritualized remembrance, during the Devachanic period, of the ex-personality, Mr A. or Mrs B. - with which the Ego identifies itself during that period. Since the latter is but the continuation of the earth-life, so to say, the very acme and pitch, in an unbroken series, of the few happy moments in that now past existence, the Ego has to identify itself with the personal consciousness of that life, if anything shall remain of it.

(178) Enq: This means that the Ego, notwithstanding its divine nature, passes every such period between two incarnations in a state of mental obscuration, or temporary insanity.

Theo: You may regard it as you like. Believing that, outside the ONE Reality, nothing is better than a passing illusion - the whole Universe included - we do not view it as insanity, but as a very natural sequence or development of the terrestrial life. What is life? A bundle of the most varied experiences, of daily changing ideas, emotions, and opinions. In our youth we are often enthusiastically devoted to an ideal, to some hero or heroine whom we try to follow and revive; a few years later, when the freshness of our youthful feelings has faded out and sobered down, we are the first to laugh at our fancies. And yet there was a day when we had so thoroughly identified our own personality with that of the ideal in our mind - especially if it was that of a living being - that the former was entirely merged and lost in the latter. Can it be said of a man of fifty that he is the same being that he was at twenty? The inner man is the same; the outward living personality is completely transformed and changed. Would you also call these changes in the human mental states insanity?

Enq: How would you name them, and especially how would you explain the permanence of one and the evanescence of the other?

Theo: We have our own doctrine ready, and to us it offers no difficulty. The clue lies in the double consciousness of our mind, and also, in the dual nature of the mental "principle". There is spiritual consciousness, the Manasic mind illumined by the light of Buddhi, that which subjectively perceives abstractions; and the sentient consciousness (the lower Manasic light), inseparable from our physical brain and senses. This latter consciousness is held in subjection by the brain and physical senses, and, being in its turn equally dependent on them, must of course fade out and finally die with the disappearance of the brain and physical senses. It is only the former kind of consciousness, whose root lies in eternity, which survives and lives for ever, and may therefore be regarded as immortal. Everything else belongs to passing illusions.

(179) Enq: What do you really understand by illusion in this case?

Theo: It is very well described in the ... essay on "The Higher Self". Says its author: "The theory we are considering (the interchange of ideas between the Higher Ego and the lower self) harmonizes very well with the treatment of this world in which we live as a phenomenal world of illusion, the spiritual plane of nature being on the other hand the noumenal world or plane of reality. That region of nature in which, so to speak, the permanent soul is rooted is more real than that in which its transitory blossoms appear for a brief space to wither and fall to pieces, while the plant recovers energy for sending forth a fresh flower. Supposing flowers only were perceptible to ordinary senses, and their roots existed in a state of Nature intangible and invisible to us, philosophers in such a world who divined that there were such things as roots in another plane of existence would be apt to say of the flowers: These are not the real plants; they are of no relative importance, merely illusive phenomena of the moment.

This is what I mean. The world in which blossom the transitory and evanescent flowers of personal lives is not the real permanent world; but that one in which we find the root of consciousness, that root which is beyond illusion and dwells in the eternity.

(180) Enq: What do you mean by the root dwelling in eternity?"

Theo: I mean by this root the thinking entity, the Ego which incarnates, whether we regard it as an "Angel", "Spirit", or a Force. Of that which falls under our sensuous perceptions only what grows directly from or is attached to this invisible root above, can partake of its immortal life. Hence every noble thought, idea and aspiration of the personality it informs, proceeding from and fed by this root, must become permanent. As to physical consciousness, as it is a quality of the sentient but lower principle (Kama-rupa or animal instinct, illuminated by the lower manasic reflection), or the human Soul - it must disappear. That which displays activity, while the body is asleep or paralysed, is the higher consciousness, our memory registering but feebly and inaccurately - because automatically -such experiences, and often failing to be even slightly impressed by them.

Key 181 Enq: And is it this Ego of ours which is our God?

Theo: Not at all; "A God" is not the universal deity, but only a spark from the one ocean of Divine Fire. Our God within us, or "our Father in Secret" is what we call the "HIGHER SELF", Atma. Our incarnating Ego was a God in its origin, as were all the primeval emanations of the One Unknown Principle. But since its "fall into Matter", having to incarnate throughout the cycle, in succession, from first to last, it is no longer a free and happy god, but a poor pilgrim on his way to regain that which he has lost .. Such is the destiny of MAN -the true Ego, not the Automaton, the shell that goes by that name. It is for him to become the conqueror over matter.

Key 188 Theo: .. He [the Ego] is the "man-god" of Plato, who crucifies himself in Space (or the duration of the life cycle) for the redemption of MATTER. This he does by incarnating over and over again, thus leading mankind onward to perfection, and making thereby room for lower forms to develop into higher. Not for one life does he cease progressing himself and helping all physical nature to progress; even the occasional, very rare event of his losing one of his personalities, in the case of the latter being entirely devoid of even a spark of spirituality, helps toward his individual progress.

(189) Enq: But surely if the Ego is held responsible for the transgressions of its personalities, it has to answer also for the loss, or rather the complete annihilation, of one of such.

Theo: Not at all, unless it has done nothing to avert this dire fate. But if, all its efforts notwithstanding, its voice, that of our conscience, was unable to penetrate through the wall of matter, then the obtuseness of the latter, proceeding from the imperfect nature of the material, is classed with other failures of nature. The Ego is sufficiently punished by the loss of Devachan, and especially by having to incarnate almost immediately.

Enq: This doctrine of the possibility of losing one's soul - or personality, do you call it? - militates against the ideal theories of both Christians and Spiritualists, though Swedenborg adopts it to a certain extent, in what he calls Spiritual death. They will never accept it.

Theo: This can in no way alter a fact of nature, if it be a fact, or prevent such a thing occasionally taking place. The universe and everything in it, moral, mental, physical, psychic, or Spiritual, is built on a perfect law of equilibrium and harmony. As said before (Isis Unveiled, I, 318-9), the centripetal force could not manifest itself without the centrifugal in the harmonious revolutions of the spheres; and all forms and their progress are the products of this dual force in nature. Now the Spirit (or Buddhi) is the centrifugal and the soul (Manas) the centripetal spiritual energy; and to produce one result they have to be in perfect union and harmony. Break or damage the centripetal motion of the earthly soul tending toward the centre which attracts it; arrest its progress by clogging it with a heavier weight of matter than it can bear, or than is fit for the Devachanic state, and the harmony of the whole will be destroyed. Personal life, or perhaps rather its ideal reflection, can only be continued if sustained by the twofold force, that is by the close union of Buddhi and Manas in every rebirth or personal life. The least deviation from harmony damages it; and when it is destroyed beyond redemption the two forces separate at the moment of death. During a brief interval the personal form (called indifferently Kama-rupa and Mayavi-rupa), the spiritual efflorescence of which, attaching itself to the Ego, follows it into Devachan and gives to the permanent individuality its personal colouring (pro-tem., so to speak), is carried off to remain in Kama-loka and to be gradually annihilated. For it is after the death of the utterly depraved, the unspiritual and the wicked beyond redemption, that arrives the critical and supreme moment. If during life the ultimate and desperate effort of the INNER SELF (Manas), to unite something of the personality with itself and the high glimmering ray of the divine Buddhi, is thwarted; if this ray is allowed to be more and more shut out from the ever-thickening crust of the physical brain, the Spiritual EGO or Manas, once freed from the body, remains severed entirely from the ethereal relic of the personality; and the latter, or Kama-rupa, following its earthly attractions, is drawn into and remains in Hades, which we call the Kama-loka. These are "the withered branches" mentioned by Jesus as being cut off from the Vine. Annihilation, however, is never instantaneous, and may require centuries sometimes for its accomplishment. But there the personality remains along with the remnants of other more fortunate personal Egos, and becomes with them a shell and an Elementary. As said in Isis, it is these two classes of "Spirits", the shells and the Elementaries, which are the leading "Stars" on the great spiritual stage of "materializations". And you may be sure of it, it is not they who incarnate; and, therefore, so few of these "dear departed ones" know anything of reincarnation, misleading thereby the Spiritualists.

