WHEN WE DIE - Exploring the Great Beyond
by Geoffrey Farthing
APPENDIX - Some Supplementary General Information
A Description of the After-Death States and Processes
In the voluminous writings of H.P. Blavatsky and in The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, much more information concerning what happens after death was given out and with it a mass of supporting material. It has not been the purpose of this book to present all this material but to outline the subject so as to give to the general reader a reasonably clear connected story, with some references to the source books.
However, some material additional to that given in the body of the book may help to give an idea of the larger setting into which the post-mortem states fit and it may help to make clearer matters referred to by the Masters but not fully explained in the extracts.
The information in this Appendix concerns:
1. After-death Unconsciousness
2. Chains, Globes (Planets), Rounds, Races
3. Constitution of Man
4. Denizens of the Inner Worlds
5. Devachanees' Dimensions
6. Elements and Elementals
7. Kama, Rupa and Arupa Lokas (Devachan)
9. Masters of the Wisdom
10. Origins, Deity and Cosmos
11. Planetary Spirits
13. Final Recollection of All Lives, Nirvana, Absolute Rest
After a repeat of the statement that "consciousness leaves as suddenly as the flame leaves the wick" of a snuffed candle, we were told:
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 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 conditions 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., .. 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. [But it must be remembered that the new physical body and the middle (kama-manas) principles will be conditioned by the skandhas produced during the life of the last personality]. All we can say of the reincarnated "failures" is, that they are the reincarnated Manas, the fifth principle [of the late personality] but certainly not that these are the reincarnations .. [of late personalities].
[The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett p169 (3rd edition), p172 (1st and 2nd editions)]
In the Masters' Letters, Chains, Globes, Rounds, Races and even Rings are mentioned. All these terms relate to the developmental stages of our Earth (or any other globe). Just as a man has a system of heredity for his inner principles, continuing from life to life, corresponding to genes at physical level and skandhas in the inner levels, so have planets. They die and are
"reincarnated" - the previous one being the parent of the present one. All the principles of the deceased one are transferred to form the new one.
The doctrine says that each physical globe like our Earth has six invisible companion globes in the subjective realms (not recognized by physical science). These six invisible globes correspond to man's principles. The globes are represented in diagrams as circles. These are arranged in pairs, on three of what are called the planes of manifestation. There are four of these planes, corresponding to the lower quaternary in man. The lowest is the physical objective one on which is represented by a circle our single globe, Earth. This is the only objective, physical globe in our Chain or system, represented pictorially in Table III.
The globes interpenetrate the physical one, i.e. occupy the same space. The diagram is merely a representation. The series of the seven globes is referred to as a Chain. Each globe is allotted a letter ranging from A to G (or sometimes Z). It is said that during the life of a Chain, and therefore say of our Earth, the life-wave passes round it, visiting each globe in turn and then passing on to the next, seven times. Each such cycle is called a Round.
During the progress of the life-wave round the chain and during the time it is visiting a globe, that globe is said to nurture seven Root Races of men. Each globe also has its 'men' and counterparts to the denizens of our kingdoms, and as on earth, each kingdom is developed in turn. On our planet there have been four Root Races; we are now in the fifth Root Race.
In their Letters the Masters occasionally make reference to men being reborn on this (our) planet, Earth, or on another. In this sense another planet may be one further along on our Chain system, say Globe E, or it may be even a globe in another future Chain. Chains succeed one another, as do the personalities of men, and there is similarly, as we have seen, a causative link between them by way of transferred principles (like skandhas in the case of man).
When the information about the Auric Egg was given, alternative classifications and numbering of the principles were introduced in discussing various aspects of man's constitution but the sevenfold classification given above, is used consistently throughout not only the Mahatma Letters but also in the bulk of H.P.B.'s massive literature. The Masters' account of what happens when we die cannot be understood in terms of other classifications because, among other reasons, the numbering of the principles is different. So for purposes of this account of our after-death adventures, man is regarded as a sevenfold being. The seven principles, however, are divided not only into duads and triads but also into two groups: four of them comprising the personal man and three of them the spiritual individual man, the Ego. This distinction has large ramifications and must ever be borne in mind. As far as this book in concerned, apart from the after-death states, the classification given here is important if we would understand the Masters' explanations of psychic and spiritualistic phenomena.
