One of the most pathetic facts in modern civilization is the fear that nearly all human beings have of dying. There are of course some people who say that they do not fear to die; yet I wonder! I wonder, because their life does not seem to correspond with the courage which they so loudly profess. Nevertheless I respect the statement as a statement — the statement of any man or woman who says: I fear not to die! It is to be respected because it is the voicing of an unexplained instinct within the breast, which the man himself probably cannot explain but which evidences the intuition of the heart: that death, after all, is but an illusion hiding a grand reality. That which will happen to all of us, which has happened to the human race for uncounted centuries in the past, and which will happen unto endless time as long as souls dwell in bodies, evidences a process of Nature which in itself is a Grand Event; and the instinct above-mentioned whispers to us that unless the Universe is a crazy Universe with a demon at its heart, death must be something other than that which ignorant and timid people imagine it to be.
But we do not live in a crazy Universe. Show me a sign anywhere of universal lunacy in the Cosmos. As a first reflexion of the reasoning beings that we are, it comes into our minds that what is so universal, that what happens unto all beings and things which possess bodies, must in its essence and in its process be fundamentally right, and as it ought to be. Think again: Suppose that you or I were to live unto eternity as we now are, without fundamental change, would we, could we indeed, be happy? Assuredly not. As an example, fancy me, an imperfect man with all my relative feebleness of intellect, with all my relative paucity of vision and of feeling, with all the relatively undeveloped powers and faculties and attributes latent within me as an essentially divine but as yet not fully evolved spark of divinity — fancy me, or you, living as now we are unto eternity, without fundamental and radical change! Speaking as an individual, I can say that to me such a life would be an eternal hell. It is by changing and by changing throughout, even if slowly, that we grow greater, that we enter into new things and better things and grander things for ever. If there were no law of progressive change operative throughout the Universe and in all its parts, then we should have babies who never grow up, who remain eternally babes; and what a grotesque, indeed ridiculous, picture this reflexion gives to us! We adults, we human beings are but infants, cosmic infants, in comparison with other Hierarchies of far more fully evolved beings, who are as far beyond us as we are beyond the insects, the plants, the stones, what not.
It is one of Nature's laws that an entity cannot continue the same for ever; indeed, it is one of Nature's most kindly laws. It is by exchanging the imperfect for the ever more perfect that we grow; and death is just such a change. As I wrote in a former article on this same subject, the child must die in order to become a man, and the man must die frequently in order in the future to become a god. There are many wonderful things around us in life of which we are cognisant all the time, and yet they are so commonplace to us that we do not reflect upon them and draw the necessary deductions from them, for if we so did, we could gather immense comfort from the verities that we thus should recognise. We perceive facts indeed, blind creatures that we are, and we do not draw the deductions from these facts which we should and can draw. Except the seed die, the plant cannot come into being. Except the man die, he cannot experience those post-mortem conditions of thought and consciousness which belong to his higher and inner being as the celestial spirit which he is in his essence.
Comfort lies in our drawing the proper deductions from the wonderful truths of Nature and her mysteries that surround us; and the great Seers and Sages of the past have left on record their deductions, which in fact are co-eval with thinking man, that the Great gives the law unto the small, and the small repetitively manifests or shows forth what the Great impresses upon it and impels it to do. Death is an example in point. Death is the most familiar thing in Nature to us; and the most feared, because the least understood. We have all been born, we entered life by the gateway of birth, and because it is behind us we do not fear birth. But we look forwards into the future, to that coming day when everyone of us will go through this solemn change and be free, and we look forwards with fear. Yet this great change in the future is certainly on its way to meet us; it is coming.
If you, Reader, desire to know how a man feels, and what is the state of his consciousness when he is what we men call 'dead,' then I urge you to study yourselves carefully now; because if any one is so foolish as to think that a marvel is going to be wrought in him after he drops the body, he will be jarred, shocked, when his day comes. If you understand the reach of this thought, and if you will study yourself carefully now, your spiritual and intellectual and psychical qualities and attributes, and their operations, then you can explain death to yourself as fully and as completely as your capacity may permit — i. e., your capacity to understand and to explain yourself to your own cognising mind. No miracle is going to be wrought upon you when you die. You are going to drop the body and leave it behind, and you will do this in the exact condition or state that you were in when you drew your last breath.
