RE: Why do babies die?
Mar 12, 2006 05:13 AM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck
March 11, 2006
Perhaps the following will help to explain this:
INFANT DEATH .DOC
GENERAL CONCEPT --
IMMORTALITY -- EDUCATION THROUGH EXPERIENCE -- KARMA
Q.: Are our human souls born as infants or as adults into the
Devachanic state? I am of the opinion that a soul may or may not enter that
state as an infant, according to the knowledge acquired by the person while
W.Q.J.- It seems to me to be a mistake to consider questions
relating to the soul from the materialistic point of view of "infant" or
The soul is not born, nor does it die; it cannot be called an infant or an
adult; those terms should only be used as more or less metaphorical, to show
a difference in character. The soul assumes in the astral or ethereal realms
of being that shape or form which most resembles its real character: it may
seem to be what we could call infant or adult irrespective of the age of the
body it had just quitted, or it might take the form of a beast or maybe a
deformed, misshapen human body if its real life could be but fitly thus
This was well known to Swedenborg and many other seers, who saw souls
wandering in such shapes which the very law of their being compelled them to
assume. And it does not require physical death to bring this about, for in
life many a person presents to the clairvoyant the actual picture of the
inner character, no matter how horrible that may be.
Form, shape, or lineament has then in the life of the soul to do with
essential character. It is reported that one of the Adepts writing of
Devachan spoke of our growing old there and then dying out of it. But this
means, as was also then explained, only the uprush of force, its continuance
in activity, and then at last its gradual decline to extinction or birth
into another life.
Adhering strictly to the words of the question, I do not think infants and
those who are mere babes- have any Devachan, but that they pass on at once
to another human birth as soon as the body of the baby is dead. They have
accumulated no force for Devachan; they have but in them the impulse for
birth, and that having been thwarted by death, it is continued by an
immediate search for another body, to be continued until a body is found
with sufficient vitality in it to allow the soul to go on with its
pilgrimage among men. It is true that mediums and clairvoyants often report
this, that, or the other infant as present from the so-called "world of
spirits," but I think that all such cases are only occupations by elementals
of the images or shapes of infants who have died out of earth-life, and
hence prove nothing at all but the infinite power of delusion possessed by
the astral world." Forum Answers 102 - 3
Q.: What is the real meaning of that phrase so often seen in
Theosophical papers, "the great orphan, Humanity"?
W.Q.J.-This phrase has a deep significance for me. An orphan may also be one
who had no parents, as the state of orphanage is that of being without
father or mother. If we imagine a child appearing on the earth without a
parent, we would have to call it an orphan. Humanity is the "great orphan"
because it is without parents in the sense that it has produced itself and
hence from itself has to procure the guidance it needs. And as it wanders in
the dark valley of the shadow of death, it is more in need of help and
counsel than the mere body of a child which is the ordinary orphan. The soul
is parentless, existing of itself from all eternity, and, considered as
soul, mankind is hence an orphan. Plunged into matter, surrounded on every
side by the vast number of intricate illusions and temptations that belong
to earthly life, it stands every day and hour in need of protection as well
as guidance. 
If the idea of a loving parent be applied to the notion that a definite God
has produced mankind, then we find that this supposed parent has at the same
time invented the most diversified and ingenious series of bedevilments and
torments to beguile, hurt, harass, and finally destroy the child. For if a
certain one God is the maker or parent of man, then He also is the one who
made nature. Nature is cruel, cold, and implacable. It stops for no man, it
never relents, it destroys without mercy. When inhabitants of earth
multiply, Nature manages to destroy millions of people in a night or two, as
has now and then happened in China; the very elect of the earth are swept
off the earth in a moment; slowly and painfully the infant races creep up
the ladder of time, leaving as they go vast heaps of slain at the foot. The
whole of life presents, indeed, to man more frowns than smiles. It is this
fact that has made so many who are told of a loving father and at the same
time of an illogical scheme of salvation revolt altogether from the idea of
any meaning to life but despair.
