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 Mystery of Death
There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins;
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it. --
"If a man die shall he live again?" How many myriad times has this question been asked since the days of Job, and how many times imperfectly answered! But in this age of transition an opportunity has been given the Western world to obtain a more accurate view of life, and what is called death, than has been possible since the destruction of the Mysteries in Greece, Egypt, and western Asia.
The popular dread of death and the misconceptions concerning it arise from ignorance, the parent of evil. We are yet ignorant of our own true nature; humanity is a sealed book to itself; and no wonder, therefore, the future looks dark, uncertain, and forbidding.
We all, at least all who have begun to study their own natures impersonally, feel a certain cramping bondage in our lives, a sense of limitation. We tremble on the brink of discovering that life contains far greater possibilities than we had dared to hope for, and that we are not living up to the height of our powers. We dimly suspect that there is a higher principle in us that must come out and take control, and our intuitions, timid and faint though they may be, and clouded by the materialism of the age, tell us that the death of the physical body cannot be the end of all things for us.
Without a future existence for the larger man that we feel stirring in our hearts at times, human life would indeed be "a discreditable episode on one of the meanest of the planets"!
How is it that our boasted intellectual progress has left us more ignorant, hopeless, and bewildered than ever in respect to this supreme question? Why do we wear gloomy looks and black clothes, and entertain hopeless grief and dread in our hearts, when this natural and inevitable shadow crosses our path?
Our popular theology tells us "Death is a mystery, we must hope for the best," and that the only proof of the resurrection is that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and opened the gates of Paradise for the faithful -- a 'proof' which is no proof to the majority of people. But orthodoxy is undermined today by scientific criticism, and many of its leading exponents have abandoned what were believed to be its central features.
Today the churches speak with mental reservation and quavering voices of Heaven, Hell, and the plan of Salvation; the ringing note of certainty is wanting, for the Huxleys and Spencers have thoroughly shaken the walls of the creeds with their trumpet-blasts of criticism. Few persons honestly believe in the old orthodoxy or in any plan of salvation at all. Dispassionate study of the Higher Criticism and a judicious regard of the unspiritual career of Christendom during the past nineteen weary centuries have thrown back the more thoughtful and, necessarily, the masses who follow, into doubt or indifference.
Acts speak louder than words and it is not to be denied that the lives of men today show that they have, in the main, lost the simple enthusiastic faith that sent Ridley and Latimer to the stake, or fired the fine ladies of Florence to sacrifice their vanities at the bidding of Savonarola. It is even considered impolite to speak on such subjects as the future life in general society! The crudity of the teachings of the churches on the subject of what happens after death is well typified by the lines of the famous hymn of Dr. Watts, beginning:
When rattling bones together fly
From every quarter of the sky.
The publication of such gross caricatures of the truth has led people to doubt, justly enough, whether their self-appointed teachers know any more of the mystery of death than they themselves; and, as a natural consequence, those to whom the future is all dark, either cling to lives of hopeless suffering with the tenacity of despair, or destroy themselves in reckless disregard of the warnings they despise. The increase of suicide is one of the most menacing signs of the times.
Science on its part has nothing definite to affirm and refuses to answer the question of the possibility of a future life for man. The scientific world hardly dares to admit there is such a question at all, and prefers to devote its attention to researches of inferior consequence. No doubt this attitude of scientific thought is but a temporary reaction against the absurd and obsolete dogmas of theology, but the fact remains that the anxious truthseeker receives no answer, and that in pursuing what is called the practical, science strangely ignores the most practical questions of all, i.e., what are we here for; where have we come from; and where do we go? And in doing this Science today unscientifically disregards the testimony of a vast mass of facts bearing upon the question, and ignores the opinion of the greatest minds of the ages.
But if we shake off the preconceived prejudices we may have gathered from the vagaries of learned theological ignorance, or the negations, of scientists, we will admit that the importance of the subject is undeniable; it is only the possibility of gaining any certainty on the subject that is doubtful.
What a different thing life is to one who realizes that "The soul of man is immortal and its future is the future of a thing whose growth and splendor have no limits" (Idyll of the While Lotus), and that it is in his own hands for weal or woe, from what it appears to one who thinks, Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. How is the materialist going to confront the 'King of Terrors' when the icy hand suddenly strikes the beloved one? Will not his pride of negation bend at that crisis? -- for much of modern skepticism is born of conceit. It is not impossible that at such times a strange, wild hope, a flash from a higher source may startle him as he gazes down the street of tombs, the Appian Way of dead hopes and attachments.
The teachings of theosophy, simple in their broad outlines, profound as nature in their details, have come as a revealer to those who are seeking the way to truth. Theosophy reconciles the conflict between science and religions; it is nothing new; the truths it brings forward are as old as the hills, but it puts them in a manner conformable to the temper of the age.
William Q. Judge says: Embracing both the scientific and the religious,
Theosophy is a scientific religion and a religious science. It is not a belief or dogma formulated or invented by man, but is a knowledge of the laws which govern the evolution of the physical, astral, psychical, and intellectual constituents of nature and of man.
There is nothing grotesque in theosophy; it is a system which is scientific and not merely speculative. It is as inevitable as the multiplication table.
But theosophy demands one difficult thing from the student -- an unprejudiced attitude of mind, for it takes a real effort to change our standpoint and to admit that our ignorance has been perpetuated by sheer unwillingness to climb to the heights where a broader view can be obtained.
Though theosophy opens a new realm of nature to the student and unveils facts and their meanings that have been lost or buried, it is not dogmatic; it does not demand acceptance under penalties. Theosophy could not be dogmatic and continue to be theosophy, for it teaches man to look within himself for the truth and not to accept the testimony of another person, or of any book, as infallible. The real teacher is one who puts you in a position to find out truth for yourself. In Oriental theosophy he is called the guru, or guide and adjuster, and his duty is not to cram quantities of startling facts into the learner, but to show him how to travel from the known to the unknown.
We are told that if we follow the path of brotherly conduct in all our acts and thoughts, the path of self-discipline and self-purification, the royal and only road to the higher wisdom will be found. In the poetical words of H. P. Blavatsky:
There is a road steep and thorny, beset with perils of every kind, but yet a road, and it leads to the Heart of the Universe. I can tell you how to find those who will show you the secret gateway that leads inward only and closes fast behind the neophyte for evermore. There is no danger that dauntless courage cannot conquer, there is no trial that spotless purity cannot pass through; there is no difficulty that strong intellect cannot surmount. For those who win onward there is reward past all telling, the power to bless and serve Humanity. For those who fail there are other lives in which success may come.
As we persevere in sincere altruistic effort for the uplifting of our 'other selves,' our brothers, the darkest shadows will be lifted, and the mystery of death be solved, for our vision will be so pure that we shall see things as they really are. H. P. Blavatsky said that she was instructed to put forward the teachings of theosophy primarily "to break the molds of mind"; that is to say, to give the brightest and most spiritual minds of this age the opportunity of finding for themselves the truth by showing them the line of search and the method of commencing.
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