Theosophy World — Home Page

tw200201.txt XXXtwtw200201 Issue [HOME] [ONLINE ARCHIVES] [DOWNLOAD]

THEOSOPHY WORLD ----------------------------------- January, 2002

An Internet Magazine Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy
And its Practical Application in the Modern World

To submit papers or news items, subscribe, or unsubscribe, write

(Please note that the materials presented in THEOSOPHY WORLD are
the intellectual property of their respective authors and may not
be reposted or otherwise republished without prior permission.)


"What is Theosophy and Who Are the Theosophists?"
    by W. Emmett Small
"Vajra -- The Thunderbolt," by B.P. Wadia
"The Doctrine of Self-Becoming," Part II, by Madeline Clark
"Stephen's Guide to the Logical Fallacies," by Stephen Downes
"Literary Notes on Macbeth," by Isabel B. Clemeshaw
"How to Conduct a Quarrel," by Kenneth Morris
"Aftermath," by Victor Endersby
"The Midnight Blossom," by George William Russell
"Reincarnation," by Alice H. Comerford
"Death and After-Death States, Part I, by Boris de Zirkoff


> And reverence due to the Teacher? Nothing dignifies a man so
> greatly. It is the man of servile soul who is afraid to recognize
> grandeur in some other man. He is not big enough. He is afraid of
> giving himself grandly. The little man is afraid of being 'sat
> upon,' or snubbed, he won't admit that the other man is greater
> than he. The man who really is great inside recognizes grandeur
> in other men, and bows to it because he himself is inwardly grand.
> -- G. de Purucker, STUDIES IN OCCULT PHILOSOPHY, page 234


By W. Emmett Small

[From THE ECLECTIC THEOSOPHIST, Winter 1995, page 7.]

Words are labels. They convey a relative sense and enlightenment
to the mind that hears or reads them. "Theosophy" is such a
label or name, though a noble one. Get behind the word to what
it represents. That is what people want, the meaning. They want
the universe to make sense.

Theosophy states the truths of being. It is far from merely a
label. It tells us how the universe works. It describes the
intricate and perhaps infinite being of man, telling us whom,
what, and why he is. It tells the story of evolution. The story
is neither Darwinian nor a God-made-out-of-nothing "creation."
The Divine unfolds that very divine which is inherent in every
particle of space, doing so without beginning or end.

Each takes what he can from the great storehouse of wisdom. The
taking depends on the awakening of his essential self. The
individual's views of life colors the taking, as wisdom flows
through a combination of religion, philosophy, and science.
Religion is no better or worse than science and science or
philosophy is no better than religion. They are all ways towards
an end. The real thing is at the high point where they meet.
For this point, there is no exact name. Call it being, law, or
truth. It is the search for and study of that point that is

That is Theosophy. That is what the world should respect and
understand. Theosophy is not psychic extravaganzas, fantasies
with but a modicum of truth. Theosophy is not a collection of
individual pet theories, no matter how sincere their proponents.
We test it by the strength and quality of its universality.

Find the broadest and most appealing answers to the questions
heading this article in the first number of THE THEOSOPHIST.
Issued from Bombay, India, October 1879, it contains H.P.
Blavatsky's two articles "What is Theosophy" and "What Are the
Theosophists?" How alive her words still are! How stirring! She
writes in the last article:

All original thinkers and investigators of the hidden side of
nature were and are, properly, Theosophists ... Be what he may,
once that a student abandons the old and trodden highway of
routine, and enters upon the solitary path of independent thought
-- Godward -- he is a Theosophist; an original thinker, a seeker
after the eternal truth with "an inspiration of his own" to solve
the universal problems.

"An inspiration of his own" refers to a definition of a
Theosophist given by Henry Vaughan, the English medieval
philosopher and true Rosicrucian. "A Theosophist," he says, "is
one who gives you a theory of God or the works of God, which has
not revelation, but an inspiration of his own for its basis."

In the article "What is Theosophy," HPB declares, "In this view
every great thinker and philosopher, especially every founder of
a new religion, school, philosophy, or sect, is necessarily a
Theosophist . . ."

She says in "What Are the Theosophists,"

> With every man that is searching in his own way after knowledge
> of the Divine Principle, of man's relations to it, and nature's
> manifestations of it, Theosophy is allied. It is likewise the
> ally of honest science ... And it is the ally of every honest
> religion.

Let this broad statement encourage in us a truly global view as
we struggle with our own immediate theosophical problems. As in
the past so today, take heart that there are those that form this
wider brotherhood. They labor in their own fields inspired by
their own inner vision. When we lift our thought to and draw
from that plane of Ideation that is the storehouse of Great
Ideas, their thought filters through us for the general benefit
of mankind.

With renewed courage and good cheer, let us pursue our dharma.
In this age of opportunity as well as upheaval, it seems clear
that our duty is to know Theosophy in an ever growing and
deepening measure. As we proceed, a mental-spiritual force
magnetically comes to life. It can become a mighty power felt by
others ready to receive it, people unknown to us and working in
their own way.

Above all, we need not numbers but depth and dedication. Seek
depth in understanding the Teachings as originally given by HPB,
her Teachers, and those following faithfully. Remain dedicated
to the preservation, explication, and living of the Teachings.


By B.P. Wadia

[From THUS HAVE I HEARD, pages 182-84.]

> The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; but fools
> despise wisdom and instruction.

This is a Proverb of the wise Solomon. The young psychology of
the Western world emphasizes that modern civilization so strikes
fear into men and women that none feels safe or secure. All live
in fear from day to day. The psychologists point to the widely
prevailing neurosis as the result.

The psychology of the ancient East regards fearlessness as a
virtue. Among the godlike qualities enumerated in THE GITA,
Fearlessness is the first. It is an expression of the Human

Some psychoanalysts recommend freedom from fear. The Eastern
virtue of fearlessness is not what they recommend. That
fearlessness leads man to disregard his soul. That untrue
recommendation makes for what is called "independence." "We shall
do as we please. We do not care what people say. If we err, we
shall take the consequences." This is swaggering and not courage.
The type of independence exhibited is not fearlessness of Soul
but foolhardiness of the sensorium.

The antidote to this kind of fearlessness and independence is
Fear, the Spiritual Fear that leads to a search for Knowledge.
Such the Wise Solomon taught. Our Indian Philosophy also has
referred to it. Stories have gathered around the Vajra symbol.
They explain an important aspect of Karma. Vajra is one of the
Vibhutis -- Excellencies -- of Krishna himself: "Of weapons, I am
the Vajra, the Thunderbolt." This Vajra, according to Shankara,
was fashioned by Indra, whose weapon it is, out of the bones of
the Vedic Rishi Dadhichi (past Karma gathered together). It is
the Thunderbolt of Zeus, the Greek Indra.

The popular interpretation of the action of Vajra, the
Thunderbolt, is punishment. The more philosophical and mystical
aspect of the justice of Karma is the restoration of the
disturbed Unity of the Cosmos to the pattern of Order necessary
for progression in the manifested universe. Men make chaos and
the unerring Law sweeps on to remove it. Men and women of
sense-mind, "free and independent and fearless," obstinately
disregard the Law that works to Righteousness and so are broken
by the Divine Vajra. Increasing obstinacy weakens the Will of
such persons. Pitting themselves against the Law, they are
tossed hither and thither. They are bruised and maimed by the
Vajra, until at length they learn to fear the Law that pardons
only through punishment. Fear leads to search through knowledge.
Then "independence" is given up, interdependence is recognized,
and inspiration comes. There is inspiration enshrined in the
phrase, "Work with the Law." When the lesson is learnt the
necessity for punishment ceases and the protective aspect of
Vajra is active. Vajra defends the oppressed while it strikes
the tyrant.

In THE KATHOPANISHAD (Part 6) it is said that in the Life of the
manifested universe is hidden the Vajra. Like a drawn sword,
like a weapon held aloft, the Vajra is poised. It is the
forward-moving impulse of Nature. Because of it the Fire burns,
the Sun shines and Death strikes. Man should know of it before
Yama strikes down his body, for thus the Supreme can be realized.
THE VEDANTA SUTRAS (I. 3. 39) say that the Universe vibrates,
abiding in Life, Prana, and therein something terrible arises
called a Thunderbolt. Through knowledge of it, immortality is

In mystical Buddhism, Vajra plays a significant part. It is the
symbol of Buddha's power over Evil. Hence, it became the scepter
of the Initiate -- the symbol of his possession of Siddhis --
wielded during certain ceremonies. The possessors of the Wand
are known as Vajrapani. It frees man from his Ahankaric self.

Karma is just and merciful -- not blind but all seeing. It
punishes those who go against its smoothly flowing stream which
invisibly guides conditioned life, but it protects and helps
forward all those who help it and swim with its current.

Nations also feel the effects of Karma. At this hour, Vajra is
punishing India for the folly of her children who have labored
wrongly. Unmindful of the doctrine of Attavada, against which
the Master Buddha warned, they have committed the dire heresy of
separateness. The false self of India, sensuous and psychic,
creedal and egotistic, ambitious and divisive, has produced bad
Karma. The nefarious influence still prevails. It is Karma not
pleasing to Ishwara. The divine Vajra has been striking it for a

Vajra is striking, striking, striking, and will continue its
punitive justice till religious dogmatism and exclusiveness are
destroyed and the men and women of India live for the Soul and
enable the Land of their birth to serve the World-Soul. For that
it has survived the strokes of Vajra in the past. With its help,
India will protect and guide the future of Humanity.


By Madeline Clark

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, January 1951, pages 7-15.]

It is material for a lifetime's reflection to wonder how these
animals ever developed such well-defined characters, and further,
why the domesticated ones should have had the karmic association
with man that has brought them both benefit and suffering.

When we come to the human kingdom, we are well aware of the vast
differences in temperament and physiognomy as well as in the
manifestations of character. Only now, we come to the higher
attributes, which at moments take on a hint of the godlike.
Students of human behavior recognize human individuality and its
possibilities. There are flashes of insight.

