EVOLUTION as defined in the teachings of Theosophy is a multifaceted venture, a dance of spirit, soul, mind and matter.
True and lasting self-knowledge is acquired gradually in both loving and painful experiences, through a long, yet ultimately finite series of reincarnations in human form.
Such transitions occur within a triple evolutionary plan, Blavatsky wrote, and are “inextricably interwoven and interblended at every point.”
The key to our spiritual development lies in recognizing the unity and continuity of life, Theosophy says — and that for the soul, there is really no such thing as final extinction. We are first and foremost spiritual beings, and humanity is our field of necessary human experience.
But what happens to our human self after death? Does everything important, our consciousness and love, die with the body? Blavatsky, writing in The Key to Theosophy, assures her students that love and spirit are immortal. And further, that:
“Death comes to our spiritual selves ever as a deliverer and friend.”
Self-knowledge evolves gradually out of the recognition, as the philosopher-mystic Teilhard de Chardin famously said, we are “spiritual beings having a human experience,” not the other way around.
Our afterlife, once the dissolution of the body and Earthly desire body is complete, is blissful. That state “consists in our complete conviction that we never left the earth,” Blavatsky writes in the Key to Theosophy, “and that there is no such thing as death at all.”
Beyond the Physical
The “post-mortem spiritual consciousness of a mother,” she explains, “will represent to her that she lives surrounded by her children, and all those whom she loved.”
“…no gap, no link, will be missing to make her disembodied state the most perfect and absolute happiness.”
“Just beyond the threshold of human life,” writes W. Q. Judge, “there is a place of separation wherein the better part of man is divided from his lower and brute elements.”
There is a state immediately following death which entails a series of struggles, Judge says, as the soul attempts to loosen itself from Earth life with all its attendant desires and sorrows.
This transition state after death is called ‘Kamaloka’ in Sanskrit, i.e. what some religions call ‘purgatory.’ It is a necessary cleansing stage, but it doesn’t last forever. Once separated from the lower memories and karma, Judge explains,
“this period of birth is over,” and the spiritual soul begins “to think in a manner different from that which the body and brain permitted in life.”
This is the state called Devachan, in Sanskrit, “a word meaning literally ‘the place of the gods,’ where the soul enjoys felicity,” he says. “The Self in devachan is devoid of a mortal body.”
In 1980, Brian Weiss, head of the psychiatry department at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, began treating Catherine, a 27-year-old woman plagued by anxiety, depression and phobias. If they remain unresolved and subconscious, they may become the recurring seeds of painful Kamalokas after death.
Catherine’s anxieties and phobias soon disappeared, says Weiss, and she was able to end therapy.
When Weiss turned to hypnosis to help Catherine remember repressed childhood traumas, what emerged were the patient’s descriptions of a dozen or so of her hitherto unknown 86 past lives.
Gradually awakening our dormant spiritual ‘Third Eye,’ we come to recognize, is the only certain gateway to spiritual development.
This all-seeing-eye is awakened by replacing our daily humdrum cogitation, reactive monkey-mind, with intuition, and performing service to others.
Just as self-knowledge is acquired through “loving deeds,” altruism once awakened, Blavatsky says in The Key to Theosophy, becomes “an integral part of self-development.”
Bottom-up experience also works. We benefit both from deductive and inductive methods. “The Secret Doctrine points where the lines of evolution and involution meet,” William Q. Judge wrote in The Synthesis of Occult Science, “this is the point where matter and spirit clasp hands…
“…and where the rising animal stands face to face with the fallen god — for all natures meet and mingle in man.”
(Excerpts from: The Path: Beyond the Physical)
“An ending is just a new
beginning in disguise.”
– K. Clemans
The stage humanity is at now, this is our opportunity, the moment we “struggled so hard to reach,” Judge writes in the above article. — “Self-consciousness, which from the animal plane looking upward is the beginning of perfection,” he writes:
” from the divine plane looking downward is the perfection of selfishness and the curse of separateness.”
Nevertheless, the spiritual eye of light is more and more activated as we progress through wisely appointed evolutionary stages and reincarnations. These stages are necessary to finally achieve, in W. Q. Judge’s words, “conscious god-hood” — all while living a human existence on Earth— concluding:
“Getting back the memory of other lives is really the whole of the process…”
So says W. Q. Judge in Letter 5, and: “if some people don’t understand certain things, it is either because they have not got to that point in their other lives, or because no glimmer of memory has yet come.”
“Many religions believe in reincarnation, but for most Christians, it’s not something they expect. So when memories of past lives hit them, it can come as an unwelcome surprise.”
“I never was a believer in reincarnation,” says Patricia Austrian, until her four-year old son Edward revealed a disabling memory from a past life.
Occult cosmogenesis and anthropogenesis encompass everything in manifestation from atoms to zebras. But here we are considering only the human cycles leading to the emergence of the spiritual mind.
We are caught in the middle at this stage of development, according to Theosophy, between spiritual and material concerns.
Like Arjuna (everyman) in his chariot, (representing the human body) — we are juxtaposed by the charioteer Krishna (the Higher Self), thrust between two opposing armies — symbolizing, broadly speaking, spirit and matter, or our dual minds.
This dialog between Arjuna (humanity) and Krishna continues for eighteen chapters of the Bhagavad-Gita, when the entire time the arrows are flying — an apt metaphor for the tests of Earth life and afterlife.
“Human or Humanity means the Thinker on earth,” explains The Eternal Verities (p. 200) — “humus = earth, man = to think.” The word “man” comes from the Sanskrit word “manas” meaning the mind.
“Because men lived as brothers, so long as the Gods were their parents and teachers, the Golden Age lasted.”
“Then all men knew the same truth and spoke the same language.” And The Eternal Verities (200), reminds us: “But the time came when men must put their knowledge to the test…”
Religion & Science
(In this video clip, Deepak Chopra comments that
both dogmatic systems may indeed be outmoded.)
Coming of Age
“When the Gods departed and left them to work out their own destiny, as parents do now, when their children come of age,” says the Eternal Verities (p. 200). “It was then that many forgot the Real, and began to think that forms and appearances were real, instead.”
“Knowing the cycles when they can most help, great Teachers come from age to age to remind men of what once they knew of the eternal truths about nature and man.”
“Love can exist without form,
but no form can exist without Love.”