devachan pART 3
Feb 11, 2003 03:42 PM
Feb 11 2003
This is the 3rd answer on DEVACHAN . parts 1 and 2 have already been
It makes interesting reading when added to what is already available
as doctrines on this important post-mortem state of consciousness.
THE VARIOUS STATES OF DEVACHAN
The foremost question that presents itself to the mind of the
occultist of Asiatic birth, upon seeing the multifarious difficulties
which beset the European students of Esotericism, as regards Devachan:
how to account for their weird fancies with regard to the after
It is natural for one to measure other persons' intellectual
operations by his own; not without an effort can he put himself in his
neighbour's place and try to see things from his stand-point.
As regards Devachan, for example, nothing would apparently be clearer
than the esoteric doctrine, incompletely as it may have been expressed
by "Lay Chela"; yet it is evidently not comprehended, and the fact
must be ascribed, I think, rather to the habitual differences in our
respective ways of looking at things than to the mechanical defects in
the vehicle of expression.
It would be very hard for an Asiatic Occultist to even conjure up such
a fancy as that of Swedenborg, who makes the angels our post-mortem
"inquisitors," obliged to estimate a soul's accumulated merits and
demerits by physical inspection of its body, beginning at the tips of
the fingers and toes and tracing thence to centres!
Equally baffling would be the attempt to bring ourselves to the point
of seriously tracing a denizen of the American Summer-Land of Spirits
through the nurseries, debating clubs, and legislative assemblies of
that optimistic Arcadian Eden.
A warp of anthropomorphism seems to run through the entire woof of
European metaphysics. The heavy hand of a personal deity and his
personal ministers seems to compress the brain of almost every Western
thinker. If the influence does not show itself in one form, it does in
an other. Is it a question about God? A metaphysical slide is
inserted, and the stereopticon flashes before us a picture of a
gold-paved, pearly-doored New Jerusalem, with its Durbar Hall, Peacock
throne, Maharajah, Dewans (Ministers), courtiers, trumpeters, scribes,
and general train.
Is the intercourse between disembodied spirits under discussion? The
Western constitutional bias of mind can conceive of no such
intercourse without some degree of mutual consciousness of an
objective presence of the corporeal kind: a sort of psychic
I hope I do not wrong our Western correspondents, but it is
impossible, for myself at least, to draw any other conclusions from
the whole tenor of the British Theosophist's memorandum. Vapoury and
etherealized as his concept may be, it is yet materialistic at the
core. As we would say, the germ-point of metaphysical evolution is of
Biblical derivation: and through its opalescent vapour sparkle the
turrets of the "New Jerusalem."
There is much fanciful exotericism to be sure, in Asiatic systems.
Quite as much and more perhaps than in the Western; and our
philosophies have many a harlequin cloak. But we are not concerned now
with externals: our critic comes upon metaphysical ground and deals
with esotericism. His difficulty is to reconcile "isolation," as he
understands it, with "intercourse" as we understand it.
Though the Monad is not like a seed dropped from a tree, but in its
nature is ubiquitous, all-pervading, omnipresent -- though in the
subjective state -- time, space and locality are not factors in its
experiences, though, in short, all mundane conditions are reversed;
and the now thinkable becomes the then unthinkable and vice-versâ, yet
the London friend goes on to reason as though all this were not so.
Now, Buddhistically speaking, there are states and states, and degrees
upon degrees in Devachan, in all of which, notwithstanding the (to us)
objective isolation of the principal hero, he is surrounded by a host
of actors in conjunction with whom he had during his last earth-life
created and worked out the causes of those effects that are produced
first on the field of Devachanic [ideal] or Avitchean [hellish, Kamic]
subjectivity, then used to strengthen the Karma to follow on the
objective (?) plane of the subsequent rebirth.
Earth life is, so to say, the Prologue of the drama, (or we should,
perhaps, call it mystery) that is enacted in the rupa and arupa lokas.
Now were we to say that nature, with every due regard to personality
and the laws of objectivity as understood in exotericism, "constitutes
a veritable intercourse" between the devachanic heroes and actors; and
instead of dissociating the monads not only as regards "personal
corporeal" but even astral "association"-- establishes "actual
companionship" between them, as on the earth-plane, we might, perhaps,
avoid the strange accusation of "nature cheating" in Devachan.
On the other hand, after thus pandering to emotional objections, we
could hardly help placing our European Chelas in a far more
inextricable dilemma. They would be made to face a problem of personal
post-mortem ubiquity, throwing that of the Western deity far into the
background of illogical absurdity.
Suppose for one moment a Devachanic father, twice wedded, and loving
both his wives as he does his children, while the step-mother loves
neither his progeny nor their mother, the coolest indifference if not
actual aversion reigning between the two. "Actual companionship," and
"real personal intercourse" (the latter applied even to their astral
bodies) implies here bliss for the father and irritation for the two
wives and children, all equally worthy of Devachanic bliss.
Now imagine again the real mother attracting by her intense love the
children within her devachanic state, and thus depriving the father of
his legitimate share of bliss. It has been said before, that the
devachanic mind is capable only of the highest spiritual ideation;
that neither objects of the grosser senses nor any thing provocative
of displeasure could ever be apprehended by it -- for otherwise,
Devachan would be merging into Avitchi, and the feeling of un alloyed
bliss destroyed for ever. How can nature reconcile in the above case
the problem, without either sacrificing her duty to our terrestrial
sense of objectivity and reality, or without compromising her status
before our criterion of truth and honest dealing? On one hand, the
children would have to double and triple themselves ad infinitum -- as
they too may have disembodied, devachanic objects of spiritual
attachment clamouring elsewhere for their presence -- which process of
ubiquity would hardly be consistent with our notions of personal,
actual presence, at one and the same time and at several different
places; or, there would always be some body, somewhere "cheated by
nature." To place the Monads promiscuously together, like one happy
family -- would be fatal to truth and fact: each man, however
insignificant he may have been on earth, is yet mentally and morally
sui generis in his own distinct conceptions of bliss and desires, and
has, therefore, a right to, and an absolute necessity for, a specific,
personal, "isolated" devachan.