Professor Irwin Edman, who holds the Chair of Philosophy at
Columbia University, conceives of individuality, "not as
competition and assertiveness, but as the realization of one's
own qualities and capacities in one's own special way." He thinks
that education should foster this type of individuality, a
certain DISTINCTION for all, not just for a few. Allen Boone
also, in his book YOU ARE ADVENTURE, speaks of "the unmatchable
spiritual individualists who, in a sadly massed-up and messed-up
world  dare to live their own lives for the good of all."

This unfolding from within of the individuality IS for all. As
Louis Untermeyer says in his sketch of the life of Robert Frost,
"The creator, the artist, the extraordinary man, is merely the
ordinary man intensified."

Looked at in the large, the human scene presents evidence of
racial and national Swabhava in the characteristic architecture,
art, language, custom, dress, and music. These differences again
show the variety of ways in which human beings in their various
categories unroll and unfold their peculiar racial or national

There are many other examples of distinguishing characteristics
in all the kingdoms of nature. One is the peculiarities of
metals, for instance, their colors and atomic structures.
Another is the sound that comes from a silver bell as contrasted
with that from one of bronze. Even the woods from different
trees not only differ in grain and hardness, but also differ when
we season, cut, and tap with a suitable instrument or the
fingertip. Each will give out its distinctive musical tone. The
fragrances of different flowers and the flavors and forms of
different fruits, vegetables, and nuts are all are due to the
various Swabhavas of these creatures of the kingdoms.

In the night sky, the colors of the different great stars, some
fiery red, some rose red, icy blue, flame, or golden come, Dr.
de Purucker suggests, from the individual characters of those
stars, or of the beings that use them as vehicles. More advanced
studies of the planets would show them to be each quite distinct
in character.

All this visible detail, you may say, is mere froth. It is the
most superficial manifestation of that majestic law of Swabhava.
Yet, it is all we can SEE, our living evidence of the working of
that sublime law.

The ethical implications of this teaching take us into the great
world of spiritual and divine possibilities. We, in our present
human condition, are curiously conscious chiefly of the
differentiation, not to say the sense of separateness of
ourselves from other individuals. The nearer we reach to the
Inmost, the more we shall be able to see our fellows as our other
selves, or at least as brothers, semi-counterparts of ourselves.
Holding these great thoughts close to us in our daily living, we
open the way to brotherly kindness, understanding, and mutual
helpfulness, and a trust in the inexhaustible energies always
welling up from within. As Katherine Tingley expresses it:

> The Soul can rest on nothing this side of infinity: it loses its
> vitality if it seeks to do so. All eternity awaits it; how
> should it be satisfied with the half-life we live and the many
> imperfections that mar us? The nature of the Soul is to be
> winging its flight forever towards the boundless; to be working,
> hoping, and conquering; to be going forward forever and ever.
> -- THE GODS AWAIT, page 173

The doctrine of self-becoming and the doctrine of cosmic
evolution tie closely together. For what is it that is the
impelling cause of evolution if it is not the Essential Self, the
Monadic Ray,

> The eternal thing in man,
> That heeds no call to die --

This is as Thomas Hardy conceived it. The process of evolution
is simply "the interior self self-expressing itself, unfolding
always what is latent within," to use the words of Dr. de
Purucker. It is this Inmost that is the unbroken connecting
thread in all the existences of any one entity, in all the
kingdoms, through all the eons, immortal in any one galactic
Manvantara, the innate characteristic (Swabhava) running through
them all. Its expressions on this plane of ours point back to
its pervading presence, enlivening, sustaining, and giving
impulse to all life.

Here among nearby things we have the genes, those mysterious
portions of the cell-life that seem to be the ultimate vehicle
for "the continuous transmission of an identical life." Back of
our uncertain science of heredity, there is a spiritual heredity
arising in the innate character of the being itself.

Look at fingerprints, of which they say that no two on earth are
exactly alike. Someone had the intuition once that possibly
these imprints of character on the hand of the individual might
reproduce themselves in that individual from one incarnation to
the next. Dr. de Purucker answered:

> I am quite sure that fundamentally your idea is not only sound
> but also correct. The great difficulty would be to find the
> thumbprint or fingerprints from former lives of an individual.
> It is perfectly true that for Theosophical or occult reasons the
> markings of the thumb and fingers of each body taken up by a
> reincarnating ego would very closely parallel and perhaps are
> almost identical with the dactylographic markings on the thumb
> and fingers of the preceding body of the same ego. Any changes
> that we might find, if we could compare two such markings, would
> be those brought about by evolutional changes in the soul
> producing modifications in the body, and the hereditary
> influences from the ancestry that would tend to modify markings
> of such character.

This individualizing process begins at the very commencement of
manifestation in a Manvantara. It is the differentiation spoken
of by the philosophers. William Blake's system embraces it.
This individualization becomes progressively more marked as the
Manvantara proceeds and the entities become more truly

Yet, in spite of individuality, nothing can stand alone in the
universe -- the "heresy of separateness" is the idea that one can
do so. Again, there is the paradox. We have to stand each one
alone, yet come to realize that we are all but different facets
of the One. At moments of inspiration, this realization comes
even into the human mind, in a flash of insight. Instances of
this are often come across, recorded in literature.

Mary Austin, in Note 13 of her EARTH HORIZON, describes a summer
morning when she was a child of five or six. She wandered alone
down beyond the orchard to a breezy prominence with grass waving
in the wind, and one tall tree "reaching into infinite
immensities of blueness." Suddenly "earth and sky and tree and
wind-blown grass and the child in the midst of them came alive
together with a pulsing light of consciousness." She recalled in
later years the "swift, inclusive awareness of each for the whole
-- I in them and they in me, and all of us enclosed in a warm
lucent bubble of livingness."

Consider Blake's famous vision as he sat on the sands at Felpham:

> My eyes did expand
> Into regions of air,
> Away from all care;
> Into regions of fire,
> Remote from desire;
> The light of the morning
> Heaven's mountains adorning:
> In particles bright
> The jewels of light
> Distinct shone and clear.
> Amaz'd and in fear
> I each particle gazed,
> Astonish'd, amazed;
> For each was a Man
> Human-form'd. Swift I ran,
> For they beckon'd to me,
> Remote by the sea,
> Saying: 'Each grain of sand,
> Every stone on the land,
> Each rock and each hill,
> Each fountain and rill,
> Each herb and each tree,
> Mountain, hill, earth, and sea,
> Cloud, meteor and star,
> Are men seen afar.'
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> All I ever had known
> Before me bright shone;
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Such the vision to me
> Appear'd on the sea.

These are visions of the Many in the One: how at the same time,
the many can be and are the One, a mystery rarely sensed except
in inspired moments.

Then there is the question of Immortality, which has preoccupied
the mind of man from time immemorial. We will take the thought
from Dr. de Purucker that the Atman-Buddhi, the Upper Duad in
the sevenfold human constitution, is the seat of the Swabhava in
man. It is the Essential Self, the perpetual root of man's
constitution, the divine-spiritual monad. It is unconditionally
immortal throughout the immense time-period of the life of a

This immortal and ever-enduring Essential Self, the seat of the
fundamental selfhood in man, is the unifying and binding root
that not only holds the composite man together, but also is the
lasting link from life to life. It brings the compound man
together repeatedly, out of its identical life-atoms. It is the
persistent individuality, the inner origin, the Swabhava.

At the end of the Great Cycle, when a universe withdraws inward
into the subjective worlds, all the individualities that have
made up that universe are reabsorbed. "The dewdrop slips into
the shining sea." At the reemergence of the universe into
manifestation, the individualities reemerge in their integrity,
and commence a new unfoldment of their inexhaustible energies and


by Stephen Downes

[The following is from a site created "to ensure that information
about logical fallacies is freely avaliable." It is of interest to
theosophical students, since as they study and share the
philosophy, they'll be faced with these fallacies in both books
and people that they meet. It's also good to be aware of the
fallacies, so that with self-reflection one can improve one's own
communication with others. See the following two links for more
information. -- T.W.]




False Dilemma: Two choices are given when in fact there are three

From Ignorance: Because something is not known to be true, it is
assumed to be false.

Slippery Slope: A series of increasingly unacceptable
consequences is drawn.

Complex Question: Two unrelated points are conjoined as a single


Appeal to Force: The reader is persuaded to agree by force.

Appeal to Pity: The reader is persuaded to agree by sympathy.

Consequences: The reader is warned of unacceptable consequences.

Prejudicial Language: Value or moral goodness is attached to
believing the author.

Popularity: A proposition is argued to be true because it is
widely held to be true.


Attacking the Person: (1) the person's character is attacked. (2)
The person's circumstances are noted. (3) The person does not
practise what is preached.

Appeal to Authority: (1) The authority is not an expert in the
field. (2) Experts in the field disagree. (3) The authority was
joking, drunk, or in some other way not being serious.

Anonymous Authority: The authority in question is not named.

Style Over Substance: The manner in which an argument (or arguer)
is presented is felt to affect the truth of the conclusion.


Hasty Generalization: The sample is too small to support an
inductive generalization about a population.

Unrepresentative Sample: The sample is unrepresentative of the
sample as a whole.

False Analogy: The two objects or events being compared are
relevantly dissimilar.

Slothful Induction: The conclusion of a strong inductive argument
is denied despite the evidence to the contrary.

Fallacy of Exclusion: Evidence which would change the outcome of
an inductive argument is excluded from consideration.


Accident: A generalization is applied when circumstances suggest
that there should be an exception.

Converse Accident: An exception is applied in circumstances
where a generalization should apply.


Post Hoc: Because one thing follows another, it is held to cause
the other.

Joint effect: One thing is held to cause another when in fact
they are both the joint effects of an underlying cause.

Insignificant: One thing is held to cause another, and it does,
but it is insignificant compared to other causes of the effect.

