RE: theos-l digest: January 08, 1999 == Kym's posting and question -- death and grieving
Jan 09, 1999 06:26 AM
by Dallas TenBroeck
Jan 9th 1999
As to the presence of "God." Theosophically the "principle"
"GOD" IS THE HIGHEST QUALITY ONE CAN IMAGINE. (not shouting -
How can "IT" (THE HIGHEST) be a "person?"
With this view Theosophy states that God is a Force, a Power of
Life, a universal and all-pervasive support for all living
You may ask me : "Then what has Theosophy to say about the grief
we all feel when one who is near and dear leaves for regions so
far unknown to us - the body dies. What happens to the "Soul?"
Is such a parting completely final ?
Without going into details, Theosophy states that every "Soul" is
immortal, and while many bodies are used as it progresses ever
onward, and many relatives and friends are distressed by the
great separation, the fact is that "death" is only a longer
aspect of what we call sleep. We do not fear going to sleep and
we fully expect to awaken the next morning. We do fear the
"sleep" named "death," because we have not yet developed the
consciousness that bridges the gap of death and sees in our
personal memory (to day) our so many past lives, and anticipates
our so many future lives - in the company of the relatives and
friends (and enemies also) that we have in this life, or in
earlier ones. So we are forced to consider the philosophy
relating to death and the record of those who have consciously
been in and out of those states and remembered them.
If we have been brought up in a religion that pictures humans as
the playthings of a whimsical "God," and each life as a single
unattached episode, out of which, if we "behave" we may secure an
"eternal existence in 'Heaven,'" it may be at first, very
difficult to perceive the change in thought which a philosophy
such as Theosophy offers.
If, let us say, one is brought up in Hinduism, and uses the
BHAGAVAD GITA as a scriptural guide, then the idea of
reincarnation and self-guidance, the return to relatives and
friends would be one that we had grown up with. The idea of
Karma as a continuity of relationships would be natural.
At one time when Christianity was fresh, the link to Buddhism was
clear, as Jesus the divine prophet and reformer of the Jews (I am
come but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel) had learned
from Buddhist monks who had settled on the shores of the Jordan
and the Dead Sea many years before, and He had actually visited
India as well as Egypt before returning to Judea to attempt a
reform his people. Buddhism (500 BC) is a reform of Hinduism,
and emphasizes the ethics that the Bhagavad Gita taught (3000
Now what has the philosophy of Theosophy to offer ?
In Theosophy every human is viewed as an immortal mind (or Soul).
Thus in Theosophy we say: "Man is a soul." Instead of saying
"Man has a soul, and can lose it through persistent
It (the mind-soul that each of us is, essentially) uses many
bodies, and constantly reestablishes relations with its loved
ones from life to life under the law of Karma.
Death is a long sleep. For the relatives who "wait around for
the new awakening" the delay is fearsome - hence the grieving.
The loss of contact is very shocking No amount of philosophy
relieves any one of us of the shock of sudden separation. But on
consideration, we can see how a philosophy of Life and of living,
such as Theosophy envisages and explains, helps us change grief
into hope and aspiration as we all can look forward to the time
when we reincarnate eventually all together again.
I have written of the Theosophical 7-fold scheme of nature and of
man. Also of the view that we are "eternal Pilgrims" and we wend
our way through many lives with our companions seeking to ever
expand our range of knowledge and experience.
In the 7-fold scheme that Theosophy advances for consideration as
constituting Nature and Man, everything starts with the
God-principle (or SPIRIT). And this is followed in a natural way
by the "memory-storage" aspect of "God-Spirit, or, "WISDOM."
Thus you have God and Wisdom at the beginning or "at the top of
the starting list." Each being, each human has their own
individual "ray" of this ONE Spirit at its core at the center of
its "Real Self." And this is why the free-will and free-thought
of every individual is ineradicable.
Neither of these can be eliminated or damned or done-away-with
logically and philosophically. OK so far ?
Next follows the observation "principle" or MIND - the power to
see, to perceive, to think. And this is also named "Soul." But
to use the word properly needs the soul-qualities to be
enumerated. The fact that there is in us a "Perceiver," at once
implies that there are objects to perceive and the concept of the
"material principles" becomes a necessity.
In this we have to keep in mind that every one of the
"principles" is a basis for seeing, understanding, experiencing
and living. Every "being," whether atom, molecule, stone, plant,
animal, man, angel, "god," has each their own "environment" which
includes Spirit, Wisdom, Mind, and "material form."
The next idea that emerges is the one that considers every "form"
to be energized by a special sentient principle which we could
name "feeling" - or sentience, the power to perceive "self," and
Feelings work with the "mind," but are different, as their range
is of a different level. They express essentially: giving and
taking, attraction and repulsion, love and hate - and all the
range of feeling and emotion in between. Feeling by itself is
the pure instinct of the "animal consciousness." In mankind it
is closely associated with the Mind. In fact it makes the
Mind-principle dual: The "higher-Mind: is that which is
attracted to Wisdom and spirit; the "Lower-Mind" is that which
is closely allied with our feelings and desires. It is that
aspect of Mind which is active in us here and how as we are all
"awake." [ In sleep and dreams, other aspects of the mind take
over. That is a story in itself. ]
As it (the feeling, desire principles) is associated with humans,
it is only through the Mind-principle that it enlarges its range
of vision. But, by its experience (before coming into contact
with humans) it was limited to the survival and preservation and
perpetuation of itself and its species as the instinct of the
free, untamed animal.
When mind is added, the panorama of the "desires and passions"
increases enormously. And this is where we all are at present.