The Master gave us information about the classes of denizens of the inner, subjective (to us) realms of being. Using Sanskrit terms, they are:
Dhyan Chohans, having forms
Dhyan Chohans, having no forms
(two principled) ghosts
Doomed to death (three principled)
Elementals - having human form
Elementals 2nd class - animal Elementals.
(7) Rakshasas (Demons)
Souls or Astral Forms of sorcerers*
* - men who have reached the apex of knowledge in the forbidden art. Dead or alive they have, so to say, cheated nature; but it is only temporary - until our planet goes into obscuration, after which they have nolens volens to be annihilated.
Concerning group (1) there is a footnote:
The Planetary Spirits of our Earth are not of the highest, as you may well imagine - since .. no Eastern Adept would like to be compared with an angel or a Deva.
[Note: Stock (3), Pisachas, are the shells (4th and 5th principled) from which the Ego has departed on its entry into Devachan. In the letter, Stock (4), Mara-rupas, are described as "bodies doomed to annihilation".]
It is these seven groups that form the principal divisions of the Dwellers of the subjective world around us. It is stock No.1 that are the intelligent Rulers of this world of Matter, and who, with all this intelligence are but the blindly obedient instruments of the ONE; the active agents of a Passive Principle.
[The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett p104 (3rd edition), p107 (1st and 2nd editions)]
A question was asked as to how the stages of subjectivity were related to states of matter. The Master said it was difficult to see what the questioner wanted to establish but he went on:
If it be supposed that in Devachan the Ego passes through all these states of matter [not enumerated], then the answer would be that existence in the seventh state of matter is Nirvana and not
Devachanic conditions. Humanity, although in different stages of development, yet belongs to the three dimensional condition of matter. And there is no reason why in Devachan the Ego should be varying its "dimensions".
[The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett p398 (3rd edition), p404 (1st and 2nd editions)]
Presumably this applies to the nature of the Devachanee's subjectively created environment and companions, not to the Devachanees themselves, as they must be dimensionless in any sense of that word as applied to physical reality.
It is said the planes are of matter of an appropriate grade, of various kinds and various states. These are the Elements, commonly thought of archaically as Earth, Water, Air and Fire. The doctrine says that all known elements in fact derive from these. Note, however, that not even the lowest or grossest inner plane or material thereof can affect any physical measuring instrument, however sensitive.
There is a degree or mode of consciousness peculiar to each plane, related to the beings on it. All these beings have their own characteristics, which reflect into the conditions, qualities and characteristics of things - and man - not only at the physical level but also at the psychic, mental and spiritual levels. These characteristics comprising a series of correspondences of qualities, reflecting, for example, into the nature of the planets in our solar system. The whole cosmic scheme is an integrated whole. The qualities referred to are, for example, colour, states of matter (i.e. solid, liquid, gaseous) and those that constitute the human temperaments, and his faculties and principles, viz of feeling and thinking. Another correspondence is the musical tone scale.
The invisible beings comprising these planes are, like everything else in Cosmos, at various stages of evolutionary development. These stages are typified by our kingdoms of nature. We recognize the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms, with humanity representing a separate one. The esoteric doctrine, however, discovers three kingdoms below the mineral and three above the human. Those below the mineral are referred to as the Elemental Kingdoms, comprising primitive non-material (non-physical) beings, Elementals, at three distinct stages of development. The beings of the kingdoms above the human are those Great Ones who have outgrown the need for physical bodies. They play the role of architects and directors of the
grand processes of cosmic development, always within the Law, while the Elementals are the workmen doing their bidding, so to speak.
Elementals are in one sense nature spirits, centres of forces, behind all physical phenomena. They are the 'souls' of the Elements. Nothing can happen without them. The kingdoms are hierarchies of lives, each is subservient to the one above it.
