"Know Thyself," were the words which met the eyes of all who looked upward over the portico of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, for "Know Thyself," was the injunction of the ancient Delphic Oracle down the ages. "Know thyself, O son of man!" says Dr. de Purucker today, "for in thee lie all the mysteries of the Universe."
But how shall we go about knowing ourselves, we may ask. Let us try a method. Homer, for instance, tells us that sleep and death are twin-born; and Dr. de Purucker carries the analogy further by saying that not only are they brothers, but one!
Connecting these two statements, we shall find that if we analyse our sleeping state thoroughly, we shall arrive at a proper solution of what happens on a larger scale when we die. Spend our day in inharmonious thoughts, words and deeds, and what will be the result? Inharmonious thoughts, words and acts in sleep — a nightmare, mayhap, in some cases. Spend a day, contrariwise, in thoughts, words and deeds of good-will to men and the beings and creatures above and below him, and what is the result? A night of pleasant, joyful dreams, or, better yet, no dreams at all, for then the soul rises to such high realms that the brain-mind is not consciously impressed with the memory of the experiences undergone. In the former case, the soul is tied down in the vicinity of the body and the sleep is restless and of little benefit to the individual; in the latter case, the sleep is deep, profound, dreamless even, and we awake refreshed, not only physically, but mentally and spiritually.
Plutarch, in one of his ethical essays, tells us that Zeno, the founder of Stoicism, was of the opinion that a man could determine his progress and going forward in virtue by watching his dreams, showing progress therein if in his sleep he took no delight in seeing anything improper or dishonest, or intending, doing, or approving any unjust or outrageous action. How true, indeed, in the light of the teachings of Theosophy; for Zeno and Plutarch were initiates and knew whereof they spoke. And likewise, if we wish to know our after-death state, let us, says Dr. de Purucker, watch our dreams, for death works no marvelous change in the individual — he is in death, as in sleep, the same — the same out of the body as in it.
The Theosophical ForumTHEOSOPHICAL UNIVERSITY PRESS ONLINE