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Feb 07, 2003 06:04 AM
by dalval14

Friday, February 07, 2003

Dear Friends:

Re: Devachan

A few days ago we were looking into some of the complexities of the
After-Death state called DEVACHAN -- The state or place of the "gods."
A condition that serves to bridge the gap between adjacent lives.

Theosophy might call it a sphere of meditation as well as a process
of building into the character of increments of Nobility and Altruism.

It is a continuation of the last life in the sense of a careful and
thorough review of the best, noblest, and most ideal thoughts and
actions that the Personality did when last alive on "earth." Included
are all the incidents of love and sympathy between members of the
family and friends during life. Then it alters, to present and
prepare for the future life to be lived under Karma.

Two sections are mentioned

1. "Rupa (or clad with a form) Loka deals with the review of the
virtuous acts of the last life.

2. "Arupa-Loka" (the formless and universal) shows how the Monad
proceeds on its ever more spiritualized evolutionary path.

There will be 3 Parts sent to consider: They take the form of 3 small
essays produced in 1883, when, in THEOSOPHIST at that time an
important and interesting series of articles: FRAGMENTS OF OCCULT
TRUTH, were being offered as increments of information to be used in
grasping some of the technical aspects of Theosophical doctrines.

Actually they are quite technical and one ought to refresh one's
memory by first consulting H P B's KEY TO THEOSOPHY or the OCEAN OF
THEOSOPHY (Judge) on the subject.

Let me mention this again: One of the facts offered is the division of
Devachan into two states: One: that with "form" -- the "form being
the highest most altruistic memories and aspects of the personality,
as it just lived on earth. And Two -- the more universal and
impersonal review of the whole series of lives of the "wisdom-being"
of the Monad, as it travels (accompanied by its many peers) through
the evolutionary spiritualizing process.

Since the condition is called "subjective" a valuable discussion
occurs to define those terms and to show how the Oriental view and the
Occidental views of human psychology differ, yet, can be reconciled.
Dreams, and "reality" are specially considered.




[The sixth installment of the series, "Fragments of Occult Truth,"
which appeared in the Theosophist for March, 1883, drew criticism from
a British Theosophist who maintained that the account given of the
Devachanic condition was either inadequate or described a "cheat" by
nature, in that there seemed to be no true intercourse between souls
in this after-death state, but only an imagined or "dreamed"
relationship. The reader's comment and objections were provided at
some length in a memorandum which H.P.B. printed in the Theosophist
for August, 1883, followed by three Replies which, she said, came
"from three different sources. "-Eds.]





The perfect consciousness that "I am Brahma"
Removes the false appearances projected
By Ignorance. . .Know that indeed as Brahma-
Nothing exists but Brahma, when aught else
Appears to be 'tis like the mirage false.
-Atma-bodha (Knowledge of Soul)

The "misunderstanding" arises from a natural misconception of the
sense in which certain terms are made use of rather than from any
"inconsistent language" used. The alternative of moving for ever in a
vicious circle faces the European student of Occult philosophy, who
begins his study before having made himself familiar with the
technical mode of thought and peculiarity of expression of its

His first necessity is, to know the esoteric views of the ultimate
nature of Spirit, of Matter, Force and Space; the fundamental and
axiomatic theories as to the Reality and Unreality, Form and the
Formless (rupa and arupa), dream and waking. (1) Especially should he
master-at least approximately-the distinction between the "objective"
and the "subjective" in the living man's

(1) The Vedanta philosophy teaches as much as Occult philosophy that
our monad during its life on earth as a triad (7th, [ATMA-Spirit] 6th,
[BUDDHI - Wisdom & discrimination - Spiritual Soul] and, 5th [MANAS -
Mind] principles), has, besides the condition of pure intelligence,
three conditions; namely, waking, dreaming, and sushupti (a state of
dreamless sleep -- from the stand-point of terrestrial conceptions); a
state of real, actual soul-life -- from the occult stand-point). While
man is either dreamlessly, profoundly asleep, or in a trance state,
the triad (Spirit, Soul and Mind) enters into perfect union with the
Paramatma, the Supreme Universal Soul-Ed.

sensuous perceptions and the same as they appear to the psychic
perceptions of a disembodied entity (Devachanee).

