[Note: page numbers cited for The Esoteric Tradition are to the 2-vol. Second Edition and do not correspond to the 1-vol. 3rd & Revised Edition.]
Types of Devachans
In The Key to Theosophy H. P. B. says that after death the Methodist will be a Methodist, the Mohammedan a Mohammedan, at least for some time, in a perfect fool's Paradise of each man's creation and making. Will this be in Kama-loka or Devachan? I say the latter, as there is no consciousness in the Kama-loka, and H. P. B. herself has described Devachan as a fool's Paradise. The Mahatma Letters (page 103) speaks of "the pleasures realized by a Red Indian in his "happy hunting grounds" in that Land of Dreams." — M. J.
G. de P. — The answer to this question is in general a Yes, an affirmative. H. P. B. certainly meant mainly the devachan, since it is a mere reflexion of the spiritual vision, imperfect and poor as it is, of the man who has just died; whatever that man was in a spiritual way he will continue to be in the devachan afterwards. Thus the imperfect vision, when compared with a Buddha, for instance, of a Methodist or a Roman Catholic or a Mohammedan, being a lack of complete inner vision, inner spiritual growth, will continue in the devachan in a sublimated sort of way in the "fool's Paradise," so that the Methodist will be a Methodist, but an improved Methodist, the Roman Catholic ditto, the Mohammedan ditto, and so forth. So much for this part of the question.
Yet it is obvious that the kama-loka, being the stage preceding the devachan, will not change the character of the man who has just died; and if he has died filled with the thoughts of Mohammedanism, or of Methodism, or of the Baptist, or of the Roman Catholic, he will still be this or that in the quasi-consciousness of the kama-loka. So we can say he will still remain a Methodist, or a Roman Catholic, or a Mohammedan, through the purging process of the kama-loka; and then the finest part of the man will enter the devachan, the "fool's Paradise," in which he will still have his dreams of a glorified Methodism or Roman Catholicism or Mohammedanism, or Judaism, or whatever his quasi-spiritual thoughts on earth were. So there is a certain truth, when this is understood, in the other statement also, that even in the kama-loka the man's character is not changed. Looking over the above, I might add that of course an ego is not cleared of all impurities thus becoming perfect before entering the devachan, as he would then be of the status of a Buddha. Nor do I mean that it is necessarily an "impurity to be cleared away" to be a Methodist or any other religionist. Of course when a man becomes through evolution so spiritually evolved that he is a Bodhisattva on earth, or a Buddha, then he will just pass through the kama-loka and devachanic states almost unconsciously, for the man is above them, and he enters a lower or higher Nirvana according to his development. And Nirvana means a vision of Reality.
Can We Help the Kama-lokic Entity?
Is it possible for the living to give help to the human kama-lokic entity in its struggle to free itself at the time of the second death? Would a living person be likely to feel the influence from that struggle on the part of one who in life had been closely connected with him, especially on inner lines? — N. N.
G. de P. — Nature is too merciful to allow but the merest fragments of psychic or emotional contact between the living and those in kama-loka. If it were otherwise, our lives would be a hell.
The entities in kama-loka as a rule are semi-conscious or unconscious. It is only the very evil sorcerers, black magicians, or the grossest kind of beings while in body, who have a consciousness which we would call awake-consciousness when they reach the kama-loka. Consequently, all the kama-lokic processes, except in the cases of the few mentioned above, take place automatically and as it were unconsciously or as in a dream, perhaps a nightmare, perhaps perfect unconsciousness in the case of the average person; but a real hell of feeling in the cases of the sorcerer and the tremendously heavily gross person. But, after all, these last are few.
It is of course true that a spiritual love on the part of the survivors can reach even to the devachan after the kama-loka is ended; yes, and even as it were help the interim Bardo-period in the kama-loka. But it must be a spiritual love, and the effect itself is to bring an atmosphere of more peace to the kama-rupas in kama-loka; and the same thing after those in kama-loka have shaken off the kama-rupa and have entered the devachan state. Yes, a spiritual love, not an emotional one, does help the entities in kama-loka to a certain degree, especially if those entities are nice clean decent average people, and are not sorcerers or gross materialists.
The main point to remember is that those in kama-loka should be left absolutely alone. Nature is infinitely the kindliest. The kama-loka experiences for average people are dreamlike or even pure unconsciousness. They are just as it were in unconscious sleep; and any attempt to touch them, even with emotional love or emotional thought, can at times, if the thought and magnetic impulse is strong enough, give them a fictitious temporary awakening, and then they feel unhappy, for they are half awake and surrounded by atmospheres they do not understand, and they feel as if they were in a bad dream.