I cannot see how the phrase "great orphan" carries with it the notion of
being without guide or helper. The orphan is every where; but among the
units composing it are some who have risen through trial to the state where
they can help the lower ones. Orphans themselves, they live to benefit
mankind of which they are a part. They are the head of the body of which the
lower members are the less developed units or atoms. Enthusiasm for the
"orphan" is that which will lead to devotion and sacrifice; and that
enthusiasm must be developed not only in the Theosophist, but in all the men
of earth. Having it they will help all on their own plane, and each stratum
of men rising in development will help all below until all belonging to the
globe have risen to the perfect height. Then they can proceed to other spots
in cosmos where are also wandering vast masses of souls also units in the
"orphan," who require and can then receive the same help that we had
extended to us. If this is not the destiny of man during the time when all
things are manifesting, then the remark of Spencer to the effect that
altruism is useless because when universal there is no one to benefit, must
be accepted. However, the phrase in the question is one of those rhetorical
ones that must not be read in its strict letter and ordinary meaning."
FORUM ANSWERS 94-5
PILGRIMAGE OF SUCCESSIVE INCARNATION
Q.: If our Higher Self was primarily an emanation from the Divine,
why the necessity for this pilgrimage of successive incarnation?
What advantage does the Ego derive from its association with the mass of
matter we call our personality? If it is said that it is for the sake of
gaining knowledge and experience in relation to every aspect or
manifestation of the universe and on every plane of consciousness, why the
necessity of such to what was divine from the beginning, and must from its
very nature possess a consciousness of all existence and be in itself the
source of all knowledge?
W.Q.J.-It seems to me very difficult if not impossible to answer this
question. It is one of those which the great sages and teachers of the world
have refused to answer, on the ground that it was profitless to attempt it
when we are unable to understand much simpler matters of consciousness, and,
were one able to cognize [104 ] spirit, the question would not be brought
forward. Hence they were accustomed to make enquirers wait until they got
more interior light. It would seem as if all one could do would be to give
probable reasons why no full answer can be made.
If we say that God is not the universe but is an entity apart, then, placing
the spirit of man as a third separate entity, it will be seen, I should
think, that for it to descend into the material universe would be a great
degradation from our point of view. But it does not follow that our view is
correct; we know that our knowledge of material nature is so limited that we
often think that degraded which in fact is not, as is perceived by other
minds more comprehensive. Even in the case supposed the spirit might of
itself make up its mind to sacrifice and for its own reasons descend into
matter. Similarly in life we know there are instances where pure, good, and
happy persons take up with relatively degraded conditions for sacrifice or
for charity combined with sacrifice. This would be a sufficient answer to
the question under the assumptions made, unless we think that our individual
opinion of what is and what is not the best thing to do must govern.
But I view God and Man and Universe as one whole. As an unmanifested whole I
can only name it the Absolute; when it manifests it becomes what is called
Spirit and Matter, still of the whole. Without such manifestation there
would be nothing: it would abide in itself as what we should have to call
"nothing," because then there would be neither cognizer nor cognized. Since
it is evident that it has manifested, it must follow that it has done so for
its own purposes, said by us to be for obtaining consciousness and
experience. If so, any "descent into matter" will not be a fall nor a
degradation at all, since those are relative terms altogether, and since
spirit and matter acting together do so for the one purpose. Man's present
state is described by man to be a fallen one, but that is because living in
a world of relative things he has to use terms to describe his present
state. It does not follow that he will always deal in such words. When
evolution shall have carried the whole race to a point of immense progress,
knowledge, and wisdom, the mind of man will see more of truth, and doubtless
be well satisfied with all the work and discipline gone through, leading up
to the new and better state." F ANSWERS 103-4
Q.: What effect, if any, does the cremation of the body have on the
remaining material principles?
