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 Second Death
Theosophy teaches that the death of the body is not the only great change that occurs at the close of life; there is a second death, a death of the lower passional nature, the kama-rupa or 'body of desire.' This mystic death sets free the higher principles, which then rise to sublime heights of spiritual existence from whence they do not return until the next incarnation.
To understand this more clearly we must regard the higher ego or manas as the center of self-consciousness, overshadowed by the potentiality of atma-buddhi, but during life partly incarnated in this molecular existence, where for experience and for the elevation of lower states of being, it has identified itself with that limited bodily condition where passion and desire have great power. The lower manas is an emanation, a portion sent out from the higher ego -- we may call it for convenience the reflection or the shadow -- and while in the body it becomes fully identified with terrestrial existence after the first few years of life, when, as Wordsworth says:
Shades of the prison-house begin to close / Upon the growing Boy, / But he beholds the light, and whence it flows, / He sees it in his joy; / The Youth, who daily farther from the east / Must travel, still is Nature's priest, / And by the vision splendid / Is on his way attended; / At length the Man perceives it die away, / And fade into the light of common day.
It has forgotten "heaven which is its home." The false personality, the compound of the lower manas -- this emanation of the higher -- the passions, and a number of sensory impressions derived from a long train of daily experiences strung together by the thread of physical memory, is what we call our personal self, Mr. or Mrs.---- as the case may be; but all the time the real reincarnating ego, the higher individuality, is behind, watching, guiding, and helping, whenever the lower self will allow its voice -- the conscience -- to be heard. It is the guardian angel.
At death the body, the astral, and the physical vitality or prana, return to their own molecular or atomic states, and for the present we need say no more about them.
The inner man now stands freed from his physical sheath, but he is none the less a personality; he is still entangled in those passions he has been weaving around himself since infancy. He is now on the kama-loka plane, the natural home of desire and passion. The perfectly legitimate normal existence of other states of being, beyond and within the ordinary terrestrial plane, blending into and interpenetrating it, is a conception people find difficult to realize in some cases. Even the lowest of these planes are invisible to our embodied senses except under very unusual circumstances, and though they shade into each other like the colors of the spectrum, each one is distinct and characterized by a dominant state of consciousness.
Most people are in the habit of thinking of everything on terrestrial lines, of supposing that the higher as well as the lower feelings disappear utterly with the destruction of the brain, or else of putting the whole question aside as a hopeless mystery. But to see the truth the student must look upon the things of the mind and the soul from higher ground.
Reasoning, which does fairly well for the things of the body and the mechanical forces, will not apply to supermundane conditions without modification. So when we speak of the plane of passion and desire whereon a being may live, we must not look upon it as if it were another material planet like ours, but rather as a subtle condition of matter within or interpenetrating our world; the kama-lokic condition of consciousness partly resembles the state the mind is in when dreaming an ordinary dream. Even this comparison is very incomplete, for most of our dreaming is done through the brain-cells. Speaking of kama-loka, H. P. Blavatsky says that it is the semi-material plane, to us subjective and invisible, where the disembodied "personalities," the astral forms, called Kama-rupas, remain until they fade out from it by the complete exhaustion of the effect of the mental impulses that created these eidolons of the lower animal passions and desires.
H. P. Blavatsky here uses the words astral and eidolon for a much more subtle and ethereal principle, so to speak, than that almost physical astral which perishes as the body decays. The kama-rupa is the subjective being (subjective from our terrestrially objective position but objective enough on its own plane) composed of the whole of the passional nature of the man that was; and for a while the higher ego cannot withdraw the shadow, the emanation or lower manas, which has gotten entangled in it. In some cases the lower consciousness absolutely dominates the position and the higher ego is compelled to break off from its shadow. This terrible fate for the lower manas even happens occasionally during life, and then we see the awful spectacle of a seemingly human being entirely destitute of conscience -- a soulless being -- although often highly intellectual. The kama-lokic plane has many divisions, each one in harmony with the grade of materiality of the being passing through it. In the Egyptian Book of the Dead they are symbolized by the many portals the soul has to pass through before being finally allowed to enter the Elysian fields of Aaru. At each gateway he has to give the password, showing advance in spirituality and purification.
As the departed soul progresses in purification it approaches nearer and nearer the Father in Heaven, the higher ego, and at the same time the kama principle fades away, only leaving behind it the seeds of future action, the seeds that have been sown in the life just passed and which have to come to fruition in some later incarnation. Only the highest thoughts and feelings of the past life can enter into the final state of heavenly bliss, but before this can be attained the gradual change called the second death has to be faced.
The general theosophical teaching of the second death is nothing new, and as it is a fact in the orderly progress of the soul, the most enlightened of the ancient philosophers knew of it and have handed it down to us, who have greater difficulties in investigating for ourselves. The sacred knowledge of the mysteries of death cannot be found by the invocation of the fading kama-rupic shades of the dead in seance-rooms or by any ordinary means known to science.
Penetration behind the veil of illusion that wraps us so closely can only be done with faultless vision by those who have passed entirely beyond the entanglements of selfish desire. Only those Masters of Wisdom who have attained perfect compassion, the "perfect love that casteth out fear," can venture into and return safely from those regions "from whose bourn no [uninitiated or untrained] traveler returns." The visions of such imperfect seers as Swedenborg, Scipio Africanus, St. Teresa, and the like are often quite unreliable, for they are colored by preconceptions arising from their own particular school of theology acting through self-hypnosis, as well as by gigantic personal limitations. Plutarch puts the ancient theosophic teaching very clearly, though of course, he could not explain anything fully as the whole detail belonged to the inner Mysteries.
