Re: Theos-World RE: SUICIDE -- IS IT DANGEROUS ? -- tricky situation for a theosophist
Nov 27, 2002 09:58 AM
by Steven Levey
Dallas-Thanks for such a thorough response to the issue.
One further contribution to this issue, is to mention the fact that in
our time, and especially regarding veterans of the Vietnam war, more
individuals have taken their own lives since the war than the 58,000 or so
who died during the Vietnam conflict.
I am manager of the Santa Barbara Vet center whiich is a counseling
center for combat vets, and the most common cause I see, it seems, for these
suicides is a kind of confusion and guilt based in having to be put in a
position to take other lives.
This, connected to the pain surrounding the fact that, retrospectively,
they know that they should never have been in such a position. So, an
implied sense of necessity to kill to support the prevailing system,
together with the trauma of seeming to need to take other lives, either in
protection of ones-self or to save another,
leaves an horrendous scar on the personal mind (post truamatic stress).
This "scar" appears so indellable that one removes one's self in the
inability to remove the "scar". Many of these veterans were either drafted
or felt, as Americans, that they were doing their duty, and enlisted.
The issue of how to live doing what they did while doing their DUTY seems
the issue here.
This century has seen so much war. This raises many questions regarding the
possible psychological effect upon so many. And if they fought and died, or
perhaps worse lived, through previous wars in previous lives, might there be
an inner "preasure" upon many people?
A "preasure" not easily identified and therefore difficult to experience
Just some thoughts. any ideas?
To: "AA-B-Study" <email@example.com>
Subject: Theos-World RE: SUICIDE -- IS IT DANGEROUS ? -- tricky situation
for a theosophist
Date: Wed, 27 Nov 2002 02:39:06 -0800
Nov 27 2002
Re: Suicide Is it Dangerous ?
I think you are right. But thinking over our potentials is important.
We can't do that if we are "dead." So long as we remain alive we can
help others if we desire to do that.
Suicide, says theosophy is dangerous. Only the physical body is
killed. The Inner spiritual Self remains alive on the astral plane
for a period equivalent to the length of life on earth. But the
blessed peace of rest (as in sleep) becomes denied. Imagine the
terrible torture of being kept awake and aware continuously.
Further, other kinds of entities (bhuts, pisachas, elementaries,
etc..) live actively on the astral plane and we, not knowing the rule
and laws of the astral plane, and having no experience there, are not
able to "defend" ourselves from their invasion of our privacy. That
would be a "hell" for a long number of years. That's what I find that
Let me put in here a short Editor's Note from THEOSOPHIST, Nov. 1882,
by H P B
(1.) "Inquirer" is not an Occultist, hence his assertion that in some
cases suicide "is not only justifiable, but also morally desirable."
No more than murder, is it ever justifiable, however desirable it may
The Occultist, who looks at the origin and the ultimate end of things,
teaches that the individual--who affirms that any man, under
whatsoever circumstances, is called to put an end to his life,--is
guilty of as great an offense and of as pernicious a piece of
sophistry, as the nation that assumes a right TO KILL IN WAR thousands
of innocent people under the pretext of avenging the wrong done to
All such reasonings are the fruits of Avidya [ignorance] mistaken for
philosophy and wisdom.
Our friend is certainly wrong in thinking that the writer of FRAGMENTS
arrived at his conclusions only because he failed to keep before his
mind's eye all the possible cases of suicide.
The result, in one sense, is certainly invariable; and there is but
one general law or rule for all suicides. But, it is just because "the
after-states" vary ad-infinitum, that it is as erroneous to infer that
this variation consists only in the degree of punishment.
If the result will be in every case the necessity of living out the
appointed period of sentient existence, we do not see whence
"Inquirer" has derived his notion that "the result is invariably bad."
The result is full of dangers; but there is hope for certain suicides,
and even in many cases A REWARD if LIFE WAS SACRIFICED TO SAVE OTHER
LIVES and that there was no other alternative for it.
Let him read para. 7, page 313, in the September THEOSOPHIST, and
reflect. Of course, the question is simply generalized by the writer.
To treat exhaustively of all and every case of suicide and their
after-states would require a shelf of volumes from the British
Museum's Library, not our FRAGMENTS.
(2.) No man, we repeat, has a right to put an end to his existence
simply because it is useless. As well argue the necessity of inciting
to suicide all the incurable invalids and cripples who are a constant
source of misery to their families....
The instance chosen by "Inquirer" is not a happy one. There is a vast
difference between the man who parts with his life in sheer disgust at
constant failure to do good, out of despair of ever being useful, or
even out of dread to do injury to his fellow-men by remaining alive;
and one who gives it up voluntarily to save the lives either committed
to his charge or dear to him. One is a half insane misanthrope the
other, a hero and a martyr. One takes away his life, the other offers
it in sacrifice to philanthropy and to his duty.
The captain who remains alone on board of a sinking ship; the man who
gives up his place in a boat that will not hold all, in favour of
younger and weaker beings; the physician, the sister of charity, and
nurse who stir not from the bed-side of patients dying of an
infectious fever; the man of science who wastes his life in brain-work
and fatigue and knows he is so wasting it and yet is offering it day
after day and night after night in order to discover some great law of
the universe, the discovery of which may bring in its results some
great boon to mankind; the mother that throws herself before the wild
beast, that attacks her children, to screen and give them the time to
fly; all these are not suicides.
The impulse which prompts them thus to contravene the first great law
of animated nature--the first instinctive impulse of which is to
preserve life--is grand and noble.
