[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]


Dec 30, 2004 05:05 AM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck

Dec 30 2004

Dear Friends:

Here are some thoughts about Devachan.


A LETTER to the editor from Holland upon this subject deserves reply, as is
must give utterance to the questions of many other students.
The complaint in this letter is that when one goes to Devachan much time is
lost away from earth life, where otherwise unselfish work for others might
be continued by instantly returning to it after death. The reason given is
that Devachan is an illusion, while the so-called illusions of earthly
existence are in such a sense real that they are preferable to those of
Devachan. In illustration of this, the supposed case is given of a parent in
Devachan imagining that the beloved child is also there, when, in fact, the
child not yet physically dead remains on earth perhaps in misery or leading
a life of vice. This is the root of the objection - the supposed illusionary
character of Devachan as compared to earth-life.
Now these feelings are always due to the thirst for life in the form which
presently is most known to us, - that is, in a physical body. We cannot
argue Devachan away any more than we can the necessity of incarnation upon
this earth; the one is as philosophically necessary as is the other. A very
easy way out of the difficulty - which arises almost wholly from our
feelings - would be to calmly accept the law as it stands, being willing to
take whatever may be our fate, whether that be in Devachan or in this
earth-life. Our likes and dislikes can have no effect on the course of
nature, but they may have an effect on ourselves which will be far from
beneficial. For the dwelling upon pleasure or the constant desire to fly
from "pain not yet come" will inevitably create Karmic causes which we would
wish to avoid.
But perhaps there are some considerations on the subject of Devachan which
may be of use. In the first place, I have never believed that the period
given by Mr. Sinnett in Esoteric Buddhism of fifteen hundred years for the
stay in that state was a fixed fact in nature. It might be fifteen minutes
as well as fifteen hundred years. But it is quite likely that for the
majority of those who so constantly wish for a release and for an enjoyment
of heaven, the period would be more than fifteen hundred years. Indeed, the
Hindu Scriptures give many special ceremonies for the attainment of heaven,
or the regions of Indra, which is Devachan; and those ceremonies or
practices are said to cause a stay in Indraloka "for years of infinite
The first question, however, must be "What is the cause for passing into
Devachan?" Some have said that it is good Karma or good acts that take us
and keep us there, but this is a very incomplete reply. Of course, in the
sense that it is happiness to go into that state, it may be called good
Karma. But it does not follow that the man whose life is good, passed in
constant unselfish work for others without repining, and free from desire to
have somewhere his reward, will go to Devachan. Yet his Karma must be good;
it must act on him, however, in other lives, for the earth-life is the place
where such Karma has its operation. But if at the same time that he is thus
working for others he wishes for release or for some place or time when and
where he may have rest, then, of course, he must go to Devachan for a period
which will be in proportion to the intensity of those desires.
Again, it should not be forgotten that the soul must have some rest. Were
it, before becoming bright as the diamond, hard as adamant, and strong as
steel, to go on working, working through earth-life after earth-life without
a break between, it must at last succumb to the strain and come to nothing.
Nature therefore has provided for it a place of rest -- in Devachan; and
that we should thankfully accept if it falls to our lot. 
But does Devachan suffer in the comparison made between it and this life on
earth? To me it seems not. Human life is as great an illusion as any. To the
sage Ribhu, Vishnu said it was the longest-lived reign of fancy. To say that
it is a terrible thing to think of a mother in Devachan enjoying its bliss
while the child is suffering on earth, is to prefer one illusion over
another, to hug a philosophical error to the breast. Both states are out of
the true, while the Ego, who is the real witness, sees the lower personality
struggling with these phantoms while it, whether the body be living or its
other parts be in Devachan, enjoys eternal felicity. It sits on high
unmoved, immovable. 

The great verse in the Isa-Upanishad settles this matter for me in these
words: "What room is there for sorrow and what for doubt in him who knows
that all spiritual beings are the same in kind, though differing in degree."

