Where are they? Those bright spirits who with such a gallant gesture gave and are giving the rich gift of their lives, renouncing all hope of the things men hold dear, to make a better and happier world for us, and for the future? Are they dead? No indeed! Death is not an end. Life is continuous. There is a pulsing rhythm in life which manifests as an outpouring of energy and activity, followed by a withdrawal of energy: a time of recuperation and rest.
Man's life on earth is such a period of activity, while death is a time of rest in a large way, as sleep is in the small. It is so natural to go to sleep tired and to wake in the morning refreshed. That is all that death is. Men, at the end of their life here on earth, lay aside the physical body, their vehicle of expression on earth, and fall asleep and dream, then wake to a new life with a new body, invigorated and rested.
Death, so called, is the end of one "day-life" here, and then the tired souls rest in the heaven-world, passing their time between earth-lives in dreams of utter bliss. No sorrow can touch them there. They dream happy, wonderful dreams which they have made for themselves while here on earth, for life after death "is an idealized and subjective continuation of earth-life."
Those who have passed on are not conscious of having left earth-life. They imagine themselves surrounded by those they loved on earth, living out in perfect and unalloyed bliss and happiness all their unfulfilled spiritual hopes and longings, all the unsatisfied yearnings of heart and mind, and assimilating the experiences of the life just passed. Sleeping the perfect sleep in the heaven-world (Devachan) they rest and dream, until the time comes for them to return to earth in order to continue their unfinished tasks here, to work out in justice the effects of causes set in motion in other lives, drawn back also by the powerfully attractive force of love to those places and to the people whom they loved in former lives. Are they dead? No, they are sleeping, dreaming, resting in a state of unutterable bliss. There is no death, only endless life. Men pass from sphere to sphere, from periods of activity to periods of rest, but everywhere there is always continuity of life and consciousness.
Yes, Shelley, we say with you,
How wonderful is Death —
Death, and his brother Sleep!
Rest for the weary travelers on life's long pilgrimage, until with the dawn of another "day-life" they are called back to earth, their home, to commence a new life, to be reunited in love with hearts they loved in former lives, with their hearts singing in the sunshine of a new day.
The Theosophical ForumTHEOSOPHICAL UNIVERSITY PRESS ONLINE