Our After-Death Journey


Abbreviations:
ET The Esoteric Tradition, G. de Purucker, TUP, 3rd ed., 2011
FSO Fountain-Source of Occultism, G. de Purucker, TUP, 1974
OG Occult Glossary, G. de Purucker, TUP, 2nd ed., 1996
WoL    The Wine of Life, Katherine Tingley, TUP, 2nd (online) ed., 1996


    ‘[C]onsciousness from eternity to eternity is uninterrupted, although by the very nature of things undergoing continuous and unceasing change ... What men call unconsciousness is merely a form of consciousness which is too subtle for our gross brain-minds to perceive or to sense or to grasp; and ... what men call death, whether of a universe or of their own physical bodies, is but the breaking up of worn-out vehicles and the transference of consciousness to a higher plane.’ (OG 65)

    ‘[J]ust as complete death, that is to say, entire annihilation of consciousness, is an impossibility in nature, just so is continuous and unchanging consciousness in any one stage or phase of evolution likewise an impossibility, because progress or movement or growth is continuous throughout eternity. There are, however, periods more or less long of continuance in any stage or phase of consciousness that may be attained by an evolving entity; and the higher the being is in evolution, the more its spiritual and intellectual faculties have been evolved or evoked, the longer do these periods of continuous individual, or perhaps personal, quasi-immortality continue. ...
    ‘The entire matter is, therefore, a highly relative one. What seems immortal to us humans would seem to be but as a wink of the eye to the vision of super-kosmic entities; while, on the other hand, the span of the average human life would seem to be immortal to a self-conscious entity inhabiting one of the electrons of an atom of the human physical body.’ (OG 64-5)

    ‘Death occurs when a general break-up of the constitution of man takes place; nor is this break-up a matter of sudden occurrence, with the exceptions of course of such cases as mortal accidents or suicides. Death is always preceded, varying in each individual case, by a certain time spent in the withdrawal of the monadic individuality from an incarnation, and this withdrawal of course takes place coincidently with a decay of the seven-principle being which man is in physical incarnation. This decay precedes physical dissolution, and is a preparation of and by the consciousness-center for the forthcoming existence in the invisible realms. ...
    ‘Death occurs, physically speaking, with the cessation of activity of the pulsating heart. There is the last beat, and this is followed by immediate, instantaneous unconsciousness, for nature is very merciful in these things. But death is not yet complete, for the brain is the last organ of the physical body really to die, and for some time after the heart has ceased beating, the brain and its memory still remain active and, although unconsciously so, the human ego for this short length of time, passes in review every event of the preceding life. ...
    ‘[T]his process forms a reconstruction of both the good and the evil done in the past life, and imprints this strongly as a record on the fabric of the spiritual memory of the passing being. Then the mortal and material portions sink into oblivion, while the reincarnating ego carries the best and noblest parts of these memories into the devachan or heaven-world of postmortem rest and recuperation. Thus comes the end called death; and unconsciousness, complete and undisturbed, succeeds ...
    ‘The lower triad (prana, linga-sharira, sthula-sharira) is now definitely cast off, and the remaining quaternary is free. The physical body of the lower triad follows the course of natural decay, and its various hosts of life-atoms proceed whither their natural attractions draw them. The linga-sharira or model-body remains in the astral realms, and finally fades out. The life-atoms of the prana, or electrical field, fly instantly back at the moment of physical dissolution to the natural pranic reservoirs of the planet.
    ‘This leaves man, therefore, no longer a heptad or septenary entity, but a quaternary consisting of the upper duad (atma-buddhi) and the intermediate duad (manas-kama). The second death then takes place.’ (OG 34-6)

    ‘The second death takes place when the lower or intermediate duad (manas-kama) in its turn separates from, or rather is cast off by, the upper duad; but preceding this event the upper duad gathers unto itself from this lower duad what is called the reincarnating ego, which is all the best of the entity that was, all its purest and most spiritual and noblest aspirations and hopes and dreams for betterment and for beauty and harmony. Inherent in the fabric, so to speak, of the reincarnating ego, there remain of course the seeds of the lower principles which at the succeeding rebirth or reincarnation of the ego will develop into the complex of the lower quaternary.’ (OG 158)

    The kama-loka (‘desire world’) ‘is a semi-material plane or rather world or realm, subjective and invisible to human beings as a rule, which surrounds and also encloses our physical globe. It is the habitat or dwelling-place of the astral forms of dead men and other dead beings – the realms of the kama-rupas or desire-bodies of defunct humans. ...
    ‘It is in the kama-loka that the second death takes place, after which the freed upper duad of the human being that was enters the devachan. The highest regions of the kama-loka blend insensibly into the lowest regions or realms of the devachan; and, conversely, the grossest and lowest regions of the kama-loka blend insensibly into the highest regions of the avichi.
    ‘When the physical body breaks up at death, the astral elements of the excarnate entity remain in the kama-loka or “shadow world,” with the same vital centers as in physical life clinging within them, still vitalizing them; and here certain processes take place. The lower human soul that is befouled with earth-thought and the lower instincts cannot easily rise out of the kama-loka, ... and its tendency is consequently downwards. It is in the kama-loka that the processes of separation of the monad from the kama-rupic spook or phantom take place; and when this separation is complete, which is the second death ..., then the monad receives the reincarnating ego within its bosom, wherein it enjoys its long rest of bliss and recuperation. If, contrariwise, the entity in the kama-loka is so heavy with evil and is so strongly attracted to earth spheres that the influence of the monad cannot withdraw the reincarnating ego from the kama-rupa, then the latter with its befouled soul sinks lower and lower and may even enter the avichi. If the influence of the monad succeeds, as it usually does, in bringing about the second death, then the kama-rupa becomes a mere phantom or kama-rupic spook, and begins instantly to decay and finally vanishes away, its component life-atoms pursuing each one the road whither its attractions draw it.’ (OG 77-8)

