How to Get Through It
Lentil burgers, a thousand press ups before breakfast and
the daily 25 mile run may put it off for a while but death
seems to get most of us in the end. We are pleased to
present for your consideration, a definitive work on the
subject by a Student of Katherine Tingley entitled
“Man After Death”
1847 – 1929
Founder & President of the
Point Loma Theosophical Society 1896 -1929
She and her students produced a series of informative
Theosophical works in the early years of the 20th century
Man After Death
A Student of
The Individuality and
Theosophy urges students to make the greatest distinction in their own minds between the immortal individuality -- the divine Christos, called in the East the Isvara, that dwelleth in the heart of every creature -- and the fleeting personality. Man in his ordinary state believes that he is nothing more than the lower mind. Even the greatest intellectual thinkers of the age do not dare to break through this hypnotic veil, well symbolized by the teaching of the creeds that men are miserable sinners, a depressing nightmare; or the similarly depraving notion of the biologists that a man is no more than 'a monkey shaved.'
Theosophy recognizes the backward state of mankind to the full and makes no attempt to flatter its vanity with false praise. But it gives hope, and by showing that there is the higher ego overshadowing the personality, that it is ever trying to call attention to those things which are pure and of good report, and that we can enter into the mansion that is waiting for us if we will only try the right means, it destroys the fear of death.
In gaining the real life of the soul, of which the Devachanic interlude is a pale reflection, we really shall not be gaining any new thing; if we go about it rightly we find that we have but to remove the obstructions that are in the path, most of which we have built up for ourselves.
If we give up the lower desires and turn our energies to those in harmony with the highest human aspirations, we at once find ourselves partaking of a larger consciousness; we begin to hear the mysterious whisper in the heart -- the voice of the greater humanity of which we are all a part, but of which, we are so little aware.
Without going more deeply into metaphysics, it suffices for practical purposes that as we remove the obstructions, the glories of real life and the existence of the true self break in upon us. This is the only way to triumph over death. All the greatest teachers of the ages have brought the same message.
The terrestrial body is not the only River of Lethe, plunged into which, as Plotinus says, the soul forgets all, but Devachan partakes of the same nature, for in that blissful state the celestial body with which the soul is united causes it to lose sight utterly of the painful events and thoughts of the past life. Although the real cause of Devachan is ignorance of the higher ego, yet in our present state of evolution it is a necessary and desirable experience; we see how necessary by the very fact -- a profound mystery to physiology -- that to keep going and preserve sanity the higher ego has to abandon its communication with the body for a large part of each twenty-four hours. The higher ego never entirely quits the spiritual realms, and although the materials used by the imagination in Devachan with which to build its ideal life are only derived from the most sublimated thoughts and acts of the past incarnation, yet the totality of events of that and all the previous lives is indelibly recorded so that when real self-knowledge arrives the veil will fall and access be gained to the records, and the course of evolution be plainly seen. We are taught that the soul is able to look back with purified sight a little way into the past as it re-enters earth-life. It then sees the causes that have led it irresistibly to the new incarnation, good or bad, and recognizes the justice of karma; it takes up the cross again with willingness.
H. P. Blavatsky says: "Devachan is a spiritual gestation within an ideal matrix state," and as we emerge from it into the light of earthly day, complete in all our potentialities for good or evil, we again have the opportunity of keeping the simplicity of the spiritual life. Of all the poets, Wordsworth has given us in his Intimations of Immortality the most inspired vision of preexistence in the Devachanic state. In the haunting sweetness of his word-picture we catch evanescent glimpses of that which we have lost:
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;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close . . .
Hence, in a season of calm weather
Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither;
Can in a moment travel thither
And see the children sport upon the shore,
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.
Some have been fortunate enough to retain the "vision splendid" longer than others; some have revived it, after recollecting how they once lost it in early childhood. Those who never had it, to whom everything is commonplace and drab, have been the materialistically minded, worldly-wise folk who have not sown any seeds in their past life for the reaping in Devachan, and have therefore passed the time while waiting for a suitable incarnation in a semi-torpid state. They may even have reincarnated immediately, without any Devachanic break.