Therefore if I believe this, I must also know that, no matter whether I and
my best beloved are in Devachan or on earth, they and I must forever partake
of the highest development attained by the greatest of sages, for, as they
and I are spiritual beings, we must have communion forever on the higher
planes of our being.
Then, again, the fact seems to be lost sight of that each night we go into a
sort of Devachan - the dream state or sleep without dream. The loving
mother, no matter how unfortunate or evil her child, must sleep, and in that
state she may have dreams of her loved ones around her in just the very
condition of mind and body she would have them enjoy. If Devachan be
objectionable, why not also rebel against our necessary sleep which acts on
our physical frame to give it rest, as Devachan does upon our more ethereal
Lying unnoticed at the foot of this matter is the question of time. It goes
to the very root of the objection, for the aversion to the stay in Devachan
is based upon the conception of a period of time. This period - given or
supposed as 1,500 years - is another great illusion which can be easily
proved to be so. What we call time, measured by our seconds and minutes and
hours, is not necessarily actual time itself. It is not the ultimate
precedence and succession of moments in the abstract. For us it depends on
and flows from the revolutions of our solar orb, and even with that standard
it can be shown that we do not apprehend it correctly.

We speak of seconds, but those are such as our watchmakers give us in the
watch. They might be made longer or shorter. They are arrived at through a
division of a diurnal solar revolution, the observation of which not
necessarily mathematically accurate. If we lived on Mercury - where we must
believe intelligent beings live - our conception of time would be different.
>From our childhood's experience we know that even in this life our
appreciation of the passage of time rises and falls, for in early youth the
12 months from one Christmas to another seemed very, very long, while now
they pass all too quickly. 

And from watching the mental processes in dreams we know that, in the space
of time taken for a bell to drop from the table to the floor, one may dream
through a whole lifetime, with all the incidents of each day and hour packed
into such a limited period. Who can tell but that in a Devachanic state of
three months the person may go through experiences that seem to cover
thousands of years? If so, why not say for him - since time as we know it is
an illusion - that he was in Devachan for those thousands?
Devachan, however, is not a meaningless or useless state. In it we are
rested; that part of us which could not bloom under the chilling skies of
earth-life bursts forth into flower and goes back with us to another life
stronger and more a part of our nature than before; our strength is revived
for another journey between deaths. Why shall we repine that nature kindly
aids us in the interminable struggle; why thus ever keep the mind revolving
about this petty personality and its good or evil fortune? 
W.Q.J.	PATH, September, 1890




"...we ourselves create our Devachan...while yet on earth, and mostly during
the latter days and even moments of our intellectual sentient lives. That
feeling which is strongest in us at that supreme hour, when as in a dream,
the events of a long life to their minutest detail are marshaled in the
greatest order in a few seconds in our vision, (Fn.:--That vision takes
place when a person is already proclaimed dead. The brain is the last organ
that dies.) that feeling will become the fashioner of our bliss or woe, the
life-principle of our future existence...The real full remembrance of our
lives will come but at the end of the minor cycle, --not before..."
Theos. Articles & Notes, p. 246


"The personal Ego, of course, but beatified, purified, holy. Every Ego--the
combination of the 6th and 7th principles [ATMA-BUDDHI]--which after the
period of unconscious gestation is reborn into the Devachan, is of necessity
as innocent as a new born babe. The fact of his being reborn at all shows
the preponderance of good over evil in his old personality...he brings along
with him but the Karma of his good deeds, words, and thoughts into this
Devachan...all those who have not slipped down into the mire of unredeemable
sin and bestiality go to the Devachan...Meanwhile they are rewarded;
receive the effects of the causes produced by them."	Theos. Art.
& Notes, p. 244-5