The speculations of the Western mind have hitherto scarcely ever
depicted any higher future life than that of the Kama and Rupa lokas,
or the lower, intra-terrestrial "spirit-worlds."
In Appendix D. many states and spheres are hinted at. According even
to exoteric Buddhistic philosophy disincarnate beings are divided into
three classes of: --
(1) Kamawâchera, or those who are still under the dominion of the
passions in Kamaloka;
(2) Rupawâchera, or those who have progressed to a higher stage, but
still retain vestiges of their old form in Rupa loka; and
(3) Arupawâchera, or those who are become formless entities in the
Arupa lokas of the highest Devachan.
All depends on the degree of the monad's spirituality and aspirations.
The astral body of the 4th principle-called Kama, because inseparable
from Kama loka, -- is always within the attraction of terrestrial
magnetism; and the monad has to work itself free of the still finer
yet equally potent attractions of its Manas before it ever reaches in
its series of Devachanic states, the upper -- Arupa regions.
Therefore, there are various degrees of Devachanees. In those of the
Arupa lokas the entities are as subjective and truly "not even as
material as that ethereal body-shadow -- the Mayavirupa." And yet
even there, we affirm there is still "actual companionship." But only
very few reach there skipping the lower degrees.
There are those Devachanees, men of the highest moral calibre and
goodness when on earth, who, owing to their sympathy for old
intellectual researches and especially for unfinished mental work, are
for centuries in the Rupa-lokas in a strict Devachanic isolation --
literally so, since men and loved relatives have all vanished out of
sight before this intense and purely spiritual passion for
intellectual pursuit. For an example of the study-bound (pardon the
new word for the sake of its expressiveness) condition, take the
mental state of the dying Berzelius, whose last thought was one of
despair that his work should be interrupted by death This is Tanha
(Hindu Trishna) or an unsatisfied yearning which must exhaust itself
before the entity can move on to the purely arupa condition. A
provision is made for every case, and in each case it is created by
the dying man's last, uppermost desire.
The scholar who had mainly lived under the influence of Manas, and for
the pleasure of developing his highest physical intelligence, kept
absorbed in the mysteries of the material universe, will still be
magnetically held by his mental attractions to scholars and their
work, influencing and being influenced by them subjectively -- (though
in a manner quite different from that known in seance-rooms and by
mediums) until the energy exhausts itself, and Buddhi becomes the only
The same rule applies to all the activities, whether of passion or
sentiment, which entangle the travelling Monad (the Individuality) in
the relationships of any given birth. The disincarnate must
consecutively mount each rung of the ladder of being upward, from the
earthly subjective to the absolutely subjective. And when this limited
Nirvanic state of Devachan is attained, the entity enjoys it and its
vivid though spiritual realities until that phase of Karma is
satisfied and the physical attraction to the next earth-life asserts
In Devachan, therefore, the entity is affected by and reciprocally
affects the psychic state of any other entity whose relationship is so
close with it as to survive, as was above remarked, the purgatorial
evolution of the lower post-mortem spheres [Kama-Loka]. Their
intercourse will be sensed spiritually, and still, so far as any
relationship until now postulated by Western thinkers goes, each will
be "dissociated from the other."
If the questioner can formulate to himself the condition of the Monad
as pure spirit, the most subjective entity conceivable, without form,
color, or weight, even so great as an atom; an entity whose
recollections of the last personality (or earth-birth) are derived
from the late union of the Manas with the lower five principles -- may
then find himself able to answer his own interrogatory.
According to Esoteric Doctrine this evolution is not viewed as the
extinguishment of individual consciousness but its infinite expansion.
The entity is not obliterated, but united with the universal entity,
and its consciousness becomes able not merely to recall the scenes of
one of its earth-evolved Personalities, but of each of the entire
series around the Kalpa, and then those of every other Personality. In
short: from being finite, it becomes infinite consciousness. But this
comes only at the end of all the births at the great day of the
Yet, as the monad moves on from birth to birth and passes its lower
and devachanic spheres after each fresh earthly existence, the mutual
ties created in each birth must weaken and at last grow inert, before
it can be reborn. The record of those relationships imperishably
endures in the Akasa, and they can always be reviewed when, in any
birth, the being evolves his latent spiritual powers to the "fourth
stage of Dhyana"; but their hold upon the being gradually relaxes.
This is accomplished in each inter-natal Devachan; and when the
personal links -- magnetic or psychic, as one may prefer to call
them -- binding the Devachanee to other entities of that last previous
life, whether relatives, friends, or family, are worn out, he is free
to move on in his cyclic path.
Were this obliteration of [a memory of] personalities not a fact, each
being would be travelling around the Kalpa entangled in the meshes of
his past relationships with his myriad fathers, mothers, sisters,
brothers, wives &c., &c., of his numberless births: a jumble, indeed!
It was the ignorant delusion of the geocentric hypothesis which begot
all the exoteric theologies, with their absurd dogmas. So, likewise,
it is the ignorant theory of mono-genesis, or but one earth life for
each being, which makes it so hard for European metaphysicians to read
the riddle of our existence and comprehend the difference between the
monad's individuality, and its physical appearance in a series of
earth-lives as so many different, totally distinct personalities.
Europe knows much about atomic weights and chemical symbols, but has
little idea of Devachan.
Theosophist, August, 1883
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