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Mar 30, 2006 04:40 AM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck

  The first Devachan letter was Letter No. 68. Letters 70A, B and C dealt
further with the subject. The two Englishmen submitted more questions to the
Mahatma K.H. This letter is in answer to those questions.
  It will be remembered that Sinnett had taken over from Hume the task of
writing the series entitled “Fragments of Occult Truth” which were published
in The Theosophist. These articles were based on the teachings given by the
two Mahatmas, K.H. and M., through the letters.
    Devachan Notes Latest Additions. Received Feb. 2nd, 1883.
    (1) Why should it be supposed that Devachan is a monotonous condition
only because some one moment of earthly sensation is indefinitely
perpetuated — stretched, so to say, throughout aeons? It is not, it cannot
be so. This would be contrary to all analogies and antagonistic to the law
of effects under which results are proportioned to antecedent energies. 
    To make it clear you must keep in mind that there are two fields of
causal manifestation, to wit: the objective and subjective. So the grosser
energies, those which operate in the heavier or denser conditions of matter
manifest objectively in physical life, their outcome being the new
personality of each birth included within the grand cycle of the evoluting
individuality. The moral and spiritual activities find their sphere of
effects in “Devachan.” 
    For example: the vices, physical attractions, etc. — say, of a
philosopher may result in the birth of a new philosopher, a king, a
merchant, a rich Epicurean, or any other personality whose make-up was
inevitable from the preponderating proclivities of the being in the next
preceding birth. Bacon, for inst: whom a poet called —
    “The wisest, greatest, meanest of mankind” —
might reappear in his next incarnation as a greedy money-getter, with
extraordinary intellectual capacities. But the moral and spiritual qualities
of the previous Bacon would also have to find a field in which their
energies could expand themselves. Devachan is such field. Hence — all the
great plans of moral reform, of intellectual and spiritual research into
abstract principles of nature, all the divine aspirations, would, in
Devachan come to fruition, and the abstract entity previously known as the
great Chancellor would occupy itself in this inner world of its own
preparation, living, if not quite what one would call a conscious existence,
at least a dream of such realistic vividness that none of the life-realities
could ever match it. And this “dream” lasts until Karma is satisfied in that
direction, the ripple of force reaches the edge of its cyclic basin, and the
being moves into the next area of causes. This, it may find in the same
world as before, or another, according to his or her stage of progression
through the necessary rings and rounds of human development.
    Then — how can you think that “but one moment of earthly sensation only
is selected for perpetuation”? Very true, that “moment” lasts from the first
to last; but then it lasts but as the key-note of the whole harmony, a
definite tone of appreciable pitch, around which cluster and develop in
progressive variations of melody and as endless variations on a theme, all
the aspirations, desires, hopes, dreams, which, in connection with that
particular “moment” had ever crossed the dreamer’s brain during his
lifetime, without having ever found their realization on earth, and which he
now finds fully realized in all their vividness in Devachan, without ever
suspecting that all that blissful reality is but the progeny begotten by his
own fancy, the effects of the mental causes produced by himself. 
    That particular one moment which will be most intense and uppermost in
the thoughts of his dying brain at the time of dissolution will of course
regulate all the other “moments”; still the latter — minor and less vivid
though they be — will be there also, having their appointed place in this
phantasmagoric marshalling of past dreams, and must give variety to the
whole. No man on earth but has some decided predilection if not a
domineering passion; no person, however humble and poor — and often because
of all that — but indulges in dreams and desires unsatisfied though these
    Is this monotony? Would you call such variations ad infinitum on the one
theme, and that theme modelling itself on, and taking colour and its
definite shape from, that group of desires which was the most intense during
life “a blank destitution of all knowledge in the devachanic mind” — seeming
“in a measure ignoble”? Then verily, either you have failed, as you say, to
take in my meaning, or it is I who am to blame. I must have sorely failed to
convey the right meaning, and have to confess my inability to describe the —
indescribable. The latter is a difficult task, good friend. 
