WHEN WE DIE - Exploring the Great Beyond
by Geoffrey Farthing
Chapter VIII - Exceptions: Suicides and Accidents
A Description of the After-Death States and Processes
All that has been described so far is what happens in the normal course of events to anyone dying after a reasonable span of earth life and from natural causes. Even then there are very wide differences in what befalls us after death because of the wide differences in individual cases: in character, experience, deeds done, thoughts, and even in dreams, aspirations and so on. There are, however, specific exceptions to the general rule, and they can all be grouped under the heading of premature deaths. The Master spends much time in telling us what happens to those who commit suicide or who are killed by accident. Accidents include sudden deaths from all natural causes, e.g. earthquakes, cyclones, floods, as well as from wars, riots, murder and so on. It is these cases of premature death which are so important in spirit communications through mediums. This is dealt with more specifically in the next chapter.
What the Master said earlier concerning "exceptions" and the death struggle is very relevant here:
Until the struggle between the higher [spiritual] and middle duad begins ("with the exception of suicides who are not dead but have only killed their physical triad and whose Elemental parasites [4th and lower 5th principles] therefore are not naturally separated from the Ego as in real death") - until that struggle, I say, has begun and ended, no shell can realize its position.[The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett p168 (3rd edition), p171 (1st and 2nd editions)]
It is because of this non-severance that a post-mortem consciousness (of varying degrees) can be retained.
There is a passage saying that suicides and accidents can communicate through a medium, and it also tells us something of their state of consciousness in the Kama Loka:
Exceptional cases, my friend. Suicides can and generally do, but not so with the others. The good and pure sleep a quiet, blissful sleep, full of happy visions of earth-life, and have no consciousness
of being already for ever beyond that life. Those who were neither good nor bad will sleep a dreamless, still a quiet sleep; while the wicked will in proportion to their grossness suffer the pangs of a nightmare lasting years: their thoughts become living things, their wicked passions - real substance, and they receive back on their heads all the misery they have heaped upon others. Reality and fact if described would yield a far more terrible Inferno than even Dante had imagined! [The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett p119 (3rd edition), p123 (1st and 2nd editions)]
Concerning cases of people dying or being killed before their time (i.e. the life span allotted by Karma) as well as suicides, and any attempts that may be made to contact them on the other side, the Master said:
But there is another kind of "Spirits", we have lost sight of, the suicides and those killed by accident [whose 4th and 5th principles are not dissevered from their 6th and 7th principles]. Both kinds can communicate, and both have to pay dearly for such visits. ... They are an exception to the rule, as they have to remain within the earth's attraction, and in its atmosphere - the Kama-Loka - till the very last moment of what would have been the natural duration of their lives. In other words, that particular wave of life-evolution must run on to its shore. But it is a sin and cruelty to revive their memory and intensify their suffering by giving them a chance of living an artificial life; a chance to overload their Karma, by tempting them into open doors, viz. mediums and sensitives, for they will have to pay roundly for every such pleasure. I will explain. The suicides, who, foolishly hoping to escape life, found themselves still alive, - have suffering enough in store for them from that very life. Their punishment is in the intensity of the latter. Having lost by the rash act their seventh and sixth principles, though not for ever, as they can regain both - instead of accepting their punishment, and taking their chances of redemption, they are often made to regret life and tempted to regain a hold upon it by sinful means. In the Kama-Loka, the land of intense desires, they can gratify their earthly yearnings but through a living proxy; and by so doing, at the expiration of the natural term, they generally lose their monad for ever. As to the victims of accident - these fare still worse. Unless they were so good and pure, as to be drawn immediately within the Akashic Samadhi, i.e. to fall into a state of quiet slumber, a sleep full of rosy dreams, during which they have no recollection of the