Key 197 Enq: You mean, then, that we have all lived on earth before, in many past incarnations, and shall go on so living?

Theo: I do. The life-cycle, or rather the cycle of conscious life, begins with the separation of the mortal animal-man into sexes, and will end with the close of the last generation of men, in the seventh round and seventh race of mankind [see Glossary]. Considering we are only in the fourth round and fifth race, its duration is more easily imagined than expressed.

Enq: And we keep on incarnating in new personalities all the time?

Theo: Most assuredly so; because this life-cycle or period of incarnation may be best compared to human life. As each such life is composed of days of activity separated by nights of sleep or of inaction, so, in the incarnation-cycle, an active life is followed by a Devachanic rest.

Enq: And it is this succession of births that is generally defined as reincarnation?

Theo: Just so. It is only through these births that the perpetual progress of the countless millions of Egos toward final perfection and final rest (as long as was the period of activity) can be achieved.

(198) Enq: And what is it that regulates the duration, or special qualities of these incarnations?

Theo: Karma, the universal law of retributive justice.

Enq: Is it an intelligent law?

Theo: For the Materialist, who calls the law of periodicity which regulates the marshalling of the several bodies, and all the other laws in nature, blind forces and mechanical laws, no doubt Karma would be a law of chance and no more. For us, no adjective or qualification could describe that which is impersonal and no entity, but a universal operative law. If you question me about the causative intelligence in it, I must answer you I do not know. But if you ask me to define its effects and tell you what these are in our belief, I may say that the experience of thousands of ages has shown us that they are absolute and unerring equity, wisdom, and intelligence. For Karma in its effects is an unfailing redresser of human injustice, and of all the failures of nature; a stern adjuster of wrongs; a retributive law which rewards and punishes with equal impartiality. It is, in the strictest sense, "no respecter of persons", though, on the other hand, it can neither be propitiated, nor turned aside by prayer. This is a belief common to Hindus and Buddhists, who both believe in Karma.

Key 199 Theo: .. And we believe neither in vicarious atonement, nor in the possibility of the remission of the smallest sin by any god, not even by a "personal Absolute" or "Infinite", if such a thing could have any existence. What we believe in is strict and impartial justice. Our idea of the unknown Universal Deity, represented by Karma, is that it is a Power which cannot fail, and can, therefore, have neither wrath nor mercy, only absolute Equity, which leaves every cause, great or small, to work out its inevitable effects. The saying of Jesus: "With what measure you mete it shall be measured to you again" (Matt., vii, 2), neither by expression nor implication points to any hope of future mercy or salvation by proxy. This is why, recognizing as we do in our philosophy the justice of this statement, we cannot recommend too strongly mercy, charity, and forgiveness of mutual offences. Resist not evil, and render good for evil, are Buddhist precepts, and were first preached in view of the implacability of Karmic law. For man to take the law into his own hands is anyhow a sacrilegious presumption. Human Law may use restrictive, not punitive measures; but a man who, believing in Karma, still revenges himself and refuses to forgive every injury, thereby rendering good for evil, is a criminal and only hurts himself. As Karma is sure to punish the man who wronged him, by seeking to inflict an additional punishment on his enemy, he, who instead of leaving that punishment to the great Law adds to it his own mite, only begets thereby a cause for the future reward of his own enemy and a future punishment for himself. The unfailing Regulator affects in each incarnation the quality of its successor; and the sum of the merit or demerit in preceding ones determines it.

(200) Enq: Are we then to infer a man's past from his present?

Theo: Only so far as to believe that his present life is what it justly should be, to atone for the sins of the past life. Of course - seers and great adepts excepted - we cannot as average mortals know what those sins were. From our paucity of data, it is impossible for us even to determine what an old man's youth must have been; neither can we, for like reasons, draw final conclusions merely from what we see in the life of some man, as to what his past life may have been.

Key 201 Enq: But what is Karma?

Theo: As I have said, we consider it as the Ultimate Law of the Universe, the source, origin and fount of all other laws which exist throughout Nature. Karma is the unerring law which adjusts effect to cause, on the physical, mental and spiritual planes of being. As no cause remains without its due effect from greatest to least, from a cosmic disturbance down to the movement of your hand, and as like produces like, Karma is that unseen and unknown law which adjusts wisely, intelligently and equitably each effect to its cause, tracing the latter back to its producer. Though itself unknowable, its action is perceivable.

Key 209 [Quoting E.D. Walker in his "Reincarnation"] Briefly, the doctrine of Karma is that we have made ourselves what we are by former actions, and are building our future eternity by present actions. There is no destiny but what we ourselves determine. There is no salvation or condemnation except what we ourselves bring about ... Because it offers no shelter for culpable actions and necessitates a sterling manliness, it is less welcome to weak natures than the easy religious tenets of vicarious atonement, intercession, forgiveness and death-bed conversions ... In the domain of eternal justice the offence and the punishment are inseparably connected as the same event, because there is no real distinction between the action and its outcome ... It is Karma, or our old acts, that draws us back into earthly life. The spirit's abode changes according to its Karma, and this Karma forbids any long continuance in one condition, because it is always changing. So long as action is governed by material and selfish motives just so long must the effect of that action be manifested in physical rebirths. Only the perfectly selfless man can elude the gravitation of material life. Few have attained this, but it is the goal of mankind.

CW III, 292 DEATH by (the late) Eliphas Levi.


Death is the necessary dissolution of imperfect combinations. [Master K.H.'s Comments - "Of the 1, 2, 3rd, 4, 5th.

"] It is the re-absorption of the rough outline of individual [ Master K.H.'s Comments - " The personality of the personal Ego. ] life into the great work of universal life; only the perfect [ Master K.H.'s Comments -" The 6th and 7th Principles." ] is immortal.


It is a bath in oblivion. [ Master K.H.'s Comments -" Until the hour of remembrance. ] It is the fountain of youth where on one side plunges old age, and whence on the other issues infancy. (Fn: Rebirth of the Ego after death. The Eastern, and especially Buddhistic doctrine of the evolution of the new, out of the old Ego. - H.P.B.)


Death is the transfiguration of the living; corpses are but the dead leaves of the Tree of Life which will still have all its leaves in the spring. [Master K.H.'s Comments -" In the language of the Kabalist "Spring" means the beginning of that state when the Ego reaches its omniscience. ] The resurrection [ Master K.H.'s Comments -"The Chaldean "resurrection in life eternal" borrowed by the Xtians means resurrection in Nirvana. ] of men resembles eternally these leaves.


Perishable forms are conditioned by immortal types.


All who have lived upon earth, live there still in new exemplars of their types, but the souls which have surpassed their type receive elsewhere a new form based upon a more perfect type, as they mount ever on the ladder of worlds; (Fn: From one loka to the other; from a positive world of causes and activity, to a negative world of effects and passivity. ) the bad exemplars are broken, and their matter returned into the general mass. ( Fn: Into Cosmic matter, when they necessarily lose their self-consciousness or individuality, [ Master K.H.'s Comments -" Their Monad 6th and 7th Principles. "] or are annihilated, as the Eastern Kabalists say. - H.P.B.)


(293) Our souls are as it were a music of which our bodies are the instruments. The music exists without the instruments, but it cannot make itself heard without a material intermediary; [ Master K.H.'s Comments -"Hence Spirit cannot communicate "] the immaterial can neither be conceived nor grasped.


Man in his present existence only retains certain predispositions from his past existences. [ Master K.H.'s Comments - " Karma." ]


Evocations of the dead are but condensations of memory, the imaginary coloration of the shades. To evoke those who are no longer there, is but to cause their types to re-issue from the imagination of nature. (Fn: To ardently desire to see a dead person is to evoke the image of that person, to call it forth from the astral light or ether wherein rest photographed the images of the Past. That is what is being partially done in the séance rooms. The Spiritualists are unconscious NECROMANCERS. - H.P.B.)