    Unless the intuitive perceptions of a trained chela come to the rescue,
no amount of description — however graphic — will help. Indeed, no adequate
words to express the difference between a state of mind on earth, and one
outside of its sphere of action; no English terms in existence, equivalent
to ours; nothing — but unavoidable (as due to early Western education)
preconceptions, hence — lines of thought in a wrong direction in the
learner’s mind, to help us in this inoculation of entirely new thoughts!...
    “A man in the way to learn something of the mysteries of nature seems in
a higher state of existence to begin with on earth than that which nature
apparently provides for him as a reward for his best deeds.”
    Perhaps “apparently” — not so in reality, when the modus operandi of
nature is correctly understood. Then that other misconception: “The more
merit, the longer period of Devachan. But then in Devachan... all sense of
the lapse of time is lost; a minute is as a thousand years... à quoi bon
then, etc.”
    This remark and such ways of looking at things might as well apply to
the whole of Eternity, to Nirvana, Pralaya, and what not. Say at once that
the whole system of being, of existence separate and collective, of nature
objective and subjective are but idiotic, aimless facts, a gigantic fraud of
that nature which, meeting with little sympathy with Western philosophy,
has, moreover, the cruel disapprobation of the best “lay-chela.” 
    A quoi bon, in such a case, this preaching of our doctrines, all this
uphill work and swimming in adversum flumen? 
    Why should the West be so anxious then to learn anything from the East,
since it is evidently unable to digest that which can never meet the
requirements of the special tastes of its Esthetics. Sorry outlook for us,
since even you fail to take in the whole magnitude of our philosophy, or to
even embrace at one scope a small corner — the Devachan — of those sublime
and infinite horizons of “after life.” 
    I do not want to discourage you. I would only draw your attention to the
formidable difficulties encountered by us in every attempt we make to
explain our metaphysics to Western minds, even among the most intelligent.
Alas, my friend, you seem as unable to assimilate our mode of thinking, as
to digest our food, or enjoy our melodies!
    No; there are no clocks, no timepieces in Devachan, my esteemed chela,
though the whole Cosmos is a gigantic chronometer in one sense. Nor do we,
mortals, — ici bas même — take much, if any, cognizance of time during
periods of happiness and bliss, and find them ever too short; a fact that
does not in the least prevent us from enjoying that happiness all the same —
when it does come. 
    Have you ever given a thought to this little possibility that, perhaps,
it is because their cup of bliss is full to its brim, that the “devachanee”
loses “all sense of the lapse of time”; and that it is something that those
who land in Avitchi do not, though as much as the devachanee, the Avitchee
has no cognizance of time — i. e., of our earthly calculations of periods of
time? I may also remind you in this connection that time is something
created entirely by ourselves; that while one short second of intense agony
may appear, even on earth, as an eternity to one man, to another, more
fortunate, hours, days, and sometimes whole years may seem to flit like one
brief moment; and that finally, of all the sentient and conscious beings on
earth, man is the only animal that takes any cognizance of time, although it
makes him neither happier nor wiser. 
    How then, can I explain to you that which cannot feel, since you seem
unable to comprehend it? Finite similes are unfit to express the abstract
and the infinite; nor can the objective ever mirror the subjective. To
realize the bliss in Devachan, or the woes in Avitchi, you have to
assimilate them — as we do. Western critical idealism … has still to learn
the difference that exists between the real being of super-sensible objects
and the shadowy subjectivity of the ideas it has reduced them to. Time is
not a predicate conception and can, therefore, neither be proved nor
analysed, according to the methods of superficial philosophy. 
    And, unless we learn to counteract the negative results of that method
of drawing our conclusions agreeably to the teachings of the so-called
“system of pure reason,” and to distinguish between the matter and the form
of our knowledge of sensible objects, we can never arrive at correct,
definite conclusions. The case in hand, as defended by me against your (very
natural) misconception is a good proof of the shallowness and even fallacy
of that “system of pure (materialistic) reason.” Space and time may be — as
Kant has it — not the product but the regulators of the sensations, but only
so far as our sensations on earth are concerned, not those in Devachan. 