     Elementaries are ‘kama-rupic shades, with especial application to the cases of grossly materialistic ex-humans whose evil impulses and appetites still inhering in the kama-rupic phantom draw these phantoms to physical spheres congenial to them. They are a real danger to psychical health and sanity, and literally haunt living human beings possessing tendencies akin to their own. They are soulless shells, but still filled with energies of a depraved and ignoble type. Their destiny [is] ultimate disintegration ...’ (OG 45-6)

     Avichi is a ‘generalized term for places of evil realizations, but not of punishment in the Christian sense; where the will for evil, and the unsatisfied evil longings for pure selfishness, find their chance for expansion – and final extinction of the entity itself. Avichi has many degrees or grades. Nature has all things in her; if she has heavens where good and true men find rest and peace and bliss, so has she other spheres and states where gravitate those who must find an outlet for the evil passions burning within.’ (OG 17)

    ‘While avichi is a state where very evil human beings “die and are reborn without interruption,” yet not without hope of final redemption – something which can actually take place even on our physical plane in the cases of very evil or soulless men – the eighth sphere represents a degree of psychomental degeneration still more advanced. [E]ven in avichi there is a possibility of reinsoulment by the ray of the spiritual monad; whereas in the eighth sphere or planet of death such possibility finally vanishes, and the entity which has sunk to the planet of death ... is a “lost soul.” In the eighth sphere the lost souls are ground over and over in nature’s laboratory, and are finally dissipated into their component psycho-astral elements or life-atoms.’ (OG 43-4)

    ‘Devachan as a state applies not to the highest or heavenly or divine monad, but only to the middle principles of man, to the personal ego or the personal soul in man, overshadowed by atma-buddhi. There are many degrees in devachan ...
    ‘Devachan is the fulfilling of all the unfulfilled spiritual hopes of the past incarnation, and an efflorescence of all the spiritual and intellectual yearnings of the past incarnation which in that past incarnation have not had an opportunity for fulfillment. ... [T]he reincarnating ego remains in the bosom of the monad (or of the monadic essence) in a state of the most perfect and utter bliss and peace, reviewing and constantly reviewing, and improving upon in its own blissful imagination, all the unfulfilled spiritual and intellectual possibilities of the life just closed that its naturally creative faculties automatically suggest to the devachanic entity.
    ‘Man here is no longer a quaternary of substance-principles (for the second death has taken place), but is now reduced to the monad with the reincarnating ego sleeping in its bosom, and is therefore a spiritual triad.’ (OG 37)

     Nirvana literally means ‘blown out’, but this refers only to the lower human principles and does not mean complete annihilation.
    ‘Nirvana is a state of utter bliss and complete, untrammeled consciousness, a state of absorption in pure kosmic Being, and is the wondrous destiny of those who have reached superhuman knowledge and purity and spiritual illumination. It really is personal-individual absorption into or rather identification with the Self – the highest SELF. It is also the state of the monadic entities in the period that intervenes between minor manvantaras or rounds of a planetary chain; and more fully so between each seven-round period or day of Brahma, and the succeeding day or new kalpa of a planetary chain. ...
    ‘Devachan and nirvana are not localities. They are states, states of the beings in those respective spiritual conditions. Devachan is the intermediate state; nirvana is the superspiritual state; and avichi, popularly called the lowest of the hells, is the nether pole of the spiritual condition. These three are states of beings having habitat in the lokas or talas, in the worlds of the kosmic egg.
    ‘So far as the individual human being is concerned, the nirvanic state or condition may be attained to by great spiritual seers and sages, such as Gautama the Buddha, and even by men less progressed than he; because in these cases of the attaining of the nirvana even during a man’s life on earth, the meaning is that one so attaining has through evolution progressed so far along the path that all the lower personal part of him is become thoroughly impersonalized, the personal has put on the garment of impersonality, and such a man thereafter lives in the nirvanic condition of the spiritual monad.
    ‘[N]irvana, while the ultima thule of the perfection to be attained by any human being, nevertheless stands less high in the estimate of mystics than the condition of the bodhisattva. For the bodhisattva, although standing on the threshold of nirvana and seeing and understanding its ineffable glory and peace and rest, nevertheless retains his consciousness in the worlds of men, in order to consecrate his vast faculties and powers to the service of all that is. The buddhas in their higher parts enter the nirvana, in other words, assume the dharmakaya state or vesture, whereas the bodhisattva assumes the nirmanakaya vesture, thereafter to become an ever-active and compassionate and beneficent influence in the world. The buddha indeed may be said to act indirectly and by long distance control, thus indeed helping the world diffusively or by diffusion; but the bodhisattva acts directly and positively and with a directing will in works of compassion, both for the world and for individuals.’ (OG 118-9)