Some further, helpful information on the subjective states of Kama Loka and the Rupa and Arupa Lokas of Devachan was given. Kama Loka is the next level up from our earth, figuratively sometimes referred to as its "atmosphere", the place of the densest of the non-physical human remains and some of the elementals. It is so near the earth as sometimes to be described as semi-physical.
Rupa Loka is the lower state of Devachan. The inner worlds are roughly divided into two levels - the rupa and the arupa. The rupa level is where its denizens (subjective to us, of course), have forms, e.g. thought forms that can be seen by some clairvoyants, the elementals or mayavi-rupas [see Glossary]. The arupa levels are the more subjective, the place of thought processes (which do not use symbols or images, etc.) - abstracts, the plane of spiritual experiences, such as devotion, aspiration, etc.:
Devachan 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 [see Chapter Seven]; and this sphere is divided into innumerable regions and sub-regions corresponding to the mental states of the comers at their hour of death.
[The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett p195 (3rd edition), p198 (1st and 2nd editions)]
It is explained that from Kama Loka, Egos go either to the Devachan or Avitchi about which we are told:
And those two states are again differentiating ad infinitum - their ascending degrees of spirituality deriving their names from the lokas 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.
[The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett p196 (3rd edition), p199 (1st and 2nd editions)]
The Master's Letters were addressed to men, mostly to Mr Sinnett, to whom nearly all the ideas expressed in them were new and strange, especially against a background of the conventional religious thinking of the time. Many supplementary questions were asked involving the Master in lengthy replies like those already quoted, but every reply, while consistently in line with the general thesis, adds richness to our newly forming concepts and helps us to formulate a fuller picture. Here is some such information:
The stay in Devachan is proportioned 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 [see Glossary] ..
[The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett p197 (3rd edition), p200 (1st and 2nd editions)]
We are given some more information of this intermediate state as it affects us individually:
The lower world of effects is the sphere of such distorted Thoughts [conventional ideas of "hells and purgatory, of paradises and resurrections .. all caricatures"]; of the most sensual conceptions, and pictures; of anthropomorphic deities, the out-creations of their creators, the sensual human minds of people who have never outgrown their brutehood on earth. Remembering thoughts are things - have tenacity, coherence, and life, - that they are real entities - the rest will become plain. Disembodied - the creator is attracted naturally to its creation and creatures; sucked in by the Maelstrom [lit. a whirlpool] dug out by his own hands ..
[The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett p49 (3rd edition), p49 (1st and 2nd editions)]
This passage clearly tells us how we make ourselves the conditions in the early stage after death. In some exceptional cases, as we have seen, the deceased is conscious in this realm, the Kama Loka, when his body of consciousness during such time is the Kama Rupa, which forms after death.
We are given two other pieces of information:
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. (Footnote: This Mara .. is the allegorical image of the sphere called the "Planet of Death" - the whirlpool whither disappear the lives doomed to destruction. It is between Kama- and Rupa-Lokas that the struggle takes place.)
[The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett p104 (3rd edition), p106 (1st and 2nd editions)]
Every such "world" within the Sphere of Effects has a Tathagata, or "Dhyan Chohan" - to protect and watch over, not to interfere with it.
[The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett p105 (3rd edition), p108 (1st and 2nd editions)]
There is more about these subjective realms and what happens
to a man's principles when he dies:
The worlds of effects are not lokas or localities. They are the shadow of the world of causes, their souls - worlds having like men their seven principles which develop and grow simultaneously with the body. Thus the body of man is wedded to and remains for ever within the body of his planet; his individual jivatma life principle, that which is called in physiology animal spirits returns after death to its source - Fohat; his linga shariram will be drawn into Akasha; his Kama rupa will recommingle with the Universal Sakti - the Will-Force, or universal energy: his "animal soul" borrowed from the breath of Universal Mind will return to the Dhyan Chohans; his sixth principle - whether drawn into or ejected from the matrix of the Great Passive Principle must remain in its own sphere - either as part of the crude material or as an individualized entity to be reborn in a higher world of causes. The seventh will carry it from the Devachan and follow the new Ego to its place of rebirth ..