(295) To be in direct communication with the imagination of nature, one must be either asleep, intoxicated, in an ecstasy, cataleptic, or mad. [ Master K.H.'s Comments -" And to be in direct communication with the intelligence of Nature one must become an Adept. "]


The eternal memory preserves only the imperishable; all that passes in Time belongs of right to oblivion.


The preservation of corpses is a violation of the laws of nature; it is an outrage on the modesty of death, which hides the works of destruction, as we should hide those of reproduction. Preserving corpses is to create phantoms in the imagination of the earth; (Fn: To intensify these images in the astral or sidereal light.) [

Master K.H.'s Comments -" We never bury our dead. They are burnt or left above the earth. "] the spectres of the nightmare, of hallucination, and fear are but the wandering photographs of preserved corpses. [Master K.H.'s Comments -" Their reflections in the astral light. "] It is these preserved or imperfectly destroyed corpses, which spread, amid the living, plague, cholera, contagious diseases, sadness, scepticism and disgust of life.(Fn: People begin intuitionally to realize the great truth, and societies for burning bodies and crematories are now started in many places in Europe. H.P.B.) Death is exhaled by death. The cemeteries poison the atmosphere of towns, and the miasma of corpses blight the children even in the bosoms of their mothers.


Near Jerusalem in the Valley of Gehenna a perpetual fire was maintained for the combustion of filth and the carcasses of animals, and it is to this eternal fire that Jesus alluded when he says that the wicked shall be cast into Gehenna; signifying that dead souls will be treated as corpses.


(295) The Talmud says that the souls of those who have not believed in immortality will not become immortal. It is faith only which gives personal immortality; (Fn: Faith and will power. Immortality is conditional, as we have ever stated. It is the reward of the pure and good. The wicked man, the material sensualist, only survives. He who appreciates but physical pleasure will not and cannot live in the hereafter as a self-conscious Entity. H.P.B.)

[Master K.H.'s Comments -" In the Deva-Chan the Ego sees and feels but that which he longed for. He who cares not for a continuation of sentient personal life after physical death will not have it. He will be reborn remaining unconscious of the transition. existence, but a necessary hypothesis". ] science and reason can only affirm the general immortality.


The mortal sin is the suicide of the soul. This suicide would occur if the man devoted himself to evil with the full strength of his mind, with a perfect knowledge of good and evil, and an entire liberty of action which seems impossible in practice, but which is possible in theory, because the essence of an independent personality is an unconditioned liberty. The divinity imposes nothing upon man, not even existence. Man has a right to withdraw himself even from the divine goodness, and the dogma of eternal Hell is only the assertion of eternal free will.


God precipitates no one into Hell. It is men who can go there freely, definitely and by their own choice.


Those who are in Hell, that is to say, amid the gloom of evil (Fn: That is to say, they are reborn in a "lower world" which is neither "hell" nor any theological purgatory, but a world of nearly absolute matter and one preceding the last one in the "circle of necessity" from this "there is no redemption, for there reigns absolute spiritual darkness" (Book of Khiu-ti). - H.P.B.) and the sufferings of the necessary punishment, without having absolutely so willed it, are called to emerge from it. This Hell is for them only a purgatory. The damned completely, absolutely and without respite, is Satan who is not a rational


(296) N.I. Satan is the last word of the creation. He is the end infinitely emancipated. He willed to be like God of which he is the opposite. God is the hypothesis necessary to reason, Satan the hypothesis necessary to unreason asserting itself as free will. [ Master K.H.'s Comments -" That which I have marked with red pencil are all seeming contradictions but they are not" ]


To be immortal [ Master K.H.'s Comments -" As a rule the Hermetists, when using the word "immortality" limit its duration from the beginning to the end of the minor cycle. The deficiencies of their respective languages cannot be visited upon them. One could not well say a semi-immortality. The ancients called it "panaeonic eternity" from the words ...... - all or nature, and ......, a period of time which had no definite limit, except for the initiates. See Dictionaries - an aeon is the period of time during which a person lives, the period during which the universe endures, and also - eternity. It was a "mystery word" and was purposely veiled." ] in good, one must identify oneself with God; to be immortal in evil, with Satan. These are the two poles of the world of souls; between these two poles vegetate and die without remembrance the useless portion of mankind.


(297) H.P.B.'s Note. - This may seem incomprehensible to the average reader, for it is one of the most abstruse of the tenets of Occult [ Master K.H.'s Comments -" Western." ] doctrine. Nature is dual; there is a physical and material side, as there is a spiritual and moral side to it; and, there is both good and evil in it, the latter the necessary shadow to its light. To force oneself upon the current of immortality, or rather to secure for oneself an endless series of rebirths as conscious individualities - says the Book of Khiu-ti, Volume XXXI, [

Master K.H.'s Comments -" Chap. III." ] one must become a co-worker with nature, either for good or for bad, in her work of creation and reproduction, or in that of destruction. [Master K.H.'s Comments -" This sentence refers to the two kinds of the initiates - the adepts and the sorcerers."] It is but the useless drones, which she gets rid of, violently ejecting and making them perish by the millions [Master K.H.'s Comments -" One of her usual exaggerations."]as self-conscious entities. [Master K.H.'s Comments -" Two useless words. "]Thus, while the good and the pure strive to reach Nipang (Nirvana) or that state of absolute existence and absolute consciousness - which, in the world of finite perceptions, is non-existence and non-consciousness) - the wicked will seek, on the contrary, a series of lives


as conscious, definite existences or beings, preferring to be ever suffering under the law of retributive justice [

Master K.H.'s Comments -" Karma."] rather than give up their lives as portions of the integral, universal whole. Being well aware that they can never hope to reach the final rest in pure spirit, or nirvana, they cling to life in any form, [ Master K.H.'s Comments -" Thro' mediums who have existed every-where in every age."

] rather than give up that "desire for life", or Tanha which causes a new aggregation of Skandhas or individuality to be reborn. Nature is as good a mother to the cruel bird of prey as she is to the harmless dove. Mother nature will punish her child, but since he has become her co-worker for destruction she cannot eject him. [

Master K.H.'s Comments -" Not during the aeon, if they but know how to force her. But it is a life of torture and eternal hatred. If you believe in us how can you disbelieve in them?"] There are thoroughly wicked and depraved men, yet as highly intellectual and acutely spiritual for evil, as those who are spiritual for good. [Master K.H.'s Comments -" The Brothers of the shadow."] The Egos of these may escape the law of final destruction or annihilation for ages to come. [Master K.H.'s Comments -" The majority have to go out of this planet into the 8th as she calls it. But the highest will live till the very threshold of the final nirvana." ] That is what Eliphas Levi means by becoming "immortal in evil", through identification with Satan. "I would thou wert cold or hot," says the vision of the Revelation to St. John (iii, 15-16). "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." The Revelation is an absolutely Kabalistic book. Heat and cold are the two "poles", i.e., good and evil, spirit and matter. Nature spues the "lukewarm" or "the useless portion of mankind" out of her mouth, i.e., annihilates them. This conception that a considerable portion of mankind may after all not have immortal souls, will not be new even to European readers. Coleridge himself likened the case to that of an oak tree bearing, indeed, millions of acorns, but acorns of which under nominal [Master K.H.'s Comments -" Normal ". ] conditions not one in a thousand ever developed into a tree, and suggested that as the majority of the acorns fails to develop into a new living tree, so possibly the majority of men fail to develop into a new living entity after this earthly death.


CW IV, 186 Whether man was good, bad, or indifferent, Group II [Manas and kama-rupa] has to become either a "shell" or be once or several times more reincarnated under "exceptional circumstances". There is a mighty difference in our Occult doctrine between an impersonal Individuality, and an individual Personality. ... Shall we say then with the Spiritists that ... the man we know, will be reborn again? No; but that his divine Monad will be clothed thousands of times yet before the end of the Grand Cycle, in various human forms, every one of them a new personality. Like a mighty tree that clothes itself every spring with a new foliage, to see it wither and die towards autumn, so the eternal Monad prevails through the series of smaller cycles, ever the same, yet ever changing and putting on at each birth, a new garment. The bud, that failed to open one year, will reappear in the next; the leaf that reached its maturity and died a natural death - can never be reborn on the same tree again.