* * *

    ‘A universe comes into being because a cosmic entity is imbodying itself; and a universe dies, as a man dies, because it has come to the point where the major part of its energies have already passed into the invisible realms. ... The same fundamental laws prevail in the great as in the small. ... It is the same with a star or sun as it is with its parent universe. It is the same with any entity. Life is endless, has neither beginning nor end ...’ (FSO 111-2)

    ‘[D]eath and sleep are fundamentally the same, not different except in degree; ... sleep is an imperfect death and death is a perfect sleep. This is the main key to all the teachings on death ...
    ‘Death is not the opposite of life, but actually is one of the modes of living – a modification of consciousness, a change from one phase of living to others in subservience to karmic destiny. ... [O]ur bodies are in a state of constant change, their atoms are in a continuous process of renewal ... Even while imbodied we are living in the midst of innumerable tiny deaths.’ (FSO 535-6)

    ‘Death ... is caused primarily from within, and only secondarily from without, and involves an attraction of the reimbodying ego upwards to spiritual-divine spheres, and the progressive decay of the astral-vital-physical vehicle. ...
    ‘It has been frequently said that every individual has a certain limited store of vitality, and that when this has been exhausted, the man must die. What is meant is that the vital-astral-physical organism as a composite entity not only has a certain power of resistance to the streams of pranic life pouring through it, but likewise has its own cohesive power arising in the pranas of the individual molecules and atoms which in their aggregate make the body. In other words, when the pranic energies of the entire constitution wear the body out so that it can no longer function smoothly, it begins to weaken ... ’ (FSO 540-1)

    ‘As death approaches, which implies a withdrawal of the vital essence from the incarnated human being, [the] akashic aura is co-ordinately indrawn, ... and at the moment of complete death [it] is reduced to a single cord or thread which finally breaks. ... [A]s long as the panorama of the past life’s experiences is passing through the brain, which occurs in all cases of death, there still remains a slender strand of the filament. Only when the panorama finally becomes blank unconsciousness does this last feebly glowing strand disappear – and this is the complete death of the body.
    ‘[O]nce that death has taken place, the linga-sharira hovers around and over the corpse, although linked to it by innumerable tenuous threads of astral pranic substance ... [E]very orifice of the body exudes its own appropriate part of the astral man as a cloud of vapor; and, likewise, every molecule and atom of the body of the dying man gives up its own portion of the general pranas, which wrench themselves free from such molecular and atomic bonds, thus bringing to pass the “explosion” or outburst of light or radiation which occurs at the moment of death. ...
    ‘Cremation helps the astral body to disintegrate sooner than is the case when the physical body is allowed to decay in the grave, because both the astral body and the cadaver are very intimately conjoined physically and magnetically. In fact they disintegrate almost atom for atom ... As long as the body is decaying in its coffin, the linga-sharira hovers around it; and just so long is the kama-rupa to a certain extent psychomagnetically drawn to the neighborhood of the grave.’ (FSO 543-7)

    ‘The panoramic review usually begins when all bodily activities and functions have ceased, sometimes indeed before the last heartbeat, and, as a rule, continues after the heart has stopped. ... Probably six hours on the average is required ... [It] occurs even when a person dies suddenly as the result of some terrible accident, as for instance when the brain is blown to pieces or when the body is burned alive. In these cases, the panorama takes place in the higher parts of the astral brain ...
    ‘In extreme old age, the panorama begins in a vague and tentative manner some days or possibly weeks before physical death, and this is really the cause of the dazed condition that very old people frequently fall into shortly before they die. ...
    ‘The panorama occurs in all its wondrous detail – no thought or point of action being omitted – because it is the result of instinctive action by the human monad, which, almost unconsciously to itself, dislodges from every secret recess of its inner records, imprinted as these are on its own vital substance, all the details of the life just past. ... [The Self] sees the record of things done or undone, the thoughts had, the emotions followed, the temptations conquered or succumbed to; and when the end of the panorama is reached, it sees the justice of it all. ...
    ‘There is a similar panoramic visioning of the past life, but in less vivid and complete degree, at what is called the second death in the kama-loka. [T]here is a third recurrence of such a panorama before rebirth, i.e. just before the human monad leaves its devachanic dreaming and becomes again unself-conscious preceding reimbodiment in the human womb. ...
    ‘There are variations of quality and intensity in all these visionings, depending upon the degree of evolution attained by the human ego ... The ego receives an indelible impression which remains with it throughout the devachanic interlude and aids in guiding it to the proper environment for its next physical rebirth.
    ‘[The] third panoramic vision ... has something of a prophetic quality about it, for the human ego, thus preparing for the gestation preceding the birth into the physical body, not only sees its past but also has glimpses into the future, and recognizes the justice and the karmic need of the kind of physical environment and body it is entering into.’ (FSO 549-54)