Wrong Direction: The direction between cause and effect is

Complex Cause: The cause identified is only a part of the entire
cause of the effect.


Begging the Question: The truth of the conclusion is assumed by
the premises.

Irrelevant Conclusion: An argument in defense of one conclusion
instead proves a different conclusion.

Straw Man: The author attacks an argument different from (and
weaker than) the opposition's best argument.


Equivocation: The same term is used with two different meanings.

Amphiboly: The structure of a sentence allows two different

Accent: The emphasis on a word or phrase suggests a meaning
contrary to what the sentence actually says.


Composition: Because the attributes of the parts of a whole have
a certain property, it is argued that the whole has that

Division: Because the whole has a certain property, it is argued
that the parts have that property.


Affirming the Consequent: Any argument of the form: If A then B,
B, therefore A.

Denying the Antecedent: Any argument of the form: If A then B,
Not A, thus Not B.

Inconsistency: Asserting that contrary or contradictory
statements are both true.


Fallacy of Four Terms: A syllogism has four terms.

Undistributed Middle: Two separate categories are said to be
connected because they share a common property.

Illicit Major: The predicate of the conclusion talks about all of
something, but the premises only mention some cases of the term
in the predicate.

Illicit Minor: The subject of the conclusion talks about all of
something, but the premises only mention some cases of the term
in the subject.

Fallacy of Exclusive Premises: A syllogism has two negative

Fallacy of Drawing an Affirmative Conclusion From a Negative
Premise: As the name implies.

Existential Fallacy: A particular conclusion is drawn from
universal premises.


Subverted Support: The phenomenon being explained doesn't exist.

Non-support: Evidence for the phenomenon being explained is

Untestability: The theory which explains cannot be tested.

Limited Scope: The theory which explains can only explain one

Limited Depth: The theory which explains does not appeal to
underlying causes.


Too Broad: The definition includes items which should not be

Too Narrow: The definition does not include all the items which
should be included.

Failure to Elucidate: The definition is more difficult to
understand than the word or concept being defined.

Circular Definition: The definition includes the term being
defined as a part of the definition.

Conflicting Conditions: The definition is self-contradictory.


By Isabel B. Clemeshaw

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, May 1950, pages 291-97.]

Achilles faced a choice at the threatened loss of Briseis (in
first book of the ILIAD). Should he draw his death-dealing sword
and slay Atreides, or still his passion in response to that
higher voice from within? He was ready for his trial, harkened to
Athene's voice, and returned his keen blade to its sheath. Here
was the union of the inward and outward powers in each
individual. After meeting, one becomes the master.

Macbeth's hour of choice is about to strike in the opening Scene.
This is the swiftest-moving and shortest of the great tragedies.
The language is poetic and powerful; the pitch harmonious but
nervous. Ominously, amidst thunder and lightning, the weird
sisters herald tragedy brewing in the invisible: the
mental-emotional plane. The Spectator freezes in apprehension at
the lurid picture, and soon the hero will pale in stark fear of
himself. He has shown himself to be vaguely guilty when he first
met the Witches.

Reaping the glory of his outer conquests, only Macbeth is aware
of his danger. He is praised as a conqueror on battlefields, a
winner of royal titles and a leader of men. The King and
officers held him in honor for his prowess in vanquishing the
most stubborn foe. Like Othello, he is one of Shakespeare's

Macbeth is introduced to us now when that dominant trait of the
various karmic traits of his lower nature is in its zenith and
must be conquered lest he lose his soul to it in slavery.
Ambition for temporal power over his fellowmen has been
abundantly stored away within him during his past months, years,
and lives. He is called brave, for:

> ... well he deserves that name --
> Disdaining fortune, with his brandish'd steel
> Which smoked with bloody execution,
> Like valour's minion carved out his passage
> Till be faced the slave;

From all appearances, Macbeth is on top of the world surrounded
by admiring friends. Inwardly, he is on the heath with the
expanse of slumbering hopes, disappointments, and ambitions
spread before him. Amidst a confused rumble of drums and
swirling of sprites, he enters the stage. His first words are
eloquent of that razor's edge upon which he is poised:

> So foul and fair a day I have not seen.

The Witches represent elementals of a low order, wicked and
vengeful. They symbolized half-dormant thoughts and the
environment that impinges upon him. They were given form and now
are attracted and enlivened into conscious existence by his
powerful will and desire -- turned downward to marshal evil
servitors to his aid in warnings and prophecies. These
prophecies will be of outward things and he will need such
guidance or grope darkly if he cuts off his intuition.

The Witches are no mere shadows, but are substantial spirits
capable of causing cosmic disturbances and of transferring things
in the objective world. This is suggestive of the power that
mortals may attain over their environment; also of the sprites'
great authority in creating phenomena is significant of the high
spiritual attainment needed in the hour of temptation in order to
control them.

We note that the Witches merely ANNOUNCE events pictured in the
astral light by the intensity of Macbeth's desire, and serve
therefore to show that the aspirant to conquest is not FORCED by
any external power to commit an evil act. Macbeth was under no
obligation to fulfill the prophecy that he would wear the crown.

Shakespeare takes pains to impress us with the fact that only a
conqueror is worthy of an opportunity; only an otherwise noble
soul finds himself faced in a death grip with his inner foe.
This is no experience known to the feckless. A colorless life of
little responsibility does not arose sleeping dogs.

Banquo's reaction from the Witches is used in contrast to that of
Macbeth's. Though Banquo was ambitious to "get kings" in his
progeny, foul machinations were foreign to his thoughts, and he
is almost indifferent to the prophecy. Macbeth's conscience is
revealed as far from innocent at the mention of the crown:

> Banquo.
> Good sir, why do you start and seem to fear
> Things that do sound so fair? I' the name of truth,
> Are ye fantastical, or that indeed
> Which outwardly ye show?

The importance of the following soliloquy is that IT OCCURS
BEFORE LADY MACBETH APPEARS. True to Shakespearean tradition,
the cause takes rise in the hero's own mind, and a chain of cause
and effect is set up increasing in intensity until the victim of
error is controlled by outer forces. Macbeth is still on the
heath and oblivious to the conversation going on around him.
Banquo philosophizes, intuitively, but to deaf ears:

> But 'tis strange:
> And oftentimes to win us to our harm
> The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
> Win us with honest trifles, to betray's
> In deepest consequence.
> Macbeth (Aside)
> If good, why do I yield to that suggestion
> Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair
> And make my seated heart knock at my ribs,
> Against the use of Nature? Present fears
> Are less than horrible imaginings:
> My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,
> Shakes so my single state of man that function
> Is smother'd in surmise, and nothing is
> But what is not.
> Banquo
> Look, how our partner's rapt.
> Macbeth (Aside)
> If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me.

Banquo and Macbeth share in the battles from which they have just
returned. Macbeth later marvels at Banquo's valor and wisdom in
dismissing the prophecy regarding his line of sons destined to be
kings. Banquo accompanies the King to Macbeth's castle and
reveals the beauty of his soul in the lines:

> This guest of summer,
> The temple-haunting martlet, does approve,
> By his loved mansionry, that the heaven's breath
> Smells wooingly here: no jutty, frieze,
> Buttress, nor coign of vantage, but this bird
> Hath made his pendent bed and procreant cradle:
> Where they most breed and haunt, I have observed,
> The air is delicate ...

Nevertheless, doubt and suspicion are not to remain absent from
Banquo's mind. As he and Fleance approach Macbeth's castle in
the Second Act, he is full of foreboding, yet trustfully asks
Fleance to relieve him of his sword:

> A heavy summons lies like lead upon me,
> And yet I would not sleep: Merciful powers,
> Restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature
> Gives way to in repose!

Upon hearing anon of the murder of Duncan, Banquo feels
repulsion, but remains silent while there is no doubt that he
suspects the truth. He is the only one of the nobles who is
possessed of the secret knowledge that kindled in Macbeth the
ambition to commit the crime. Yet he acquiesces to Macbeth's
accession and to his wicked plan of laying the instigation for
the murder upon Duncan's sons.

That Banquo is then slain by Macbeth, who fears him, bears out an
ancient teaching that the negative accomplice in evil, will in a
future life karmically fall a victim to that Evil Force to which
he passively gave his support. As tragedy shows in a few hours,
how character is formed over many lives, we see the retribution
in Banquo's case for sins of omission.

Because his humanity has drawn us toward him, we are the more
disappointed with Banquo's weakness and would forget him entirely
were it not for his ghost! Not so the Macbeths, who are well
described by Dr. Bradley, Oxford Shakespearean authority:

> From this murky background stand out the two great terrible
> figures, who dwarf all the remaining characters of the drama.
> Both are sublime, and both inspire, far more than the other
> tragic heroes, the feeling of awe. They are never detached in
> imagination from the atmosphere that surrounds them and adds to
> their grandeur and terror. It is, as it were, continued into
> their souls. For within them is all that we felt without -- the
> darkness of the night, lit with the flame of tempest and the hues
> of blood, and haunted by wild and direful shapes, "murdering
> ministers," spirits of remorse, and maddening visions of peace
> lost and judgment to come. The way to be untrue to Shakespeare
> here, as always, is to relax the tension of imagination, to
> conventionalize, to conceive Macbeth for example, as a
> half-hearted cowardly criminal, and Lady Macbeth as a
> whole-hearted fiend.

Duality makes tragedy possible. Macbeth was of noble birth, an
outstanding general, courageous in defense of his country. He
was trusted and inspired admiration from all who knew him.
Macduff, a man of unquestioned integrity, loved him well.