On the subject of necromancy, the attempt to raise the shades of the dead, it is merely necessary to mention that the purified soul in Devachan does not respond to artificial means taken to revivify the astral shell (the residue of the kama-rupa) with a factitious vitality derived chiefly from the medium and the sitters in the seance-room.
But though the soul in Devachan is so far removed from the physical plane, and so fully occupied with the wondrous inner experiences for which it needs to be temporarily sequestered, that it cannot return to earth in the true sense of the word, it has not lost touch completely with the loved ones left behind. A mother's love is a protecting shield for her children long after she has passed away, though she does not have the pain of seeing them suffer the vicissitudes of life.
And at times of great spiritual exaltation a person on earth may sense the bliss of the one in Devachan; but we are taught that this is of very rare occurrence, and is poles asunder from the alleged return of the souls of the dead in the seance-room -- apparitions which, when genuine, are almost invariably caused by the astral body of the medium or the shell of the deceased, the kama-rupa, or something else which is not the real man, by which we mean, of course, the higher and lower manas, united at last.
The length of time spent in Devachan is a question of difficulty; little direct information has been given on that point, but a general average is said to be about fifteen hundred years. In the case of persons having led an ordinary, creditable life and having a fairly large store of lofty experiences to be assimilated, the time will be much longer than in the case of those who have pursued none but ignoble aims, or materialists who utterly deny the possibility of any existence but the physical. The latter will return to earth very soon.
A study of the cyclic periods of history gives some light on the subject; it is seen that there is a distinct tendency for the repetition of similar events in a period of between twelve hundred and two thousand years; witness the Renaissance of art in the fourteenth and later centuries, which followed about 1600 years after the great period of art in Greece. But we have not yet sufficient historical data to be able to follow out this line of research in detail, though as new discoveries are constantly being made, future historians will find this a profitable study, clearing up many otherwise inexplicable difficulties.
The question of the existence of heaven or hell presents no great difficulties to the Theosophical student.
Hell is mainly here on earth, where we have made the horrible conditions of existence for ourselves; after death there is a period of purification in which many earth-bound souls must necessarily have suffering. Heaven is the long blissful ecstasy of Devachan, terminating in the awakening to earth-life in a new personality, formed by the just law of karma from the seeds of action, the skandhas, carried on as seeds by the immortal reincarnating ego after the break-up of the kama-rupa, and in which we have a fresh chance of undoing the mistakes of the past and gaining that real spirituality rendering the semi-illusions of Devachan, lofty as they are, unnecessary. The two procedures of purification on earth through lives of effort and the trials for entrance into Devachan have close points of resemblance, and were condensed into one in the Egyptian Book of the Dead and Job. H. P. Blavatsky tells us:
During the sacred Mysteries the candidates for Initiation enacted the whole drama of death and the resurrection as a glorified spirit.
Though we may have lost the key to the profounder teachings of the Egyptian and Greek Mysteries, we have not lost the key to the only method of regaining our high estate. William Q. Judge, in pointing the way to reach the higher ego, the 'Warrior,' says:
It is selflessness, unselfishness, altruism, pure love of the light for its own sake, not for what it will confer -- these things bring the candidate face to face with the "Warrior."
Katherine Tingley teaches people to discover and make manifest that "You have within you the ceaseless flow of living Fire," saying further:
According to my knowledge, when a soul is leaving its earthly Temple, however dark and gruesome the circumstances may be, it knows its own path. So in moving out of the body, long before the pulse has ceased to beat or the breath is stilled, it finds itself born into a New Life, an unspeakable joy.
Something new has been fashioned for that soul in that sacred moment, and then it comprehends the enormity of its mistakes and wills itself to higher things in the next life. There are different experiences for different souls according to their evolution, but at last each one rests in the arms of the beneficent Law, free from the limitations of earthly life. The ordinary mind cannot fully conceive what has happened; the soul is judged by the Law, not by any man, and when it is reborn it not only takes with it the experience of the past, though without the memory of details, but it takes something else that has happened at that wonderful time when it is born into the New Life, when it is reborn in more ways than one.
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