    There we do not find the a priori ideas of this “space and time”
controlling the perceptions of the denizen of Devachan in respect to the
objects of his sense; but, on the contrary, we discover that it is the
devachanee himself who absolutely creates both and annihilates them at the
same time. 
    Thus, the “after states,” so called, can never be correctly judged by
practical reason since the latter can have active being only in the sphere
of final causes or ends, and can hardly be regarded with Kant (with whom it
means on one page reason and on the next — will) as the highest spiritual
power in man, having for its sphere that WILL. The above is not dragged in —
as you may think — for the sake of an (too far stretched, perhaps) argument,
but with an eye to a future discussion “at home,” as you express it, with
students and admirers of Kant and Plato that you will have to encounter.
    In a plainer language, I will now tell you the following, and it will be
no fault of mine if you still fail to comprehend its full meaning. As
physical existence has its cumulative intensity from infancy to prime, and
its diminishing energy thenceforward to dotage and death, so the dream-life
of Devachan is lived correspondentially. 
    Hence you are right in saying that the “Soul” can never awake to its
mistake and find itself “cheated by nature” — the more so as, strictly
speaking, the whole of the human life and its boasted realities are no
better than such “cheating.” 
    But you are wrong in pandering to the prejudices and preconceptions of
the Western readers (no Asiatic will ever agree with you upon this point)
when you add that “there is a sense of unreality about the whole affair
which is painful to the mind, ” since you are the first one to feel that it
is no doubt due much more to “an imperfect grasp of the nature of the
existence” in Devachan — than to any defect in our system. 
    Hence — my orders to a chela to reproduce in an Appendix to your article
extracts from this letter and explanations calculated to disabuse the
reader, and to obliterate, as far as possible, the painful impression this
confession of yours is sure to produce on him. [ see THEOSOPHICAL ARTICLES &
    The whole paragraph is dangerous. I do not feel myself justified in
crossing it out, since it is evidently the expression of your real feelings,
kindly, though — pardon me for saying so — a little clumsily white-washed
with an apparent defence of this (to your mind) weak point of the system.
But it is not so, believe me. 
    Nature cheats no more the devachanee than she does the living, physical
man. Nature provides for him far more real bliss and happiness there than
she does here, where all the conditions of evil and chance are against him,
and his inherent helplessness — that of a straw violently blown hither and
thither by every remorseless wind — has made unalloyed happiness on this
earth an utter impossibility for the human being, whatever his chances and
condition may be. 
    Rather call this life an ugly, horrid nightmare, and you will be right.
To call the Devachan existence a “dream” in any other sense but that of a
conventional term, well suited to [y]our languages all full of misnomers —
is to renounce for ever the knowledge of the esoteric doctrine — the sole
custodian of truth. Let me then try once more to explain to you a few of the
many states in Devachan and — Avitchi.
    As in actual earth-life, so there is for the Ego in Devachan — the first
flutter of psychic life, the attainment of prime, the gradual exhaustion of
force passing into semi-unconsciousness, gradual oblivion and lethargy,
total oblivion and — not death but birth: birth into another personality,
and the resumption of action which daily begets new congeries of causes,
that must be worked out in another term of Devachan, and still another
physical rebirth as a new personality. What the lives in Devachan and upon
Earth shall be respectively in each instance is determined by Karma. And
this weary round of birth upon birth must be ever and ever run through,
until the being reaches the end of the seventh round, or — attains in the
interim the wisdom of an Arhat, then that of a Buddha and thus gets relieved
for a round or two, — having learned how to burst through the vicious
circles — and to pass periodically into the Paranirvana.
    But suppose it is not a question of a Bacon, a Gœthe, a Shelley, a
Howard, but of some hum-drum person, some colourless, flaxless personality,
who never impinged upon the world enough to make himself felt: what then?