Lady Macbeth feared most of all a tender spot in Macbeth's
nature, "too much of the milk of human kindness," she complained.
Had it not been for her support in providing the urge and the
plan, it is doubtful if the crime could yet have been

The subtleties of this tragedy must be studied very closely lest
a wrong appraisal will result. Macbeth, as the King's host, is
desirous of doing his duty and stalls for time before meeting the
overwhelming love and gratitude of the King:

> He's here in double trust:
> First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,
> Strong both against the deed; then, as his host,
> Who should against his murderer shut the door,
> Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan
> Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been
> So clear in his great office, that his virtues
> Will plead like angels trumpet-tongued against
> The deep damnation of his taking-off;
> And pity, like a naked new-born babe,
> Striding the blast, or heaven's cherubin horsed
> Upon the sightless couriers of the air,
> Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye,
> That tears shall drown the wind. I have no
> Spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only
> Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself
> And falls on the other [side]

Here, Lady Macbeth breaks off his soliloquy, and demands to know
why he has left the presence of the King. She does not like
signs of introspection. Macbeth, alone for a time, has been on
the heath with his higher perceptions, and has heard other
whispering. (We cannot fail to note the felicitous phrasing when
Macbeth, Shakespeare's poet par excellence, is listening to his
higher reasoning and is clearly shown the future):

> ... if the assassination
> Could trammel up the consequence, and catch,

With his surcease, success; that but this blow
Might be the be-all and the end-all here,
But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
We'ld jump the life to come. But in these cases
We still have judgment here; that we but teach
Bloody instructions, which being taught return
To plague the inventor; this even-handed justice
Commends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice
To our own lips.

Lady Macbeth is factual, realistic, and incapable of imagination.
She cannot anticipate the consequences; much less can she imagine
the guilt that will oppress her. Her extraordinary will is the
most commanding force in the First Act, holding conscience
completely in check. She has discovered her husband's weakness,
but she is insensible of his finer qualities. He will dally "to
catch the nearest way" in such an act. She is being the perfect
wife in helping him to do what she thinks he merely lacks the
nerve to attempt:

> ... thou wouldst be great;
> Art not without ambition, but without
> The illness should attend it: what thou wouldst highly,
> That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false.

Macbeth leaves the King's presence and is found by his wife in
another chamber. He has changed his intention and he tries to
avoid the crime:

> We will proceed no further in this business:
> He hath honour'd me of late; and I have bought
> Golden opinions from all sorts of people,
> Which would be worn now in their newest gloss,
> Not cast aside so soon.

In her violent passion to carry the design through, she can tell
herself "What need we fear who knows it when none can call our
power to account?" Finally, Macbeth, borne aloft by her grandeur
in her appointed role is swept off his feet and exclaims, "Bring
forth man children only," and from now onward can trust himself
to proceed in her absence.

Having followed her perverse side, we naturally search for the
good in Lady Macbeth's nature. There are ample signs of an
abnormal emotion having been brought into play in order to
deceive her husband and herself. She must compel resistance
against his halting intention and her own nature. There was
feminine weakness to overcome:

> Had he not resembled
> My father as he slept, I had don't

So she told herself, but this was not so. Even nerved with wine,
she was obliged to invoke evil spirits to unsex her and fill her
with cruelty in order to play the supporting part. It is the
presence of hidden hysteria that lends horror to the evenness and
apparent ease of her conduct.

Lady Macbeth is less culpable than her husband is, as life holds
no mystery for her. No sooner is Duncan's murder committed than
she begins to fail and lose interest, her only concern being for
her husband's safety. She tries to rise to a state of
encouragement at times, and, with one supreme effort to spare him
an open disclosure, makes a magnificent stand at the banquet
scene. As Queen of Scotland, she is disillusioned and broken in
spirit. Her last words are sincere:

> Not's had, all's spent.

Afraid of her own conscience, she dreaded the darkness and called
for a lighted candle. In the sleepwalking scene, Shakespeare
shows by her prose accents that she is in an abnormal mental
condition -- and we are soon to understand that she took her own
life rather than live with the agony of her conscience.

With the collapse of her imperious will, and the appalling
momentum of Macbeth's murderous onslaughts until he falls a
victim of his wrong choice, the Spectator is filled with awe.
The cosmic law of cause and effect is the theme of MACBETH, and
is portrayed with such swiftness and clarity that we do not
realize the drama is only half the length of HAMLET.

The curtain drops leaving a profound impression of the misery of
a guilty conscience, and the incalculability of evil. Man's
complex nature is so inconceivably deep and mysterious that when
he opens the gates to evil, he can form not the vaguest idea of
the reactions that will be aroused. As Dr. Bradley says, "All
you can be sure of is that it will not be what you expected and
that you cannot possibly escape it."


By Kenneth Morris

[From THE ECLECTIC THEOSOPHIST, Winter 1995, page 32. Originally
from the June issue of Y FFORWM THEOSOPHAIDD, published in
Cardiff, Wales. Says Kenneth Small, Editor of THE ECLECTIC
THEOSOPHIST, "After leaving the Point Loma Theosophical
Headquarters where he had been a teacher in the school and
university for his native Wales in January of 1930, Dr. Morris
became President of the Welsh Section of the Theosophical
Society. His enthusiasm and energy were broadcast through Wales
in the new lodges there and through his editing and articles in
their monthly magazine."]

> Beware
> Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in it,
> Bear it that the opposer may beware of thee.
> -- Hamlet

It is fun to twist old Polonius from his true intent, as when one
makes him mean, "To thine own (Higher) self be true." Still,
there is a way of conducting a quarrel that is just as good as
when the opponent may beware of thee, if not indeed a great deal

Say Alex and Bob are quarrelling. Alex and Bob are both composed
of two parts. The real part that cannot quarrel because it
cannot be wounded, irritated, or insulted. It can only regard
another human being in one way, with Impersonal Love. There is
also an unreal part called the personal self, which we may
compare to quicksand, a mirage, a fogbank, a will-o-the-wisp.

Watch the quarrel in action. Say it began with Alex having an
attack of indigestion and Bob making a foolish remark to him.
Alex snaps back. Bob bridles up and answers hotly. A quite
definite ill will now comes into being. Alex shoots it to Bob,
easing himself of his burden. The moment before inclined to be
forgiving, Bob fills with the ill will, becomes it, and for
relief, shoots it back to Alex. It is like a tennis ball tossed
back and forth, but it becomes the one to whom it is tossed.

How little real that personal self is! When the missile, ill
will, is tossed to it, it flows into the shape of the missile,
becoming it. It has no fixed and real identity of its own,
flowing from color to color like a well-bred chameleon that has
we have taught the laws of Natural History.

It is first necessary for Alex or Bob to catch that missile and
take it where it cannot hurt him. One takes it upstairs into the
part of him that lives in the heart-life of all things. That
part delights in the existence of his fellow-quarreler. It
perceives the inmost nobility in him and treasures the
perception. It perceives and delights in the godhood of every
human being. Shooting back from there, his opponent has no
chance against him. He is more the partisan of that opponent
than the latter is of him.

Meet offences from that real place in you, and you commonly cure
the offender, winning his gratitude. Strike back and you hurt
yourself. Regard your partner in a quarrel as bad, a
poison-breeder, and he will be so for you. Think only of the
nobility in him and you will force that nobility into


By Victor Endersby

[CHRONICLES ON THE PATH, Part XIV. This 18-part series appeared
in THEOSOPHICAL NOTES from September 1951 through November 1954.]

The Roman sagged low in his saddle as his horse wearily descended
toward the distant lake. He was old. He was tired, tired of
mind as of body. He wondered whether his wandering life of
insatiable curiosity had been the best way to spend his all too
few years.

The unfinished manuscript reposed in his saddlebags. Stained and
crumpled, it recorded many curious observations about men,
things, and places. Would he live to see the fair copies from
the pens of scribes? Who would read it, and with what

"Look, Master," said the servant from behind. "There is a villa
on the cliff. Here we might find shelter for the night, perhaps?
The air is chill in these Helvetian mountains."

"Good. We will ride over."

A still older man waited on the villa steps. A Jew, the Roman
saw with distaste. His eyes were black as night. His hair and
beard were white. He was a man with a thin face and eagle nose.
He greeted them courteously, but with something of a shrinking
air, inviting them in for food and rest. The Roman and his
servant washed and changed their clothing, as the Roman wondered
what brought such a man to this far away place. Why would one
with the wealth to build this villa place it in such solitude?

After eating, they gazed upon the brilliant sunset, dying across
the lake, casting a black silhouette of the western mountains.
They sat together, these two of races of ancient enmity.
Something about the Jew stirred a memory in the Roman, perhaps
some cut of face, or turn of head, or other mannerism.

As they talked, the exile slowly thawed, listening eagerly and
commenting freely on the events of the Empire of which it seemed
he had heard little for months. Within the villa, the voices of
two servants grew upon the air in intimate conversation as the
level in the jug sank low. The traveler felt a strange
compassion, responding to some deep tragedy in this man of alien
race. Suddenly it came to him.

"Iscariot!" he said. "You are Iscariot, named Judas! But how? I
thought ..."

"That I had hanged myself? That is the Christian story of it,
made up to terrify others who might offend their Lord."

"What happened then?"

"When I saw the faces of His followers on the way to Golgotha, I
knew my life hung by a hair in Jerusalem. These religious
fanatics have no restraints, no end to their enmity and
vengeance. I fled the city."

"It is true that the disciple Thomas pruned a Roman ear in
Gethsemane, but his Master healed it. Since then, no deed of
blood has been credibly reported against His followers. Perhaps,
my friend, the thing you dread was not in their faces, but in
your eyes."

"Aye. Perhaps. It may be so. I have come to wonder and to
doubt many things, even concerning Him."

"Iscariot, may I speak frankly?"

The Jew shrank, and then sat erect. "Say on. It is better to
hear the thought than to wonder about it."

"Iscariot, your name is dirt in the streets of Rome as in
Jerusalem. He has few followers, yet fewer still like the manner
of his taking off. Rome holds naught against him. The Jews find
him false as a prophet. Yet, it sits ill upon their minds that
one of his own turned him in under the guise of friendship. You
were a good man," as Jews go, he almost said, "As men are
reckoned. You were honest, kind, and charitable. It could not
have been the money, I think, for you were not poor."

