Sunday, 14 June 2015

Reincarnation Basics 6

Here's the final installment from Geoffrey Barborka's Secret Doctrine Questions and Answers.  I find Barborka's writings to be clear, concise and accurate, with an accessible pedagogical exposition, a recommended writer (Technical note: Devachan corresponds to the various 'heavens' in many religions. Kama Loka corresponds to the various 'purgatories')::

"In order to live in the world to come a conscious life, one has to believe first of all in that life during the terrestrial existence." (The Key to Theosophy, p. 165). (Comment 1)
Comment 1. It should be borne in mind that the quotation from The Key to Theosophyhas reference to a highly specialized state - representing the acme of attainment - which would result in a specific Devachanic state, whereas the descriptions usually given in connection with Devachan are generalized. For instance:
"Devachan is often compared to the happiest day in a series of many thousands of other 'days' in the life of a person. The intensity of its happiness makes the man entirely forget all others, his past becoming obliterated. This is what we call the Devachanic state, the reward of the personality." (The Secret Doctrine, V. 490-1; H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, XII, 627.)

This seems to lead to the supposition that a rank materialist, denying any life outside the body, would not go through the experiences of Kama-loka and Devachan. (Comment 2)
Comment 2. Here again a specified state is referred to: that of a "rank materialist." For that matter it should be remembered likewise that Devachan is strictly speaking an individualized state of consciousness:
"...there are great varieties in the Devachan states, and ... as many varieties of bliss, as on earth there are shades of perception and of capability to appreciate such reward. It is an ideated paradise, in each case of the Ego's own making." (The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, p. 102/100 3rd ed.)
However, in regard to Kama-loka there is this difference: the state of consciousness of an individual experiencing the state of Kama-loka differs from that experienced by the devachani. Therefore, from the standpoint of the teachings of Theosophy in connection with these two states of consciousness, it would not be correct to make the statement "that a rank materialist, denying any life outside the body, would not go through the experiences of Kama-loka and Devachan" without qualifying comments. To illustrate the point: a rank materialist who may have been a drunkard during his life on earth will certainly go through the experiences of desiring drink in Kama-loka and not be able to satisfy his desires. This, of course, is a "specialized kama-lokic experience," but the point is this: Kama-loka is literally the desire-world "the land of intense desires" (ibid.,p.109/106). On the other hand, a materialist who did not have strong attachments to drink or to other desireful tendencies or attractions would not experience intense desires in the Kama-loka, but would be in a condition similar to that of a person who is in a dull stupor. The significant factor is this: the after-death experiences of both the states of Kama-loka and Devachan depend upon the life that has been lived on earth. As for the experiences of Devachan: it should be remembered that one who enters the state of Devachan "brings along with him but the Karma of his good deeds, words and thoughts" (ibid., p. 101/98). Surely, even a materialist has his moments of good deeds, words and thoughts. It is these that will "bear fruit" or be experienced in the state of Devachan.

"Every effect must be proportionate to the cause. And, as man's terms of incarnate existence bear but a small proportion to his periods of inter-natal existence in the manvantaric cycle, so the good thoughts, words, and deeds of any one of these 'lives' on a globe are causative of effects, the working out of which requires far more time than the evolution of the causes occupied." (ibid., p. 106/104).
However, a rank materialist who has had no kind thoughts or feelings will not have such an experience. With regard to the materialist who denies immortality in general and the survival of his own individuality, H.P. Blavatsky writes: "he is right without knowing it. One who has no inner perception of, and faith in, the immortality of his soul, in that man the soul can never become Buddhi-taijasi, but will remain simply Manas, and for Manas alone there is no immortality possible." (Key, pp. 164-5). Buddhi-taijasi signifies Manas conjoined with Buddhi: it is this aspect of man's sevenfold constitution "which absorbs the Manasic recollections of all our preceding lives." (Key, 163). This is so "because both immortality and consciousness after death become, for the terrestrial personality of man, simply conditioned attributes, as they depend entirely on conditions and beliefs created by the human soul itself during the life of its body. Karma acts incessantly: we reap in our afterlife only the fruit of that which we have ourselves sown in this." (Key, 160)

These subtile worlds - or rather states of consciousness - we are taught, involve the consequences of the causes generated during earth-life, and should therefore be consciously experienced by everyone. (Comment 3)
Comment 3.This is very well phrased. We may indeed refer to the "subtile worlds" as the globes on the Ascending Arc - Globes E, F and G - which may well be equated to superior states of consciousness, when viewed from the standpoint of our consciousness on Globe D of the Earth-chain. However, the clue to understanding this aspect of the subject was provided by the questioner in Comment 4 (which follows).

The clue to this question lies perhaps in the word "full" in the text of The Divine Plan, p. 385: " order to have full consciousness during the after-death states one must attain that knowledge as well as that ability during the life lived on earth." (Comment 4)
Comment 4. Yes, indeed, in order to attain the FULL consciousness of experiencing the after-death states, an individual "must attain that knowledge as well as that ability during the life lived on earth." This is truly a challenging proposition, yet it is a highly desirable one. A beginning towards its accomplishment may be made by striving to elevate one's thought-life by consistently raising it above the plane of desires and holding it at that superior level.

Would you please explain the difference of the conditions post-mortem for a student of Theosophy and for a disbeliever? (Comment 5)
Comment 5. Of course, students of Theosophy vary as to their qualifications. Naturally, the more a student attains the ability of experiencing higher states of consciousness during life on earth and has built these states or experiences into the fabric of his being - or the "web of life" which he creates from day to day - the more will such experiences be re-lived in the state of Devachan; especially so if he believes that he will re-experience such higher states of consciousness in the post-morten sojourn.
Thus far the significance of the state of Devachan has been stressed; but the study-group's attention should be directed to the status and cycle of the monad in the afterdeath states. This was referred to by the Mahatma in the following passage: "no monad gets ever reincarnated before its appointed cycle." (M.L.176/173) In The Secret Doctrine this aspect was presented by means of the doctrines taught by the Egyptians and the Gnostics in connection with the cyclic journeys of the monad. Also reference was made to the Chaldaean account, in the chapter mentioned in the question. It was this aspect which was pointed to in the quotation from The Key to Theosophy. This is the knowledge which has been made available to students of Theosophy and which may be experienced in the after-death states - if dwelt upon during earth-life.

As for the disbeliever or materialist, H.P. Blavatsky wrote in a positive manner as to his after-death state:
"...according to the after life a man has believed in and expected, such is the life he will have. He who expected no life to come will have an absolute blank, amounting to annihilation, in the interval between the two rebirths. This is just the carrying out of the programme we spoke of, a programme created by the materialists themselves. But there are various kinds of materialists." (Key, p. 170).
As to the "programme" referred to, it should be borne in mind that each individual creates his own programme, and it is described in this manner:
"...death is sleep. After death, before the spiritual eyes of the soul, begins a performance according to a programme learnt and very often unconsciously composed by ourselves: the practical carrying out of correct beliefs or of illusions which have been created by ourselves. The Methodist will be Methodist, the Mussulman a Mussulman, at least for some time - in a perfect fool's paradise of each man's creation and making. These are the post-mortem fruits of the tree of life. Naturally, our belief or unbelief in the fact of conscious immortality is unable to influence the unconditioned reality of the fact itself, once that it exists; but the belief or unbelief in that immortality as the property of independent or separate entities, cannot fail to give colour to that fact in its application to each of these entities." (Key, p. 165)

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