Let us ponder over the reason and significance of the teaching of all the great Seers of all past times of the need of ethics, and of living them while we are alive on earth. You are not going to be saved, i. e. from the results or consequences of your past life; nor are you going to be eternally 'damned' because of the same consequences; but after death you are going to be exactly as you are when you die. If you have lived a decent life in incarnation, then you will be a decent excarnate entity after death; and if you have lived like a beast, you are then going to be a beastly excarnate entity, and you will have to take what is coming to beastly beings. Nature's laws are infinitely pitiful, precisely because they are founded in and arise from Universal Harmony, and they know no variation or shadow of turning. Hence the dictates, the mandates, of all the Sages of all ages: Live rightly!
There is no hell after the orthodox idea of the now dying Christian theology. There is no heaven after the idea of the orthodox Christian scheme; but there are post-mortem states of many kinds, almost infinitely numerous; and because of Nature's harmonical procedures no human being could ever die and be attracted or drawn to a state or condition or place in which he is unfitted to be. Cast out of your mind any idea that marvels and miracles will be wrought for you at your death: that unnatural things, whether good or bad, are going to happen to you outside of the grand and unerring and inevitable laws of the Universe; because such ideas are merely lies and contrary to Nature herself. Hold therefore fast to the obvious truth. A man goes, after he dies, to the particular lokas or talas in the interior worlds which he has fitted himself during earth-incarnation temporarily to inhabit. He himself makes for himself his own postmortem destiny, and thus it is that he gets exactly what is coming to him: good, bad, or indifferent. Nature in her infinitely exact adjustments will bring to him precisely what he himself causatively during life gave birth to — and this is karman, as we say.
Now, then, inside this physical Earth-sphere, surrounding it, permeating it, is what we may briefly call the astral sphere. It is called 'astral' because on certain rare occasions sensitives, when the electromagnetic conditions are right, can catch a glimpse of this interior or astral sphere, as flashing, phosphorescent, sparks or sheets of luminous substance. It is difficult accurately to describe these things without misleading those whose minds are unaccustomed to them. Even the grossest and apparently most solid substance of this physical sphere, had we what we may call the electric eye, we should see to be compact of an apparently infinite number of sparks or points of light in eternal motion and flitting here and there; and these 'atoms' are nevertheless themselves, even in their own atomic ranges, separated by spaces which are as relatively far apart as are to us the suns and the planets in the surrounding sky. Thus it is that the next condition or state of matter within the gross physical sphere, and somewhat more ethereal than the latter, is what we call the 'astral world.'
When a man dies and casts off this frail and ever-changing garment which he calls his body and with which he so foolishly identifies himself, there comes to him instant unconsciousness. No man actually dies conscious. Here again Nature is infinitely merciful, even to her weakest and most erring children. When a man dies, there is a lapse of consciousness quick as a snap of the fingers, ay, more quick, and then the man is gone. The brain still lives for a short while, in the sense that there passes through it in review all that has taken place during the life just past, and down to the least detail thereof; but soon this panorama of revision fades out; and there is left but the physical corpse, the 'empty' body. The spirit has flown to its own, the soul is in unconsciousness, the body then is dead.
The physical body or vehicle is the outermost garment of an inner and more ethereal body which we call the astral body, technically named the Linga-sarira, i. e. the pattern-body, the model-body, properly so named because the physical body is builded around it, atom for atom, molecule for molecule, cell for cell; and this astral body it is which is the vehicle for a short time — a very short time — of the Ego who was on earth a man. But this linga-sarira has a span of life which is almost exactly that of the body, and as the body decays, so does this linga-sarira or astral body decay; and when the last atom of the physical body has gone, when the corpse has disappeared, whether in the merciful vault of the crematorium, or by rotting decay, then the linga-sarira is virtually gone too.
According to the Christian scheme, man is composed of spirit, soul, body. That is a fairly good division, simple and convenient for ordinary use as far as it goes. When a man dies, the spirit of him, the divine spark, i. e. the highest portion of the man, instantly, quicker than thought, is gone, rejoins its own cosmic source. What is that cosmic source? You may call it the Anima Mundi, if you are not exacting in particulars; but if you are, and want accuracy in detail, then you may say, and say truly, that it is gone to its 'parent star.' There remains then the 'soul,' the human ego, in the intermediate realms of Nature between Spirit and physical matter. Now this human Ego is unconscious, as already has been said, an unconsciousness which is exactly like that experienced by the ordinary man when he sleeps at night in blissful peace and repose, freed from the anxieties and harassing worries of the daily life: free from hate and love, free from fear, in blissful, unconscious sleep, Nature's most blessed sewer-up of the ravelled sleeve of care, as Shakespeare says. Just so is the condition in which the soul is after death — at least for a while.