"It was not the money. I threw the thirty pieces at the feet of
the priests. That much is true. It was other things, many

The historian in the Roman was aroused.

"Why not speak fully?"

"Yes, I will. At the beginning, I believed in this Ben Pandira
with all my soul. In him, I verily saw Jehovah descended to His
people. Then -- I cannot remember all. It is vague. Many
matters that I have forgotten came between. I do not recall
their nature now, but I know that they were, that they were sore
and grievous, such speech and such deeds as ill became the King
of the Jews. Somewhere -- somewhere at a time that I cannot
place, His image became black in my mind. I though I knew Him as
the betrayer of His people."

"How so?"

"According to our understanding of the Prophecies, He was to have
come as a great conqueror, to trample the oppressor -- your kind,
if you will pardon -- underfoot, and raise us to our ancient
glory. Instead, he taught us to love our fetters and kiss the
bloody lash of the Roman whip. It seemed strange that Rome cared
so little about his freely running the streets and gathering
crowds, this man ordained, if he spoke truly, to free the race
from the ancient yoke. Thus by degrees -- helped by many strange
things he did and would not explain -- it came clear in my mind
that this Pandira, called the Christ, was in secret an agent of
the oppression. His followers were mad. I could not enlighten
them, and knew better than to try. Learning of the hatred of the
priests, I consorted with them to destroy Him. Having been led
by Him to betray my people, all I could do in recompense was to
sacrifice my honor in betraying Him in turn. Thus it was."

"And now?"

"Now I am a lost man. The years have worn away so many things I
held so sure. I remember things I forgot then, many, many things
that He did, that no mortal man could do. He endured much in
love and patience that man could not endure at all. Now I fear
he was our deliverer, but that we did not understand the manner
of it."

Long the Roman sat looking across the darkling lake while strange
thoughts thronged his mind and vistas seemed to open into future

"I -- I had thought of it, but I cannot. The Christians would
not forgive me. To others I would then be a double betrayer. I
should be alone -- alone and hated. Now I am alone and
forgotten. It is better this way. I would be a useless
sacrifice in any case, for who would believe me. Would any man
turn to Him because of anything that I could say? It is all over.
It was all so long ago. Best let the dead bury the dead."

"It might seem useless now, but history has a way of sorting out
things. What of a thousand years from now?"

"A thousand years from now, I shall have been dust for ages.
What concern do I have for that? It is now that I live, and there
is little of life left to me. I would end it in peace."

The Roman's argument ceased. He saw that this man thought of
himself first and all other things afterward, now as before.
Unknown to himself, it had been secretly so even in the days of
his highest devotion to the Messiah. Hence, it was easy for the
thirty pieces of silver to disguise their true meaning to him.
After a few perfunctory words, the Roman left for his bed. The
other sat, shriveling deeper into his robe as the chill of night
and death sank slowly into his aging bones.


By George William Russell [1867-1935]


> Arbans are born at midnight hour, together with the holy flower
> that opes and blooms in darkness.
> -- From an Eastern Scripture

We stood together at the door of our hut. We could see through
the gathering gloom where our sheep and goats were cropping the
sweet grass on the side of the hill. We were full of drowsy
content as they were. We had naught to mar our happiness,
neither memory nor unrest for the future. We lingered on while
the vast twilight encircled us. We were one with its dewy

The luster of the early stars first broke in upon our dreaming.
We looked up and around. The yellow constellations began to sing
their choral hymn together. As the night deepened, they came out
swiftly from their hiding-places in depths of still and
unfathomable blue. They hung in burning clusters. They advanced
in multitudes that dazzled. The shadowy shining of night was
strewn all over with nebulous dust of silver, with long mists of
gold, with jewels of glittering green.

We felt how fit a place the earth was to live on, with these
nightly glories over us, with silence and coolness upon our lawns
and lakes after the consuming day. Valmika, Kedar, Ananda, and I
watched together. Through the rich gloom, we could see far
distant forests and lights, the lights of village and city in
King Suddhodana's realm.

"Brothers," said Valmika, "how good it is to be here and not
yonder in the city, where they know not peace, even in sleep."

"Yonder and yonder," said Kedar, "I saw the inner air full of a
red glow where they were busy in toiling and strife. It seemed
to reach up to me. I could not breathe. I climbed the hill at
dawn to laugh where the snows were, and the sun is as white as
they are white."

"But, brothers, if we went down among them and told them how
happy we were, and how the flowers grow on the hillside, they
would surely come up and leave all sorrow. They cannot know or
they would come." Ananda was a mere child, though so tall for his

"They would not come," said Kedar. "All their joy is to haggle
and hoard. When Shiva blows upon them with angry breath, they
will lament, or when the demons in fierce hunger devour them."

"It is good to be here," repeated Valmika, drowsily, "to mind the
flocks and be at rest, and to hear the wise Varunna speak when he
comes among us."

I was silent. I knew better than they that busy city which
glowed beyond the dark forests. I had lived there until, grown
sick and weary, I had gone back to my brothers on the hillside.
I wondered if life would go on ceaselessly until it ended in the
pain of the world.

I said within myself, "Oh mighty Brahma, our lives are on the
outermost verges of thy dream. Thou old invisible, how faintly
through our hearts comes the sound of thy song, the light of thy

Full of yearning to rise and return, I strove to hear in my heart
the music Anahata, spoken of in our sacred scrolls. There was
silence, and then I thought I heard sounds, not glad, a myriad
murmur. As I listened, they deepened. They grew into passionate
prayer, appeal, and tears, as if the cry of the long-forgotten
souls of men went echoing through empty chambers. My eyes filled
with tears, for it seemed worldwide and to sigh from out many
ages, long gone, to be and yet to be.

"Ananda! Ananda! Where is the boy running to?" cried Valmika.

Ananda had vanished in the gloom. We heard his glad laugh below,
and then another voice speaking. The tall figure of Varunna
loomed up presently. Ananda held his hand, and danced beside
him. We knew the Yogi, and bowed reverently before him. We
could see by the starlight his simple robe of white. I could
trace clearly every feature of the grave and beautiful face and
radiant eyes. I saw not by the starlight, but by a silvery
radiance that rayed a little way into the blackness around the
dark hair and face. Valmika, as elder, first spoke.

"Holy sir, be welcome. Will you come in and rest?"

"I cannot stay now. I must pass over the mountains ere dawn; but
you may come a little way with me -- such of you as will."

Kedar and I assented gladly. Valmika remained. Then Ananda
prayed to go. We bade him stay, fearing for him the labor of
climbing and the chill of the snows.

Varunna said, "Let the child come. He is hardy, and will not
tire if he holds my hand."

We set out together, and faced the highlands that rose and rose
above us. We knew the way well, even at night. We waited in
silence for Varunna to speak; but for nigh an hour we mounted
without words, save for Ananda's shouts of delight and wonder at
the heavens spread above and the valleys that lay behind us.
Then I grew hungry for an answer to my thoughts, and I spake.

"Master, Valmika was saying, ere you came, how good it was to be
here rather than in the city, where they are full of strife.
Kedar thought their lives would flow on into fiery pain, and no
speech would avail. Ananda, speaking as a child, indeed, said if
one went down among them, they would listen to his story of the
happy life. Master, do not many speak and interpret the sacred
writings, and how few are they who lay to heart the word of the
gods! They seem to go on through desire into pain. Even here
upon the hills, we are not free, for Kedar felt the hot glow of
their passion, and I heard in my heart their sobs of despair.
Master, it was terrible, for they seemed to come from the wide
earth over, and out of ages far away."

"In the child's words is the truth," said Varunna, "for it is
better to aid even in sorrow than to withdraw from pain to a
happy solitude. Yet only the knower of Brahma can interpret the
sacred writings truly, and it is well to be free ere we speak of
freedom. Then we have power and many hearken."

"But who would leave joy for sorrow? And who, being one with
Brahma, would return to give counsel?"

"Brother," said Varunna, "here is the hope of the world. Though
many seek only for the eternal joy, yet the cry you heard has
been heard by great ones who have turned backwards, called by
these beseeching voices. The small old path stretching far away
leads through many wonderful beings to the place of Brahma.
There is the first fountain, the world of beautiful silence, and
the light that has been undimmed since the beginning of time.
Turning backwards from the gate the small old path winds away
into the world of men, and it enters every sorrowful heart. This
is the way the great ones go. They turn with the path from the
door of Brahma. They move along its myriad ways, and overcome
pain with compassion. After many conquered worlds, after many
races of purified and uplifted men, they go to a greater than
Brahma. In these, though few, is the hope of the world. These
are the heroes for whose returning the earth puts forth her
signal fires, and the Devas sing their hymns of welcome."

We paused where the plateau widened out. There was scarce a
ripple in the chill air. In quietness the snows glistened, a
light reflected from the crores of stars that swung with
glittering motion above us. We could hear the immense heartbeat
of the world in the stillness. We had thoughts that went ranging
through the heavens, not sad, but full of solemn hope.

"Brothers! Master! Look! The wonderful thing! And another, and
yet another!" we heard Ananda calling.

We looked and saw the holy blossom, the midnight flower. Oh, may
the earth again put forth such beauty. It grew up from the snows
with leaves of delicate crystal. A nimbus encircled each radiant
bloom, a halo pale yet lustrous. I bowed over it in awe.

I heard Varunna say, "The earth indeed puts forth her signal
fires, and the Devas sing their hymn. Listen!"

We heard music as of beautiful thoughts moving along the high
places of the earth, full of infinite love and hope and yearning.

"Be glad now, for one is born who has chosen the greater way.
Kedar, Narayan, Ananda -- farewell! Nay, no farther! It is a long
way to return, and the child will tire."

He went on and passed from our sight. We did not return. We
remained long, long in silence, looking at the sacred flower.