The difference between mind and feeling is that "feeling" alone
cannot reason. Reason (a Mind-faculty) can, however, see and
visualize the future of any course that the feelings (and
passions, and desires) design. It may therefore serve as a brake
to the exuberance of such desires - because it sees danger and
harm that might ultimately arise if the feelings are allowed to
run without check - in an exaggerated and unregulated manner.
Are we not always in such situations ? Is there not always a
dialog going on between the feelings and desires and the Mind ?
When evolution starts, three great aspects of living commence
working again together (Nothing is created from nothing. When
the Universe (as a Big Bang - of what - how - from where)
starts, Spirit as Life, begins working with MIND (perception and
feeling) and with MATTER (forms). It is thus natural that the
"form-side" of evolution proceeds in harmony with Mind and with
Wisdom-Spirit. Harmony is always dynamic and it is continued
balance, and all three taken together represent the varied
aspects of our living. [ see SD I 181 ]
The "form side" of evolution starts with the individualized
"Rays" of the One spirit which animate the "life-atoms" - a
universal phenomenon - as there are "life-atoms" everywhere and
no "void" anywhere. One could characterize this as "chaos"
because in the beginning it appears unorganized. Then, under the
impulse of the great LAW of Living ( named Karma ) the
"life-atoms" are drawn together by the Great Mind-beings who have
graduated earlier from the School of Life. It is their duty, as
"fashioners," "molders" to cause the many structures of Space to
aggregate - so that eventually mind-being might reside there and
progress (as we do here). And so we have asteroids, comets,
planets, suns, and galaxies - all "forms" aggregated out of
They (these great Mind-beings) have the power and the Will to
assist NATURE (God) to form the magnetic and electrical
frame-work on which all "life-atoms" (named MONADS) work and live
together. This is called the "astral" or starry form.
The Great Life-currents as a breath of pulsing, cyclic force runs
through this vast Universe and touches in its many ways each of
the forms that have come together to form the worlds and suns.
Then we have the development on each globe of the forms in which
intelligence has experience. Instinct and feeling are developed
in the plant and more individually in the animal kingdoms.
Finally we have mankind as a separate but united aspect of the
INTELLIGENT whole, each is a free willed Being. Each is
striving to understand and live harmoniously with the WHOLE - not
as slave or fixture, but as a willing assistant. Thus we find
ourselves each life entering a new "day" in the great "School of
And this is why we need not truly grieve when our near and dear
ones depart - for only a while. They live and will return, along
with us in the future. We need to understand and be patient.
As to assistance and relationship with those who have gone on
ahead. Theosophy teaches that each disembodied MIND goes into an
intensely closed and meditative state (named Devachan) where the
whole of the past life is reviewed so as to cull out of it those
ideas, notions and experiences that are the best qualities that
can be built into its continuing character. This is done every
time we pass from one life to a fresh one. To think kindly and
with love and affection of those who have passed on is helpful to
them and to us, but we cannot interfere or break into their own
private work. If we could we would shatter their ability to
proceed, and nature sets this barrier out of compassion for them,
and as a help to us this philosophy is made available.
There are those who claim to be able to "speak to the dead."
Such as channelers etc. All that they are able to do is to
contact this image from which the real Mind-soul has left - to
enter its meditative retreat which cannot be pried open or
Now this is only a brief survey of the questions and reasons that
your comments evoke. If you happen to have a copy of HPB's KEY
TO THEOSOPHY, and an INDEX, look up "After Death States,"
Kamaloca, Devachan, Rebirth, Reincarnation if you want to get
the full picture. In Mr. Judge's THE OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY you will
find similar explanations. Both can be trusted. But, the
reading and review of the logic of Theosophy is something
everyone has to do for themselves. Its veracity has to be
challenged and then proved.
> Date: Thu, 07 Jan 1999 23:59:49 -0700
> From: "Kym Smith" <email@example.com>
> Subject: Does grief have dominion over death?
>Why not consider that God is inside of us, and that we can seek
>ITS help and guidance at times of difficulty - not a miracle,
>a friendly help - such as the "Voice of Conscience" or the
>"Intuition" can give ?
I understand, I think, what you are saying - it kind of reminds
me of "Pascal's Wager" (where it is better to believe in God
rather than not because if God does exist and one has lived
according to God's Laws, all will be well; and even if God turns
out not to exist, it won't matter anyway and you would have, for
the benefit of humanity, lived a good and compassionate life).
It makes sense.
I'm still wiggly about the philosophy of Karma - still too many
holes in it for me, but I suppose that shall consist throughout
my current lifetime.
Thank you for your kind and gentle responses to my questions.
Having someone take the time to listen to you - whether agreement
is reached or not - is rare and always welcome.
I have one more question (for you and all on this list):
I have just lost a most precious loved one due to sudden death.
I have read that grieving for one who has passed over can
actually hinder their journey - that the grief of those 'left
behind' can serve as a kind of tie to the earthly realm for the
deceased one. In one way, this makes sense, but in another way,
it seems unfair (that word again!) that one who has passed on can
be at the 'mercy' of those who grieve and rage against the death.
Does the grief and pain of those left behind affect the one who
has passed on? If so, in what way? I am interested in any
thoughts or comments on this particular theory.
It seems so hard not to grieve, and, not to mention how guilty a
loved one could end up feeling if they knew they were "holding
back" the deceased loved one!
It seems we must grieve - some of us harder than others. Maybe
we need to be taught "how" to grieve rightly. . .but it is so,
so, so difficult.
By the way, I know that people on this list are compassionate
enough to offer me words of condolence, but it is not necessary -
besides, I'm one of those who gets weird at mushy stuff. . .got
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