"The 'dream of Devachan' lasts until Karma is satisfied in that direction.
In Devachan there is a gradual exhaustion of force..."The stay in D- is
proportionate to the unexhausted psychic [ spiritual and of the nature of
the soul ] impulses originating in earth life. Those whose attractions were
preponderatingly material will be sooner brought back into rebirth by the
force of Tanha...In such a case the average rule has no application, since
the whole effect either way is due to a balancing of forces and is the
outcome of action and reaction." T. A. & N. p.249


"As to the personal Soul--by which we mean the spark of consciousness that
preserves in the Spiritual Ego the idea of the personal "I" of the last
incarnation--this lasts, as a separate distinct recollection, only
throughout the Devachanic period; after which time it is added to the
innumerable incarnations of the Ego...Immortality is but one's unbroken
consciousness; and the personal consciousness can hardly last longer than
the personality itself...and such consciousness...survives only throughout
Devachan, after which it is reabsorbed, first, in the individual, and then
in the universal consciousness."	Key 107-8

["Manas...the Ego"] ..."It has not forgotten them [deeds in past lives] knows and remembers its misdeeds as well as you remember what you have
done yesterday."	Key 136


"...the term between two rebirths is said to extend from ten to 15
centuries, during which time the physical consciousness is totally and
absolutely inactive, having no organs to act through..."	KEY 132


"The reward provided by nature for men who are benevolent in a large,
systematic way, and who have not focused their affections on an individual
or specialty, is that if pure they pass the quicker for that thro' the Kama
and Rupa lokas into the higher sphere of Tribuvana, since it is one where
the formulation of abstract ideas and the consideration of general
principles fill the thought of its occupant."	THEOS. A. & N., p.

"In some cases, it is evident that the state of consciousness of one monad
whether in Devachan or yet on earth, may blend with, as it were, and
influence the ideation of another monad also in Devachan. Such will be the
case if there is strong, affectionate sympathy between the two egos arising
from participation in the same feelings or emotions, or from similar
intellectual pursuits or spiritual aspirations. Just as the thoughts of a
mesmerizer standing at a distance are communicated to his subject by the
emanation of a current of magnetic energy attracted readily towards the
subject, the train of ideas of a Devachanee are communicated by a current of
magnetic or electric force attracted towards another Devachanee by reason of
the strong sympathy existing between the two monads, especially when the
said ideas relate to things which are subjectively associated with the
Devachanee in question."	T. A. & N., p. 26


"Unless a man loves well, or hates well, he need not trouble himself about
Devachan; he will be neither in Devachan nor Avitchi, "Nature spews the
lukewarm out of her mouth" means only that she annihilates their personal
Egos (not the Shells, nor yet the 6th principle) in the Kama-loka and the
Devachan. This does not prevent them from being immediately reborn, and if
their lives were not very, very bad, there is no reason why the eternal
Monad should not find the page of that life intact in the Book of Life."
T A & N, p. 246-7

"...all workers for the Lodge, no matter of what degree, are helped out of
Devachan if they themselves permit it." WQJ ART I p.418


[The force of unfinished mental work]... "an intense and purely spiritual
passion for intellectual pursuit," is called "an unsatisfied yearning which
must exhaust itself before the entity can move on to the purely a-rupa
(formless-impersonal) condition. A provision is made for every case, and,
in each case it is created by the dying man's last, uppermost desire..."
[not "thought"]	Theos. Art. & Notes, p. 32


"At the solemn moment of death every man, even when death is sudden, sees
the whole of his past life marshaled before him, in its minutest details.
For one short instant the personal becomes one with the individual and the
all-knowing Ego. But that instant is enough to show him the whole chain of
causes which have been at work during his life. He sees and now understands
himself as he is, unadorned by flattery or self-deception. He reads his
life, remaining as a spectator looking down into the arena he is quitting;
he feels and knows the justice of all the suffering that has overtaken him."
Key 162

