WHEN WE DIE - Exploring the Great Beyond
by Geoffrey Farthing
A Description of the After-Death States and Processes
They forget, or never knew,
that he who holds the keys
to the secrets of Death
is posessed of the keys of Life.
[The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett p359 (3rd edition), p365 (1st and 2nd editions)]
IT IS GENERALLY ASSUMED that very little is known about what happens when we die. There are numerous accounts from spiritualist sources but they are not consistent among themselves in important detail. All religions have some teaching on the subject, but it is usually unspecific or incomplete, and often not convincing, especially to those of us of an enquiring mind. The account given in this book, even if regarded as only a theory based on a number of basic postulates, is at least reasonably complete and, if these postulates are accepted, credible. Some of them are confirmed by our common experience: for example, the cyclic nature of Nature's operations - days and nights, the seasons of the year. When used in the context of life and death, they certainly provide us with considerable food for thought.
It is claimed by Those who know that these postulates are facts. The idea that they are indeed facts and that they can be known appears more and more feasible as we begin to see something of the whole picture presented in this book. Broadly, the claim that there can be such knowledge is based on the tradition that there are men who possess it. It is posited that there are, beyond the human kingdom, evolutionary stages attainable by all of us, in time. Progress into these higher stages will, however, not be physical but subjective, that is, it will be by means of inner faculties not yet active within most of us at present. These faculties reach a point where an individual so developed is able to perceive the inner workings of Nature. This is not psychism but spiritual vision, something quite different from normal clairvoyance. By its means, even the thoughts and emotions of others become perceptible. These are the internal subjective activities that it is said we indulge in, although to a much lesser degree, after death, when we are in a corresponding subjective state. Normally in our daily lives our thoughts and emotions are quite private to ourselves, but this is not so to these spiritually developed individuals. They are known traditionally by various names: in this book the terms Adepts, Initiates, Masters or Masters of Wisdom are used.
To be more specific about the degree of their attainment, it is recognized that they are men who have worked out through many lives all the defects, deficiencies and limitations of the personal man. As we shall see, man has a divine spiritual component to his nature, such that when he can function consciously at that level he not only knows his own divinity (God) but also becomes virtually omniscient relative to even the highest genius in ordinary humanity. This omniscience extends into the inner realms of Nature. It is here that, to some extent, we ourselves are, not only in normal thought but also in the after-death states. The Adepts can function consciously in these realms and therefore know the states and activities in them of those we call the dead. Quoting one of the Masters, a little out of context:
We tell you what we know, for we are made to learn it through personal experience. [The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett p128 (3rd edition), p131 (1st and 2nd editions)] link - see p.131
Needless to say, Masters of this stature appear very rarely in the annals of the world's history, and in their life-times they were never publicly known for what they were. Among reputed Adepts or Initiates were Plato, Pythagoras, Apollonius of Tyana, and Paracelsus. Some of their more occult teachings, apart from a great mass of religious and philosophical literature known to mankind throughout the centuries, were made public for the first time at the end of the last century. This was done in some letters written by two of them to a Mr A.P. Sinnett (a journalist working in India at the time) and in the writings of one of their pupils, Mme H.P. Blavatsky.
Mme Blavatsky once received a letter posing the question:
"Enough has been given out at various times regarding the conditions of post-mortem existence, to furnish a solid block of information on this point. The writer would be glad to be told where this information may be found. Is it in print? Or must one be an Occultist enough to find it out in the "Symbology" of the Bible for himself?"
It is certainly necessary to be an "Occultist" before the post-mortem states of man can be correctly understood and realized, for this can only be accomplished through the actual experience of one who has the faculty of placing his consciousness on the Kamalokic and Devachanic planes. But a good deal has been given out in The Theosophist. Much also can be learnt from the symbology not only of the Bible but of all religions, especially the Egyptian and the Hindu. Only again the key to that symbology is in the keeping of the Occult Sciences and their Custodians. [Collected Writings of H.P. Blavatsky Vol.IX p171]
Many of the expressions in the extracts and the literature are in English spelling (moulded for molded, favourable for favorable, etc.), and some of the expressions in the quoted passages from these writings are not in today's conventional English but are easily understood. No apology is made for the number and, in some cases, the length of these quotations, as they constitute the prime source of our information. Without these Letters we would have little more idea of the after-death states than common speculation provides.
Words inserted in the quoted extracts in square brackets are added into the text by the author of this book.
The quoted passages are from the following sources:
The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett [ML]; two editions; page numbers to the 3rd edition are given first, those to the 1st and 2nd editions second, e.g. M.L. 128:131. The extracts are from the 2nd edition.
The Key to Theosophy [KEY] by H.P. Blavatsky; there are various editions of this work with different page numbering. Here chapter and page numbers refer to the original edition.
The Collected Writings of H.P. Blavatsky [BCW]; edited by Boris de Zirkoff in fourteen volumes, I to XIV.
The Secret Doctrine [SD] by H.P. Blavatsky; first and second editions, originally in two volumes, I and II, but later published in a third edition with different page numbering, when a third volume, III, and an Index, were added. Later still a fourth edition, known as the Adyar edition, in six volumes including an Page 3 When We Die by Geoffrey Farthing Index, came out, and this also had its own page numbering. The references here quoted are to the original edition.
The Theosophical Glossary [TG] by H.P. Blavatsky and others.