Vow, taken long ago, be strong in our hearts today. Here, where
the pain is fiercer, to rest is sweeter. Here, where beauty dies
away, it is more joy to be lulled in dream. Here, the good, the
true, our hope seem but a madness born of ancient pain. May we
arise out of rest, dream, or despair and go the way the great
ones go.


By Alice H. Comerford

[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, June 1950, pages 364-70.]

An intense and far-reaching quest insistently and subtly
manifests in humankind the world over. Hearts are heavy with
care, and many minds are replete with bewilderment and restless
confusion. Harassed by the self-inflicted perplexities of a
mechanistic philosophy, and now losing faith in a seemingly
unjust Creator, the Western nations are particularly plagued by a
cynical and desperate outlook. Yet the peoples of the world have
only to open their hearts and minds to Truth, for it does exist,
in purity and immediate accessibility. Once souls turn in
sincere search for the realization of life's true meaning -- for
the answer to the enigma of the inexorable Sphinx -- there is no
longer room for self-created despair and disharmony, conditions
contrary to Nature's laws.

There has long been made available to the public full and
fascinating collations of material that reveal, to a surprising
degree perhaps, the widespread acceptance and understanding of
the ancient and eternal doctrines of Reincarnation and Karma,
which doctrines once permeated, in a natural and unquestioning
way, the whole of civilization. Through the advancing ages,
however, portions of the world have forgotten, have obscured the
truth in a murky materialism that lauds wealth, personal gain,
and power, and condemns the altruistic philosophical motive that
embodies the potentialities for the realization of the
Brotherhood of man -- the law of harmonious interdependence
fundamental in Nature.

People may and do vary in motive, in depth of sincere desire to
obtain, or more accurately to awaken, the realization of the
truth latent within all hearts. Many are curious, but are
satisfied with contemporary dogma and creed. There are those who
know that the dark corners of life can be illuminated by the
understanding of the doctrine of Reincarnation and of its sister
truth, Karma. Happy are those whose eyes are unveiled of the
mists of skepticism, obdurate bigotry, and inflexible opinion,
those who can look with clear sight upon this doctrine so
comprehensible, logical, and satisfying, and begin to understand
deep within.

Many Theosophical writers are chiefly concerned with reaching the
Western mind, as the doctrine of Reincarnation is already
inherent in most of the Eastern religious and ethical systems,
and has been for countless ages. Of course, original
Christianity also included the teachings of rebirth. To the
modern Christian this fact is foreign because the truth has been
veiled and distorted as the religion has passed from a purer
state to one that dwells on the indoctrination of malformed

Reincarnation is part of the Universal law of Reembodiment, which
includes all creatures in all degrees of evolution. In specific
application to mankind, reincarnation is the reembodiment of the
soul or Ego in the flesh body upon the earth many times, for
spiritualizing the Ego through the experience offered in the
human realm of existence. The doctrine implies the immortality
of the soul, and reveals the supreme justice of the laws that
govern evolution. Within all sentient beings dwells a center of
consciousness that is a portion of the great Universal
Consciousness that is Reality and the native substance of Being.

TRUTH, describes the soul as:

> an eternal water-globule, which sprang in the beginningless past
> from mother ocean, and is destined -- after an unreckonable
> course of meanderings in cloud and rain, snow and stream, spring
> and river, mud and vapor -- at last to return with the garnered
> experience of many separate existences into the central Heart of
> all.

This teaching stands aloft, and is accountable, with unsurpassed
depth and logic, to any current "enlightened reason."

To the skeptic who sees no evidence to support the doctrine, this
philosophy offers many ideas that appeal to the imagination,
intelligence, and to sound reasoning. A study of Reincarnation
reveals the complete sequential picture. The doctrine rounds out
incomplete and often irrational beliefs. It helps the believer
by blind faith who envisions the soul after death in a region of
eternal bliss, and who finds no explanation for the origin of the
soul. It also helps the fatalistic or scientific materialist who
relegates all the tangible and intangible human faculties to a
"variety of atomic qualities," the person whom does not find a
reason for the vast and variegated character of living things.

Most of the world professes belief in the immortality of the
soul. Yet, an immortal state succeeding death, as the Christian
asserts, should necessarily presuppose a preexistent state. The
Christian idea of special creation at birth must include
annihilation at death, for it is meaningless to think of
something created spontaneously from nothing and enduring
forever. What is created in such a manner must logically be
destroyed when a life span is complete.

None of the ordinary schemes so satisfies the inner sense of
logic, reason, and intuition as does the idea that the soul of
man and indeed of all beings, is of an eternal past, an eternal
present, and an eternal future, prevailing as an eternal NOW, and
that this soul is periodically embodied by the unfailingly just
laws of Nature. Each of the separate souls is a part of an
Over-Soul, in Emerson's terminology, which encompasses and
composes all the offspring, or individual souls, which contain,
complete within themselves, the entire nature of the Universal

Analogous relations between various living things upon the earth
are further evidence of a oneness, manifest in different forms.
The process of the developing embryo, which the biologists
examine, is a recapitulation of the numerous forms that the Ego
has ensouled in its evolutionary progress. Physical evolution
necessarily demands a parallel evolution of the moral,
intellectual, and spiritual aspects of man. This idea appeals to
the receptive mind as conclusive evidence that this evolutionary
process necessitates a long series of lives, each with its
contribution of enriching experiences for the progress of each
evolving entity.

The science of today has begun to realize that the soul is
embodied and that the marvelous corporeal organism is directed by
a preexistent soul-monad. The law of cause and effect which
science demonstrates experimentally is unavoidable evidence of an
underlying cause which produces the effects of which we are
consciously aware at all times. Plato once remarked, "The soul
has a natural strength which will hold out and be born many times
-- and always weaves her garment anew."

Further, this teaching is evidenced in a satisfying explanation
of original sin, which idea plagues the minds of many
religionists. Original sin, attributed to the fall of Adam, is a
misrepresentation of the idea and fact of Karma, or the Law of
Consequences. How much grander to think that man is not born in
a state of corrupt depravity, but is essentially Divine, with a
free will which determines the nature and extent of suffering and
evil, or of goodness and happiness which will be each man's lot!

A final evidence of Reincarnation is its service as a
satisfactory explanation for the strange reminiscences and
experiences that men often know. How often does a peculiar sense
of familiarity with new people, places, and situations awed us?
Does not this attest to previous associations?

We find accounts of strange experiences in the writings of such
literary lights as Coleridge, Poe, Hawthorne, Dickens, and men of
the deeper past as well as our contemporaries. Eastern and
Western prose and poetry are replete with convictions of belief
and evidence of understanding of this ancient, undying doctrine.
Men need only use a discerning eye, and exercise a broad fluidity
of thought and opinion to unearth the many affirmations of
Reincarnation, metempsychosis, and Reembodiment that appear
throughout the literary world.

Such a magnificent and all-encompassing teaching incurs natural
objections from those to whom it is foreign, and to whom it is
apparently antagonistic to popular religion. Briefly, there are
four general categories of objections. The first most often
presented is, "Why do we have no memory of our past lives?" The
fact is, we do, as nothing is lost in the Universe. Details are
obscured, but character remains as the result of the causes that
we self-established in past lives. Character is the result of
Karma, which directs and molds our very persons.

To the plea of injustice for having to suffer for forgotten deeds
of the past, the fact of the absolute balance and infallible law
of Justice that rules all life, is pointedly reiterated in the
Wisdom-Religion doctrine. Whether our lives are going to reflect
high ideals in ethical and moral standard and action, causes that
result in effects of JUST CONSEQUENCE, depends wholly on our own

Heredity, which seems to conflict with the Wisdom-Religion
doctrine is, on the contrary, more thoroughly and logically
explained than science has heretofore satisfactorily done. For
those who fear the loss of contact with loved ones, it is well to
understand, and comforting to know, that kindred souls have
imperishable bonds which maintain an attraction throughout the
countless ages and phases of evolutionary progress.

The Christian Bible refers to reincarnation as preexistence and
alludes to it many times. Solomon, in Proverbs, spoke with
wisdom when he said:

> The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before the
> works of old -- when he prepared the heavens I was there.

This and the familiar passage, "In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was made flesh," from the Gospel of St. John, are
further examples of the presence of the preexistence idea which
conduces directly to the spiritual idea of Reincarnation within
the Bible. Allegories therein delineate the progress of the soul
and teach the responsibility of the individual in matters of his
own sin.

A serious misconception that has been widespread throughout the
world for some ages is that of the passage or the transmigration
of the soul through animal forms because of corporeal sins. We
find this erroneous conception within certain schools of
Brahmanism and Buddhism in the East. The idea has permeated the
native races of Africa and America, where they believe that
immediately after death the soul must find a habitat, and thus
passes to animal bodies. Some Eastern philosophies affirm the
presence of the human souls of relatives and friends within
animal bodies, and so prohibit the slaughter and consumption of

Distortion of the INNER idea of transmigration has resulted in
these grotesque conceptions of the truth. Actually, what happens
is that the component atomic constitution of a man disperses
after death. They seek the various home-planes of consciousness,
be they animal, vegetable, mineral, or divine. The Higher Ego or
human element of man could not possibly assume an animal habitat
after it has reached the evolutionary height of mankind. E.D.
Walker appropriately remarks:

> It would be as impossible for a gallon to be contained in a pint
> measure, as for a human spirit to inhabit an animal body.

Fearsome conjectures of Hell and blissful hopes of an eternal
paradise of a conventional Heaven, coupled with an unassuaged
fear of death characterize much thought today. The beautiful
teachings, of which Reincarnation is a part, however, embrace far
greater portions of the total consciousness of man than has been
true for great periods. Slowly is man beginning to understand
that the only Hell is that evil and misery which he
self-predisposes and precipitates. Theosophy calls the Heaven of
blissful rest the Devachanic state between incarnations.