accident, but move and live among their familiar friends and scenes, until their natural life-term is finished, when they find themselves born in the Devachan - a gloomy fate is theirs. Unhappy shades, if sinful and sensual they wander about - (not shells, for their connection with their two higher principles is not quite broken) - until their death-hour comes. Cut off in the full flush of earthly passions which bind them to familiar scenes, they are enticed by the opportunities which mediums afford, to gratify them vicariously. They are the Pisachas, the Incubi, and Succubi of mediaeval times. The demons of thirst, gluttony, lust and avarice, - elementaries of intensified craft, wickedness and cruelty; provoking their victims to horrid crimes, and revelling in their commission! They not only ruin their victims, but these psychic vampires, borne along by the torrent of their hellish impulses, at last, at the fixed close of their natural period of life - they are carried out of the earth's aura into regions where for ages they endure exquisite suffering and end with entire destruction. [The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett p106 (3rd edition), p109 (1st and 2nd editions)]
This gloomy picture, we must remember, applies only to those who are "sinful and sensual"; the fate of the average victim of accident is kinder and is described below:
Although not "wholly dissevered from their sixth and seventh principles" and quite "potent" in the seance room, nevertheless to the day when they [suicides] would have died a natural death, they are separated from the higher principles by a gulf. The sixth and seventh remain passive and negative, whereas, in cases of accidental death the higher and the lower groups mutually attract each other. In cases of good and innocent Egos, moreover, the latter gravitates irresistibly toward the sixth and seventh, and thus - either slumbers surrounded by happy dreams, or sleeps a dreamless profound sleep until the hour strikes. With a little reflection, and an eye to eternal justice and fitness of things, you will see why. The victim whether good or bad is irresponsible for his death, even if his death were due to some action in a previous life or an antecedent birth: was an act, in short, of the Law of Retribution, still, it was not the direct result of an act deliberately committed by the personal Ego of that life during which he happened to be killed. Had he been allowed to live longer he may have atoned for his antecedent sins still more effectually: and even now, the Ego having been made to pay off
the debt of his maker (the previous Ego) is free from the blows of retributive justice. The Dhyan Chohans who have no hand in the guidance of the living human Ego, protect the helpless victim when it is violently thrust out of its element into a new one, before it is matured and made fit and ready for it. We tell you what we know, for we are made to learn it through personal experience. You know what I mean and I CAN SAY NO MORE! Yes; the victims whether good or bad sleep, to awake but at the hour of the last Judgment, which is that hour of the supreme struggle between the sixth and seventh, and the fifth and fourth at the threshold of the gestation state. And even after that, when the sixth and seventh carrying off a portion of the fifth have gone to their Akashic Samadhi, even then it may happen that the spiritual spoil from the fifth will prove too weak to be reborn in Devachan; in which case it will there and then reclothe itself in a new body, the subjective "Being" created from the Karma of the victim (or no-victim as the case may be) and enter upon a new earth-existence whether upon this or any other planet. In no case then, - with the exception of suicides and shells, is there any possibility for any other to be attracted to a seance room ... [The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett p127 (3rd edition), p131 (1st and 2nd editions)]
Where the exceptional death is referred to above as good or bad it must be remembered, to avoid confusion, that it applies to "victims", not to suicides. The question of being reborn on any other planet needs explanation: see Appendix under "Globes, Rounds and Races". Akashic Samadhi referred to in this extract is Devachan and the passage refers to the case dealt with before when there is not enough spiritual experience from the last life to ensure a stay in Devachan.