Simply that his devachanic state is as colourless and feeble as was his
personality. How could it be otherwise since cause and effect are equal? But
suppose a case of a monster of wickedness, sensuality, ambition, avarice,
pride, deceit, etc., but who nevertheless has a germ or germs of something
better, flashes of a more divine nature — where is he to go? 
    The said spark smouldering under a heap of dirt will counteract,
nevertheless, the attraction of the eighth sphere, whither fall but absolute
nonentities; “failures of nature” to be remodelled entirely, whose divine
monad separated itself from the five principles during their life-time,
(whether in the next preceding or several preceding births, since such cases
are also on our records), and who have lived as soulless human beings. 2 
    These persons whose sixth principle [BUDDHI] has left them (while the
seventh [ATMA] having lost its vahan (or vehicle) can exist independently no
longer) their fifth or animal Soul [LOWER MANAS] of course goes down “the
bottomless pit.”  …
    There must be for such a nature a state corresponding to Devachan, and
this is found in Avitchi — the perfect antithesis of Devachan — vulgarized
by the Western nations into Hell and Heaven, and which you have entirely
lost sight of in your “Fragment.” 
    Remember: “To be immortal in good one must identify himself with Good
(or God); to be immortal in evil — with evil (or Satan).” Misconceptions of
the true value of such terms as “Spirit,” “Soul,” “individuality,”
“personality,” and “immortality” (especially) — … I found it necessary to
add to Devachan — Avitchi as its complement and applying to it the same laws
as to the former…
    Having explained the situation sufficiently I may now answer your query
No. 1 directly. 
    Yes, certainly there is “a change of occupation,” a continual change in
Devachan, just as much — and far more — as there is in the life of any man
or woman who happens to follow his or her whole life one sole occupation
whatever it may be; with that difference, that to the Devachanee his special
occupation is always pleasant and fills his life with rapture. Change then
there must be, for that dream-life is but the fruition, the harvest-time of
those psychic seed-germs dropped from the tree of physical existence in our
moments of dreams and hopes, fancy-glimpses of bliss and happiness stifled
in an ungrateful social soil, blooming in the rosy dawn of Devachan, and
ripening under its ever fructifying sky. 
    No failures there, no disappointments! If man had but one single moment
of ideal happiness and experience during his life — as you think — even
then, if Devachan exists, it could not be as you erroneously suppose, the
indefinite prolongation of that “single moment,” but the infinite
developments, the various incidents and events, based upon, and outflowing
from, that one “single moment” or moments, as the case may be; all in short
that would suggest itself to the “dreamer’s” fancy. That one note, as I
said, struck from the lyre of life, would form but the Key-note of the
being’s subjective state, and work out into numberless harmonic tones and
semi-tones of psychic phantasmagoria. There — all unrealized hopes,
aspirations, dreams, become fully realized, and the dreams of the objective
become the realities of the subjective existence. And there behind the
curtain of Maya its vapours and deceptive appearances are perceived by the
adept, who has learnt the great secret how to penetrate thus deeply into the
Arcana of being.
    Doubtless my question whether you had experienced monotony during what
you consider the happiest moment of your life has entirely misled you. This
letter, thus, is the just penance for my laziness to amplify the
    Query (2) What cycle is meant?
    The “minor cycle” meant is, of course, the completion of the seventh
Round, as decided upon and explained. Besides that at the end of each of the
seven rounds comes a less “full” remembrance; only of the devachanic
experiences taking place between the numerous births at the end of each
personal life. But the complete recollection of all the lives — (earthly and
devachanic) omniscience — in short — comes but at the great end of the full
seven Rounds (unless one had become in the interim a Bodhisatwa, an Arhat) —
the “threshold” of Nirvana meaning an indefinite period. 
    Naturally a man, a Seventh-rounder (who completes his earthly migrations
at the beginning of the last race and ring) will have to wait longer at that
threshold than one of the very last of those Rounds. 