And, though all these will have to live in the Kama Loka their
appointed life term, they are yet admired by all, and their memory
will live honoured among the living for a still longer period. We all
wish that, upon similar occasions, we may have courage so to die. Not
so, surely in the case of the man instanced by "Inquirer."
Notwithstanding his assertion that "there is no moral cowardice
whatever involved" in such self-sacrifice--we call it decidedly "moral
cowardice" and refuse it the name of sacrifice.
(3 and 4.) There is far more courage to live than to die in most
If "M." feels that he is "positively mischievous," let him retire to a
jungle, a desert island; or, what is still better, to a cave or hut
near some big city; and then, while living the life of a hermit, a
life which would preclude the very possibility of doing mischief to
any one, work, in one way or the other, for the poor, the starving,
the afflicted. If he does that, no one can "become involved in the
effects of his mistaken zeal," whereas, if he has the slightest
talent, he can benefit many by simple manual labour carried on in as
complete a solitude and silence as can be commanded under the
circumstances. Anything is better even being called a crazy
philanthropist--than committing suicide, the most dastardly and
cowardly of all actions, unless the felo de se is resorted to, in a
fit of insanity.
(5.) "Inquirer" asks whether his "M." must also be victim of that
transformation into spook and pisacha! Judging by the delineation
given of his character, by his friend, we should say that, of all
suicides, he is the most likely to become a sťance-room spook.
Guiltless "of any moral turpitude," he may well be. But, since he is
afflicted with a "restless disposition which is perpetually urging him
on to make an effort to do good"--here, on earth, there is no reason
we know of, why he should lose that unfortunate disposition
(unfortunate because of the constant failure)--in the Kama Loka.
A "mistaken zeal" is sure to lead him on toward various mediums.
Attracted by the strong magnetic desire of sensitives and
spiritualists, "M." will probably feel "morally bound to diminish the
woes to which these sentient beings (mediums and believers) are
subject on earth," and shall once more destroy, not only himself, but
his "affinities" the mediums.
Theosophist, November, 1882 [ H P B Editor ]
Mr. Judge in the OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY [Chapter XII -- Kama-Loka] writes
( p. 107)
"...with the shells of suicides, of those poor wretches who die at the
hand of the law, of drunkards and gluttons, these black magicians
living in the astral world hold the field of physical mediumship and
are liable to invade the sphere of any medium no matter how good. The
door once open, it is open to all. This class of shell has lost higher
manas, but in the struggle not only after death but as well in life
the lower portion of manas which should have been raised up to godlike
excellence was torn away from its lord and now gives this entity
intelligence which is devoid of spirit but power to suffer as it will
when its final day shall come.
In the state of Kama Loka suicides and those who are suddenly shot out
of life by accident or murder, legal or illegal, pass a term almost
equal to the length life would have been but for the sudden
termination. These are not really dead. To bring on a normal death, a
factor not recognized by medical science must be present. That is, the
principles of the being as described in other chapters have their own
term of cohesion, at the natural end of which they separate from each
other under their own laws. This involves the great subject of the
cohesive forces of the human subject, requiring a book in itself. I
must be content therefore with the assertion that this law of cohesion
obtains among the human principles. Before that natural end the
principles are unable to separate. Obviously the normal destruction of
the cohesive force cannot be brought about by mechanical processes
except in respect to the physical body. Hence a suicide, or person
killed by accident or murdered by man or by order of human law, has
not come to the natural termination of the cohesion among the other
constituents, and is hurled into the kama loka state only partly dead.
There the remaining principles have to wait until the actual natural
life term is reached, whether it be one month or sixty years.
But the degrees of kama loka provide for the many varieties of the
last-mentioned shells. Some pass the period in great suffering, others
in a dreamy sort of sleep, each according to the moral responsibility.
But executed criminals are in general thrown out of life full of hate
and revenge, smarting under a penalty they do not admit the justice
of. They are ever rehearsing in kama loka their crime, their trial,
their execution, and their revenge. And whenever they can gain touch
with a sensitive living person, medium or not, they attempt to inject
thoughts of murder [suicide] and other crime into the brain of such
unfortunate. And that they succeed in such attempts the deeper
students of Theosophy full well know.
I hope this will prove useful
Sent: Tuesday, November 26, 2002 9:15 PM
Subject: Re: SUICIDE -- A tricky situation for a theosophist
Several decades ago, a young man who was depressed and unhappy with
consulted a well known "theosophist" and told him that he wants to
himself that way his problem will be solved. The "theosophist"
few seconds and talked to him and found out that he had some savings
told him to go to a small city in Mexico and live there for a year and
how things are working out and at the end of the year, if he is still
depressed and unhappy, it was ok to kill himself and thus the problem
be solved. It is over 3 decades and the man is still living in Mexico.
Recently one of my friends was in the hospital and was not in a good
and he refused all treatment and his family concurred with his
went and saw him late in the night and took leave of him. Before I
leave, I mentioned that he should give a three month try and see how
work out. I do not know what happened that night, a week later I found
in a far better shape in the hospital after he decided to take
not sure if any of my comment had any effect on him.
As one exposed to theosophy, when I see a suicidal person I would look
the circumstances and see if I can motivate the person to see the
side of the situation and finally let him/her make whatever decision
At 05:49 PM 11/26/02 -0800, you wrote:
>Now we all know that theosophy does not condone
>suicide yet theosophy does condone selfless,
>altruistic actions. The tricky situation for the
>theosophist is this: should a theosophist support
>suicide when there is a benficial outcome involved?
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