Death And After

Masonic, Occult and Esoteric Online Library

Death And After

By Annie Besant

The Devachani

When the Triad has shaken off its desire garment, it crosses the threshold of Devachan, and becomes “a Devachani”. We have seen that it is in a peaceful dreamy state before this passage out of the earthsphere, the “second death”, or “pre-devachanic unconsciousness”. This condition is otherwise spoken of as the “gestation” period, because it precedes the birth of the Ego into the devachanic life. Regarded from the earth-sphere the passage is death, while regarded from that of Devachan it is birth. Thus we find in “Notes on Devachan”: 

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-consciousness 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 [Page 67] in another term of Devachan, and still another physical birth 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 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.

When the devachanic entity is born into this new sphere it has passed beyond recall to earth. The embodied Soul may rise to it, but it cannot be drawn back to our world. On this a Master has spoken decisively: 

From Sukhavati down to the “Territory of Doubt”, there is a variety of spiritual states, but … as soon as it has stepped outside the Kamaloka, crossed the “Golden Bridge” leading to the “Seven Golden Mountains”, the Ego can confabulate no more with easy-going mediums. No Ernest or Joey has ever returned from the Rupa Loka, let alone the Arupa Loka, to hold sweet intercourse with men.

In the “Notes on Devachan”, again, we read: 

Certainly the new Ego, once that it is reborn (in Devachan), retains for a certain time – proportionate to its earth-life – a complete recollection “of his life on earth”; but it can never revisit the Earth from Devachan except in Re-incarnation.[Page 68] 

The Devachani is generally spoken of as the Immortal Triad, Atma-Buddhi-Manas, but it is well always to bear in mind that

Atman is no individual property of any man, but is the Divine Essence which has no body, no form, which is imponderable, invisible, and indivisible, that which does not exist and yet is, as the Buddhists say of Nirvana. It only overshadows the mortal; that which enters into him and pervades the whole body being only its omnipresent rays or light, radiated through Buddhi, its vehicle and direct emanation. [ "The Key to Theosophy", Page 69, Third Edition ] Buddhi and Manas united, with this overshadowing of Atma, form the Devachani; now, as we have seen in studying the Seven Principles, Manas is dual during earth-life, and the lower Manas is purified from all passional elements during the kamalokic interlude. By this purification of the Ray it carries only the pure and noble experiences of the earth-life into Devachan with it, thus maintaining the past personality as the marked characteristic of the Devachani, and it is in this prolongation of the “personal Ego”, so to speak, that the “illusion” of the Devachani consists. Were the manasic entity free from all illusion, it would see all Egos as its brother-Souls, and looking back over its past would recognise all the varied relationships it had borne to others in many lives, as the actor would remember the many parts he had played with other [Page 69] actors, and would think of each brother actor as a man, and not in the parts he had played as his father, his son, his judge, his murderer, his master, his friend. The deeper human relationship would prevent the brother actors from identifying each other with their parts, and so the perfected spiritual Egos, recognising their deep unity and full brotherhood, would no longer be deluded by the trappings of earthly relationships. But the Devachani, at least in the lower stages, is still within the personal boundaries of his past earth-life; he is shut into the relationships of the one incarnation; his paradise is peopled with those he “loved best with an undying love, that holy feeling that alone survives”, and thus the purified personal Ego is the salient feature, as above said, in the Devachani. Again quoting from the “Notes on Devachan”:

“Who goes to Devachan?” The personal Ego, of course; but beatified, purified, holy. Every Ego – the combination of the sixth and seventh principles [Sixth and seventh in the older nomenclature - fifth and sixth in the later - i.e., Manas and Buddhi.] – which after the period of unconscious gestation is reborn into the Devachan, is of necessity as innocent and pure as a new-born babe. The fact of his being reborn at all shows the preponderance of good over evil in his old personality. And while the Karma [of Evil] steps [Page 70] aside for the time being to follow him in his future earth re-incarnation, he brings along with him but the Karma of his good deeds, words and thoughts into this Devachan. “Bad” is a relative term for us – as you were told more than once before – and the Law of Retribution is the only law that never errs. Hence all those who have not slipped down into the mire of unredeemable sin and bestiality go to the Devachan. They will have to pay for their sins, voluntary and involuntary, later on. Meanwhile they are rewarded; receive the effects of the causes produced by them.

Now in some people a sense of repulsion arises at the idea that the ties they form on earth in one life are not to be permanent in eternity. But let us look at the question calmly for a moment. When a mother first clasps her baby-son in her arms, that one relationship seems perfect, and if the child should die, her longing would be to repossess him as her babe; but as he lives on through youth to manhood the tie changes, and the protective love of the mother and the clinging obedience of the child merge into a different love of friends and comrades, richer than ordinary friendship from the old recollections; yet later, when the mother is aged and the son in the prime of middle life, their positions are reversed and the son protects while the mother depends on him for guidance. [Page 71] Would the relation have been more perfect had it ceased in infancy with only the one tie, or is it not the richer and the sweeter from the different strands of which the tie is woven? And so with Egos; in many lives they may hold to each other many relationships, and finally, standing as Brothers of the Lodge closely knit together, may look back over past lives and see themselves in earth-life related in the many ways possible to human beings, till the cord is woven of every strand of love and duty; would not the final unity be the richer not the poorer for the manystranded tie? “Finally”, I say; but the word is only of this cycle, for what lies beyond, of wider life and less separateness, no mind of man may know. To me it seems that this very variety of experiences makes the tie stronger, not weaker, and that it is a rather thin and poor thing to know oneself and another in only one little aspect of many-sided humanity for endless ages of years; a thousand or so years of one person in one character would, to me, be ample, and I should prefer to know him or her in some new aspect of his nature. But those who object to this view need not feel distressed, for they will enjoy the presence of their beloved in the one personal aspect held by him or her in the one incarnation they are conscious of for as long as the desire [Page 72] for that presence remains. Only let them not desire to impose their own form of bliss on everybody else, nor insist that the kind of happiness which seems to them at this stage the only one desirable and satisfying, must be stereotyped to all eternity, through all the millions of years that lie before us. Nature gives to each in Devachan the satisfaction of all pure desires, and Manas there exercises that faculty of his innate divinity, that he “never wills in vain”. Will not this suffice?