It will not strengthen his case to put forth the objection that "the
mode of the intercourse is not such as we can at present recognize
from experience"; in other words, that until one becomes a
"Devachanee" one cannot enter into sympathy with his feelings or
perceptions. For, the disembodied individuality being identical in
nature with the higher triad of the living man, when liberated as the
result of self evolution effected by the full development of conscious
and trained will, the adept can through this triad learn all that
concerns the Devachanee; live for the time being his mental life, feel
as he feels, and sharing thoroughly in his super-sensuous perceptions,
bring back with him on earth the memory of the same, unwarped by
mayavic deceptions, hence-not to be gainsaid.

This, of course, assuming the existence of such lusus naturæ as an
"adept," which may, perhaps, be conceded by the objectors for the sake
of argument. And the further concession must be asked that no
comparison shall be made to the adept's detriment between the
perceptive powers of his triad, when so freed from the body, and those
of the half liberated monad of the entranced somnambule or medium
which is having its dazed glimpses into the "celestial arcana." Still
less, is it allowable to gauge them by the reveries of an embodied
mind, however cultured and metaphysical, which has no data to build
upon, save the deductions and inductions which spring from its own
normal activity.

However much European students may seem to have outgrown the crude
beliefs of their earlier years, yet a special study of Asiatic mental
tendencies is indispensable to qualify them to grasp the meaning of
Asiatic expressions. In a word, they may have outgrown their
hereditary ideas only far enough to qualify them as critics of the
same; and not sufficiently to determine what is "inconsistent
language" or consistent, of Eastern thinkers.

Difference in the resources of language is also a most important
factor to keep in mind. This is well illustrated in the alleged reply
of an Oriental visiting Europe, when asked to contrast Christianity
with Buddhism: "It requires an Index or glossary; for it
(Christianity) has not the ideas for our words, nor the words for our
ideas." Every attempt to explain the doctrines of Occultism in the
meagre terminology of European science and metaphysics to students
ignorant of our terms, is likely to result in disastrous
misunderstandings despite good intentions on both sides.

Unquestionably, such expressions as "life real in a dream" must appear
inconsistent to a dualist who affirms the eternity of the individual
soul, its independent existence, as distinct from the Supreme Soul or
Paramatma, and maintains the actuality of (the personal) God's nature.

What more natural than that the Western thinker, whose inferences are
drawn from quite a different line of thought, should feel bewilderment
when told that the Devachanic life is "reality"-though a dream, while
earthly life is but "a flitting dream"-though imagined an actuality.

It is certain that Prof. Balfour Stewart-great physicist though he
be-would not comprehend the meaning of our Oriental philosophers,
since his hypothesis of an unseen universe, with his premises and
conclusions, is built upon the emphatic assumption of the actual
existence of a personal God, the personal Creator, and personal moral
Governor of the Universe. Nor would the Mussulman philosopher with his
two eternities-azl, that eternity which has no beginning, and abd,
that other eternity having a beginning but no end; nor the Christian
who makes every man's eternity begin (!) at the moment when the
personal God breathes a personal soul into the personal
body-comprehend us. Neither of these three representatives of belief
could, without the greatest difficulty, concur in the perfect
reasonableness of the doctrine of Devachanic life.

When the word "subjective" is used in connection with the state of
isolation of the Devachanee, it does not stand for the ultimate
possible concept of subjectivity, but only for that degree of the same
thinkable by the Western non-Oriental mind. To the latter everything
is subjective, without distinction, which evades all sensuous
perceptions. But the Occultist postulates an ascending scale of
subjectivity which grows continually more real as it gets farther and
farther from illusionary earthly objectivity: its ultimate,

But Devachan being "but a dream," we should agree upon a definition of
the phenomena of dreams. Has memory anything to do with them? We are
told by some physiologists it has. That the dream-fancies being based
upon dormant memory, (2) are determined and developed in most cases by
the functional activity of some internal organ, "the irritation of
which awakens into

FOOTNOTE ==========================
(2) One of the paradoxes of modern physiology seems to be that the
more sure and perfect memory becomes, the more unconscious it
becomes." (See Body and Mind, by H. Maudsley, M.D.)