So it is much better to leave the kama-loka entities strictly alone, even if they are our dearest friends. Of course a gentle warm current of impersonal friendship does no harm, and as explained above, may even do a little good in helping to purify the atmosphere around the kama-lokis, if I may invent a term.
Cataclysms as Ways of Establishing Balance
In The Secret Doctrine, Volume II, at the end of the first part, H. P. Blavatsky gives us a description of the terrible catastrophes which will take place during the transition-period from the Fifth to the Sixth Root-Races It seems to me that Nature works in a rather hard way. Is it not possible for the great spiritual Leaders of evolution on this planet — if not to prevent — at any rate to mitigate the effects of these terrible disasters, during which millions of human beings and animals perish? Is this due not only to cosmic but also to individual karman? — P. R.
G. de P. — Yes, to both, to both kinds of karman; and also to racial karman, and planetary karman. The questioner is a highly intelligent man, but there lurks throughout his question the old feeling that "Nature is not just as I think she ought to be." Presumably the idea is that if someone else had had the shaping or founding of natural law, of natural being, it would have been more shapely and kindly done. I wonder! Nature's heart is compassion absolute, because that compassion is absolute harmony. Nature moves on a cosmic scale, and in comparison therewith our ordinary brain-minds are microcosmic, with small reaches of understanding of the great cosmic issues involved, and, so far as the racial karman is concerned, of any Root-Race or Sub-Race, with small understanding of her sweeping away in catastrophic or cataclysmic activities millions of animals and millions of men.
How about the millions of men and millions of animals that die daily, and, yea, that are sometimes, perhaps not in their millions, but in their hundreds and thousands, killed, murdered, wantonly slaughtered? All these things, all these catastrophes and cataclysms, are one of Nature's ways of re-establishing balance, equilibrium; just as disease in a human body is a purgation, a purging the system of poison. Just so, Nature's ways in its own purgations are these cataclysms and catastrophes.
The so-called "Leaders of evolution," of which this querent writes, do indeed strive continuously through the ages to mitigate the sorrow and pain, to stem the heavy hand of destiny, if it is possible, or at least as much as it is possible to stem the tide of intellectual and psychical disintegration. But they never work contrary to Nature's laws. They cannot. They are in very truth the servants of the Law, and therein lies their enormous power.
Cataclysms and catastrophes are occurring constantly. How about this horrible war? How many millions have perished so far from direct or indirect causes? Look at the beasts who die daily in almost countless numbers all over the earth — some of them wantonly slain; others slain by accident.
The world is full of misery and pain brought about by ignorance and by distorted mental views and by unbridled passion; and the time finally comes when these accumulate so greatly that Nature can tolerate no more; and then the crash comes. Is it not so all through natural being? A human body will stand so much abuse, so much strain, and then it gives way. Nature acts likewise on the greater scales. All of it is karmic. Yet the entities which are swept off the face of the earth, so to speak, which pass out, within an hour, or a day, or a week, or a month, or a thousand years, or ten thousand years, learn by it — learn the karmic lessons.
Then pause and look at the other side of the picture. Look at the beauty, look at the sublimity, of the Sons of Light who work through the ages and whose strong hands hold back the accumulated karman from its crushing humanity at one blow; they form the "Guardian Wall" around humanity. Consider that carefully.
Consider the light side of Nature as well as its automatic retributive or so-called dark side. Nature is divided into two parts, into two phases, so to say, and these two phases or parts are filled on the one hand with the Sons of Light, and on the other hand with the Brothers of the Shadow: one is the realms of spirit, and the other is the realms of matter.
Our Relation to Our Atoms
How is it possible that we, who were rulers of a solar system, i.e, in the time when the atoms were our dwelling houses, cannot rule the composing beings of our body today? We are developed from the atoms and we will rule a solar system in the macro-cosmos in the future. Is our state of consciousness lower now than in the time of our atom-life? — W. K.
G. de P. — The reason that we human beings find it difficult in this stage of our evolutionary pilgrimage to control the lower elements, including the atoms, electrons, etc., of our bodies, is that we are at the mid-point in our evolutionary journey, because we are sunken in the material worlds, although we are now beginning to rise towards Spirit again. This situation means that the matter-parts of our being, including the atoms, of course, are more in their own sphere, and therefore have greater individual power than they have in the higher spheres; and consequently they act more strongly in their own individual ways than they do when they are again in Spirit, or in the spiritual worlds, and more under the divine influence of being in the spiritual worlds. Thus the sun, the divinity in and behind the sun, can control the lower elements and lower atoms much better than we can, because this divinity, being so much ahead of us, attracts more spiritual types of atoms than we do, because we are naturally much less spiritually evolved than is the solar divinity.