In a previous article on this subject it was pointed out that a man during his incarnation on earth, if he study himself and the processes of his consciousness, may know exactly what happens to himself after death. There are four general states or conditions in which the human consciousness can be: Jagrat, the waking consciousness, in which we are now; Swapna, the dreaming sleep, the sleep with dreams — all too often a nuisance; and the reason we men do not remember our dreams better is because they are often too ethereal and keen for the brain to hold the record thereof after the man awakes into Jagrat again. It is not because the dreams are too faint. The contrary is the rule. Dreams usually are too intense, too keen, for the brain to record them successfully. Again, when a man sleeps and is utterly unconscious, the most blessed kind of sleep, this condition or state of our consciousness is Sushupti. It is a consciousness so intense, so keen, so spiritual, with reaches so vast, that the poor limited brain — the physical substance of the brain and the astral substance of the brain-mind — cannot hold it or record it. The power of this consciousness is too great; and it affects us as unconsciousness — and this condition is sushupti. The fourth and highest state of consciousness which the human being can attain is what is called Turiya-Samadhi, and this is to us humans what is virtually the consciousness of the Divine within us. If what we call the sushupti was so intense and powerful that the feeble brain cannot either recall or record it, a thousand times more may the same be said of the divine consciousness of the Turiya-Samadhi condition. It is somewhat like the brain of a man trying to carry and to cognise the consciousness of the Hierarch of our Solar Universe. The brain cannot; it is not builded for it; it is too feeble, too gross, too imperfect.
Now, then, mark carefully: when a man dies, he passes from the jagrat or waking-state into the swapna or sleeping-state so far as his astral body is concerned. His human soul is unconscious in sushupti; but the spirit within him, which has gone to its parent source until recalled earthwards again for the next earth-life, is in the turiya-samadhi state.
Now all these four states of consciousness may be, can be, and in extremely rare cases are, experienced by men even imbodied in the flesh. Everybody knows what the jagrat or waking-state is. Everybody knows what the swapna or sleeping-dreaming state is; and if you are observant of your own movements of consciousness, I may say that everyone of you knows what sushupti or the state of unconsciousness is, and perhaps gains something valuable therefrom. But only those who have been trained in esoteric studies, and whose lives are rendered glorious thereby, can have even an appreciation or understanding of what the turiya-samadhi is — the divine state of consciousness in which lives the Divine within ourselves.
In future ages, when the human being shall have become from human-like godlike, when men shall be demi-gods on earth, then at least adumbrations of this consciousness will be familiar to all men. All men then will understand because they will know. Even today, where is the man with heart so poor, with brain so weak, who cannot even now have some inkling, some apperceptive grasp, some yearning comprehension, of the grand and the beautiful and the sublime? Every normal human being, if he train himself to do it, can live in a state of internal beauty, can walk even today among his fellow-men like a god, because he lives interiorly in that condition. He can raise his consciousness, his real self, and fix it, nail it so to say, in the higher part of his being; and then when he speaks, his word is the word of truth and carries conviction, even though the brain-mind of the hearers afterwards may say: "Well, I want to think about that."
It has already been stated in a preceding paragraph that the astral body decays or goes to pieces, just as the corpse does, and more or less pari passu with the latter. By 'astral body' I mean here the linga-sarira, or model-body. Its life and coherence are just about as long as the physical corpse's are. As the corpse decays in the earth (if the body be buried), the astral body in the astral world, as just said, decays pari passu — with equal step — molecule for molecule, atom for atom.
Thus the linga-sarira is an astral corpse, just as the physical body is; and the 'soul,' or the Ego, has shaken off both physical corpse and astral body more or less at the moment of death. Thus the Ego is now at this point in the astral world, in the kama-loka, and in what is called the kama-rupa, which is the pale and shadowy and more or less perfect image of the man as he was in earth-life. This kama-rupa holds together in the kama-loka for a term which varies greatly, but strictly according to the character of the man during incarnation; if the man was gross the kama-rupa is correspondingly gross and coheres or holds together it may be for a long term of years, twenty, forty, fifty, possibly a hundred or even more years; but if the man while on earth was of a distinctly spiritual type, the coherence of the atoms of the kama-rupa is correspondingly weak, and the cohesion of its astral atoms slowly vanishes, the kama-rupa proportionately dissolving or disappearing, much as a wisp of fog slowly vanishes because of the dissipation of its particles.
