A comprehensive description, in outline, of the processes and subjective states in the period between lives, with some information about spiritualistic and psychic phenomena.
Now follows a long extract describing Devachan, who goes there, what the nature of existence there is, whether or not Devachanees can communicate with us on earth and many other things. The description starts with an allegorical statement attributed to the Lord Buddha himself but it is only enlightening in a way that some of the passages in the book of "Revelation" are enlightening. The plain language description now given is in answer to questions. The first important one is (2, p98:l00) : "Now except in the fact that the duration of existence in the Devachan is limited, there is a very close resemblance between that condition and the Heaven of ordinary religion (omitting anthropomorphic ideas of God)?" The answer: "Certainly the new Ego once that it is reborn [Note: in Devachan after the "gestation" period referred to above], retains for a certain time - proportionate to its Earth- life, a 'complete recollection of his life on earth'. (See your preceding query.)" [Note: Part of this query was whether there was any misunderstanding over the new Ego having a complete recollection of his life on earth.] The answer goes on "But it can never return on earth, from the Devachan, nor has the latter - even omitting all 'anthropomorphic ideas of God' - any resemblance to the paradise or heaven of any religion, and it is H.P.B.'s literary fancy that suggested to her the wonderful comparison."
Next question (3, p98: l00) : "Now the question of importance - is who goes to Heaven - or Devachan?
Is this condition only attained by the few who are very good, or by the many who are not very bad, - after the lapse in their cases of a longer unconscious incubation or gestation."
Answer: ' 'Who goes to Devachan ? The personal Ego of course, but beatified, purified, holy. Every Ego - the combination of the sixth and seventh principles which, after the period of unconscious gestation is reborn into the Devachan, is of necessity as innocent and pure as a new-born babe. The fact of his being (p98:101) reborn at all, shows the preponderance of good over evil in his old personality. And while the Karma (of evil) steps aside for the time being to follow him in his future earth-reincarnation, he brings along with him but the Karma of his good deeds, words, and thoughts into this Devachan. 'Bad' is a relative term for us - as you were told more than once before, - and the Law of Retribution is the only law that never errs. Hence all those who have not slipped down into the mire of unredeemable sin and bestiality - go to the Devachan. They will have to pay for their sins, voluntary and involuntary, later on. Meanwhile they are rewarded; receive the effects of the causes produced by them."
"Of course it is a state, one, so to say, of intense selfishness, during which an Ego reaps the reward of his unselfishness on earth. He is completely engrossed in the bliss of all his personal earthly affections, preferences and thoughts, and gathers in the fruit of his meritorious actions. No pain, no grief nor even the shadow of a sorrow comes to darken the bright horizon of his unalloyed happiness: for, it is a state of perpetual 'Maya'. Since the conscious perception of one's personality on earth is but an evanescent dream that sense will be equally that of a dream in the Devachan - only a
hundredfold intensified. So much so, indeed, that the happy Ego is unable to see through the veil the evils, sorrows and woes to which those it loved on earth may be subjected to. It lives in that sweet dream with its loved ones - whether gone before, or yet remaining on earth; it has them near itself, as happy, as blissful and as innocent as the disembodied dreamer himself; and yet, apart from rare visions, the denizens of our gross planet feel it not. It is in this, during such a condition of complete Maya that the souls or astral Egos of pure, loving sensitives, labouring under the same illusion, think their loved ones come down to them on earth, while it is their own Spirits that are raised towards those in the Devachan. Many of the subjective spiritual communications, most of them when sensitives are pure minded - are real; but it is most difficult for the uninitiated medium to fix in his mind the true and correct pictures of what he sees and hears."
