A comprehensive description, in outline, of the processes and subjective states in the period between lives, with some information about spiritualistic and psychic phenomena.
To put the subject into its big scale and karmic setting let us begin with what is incidentally the first reference to the subject in the Letters, describing the between lives habitat in the context of world chains. The Master is actually telling Sinnett (P.47) "why it is deemed supremely difficult if not utterly impossible for pure disembodied Spirits to communicate with men through mediums or Phantomosophy. I say, because:
"(a) On account of the antagonistic atmospheres respectively surrounding these worlds ;
"(b) Of the entire dissimilarity of physiological and spiritual conditions; and -
"(c) Because that chain of worlds I have just been telling you about, is not only an epicycloid but an elliptical orbit of existences, having, as every ellipse, not one but two points - two foci, which can never approach each other; Man being at one focus of it and pure Spirit at the other.
"To this you might object. I can neither help it, nor change the fact, but there is still another and far mightier impediment. Like a rosary composed of white and black beads alternating with each other, so that concatenation of worlds is made up of worlds of CAUSES and worlds of EFFECTS, the latter - the direct result produced by the former. Thus it becomes evident that every sphere of Causes - and our Earth is one - is not only interlinked with, and surrounded by, but actually separated from its nearest neighbour - the higher
sphere of Causality - by an impenetrable atmosphere (in its spiritual sense) of effects bordering on, and even inter-linking, never mixing with - the next sphere: for one is active, the other - passive, the world of causes positive, that of effects - negative. ...
"The intermediary spheres, being but the projected shadows of the Worlds of Causes - are negatived by the last. They are the great halting places, the stations in which the new Self-Conscious Egos to be - the self begotten progeny of the old and disembodied Egos of our planet -are gestated. Before the new phoenix, reborn of the ashes of its parents can soar higher, to a better, more spiritual, and perfect world - still a world of matter - it has to pass through the process of a new birth, so to say; and, as on our earth, where the two thirds of infants are either still-born or die in infancy, [Note: This was written in 1881] so in our 'world of effects'. On earth it is the physiological and mental defects, the sins of the progenitors which are visited upon the issue: in that land of shadows, the new and yet unconscious Ego-foetus becomes the just victim of the transgressions of its old Self; whose karma - merit or demerit -will alone weave out its future destiny. In that world, my good friend, we find but unconscious, self acting, ex-human machines, souls in their transition state, whose dormant faculties and individuality lie as a butterfly in its chrysalis ; and Spiritualists would yet have them talk sense! Caught at times, into the vortex of the abnormal 'mediumistic' current, they become the unconscious echoes of thoughts and ideas crystallized around those present. Every positive, well-directed mind is capable of neutralizing such secondary effects in a séance room. The world below ours is worse yet. The former is harmless at least; it is more sinned against by being disturbed, than sinning; the latter allowing the
retention of full consciousness as being a hundred-fold more material, is positively dangerous. The notions of hells and purgatory , of paradises and resurrections are all caricatured, distorted echoes of the primeval one Truth. ...
"The lower world of effects [P. 49] is the sphere of such distorted Thoughts; 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 dug out by his own hands. ... But I must pause, for volumes would hardly suffice to explain all that was said by me in this letter."
This long extract sets the stage for our inquiry. It raises many questions. It introduces notions about the after-life we may never have even dreamt of. There are only a few other extracts of similar length. One is descriptive of man's condition when consciousness returns to him after the unconsciousness referred to in this letter. This state of unconsciousness, as far as the disembodied Ego is concerned, should be particularly noticed. It was difficult for Sinnett to accept it and was the subject of a number of questions.
When We Die ... > Next Page Chapter 3 Dying and Just After