    ‘After death the human ego-consciousness of the average man cannot remain or become self-conscious in the higher qualities of his constitution. Therefore the part that drops into unconsciousness is the ordinary brain-mind consciousness of daily life. It remains in this state except for the brief intervals in the kama-loka when there is a more or less hazy reawakening and then a sinking into unconsciousness again, and then perhaps another reawakening, all dreamlike and shadowy, until the second death in the kama-loka, at which time the human ego enters the dreaming of the devachan, where it remains more or less continuously until the impetus for the next reincarnation is felt. ...
    ‘[T]he kama-lokic “consciousness” ranges all the way from temporary obliteration of self-consciousness, through all intermediate degrees of unconsciousness, to the astral low-type self-consciousness that elementaries and lost souls have. The average man when in the kama-loka is either in unconsciousness or in a state of figure-flitting dreaming. The purer the man, the deeper the unconsciousness.
    ‘Those strongly attached to things of earth and their material appetites and passions have quite an awakening in the kama-loka, and there is a good deal of suffering about it, because they are in a sort of nightmare; although even here nature is kind, as the nightmare is dreamy, rather vague. The truly spiritual man, on the contrary, has scarcely any consciousness at all of passing through the kama-loka ...
    ‘The length of time between physical death and the second death is again almost wholly dependent upon the nature of the excarnate human entity. [T]he truly spiritual man will have an extremely short sojourn in the kama-loka, perhaps passing through it without pause, and his second death will come soon; the average human being will have a much longer stay; while the man of strong material instincts and feelings will have a still longer period in the kama-loka. Some remain for scores of years, possibly even a hundred or two, before the second death and the subsequent short devachan. All those in whom the spiritual nature exercises no attraction “upwards” – and this would include congenital idiots, and also infants who suffer premature death – will obviously have no true second death, which is really a new birth into higher conditions of consciousness.
    ‘In the very exceptional case of an elementary or lost soul – or any human being whose life has been so utterly animalistic and woven into matter that his consciousness is enchained thereto – there is an “awakening” for a greater or less length of time to a self-conscious or quasi-self-conscious realization that he is dead, no longer a physically imbodied man. But in no instance does such consciousness last until reincarnation occurs, because unconsciousness mercifully comes upon him before he assumes a new physical body.
    ‘In normal cases, once the man dies, unconsciousness, sweet and beautiful and infinitely compassionate, descends upon him like an enveloping veil of akashic protection; and then, with the exception of the few fugitive moments of dreaming consciousness in the kama-loka, the devachani begins the sequence of blissful spiritual mentation ...’ (FSO 570-3)

    ‘The second death ... is an astral reproduction of what took place at physical death; for just as at physical death the body is cast off with the linga-sharira and the gross animal pranas, so at the second death the human ego, having snapped its links of psychomagnetic attraction with the kama-rupa, casts it off and enters into the devachanic condition, carrying with it all the spiritual yearnings or sympathies or memories which the personal man during earth life had stored in the web of consciousness.
    ‘This is the second death; when the last spiritual thought or image has been drawn upwards into the reincarnating ego, and there remains nothing more to keep it attached to the kama-rupa, the latter then is dropped as a kama-rupic corpse or shell [and] begins to disintegrate ... For a certain period of brief duration, which depends in every instance upon the individual, kama-rupas retain a wavering, shadowy kind of quasi-animal consciousness ... Some kama-rupas disintegrate in a few months; those of average humanity may take eight, ten, fifteen, possibly twenty years; while those of extremely materialistic or bad men, but who still had some spiritual good in them, may endure for several scores of years.’ (FSO 580)

    ‘Cases have been known where the kamarupa has lasted for centuries – so long a time, in fact, that it still coheres as a kamarupic entity after the monad of the man has returned to incarnation [on] earth, and thereafter haunts the unfortunate ‘new’ man, attaching itself to his newly evolved kamarupa and in most cases coalescing with it and thus acting as an unceasing fountain of downward suggestions and impulses. This is a case of what is technically called a Dweller of the Threshold ...’ (ET 416)

    ‘When the second death takes place the triune monad, the atman-buddhi-manas, releases itself from all its lower kama-manasic substances and energies. These perishable elements remain in the kama-rupic shell and gradually fade out like the radiance in the sky after sunset; the energies producing this fading radiance gradually vanish “upward” and, being belated life-atoms, become attached like sleeping seeds or tanhic elementals to the auric egg of the human ego which has now entered its devachan. It is these sleeping seeds of lower attributes and qualities, i.e. dormant skandhas which, preceding the next incarnation, will spring into action and take initial parts in forming the astral body-to-be.
    ‘At the separation of the triadic monad from the kama-rupa, all the most spiritual and highly intellectual attributes are withdrawn as a still more brilliant radiance into the reincarnating ego; and it is this spiritual aroma, the truly human being, which becomes the devachani sleeping in the bosom of the reincarnating ego, the human monad. Distinguish here the human monad from its ray the human ego.
    ‘Thus, after physical death, the seven-principled person has become four-principled, consisting of the two duads, atma-buddhi, and manas with the spiritual parts of kama. Now, when the four-principled man enters at the second death into the devachan, these two duads coalesce into the upper triad of atma-buddhi and the higher part of manas, because of the dropping of the lower kama-manasic attributes.
    ‘As to the divine ray, at the instant of true death it flashes home to its parent star.’ (FSO 582)