[The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett p71 (3rd edition), p71 (1st and 2nd editions)]
And then another supplementary statement:
All is one Law. Man has his seven principles, the germs of which he brings with him at his birth. So has a planet or a world. From first to last every sphere has its world of effects, the passing through which will afford a place of final rest to each of the human principles - the seventh principle excepted.
[The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett p73 (3rd edition), p73 (1st and 2nd editions)]
Then follows a description of the great cosmic cycles of activity and rest and their parallels in the case of man:
We know that periods of action and rest follow each other in everything in nature from the macrocosm with its Solar Systems down to man and its parent-earth, which has its seasons of activity followed by those of sleep; and that in short all nature, like her begotten living forms has her time for recuperation. So with the spiritual individuality, the Monad which starts on its downward and upward cyclic rotation. The periods which intervene between each great manvantarian "round" are proportionately long to reward for the thousands of existences passed on various globes; while the time given between each "race birth" or rings - as you call them - is sufficiently lengthy to compensate for any life of strife and misery during that lapse of time passed in conscious bliss after the re-birth of the Ego. To conceive of an eternity of bliss or woe, and to offset it to any conceivable deeds of merit or demerit of a being who may have lived a century or even a millennium in the flesh, can only be proposed by one who has never yet grasped the awful reality of the word Eternity, nor pondered upon the law of perfect justice and equilibrium which pervades nature ..
[The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett p68 (3rd edition), p68 (1st and 2nd editions)]
.. There is the Karma of merit and the Karma of demerit. Karma neither punishes nor rewards; it is simply the one Universal Law which guides unerringly and, so to say, blindly, all other laws productive of certain effects along the grooves of their respective causations. When Buddhism teaches that "Karma is that moral kernel (of any being) which alone survives death and continues in transmigration" or reincarnation, it simply means that there remains naught after each Personality but the causes produced by it; causes which are undying, i.e. which cannot be eliminated from the Universe until replaced by their legitimate effects, and wiped out by them, so to speak, and such causes - unless compensated during the life of the person who produced them with adequate effects - will follow the reincarnated Ego, and reach it in its subsequent reincarnation until a harmony between effects and causes is fully re-established. No "personality" - a mere bundle of material atoms and of instinctual and mental characteristics - can of course continue, as such, in the world of pure Spirit. Only that which is immortal in its very nature and divine in its essence, namely the Ego, can exist
forever. And as it is that Ego which chooses the personality it will inform, after each Devachan, and which receives through these personalities the effects of the Karmic causes produced, it is therefore the Ego, that self which is the "moral kernel" referred to and embodied Karma, "which alone survives death".
.. 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 to Theosophy part.XI, p201]
All that has been said in this book rests on the authority of the two Masters who gave out the information. Some of it had never been made public before, neither had it been presented in plain language in so orderly a fashion. Who or what Masters are becomes a matter of prime importance. The Masters of the Wisdom referred to in this book are said to be men who have qualified for entry into the post-human kingdoms. They corresponded with A.P. Sinnett, and one of them was H.P. Blavatsky's Teacher. They had achieved their Masterhood while still in their physical bodies. At that time a number of other such were known but this degree of spiritual attainment is exceedingly rare. It is only beings of this order of psycho-spiritual development who KNOW what is happening in the subjective realms when forms (like those of the bodies of men) disappear at the end of their cycle of physical existence. They know the processes and the states, even the content, of consciousness of the deceased, and all the factors which determine the nature and conditions of rebirth. The whole chain of cause and effect is known to them, including even our numerous past lives, which we too will know in due time.