 CW IV, 250 To the Editor of The Theosophist:


In the article on "Death" by the late Eliphas Levi, printed in the October number of The Theosophist, Vol.III, the writer says that "to be immortal in good, one must identify oneself with God; to be immortal in evil, with Satan. These are the two poles of the world of soul; between these two poles vegetate and die without remembrance the useless portion of mankind". In your explanatory note on this passage you quote the book of Khiu-ti, which says that "to force oneself upon the current of immortality, or rather to secure for oneself an endless series of rebirths as conscious individualities, one must become a co-worker with nature, either for good or for bad, in her work of creation and reproduction, or in that of destruction. It is but the useless drones, which she gets rid of, violently ejecting and making them perish by the millions as self-conscious entities. Thus, while the good and the pure strive to reach Nirvana ... the wicked will seek, on the contrary, series of lives as conscious, definite existences or beings, preferring to be ever suffering under the law of retributive justice rather than give up their lives as portions of the integral universal whole. Being well aware that they can never hope to reach the final rest in pure spirit, or Nirvana, they cling to life in any form, rather than give up that 'desire for life', or Tanha which causes a new aggregation of Skandhas or individuality to be reborn. ... They are thoroughly wicked or depraved men, yet as highly intellectual and acutely spiritual for evil, as those who are spiritual for good. The Egos of these may escape the law of final destruction or annihilation for ages to come ... Heat and cold are the two 'poles', i.e. good and evil, spirit and matter. Nature spews the 'lukewarm' or 'useless portion of mankind' out of her mouth, i.e., annihilates them". In the very same number in which these lines occur we have the "Fragments of Occult Truth", and we learn thence that there are seven entities or principles constituting a human being. When death occurs, the first three principles (i.e. the body, the vital energy, and astral body) are dissipated; and with regard to the remaining four principles "one of two things occurs". If the Spiritual Ego (sixth principle) has been in life material in its tendencies, then at death it continues to cling blindly to the lower elements of its late combination, and the true spirit severs itself from these and passes away elsewhere, when the Spiritual Ego is also dissipated and ceases to exist. Under such circumstances only two entities (the fourth and fifth, i.e. Kama Rupa and Physical Ego) are left, and the shells take long periods to disintegrate.


(251) On the other hand, if the tendencies of the ego have been towards things spiritual, it will cling to the spirit, and with this pass into the adjoining World of Effects, and there evolve out of itself by the spirit's aid a new ego, to be reborn (after a brief period of freedom and enjoyment) in the next higher objective world of causes.


The "Fragments" teach that, apart from the cases of the higher adepts, there are two conditions: First, that in which the Spirit is obliged to sever its connection; and, secondly that in which the Spirit is able to continue its connection with the fourth, fifth and sixth principles. In either case the fourth and fifth principles are dissipated after a longer or a shorter period, and, in the case of the spiritual-minded, the Spiritual Ego undergoes a series of ascending births, while in the case of the depraved no Spiritual Ego remains and there is simply disintegration of the fourth and fifth principles after immense periods of time. The "Fragments" do not seem to admit of a third or intermediary case which could explain the condition of Eliphas Levi's "useless portion" of mankind after death. It appears to me also that there could be only two cases: (l) either the spirit continues its connection, or (2) it severs its connection. What, then, is meant by the "useless portion of mankind" who, you suggest, are annihilated by the millions? Are they a combination of less than seven principles? That cannot be, for even the very wicked and depraved have them all. What, then, becomes of the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh principles in the case of the so-called "useless portion of mankind"?


(252) The "Fragments" again tell us that, in the case of the wicked, the fourth and fifth principles are simply disintegrated after long ages, while in your above quoted note you say that the "wicked will seek a series of lives as conscious, definite existences or beings", and again in the note to the word "Hell" you write that it is "a world of nearly absolute matter and one preceding the last one in the 'circle of necessity' from which 'there is no redemption, for there reigns absolute spiritual darkness'". These two notes seem to suggest that, in the case of the depraved, the fourth and fifth principles are born again in inferior worlds and have a series of conscious existences.


The "Fragments" are admittedly the production of the "Brothers" and what I could gather from them after a careful perusal seems apparently not to accord with your notes quoted above. Evidently there is a gap somewhere, and, as the "useless portion of mankind" have been so far noticed, a more exhaustive explanation of them after the method of the seven principles is needed to make your otherwise learned note accord with the "Fragments". I might mention again that at every step the words "matter" and "spirit" confound the majority of your readers, and it is highly important and necessary that these two words be satisfactorily explained so that the average reader might understand wherein lies the difference between the two; what is meant by matter emanating from spirit, and whether spirit does not become limited to that extent by the emanation of matter therefrom.


Yours faithfully and fraternally, N.D.K ----, F.T.S.


The apparent discrepancy between the two statements, that our correspondent quotes, does not involve any real contradiction at all, nor is there a "gap" in the explanation. The confusion arises from the unfamiliarity of ordinary thinkers, unused to Occult ideas, with the distinction between the personal and individual entities in Man. Reference has been made to this distinction in modern Occult writing very frequently, and in Isis itself where the explanations of a hundred mysteries lie but half buried - they were altogether buried in earlier works on Occult philosophy - only waiting for the application of intelligence guided by a little Occult knowledge to come out into the light of day. When Isis was written, it was conceived by those from whom the impulse, which directed its preparation came, that the time was not ripe for the explicit declaration of a great many truths which they are now willing to impart in plain language. So the readers of that book were supplied rather with hints, sketches, and adumbrations of the philosophy to which it related, than with methodical expositions. Thus in reference to the present idea, the difference between personal and individual identity is suggested, if not fully set forth at page 315, Vol.I. There it is stated as the view of certain philosophers, with whom, it is easy to see, the writer concurs: "Man and Soul had to conquer their immortality by ascending towards the Unity with which, if successful, they were finally linked ... The individualization of man after death depended on the spirit, not on his soul and body. Although the word 'personality', in the sense in which it is usually understood, is an absurdity, if applied literally to our immortal essence, still the latter is a distinct entity, immortal and eternal per se". And a little later on: "A person may have won his immortal life, and remain the same inner-self he was on earth, throughout eternity; but this does not imply necessarily that he must either remain the Mr Smith or Mr Brown he was on earth ..." [p.316].


(253) A full consideration of these ideas will solve the embarrassment in which our correspondent is placed. Eliphas Levi is talking about personalities - the "Fragments" about individualities. Now, as regards the personalities, the "useless portions of mankind" to which Eliphas Levi refers, is the great bulk thereof. The permanent preservation of a personal identity beyond death is a very rare achievement, accomplished only by those who wrest her secrets from Nature, and control their own super-material development. In his favourite symbolical way Eliphas Levi indicates the people who contrive to do this as those who are immortal in good by identification with God, or immortal in evil by identification with Satan. That is to say, the preservation of personal identity beyond death (or rather, let us say, far beyond death, reserving for the moment an explanation of the distinction) is accomplished only by adepts and sorcerers - the one class having acquired the supreme secret knowledge by holy methods, and with benevolent motives; the other having acquired it by unholy methods, and for base motives. But that which constitutes the inner self, the purer portions of the earthly personal soul united with the spiritual principles and constituting the essential individuality, is ensured a perpetuation of life in new births, whether the person, whose earthly surroundings are its present habitat, becomes endued with the higher knowledge, or remains a plain ordinary man all his life.