    That Life of the Elect between the minor Pralaya and Nirvana — or rather
before the Pralaya — is the Great Reward, the grandest, in fact, since it
makes of the Ego (though he may never have been an adept, but simply a
worthy virtuous man in most of his existences) — virtually a God, an
omniscient, conscious being, a candidate — for eternities of aeons — for a
Dhyan Chohan.... Enough — I am betraying the mysteries of initiation. 
    But what has NIRVANA to do with the recollections of objective
existences? That is a state still higher and in which all things objective
are forgotten. It is a State of absolute Rest and assimilation with
Parabrahm — it is Parabrahm itself. Oh, for the sad ignorance of our
philosophical truths in the West, and for the inability of your greatest
intellects to seize the true spirit of those teachings. What shall we — what
can we do!
    Query (3) You must postulate an intercourse of entities in Devachan
which applies only to the mutual relationship of physical existence. 
    Two sympathetic souls will each work out its own devachanic sensations,
making the other a sharer in its subjective bliss, but yet each is
dissociated from the other as regards actual mutual intercourse. For what
companionship could there be between two subjective entities which are not
even as material as that ethereal body-shadow — the Mayavi-rupa?
    Query (4) Devachan is a state, not a locality. 
    Kama-Loka, Rupa-Loka, and Arupa [formless] -Loka are the three spheres
of ascending spirituality in which the several groups of subjective entities
find their attractions. In the Kama-Loka (semi-physical sphere) dwell the
shells, the victims and suicides; and this sphere is divided into
innumerable regions and sub-regions corresponding to the mental states of
the comers at their hour of death. This is the glorious “Summer-land” of the
Spiritualists, to whose horizons is limited the vision of their best seers —
vision imperfect and deceptive because untrained and non-guided by Alaya
Vijnana (hidden knowledge). Who in the west knows anything of true
Sahalokadhatu, the mysterious Chiliocosm out of the many regions of which
but three can be given out to the outside world, the Tribhuvana (three
worlds) namely: Kama, Rupa, and Arupa-Lokas. …
    From Kama-Loka, then, in the great Chiliocosm, once awakened from their
post-mortem torpor the newly translated “Souls” go all (but the shells)
according to their attractions, either to Devachan or Avitchi. And those two
states are again differentiating ad infinitum — their ascending degrees of
spirituality deriving their names from the lokas in which they are induced.
For instance: the sensations, perceptions and ideation of a devachanee in
Rupa-Loka, will, of course, be of a less subjective nature than they would
be in Arupa-Loka, in both of which the devachanic experiences will vary in
their presentation to the subject-entity, not only as regards form, colour,
and substance, but also in their formative potentialities. But not even the
most exalted experience of a monad in the highest devachanic state in
Arupa-Loka (the last of the seven states) — is comparable to that perfectly
subjective condition of pure spirituality from which the monad emerged to
“descend into matter,” and to which at the completion of the grand cycle it
must return. Nor is Nirvana itself comparable to Para-Nirvana…
    Query (6) …  The stay in Devachan is proportioned to the unfinished
psychic impulses originating in earth-life: those persons whose attractions
were preponderatingly material will sooner be drawn back into rebirth by the
force of Tanha…  these subjects (metaphysical) are only partly for
    A higher faculty belonging to the higher life must see, and it is truly
impossible to force it upon one’s understanding — merely in words. One must
see with his spiritual eye, hear with his Dharmakayic ear, feel with the
sensations of his Ashta-vijnana (spiritual “I”) before he can comprehend
this doctrine fully; otherwise it may but increase one’s “discomfort,” and
add to his knowledge very little.
    Query (7) The “reward provided by nature for men who are benevolent in a
large, systematic way” and who have not focussed their affections upon an
individual or speciality, is that — if pure — they pass the quicker for that
through the Kama and Rupa Lokas into the higher sphere of Tribhuvana, since
it is one where the formulation of abstract ideas and the consideration of
general principles fill the thought of its occupants. 