Now of the deaths we die, the one makes man two out of three and the other one of [out of] two. The former is in the region and jurisdiction of Demeter; whence the name given to the Mysteries, teletai, resembles that given to death, teleute. The Athenians also heretofore called the deceased sacred to Demeter. As for the other death, it is in the moon or region of Persephone.* .
. . And as with the one, the terrestrial, so with the other, celestial, Hermes doth dwell. This suddenly and with violence plucks the soul from the body; but Proserpina mildly and in a long time disjoins the understanding from the soul.
. . . Now both the one and the other happen thus according to nature.
It is ordained by Fate [Fatum or Karma] that every soul, whether with or without understanding [mind] when gone out of the body, should wander for a time -- though not all for the same -- in the region lying between the Earth and Moon [Kama-loka]. For those who have been unjust and dissolute suffer then the punishment due to their offenses; but the good and virtuous are there detained till they are purified and have, by expiation, purged out of them all the infections they might have contracted from the contagion of the body, as if from foul health, -- living in the mildest part of the air, called the Meadows of Hades, where they must remain for a certain prefixed and appointed time.
And then, as if they were returning from a wandering pilgrimage or long exile into their country, they have a taste of joy . . . etc. [*Proserpina, or Persephone, stands here for post mortem Karma, which is said to regulate the separation of the lower from the higher "principles" -- the soul, as Nephesh, the breath of animal life, which remains for a time in Kama-loka, from the higher compound Ego, which goes into the state of Devachan, or bliss.]
CONSCIOUSNESS AND PERSONALITY
Before passing on to the consideration of the region of Paradise where the higher manas and the spiritual aroma of the lower manas become one and unite with the higher self, it will be well to take another glance at the question of reflected or emanated intelligence, a great stumbling-block to beginners.
The superficial materialism of this age -- not only the theoretical disbelief in the existence of immortality, but the modern ideals of practical life -- have brought so many millions into such a settled way of thinking of themselves as nothing but this body and brain-mind that it requires some exercise of will to break up the hypnotic illusion and to see things in a larger way and with a broader view. But when this is done, what a relief to find it is not necessary to believe, as the theologians have indoctrinated us in their ignorance, that our present limited personalities will continue to exist in heaven or hell throughout all eternity; nor to have to take refuge in a natural, instinctive horror of that wearisome belief -- in the melancholy hope of annihilation!
All things possess self-consciousness in
potentiality; every atom on each plane of being has it in latency if not in action, and the principles that the ego builds round itself in order to come into touch with the many phases of earth-life receive a partial awakening from its contact. Think of a light shining through differently colored panes of glass, some of which remain phosphorescent for a while after the withdrawal of the inner light, a physical fact which partly illustrates the superphysical condition of the lower states of consciousness when the higher ego has passed on.
The whole of nature is ready at the first favorable moment to acquire self-conscious existence; the greater object which man is struggling to reach (and all things are tending to become man on their way upward) is to "enjoy the Glory of God," in the language of the theologians. We would prefer to put it: that all things should become aware of the plan of the divine Oversoul of which they are expressions. Observe that the word God is not used in theosophy with any personal signification -- unless the ordinary, limited meaning of the word personal is set aside as so many theologians try to do by their desperate attempts to combine the incompatible in their efforts to define the nature of God. By this almost creative power of a higher consciousness to light the fires in less evolved substance, the illusion is produced in the mind that it can divide and subdivide itself; but actually the original consciousness must remain a unity and does not lose its identity.
The basis in which it works will change, or more exactly, it will pass through many fundamentally distinct states, but once having arrived at that feeling, the sense of I-am-I exists through all the changes of form and growth during earth-life. Even during the states of so-called unconsciousness (unconsciousness to the waking mind, such as when the brain is under the effect of hypnotism) there is no real blank, for when the subject is again hypnotized the lost memory of what has taken place during the hypnotic state returns and can even be made permanent. Even the character of the personality may change, but the spectator, the inner man "for whom the hour shall never strike," looks on and recognizes the changes and profits by the experience gained through the lower self. Back of all there is that which is still more spiritual than the higher ego: the higher self -- the divine breath, buddhi illuminated by atma, that which is one, the Oversoul.
"Lift thy head, O Lanoo; dost thou see one, or countless lights above thee, burning in the dark midnight sky?"
"I sense one Flame, O Gurudeva, I see countless undetached sparks shining in it."
"Thou sayest well. And now look around and into thyself. That light which bums inside thee, dost thou feel it different in anywise from the light that shines in thy Brother-men?"
"It is in no way different, though the prisoner is held in bondage by Karma, and though its outer garments delude the ignorant into saying, 'Thy Soul and My Soul.'" -- From an Eastern esoteric catechism, quoted by H. P. Blavatsky in
The Secret Doctrine 1:120
Now we have traveled in our imaginary journey a long way with the advancing soul, and though many mysteries have been left yet unexplained and many gaps remain to be filled as the student makes progress in impersonality, still the broad outlines of the coherent system are now apparent.
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