Death is not the terrifying conclusion to existence, but the
liberator of the soul as it moves from stage to stage in the
great evolutionary plan. The personality is mortal, the soul and
spirit are immortal. Through the beneficent law of Karma, man
proceeds along the path to ever-greater spiritual heights.
Karma, the Benefactor, perfect in action, equitably dealing with
the causes set up by individual wills, directs and molds the
infinite number of evolving beings. It is this infallible law of
justice, operating in and through the inner, causal, and
invisible as well as the visible worlds -- Karma -- that
activates the reincarnating process.

The most natural question then to arise in the probing mind is,
"What reincarnates?" It cannot be the physical body, for we know
that that disintegrates soon after death; nor is it the
personality with which we are so familiar and which we too often
mistake as the real man -- the personality which is found to be a
mere mask of the Inner Man, the Essential Being. So that which
perpetuates the human being, with his numerous appearances on
this earth in varying personalities, is "the EGO, the individual
and immortal, not personal 'I'; the vehicle, in short, of the
ATMA-BUDDHIC Monad," says H. P. Blavatsky in THE KEY TO

To cover the intricate and fascinating process by which the Ego
reincarnates into earth life is a study complete in itself.
Consequently, a brief outline of the occurrence is all that I can
mention here.

When the man dies -- and death is only a passage to another state
of consciousness, not the annihilation of the real Being -- there
occurs a breaking up of the astral-vital energies, followed by
the dissipation of the personality, or mental-emotional being.
The Spiritual Ego, Buddhi-Manas, absorbs all the good that the
personality has enfolded and expressed, and this Ego then retires
to a blissful rest in the Devachanic state or heaven-world of
subjective consciousness.

For a time after the death of the physical body the Ego hovers
near the earth where its attraction is strongest, and it
experiences a panoramic review of the life just past, seeing
every event in full detail. This experience makes clear to the
Ego the reasons for every incident that happened in the human
society, linking them in such a manner as to depict the complete
pattern, and to confirm the justice of Nature.

After a period, relative as time is, the Ego awakens by the
magnetic force of Karmic seeds or causes which demand their
equitable consequence. In perfect cosmic rhythm, the Law of
Reembodiment marks the course of the Ego, as it is once again
drawn to material manifestation, reclothing itself with the
several sheaths of consciousness or principle-substance, composed
of the life-atoms of which all planes of substance are formed.
The Ego builds its physical body, and once more appears on earth
in order to undergo its next series of lessons through experience
in the human realm.

No one retires at night with a deadly fear of the permanent loss
of waking consciousness -- sleep comes as a welcome rest to tired
body and mind. In parallel manner, no one should approach the
event of death with the terrible fear of the consequences. For,
as so often said in our Theosophical literature, "Sleep is the
imperfect death, and death the perfect sleep." The cycle repeats
throughout all forms and planes of being, always for
spiritualizing the vehicles of the Essential SELF.

This is Karma and Reincarnation -- twin doctrines basic in the
whole of Eternal Truth. Beautiful, practical, and as real to the
heart and mind as they are inherent in Being. As Man looks up
and out, he cries for understanding.

As Frances Quarles once said:


> The weary traveller oft doth seek to know
> How far he's come, how far he has to go.


By Boris de Zirkoff

[From a tape recording entitled "Death and After-Death States,
Part I" made of a private class held on October 27, 1954.]

Consider our death and after-death states. In our study of
the subject in a year. It will take more than one meeting so
that we do not rush through it. We will revisit some familiar
points. Others we have not discussed before.

The subject is death or the transition from this life to another
state of consciousness. With this subject, people in the west
are troubled with an unreasonable fear of the unknown. Popular
religion, science, and philosophy do not have the answer. They
do not have the remedy to this fear. The teachings of the
Esoteric Philosophy remove the fear of death -- something
marvelous! They show that change of consciousness as a great
adventure for which incarnate life is preparation.

We are not fools. A dying physical body is not a pleasant sight.
The body experiences pain when it disintegrates. If diseased,
one's last years of life are certainly unpleasant. In our age,
people with certain types of misused physical bodies cannot avoid
this natural decay.

This is not what death is about. Death is a release. The term
should apply to the mysterious process of the falling apart of
our compound constitution. Death is the gradual severance of the
mutual connections of our inner principles. The principles of
the human constitution return home. They temporarily regain the
realms that they belonged to before again helping to form the
full-fledged human being at his next incarnation.

Death is certainly not a dying physical body. Death is a great
release. It is a joyful experience, less joyful to the
personality and more joyful to the individuality. It has to do
with the abandonment of this particular personality forever. The
personality lasted one life. We now go home into realms of great
spiritual bliss, nearer to our spiritual home, and nearer to
reality. We go awhile, before undertaking another journey
through the material spheres in a new personal vehicle.

The theologies and ignorance of a material civilization have
surrounded death with the dark, negative, and selfish. Strip
these fantastically foolish aspects away and there remains a
spiritual reality. Relatively speaking, light, freedom, release,
peace, rest, and beauty remain.

Before we can understand what the Esoteric Philosophy teaches
concerning death, we must keep some basic points in mind clearly.
Remember that not all teachings in print are true. Be
exceedingly selective. Some are genuine. Some are adulterated.
In theosophical lodges and from so-called students of Theosophy,
you will hear about death and the hereafter. Much is the result
of wishful thinking, astral aberrations, or psychic imaginings.

What is genuine in the Esoteric Philosophy on death? It is up to
you to test the teachings. Test their validity, their logic.
Test whether they hang together with all that you have studied.
Test their reasonableness. If they pass, they are genuine. If
not, leave them alone. They may not be right.

Remember at the outset that normal death is the natural
withdrawal of the human entity from an incarnation. Death is
never sudden. The physical vehicle may face instant destruction,
but the spiritual death is not sudden. This psycho-magnetic
phenomenon takes years.

Does a newly born baby grow into adulthood in a week? Does it
grow a beard and go to high school the day after birth? It takes
time to fully incarnate. It takes years to evolve oneself into a
new personality. One builds, fashions, fills with the spirit,
constructs, and feeds it from within. Likewise, it takes time to
discarnate, years to withdraw or disembody.

In the first part of life, things have gone uphill to a high
point of achievement. After we reach the middle of an
incarnation, everything is now going downhill gradually. It is
logical to suppose. It is the teaching. Without being trained
clairvoyants, we cannot say whether this middle is at 50, 40, or
30 years for a particular person.

The individual will withdraw gradually. That inner withdrawal is
usually slow and deep within the inner man. It is not
perceptible outwardly. It is noticed when the lower mind or
brain-mentality, emotions, and physical body begin to show signs
of decay.

The decay is not its beginning. When it has come low enough to
manifest on the physical, mental, astral, and vital planes, it is
in an advanced stage. People do not die from without. They die
from within. Normal death is the gradual severance of the
intimate relations between our internal principles. That begins
deep within and works outward. The physical and the astral
symptoms are the last to appear.

We withdraw from our physical tenement. Regarding this lower
personal vehicle, we die. In dying, we prepare ourselves for
birth in the inner worlds gradually. After death, we enter the
spiritual conditions as a newly born babe.

Consider the normal process in our present evolutionary cycle.
We have died. Our consciousness begins its infancy in the
spiritual worlds. We enter that second childhood gradually. It
is not a physical stage. We do not physically shrink to two feet
nor go back to physical childhood. Our minds gradually slip into
a childlike mental state.

At birth, children are non-intellectual but highly spiritual. As
their intellect unfolds, they lose spirituality. At the other
end of life, the intellect wanes and spirituality strengthens.
If an old person is in a second childhood, he is already partly
in devachan.

The normal process happens for many in the present cycle. It is
not ideal, and will now always be as it is. As to the ideal
process, we can speak of it later, so that we keep from confusing
ourselves. For now, we speak of the normal kind of dying and
avoid other types like accidental deaths.

The inner severance of principles continues. Inevitably, it will
show up in the physical body and the lower mind in some form. We
may see a disease breaking up the organism. It may come as old
age, when the organs just stopped functioning. With no
particular disease, why do they stop? We have used up the
vitalities that our organism was born with. We are born with a
certain storehouse of Prana. We can use the life currents wisely
or unwisely, in a shorter time or a longer time.

Everyone has a different amount of Prana. When used up, the body
is through. Say you misused and wasted your vitality over 50
years. Technically speaking, you would be killing yourself.
Although we do not call it committing suicide, it is a misuse.

Many lead a normal life. They are not spiritually evolved or
great men. Nevertheless, they do not abuse their physical
bodies. The normal after-death process applies to them.

In time, one reaches the final stage. It is invariably sudden.
Lasting a day, an hour, or a few minutes, it is sudden compared
to one's many years of internal preparation for the inner worlds.
One withdraws the threads of Prana or life magnetisms from the
organs of a body. It is then useless, used up.

You die from the feet up. You start with cold feet and cold
hands. The main ray of the individuality is in the brain and
heart. The last stage is the centering of some vital currents
there. (The remaining vitality belongs to the body's life-atoms
and organs.) The last to die is the brain, immediately after the
heart dies.

Death has nothing to do with heartbeat. The heart may have
stopped beating and the man has no pulse. Breathing may have
stopped. The doctor has declared him dead. For many hours, he
is alive. Physical death has not happened yet. Doctors make a
great medical mistake, because they do not understand what death

The gateways of death are the body's openings. The individual
issues out of his physical body through all the orifices or
openings that the body has. One's higher principles or magnetic
forces use the higher openings in the head to get out. The lower
ones use the lower openings. Part of the real individuality
embodied in the heart and the brain. It issues out through the
top of the head. There is no physical opening on the top of the
head, but there is an astral opening.

Which is higher, the heart or the brain? It depends. They are
both spiritual centers. The brain is last to die. When the
individual has withdrawn the higher magnetic forces from the rest
of the body, it is still in the brain, primarily in the pineal
gland and pituitary body.

