The statements on page 21 would seem to show that the visions recorded are those of the Devachanic state. For it [is] said that all the scenery and surroundings, the natural world of that plane in short, are the creations of the particular spirit with whose sphere the seer is in contact. This coincides perfectly with the Theosophic view, and when once this truth is really grasped, Spiritualists will realise how mistaken they have been in attacking a doctrine which is in reality what they have so long been seeking for, and which offers them the logical and philosophic system which they need as a basis for their investigations. (Blavatsky (Lucifer, Vol. II, No. 8, April, 1888, pp. 164-165)
Our author received his instruction with respect to the post-mortem condition of man through the agency of clairvoyant visions. Seeming to go out of-the body, and to be endowed with transcendental faculties, he, under the guardianship of the angel, was made to see typical landscapes, buildings, cities and personages. Some dead acquaintances and friends he recognized, and was astonished to see them surrounded with the creations of their own diseased or healthy fancies : they had made to themselves just such residences, costumes, and other objects as were most consonant with their moral, intellectual and spiritual states before disincarnation . (H.S. Olcott (The Theosophist, May 1888)
Third Day .— September 6th, 1877 . [Automatic Writing.] These scenes, you say, are real—Material? No ; but real. What you call material is nothing to us. Just as the scenes that surround you depend on your self, as, for instance, in respect of colour, so are these scenes that you have visited externalised by the spirit who dwells among them. With us it would be impossible for a spirit at peace with itself to dwell in the midst of desolation and confusion : even as the Vain Ones could not dwell in the Valley of Rest. In fact, then, a spirit makes its surroundings ; and that is the meaning o f the assertion so often made that we are building our house in spirit-land now ? Yes, just so. You are making your character, and according to your character will be your home and its surroundings. That is inevitable. All gravitate to their own place. Those flowers, and gems, and tinsel fripperies, the mirrors of the Vain One, and the peaceful calm of the Valley of Rest, these are but externalised symbols of those who dwell there. They are their types.
Outward and visible signs of their inward and spiritual state ? Just so. That is the meaning of the saying that with us every spirit is known of what sort it really is.
No hypocrites ? Yes : but hypocrisy is no use. Many who come to us from you bring with them the idea that they can deceive here, even as they have been used to deceive men. But while the tongue speaks the falsehood, the acts belie it,* the surroundings tell the true story, and the hypocrite is self-convicted. The hypocrites congregate together even as the Vain Ones, and spend their time in the most foolish and futile attempts to deceive one another. All can recognise the hypocrisy in others, though they do not see how patent it is in themselves. Hence by degrees, when they find that hypocrisy is of no avail, they cease to practise it, and rise above it to a higher moral plane.
Then is the moral government of your world of that sort entirely ? No coercion ? None : for it is not needed, except in the elementary stages of existence. Spirits rise by knowledge, and by love. * Compare “ The Land of Darkness,'’ where the lips of a man speak a polite lie which the revealed thought contradicts. We cannot hasten the time save by affording the means. This is done by spirits who instruct and elevate as we are doing now. But the motive-spring must come from the receptive mind. We could not teach you if you had no desire to learn. So the gradual elevation of the spirit from one state to another depends altogether on its own desire. Some there are who find a state congenial to them, and remain in it for long. These are chiefly intellectual states. So long as they are nourished there, they are not interfered with by spirits who have progressed beyond them. They make their selection.
Yes. One can sec that even here. Men gel into a particular groove and remain in it. Or they get an erroneous idea and follow it out into endless wanderings. I suppose their education is going on here too ? What has your life been, especially of late, but one long process of education? It will not cease. It cannot cease till you cease to think.
And the ideas that I yet now will form the objective surroundings of my future home ? Yes : hence the necessity for having ideas true, and symmetrical. Symmetrical!