"Occult Science teaches that the frame of mind in which a man dies, is of
the utmost importance owing to the abnormal and psychic state in which he
then is. The last thought of a dying person does much to influence his
immediate future. The arrow is ready to fly from the bow; the bow-string
is abreast of the ear, and the aim will decide the immediate fate of the
arrow. Happy is he for whom "Om" is the bow, the Self is the arrow and
Brahman--its aim!" At such a sacred moment, strong spiritual aspirations,
whether natural or induced by the earnest exhortations of either one who has
a true conviction, or better still, of one possessed of the divine Gnosis,
will protect the Soul of him who is leaving death we shall be
judged by our own Higher Self, and, under the conduct of the agents of the
Karmic Law (the Demiurgos collectively), will have to reincarnate again into
the prison of the Body, until the past evil Karma has been exhausted. For
until the last farthing of the Karmic debt is exhausted, we can never be
untied from the wheel of "Sansara."   
-Footnote by HPB--	Lucifer, Vol. 8, p. 127-8

"That flash of memory which is traditionally supposed to show a drowning man
every long-forgotten scene of his mortal life--as the landscape is revealed
to the traveler by intermittent flashes of lightning--is simply the sudden
glimpse which the struggling soul gets into the silent galleries where his
history is depicted in imperishable colors."	Isis I 179


"No man dies insane or unconscious--as some physiologists assert. Even a
madman, or one in a fit of delirium tremens will have his instant of perfect
lucidity at the moment of death, though unable to say so to those
present...speak in whispers...lest you disturb the quiet ripple of thought,
and hinder the busy work of the Past casting on its reflections upon the
veil of the future."	M L 170	

"That feeling which is strongest in us at that supreme hour, when as in a
dream, the events of a long life to their minutest detail are marshaled in
the greatest order in a few seconds in our vision, (Fn.:--That vision takes
place when a person is already proclaimed dead. The brain is the last organ
that dies.) that feeling will become the fashioner of our bliss or woe, the
life-principle of our future existence...The real full remembrance of our
lives will come but at the end of the minor cycle, -- not before..."	T A
& N, p. 246

"That particular one moment which will be most intense and uppermost in the
thoughts of the dying brain at the moment of dissolution, will regulate all
subsequent moments. The moment thus selected becomes the key-note of the
whole harmony, around which cluster in endless variety all the aspirations
and desires which in connection with that moment had ever crossed the
dreamer's brain during his lifetime, without being realized on earth,--the
theme modeling itself on, and taking shape from, that group of desires which
was most intense during life."	THEOS. ART. & NOTES., p. 242



"There are two fields of causal manifestation; the objective and the
subjective. The grosser energies find their outcome in the new personality
of each birth in the cycle of evoluting individuality. The moral and
spiritual activities find their sphere of effects in Devachan.

The dream of Devachan lasts until Karma is satisfied in that direction,
until the ripple of force reaches the edge of its cyclic basin and the being
moves into the next area of causes."	
THEOS. ART. & NOTES, p. 242	



"It is...during such a condition [ of blissful Maya ] that the souls of
astral Egos of pure loving sensitives, laboring under the same delusion, [
of perpetual bliss ] think that their loved ones come down to them on earth
while it is their own spirits that are raised towards those in the
Devachan."	THEOS. ART. & NOTES, p. 245

"Two sympathetic souls will each work out their devachanic sensations,
making the other a sharer in its subjective bliss, Yet each is dissociated
from the other as regards mutual intercourse; for what companionship could
there be between subjective entities which are not even as material as that
Ethereal body--the Mayavi Rupa ?"	T. A. & N., p. 243


"...the disembodied entity being identical in nature with the higher triad
of the living man, when obliterated as a 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..."	T A & N p. 18

"There are two fields of causal manifestation; the objective and the
subjective. The grosser energies find their outcome in the new personality
of each birth in the cycle of evoluting individuality. The moral and
spiritual activities find their sphere of effects in Devachan.