    ‘When the second death supervenes, there is release from bondage for the intermediate nature of man, and the spirit-soul returns to its native realms, with the intermediate nature resting within it while undergoing a process of spiritual recuperation, of assimilation and mental digesting of the lessons learned in the life just lived. As the physical body rebuilds its energies during sleep, so the intermediate nature of man likewise has its own “sleep” or devachan after each incarnation. ...
    ‘Devachan is a period of spiritual and loftily intellectual flowering of immaterial energies which could find no adequate self-expression during life. These energies produce their effect on the fabric of character of the dreaming entity which experiences and thus assimilates and digests them. ...
    ‘The devachanic condition for the average human being who has lived a creditably aspiring and moral life, is one of inexpressible spiritual and mental beauty and peace. Every high aspiration and unfulfilled desire to do good find their opportunity for expression in his consciousness, so that his devachan is filled with a glorification of all the noblest that he had hoped to do on earth – involving almost infinite variations on the fundamental thought-themes as the creative faculties of the ego work upon them. ...
    ‘[I]t is most emphatically not true that the spirit can ever return after death in order to communicate with the living in any manner whatsoever. ... For after death, and after the various processes of casting off the pranic sheaths in the kama-loka, the human ego rises into its devachanic repose, and thereafter it is unapproachable by anything save what is of its own character or lofty spiritual type. ...
    ‘[T]he akashic veil which the devachanic entity has woven around itself, like the cocoon of the yet unborn butterfly, shields it against the intrusion of anything whatsoever beneath its own heights of consciousness. It is spiritual love only which can rise to inner communion with those who have preceded us ...’ (FSO 588-92)

    ‘There is a law in occultism, based entirely on the operations of nature, that the human entity does not normally reincarnate under one hundred times the number of years lived on earth. The average life span at the present time is said to be some fifteen years, but this is only a statistical average, and there are of course millions of people who live to be much older than that, and their devachanic period will thus be correspondingly longer. Yet each ego’s devachan is individual to itself, both as regards character and time-length. Some human beings are in the devachan far longer than 1500 years, whereas others of strongly materialistic bent and attributes have a devachan of possibly only a few hundred years.
    ‘Certain human beings have made so small a link with their spiritual nature that when death comes nothing has been built up in the life just past to bring the devachanic state into existence. As a result, they sink into a state of utter unconsciousness, in which they remain until the next incarnation which comes very quickly.
    ‘Several instances of almost immediate reimbodiment have been reported which, if genuine, would represent those rare and extraordinary cases of apparently normal human beings who, for one karmic reason or another, reincarnate possibly within a year or two after death. Compared with the great multitude of average individuals who undergo both kama-loka as well as devachan between incarnations, they are very few in number. Such are by no means evil or wicked, but are what one might call passive or neutral, spiritually, and, because during life they had not as yet awakened to that characteristically spiritual life which produces the devachanic experience, they pass a short time in the kama-loka and incarnate again. ...
    ‘Devachan is strictly the mathematical resultant of one’s spiritual state at the moment of death. The more spiritual the man, up to a certain point, the longer his devachan; the more materialistic he is, the shorter it is. There is a way, however, by which the devachan can indeed be greatly shortened: the way of dedication, of renunciation of the self in the cause of the buddhas of compassion. ...
    ‘As an evolving soul, man is more advanced than the earth on which he lives and, therefore, more than the spirit of the earth does he have dreams of beauty, yearnings of selflessness, wonderful intuitions of spiritual and intellectual grandeur which no human life is long enough to bring to fulfillment. Consequently he requires a proportionately longer time of rest to digest and assimilate them; whereas a globe is not so far evolved as is a human monad, but is almost equilibrated on the line between the higher and the lower worlds of matter, making the duration of its imbodiment and disembodiment of virtually equal length. ...
    ‘[I]t is philosophically inaccurate to regard as overlong or unnecessary the length of time passed by the ego in devachan. Such lengthy time periods are absolutely required by the human monad, not only for its peregrinations, but for the assimilation of the devachanic entity’s past experiences as an imbodied man.
    ‘For the devachani there is no realization of the passing of time as earth-man experiences it.’ (FSO 593-7)

    ‘[T]he second death ... means that the human monad has arrived at the point of casting off the last vestiges of its astral clothing, or what remains of its kama-rupa. From this moment it begins to glide into the devachanic condition.
    ‘As the radiance, which is the efflux from the reimbodying ego, ascends towards ... the spiritual monad, it passes through different spheres of being in the interior worlds. In each of these it pauses for a varying period of time, in order to shed the life-atoms which are native to that sphere and are of too substantial a character to be gathered into this radiance, so that it may journey farther to still loftier and more spiritual spheres.
    ‘This passage of the peregrinating monad up the ascending arc of our planetary chain continues until globe G is reached. ... Some human entities do not fully enter into their devachanic state until they have left globe G. ... [B]ut for the large majority of human beings the devachanic sleep begins after the second death in the earth’s kama-loka, as the monad enters the sphere of the next globe; and this sleep grows steadily deeper and more ecstatic, until finally the entity has become utterly oblivious of anything except its devachanic dreams. ...
    ‘When the human monad begins its devachan in the kama-loka of earth, it falls asleep in the bosom of the spiritual monad, and is carried thus in its parent monad up through the globes of the ascending arc before it finally leaves our chain to make its peregrinations through the different planetary chains on the outer round. ... [O]n the various globes through which the spiritual monad passes, the human monad resting within it will either have a relative awakening – although always very slight – or none at all, each case depending upon its karma. ...
    ‘[T]hose monadic qualities of consciousness, which will become relatively fully awake on the different globes when the general life-wave reaches them – these qualities (and not the full consciousness of the devachanic monad) are temporarily aroused into an illusory consciousness when such globes are passed through. ... The human monad as a whole is virtually unconscious of the fleeting imbodiments of a portion of its consciousness on the globes passed through.’ (FSO 599-602)