W.Q.J.-Cremation has no direct effect on any of the sheaths or vehicles, but
it must have the indirect effect of freeing the astral form from the
influence of the material body and thus give the astral a chance to more
quickly dissipate. It has much less effect on kama and the others above, and
none on prana, for the latter is ever present, and in the case of death is
simply at work some where else. Material fire can have no effect directly on
any sort of matter that is not on its own plane, and hence has no effect at
all on manas or those above that. From a sanitary point of view cremation is
of high importance, as it does away with injurious matter or matter in such
a state as to be injurious to the living." F Answers. 102
LETTERS THAT HAVE HELPED ME Vol. II 249
AN OCCULT NOVEL
MEMO. ABOUT Borrowed Body
The point on which it should all turn is not so much reincarnation as the
use of a borrowed body, which is a different kind of reincarnation from that
of Arnold's Phra the Phoenician.
This will also give chance to show the other two sorts of reincarnation,
(a) Ordinary reincarnation in which there is no memory of the old
personality, as the astral body is new -- and:
(b) Exception as to astral body; but similarity of conception to that of
ordinary cases, where the child retains the old astral body and hence memory
of old personality and acquaintance with old knowledge and dexterity.
[Another: The Unveiling of the Sun
There is the real and unreal sun. The real one is hidden by a golden vase,
and the devotee prays:
"Unveil, O Pushan, the true Sun's face," etc. A voice (or other) says "thou
art that vase" and then he knows that he alone hides the true Sun from
Pushan is the guide and watches on the path to the Sun.
The eulogy of the Sun and the Soul are enshrined in a golden rose or lotus
in the heart which is impregnable.
The theme of the book is not always teacher and pupil.
He first strives for some lives ordinarily and then in one he grows old and
wise, and sitting before a temple one day in Madura he dies slowly, and like
a dissolving view he sees the adepts around him aiding him; also a small
child which seems to be himself, and then thick darkness. He is born then in
the usual way.
Twice this is repeated, each time going through the womb but with the same
Then he lives the third life to forty-nine, and comes again to die and with
the same aid he selects a foreign child who is dying.
Child dying. Skandhas collecting, child's Ego going -- left, spark of life
low: relatives about bed.
He enters by the way the mind went out and revivifies the body. Recovery,
youth, etc., etc.
This is his borrowed body. ]
A Chapter: THE ASSEMBLING OF THE SKANDHAS notes
On the death of body the Kama principle collects the Skandhas in space, or
at the rebirth of the Ego the Skandhas rush together and assemble about it
to go with it in the new life. .
The darkness and silence. The clear, hot day. The absence of rain. After
listening to the old man he consents inwardly to assume life there and soon
a heavy storm arises, the rain beats, he feels himself carried to the earth
and in deep darkness.
A resounding noise about him. It is the noise of the growing plants. This is
a rice field with some sesamum in it. The moisture descends and causes the
expanding; sees around, all is motion and life.
Enclosed in the sphere of some rice, he bemoans his fate. He is born in a
Note. -- Shall the question of reincarnation through cloud and rain and seed
and thus from the seed of the man, be gone into?
He is the young man. He knows much. He dies at nineteen. Strange forms
around his bed who hold him. ..
The boy's breathing ceases and his eyes close, and a bright flash is seen to
go off from it (the body). He sees the blood slowing down. THEY push him,
and he feels dark again. Boy revives. Physician takes hope. "Yes; he will
recover, with care." He recovers easily. Change in his character. Feels
strange in his surroundings, etc. ..
As to bodies being deserted by the tenant that might live if well understood
and well connected with a new soul.
The difference between such a birth and an ordinary birth where the soul
really owns the body, and between those bodies of insane people which are
not deserted, but where the owner really lives outside.
Bodies of insane are not used because the machine itself is out of order,
and would be useless to the soul of a sane person. ..