Yes : I see. That was why the mirrors were broken, and why all was so orderly and exact in the Valley of Rest ? Yes. It is necessary to strive to get true notions of things. Most of those who spend their time in contemplating only the external appearance of things conceive wrongly of their real nature. We do not refer now to philosophers who spend their time and energy in investigating the composition of natural things. They arrive at one aspect of truth, and are so far commendable. The scientists of your world are laying up for themselves stores of knowledge which will enable them the better to recognise and appreciate what will burst upon their astonished gaze in another state. We refer to those who take perverted or one-sided views of spiritual things. They become spiritually deformed, and their homes partake of the deformity. A man does not become deformed by any amount of knowledge about matter, even if lie spend his earth-life m investigating the properties of a gas, but lie does become deformed if lie pervert his intellect by shutting it out from expansive views of spiritual things, narrowing it to a groove, prostituting it to expediency or fashion, even as lie would far more surely render it leprous by conscious vice.
What do you call perverted views ? We cannot tell you more than you know. There are in your world social relationships, into all of which truth purely spiritual should enter. The politico-economical questions, the social questions, the political questions, the interdependence of classes, the relations of the wealthy with the poor, the conficting interests of peoples and the mode of their settlement, these all are vital.
Questions of social reform ; labour and capital; charity, social science, and political economy generally ? Peace and war and the like ? Yes, such are matters on which it is of vital moment to have views which are true, and by that we mean that it is important to the spirit to view them from the plane of spirit, and not from that of the world, its conditions, and its fashions. False ideas on such matters become ingrained in the spirit, cause spiritual bad habits, and provoke spiritual disease. It is not possible for a spirit to lay up for itself more disease, in every sense, than by cultivating worldly notions about these spiritual things which should be spiritually discerned. Most of the views current about them are human fallacies, and must be abolished before the new era of peace and progress can advance. We strive earnestly against them ; for be you sure that the spirit which spends itself in getting selfish gain by using out the strength of its fellows without giving equable remuneration—we put out of view fraud—is not likely to be happy in the land where selfishness is a curse. Nor is the wealthy man who neglects wealth’s duties ; nor the capitalist who grinds down his slaves ; nor the panderer to lusts and vices, the man who poisons the body and debases the spirit of his fellows by selling to them base and bac food, or maddening adulterated drinks ; nor the man who is trained to war, and lives for that and that alone, though that need not be of itself always bad. Some of these are what you call necessary. They are not. Understand that. They arc the excrescences which have grown upon your social system, upon your moral system, upon your political system; the which, all of them, in their various degrees, are rotten. In no sphere of your life can more real good be done than in these, for the race is benefited and the spirit ennobled by their consideration.
Yes. I t must be so. But surely the mere materialist is doing harm. A man like * * * with magnificent talents, is he doing the best for himself ? No : but he is laying up stores of knowledge for his race which will benefit them. He will come to us to a certain extent naked as to spirit, but with the advantage of having laboured to add to the store of human knowledge and having sought after truth. He will not have anything to unlearn in that direction : though as regards the field of inquiry on which he must then enter he will be a little child.
Yes. 1 see. B u t surely he will have to unlearn a good deal o f his theory. What becomes o f such men on their first entry into your plane? He will have to unlearn many theoretical deductions, but few fundamental facts as he now views them. I t is in the interdependence of facts that your scientists go wrong. Such spirits of truth-lovers congregate together and find their delight in tracing the hidden springs which they could not discern before. It is long frequently before they find interest in anything else. Some, like our friend Benjamin Franklin, delight in pursuing the train of investigation which interested them in the body, and in bringing their knowledge to bear on human progress. Many influence spirits still in the body and direct their researches. Some find that all their earth life was wasted because they desired not truth, but their own opinion, to prevail. Some do not even find that out for long : but go on dogmatically following out their theories until they blunder more and more. But we have said enough. Be sure that you keep a clear mind : avoid narrow prejudices : dare to look facts in the face : be true to yourself and you need have no fear. Our friend has written for me, seeing that you find difficulty in reading what I write. Rector.