But leaving aside disputes as to what may be to us “happiness” in a future separated from our present by millions of years, so that we are no more fitted now to formulate its conditions than is a child, playing with its dolls, to formulate the deeper joys and interests of its maturity, let us understand that, according to the teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy, the Devachani is surrounded by all he loved on earth, with pure affection, and the union being on the plane of the Ego, not on the physical plane, it is free from all the sufferings which would be inevitable were the Devachani present in consciousness on the physical plane with all its illusory and transitory joys and sorrows. It is surrounded by its beloved in the higher consciousness, but is not agonised by the knowledge of what they are suffering in the lower consciousness, held in the bonds [Page 73] of the flesh. According to the orthodox Christian view, Death is a separation, and the “spirits of the dead” wait for reunion until those they love also pass through Death’s gateway, or – according to some – until after the judgment-day is over. As against this the Esoteric Philosophy teaches that Death cannot touch the higher consciousness of man, and that it can only separate those who love each other so far as their lower vehicles are concerned; the man living on earth, blinded by matter, feels separated from those who have passed onwards, but the Devachani, says H. P. Blavatsky, has a complete conviction “that there is no such thing as Death at all”, having left behind it all those vehicles “over which Death has power”. Therefore, to its less blinded eyes, its beloved are still with it; for it, the veil of matter that separates has been torn away. 

A mother dies, leaving behind her little helpless children, whom she adores, perhaps a beloved husband also. We say that her “Spirit” or Ego – that individuality which is now wholly impregnated, for the entire devachanic period, with the noblest feelings held by its late personality, i.e., love for her children, pity for those who suffer, and so on – is now entirely separated from the “vale of tears”, that its future bliss consists in that blessed ignorance of all the woes it left behind … that the post-mortem spiritual consciousness of the mother will represent to her that she lives surrounded by her children and all those whom she loved; that no gap, no link will be missing to make her disembodied state the most perfect and absolute happiness. [ "The Key to Theosophy" , page 99, Third Edition ] [Page 74]

And so again: 

As to the ordinary mortal his bliss in Devachan is complete. It is an absolute oblivion of all that gave it pain or sorrow in the past incarnation, and even oblivion of the fact that such things as pain or sorrow exist at all. The Devachani lives its intermediate cycle between two incarnations surrounded by everything it had aspired to in vain, and in the companionship of everything it loved on earth. It has reached the fulfilment of all its soul-yearnings. And thus it lives throughout long centuries an existence of unalloyed happiness, which is the reward for its sufferings in earth-life. In short, it bathes in a sea of uninterrupted felicity spanned only by events of still greater felicity in degree. [ "The Key to Theosophy", page 100, Third Edition ]

When we take the wider sweep in thought demanded by the Esoteric Philosophy, a far more fascinating prospect of persistent love and union between individual Egos rolls itself out before our eyes than was offered to us by the more limited creed of exoteric Christendom. “Mothers love their children with an immortal love”, says H. P. Blavatsky, and the reason for this immortality in love is easily grasped when we realise that it is the same Egos that play so many parts in the drama of life, that the experience of each part is recorded in the memory of the Soul, and that between the Souls there is no separation, though during incarnation they may not realise the fact in its fullness and beauty. 

We are with those whom we have lost in material form, and far, far nearer to them now than when they were alive. And it is [Page 75] not only in the fancy of the Devachani, as some may imagine, but in reality. For pure divine love is not merely the blossom of a human heart, but has its roots in eternity. Spiritual holy love is immortal, and Karma brings sooner or later all those who loved each other with such a spiritual affection to incarnate once more in the same family group. [ "The Key to Theosophy", Page 101 of the Third Edition; Page 95 of the 1969 Edition ]

Love “has its roots in eternity”, and those to whom on earth we are strongly drawn are the Egos we have loved in past earth-lives and dwelt with in Devachan; coming back to earth, these enduring bonds of love draw us together yet again, and add to the strength and beauty of the tie, and so on and on till all illusions are lived down, and the strong and perfected Egos stand side by side, sharing the experience of their well-nigh illimitable past.




Masonic Publishing Company

Purchase This Title

Browse Titles
"If I have seen further than
others, it is by standing
upon the shoulders of giants."


Comasonic Logo

Co-Masonry, Co-Freemasonry, Women's Freemasonry, Men and Women, Mixed Masonry

Copyright © 1975-2024 Universal Co-Masonry, The American Federation of Human Rights, Inc. All Rights Reserved.