THEOSOPHY, Vol. 19, No. 6, April, 1931
(Pages 271-274; Size: 12K)


[Article number (6) in this Q&A Department]

YOU say that the Ego does not really incarnate till around the seventh year. Suppose a baby of one year dies; is that Karma for it or for the parents?

(a) Manas, or the Thinker, is the reincarnating being, the immortal who carries the results and values of all the different lives lived on earth or elsewhere. (Ocean of Theosophy, p. 54).
If the Ego is not fully incarnated until the seventh year, the Thinker could gain little experience in a baby body of which it had not yet full control. Therefore, the lesson to be learned, the Karma, would undoubtedly be for the parents who brought the child into incarnation. Very often we can learn only by sorrow, and the shock of sorrow might rouse the parents to a consideration of the great truths concerning the destiny of the soul.

(b) The Ego, although never really incarnating till around the seventh year, has nevertheless been connected with that body from its beginning. It has come at that time and to those parents under Karma. The Soul in that body has had many births and much experience and needs perhaps just such a short life here this time. It may be for the purpose of some great lesson to the parents as well. No one can say just what past Karma has caused such an experience, but we know that Karma is just and we learn from any and all experiences.

(c) For both, it must be, or there would be injustice in the moral world. It is not really hard to see how that is. Put two living persons in identical circumstances; that is, let them undergo the very same experience, and each will behave differently. The power of any given circumstance is unvarying; we are the variants. Two hungry men, or two sick men, or two men in danger, are each affected by the "circumstance" according to his own nature, not according to the circumstance. If the baby dies, its death has no moral effect on the incarnating Ego, because that Ego is in no position to set up conscious causes, but it suffers delay and failure and has to try again. But its death has a great moral effect on the parents. It causes them self-searching, sorrow, and disappointment, all of which are moral effects. Perhaps the effect on the parents might change their whole inner attitude towards the meaning of life, and so lead them to exactly the opposite course of life to the one they had been taking -- in which case the very things that caused the incarnating Ego to lose its body before, might now draw it back to the same family and enable it to live. Does not this seem reasonable and just? In such case, both the parents and the incoming Ego would have turned what was evil into good Karma for them all.

If our life goes to Devachan, why could not the animal life? It is all one life. Where do animals go, if not to Devachan?

(a) It is true an animal does not have a Devachan such as ours. But it may enter a state after death which corresponds to man's Devachan, or rather to the highest state of Kamaloka. An animal survives only as animal nature and matter in general in a state similar to that before physical manifestation. At death, man's higher and lower natures separate. His Atma-Buddhi-Manas principle enters a period of rest and assimilation, while the lower nature is dissipated, just like the animals. It is this higher or spiritual nature of man which enjoys Devachan.

Devachan is necessary for the mind and soul as a rest as soon as the physical body is released. Our thoughts have been bound by our materialistic existence, and by casting off the body, they acquire freedom. And so an ego remains in Devachan according to his line of thought while on earth. He created his thoughts and in so doing he creates his own Devachan. It is in Devachan that the soul fulfills its highest ideals, and in carrying them out to perfection, it is benefited. Thoughts become real and objective, so real that the past life on earth seems to have been a dream. He realizes his experiences and assimilates the truth from those experiences.

By correspondence we can see why an animal has no Devachan. The animal's higher nature is only a potentiality; it has not as yet become an individuality. It, like everything in nature, has the same principles which are active in man, though they are dormant in the animal. Manas has not yet been lighted up. As an animal has no individual karma there would be no purpose in a Devachan. Man leaves Devachan when karma has been satisfied.

Devachan is for the spiritual side of man, and as the spiritual nature of an animal is undeveloped it could have no Devachan. Devachan is a state entirely for the mind or soul, which is latent in an animal. Thus we can see that the after-death state of animals is quite different from man's Devachan.

(b) True, it is all one life, but you forget that we differ from animals in some respects. An animal is not a man. Man is a seven principled being, and just which of those principles go to Devachan?

The Real Man is the trinity of Atma-Buddhi-Manas, or Spirit and Mind, and he uses certain agents and instruments to get in touch with nature in order to know himself. (Ocean, p. 34).
It is this real man which goes to Devachan, after a stay in kama loka.
... the real man, the upper triad of Atma-Buddhi-Manas, deathless but now out of earth conditions, devoid of body, begins in devachan to function solely as mind clothed in a very ethereal vesture which it will shake off when the time comes for it to return to earth. (Ocean, p. 100).
Animals are not individualized like men. It is life functioning in and gaining experience from the animal kingdom, but it is not individualized life.

How is it possible that you can see people in your dreams and be talking to them, when they really are somewhere else and know nothing of it?

(a) Have you never wasted time day-dreaming of something that had not yet happened? Perhaps in the dream you were talking with a friend, and the dream seemed as real as a visit with that friend the day before. But suddenly a neglected duty called you back to reality (perhaps the dinner was scorching on the stove) and with regret the dream was relinquished and the work continued. For a while the dream had been so vivid that the odor of burning food was unnoticed. The friend seemed to have been with you -- a friend without an unpleasant characteristic -- such as disagreeing with you or interrupting while you were talking -- which might make the friend's actual physical presence less desirable than the day-dream. Such a dream, although a part of the dreamer's experience, had no existence except in the mind of the dreamer, who for a few minutes was evading the responsibility of attending to the performance of duty. The dream was subjective; the friend, the conversation, the environment of the meeting were imagined regardless of the fact that the person dreaming was in the kitchen and not at school, and that the friend was many miles away. A dream during sleep is different in that the Soul is more free from the body, although in some states of sleep it is still affected by the body and the kamic principle. Released by sleep, man is freed from the objective world which dominates his waking state and is free to exert his true power, that of a Creator. As "The Song of Life" says, "The Spirit of man has two dwelling places: both this world and the other world. The borderland between them is the land of dreams." And, "There are no lotus ponds there, nor lakes and rivers. The Spirit of man makes for himself lotus ponds, lakes and rivers. For the Spirit of man is Creator." The land of dreams must be crossed by the Spirit of man on his way from the waking, objective world to the deep-sleep state, in which the Spirit, freed from desire, knows he is the All. If during the day a person has thought much of a friend, it may be that he will dream of that friend before reaching the deep-sleep state. In dreams, as in Devachan, to think of a thing is to have it. Yet the friend is not there except as the dreamer dreams of him.

(b) We are thought beings, and live largely in our minds. It is our thoughts which color our waking life, is it not, and make events seem happy or distressing? Physical proximity is not necessary, for can we not conjure up pictures of our friends and carry on mental conversations without having them there? We can close our eyes and see our friends. Most of our dreams are mental reconstructions of events in daily life. The brain throws up images, the reproductions of waking acts and thoughts. The state of dreams must be gone through in passage to and from the state of dreamless sleep, and only by controlling our waking thoughts and by concentrating on pure and noble things can we clear the channel by which we can alone bring back remembrance of that elevated state wherein the soul knows itself for what it really is.

COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:


To be born in extreme poverty is not a disadvantage. Jesus said well when, repeating what many a sage had said before, he described the difficulty experienced by the rich man in entering heaven. If we look at life from the narrow point of view of those who say there is but one earth and after it either eternal heaven or hell, then poverty will be regarded as a great disadvantage and something to be avoided. But seeing that we have many lives to live, and that they will give us all needed opportunity for building up character, we must admit that poverty is not, in itself, necessarily bad Karma. Poverty has no natural tendency to engender selfishness, but wealth requires it.--William Q. Judge

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(May 1931)
[Article number (7) in this Q&A Department]

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