During this process, the Ego, or 'soul,' has been slowly freeing itself from the attractions which connect it with the kama-rupa; there finally comes a moment when the 'soul' or Ego is free, and slowly begins to recover the spiritual consciousness of which it had intimations and imperfect realizations while in the physical body on earth. It then enters what is called the devachan, and in the bosom of the spiritual Monad, the human 'soul' or Ego 'sleeps' in inexpressible bliss, dreaming spiritual dreams of roseate beauty, for the devachan is a state of ineffable happiness for the mind of the Ego.
As a matter of fact, the 'reality' of its experiences of blissful dreaming in the devachan seems to the Ego, and in fact really is, far more intense than anything of similar type that the Ego had experienced when in the mire of the physical body, for it now is in the condition of unfettered higher mentation and imagination, wherein the mind automatically picturates to itself the most lovely of mental visions and all the shifting mental scenery that these visions contain or involve. Indeed, the devachan is a condition or state of the higher Manas in which its activity proceeds free and unfettered by the veils of lower consciousness with which it was clothed during earth-life.
Every man, every woman, during life on earth has yearned for better and nobler things, has yearned for the self-expression of locked-up or latent faculties and attributes and powers; has yearned to be greater, larger, higher — in short, to have and to live a greater life. These are the evidences to any reflecting mind that show clearly how greatly the human soul hungers and yearns to grow towards better things and become them. It is in the devachan that it has a partial, although dreaming yet intensely actual, realization of all the unfulfilled spiritual yearnings of the heart and mind vaguely sensed or experienced during earth-life. The Christians call it 'heaven,' we Theosophists call it the devachan; and there, in the devachanic state, which is emphatically not a place and which is equally emphatically a state or condition of mind, of consciousness, and which is a mixture of sushupti and turiya, a purely spiritual condition — with increasing intensity the Ego remains in such state for hundreds and possibly for thousands of years, the time in all cases depending upon the character of the life last lived on earth. What men commonly call 'good' folk have a long devachan. What we commonly call gross or 'evil' folk have a short devachan — and the reason is obvious! From what already has been stated, it should be clear enough that evil people on earth have fewer beautiful thoughts, fewer spiritual aspirations, than have so-called good people; the consequences or results are felt in the devachan: evil people have a short devachan because their store of spiritual yearnings is small; good and spiritual people have a long devachan, because their stored up spiritual and highly intellectual yearnings, unsatisfied during earth-life, are numerous and active.
Thus the devachanic blissful dreaming goes on for centuries, it may be for a few thousand years, growing in intensity and keenness of realization until it reaches its maximum or culmination, and then slowly diminishing as the stored-up spiritual and intellectual yearnings fade out of the consciousness. Then the time approaches when the Ego in the devachan feels the slackening of the spiritual yearning; as it were it begins slowly to sink into or pass over into a changing of thought, of consciousness, of mental feeling, becoming constantly less ethereal and less spiritual; and coincidently and pari passu therewith the human 'soul' or Ego drops, sinks, 'descends.' Now mark well that these three last verbs, 'drops,' 'sinks,' 'descends,' are figures of speech, for they do not mean a passing through physical space; what is meant is a changing in the quality of the dreaming consciousness, a changing in the sense of sinking or descending from the purely spiritual to the less spiritual. The etherealized mentation of the Ego grows tired, so to say, of the devachan, and correspondentially occurs the change just mentioned.
Thus it is that the Ego 'dies' from the devachan; and 'descending' into the qualities and attributes of the lower realms, its projected Ray finally re-enters a human womb, and in due course of time a little child is born again on earth. What a marvelous and mystical story this is! If I had time and space in these pages I could write of the manner in which the Ego collects its formerly discarded life-atoms on the different planes of its previous ascent into the devachan, and of how the Ego, working in and through these life-atoms, builds for itself anew sheaths or vehicles of its consciousness, finally framing for itself a new linga-sarira, composed of astral stuff in the astral world, and how it finally reaches the family to which it is psycho-magnetically drawn, i. e., the father and mother to whom it is most attracted, and the physical milieu which most corresponds with its own vibrational amplitudes.