Note. -- No one who has not consciously lived the double life of a man who
is in the use and possession of a body not his own can know the agony that
so often falls to one in such a case. I am not the original owner of this
body that I now use. It was made for another, and for some little time used
by him, but in the storm of sickness he left it here to be buried, and it
would have been laid away in the earth if I had not taken it up, vivified
its failing energies and carried it through some years of trial by sickness
But the first owner had not been in it long enough to sow any troublesome
seeds of disease; he left a heritage of good family blood and wonderful
endurance. That he should have left this form so well adapted for living, at
least seems inconceivable, unless it was that he could not use it, sick or
well, for any of his own purposes.
At any rate it is mine now, but while at first I thought it quite an
acquisition there are often times when I wish I had not thus taken another
man's frame, but had come into life in the ordinary way. ...
IN A BORROWED BODY
I must tell you first what happened to me in this present life since it is
in this one that I am relating to you about many other lives of mine.
I was a simple student of our high Philosophy for many lives on earth in
various countries, and then at last developed in myself a desire for action.
So I died once more as so often before and was again reborn in the family of
a Rajah, and in time came to sit on his throne after his death.
Two years after that sad event one day an old wandering Brahmin came to me
and asked if I was ready to follow my vows of long lives before, and go to
do some work for my old master in a foreign land. Thinking this meant a
journey only I said I was.
"Yes," said he, "but it is not only a journey. It will cause you to be here
and there all days and years. Today here, tonight there."
"Well," I replied, "I will do even that, for my vows had no conditions and
I knew of the order, for the old Brahmin gave me the sign marked on my
forehead. He had taken my hand, and covering it with his waist-cloth, traced
the sign in my palm under the cloth so that it stood out in lines of light
before my eyes.
He went away with no other word, as you know they so often do, leaving me in
my palace. I fell asleep in the heat, with only faithful Gopal beside me. I
dreamed and thought I was at the bedside of a mere child, a boy, in a
foreign land unfamiliar to me only that the people looked like what I knew
of the Europeans. The boy was lying as if dying, and relatives were all
about the bed.
A strange and irresistible feeling drew me nearer to the child, and for a
moment I felt in this dream as if I were about to lose consciousness. With a
start I awoke in my own palace -- on the mat where I had fallen asleep, with
no one but Gopal near and no noise but the howling of jackals near the edge
of the compound.
"Gopal," I said, "how long have I slept?"
"Five hours, master, since an old Brahmin went away, and the night is nearly
I was about to ask him something else when again sleepiness fell upon my
senses, and once more I dreamed of the small dying foreign child.
The scene had changed a little, other people had come in, there was a doctor
there, and the boy looked to me, dreaming so vividly, as if dead. The people
were weeping, and his mother knelt by the bedside. The doctor laid his head
on the child's breast a moment. As for myself I was drawn again nearer to
the body and thought surely the people were strange not to notice me at all.
They acted as if no stranger were there, and I looked at my clothes and saw
they were eastern and bizarre to them. A magnetic line seemed to pull me to
the form of the child.
And now beside me I saw the old Brahmin standing. He smiled.
"This is the child," he said, "and here must you fulfill a part of your
vows. Quick now! There is no time to lose, the child is almost dead. These
people think him already a corpse. You see the doctor has told them the
fatal words, 'he is dead!'"
Yes, they were weeping. But the old Brahmin put his hands on my head, and
submitting to his touch, I felt myself in my dream falling asleep. A dream
in a dream. But I woke in my dream, but not on my mat with Gopal near me. I
was that boy, I thought. I looked out through his eyes, and near me I heard,
as if his soul had slipped off to the ether with a sigh of relief. The
doctor turned once more and I opened my eyes -- his eyes -- on him.
The physician started and turned pale. To another I heard him whisper
"automatic nerve action." He drew near, and the intelligence in that eye
startled him to paleness. He did not see the old Brahmin making passes over
this body I was in and from which I felt great waves of heat and life
rolling over me -- or the boy.
And yet this all now seemed real as if my identity was merged in the boy.