    ‘There are certain analogies between nirvana and devachan: both are states of the consciousnesses that experience them, and neither is a locality or place. ... [T]he highest portions of the devachan blend into the lowest grades of the nirvana. [However] the devachan is more or less an illusion, whereas nirvana, being closer to the fundamental reality of cosmic life, is relatively real ...
    ‘When a monad has freed itself from its sheaths of consciousness, it becomes monadically conscious, i.e. fully self-conscious with its own inherent or native consciousness, and then, because it is in its essence a divine-spiritual entity, it is in a nirvana. All the enshrouding veils or garments have been “blown out” or discarded, leaving the essential spiritual fire unveiled and free – a jivanmukta, a freed monad. ...
    ‘As human beings, we are enveloped by the veil of our human selfhood; in other words, we are not yet jivanmuktas, not yet living in the sublime consciousness of our monadic essence and therefore can have only fugitive intuitions of nirvana. ...
    ‘There are different grades of nirvana; there is one so high that it blends imperceptibly with the condition of the cosmic hierarch of our universe, while the lower states of nirvana are quite frequently attained by very mystically inclined men who have undergone spiritual training. They usually cannot remain in the nirvanic state for long. ... Entering nirvana means leaving all interest in the world of men and the passing out of human into divine existence.
    ‘What to us is nirvana would be to beings living on a higher scale merely a sort of devachan. ... Nevertheless, ... when we shall have attained this nirvana, we shall then have reached the summit of our hierarchical system and be living in its atma-buddhic ranges of consciousness.
    ‘[A]t the death of human beings, the manasic portions enter into the mayavi states of the devachan, while the still higher or highest parts of the human constitution are at the same time evolving and acting on their own planes; however, in their own highest consciousness-portions, so to speak, they are in their nirvana – having conscious experience in the unveiled reality of the hierarchy to which each such monad belongs.
    ‘Thus the human or manasic part is in its devachan; the spiritual ego is pursuing its peregrinations on the outer round through the sacred chains; but the highest portion or monadic essence of the spiritual monad is, as always, in nirvana. Even a man imbodied on earth has the highest portions of his constitution, the atmic essence of his being, in a nirvanic state. Hence our consciousness during incarnation on earth, however real it may seem to us to be, is actually heavily illusory when contrasted with the unveiled and intensely active consciousness of the nirvana.’ (FSO 604-7)

    ‘That which reincarnates in the animals is a ray from the spiritual monad expressing itself in the realms of matter as the animal monad. As the animals have no wakened mind, no manasaputric power of abstract thought, such as we have, they have evolved as yet no true ego which would allow them to have a devachan. For this reason the beasts as well as the plants, the minerals, and the kingdoms of the elementals reimbody almost immediately after the death of their physical bodies.
    ‘In the beasts, such reincarnation takes place after a time period which varies from a few days to possibly a year ... The lower in development, the sooner the reimbodiment. When animals die, they have no post-mortem consciousness of any kind, except perhaps that a dog or a horse or a cat which has been a close companion of some human being may have a short and very shadowy kind of astral consciousness after the shock of death is ended; but even then, reimbodiment takes place very quickly.
    ‘The plants have even less consciousness than have the animals; and consequently when a plant dies, it has its “astral” liberated, so to speak, for a few moments or days in the kama-loka, and then the monad reimbodies itself at the first opportunity. ... In certain cases the plant monads remain in crystallized inactivity, like icicles, as it were, until the season of growth for their kind comes again.
    ‘As the minerals have even less “consciousness” than the plants have ... the death and the reimbodiment of a mineral monad are to us humans ... practically simultaneous. In fact, what we call chemical combinations are almost invariably the instances of mineral monads “dying” and “reimbodying.” Exactly the same thing may be said of the smaller entities in the mineral kingdom such as the atoms and the electrons.
    ‘Needless to say, the entities below the human kingdom have no devachan and make no peregrinations through the inner realms – other than unconscious flashings to and fro – because they are so closely joined to the worlds of matter that they cannot vacate them long enough to bring about the wondrous peregrinations that the spiritual monads have.’ (FSO 617-8)