"The dream of Devachan lasts until Karma is satisfied in that direction,
until the ripple of force reaches the edge of its cyclic basin and the being
moves into the next area of causes."	THEOS. ART. & NOTES, p. 242


"As many varieties of bliss on Earth there are of perception and of
capability to appreciate such reward. It is an ideal paradise; in each
case of the Ego's own making, and by him filled with the scenery, crowded
with the incidents, and thronged with the people he would expect to find in
such a sphere of compensative bliss. And it is that variety which guides
the temporary personal Ego into the current which will lead him to be reborn
in a lower or higher condition in the next world of causes. Everything is
so harmoniously arranged in nature--especially in the subjective world--
that no mistake can be ever committed by the Tathagatos who guide the
impulses. Devachan is a "spiritual condition" only as contrasted with our
own grossly material condition...[follows examples of various instinctive
and moral effects on the next incarnation] The savage in being reborn would
simply take a low place in the scale, by reason of his imperfect moral
development; while the Karma of the other [wanton killer of animals] would
be tainted with moral delinquency..."	THEOS. ART. & NOTES, p. 245-6


"The artist, poet, musician, and day-dreamer...when rapt in melody,
composition, color arrangement, and even foolish fancy, they are in a sort
of living Devachanic state wherein they often lose consciousness of time and
sense impressions. Their stay in that condition depends...on the impulses
toward it which they have amassed. If they were not subject to the body and
its forces they might remain years in their "dream." The same laws, applied
to the man divested of a body, will give us exactly the results for
Devachan. But no one save a trained mathematical Adept could sum up the
forces and give us the total number of years or minutes which might measure
Devachan. On the Adepts, therefore, we have to depend for a specific
time-statement, and they have declared 1000 to 1500 years to be a good
general average...[gives the Cycle of Reincarnation for the average mass of
units in any civilization.]"	T A & N p. 250


"...first necessity: 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 a-rupa),
dream and waking...the distinction between the "objective" and the
in the living man's sensuous perceptions and the same as they appear [to a
disembodied entity] to the psychic perceptions of a...Devachanee."
T A & N p. 17-18

"...the Higher Triad, Manas, Buddhi, and Atma,--the real man, immediately go
into [the state] of Devachan...they are the immortal part of us; they, in
fat, and no other are we. This should be firmly grasped by the mind, for
upon its clear understanding depends the comprehension of the entire
doctrine."	Ocean, p. 65


"In Devachan there is no cognizance of time, of which the Devachanee loses
all sense...The a priori ideas of space and time do not control his
perceptions; for he absolutely creates and annihilates them at the same
time. Physical existence has its cumulative intensity from infancy to
prime, and its diminishing energy to dotage and death; so the dream-life of
Devachan is lived correspondentially. Nature cheats no more the devachanee
than she does the living physical man. Nature provides for him far more
real bliss and happiness there than she does here, where all the conditions
of evil and chance are against him...As in actual earth life, so there is
for the Ego in Devachan the first flutter of psychic life, the attainment of
prime, the gradual exhaustion of force passing into semi-consciousness and
lethargy, total oblivion, and--not death, but birth, birth into another
personality..."	THEOS ART. & NOTES, p. 242-3

"There is a change of occupation, a continual change in Devachan, just as
much and far more than there is in any life...with this difference, that to
the Devachanee this spiritual occupation is always pleasant and fills his
life with rapture. Life in Devachan is the function of the aspirations of
earth life; not the indefinite prolongation of that "single instant," but
its infinite developments, the various incidents and events based upon the
outflowing from that one "single moment" or moments. The dreams of the
objective become the realities of the subjective existence." T. A. & N.
p. 243

"...Devachan is a state where the Ego enjoys and does not suffer, suffering
being reserved for the earth life. It is not a question of memory strictly
speaking, but is a state where the causes generated on this earth which can
exhaust in no other state, do so exhaust themselves, leaving the causes
relating to this plane of earth life to be afterwards exhausted here, and as
it is, like this life, a state of illusion, the Ego naturally enlarges all
its conceptions of what it thought best and highest when it was alive, for
such are the causes that relate to that state."	Practical Occultism,
p. 258-9