Thus it is that in the future we shall be able to control perfectly not only our own matter-elements, but the very atoms, etc., which compose these matter-elements of us, because we shall in time gain in spiritual power; and even these matter-elements of us will have risen more towards Spirit, and we and our companion lower elements and atoms then will have become more alike, both more spiritual, than now we are. Hence there will be more harmony, greater ease, in what we may call brotherly co-operation, in our journey back to Spirit.
I hope this answer gives the gist of what I desire to say. The main idea can be grasped by stating that the Mahatmans can control their lower elements and atoms much more easily than we can, and this is because of the two main reasons I have just stated: In evolution the Mahatmans are beyond us, and therefore stronger than we are; and they attract to themselves for their bodies, etc., more spiritualized atoms than we do. Hence there is greater harmony there between the higher and the lower than there is with us.
Karman and Idiocy
Would it be possible for an average man to be "punished" by an incarnation as a complete idiot, and in the following life to take up afresh from the status he had before the "idiotic" life?
In The Esoteric Tradition (p. 974) a footnote states that there may becases of a lesion or injury, before birth or after, which may cause this state of idiocy. Even in this case his condition must be the result of karman, or it could not have happened? One would think that if a man is his karman such an entity must have had an attraction downwards, from which he will have to work upwards again, or go still farther down and become a lost soul. Is it possible for one who had been very cruel to an idiot to be punished by experiencing that condition himself? Hardly, I imagine, as his intermediate nature being absent, no impression could be made on it, and that life would be punishment pure and simple, and not a lesson learned. — M. J.
G. de P. — Certainly the result of karman in all cases. Furthermore, while it is abstractly possible for a thoroughly normal human being to have to undergo an unpaid karmic debt such as idiocy in the next following life, it is so extremely unlikely that the degree of improbability almost reaches certainty.
The reasoning is this: that karman is not haphazard on the one hand, nor are its parts divorced from the general karmic frame or set-up; so that an idiotic incarnation almost certainly is preceded by shadows casting their images before, a general weakness of character, a more or less obvious degeneration, producing finally its culmination in the idiotic state. But of course, while this is logically the rule, and is clearly seen to be such by any thinking person, I would not go so far as to say that a thoroughly normal person could not possibly have a karman, as yet unworked-out from some distant life, which would produce relative simple-mindedness or idiocy. It is possible, but so extremely unlikely that it is almost a certainty that normality is not followed by abnormality. The whole situation depends on the fact that a man is his karman, as the questioner states.
As regards the latter part of the question: If I understand the question correctly I would answer in this wise: We must remember that karman is not just brute mechanics. The moral principles back of karman are essentially spiritual. Keeping this in mind we can see how karman might work in the case of one who is cruel to animals, who are relatively mindless when compared with men (which does not mean that they have no mind, however), or in the case of a man who is cruel to an idiot because he despises the poor idiot's lack of mind. We can see that with the spiritual and moral causes of karman back of and working in the constitution of the cruel individual, this very cruelty will slowly close the gates of intellectual and spiritual inspiration in that cruel man; so that little by little the very fact of his having lack of sympathy for the beasts or for the idiot, will tend to make the cruel man himself slowly through incarnations become less and less "minded" as it were, having less and less of the seeing, penetrating manasic faculty. Thus in a sense a man is punished by the way he injures or is cruel to others. But these things do not come suddenly. They are a process of degeneration. Cruelty continued through a life, or two or three, is a degenerative process, a breaking down of the moral fiber, and of spiritual and intellectual insight. And what does this mean but a slow and gradual loss of the mind through indulging in persistent cruelty?
So reasoning thus, we can say that after a long time — two, four, six lives, heaven knows how many — one who despises another for being an idiot, or who is cruel to the relatively mindless beasts, slowly brings about incipient idiocy in himself; and we are thus punished by the backwash of the very energies we originally set in motion. This is what is meant by the saying that the man who takes up the sword will perish by the sword. The man who is cruel will perish by his own cruelty, and others will be cruel to him. The learning of the lesson takes place during the process. Of course it is obvious that a complete idiot cannot learn lessons as a man endowed with mind can. But the process of approaching idiocy enables the soul to gather the lessons of suffering and repentance, which may even save the man from final idiocy, if he is sufficiently evolved to take warning in time. Then if he changes his cruelty to kindliness and gentleness, and opens the channels above once more, his suffering and the danger he sees ahead of him, will have been his karmic retribution, what the questioner calls the "punishment," and he may suffer horribly during this process, bringing about a moral and intellectual regeneration.
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