activity that part of the brain with which the organ is in specific

To this, bowing reverentially to modern science, the Occultist replies
that there are dreams and dreams. That there is a difference between a
dream produced by outward physiological causes, and the one which
reacts and becomes in its turn the producer of super-sensuous
perceptions and feelings. That he divides dream into the phenomenal
and the noumenal, and distinguishes between the two; and that,
moreover, the physiologist is entirely unfit to comprehend the
ultimate constitution of a disembodied Ego-hence the nature of its

This, he does for several reasons, of which one may be particularly
noticed: the physiologist rejects a priori WILL, the chief and
indispensable factor of the inner man. He refuses to recognize it
apart from particular acts of volition, and declares that he knows
only the latter, viewed by him simply as a reaction or desire of
determination of energy outward, after the complex interworking and
combination of ideas in the "hemispheral ganglia." Hence the
physiologist would have to reject at once the possibility of
consciousness-minus memory; and the Devachanee having no organs, no
sensory ganglia, no "educated" nor even "idiotic centres," (3) nor
nerve-cells, cannot naturally

FOOTNOTE ================================
3 Professor Maudstey's expressions.

have that, what the physiologists would regard and define as memory.

Unfettered from the personal sensations of the manas (Mind), the
devachanic consciousness would certainly have to become universal or
absolute consciousness, with no past, as with no future, the two
merging into one eternal PRESENT-but for the trammels of the personal
Ego. But even the latter, once severed from its bodily organs, can
have no such memory as defined by Professor Huxley, who fathers it
upon the "sensigenous molecules" of the brain-those molecules, which,
begotten by sensation, remain behind when it has passed away, and that
constitute, we are told, the physical foundation of memory; hence also
the foundation of all dreams. What can these molecules have to do with
the ethereal atoms that act in the spiritual consciousness of the
monad, during its bliss wholly based and depending upon the degree of
its connection with only the essence of the personal Ego!

What may then be the nature of the Devachanic dream? we are asked-and
how does the occultist define the dream of the still embodied man? To
Western science a dream is a series of thoughts, of connected acts, or
rather "states," which are only imagined to be real. The uninitiated
metaphysician, on the other hand, describes it in his exoteric way, as
the passage of sense from darkness into light-the awakening of
spiritual consciousness.

But the occultist, who knows that the spiritual sense pertaining to
the immutable can never sleep or even be dormant per se, and is always
in the "Light" of reality, says that during the state of sleep, Manas
(the seat of the physical and personal intelligence) becomes able-its
containing vehicle Kama, the WILL, being allowed the full freedom of
its conscious action owing to volition being rendered passive, and
unconscious by the temporary inactivity of the sensory centres-to
perceive that reality in the subjective world which was hidden from it
in waking hours.

That reality does not become less real, because upon awakening the
"sensigenous molecules," and "uneducated centres" throw and toss in
the mayavic light of actual life the recollection and even the
remembrance of it into confusion. But the participation of the Manas
in the Devachanic bliss, does not add to, but on the contrary takes
away from, the reality that would fall to the lot of the Monad
[ATMA-BUDDHI] were it altogether free from its presence.

Its bliss is an outcome of Sakkayaditthi, the delusion or "heresy of
individuality," which heresy, together with the attavadic [personal]
chain of causes, is necessary for the Monad's future birth. It is all
this that leads the occultist to regard the association or
"intercourse" between two disembodied entities in the Devachan-however
more real than life it may be-as an illusion, and from his stand point
still "a dream," so to speak of it; while that which his critics would
fain call-however regretfully-dreams - "the interludes which fancy
makes"-is in the knowledge of the former simply glimpses of the

Let us take an instance: a son loses a much beloved father. In his
dreams he may see and converse with him, and for the time it lasts
feel as happy and unconscious of his death as though the father had
never left this earth. This upon awakening, he will regard with sorrow
as a mere dream that could not last. Is he right to so regard it? The
occultist says that he is wrong. He is simply ignorant of the fact
that his Spirit [Atma] being of the same essence and nature as that of
his father-as all spirits are-and the inherent property of mutual
attraction and assimilation being in their special case strengthened
by the paternal and filial love of their personal Egos-that they have,
in fact, never separated from each other, death itself being powerless
to sever psychic association there, where pure spiritual love links
the two.