CW IV, 255 Now, most people will be but too apt to feel that unsatisfactory as the circumstances may be, which constitute their present personalities, these are after all themselves -"a poor thing, Sir, but mine own" - and that the inner spiritual monads, of which they are but very dimly conscious by the time they are united with entirely different sets of circumstances in new births, will be other people altogether in whose fate they cannot take any interest. In truth when the time comes they will find the fate of those people profoundly interesting, as much so as they find their own fates now. But passing over this branch of the subject, there is still some consolation for weak brethren who find the notion of quitting their present personality at the end of their present lives too gloomy to be borne. Eliphas Levi's exposition of the doctrines is a very brief one - as regards the passage quoted - and it passes over a great deal which, from the point of view we are now engaged with, is of very great importance. In talking about immortality the great Occultist is thinking of the vast stretches of time over which the personality of the adept and the sorcerer may be made to extend. When he speaks of annihilation after this life, he ignores a certain interval, which may perhaps be not worth considering in reference to the enormous whole of existence, but which none the less is very well worth the attention of people who cling to the little fragment of their life experience which embodies the personality of which we have been talking.


(256) It has been explained, in more than one paper published in this magazine during the last few months, that the passage of the spiritual monad into a rebirth does not immediately follow its release from the fleshly body last inhabited here. In the Kama-loka, or atmosphere of this earth, the separation of the two groups of ethereal principles takes place, and in the vast majority of cases in which the late personality - the fifth principle - yields up something which is susceptible of perpetuation and of union with the sixth, the spiritual monad, thus retaining consciousness of its late personality for the time being, passes into the state described as Devachan, where it leads, for very long periods indeed as compared with those of life on this earth, an existence of the most unalloyed satisfaction and conscious enjoyment. Of course, this state is not one of activity nor of exciting contrasts between pain and pleasure, pursuit and achievement, like the state of physical life, but it is one in which the personality of which we are speaking is perpetuated, as far as that is compatible with the nonperpetuation of that which has been painful in its experience. It is from this state that the spiritual monad is reborn into the next active life, and from the date of that rebirth the old personality is done with. But for any imagination, which finds the conception of rebirth and new personality uncomfortable, the doctrine of Devachan - and these "doctrines", be it remembered, are statements of scientific fact which Adepts have ascertained to be as real as the stars though as far out of reach for most of us - the doctrine of Devachan, we say, will furnish people who cannot give up their earth-life memories all at once - with a soft place to fall upon.


CW IV, 570 [N.D.K. further enquires]: What Karma propels the higher Ego into the next birth, when a highly depraved personality is dropped out?


(571) .. In each birth the personality differs from that of the previous or next succeeding birth. Karma, the deus ex machina, masks (or shall we say reflects?) itself now in the personality of a sage, again as an artisan, and so on throughout the string of births. But though personalities ever shift, the one line of life along which they are strung like beads, runs unbroken ..


The time will come, no doubt, but many steps higher on the ladder, when the Ego will regain its consciousness of all its past states of existence.


If the enquirer will realize the real meaning of these two quotations, he will have the key to a correct understanding of the question as to what Karma propels the higher Ego into the next birth, when even that of a highly depraved personality is dropped out, together with the personal soul that is responsible for it. It will be clear from these passages that the individuality or the spiritual monad is a thread upon which are strung various personalities. Each personality leaves its own - the higher spiritual - impressions upon the divine Ego, the consciousness of which returns at a certain stage of its progress, even that of the highly depraved soul that had to perish in the end. The reason for it becomes self-evident, if one reflects that however criminal and lost to every glimmer of a higher feeling, no human soul is yet born utterly depraved, and that there was a time during the youth of the sinful human personality when it had worked out some kind or other of Karma; and that it is this that survives and forms the basis of the Karma to come. To make it clearer, let us suppose that A. lives to that age when a person becomes an adult and begins to bloom fully into life. No man, however, vicious his natural tendency, becomes so at once. He has had therefore time to evolve a Karma, however faint and insignificant. Let us further imagine that at the age of eighteen or twenty A. begins to give way to vice and thus gradually loses the remotest connection with his higher principle. At thirty or say forty, he dies. Now, the personality of A. between fifteen and twenty is as little the personality of A. from twenty to thirty, as though it were quite another man. Even the physiologists divide the physical personality into stages of seven, and show man changing atoms to the last, every seven years. The same with the inner man. The fifth principle of the sensual, highly depraved man, may well and will perish, while the Karma of his youth, though not strong and complete enough to secure for him a bliss in Devachan and union with his higher principle - is yet sufficiently outlined to allow the monad a grasp on it for the next rebirth. On the other hand we are taught that it so happens sometimes that the Karma of a personality is not fully worked out in the birth that follows. Life is made up of accidents, and the personality that becomes, may be hindered by circumstances from receiving the full due its Karma is entitled to, whether for good or for bad. But the Law of Retribution will never allow itself to be cheated by blind chance. There is then a provision to be made, and the accounts that could not be settled in one birth will be squared in the succeeding one. The portion of the sum total which could not be summed up on one column is carried forward to the following. For verily the many lives of an individual monad were well compared ... to the pages of an account book - THE BOOK OF LIFE or - Lives.


(572) Out of these impressions, then, which constitute the Karma of the youth, is evolved the new personality. Our botanical friends may know that the croton plant evolves out of itself another plant, when the one already evolved dies out or withers away. Nature must always progress, and each fresh attempt is more successful than the previous one. This fresh evolution is due to the latent potentiality of life it has within itself. In the same manner, although one particular personality may be so depraved as to be entirely dissociated from the spiritual monad and go into the eighth sphere, where annihilation is its lot, yet the impressions of the previous personalities upon the higher Ego have in them potentiality enough to evolve a new physical Ego, like the croton plant. The connection between a man's spiritual monad and the succession of physical Egos with which it is temporarily associated, has been somewhere in these columns, compared to the retrospective glance of a man on some past period of his earthly existence. While reviewing in his memory his work day by day - those days on which he did nothing of any importance and passed idly away, having left no impression on his mind, must be, and are to him, like a perfect blank. No consciousness that he had passed such days remains there. In the same manner, the Ego when at the end of its long pilgrimage will regain consciousness of those personalities only which have made a sufficiently strong spiritual, hence indelible, mark on the monad, while the memory of the conscious acts of the particular depraved personality which goes to the eighth sphere will be entirely obliterated.


CW V, 44 "Reincarnation on a planet of a superior world." - That sentence contains two errors. The Monad is going to incarnate on the planet superior to ours, in our chain of worlds, but only when its incarnations on our globe are completed - and not "on a planet of a superior world", and before it reaches that superior planet, E - ours being D - which it has already visited three times and which it must visit four times more before reaching the end of its great cycle - each monad must incarnate in every one of the seven great human races as well as in their ramifications into collateral races.


Footnote: According to our doctrine, the Universe is filled with septenary chains of worlds, each chain being composed of seven globes, ours being the 4th of its chain and being found exactly in the middle. It is after passing through all the races as well as all the sub-races and having reached the planetary Pralaya (dissolution) that we shall go to a planet of a superior world. There is ample time for that.


CW V, 45 The difference between the souls mentioned above [i.e. those of children who die young and congenital idiots] and those of people in general is that the former incarnate immediately, because neither the infants nor the idiots, being irresponsible for their actions, are able to receive either reward or punishment. Failures of nature - they begin a new life immediately; while reincarnations in general take place after rather long periods passed in the intermediate and invisible spheres. So that if a Spiritist-Theosophist tells an Occultist-Theosophist that he is a reincarnation of Louis XV, or that Mrs X is a reincarnation of Joan of Arc, the Occultist would answer that according to his doctrine it is impossible. It is quite possible that he might be a reincarnation of Sesostris or of Semiramis, but the time period that has passed since the death of Louis XV and even of Joan of Arc is too short according to our calculations, which are mathematically correct. Should we be thoroughly ostracized if we were to say that the soul of idiots and extremely young children (dying before the age of personal consciousness) are the exact parallels to those who are annihilated? Can the personalities of the infants and the idiots leave a greater trace on the monadic memory with which they have not been able to become united, than those of the souls of marked animal tendencies who have also, though not more than the former, failed to become assimilated therein? In both cases the final result is the same. The sixth element or the spiritual EGO which has not had either the time or the possibility to unite with the lower principles in the cases of the idiot and the infant, has had the time but not the possibility to accomplish that union in the case of the totally depraved person. Now it is not that the "spiritual EGO is dissipated and ceases to exist" ... It would be absurd to say that something which is immortal in its essence can be dissipated or cease to be. The spiritual EGO is dissociated from the lower elements and, following its divine monad - the seventh element, disappears in the case of the utterly vicious man and ceases to exist for him, for the personal and physical man as well as for the astral man. As for the latter, once being depraved, whether it belong to an idiot or to a Newton, if it has failed to grasp, or has lost the Ariadne's thread which must lead it through the labyrinth of matter into the regions of eternal light - it must disappear.