"The Devachanic condition in all its aspects is no doubt similar to a dreamy
state when considered from the standpoint of our present objective
consciousness when we are in our waking condition. Nevertheless it is real
to the Devachanee himself as our waking state is to us... A monad in
Devachan has but one state of consciousness, and the contrast between a
waking state and a dreamy state is never presented to it so long as it is in
that condition."	T. A. & N., p. 24


"Unfettered from the personal sensations of the manas, 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...the ethereal
atoms that act in the spiritual consciousness of the monad, during its bliss
wholly based and depending upon the degree of its connections with only the
essence of the personal Ego."	T A & N p. 20

"...the spiritual consciousness...sense pertaining to the immutable can
never sleep of even be dormant per se, and is always in the "Light" of
reality [ enables the occultist ] to perceive that reality in the subjective
world which was hidden from it in waking hours..."	T A & N, p.

"...the participations of the manas in the Devachanic bliss...takes away
from, the reality that would fall to the lot of the monad were it altogether
free from its presence. Its bliss is an outcome of...the delusion or
"heresy of individuality," which...together with the...chain of causes, is
necessary for the monad's future birth...all this leads the occultist to
regard the association of "intercourse" between two disembodied entities in
the an illusion..."	T A & N, p. 21


"...the highest state permitted to it (personal or animal soul) on earth
being samadhi. It is only its essence that has followed the monad into
Devachan, to serve it there as its ground-tone, or as the background against
which its future dream-life and development will move...That which is in
Devachan is...the smell of the flower...its aroma will never die, and may be
recalled and resurrected ages thence..."	T. A. & N., p 24


" blissful rest, a heavenly oasis during the laborious
journey of the Monad toward a higher evolution...One has to sense
intuitionally its logical necessity; to perceive in it, untaught and
unguided, the outcome and perpetuation of that strictest justice absolutely
consonant with the harmony of the universal law...(27) The bliss of a
Devachanee is complete..."	T. A. & N., p. 26-7


"Good Karma is that kind which the Ego desires and requires; bad, that
which the Ego neither desires nor requires. And in this the Ego, being
guided and controlled by law, by justice, by the necessities of upward
evolution, and not by fancy or selfishness or revenge or ambition, is sure
to choose the earthly habitation that is most likely, out of all possible of
selection, to give the karma for the real advantage in the end...we see that
the "advantages" which one would seek were he looking for the strengthening
of character, the unloosing of soul force and energy, would be called by the
selfish and personal world "disadvantages." Struggle is needed for the
gaining of strength; buffeting adverse eras is for the gaining of depth;
meager opportunities may be used for acquiring fortitude; poverty should
breed generosity.

The middle ground in all this, and not the extreme is what we speak of...
the Ego has drawn about itself in a former life some tendencies which cannot
be eliminated in any other way...sometimes...a pure, powerful Ego incarnates
in just such awful surroundings, remaining good and pure all the time, and
staying there for the purpose of uplifting and helping others."	
WQJ ART. I 138-9

"...the monad is not like a seed dropped from a tree, but its nature is
ubiquitous, all-pervading, omnipresent; though in the subjective state time
space and locality are not factors in its experiences...there are states and
states and degrees upon degrees in Devachan, in all of which,
notwithstanding (to us) the 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 our the causes of those effects that are
produced first on the field of Devachanic or Avitchian subjectivity, and
then used to strengthen the karma to follow on the objective (?) plane of
subsequent rebirth. Earth life is...the Prologue of the
drama...mystery...that is enacted in the rupa and arupa lokas."	T A & N. 30

"...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 unalloyed bliss destroyed for
ever." T A & N, 31


Best wishes,


[Back to Top]

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