    Personality is the synonym for limitation, and the more contracted the
person’s ideas, the closer will he cling to the lower spheres of being, the
longer loiter on the plane of selfish social intercourse. 
    The social status of a being is, of course, a result of Karma; the law
being that “like attracts like.” The renascent being is drawn into the
gestative current with which the preponderating attractions coming over from
the last birth make him assimilate. Thus one who died a ryot [peasant] may
be reborn a king, and the dead sovereign may next see the light in a
coolie’s tent. 
    This law of attraction asserts itself in a thousand “accidents of birth”
— than which there could be no more flagrant misnomer. When you realize at
least the following — that the skandhas are the elements of limited
existence, then will you have realized also one of the conditions of
Devachan which has now such a profoundly unsatisfactory outlook for you. …
    Even as a “broad rule” poverty and humble condition in life are less a
cause of sorrow than wealth and high birth, but of that — later on. My
answers are once more assuming the shape of a volume rather than the decent
aspect of a letter. “Writing a new book, or for the Theosophist?” Well do
you not think that (since your desire is to reach not merely the most but
also the most receptive minds) you had better write the former, as well as
for the latter? 
    You might put into ESOTERIC BUDDHISM — an excellent title bye the bye —
such matter as would be a sequel to, or amplification of what has appeared
in the THEOSOPHIST, a systematic, thoughtful exposition of what was and will
be given in the Journal in snatched out brief Fragments. I am specially
anxious — on M.’s account — that the Journal should be made as much as
possible a success; should be circulated more than it is now in England.
Your new book drawing, as it is sure to, the attention of the most educated,
thoughtful portion of the Western public to the organ of “Esoteric Buddhism”
par excellence — would thus do it a world of good, and both would prove of
mutual assistance. …
    Thereupon — Salam, and best wishes. I am extremely busy with
preparations of initiation. Several of my chelas — Djual-khool among others
— are striving to reach “the other shore.”

    Yours faithfully,      K. H.
  	[Mahatma Letter No. 104                    (ML-25) Recd. February 2,


[The force of unfinished mental work]... "an intense and purely spiritual
passion for intellectual pursuit," is called "an unsatisfied yearning which
must exhaust itself before the entity can move on to the purely a-rupa
(formless-impersonal) condition.  A provision is made for every case, and,
in each case it is created by the dying man's last, uppermost desire..."
[not "thought"]  	Theos. Art. & Notes, p. 32
"Life in Devachan is the function of the aspirations of earth life;  not the
indefinite prolongation of that "single instant," but its infinite
developments, the various incidents and events based upon and outflowing
from that one "single moment" or moments."
        Key  162          
"Occult Science teaches that the frame of mind in which a man dies, is of
the utmost importance owing to the abnormal and psychic state in which he
then is.  The last thought of a dying person does much to influence his
immediate future.  The arrow is ready to fly from the bow;  the bow-string
is abreast of the ear, and the aim will decide the immediate fate of the
arrow.  Happy is he for whom "Om" is the bow, the Self is the arrow and
Brahman--its aim!"  At such a sacred moment, strong spiritual aspirations,
whether natural or induced by the earnest exhortations of either one who has
a true  conviction, or better still, of one possessed of the divine Gnosis,
will protect the Soul of him who is leaving death we shall be
judged by our own Higher Self, and, under the conduct of the agents of the
Karmic Law (the Demiurgos collectively), will have to reincarnate again into
the prison of the Body, until the past evil Karma has been exhausted.  For
until the last farthing of the Karmic debt is exhausted, we can never be
untied from the wheel of "Sansara."       -Footnote by HPB--          
Lucifer, Vol. 8, p. 127-8
"No man dies insane or unconscious--as some physiologists assert.  Even a
madman, or one in a fit of delirium tremens will have his instant of perfect
lucidity at the moment of death, though unable to say so to those
present...speak in whispers...lest you disturb the quiet ripple of thought,
and hinder the busy work of the Past casting on its reflections upon the
veil of the future."             M L 170  [Barker Edn.]           

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