Hearken: The reimbodying 'soul' or Ego, as stated above, dies from the spiritual worlds of the devachan in order to be reborn on earth. It enters the gateway of 'death' in the devachan, which thus in a sense is the gateway of 'birth' to earth-life here. When an incarnated man dies, contrariwise, he enters the gateway of death here which in the converse sense of the above is the gateway or portal of birth into the inner, invisible, worlds of the spiritual realms. Thus then, from what has been said, it is clear that the Ego — or what Westerners often call the 'spirit' — never returns to earth after the death of the body. Such return is impossible, because the intermediate links of communication after death are slowly broken — very fortunately! Indeed, the human soul or Ego would not return even if it had the chance to do so. In itself it loathes the gross and heavy atmospheres of earth. It hates the sorrows and pains and griefs and smallnesses and imperfections that it has experienced here below. All its yearning is for peace and happiness and bliss and the explication or unfolding into mental reality of the things of the spirit that here on earth it previously had yearned for.
In what is here said will be seen the philosophical rationale, the solid and substantial reason, why the Theosophist is obliged to reject what is becoming to a certain extent popular now among the ignorant of the West — the so-called 'return of spirits.' The spirit, more correctly the Ego, 'returns', or rather its Ray returns, when the child is reborn in the next incarnation, never before. (1) It cannot return before. It is with its 'Father in Heaven,' to use a Christian phrase, and the foregoing explanation gives the real meaning of the Christian phrase: the soul is in the devachan, and the astral body and the kama-rupa have dissolved into their component atoms.
I shall mention briefly the nature of the conditions appertaining to the astral world, which world it has already been stated is a realm more ethereal than this gross physical earth is. It has many degrees or states or conditions of ethereality, ranging from the most gross in its own series of stages, to the least gross, which is equivalent to saying the most ethereal. Theosophists call these different stages or planes the Astral Light; and this adjective 'astral' is properly used, because sensitive seers — or even ordinary individuals, when conditions are right, when the electro-magnetic conditions are right, as in a thunder-storm — can sometimes catch glimpses of the Astral Light. The Astral Light is everywhere around us, permeating all and everything of the physical world. One can catch glimpses of its presence as phosphorescent, luminous, glittering 'electric' sparks, usually fugitive and minute because the conditions of seeing it are always imperfect. Yet it is not a plane within the gross physical world — in other words, the gross physical world is the dregs of the astral light and indeed the lowest astral is our physical world.
In the Astral Light or the Astral World there are certain stages or ranges of varying ethereality which are the kama-loka, this being a Sanskrit term which means 'desire-place,' and a very appropriate term it is! The Greek and Roman ancients called it the Underworld, Hades. This is the habitat or the realm of all the emanations of earth, most of them vile; because the spiritual things as it were dash or rush within the kama-rupic ranges 'upwards' into their own appropriate spheres to which they are attracted, as has been already explained. But everything that leaves earth, that casts off an earthly body, must perforce pass into and through the Astral Light — in the case of human beings through those portions of the Astral Light which are collectively the kama-loka. These portions are the 'desire- world' or the 'desire-place,' because it is the receptacle or retainer of the cast-off shells or kama-rupas of human souls; and even of the beasts — because the beasts have astral bodies just as humans have. They could not be on this physical plane if they did not have them.
The Astral World, more particularly the lower reaches of the kama-loka, is the place, the underworld, the land, of 'shades' as the Greeks and Romans said; the world of shades — an excellent word, far better than 'spooks' or 'ghosts.' Sometimes these specters or shades (which are the astral simulacra or pale copies of the men who were, and which live in the kama-loka) when physically the conditions are right and a man or a woman is in the properly receptive psycho-physical condition — sometimes I say these specters can be glimpsed, and then one has the case of a so-called haunted house, or a haunted hall or room. These shades are simply decaying shells, the astral corpses mentioned previously, just as the human physical body when the man is dead is a discarded shell. All that made it move and live and feel and think has gone, and there now remain but the automatic reflex actions giving it semblance of the real life that previously had thrown it off.
Briefly to recapitulate: first the man dies and thus casts off the physical body, and the body decays. Almost coincidently the same thing happens to the astral body or linga-sarira, in which the soul is as it were still imprisoned for a very short while. When the soul leaves it, this linga-sarira in its turn becomes an empty shell, as has been described. It is an empty astral corpse; it has now no inner, inspiring, and elevating spiritual life. It cannot raise itself out of the kama-loka any more than the decaying physical body, the human corpse, can raise itself from the earth. It slowly disintegrates and goes to pieces, exactly as does the physical body when the latter becomes a corpse. The Ego is now in the kama-rupa wherein it remains for a time-period varying in length until finally it casts off the kama-rupa and enters the devachanic state.