Thus this personal astral man (or the fourth and fifth principles) whether it disappears into an immediate reincarnation, or is annihilated, drops from the number of the individual existences which are to the monad equivalent to days passed by an individual - a series of recollections, some fresh and eternal in our memory, others forgotten and dead, never to revive.


 CW VII, 178 "Reincarnation, i.e., the appearance of the same individual, or rather of his astral monad, twice on the same planet is not a rule in nature; it is an exception, like the teratological phenomenon of a two-headed infant. It is preceded by a violation of the laws of harmony of nature, and happens only when the latter, seeking to restore its disturbed equilibrium, violently throws back into earth-life the astral monad which had been tossed out of the circle of necessity by crime or accident. Thus, in cases of abortion, of infants dying before a certain age, and of congenital and incurable idiocy, nature's original design to produce a perfect human being, has been interrupted. Therefore, while the gross matter of each of these several entities is suffered to disperse itself at death, through the vast realm of being, the immortal spirit and astral monad of the individual - the latter having been set apart to animate a frame and the former to shed its divine light on the corporeal organization - must try a second time to carry out the purpose of the creative intelligence." (Isis, Vol. I, p.351)


Here the "astral monad" or body of the deceased personality - say of John or Thomas - is meant. It is that which, in the teachings of the Esoteric philosophy of Hinduism, is known under its name of bhoot; in the Greek philosophy is called the simalcrum or umbra, and in all other philosophies worthy of the name is said, as taught in the former, to disappear after a certain period more or less prolonged in Kama-loka - the Limbus of the Roman Catholics, or Hades of the Greeks. It is "a violation of the laws of harmony of nature", though it be so decreed by those of Karma - every time that the astral monad, or the simalcrum of the personality - of John or Thomas -instead of running down to the end of its natural period of time in a body - finds itself (a) violently thrown out of it by either early death or accident or (b) is compelled in consequence of its unfinished task to reappear (i.e., the same astral body wedded to the same immortal monad) on earth again, in order to complete the unfinished task. Thus it "must try a second time to carry out the purpose of the creative intelligence" or law.


(179) "If reason had been so far developed as to become active and discriminative there is no immediate reincarnation on this earth, for the three parts of the triune man have been united together, and he is capable of running the race. But when the new being has not passed beyond the condition of Monad, or when, as in the idiot, the trinity has not been completed [on earth and therefore cannot be so after death], the immortal spark which illuminates it, has to re-enter on the earthly plane as it was frustrated in its first attempt. Otherwise, the mortal or astral, and immortal or divine, souls, could not progress in unison and pass onward to the sphere above [Devachan]. Spirit follows a line parallel with that of matter; and the spiritual evolution goes hand in hand with the physical." (Isis, Vol. I, pp 351-2)


The Occult Doctrine teaches that :-


(1) There is no immediate reincarnation on Earth for the Monad, as falsely taught by the Reincarnationist Spiritists; nor is there any second incarnation at all for the "personal" or false Ego - the perisprit - save the exceptional cases mentioned. But that (a) there are re-births, or periodical reincarnations for the immortal Ego - ("Ego" during the cycle of re-births, and non-Ego, in Nirvana or Maksha when it becomes impersonal and absolute; for that Ego is the root of every new incarnation, the string on which are threaded, one after the other, the false personalities or illusive bodies called men, in which the Monad-Ego incarnates itself during the cycle of births; and (b) that such reincarnations take place not before 1,500, 2,000, and even 3,000 years of Devachanic life.


(2) That Manas - the seat of Jiv, that spark which runs the round of the cycle of births and rebirths with the Monad, from the beginning to the end of a Manvantara - is the real Ego. That (a) the Jiv follows the divine monad that gives it spiritual life and immortality into Devachan - that therefore, it can neither be reborn before its appointed period, nor reappear on Earth visibly or invisibly in the interim; and (b) that, unless the fruition, the spiritual aroma of the Manas - or all these highest aspirations and spiritual qualities and attributes that constitute the higher SELF of man become united to its monad, the latter becomes as Non-existent; since it is in esse "impersonal" and per se Ego-less, so to say and gets its spiritual colouring or flavour of Ego-tism only from each Manas during incarnation and after it is disembodied, and separated from all its lower principles.


(180) (3) That the remaining four principles, or rather the -2.1/2 - as they are composed of the terrestrial portion of Manas, of its Vehicle Kama-Rupa and Linga Sarira - the body dissolving immediately, and prana or the life principle along with it - that these principles having belonged to the false personality are unfit for Devachan. The latter is the state of Bliss, the reward for all the undeserved miseries of life, and that which prompted man to sin, namely his terrestrial passionate nature can have no room in it.


Footnote: The reader must bear in mind that the esoteric teaching maintains that save in cases of wickedness when man's nature attains the acme of Evil, and human terrestrial sin reaches Satanic universal character, so to say, as some Sorcerers do - there is no punishment for the majority of mankind after death. The law of retribution as Karma, waits man at the threshold of his new incarnation. Man is at best a wretched tool of evil, unceasingly forming new causes and circumstances. He is not always (if ever) responsible. Hence a period of rest and bliss in Devachan, with an utter temporary oblivion of all the miseries and sorrows of life. Avitchi is a spiritual state of the greatest misery and is only in store for those who have devoted consciously their lives to doing injury to others and have thus reached its highest spirituality of EVIL.


Therefore the non-reincarnating principles are left behind in Kama-Loka, firstly as a material residue, then later on as a reflection on the mirror of Astral light. Endowed with illusive action, to the day when having gradually faded out they disappear, what is it but the Greek Eidolon and the simalcrum of the Greek and Latin poets and classics?


(181) "What reward or punishment can there be in that sphere of disembodied human entities for a foetus or a human embryo which had not even time to breathe on this earth, still less an opportunity to exercise the divine faculties of the spirit? Or, for an irresponsible infant, whose senseless monad remaining dormant within the astral and physical casket, could as little prevent him from burning himself as another person to death? Or for one idiotic from birth, the number of whose cerebral circumvolutions is only from twenty to thirty percent of those of sane persons; and who therefore is irresponsible for either his disposition, acts, or the imperfections of his vagrant, half-developed intellect?" (Isis, Vol. I, p 352)


These are then, the "exceptions" spoken of in Isis, and the doctrine is maintained now as it was then. Moreover, there is no "discrepancy" but only incompleteness - hence, misconceptions arising from later teachings.


CW VII, 185 .. the principle which does not reincarnate - save the exceptions pointed out - is the false personality, the illusive human Entity defined and individualized during this short life of ours, under some specific form and name; but that which does and has to reincarnate nolens volens under the unflinching, stern rule of Karmic law - is the real EGO. This confusing of the real immortal Ego in man, with the false and ephemeral personalities it inhabits during its Manvantaric progress, lies at the root of every such misunderstanding. Now what is the one and what is the other? The first group is - 1. The immortal Spirit - sexless, formless (arupa), an emanation from the One universal BREATH.


2. Its Vehicle - the divine Soul - called the "Immortal Ego", the "Divine monad", etc., etc., which by accretions from Manas in which burns the ever-existing Jiv - the undying spark - adds to itself at the close of each incarnation the essence of that individuality that was, the aroma of the culled flower that is no more.


What is the false personality? It is that bundle of desire, aspiration, affection and hatred, in short of action, manifested by a human being on this earth during one incarnation and under the form of one personality. Certainly it is not all this, which as a fact for us, the deluded, material, and materially thinking lot - is Mr So and So, or Mrs somebody else -that remains immortal. or is ever reborn.


