A comprehensive description, in outline, of the processes and subjective states in the period between lives, with some information about spiritualistic and psychic phenomena.
There is a question (P. 105 : 108) which we have referred to earlier. It goes like this: "Is there any intermediate condition between the spiritual beatitude of Devachan, and the forlorn shadow life of the only half conscious elementary reliquiae of human beings who have lost their sixth principle. Because if so that might give a locus standi in imagination to the Earnests and Joeys of the spiritual mediums - the better sort of controlling 'spirits'. If so surely that must be a very populous world? from which any amount of 'spiritual' communications might come. (P. 106: 109): "Of course there is a 'better sort' of reliquiae; and the 'shells' or the 'earth walkers' as they are here called, are not necessarily all bad. But even those that are good, are made bad for the time being by mediums. The 'shells' may well not care, since they have nothing to lose, anyhow. But there is another kind of 'Spirits', we have lost sight of: the suicides and those killed by accident. Both kinds can communicate, and both have to pay dearly for such visits. And now I have again to explain what I mean. Well, this class is the one that the French Spiritists call 'Les Esprits Souffrants'. 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 Akasic 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 into the Devachan - a gloomy fate is theirs. Unhappy shades, if sinful and sensual they wander about - (not shells, for the 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 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!"
(P. 107: 11 0): "But if the victim of accident or violence,
be neither very good, nor very bad - an average person - then this may happen to him. A medium who attracts him, will create for him the most undesirable of things: a new combination of Skandhas and a new and evil Karma. But let me give you a clearer idea of what I mean by Karma in this case."
There then follows the long dissertation on Karma and its mechanism, the skandhas, given in the previous section, where was explained the process by which Skandhas are formed and how they are continually changing. They are responsible for the qualities and tendencies of the new being.
This follows (P. 109: 112): "Now, the causes producing the 'new being' and determining the nature of Karma are, as already said - Trishna (or 'Tanha') - first, desire for sentient existence and Upadana - which is the realization or consummation of T rishna or that desire. And both of these the medium helps to awaken and to develop nee plus ultra in an Elementary, be he a suicide or a victim." (Footnote: "Alone the Shells and Elementals are left unhurt, though the morality of the sensitives can by no means be improved by the intercourse.") "The rule is, that a person who dies a natural death, will remain from 'a few hours to several short years', within the earth's attraction, i.e. in the Kama-Loka. But exceptions are, in the case of suicides and those who die a violent death in general. Hence, one of such Egos, for instance, who was destined to live - say 80 or go years, but who either killed himself or was killed by some accident, let us suppose at the age of 20 - would have to pass in the Kama-Loka not 'a few years', but in his case 60 or 70 years, as an Elementary, or rather an 'earth- walker'; since he is not, unfortunately for him, even a 'shell'. Happy, thrice happy, in comparison, are those disembodied entities, who sleep their long slumber and
live in dream in the bosom of Space! And woe to those whose Trishna will attract them to mediums, and woe to the latter, who tempt them with such an easy Upadana. For in grasping them, and satisfying their thirst for life, the medium helps to develop in them - is in fact the cause of - a new set of Skandhas, a new body, with far worse tendencies and passions than was the one they lost."
On P. 127: 131 this theme is reiterated. "Although not 'wholly dissevered from their [Note: suicides] sixth and seventh principles' and quite 'potent' in the seance room, nevertheless to the day when they 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 towards 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 payoff 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 Judgement, which is that hour of 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 into their Akasic 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. And it is clear ... that while 'shells' will be many, - Spirits very few."
Next a fine point which might cause difficulty is discussed. The question was (P. 120: 123 end): "For what difference can there be to take the case of suicides, whether these be conscious or unconscious, whether the man blows his brains out, or only drinks or womanizes himself to death, or kills himself by over-study? In each case equally the normal natural hour of death is anticipated and a spirit and not a shell the result - or again what difference does it make whether a man is hung for murder, killed in battle, in a railway train or a powder explosion, or drowned or burnt to death, or knocked over by cholera or plague, or jungle fever or any of the other thousand and one epidemic diseases of which the seeds were not ab initio in his constitution, but were
introduced therein in consequence of his happening to visit a particular locality or undergo a given experience, both of which he might have avoided?"
The answer (P. 128: 132) was: "There is a great difference in our humble opinion. We, who look at it from a stand-point which would prove very unacceptable to Life Insurance Companies, 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 'over-study'. 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-beneficient cause, as many of us - (H.P.B. for one) - do."
... "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 [Latin for "felon of himself"; an archaic legal term meaning suicide] to the great grief and often trouble of the Life Insurance Companies. Nor is he left a prey to the temptations of Kama-Loka but falls asleep like any other victim. A Guiteau [Charles Guiteau (1841 - 1882) was an American preacher, writer, and lawyer who assassinated U.S. President James A. Garfield. He was executed by Hanging.] will not remain in the earth's atmosphere with his higher principles over him - inactive and paralysed,
still there. Guiteau 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 reflection of his deeds and thoughts - especially those he indulged in on the scaffold .... " (P. 129: 133): "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."
"So then, the great bulk of the physical phenomena of Spiritualists my dear brother, are not 'due to these Spirits' but indeed - to 'shells'."
As to "accidents" and "suicides" being in danger from the attraction of the seance room, there were more requests for confirmation and a whole letter (P. 131: 134) is devoted to it. The Master wrote a long note on it. (P. 132: 136): " ... Accidents occur under the most various circumstances; men are not only' killed accidentally, or die as suicides but are also murdered - something we have not even touched upon. I can well understand your perplexity but can hardly help you. Bear always in mind that there are exceptions to every rule, and be always prepared to learn something new. I can easily understand we are accused of contradictions and inconsistencies - aye, even to writing one thing today and denying it tomorrow. What you were taught is the RULE. Good and pure 'accidents' sleep in the Akasa, ignorant of their change; very wicked and impure - suffer all the tortures of a horrible nightmare. The majority - neither very good nor very bad, the victims of accident or violence (including murder) - some sleep, others become Nature pisachas, and while a small minority may fall victims to mediums and derive a new set of skandhas from the medium who attracts them. Small as
their number may be, their fate' is to be the most deplored. What I said in my notes on your MSS. was in reply to Mr. Hume's statistical calculations which led him to infer that 'there were more Spirits than shells in the seance rooms' in such a case .... Remember still even in the case of suicides there are many who will never allow themselves to be drawn into the vortex of mediumship and pray do not accuse me of 'inconsistency' or contradiction when we come to that point."
When We Die ... > Next Page Chapter 8 Psychic and Spiritualistic Phenomena