I was that boy and still confused, vague dreams seemed to flit through my
brain of some other plane where I thought I was again, and had a faithful
servant named Gopal; but that must be dream, this the reality. For did I not
see my mother and father, the old doctor and the nurse so long in our house
with the children. Yes; of course this is the reality.
And then I feebly smiled, whereon the doctor said:
"Most marvellous. He has revived. He may live."
He was feeling the slow moving pulse and noting that breathing began and
that vitality seemed once more to return to the child, but he did not see
the old Brahmin in his illusionary body sending air currents of life over
the body of this boy, who dreamed he had been a Rajah with a faithful
servant named Gopal. Then in the dream sleep seemed to fall upon me. A
sensation of falling, falling came to my brain, and with a start I awoke in
my palace on my own mat. Turning to see if my servant was there I saw him
standing as if full of sorrow or fear for me.
"Gopal, how long have I slept again?"
"It is just morning, master, and I feared you had gone to Yama's dominions
and left your own Gopal behind."
No, I was not sleeping. This was reality, these my own dominions. So this
day passed as all days had except that the dream of the small boy in a
foreign land came to my mind all day until the night when I felt more drowsy
than usual. Once more I slept and dreamed.
The same place and the same house, only now it was morning there. What a
strange dream I thought I had had; as the doctor came in with my mother and
bent over me, I heard him say softly:
"Yes, he will recover. The night sleep has done good. Take him, when he can
go, to the country, where he may see and walk on the grass."
As he spoke behind him I saw the form of a foreign looking man with a turban
on. He looked like the pictures of Brahmins I saw in the books before I fell
sick. Then I grew very vague and told my mother: "I had had two dreams for
two nights, the same in each. I dreamed I was a king and had one faithful
servant for whom I was sorry as I liked him very much, and it was only a
dream, and both were gone."
My mother soothed me, and said: "Yes, yes, my dear."
And so that day went as days go with sick boys, and early in the evening I
fell fast asleep as a boy in a foreign land, in my dream, but did no more
dream of being a king, and as before I seemed to fall until I woke again on
my mat in my own palace with Gopal sitting near. Before I could rise the old
Brahmin, who had gone away, came in and I sent Gopal off.
"Rama," said he, "as boy you will not dream of being Rajah but now you must
know that every night as sleeping king you are waking boy in foreign land.
Do well your duty and fail not. It will be some years, but Time's
never-stopping car rolls on. Remember my words," and then he passed through
the open door.
So I knew those dreams about a sick foreign boy were not mere dreams but
that they were recollections, and I condemned each night to animate that
small child just risen from the grave, as his relations thought, but I knew
that his mind for many years would not know itself, but would ever feel
strange in its surroundings, for, indeed, that boy would be myself inside
and him without, his friends not seeing that he had fled away and another
taken his place. Each night I, as sleeping Rajah who had listened to the
words of sages, would be an ignorant foreign boy, until through lapse of
years and effort unremittingly continued I learned how to live two lives at
once. Yet horrible at first seemed the thought that although my life in that
foreign land as a growing youth would be undisturbed by vague dreams of
independent power as Rajah, I would always, when I woke on my mat, have a
clear remembrance of what at first seemed only dreams of being a king, with
vivid knowledge that while my faithful servant watched my sleeping form I
would be masquerading in a borrowed body, unruly as the wind. Thus as a boy
I might be happy, but as a king miserable maybe. And then after I should
become accustomed to this double life, perhaps my foreign mind and habits
would so dominate the body of the boy that existence there would grow full
of pain from the struggle with an environment wholly at war with the thinker
But a vow once made is to be fulfilled, and Father Time eats up all things
and ever the centuries.
[This relates to the person known as W Q Judge ]
Sent: Thursday, March 09, 2006 5:11 PM
Subject: Why do babies die?
I've recently met someone who appears to be searching
spiritually. She posed one question to me which I've
often heard: Why do babies die?
I couldn't give her a succint answer. Perhaps someone
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
[Back to Top]
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application