A questioner, realizing that in suicides and accidents the proper death hour has been anticipated, wondered if there might be a difference whether a suicide killed himself violently (blew his brains out) or killed himself by debauching or overwork. Also he wondered if there might be a difference whether a man was hanged for murder, killed in battle, or knocked over by disease or some other such cause. According to the Master:
There is a great difference in our humble opinion. We ... say that there are very few if any of the men who indulge in the above enumerated vices, who feel perfectly sure that such a course of action will lead them eventually to premature death. Such is the penalty of Maya. The "vices" will not escape their punishment: but
it is the cause not the effect that will be punished, especially an unforeseen though probable effect. As well call a suicide a man who meets his death in a storm at sea, as one who kills himself with "overstudy". Water is liable to drown a man, and too much brain-work to produce a softening of the brain which may carry him away. In such a case no one ought to cross the Kalapani nor even to take a bath for fear of getting faint in it and drowned (for we all know of such cases;) nor should a man do his duty, least of all sacrifice himself for even a laudable and highly-beneficent cause, as many of us - (H.P.B. for one) - do. Would Mr Hume call her a suicide were she to drop down dead over her present work? Motive is everything and man is punished in a case of direct responsibility, never otherwise. In the victim's case the natural hour of death was anticipated accidentally, while in that of the suicide, death is brought on voluntarily and with a full and deliberate knowledge of its immediate consequences. Thus a man who causes his death in a fit of temporary insanity is not a felo de se, to the great grief and often trouble of the Life Insurance Companies. Nor is he left a prey to the temptations of the Kama Loka but falls asleep like any other victim. A Guiteau will not remain in the earth's atmosphere with his higher principles over him - inactive and paralysed, still there. Guiteau [adjudged mad after shooting President Garfield] is gone into a state during the period of which, he will be ever firing at his President), thereby tossing into confusion and shuffling the destinies of millions of persons; where he will be ever tried and ever hung. Bathing in the reflections of his deeds and thoughts - especially those he indulged in on the scaffold ... As for those who were "knocked over by cholera, or plague, or jungle fever" they could not have succumbed had they not the germs for the development of such diseases in them from birth. [The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett p128 (3rd edition), p132 (1st and 2nd editions)]
The following small extract confirms that even such cases of abnormal death become unconscious at the instant of death, but in those cases consciousness returns in Kama Loka because of the presence of the higher triad. These premature deaths are not yet shells:
Even in the case of suicides and those who have perished by violent death, even in their case, consciousness requires a certain time to establish its new centre of gravity and evolve ... its
"perception proper", henceforth to remain distinct from "sensation proper". [The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett p125 (3rd edition), p128 (1st and 2nd editions)]
In this chapter all the most frequent variations on the normal state of unconsciousness after death have been dealt with. In all such variations the common factor is that the physical life span has not run its allotted course. It has been shortened by accident or other cause. The allotted span would have been that determined by the entity's Karma, involving many factors, most of which would be the result of the entity's mode of living, motives, etc. The shortened life means that the anticipated experience cycle of acquisition and education (learning and assimilation) has not been completed. This affects what happens in the Kama Loka and in Devachan, both periods being shortened to the point where in the case of infant or child deaths they are virtually non-existent and rebirth is almost immediate. In the case of very young children, if the spiritual (higher triad) did not separate from the lower duad (personal psyche), only the physical body would have been affected and the result is the only case of real reincarnation of a personality. In all other cases the Ego, the continuing spiritual 'Soul', puts down a ray of itself to quicken the dormant personal skandhas (resulting from the life activities of the previous personality) of a new personality (i.e. a new astral double, new life principles and a new physical body), distinct except for its conditioning skandhas, from the previous one. It is in effect a new being, with a new sense of "I", and it does not normally remember its last life. Only in the case of very premature death (e.g. children) is the old personality (i.e. its still-intact inner principles) itself reborn into a new physical body, sometimes with a memory of its previous life.
The principal difference between suicides and victims of accidents which affects their immediate post mortem experience is that the suicides intended to put an end to their earthly existences whereas the victims of accidents did not. Both regain some consciousness in Kama Loka and both can communicate with those on earth through mediums for a time. In the case of accidents the normal kamalokic experience is not unpleasant - varying from near unconsciousness to vivid but dream-like memories of earth (dream-like because of their subjective nature). They are usually unaware of what is going on on earth except insofar as they can use the perceptive faculties of the medium. In due course, i.e. at the time when death would naturally have occurred, the death struggle and the gestation state proceed.
In the case of suicides, their after-death state will again be determined by what kind of person they were and so will that of their experience in the Kama Loka, but there is a difference between them and victims of accidents.
Suicides stay "awake" in Kama Loka until such time as they would normally have died. During this time they suffer (or otherwise) according to the motive for taking their own lives. If their deed was from a high, unselfish motive, then their period of consciousness is not intolerable and sometimes even rewarding. If the motive was selfish or cowardly they will suffer remorse and regret, and this continues until the normal time of death. After that, the death processes take their course. If in either case the deceased does contact a medium - and not all do - a certain amount of new experience may be gathered. This affects the skandhas, seemingly seldom for the better. The practice of recalling such entities from the other side (necromancy, in short) is therefore strongly condemned by those who know of these likely ill-effects. The spiritualistic aspects of the post mortem experience of exceptions is more fully dealt with in the next chapter.
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