In the Astral World, or rather in the kama-loka, there are, with certain exceptions, no real living beings as on earth. The kama-loka is an intermediate stage in the progress of the Ego. It is the abode of shells and of Elementaries. Elementaries are those ex-carnate human beings who, because of extreme passional and mental grossness of life on earth, have no devachan; in other words the human 'soul' or Ego cannot free itself from the kama-rupa. What happens with these Elementaries? They are a torment, and also a danger, to human kind; for, being the kama-rupas of the worst kind of human beings on earth, when these human beings die they cannot leave or raise themselves out of the lower astral world or the kama-loka. These Elementaries are drawn to those places and to those beings on earth to which they are strongly psycho-magnetically attracted — call it the attraction of sympathetic magnetism if you wish. They are attracted to human beings whom they psycho-magnetically feel drawn to, and they haunt these humans.
Just here we perceive the weighty reason in the teachings of the great Sages and Seers about the need of ethics, morals. A man who lives a good and holy life, him no evil influence in the Universe can touch, because the power of the god within him throws around him an akasic veil that nothing in the Universe can penetrate or dissipate. But the man who lives an evil life is not only his own worst enemy and indeed his own victim, but if he watches not carefully, he may become the prey of those dreadful astral beings whom we call Elementaries, who will surely find him out because they will be irresistibly drawn to him because of similarity of vibration, because of synchronous psycho-mental vibration; and they will haunt him, and will constantly impel him to do deeds of evil. How many an unfortunate criminal has not said, and said truly, when brought to the bar of justice: "My God, I do not know why I did it; something drove me to it!" and he is right! Originally weak in character, unable to control himself, haunted by one or more Elementaries, the time came when he could no longer resist the extra impulse or compulsion from one of these astral fiends whom he had attracted to himself by an evil life, and whom he had been feeding with his own vitality — feeding an astral vampire.
Study yourselves, I say; study the movements and characteristics of your own consciousness, and you will then know what will happen to you when you die — because your death is coming and some day will touch your heart with its call. Fear it not, however. Death is a change, and ought to be, and in the majority of cases actually is, a vast improvement over this gross life of earth; because however beautiful physical life at times may be, it is yet full of keen sorrow and profound grief and intense pain and subtil temptation, to which many miserable human beings succumb; whereas after death, at least for the majority, there are ineffable bliss, unspeakable peace, and rest. How necessary therefore it is for us humans to have charge over each other, always to be pitiful and compassionate! Remember that although you, Reader, may think you are safe because you are a good man and have lived a decent life, remember, I say, that you too in the past may have followed the facilis descensus Averno, the easy descent to 'hell'; and have been rescued by one greater than yourself, a brother, who extended to you a helping hand. Do not ever condemn the unfortunate sinner, although be inflexible in your aversion from and condemnation of evil itself. You never know when some temptation may come to you which may cause you in your turn to stumble heavily on the path. Be charitable, be compassionate, be always pitiful. Put yourself into the other man's place, and especially do this when you feel inclined to criticize or to judge him for his thoughts and acts. Follow the example of the noble life of the Buddhas, the noble life of the Christs, for this is the life which makes a man's existence here on earth truly godlike.
How the earth would be changed today if men would merely live the Brotherhood they so vainly prate about, but which, when the test comes, they so infrequently practise. Assuredly, it would be no loss if everybody treated everyone else as a brother. Even in the material sense it would be profitable, for a man would have a plethora of riches, since all others would be giving to him, and he would be giving again of his abundance to others having less than he. Poverty and sadness and human misery would nearly vanish from the earth.
1. There are a few apparent but not real exceptions to the statement made in the text above; and these apparent exceptions are exemplified in the cases of children dying young, of infants dying before childhood, and the cases of congenital idiots, etc. These cases, precisely because the Ray of the Ego has had no chance to undergo in a real manner the experiences of earth-life, and therefore because the projected Ray from the Ego is unsatisfied, are the cases of almost immediate physical reimbodiment. Take the case of the infant or young child dying: the Ego, or rather the egoic Ray, in these cases after a very short interval seeks immediate reimbodiment, so that it is quite possible, although not always the case, that the child dying may actually find its new incarnation in the same family wherein it had previously found its unsuccessful incarnation as the infant which died. Let this be comforting to those who like it. (return to text)
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