(186) All that bundle of Egotism, that apparent and evanescent "I", disappears after death, as the costume of the part he played disappears from the actor's body, after he leaves the theatre and goes to bed. That actor re-becomes at once the same "John Smith" or Gray, he was from his birth and is no longer the Othello or Hamlet that he had represented for a few hours. Nothing remains now of that "bundle" to go to the next incarnation, except the seed for future Karma that Manas may have united to its immortal group, to form with it - the disembodied Higher Self in "Devachan". As to the four lower principles, that which becomes of them is found in most classics, from which we mean to quote at length for our defence. The doctrine of the perisprit, the "false personality", or the remains of the deceased under their astral form - fading out to disappear in time, is terribly distasteful to the spiritualists, who insist upon confusing the temporary with the immortal EGO.


CW X, 176 KARMA, TANHA and SKANDHAS, are the almighty trinity in one, and the cause of our re-birth. The illustration of painting our own present likeness at death, and that likeness becoming the future personality is very poetical and graphic, but we claim it as an occult teaching. What H.R.H. means to infer, as we understand it, is this. At the solemn moment of death no man can fail to see himself under his true colours, and no self-deception is of any use to him any longer. Thence the following thing happens. As at the instant of drowning man sees marshalled past his mind's eye the whole of his life, with all its events, effects and causes, to the minutest details, so at the moment of death, he sees himself in all his moral nakedness, unadorned by either human flattery or self-adulation, and, as he is; hence, as he, or rather, as his astral double combined with his Kama principle - shall be. For the vices, defects and especially the passions of the preceding life become, through certain laws of affinity and transference, the germs of the future potentialities in the animal soul (Kama rupa), hence of its dependent, the astral double (linga sarira) - at a subsequent birth. It is the personality alone which changes; the real reincarnating principle, the EGO, remains always the same; and it is its KARMA that guides the idiosyncracies and prominent moral traits of the old "personality" that was (and that the EGO knew not how to control), to re-appear in the new man that will be. These traits and passions pursue and fasten on the yet plastic third and fourth principles of the child, and - unless the EGO struggles and conquers - they will develop with tenfold intensity and lead the adult man to his destruction. For it is they who are the tools and weapons of the Karmic LAW OF RETRIBUTION. Thus, the Prince says very truly that our good and bad actions "are the only tools with which we paint our likenesses at death", for the new man is invariably the son and progeny of the old man that was.


SD I, 39 (b) The twelve Nidanas or causes of being. Each is the effect of its antecedent cause, and a cause, in its turn, to its successor; the sum total of the Nidanas being based on the four truths, a doctrine especially characteristic of the Hinayana System. They belong to the theory of the stream of catenated law which produces merit and demerit, and finally brings Karma into full sway. It is based upon the great truth that reincarnation is to be dreaded, as existence in this world only entails upon man suffering, misery and pain; death itself being unable to deliver man from it, since death is merely the door through which he passes to another life on earth after a little rest on its threshold - Devachan.


 SD I, 40 As we rise in the scale of development we perceive that during the states through which we have passed we mistook shadows for realities, and the upward progress of the Ego is a series of progressive awakenings, each advance bringing with it the idea that now, at last, we have reached "reality"; but only when we shall have reached the absolute Consciousness, and blended our own with it, shall we be free from the delusions produced by Maya.


 SD I, 54 The idea that things can cease to exist and still BE, is a fundamental one in Eastern psychology. Under this apparent contradiction in terms, there rests a fact of Nature to realize which in the mind, rather than to argue about words, is the important thing. A familiar instance of a similar paradox is afforded by chemical combination. The question whether Hydrogen and Oxygen cease to exist, when they combine to form water, is still a moot one, some arguing that since they are found again when the water is decomposed they must be there all the while; others contending that as they actually turn into something totally different they must cease to exist as themselves for the time being; but neither side is able to form the faintest conception of the real condition of a thing, which has become something else and yet has not ceased to be itself. Existence as water may be said to be, for Oxygen and Hydrogen, a state of Non-being which is "more real being" than their existence as gases; and it may faintly symbolize the condition of the Universe when it goes to sleep, or ceases to be, during the "Nights of Brahma" - to awaken or reappear again, when the dawn of the new Manvantara recalls it to what we call existence.


 SD I, 175 Now the evolution of the external form or body round the astral is produced by the terrestrial forces, just as in the case of the lower kingdoms; but the evolution of the internal or real MAN is purely spiritual. It is now no more a passage of the impersonal Monad through many and various forms of matter - endowed at best with instinct and consciousness on quite a different plane- as in the case of external evolution, but a journey of the "pilgrim-soul" through various states of not only matter but Self-consciousness and self-perception, or of perception from apperception.


SD I, 227 The Book of the Dead gives a complete list of the "transformations" that every defunct undergoes, while divesting himself, one by one, of all those principles - materialized for the sake of clearness into ethereal entities or bodies. We must, moreover, remind those who try to prove that the ancient Egyptians knew nothing of and did not teach Reincarnation, that the "Soul" (the Ego or Self) of the defunct is said to be living in Eternity: it is immortal, "coeval with, and disappearing with the Solar boat", i.e., for the cycle of necessity. This "Soul" emerges from the Tiaou (the realm of the cause of life) and joins the living on Earth by day, to return to Tiaou every night. This expresses the periodical existences of the Ego.


The shadow, the astral form, is annihilated, "devoured by the Uraeus", the Manas will be annihilated,; the two twins (the 4th and 5th principles) will be scattered; but the Soul-bird, "the divine Swallow - and the Uraeus of Flame" (Manas and Atma-Buddhi) will live in the eternity, for they are their mother's husbands.


Like alone produces like. The Earth gives Man his body, the gods (Dhyanis) his five inner principles, the psychic Shadow, of which those gods are often the animating principle. SPIRIT (Atman) is one - and indiscrete. It is not in the Tiaou.


For what is the Tiaou? The frequent allusion to it in the Book of the Dead contains a mystery. Tiaou is the path of the Night Sun, the inferior hemisphere, or the infernal region of the Egyptians, placed by them on the concealed side of the moon. The human being, in their esotericism, came out from the moon (a triple mystery - astronomical, physiological, and psychical at once); he crossed the whole cycle of existence and then returned to his birthplace before issuing from it again.


 SD I, 237 (b) Just as milliards of bright sparks dance on the waters of an ocean above which one and the same moon is shining, so our evanescent personalities - the illusive envelopes of the immortal MONAD-EGO - twinkle and dance on the waves of Maya. They last and appear, as the thousands of sparks produced by the moonbeams, only so long as the Queen of the Night radiates her lustre on the running waters of life, the period of a Manvantara; and then they disappear, the beams - symbols of our eternal Spiritual Egos - alone surviving, re-merged in, and being, as they were before, one with the Mother-Source.


 SD III, 587 SKANDHAS. Skandhas are the germs of life on all the seven planes of Being, and make up the totality of the subjective and objective man. Every vibration we have made is a Skandha. The Skandhas are closely united to the pictures in the Astral Light, which is the medium of impressions, and the Skandhas, or vibrations, connected with subjective or objective Man, are the links which attract the Reincarnating Ego, the germs left behind when it went into Devachan which have to be picked up again and exhausted by a new personality. The exoteric Skandhas have to do with the physical atoms and vibrations, or objective man; the Esoteric with the internal and subjective man.


A mental change, or a glimpse of spiritual truth, may make a man suddenly change to the truth even at his death, thus creating good Skandhas for the next life. The last acts or thoughts of a man have an enormous effect upon his future life, but he would still have to suffer for his misdeeds, and this is the basis of the idea of a death-bed repentance. But the Karmic effects of the past life must follow, for the man in his next birth must pick up the Skandhas or vibratory impressions that he left in the Astral Light, since nothing comes from nothing in Occultism, and there must be a link between the lives. New Skandhas are born from their old parents.