The "dream" was in this instance the reality; the latter a maya, a
false appearance due to avidya (false notions). Thus it becomes more
correct and proper to call the son's ignorance during his waking hours
a "dream" and "a delusion," than to so characterize the real
intercourse. For what has happened? A Spiritualist would say: "the
spirit of the father descended upon earth to hold communion with his
son's spirit, during the quiet hours of sleep." The Occultist replies;
"Not so; neither the father's spirit descended, nor has the son's
triad ascended (strictly and correctly speaking)."

The centre of Devachanic activity cannot be localized: it is again
avidya [ignorance]. Monads during that time even when connected with
their five finite Kosas (sheaths or principles) know neither space nor
time, but are diffused throughout the former, are omnipresent and
ubiquitous. Manas in its higher aspect is dravya-an eternal
"substance" as well as the Buddhi, the Spiritual Soul-when this aspect
is developed; and united with the Soul [Buddhi] -- Manas becomes
Spiritual Self-Consciousness, which is a Vikara (a production) of its
original "producer" Buddhi. (4) Unless made utterly unfit, by its
having become hopelessly mixed with, and linked to, its lower
Tanmatras [senses], to become one with Buddhi, it is inseparable from

FOOTNOTE ========================
(4) It is only when Ego becomes Ego-ism deluded into a notion of
independent existence as the producer in its turn of the five
Tanmatras that Manas is considered Maha-bhutic and finite in the sense
of being connected with Ahankara, the personal "I-creating" faculty.
Hence Manas is both eternal and non-eternal: eternal in its atomic
nature (paramanu rupa), finite (Or karya-rupa) when linked as a
duad-with Kama (Volition), a lower production.-Ed.

Thus the higher human triad, drawn by its affinity to those triads it
loved most, with Manas in its highest aspect of self
consciousness-(which is entirely disconnected with, and has no need as
a channel of the internal organ of physical sense called antah-karana)
(5) it is ever associated with, and enjoys the presence of all those
it loves-in death, as much as it did in life. The intercourse is real
and genuine.

FOOTNOTE ========================
(5) Anta-karana is the path of communication between soul and body,
entirely disconnected with the former: existing with, belonging to,
and dying with the body-Ed.

The critic doubts whether such an intercourse can be called a
"veritable one." He wants to know "whether the two disembodied
entities are really and truly affected the one by the other," or, "is
it merely that one imagines the presence of the other," such
intercourse corresponding with no fact "of which the other personality
(either embodied or disembodied) could take cognizance;" and while
doubting, he denies that he is "postulating an incongruity" in
objecting that such an intercourse is not real, is a "mere dream," for
he says, "he can conceive a real intercourse-conscious on both sides
and truly acting and reacting which does not apply only to the mutual
relationship of physical existence." If he really can, then where is
the difficulty complained of? The real meaning attached by the
occultist to such words as dream, reality, and unreality, having been
explained, what further trouble is there to comprehend this specific
tenet? The critic may also be asked, how he can conceive of a real
conscious intercourse on both sides, unless he understands the
peculiar, and-to him as yet unknown-intellectual reaction and
inter-relation between the two--[sympathetic reaction is no fanciful
hypothesis but a scientific fact known and taught at initiations,
though unknown to modern science and but hazily perceived by some
metaphysicians-spiritualists.] (6) Or is it that, alternatively, he
anthropomorphises Spirit-in the spiritualistic mistaken sense? Our
critic has just told us that "the mode of the intercourse is not such
as we (he) can at present recognize from experience." What kind of
intercourse is it then that he can conceive of?

(6) It is demonstrated to Occultists by the fact that two adepts
separated by hundreds of miles, leaving their bodies at their
respective habitations and their astral bodies (the Lower Manas and
volition Kama) to watch over them, can still meet at some distant
place and hold converse and even perceive and sense each other for
hours as though they were both personally and bodily together,
whereas, even their Lower Mayavi-Rupas are absent.


Parts 2 and 3 to follow


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