Sensitive electronic devices might detect life in the pineal
gland and pituitary body of one who has died hours or even
several days before. There is still something going on there.
These centers are the last refuge or fortress of the brain. It
is not so much physical as it is the higher spiritual part of the
brain. While centered there, we begin the wondrous phenomenon of
the panoramic vision. We dislodge from the akashic records of
the spiritual brain the record of the life just lived. This
begins with the first conscious impression of childhood. It
continues through the entire life in minutest detail. It goes to
the last conscious impression, to the last thought and feeling.

Until we have gone over our panoramic vision of our lives, others
cannot truly pronounce us dead. We have not fully withdrawn from
our brain structure. The condition of our individual
consciousness determines how long this panoramic vision will
last. It could be six or eight hours, go overnight, or last even
longer. Within 24 or 36 hours, it is finished, although quicker
in some cases. Say something happens to our physical brain. An
explosion destroyed it. This does not affect our panoramic
vision. The vision happens automatically in the spiritual
counterpart of our brain. It does not happen in the physical

Dying starts with one withdrawing and breaking the magnetic
contacts. Disengaging the entity from its lower vehicle is
almost like breaking electromagnetic wires. By the time the last
impression of the life just lived has been reviewed by the Ego,
the final magnetic cord attaching the individuality to the brain
and the heart is snapped. That is the moment of actual physical
death. Doctors may have declared the man dead many hours before.
Until then, the trained spiritual clairvoyant will see a light in
both the heart and the brain. Until that light extinguishes, the
individual is still incarnate partially.

By the time the panoramic vision begins, the body is cold and the
physical senses are non-functional. Little can affect one from
without. He does not see, hear, smell, nor sense anything of the
physical world anymore. His consciousness centers upon the
panoramic vision. He is not here with us. It is impossible to
recall him.

Preserve an unbreakable silence around the body. This is the
most important practical thing we might do. During that period,
there takes place one of the most sacred phenomena connected with
the process of withdrawal. That is when the personal mind, the
brain mind, the human soul in its mental aspect, temporarily
identifies with the consciousness of the Reincarnating Ego, its
own inner divine counterpart. In this identification of
consciousness, the human soul becomes a spectator, seeing the
record of the life it just lived.

The panoramic vision is not simply a record of events. The human
soul sees the reasons for what took place. It understands the
justice in them. For now, it cannot weigh actions nor see how to
act when it was wrong. It understands the complete record and
the justice of everything. It sees from a higher vantage point
all it did not see in life because of physical imperfections of
the brain and limitations of its personal consciousness.

During that panoramic vision in his human aspect, one meets his
own inner self face to face. This is not his highest self, but
rather the Reembodying Ego of which the human soul is a ray.
That tribunal weighs the soul. There is no appeal. It weighs
the record of one's life just passed. This is the real meaning
of the marvelous story in THE EGYPTIAN BOOK OF THE DEAD, where
the scale weighs the heart against the feather. During this
identification of the consciousness with the inner self, the
personal mind becomes at one with the spiritual mind, the
Kama-Manas unites with the Buddhi-Manas. This allows that solemn
weighing. For a few moments, the soul sees the general pattern
of the next incarnation and knows what to expect.

Even though one is non-functional through his physical senses,
the noise and strong emotions of nearby people can affect that
panoramic vision unfavorably. Crying, sorrow, and other
emotional outbursts of loved ones disturb the vision. The
emotions are not physical. They are psychic and therefore reach
the human soul. It is hurt, hampered in its process, and must
deal with unnecessary obstacles in its process of release.
Absolute silence and inner calm are extremely importance.

Someone may call upon you to help a person in his process of
passing. Say the doctor has just declared an individual as
having passed away. Remember that there are simple things you
can do. Make sure there is silence, wide-open windows with
plenty of fresh air, subdued lighting, a candle near the head,
and a little incense burned from time to time. Of these, the
most important is the silence. Turn the head north or east, and
the feet west or south. Other details of the setting are

If possible, leave the individual that way overnight. Perhaps it
is very hot, so climatic conditions do not permit this. You
could cremate him the same day. Just leave him a few hours to
finish his panoramic vision. That is enough time in a majority
of cases.

The panoramic vision has finished now. The individual has
withdrawn from the last point of consciousness in the heart and
the brain. What you have there is not a man at all. It is just
a former temple or house. It may be saintly or degraded, clean
or abused. The body's natural process is to disintegrate quickly
via cremation. This is how nature disposes of physical bodies,
whether they are flora, vegetable, animal, or human. Nature
burns them.

If placed in the ground, bodies oxidize, which is burning. Iron
rust is iron that nature has burned. It is an oxidation of iron.
It will burn through oxidation for several years maybe. What is
the difference between burial and putting the body in an oven to
burn quickly? It is exactly the same thing. People say they do
not want to burn. Even so, they burn, just not quickly! They
burn over several years in the grave. Nature does not dispose of
physical bodies in any other way.

No one knows when he is actually dying. Remember again that we
are talking about normal conditions in the present evolutionary
cycle. One may know for years, months, or days that he is about
to die. That is different. When the moment comes, one does not

This is like with sleep. You never know the particular moment
when you fall asleep. You may be tossing in your bed for hours.
When you finally fell asleep, you did not know. The next
morning, you may recollect that it may have been around 3:00 AM,
but you do not know the exact moment. It is the same when you
"fell to death" -- a logical but funny expression.

Death is like sleep. Sleep is our temporary withdrawal from a
still-useful tenement. Since we come back, and it is a partial
withdrawal. Death is a complete withdrawal. We do not come back
to a tenement that has become useless. Death and sleep are
identical in all respects.

To find out how it feels to die and know that you are dying,
study how you fall asleep. Grip your consciousness with the
will. Keep it self-consciously aware at the time you pass into
sleep. Be aware that you are now asleep. If you can do this,
you can also know in full self-consciousness when you pass out in
death. The two are identical.

To die or withdraw completely is a shock to our personal
consciousness. It has not developed the spiritual, intellectual,
and psychic functionality to continue consciousness without the
brain and the nervous system. It is stunned. It is the same as
when you withdraw into sleep. You are unable self-consciously to
function without the brain and the nervous system. Your personal
consciousness is stunned. You are not self-consciously aware of
what is going on.

An individual has died or fallen asleep. Has he entered into a
state of unconsciousness? No. He has entered a state of higher
consciousness, one greater than the earthly one. It is so
relatively high that the individual loses his grip on
self-consciousness. He is unable to be self-consciously aware in
that greater consciousness.

You may be good, but you are not aware that you are. You may be
evil, but you are not aware that you are. You may be happy, in a
sort of a happy-go-lucky way, but you are not aware that you are
a happy being. The same applies to the higher states of
consciousness. You can enter them. If you have not learned to
be aware in them, you are conscious but not self-conscious. When
you are conscious but not self-conscious, we say you are
unconscious. We struggle for good words to use here.

We call the individual consciousness of man "I am I." It is your
awareness of yourself. This is temporarily stunned at death.
You do not know what took place. You enter into a condition of
dreaming. You are partially aware, mostly unaware. Your
location is in some plane of the kamaloka, which surrounds and
interpenetrates the earth. The extent you will be conscious in
it depends upon what you are.

We speak of the after-death states of the average individual. He
will be in a dreamlike condition. The spiritually minded
individual will be practically unaware of anything. The more
spiritual one is, the less he is aware of kamaloka. The more
material and gross he is, the more aware he is in it. A wicked
human being has his self-consciousness return to him soon in the
kamaloka. It is an unpleasant experience. Why is this? It is
because he has to meet himself.

In earthly existence, the grossness of the physical body allows
one to escape oneself at times. Without the protection of the
physical grossness of the brain and nervous system, one is in the
company of oneself. There is no one else, only naked
consciousness. The experience is unpleasant if one was gross and
wicked. It is perfectly ok for an average person. A spiritually
minded individual has no unpleasant experiences. The grosser one
is, the longer the kamaloka. The more spiritual one is, the
shorter the kamaloka.

You are there to disentangle yourself from your emotional nature
and lower mind. You have to undergo the process of the second
death. You are the individual human Ego. Built of emotional,
kamic, and lower mental energies and substances, the cocoon has
to be broken up during the second death. As the second death
takes place, the real individual emerges entering the devachan
gradually. What is left of the emotional and lower mental makeup
remains in the kamaloka. It is a shell animated by certain
elemental energies. Ultimately empty, it gradually
disintegrates. It is a disintegrating astral corpse, left behind
just as you left behind the physical corpse disintegrating on the
physical plane.

We die twice. We have covered the physical withdrawal. The
astral or psycho-mental withdrawal is the breaking up of the
cocoon, shell, or sheaths of kamic substances and materials. One
emerges out of it, withdrawing the aroma of the noblest
aspirations in one's psychological nature. One cannot proceed
until that has happened.

During the second death, the second panoramic vision happens.
One sees a shorter review of the former life, and sees more of
one's future incarnation. The second vision is to see one's
future incarnation more fully. This anticipates the third
panoramic vision, which occurs when the Ego comes back into

It is wrong to say there are dead men. There are no dead men.
There are only dead bodies. We cannot have a dead man. Man is
untouched by death, only bodies are. Remember that man is a
fully integrated sevenfold entity. In him, the Atman and Buddhi
as rays function through Manas. Manas functions through the
Kama. The Kama is clothed in the Prana and the astral structure.
These are all in the physical body, making the human being.

The man has thrown away his physical body. His lower astral has
partially disintegrated. It is breaking apart. He has undergone
the second death. His Kama Rupa is also disintegrating. His
lower vital energies have all dissipated. Then the Reincarnating
Ego centers in Manas, and Atman and Buddhi overshadow it.

That is not a man! In the east, they know people who have passed
on as Devas, shining ones, for this reason. They never speak of
dead men. There is no such expression in Sanskrit. The moment
one has disembodied, he is a Deva. His dead grandmother is a
Deva. His little dead child is a Deva. His ancestors are Devas,
or Pitris. They are all shining ones. They are not men, since
man is the integrated, sevenfold, seven-principled entity in

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application