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May 14, 2011 06:43 PM
by Cass Silva

I was reading this article and was totally surprised to hear HPB say
"A dead child then is a failure of nature; it must be born again; the same 
pÃrisprit must in such a case pass through the interrupted trial by means of 
another birth. The same for the congenital idiot. These are the only cases of 
human reincarnation. "

Can someone provide an explanation for this?

Theosophists, like the ancient philosophers and their pupil Paul, who said that 
the physical body was penetrated and kept alive by the pÃrisprit, PsychÃ, 
consider man as a trinity: body, pÃrisprit, spirit.
The Buddhists, who distinguish these three entities, divide the pÃrisprit still 
further into several parts. Nevertheless, on the point of approaching 
perfectionâNirvÃnaâthey hardly admit more than one of these parts: the Spirit.
The Greeks did the same, dividing the pÃrisprit into life and the passional 
nature, or Thumos. The pÃrisprit is thus itself a combination: the physiological 
vitality, Bios; the concupiscible nature, Epithumia; and the ideality, Phren. 

Page 366

The pÃrisprit is constituted of the ethereal substance that fills the universe, 
hence it is derived from the cosmic astral fluid, which is not spirit at all, 
because although intangible, impalpable, this astral fluid is objective matter 
as compared with spirit. Owing to its complex nature, the pÃrisprit can ally 
itself intimately enough with the corporeal nature, to escape the moral 
influence of a higher life. In the same way it can unite closely enough with the 
spirit to partake of its potency, in which case its vehicle, the physical man, 
can appear as a God, even during his terrestrial lifetime. If such a union, of 
the spirit and the pÃrisprit, does not take place, a man does not become 
immortal as an entity: the pÃrisprit is sooner or later dissociated.
Plutarch says that at death, Proserpine separates the body from the soul 
(pÃrisprit), after which the latter becomes a genius or DaÃmon, free and 
independent. A second dissolution has to occur, under the action of the Good. 
Demeter separates the pÃrisprit from the spirit. The first in time is resolved 
into ethereal particles; the second ascends, assimilates with the divine powers, 
and gradually becomes a pure divine spirit. 
Kapila, like all the Oriental philosophers, made little of the perisprital 
nature. It is this agglomeration of gross particles, of human emanations teeming 
with imperfections, weaknesses, passions, the very human appetites, able, under 
certain conditions, to become objective, that the Buddhists call Skandhas, 
groups, the Theosophists, soul, Allan Kardec, the pÃrisprit. 
The BrÃhmanas and the Buddhists say that the human individuality is not secure 
so long as man has not left behind with the last of these groups, the remaining 
vestige of terrestrial coloring. Hence their doctrine of metempsychosis, so much 
ridiculed but so little understood by our Orientalists themselves. Science 
teaches, indeed, that the material molecules that compose the physical body of 
man are, by the process of evolution, replaced by Nature into lower physical 
forms. Well, the Buddhists say the very same in regard to the particles of the 
astral body; they assert that the semi-material groups of the pÃrisprit are 
appropriated to the 

Page 367

evolution of lower astral forms and unite with them according to their degree of 
refinement. Consequently, so long as a discarnate man contains a single particle 
of these skandhas, some parts of his pÃrisprit will have to enter the astral 
bodies of plants or animals. So if the astral man is composed of such material 
that Demeter cannot find a particle of spirit, the individual is dissolved, bit 
by bit, in the crucible of evolution. This is what the Hindus typify by a period 
of a thousand years spent in the impure bodies of animals. Theosophists are in 
essential agreement with this idea.
To Theosophists, the great characters, the geniuses, the poets, the true 
artists, are spiritually inspired, and are not âat least in generalâsimply 
mediums, passive instruments in the hands of their guides. They are, on the 
contrary, souls (pÃrisprits) richly illuminated, i.e., possessing the spiritual 
element in a high degree, and therefore able to collaborate with pure Spirits 
for the spiritualization and elevation of mankind.
In what relates to the phenomena of the pÃrisprit and of mediumship, we believe 
that the purely passive medium cannot discern good spirits from bad, that to do 
so he must become a conscious mediator. We also know that though the incarnated 
man, even if a high adept, cannot compete in power with pure Spirits, who, being 
liberated from their skandhas have become subjective to the physical senses, 
they can at least equal and even surpass in the matter of phenomenalism what is 
produced by ordinary mediums.
Can a child, i.e., a not completely developed man, who passes into the other 
world, exist there in the conditions prepared for the perfected types of his 
species, any more than a plant or an animal?
The child does not yet possess a spirit, so to speak; he is merely a soul, and 
his education has only affected his astral nature, has only dealt with 
The cycle of man is not complete so long as he has not passed through 
terrestrial life. Not one stage of trial or experience can be skipped; he must 
have been a man before he reaches the state of pure Spirit. 

Page 368

A dead child then is a failure of nature; it must be born again; the same 
pÃrisprit must in such a case pass through the interrupted trial by means of 
another birth. The same for the congenital idiot. These are the only cases of 
human reincarnation. 
If the child, indeed, who is only a duality, were immortal, why not the animals 
also? The triad alone survives.
At death, the pÃrisprit becomes the outermost body; within it is formed a more 
ethereal body, and the whole is more or less overshadowed by the Spirit.
The elementaries of the human body are, however, not always dissociated at 
bodily death; it may happen that by a supreme effort they are able to retain 
some of the third element, and in that way, slowly and with trouble, to ascend 
from sphere to sphere, throwing off at each step the heavier garment, and 
becoming clothed in more radiant vestures; finally arriving at perfection, 
disencumbered of every material particle, and becoming unities, Gods. 
We said that the man who has not one spark of the divine spirit to save him 
after death can scarcely he distinguished from the animals.
There are some sad cases of this kind, not alone among the depraved but also 
among the willfully blind and the out-and-out deniers. It is, indeed, the will 
of man, his sovereign power, that partly rules his destiny, and if a man 
persists in believing in annihilation after death, it will take place. The 
conditions of the physical life, the kind of death, very often depend on the 
There are some persons who merely by the force of their resolution, escape the 
embrace of death, while others yield to trifling maladies. Now, what a man can 
do with his body, he can also do with his astral body, i.e., with his 
discarnated perisprit. 

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