    ‘After the death of any entity on earth, the different “lives” or life-atoms which compose its constitution sooner or later are liberated, and then immediately are drawn to their first and strongest focus of attraction. In the case of a man, the life-atoms of his body as it decays, or as they fly apart when it is cremated, peregrinate, each one, instantly to the man, animal, plant or stone to which it feels psychomagnetically drawn, has a brief imbodiment in such focus, and then follows the next attraction which at the moment is dominant ...
    ‘The life-atoms of the other and higher parts of man’s constitution follow exactly similar courses, each on its own plane. For example, the astral life-atoms forming parts of the linga-sharira are drawn to men, to beasts or to plants, and so forth; the manasic life-atoms are attracted to living men and help to feed or build their so-called “mental bodies.” ...
    ‘To a certain extent the psychic and instinctual and astral parts of the animals are formed of life-atoms which are drawn from the human kingdom ... The animal is gradually helped by this psychic and astral and other contact with the human kingdom, just as we ourselves are aided by the life-atoms or “lives” entering our constitution from the dhyani-chohanic classes.’ (FSO 619-20)

    ‘The tanhic elementals may be ... described as the emotional and mental thought-deposits ... and these remain after the second death – and before the ego’s entering the devachan – stamped upon the various kinds of life-atoms which had functioned on all the lower planes of man’s constitution. Some of these tanhic elementals or life-atoms peregrinate, and finally are psychomagnetically attracted back to the reincarnating ego during its process of bringing forth a new astral form preceding rebirth. Others belong to the monadic substances of the auric egg, and consequently remain therein in a latent condition, to awaken only when the devachani leaves the devachan. Then these dormant tanhic elementals, in combination with the other life-atoms which had been peregrinating, combine in building up the new astral form ...; and it is largely these two classes of tanhic life-atoms or elementals which compose the skandhas of the man in his coming incarnation. And these skandhas are the various groups of mental, emotional, psychovital and physical characteristics which, when all collected together, make the new personality through which the higher man or egoic individuality works. ...
    ‘Now the formation of the astral man takes place within the auric egg of the ex-devachani. From the moment when the ego leaves the devachanic condition, the astral form becomes steadily more complete or definite as the gestating entity approaches entrance into the womb. The ray from the reincarnating ego enters first the aura and later the womb of the mother-to-be by means of the growing astral form, which takes its rise in and from the most appropriate life-center or life-atom latent in the auric egg of the incoming entity.
    ‘The term astral form is descriptive not so much of an actual body (as we think of it in our physical world), as it is of an ethereal agglomerate of life-atoms in the auric egg which is at first only vaguely shadowed, yet gradually assumes more or less a definite human outline, and usually one of extremely small size. ...
    ‘[T]he more material part of the new astral form is drawn first into the woman’s aura and then into the womb wherein it produces the living ovum and finds its suitable milieu; coincidently the inner and more manasic portion of the astral form, which is the more ethereal part of the tip of the ray from the reincarnating ego, flashes to the male parent and produces in its appropriate physiological seat the positive life-germ. ...
    ‘The human egos awaiting incarnation are exceedingly numerous, so that there may be scores of entities which could become children of any one couple, yet there is always one whose attraction is strongest to the mother-to-be at any specific physiological moment, and it is this astral form which becomes the child. ...
    ‘The entity thus preceding rebirth is attracted to the family to which its karma draws or impels it; and if the appropriate physiological activities take place at the right moment, then conception occurs and the growth of the embryo proceeds. ...
    ‘The reincarnating ego has in a sense very little choice in the matter, if by this we mean a deliberate selecting of one’s future family. Such a choice as we understand it is almost non-existent, because the reincarnating ego has just left the devachan and is sunken into the relative unconsciousness of the gestation period preceding rebirth, and thus is in no condition to choose with self-conscious intent. It is karma, which throughout controls these things ...
    ‘When the astral form has definite union with the human ovum, it begins to grow as the foetus. The lower or grosser portions of the astral form become the linga-sharira of the child, in combination with the two general classes of tanhic elementals; whereas its higher portions, the vehicles of the “ray” from the reincarnating ego (as the embryo and later as the child grows), become the intermediate parts of the constitution of the man. ...
    ‘When the ray-point of the reimbodying ego, itself a ray from the spiritual monad, reaches its own intermediate sphere, it descends no farther into matter. But its psychomagnetic ray, having stronger affinities for the material worlds, descends still farther, awakening into activity the life-atoms in each one of the planes between that of the reimbodying ego and the astral-physical matter of our earth.’ (FSO 622-6)

    ‘The inner rounds are made (a) collectively by the life-waves passing from globe to globe around a planetary chain; and (b) individually, in identic manner, by the ego or human monad after the death of the physical body. Likewise the outer rounds are made (a) collectively, after immense intervals of time, by the monadic classes or life-waves passing from planetary chain to planetary chain, and (b) individually, also in identic manner, by the spiritual monad of man. ...
    ‘After death, each [monad] rises to the sphere to which it is attracted ... The divine monad, having a range over the entire galaxy, our home-universe, flashes from star to star and from solar system to solar system. As the spiritual monad is not strong enough to do this, it ranges over the solar system from planet to planet and to the heart of Father Sun; while the human monad, or the reincarnating ego, ranges over the entire twelve globes of our planetary chain.
    ‘Now when the earth-man dies, the human-animal monad then and there sinks into complete unconsciousness, almost instantly being ingathered into the human monad per se; the human monad, in its turn, after undergoing the second death in the kama-loka, is ingathered into the spiritual monad and therein has its long devachanic dreaming, the devachan coming into full power at different times depending upon the karma of the individual. The earth-ego ... can ascend no higher than its little devachan, that is, it can go no farther than its native habitat which is the earth; beyond this, the human ego loses consciousness and is carried within the reincarnating ego as the latter goes its round of the globes. ...
    ‘The spiritual monad – carrying within itself the human monad, which in turn has the human-animal monad within it, somewhat after the manner of thought-deposits or tanhic seeds which will produce the future man in his next earth life – rises more or less rapidly through the globes of our planetary chain until it reaches the highest globe thereof, and is then ready to spread its wings. Leaving the topmost globe, it begins its peregrinations which involve the temporary sojourn in each and every one of the seven sacred planets, in regular serial order ...
    ‘The purpose of the passing of the monad after death through the various planetary chains is to allow it to free itself on each chain of the integument or vehicle which “belongs” to the vital essence of that planetary chain. ... When the return journey towards our earth chain begins, the monad passes through all these same seven planetary chains, but in reverse order, and in each planet it clothes itself anew in the life-atoms that had formed the coatings it had previously cast off.’ (FSO 628-31)