Some points might be raised here by religionists concerning the role of the Deity in both the creation and government of Cosmos. The usual idea is that first there was the so-called Creator. But then questions arise: Where did such a one come from? Where did his or her ability to imagine his or her creation come from? Where did the necessary stuff of a universe come from? Firstly the creator and his or her faculties of imagination or skill must have been already in existence, but is it feasible to postulate that the Creator could have made all the stuff of the universe from nothing? Surely whatever exists now must have previously been something, in some form, already in existence beforehand. The act of creation could only be one of transforming whatever already was into something different. Is it not axiomatic that something, anything, cannot possibly come from absolutely nothing? Did this creator create him- or herself? Out of what?
Regarding the Creator as governor of Cosmos, we have now seen something of the nature and working of the Law and how it is inherent in the total being of - and of all beings in - Cosmos. The whole cosmic process is ordered by it - from within itself.
We have also seen that, because the cosmic process is endless, there could never have been any ab initio beginning. Everything that is, was, or ever will be must have its antecedents, themselves the products of and therefore conditioned by their antecedents.
As to the original stuff of Cosmos and the original dynamism which never ceases (although all manifestation must come to a temporary end), these are postulated as dual aspects of an eternal ONE. All consideration of that and other fundamentals, however, is well outside our theme and would lead us into the realms of the most abstract metaphysics. It is, however, dealt with in the writings of H.P. Blavatsky, notably The Secret Doctrine.
Cosmos has a structure. It, like man, is said to be sevenfold. There are seven planes or levels of existence; one objective, of physical material, our normal sphere of activity, and six others. These are invisible to our normal senses and are subjective. Each plane has seven sub-planes, each corresponding in nature to its respective main plane. They correspond to the principles in Man and commonly share the same Sanskrit names. On each inner plane there are beings, again invisible to our ordinary senses, constituted to function on them.
The Masters made reference to a "Planetary". This in the literature has two meanings. One is that of the Great Entity, the Spirit of a Planet. Everything in Cosmos is a Life, and this includes not only atoms (physical and otherwise) but planets - in fact, all heavenly bodies. Another meaning is that of a being who has graduated into the post-human states of being and, so it is said, can then retain full consciousness in the vast interplanetary spaces and be cognizant of the heavenly bodies therein.
There are many stages in the post-human kingdoms and many titles given to those who attain to them. They vary with the language - national or religious - whose terms are being used. They are Celestial Beings, Regents, Bodhisatwas, Nirmanakayas, Buddhas, Gods (many names), Archangels and Angels, etc. etc. The teaching has it that all of them must have been men. Man has a central and unique position in the evolutionary scheme. Everything in our world scheme aspires to become man. Our system works to a pattern with the Heavenly Man as an archetypal model.
In answer to some points raised in the correspondence, the Master explains:
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 Kiu-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 .. 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.
[The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett p398 (3rd edition), p404 (1st and 2nd editions)]
The Masters give us some further information on this and also on the final state of One who has completed his round of earth lives: Nirvana, Parabrahman, Absolute Rest:
But the complete recollection of all the lives - (earthly and devachanic) omniscience - in short - comes but at the great end of the full seven Rounds (unless one had become in the interim a Bodhisatwa, an Arhat) - the "threshold" of Nirvana meaning an indefinite period. Naturally a man, a Seventh-rounder (who completes his earthly migrations at the beginning of the last race and ring) will have to wait longer at that threshold than one of the very last of those Rounds. That Life of the Elect between the minor Pralaya and Nirvana - or rather before the Pralaya is the Great Reward, the grandest, in fact, since it makes of the Ego (though he may never have been an adept, but simply a worthy, virtuous man in most of his existences) - virtually a God, an omniscient, conscious being, a candidate - for eternities of aeons - for a Dhyan Chohan .. Enough - I am betraying the mysteries of initiation. But what has NIRVANA to do with the recollections of objective existences? That is a state still higher and in which all things objective are forgotten. It is a State of Absolute Rest and assimilation with Parabrahm - it is Parabrahm itself. Oh, for the sad ignorance of our philosophical truths in the West, and for the inability of your greatest intellects to seize the true spirit of those teachings. What shall we - what can we do!
[The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett p195 (3rd edition), p198 (1st and 2nd editions)]
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