It is wrong to speak of Tanhas in the plural; there is only one Tanha, the desire to live. This develops into a multitude or one might say a congeries of ideas. The Skandhas are Karmic and non-Karmic. Skandhas may produce Elementals by unconscious Kriyashakti. Every Elemental that is thrown out by man must return to him sooner or later, since it is his own vibration. They thus become his Frankenstein. Elementals are simply effects producing effects. They are disembodied thoughts, good and bad. They remain crystallized in the Astral Light and are attracted by affinity and galvanized back into life again, when their originator returns to earth-life. You can paralyze them by re verse effects. Elementals are caught like a disease and hence are dangerous to ourselves and to others. This is why it is dangerous to influence others. The Elementals which live after your death are those which you implant in others: the rest remain latent till you are reincarnated, when they come to life in you. "Thus," H.P.B. said, "if you are badly taught by me or incited thereby to do something wrong, you would go on after my death and sin through me, but I should have to bear the Karma.


 SD III, 590 At reincarnation the Higher Ego shoots out a Ray, the Lower Ego. Its energies are upward and downward. The upward tendencies become its Devachanic experiences; the lower are Kamic. The Higher Manas stands to Buddhi as the Lower Manas to the Higher.


As to the question of responsibility, it may be understood by an example. If you take the form of Jack the Ripper, you must suffer for its misdeeds, for the law will punish the murderer and hold him responsible. You are the sacrificial victim. In the same way the Higher Ego is the Christos, the sacrificial victim for the Lower Manas. The Ego takes the responsibility of every body it informs.


You borrow some money to lend it to another; the other runs away, but it is you who are responsible. The mission of the Higher Ego is to shoot out a Ray to be a Soul in a child.


Thus the Ego incarnates in a thousand bodies, taking upon itself the sins and responsibilities of each body. At every incarnation a new Ray is emitted, and yet it is the same Ray in essence, the same in you and me and every one. The dross of the incarnation disintegrates, the good goes into Devachan.


The Flame is eternal. From the Flame of the Higher Ego, the Lower is lighted, and from this a lower vehicle, and so on.


And yet the Lower Manas is such as it makes itself. It is possible for it to act differently in like conditions, for it has reason and self-conscious knowledge of right and wrong, and good and evil, given to it. It is in fact endowed with all the attributes of the Divine Soul. In this the Ray is the Higher Manas, the speck of responsibility on earth.


The part of the essence is the essence, but while it is out of itself, so to say, it can get soiled and polluted. The Ray can be manifested on this earth because it can send forth its Mayavi Rupa. But the Higher cannot, so it has to send forth a Ray. We may look upon the Higher Ego as the Sun, and the personal Manases as its Rays. If we take away the surrounding air and light the Ray may be said to return to the Sun, so with the Lower Manas and Lower Quaternary.


The Higher Ego can only manifest through its attributes.


 ML 107:110 But let me give you a clearer idea of what I mean by Karma in this case. In connection with this, let me tell you before, that since you seem so interested with the subject, you can do nothing better than to study the two doctrines - of Karma and Nirvana - as profoundly as you can. Unless you are thoroughly well acquainted with the two tenets - the double key to the metaphysics of Abidharma - you will always find yourself at sea in trying to comprehend the rest. We have several sorts of Karma and Nirvana in their various applications - to the Universe, the world, Devas, Buddhas, Bodhisatwas, men and animals - the second including its seven kingdoms. Karma and Nirvana are but two of the seven great MYSTERIES of Buddhist metaphysics; and but four of the seven are known to the best orientalists, and that very imperfectly.

If you ask a learned Buddhist priest what is Karma? - he will tell you that Karma is what a Christian might call Providence (in a certain sense only) and a Mahomedan - Kismet, fate or destiny (again in one sense). That it is that cardinal tenet which teaches that, as soon as any conscious or sentient being, whether man, deva, or animal dies, a new being is produced and he or it reappears in another birth, on the same or another planet, under conditions of his or its own antecedent making. Or, in other words that Karma is the guiding power, and Trishna (in Pali Tanha) the thirst or desire to sentiently live -the proximate force or energy, the resultant of human (or animal) action, which, out of the old Skandhas produce the new group that form the new being and control the nature of the birth itself. Or to make it still clearer, the new being, is rewarded and punished for the meritorious acts and misdeeds of the old one; Karma representing an Entry Book, in which all the acts of man, good, bad, or indifferent, are carefully recorded to his debit and credit - by himself, so to say, or rather by these very actions of his. There, where Christian poetical fiction created, and sees a "Recording" Guardian Angel, stern and realistic Buddhist logic, perceiving the necessity that every cause should have its effect - shows its real presence. The opponents of Buddhism have laid great stress upon the alleged injustice that the doer should escape and an innocent victim be made to suffer, - since the doer and the sufferer are different beings. The fact is, that while in one sense they may be so considered, yet in another they are identical. The "old being" is the sole parent - father and mother at once - of the "new being". It is the former who is the creator and fashioner, of the latter, in reality; and far more so in plain truth, than any father in flesh. And once that you have well mastered the meaning of Skandhas you will see what I mean.


(108:111) It is the group of Skandhas, that form and constitute the physical and mental individuality we call man (or any being). This group consists (in the exoteric teaching) of five Skandhas, namely: Rupa - the material properties or attributes; Vedana - sensations; Sanna - abstract ideas; Sankhara - tendencies both physical and mental; and Vinnana - mental powers, and amplification of the fourth - meaning the mental, physical and moral predispositions. We add to them two more, the nature and names of which you may learn hereafter. Suffice for the present to let you know that they are connected with, and productive of Sakkayaditthi, the "heresy or delusion of individuality" and of Attavada "the doctrine of Self", both of which (in the case of the fifth principle the soul) lead to the maya of heresy and belief in the efficacy of vain rites and ceremonies; in prayers and intercession.


Now, returning to the question of identity between the old and the new "Ego", I may remind you once more, that even your Science has accepted the old, very old fact distinctly taught by our Lord, viz. - that a man of any given age, while sentiently the same, is yet physically not the same as he was a few years earlier (we say seven years and are prepared to maintain and prove it):buddhistically speaking his Skandhas have changed. At the same time they are ever and ceaselessly at work in preparing the abstract mould, the "privation" of the future new being. Well then, if it is just that a man of 40 should enjoy or suffer for the actions of the man of 20, so it is equally just that the being of the new birth, who is essentially identical with the previous being - since he is its outcome and creation - should feel the consequences of that begetting Self or personality. Your Western law which punishes the innocent son of a guilty father by depriving him of his parent, rights and property; your civilized Society which brands with infamy the guiltless daughter of an immoral, criminal mother; your Christian Church and Scriptures which teach that the "Lord God visits the sins of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation", are not all these far more unjust and cruel than anything done by Karma? Instead of punishing the innocent together with the culprit, the Karma avenges and rewards the former, which neither of your three western potentates above mentioned ever thought of doing. But perhaps, to our physiological remark the objectors may reply that it is only the body that changes, there is only a molecular transformation, which has nothing to do with the mental evolution; and that the Skandhas represent not only a material but also a set of mental and moral qualities. But is there, I ask, either a sensation, an abstract idea, a tendency of mind, or a mental power, that one could call an absolutely non-molecular phenomenon? Can even a sensation or the most abstractive thoughts which is something, come out of nothing, or be nothing?


 ML 197:200 The social status of a being is, of course, a result of Karma; the law being that "like attracts like". The renascent being is drawn into the gestative current with which the preponderating attractions coming over from the last birth make him assimilate. Thus one who died a ryot may be reborn a king, and the dead sovereign may next see the light in a coolie's tent. This law of attraction asserts itself in a thousand "accidents of birth" - than which there could be no more flagrant misnomer. When you realize, at least, the following - that the skandhas are the elements of limited existence then will you have realized also one of the conditions of Devachan which has now such a profoundly unsatisfactory outlook for you. Nor are your inferences (as regards the well-being and enjoyment of the upper classes being due to a better Karma) quite correct in their general application. They have a eudaemonistic ring about them which is hardly reconcilable with Karmic Law, since, those "well-being and enjoyment" are oftener the causes of a new and overloaded Karma than the production or effects of the latter. Even as a "broad rule" poverty and humble condition in life are less a cause of sorrow than wealth and high birth, but of that -later on.



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