    ‘The monad, on reaching the next planet after leaving our earth chain, produces from itself during its passage in and through such planetary chain a ray or egoic radiance, which is a psychomental “soul” of temporary existence taking imbodiment there in a vehicle of spiritual, ethereal, astral or physical type, depending upon which one of the globes of the chain is entered. ... These entrances into the various chains ... are, with but few exceptions, of extremely short duration, because during the present minor solar manvantara the monad has its main karmic destiny on our planetary chain. ...
    ‘In this manner does the monad act through and on each of the seven sacred planetary chains: it passes through each of then in serial order until it finally reaches the solar chain wherein it makes its round through the solar globes. When the spiritual monad comes to the end of its peregrinations, it begins its return journey, drawn into the psychomagnetic line of attraction which impels it along the circulations of the cosmos back to the planetary chain of earth, through each of the seven sacred planetary chains, but in inverse order to that in which it had ascended. When at length it enters our planetary chain, it begins its descent through globes A, B, and C until it once more reaches our globe D. By this time the human monad, otherwise called the reincarnating ego, having nearly ended its devachan, prepares for its new incarnation.’ (FSO 633-4)

    ‘When the attractions and compelling inner aspirations which had previously caused [the] rising of the monad through the spheres have for the time exhausted their energies, the monad turns back and retraces its steps. The latent seeds of thought and feeling that imagination, spiritual yearnings and lofty intellectual aspirations had stored in the monad in former lives, because of their very origination in material spheres, now begin to pull the monad downwards, until the reimbodying ego finds its opportunity to project its own incarnating ray, or human ego, into the karmically appropriate human seed-germ. ...
    ‘Each incarnation produces from the karmic deposits of character a new man who is composite of what was brought over from the last incarnation, plus the new increments of faculty and attribute brought into function by its devachanic assimilation of the experiences of the monad’s last life.’ (FSO 637-9)

* * *

    ‘Theosophy shows the glory and richness of what we call death and how pitiful a thing it is that we should mourn for the dead, of whose immortality our very memory of them is a token and a sign that we shall meet them again. We are outgrowing fast the old idea of a personal God, and with it must go the concept that a man’s soul enters this world newly created from such a deity’s hands. We grow towards knowledge that in the great economy of nature a soul born here comes as a guest out of far realms in eternity ...
    ‘[T]hough a man is hanged, or dies in the depths of degradation, that compassionate law that is a part of our natures takes command at the passing. Whatever his mistakes may have been, or his ignorance or his sorrow, there is an hour or a moment of glorious victory in what to our eyes seems the tragedy of death. It comes to the dying man when he feels that he is being released and, stepping forth into the unknown, knows that he goes not unprotected, not without companionship. For it is the knower, it is the great warrior, it is the eternal self that is there with him; and the soul arises in the power of its divinity and knows no fear or pain. ...
    ‘When a soul separates itself from the body, it does not immediately pass on. Its old surroundings hold it for awhile. It is aware of our pangs of bereavement, our mourning hinders its escape. The great onward march is before it. It is not what we knew here, but greater: all the limitations were from the brain-mind, which is dead. It would be forging upward, advancing and expanding. We do it wrong to hamper its flight. We should let it go free as the birds in the air, free as the law intended it should be. We should part with our loved ones without grief; with confidence, as though they were but going on a journey, watchful lest we drop our minds into a belief that there is death when it is only a rebirth that has occurred. Let our mental pictures be the reverse of sorrowful – bright with hope and music, beautiful with love and flowers ...
    ‘[T]o the soul in its passing, when the lips are already mute and the mind seems unconscious, a sure and certain knowledge comes. It understands how unreal the life just past has been, and that all its activities here were unfinished business. Memory for awhile is vivid and strong, spiritual light is thrown upon the path ahead, revelations come of what might have been and what yet is to attain. And the soul cries out for a larger opportunity, that in the light of the experience it has gained it may begin again – correct old mistakes, make fresh efforts, build anew with understanding. And with the aspiration comes the answer: in the divine economy endless opportunities are accorded.’ (WoL, ch. 3)



Compiled by David Pratt. June 2000. Last modified: Jan 2017.


Reincarnation

Karma

Sevenfold constitution of nature and man

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