In answer to another question comes the description (p100:102) : "Yes; there are great varieties in the Devachan states ..."," As many varieties of bliss, as on earth there are shades of perception and of capability to appreciate such reward. It is an ideated paradise, in each case of the Ego's own making, and by him filled with the scenery, crowded with the incidents, and thronged with the people he would expect to find in such a sphere of compensative bliss." There is more as to the variety of experience in Devachan (p185:187) . "The Devachan State, I repeat, can be as little described or explained, by giving a however minute and graphic description of the state of one ego taken at random, as all the human lives collectively could be described by the 'Life of Napoleon' or that of any other man. There are millions of various states of happiness and misery , emotional states having their source in the physical as well
as the spiritual faculties and senses, and only the latter surviving. An honest labourer will feel differently from an honest millionaire. Miss Nightingale's state will differ considerably from that of a young bride who dies before the consummation of what she regards as happiness. The two former love their families; the philanthropist humanity; the girl centres the whole world in her future husband; the melomanic knows of no higher state of bliss and happiness than music - the most divine and spiritual of arts. The Devachan merges from its highest into its lowest degree - by insensible gradations; while from the last step of devachan, the Ego will often find itself in Avitcha's faintest state, which, towards the end of the 'spiritual selection' of events may become a bona fide 'Avitcha'. Remember, every feeling is relative. There is neither good nor evil, happiness nor misery per se." This paragraph goes on to explain something of what will be felt of conscience and remorse, then, "Yes, Love and Hatred are the only immortal feelings; but the gradations of tones along the seven by seven scales of the whole key- board of life, are numberless." (P. 131 : 234) : " ... Unless a man loves well or hates as well, he will neither be in Devachan nor in Avitchi. 'Nature spews the lukewarm out of her mouth' means only that she annihilates their personal Egos (not the shells, nor yet the sixth principle) in the Kama-Loka and the Devachan. This does not prevent them from being immediately reborn - and, if their lives were not very very bad, - there is no reason why the eternal Monad should not find the page of that life intact in the Book of Life."
The next question is in effect, how can ordinary, not particularly spiritualized people enjoy the spiritual state of Devachan?
"It is 'a spiritual condition' only as contrasted with our own grossly 'material condition', and, as already
stated - it is such degrees (p100:102) of spirituality that constitute and determine the great 'varieties' of conditions within the limits of Devachan." There now follows more examples of the kind of circumstances in which various kinds of people find themselves in Devachan (p100:103). "A mother from a savage tribe is not less happy than a mother from a regal palace, with her lost child in her arms; and although as actual Egos, children prematurely dying before the perfection of their septenary Entity do not find their way to Devachan, yet all the same the mother's loving fancy finds her children there, without one missing that her heart yearns for. Say - it is but a dream, but after all what is objective life itself but a panorama of vivid unrealities ? The pleasures realised by a Red Indian in his 'happy hunting grounds' in the Land of Dreams is not less intense than the ecstasy felt by a connoisseur who passes Eons in wrapt delight of listening to divine Symphonies by imaginary angelic choirs and orchestras. As it is no fault of the former, if born a 'savage' with an instinct to kill - though it caused the death of many an innocent animal why, if with it all, he was a loving father, son, husband, why should he not also enjoy his share of reward? The case would be quite different if the same cruel acts had been done by an educated and civilised person, from a mere love of sport. The savage being reborn would simply take a low place in the scale, by reason of his imperfect moral development; while the Karma of the other would be tainted with moral delinquency ... " (p124:127): " ... we create ourselves our devachan as our avitchi while yet on earth, and mostly during the latter days and even moments of our intellectual, sentient lives."
A piece of information which anticipates something of what we are told of the process of rebirth into a new
physical body and what the new personality will be like is given (P. 100 : 102 ) ." And it is that variety which guides the temporary personal Ego into the current which will lead him to be reborn in a lower or higher condition in the next world of causes. Everything is so harmoniously adjusted in nature - especially in the subjective world, that no mistake can ever be committed by the Tathagatas - or Dhyan Chohans - who guide the impulses."
It will now no doubt be of interest to know how long these various after-death states last. In answer to a question (7, p103:105) the following is given" ... 'Bardo' is the period between death and rebirth and may last from a few years to a kalpa. [Note: Maybe millions of years.] It is divided into three sub-periods (1) when the Ego delivered of its mortal coil enters into Kama-Loka (the abode of Elementaries); (2) when it enters into its 'Gestation State'; (3) when it is reborn in the Rupa-Loka [Note: Place of form] of Devachan. Sub-period (1) may last from a few minutes to a number of years - the phrase 'a few years' becoming puzzling and utterly worthless without a more complete explanation; Sub-period (2) is 'very long'; as you say, longer sometimes than you may even imagine, yet proportionate to the Ego's spiritual stamina; Sub-period (3) lasts in proportion to the good KARMA, after which the monad is again re-incarnated." (p103:106): " ... in all these Rupa-Lokas, the Devas (Spirits) are equally subjected to birth, decay, old age and death", means only that an Ego is borne thither then begins fading out and finally "dies", i.e., falls into that unconscious condition which precedes rebirth; " ‘As the devas emerge from these heavens, they enter the lower world again': i.e., they leave a world of bliss to be reborn in a world of causes."
When We Die ... > Next Page Chapter 6 Rebirth, Karma and Other Information