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Monday, 25 August 2014

Divine Wisdom

I will now attempt to give some idea of after-death experiences differing as widely as the poles asunder from the case just described, writes author, A. P. Sinnett. Here again, I myself was acquainted in life with the person in question, and knew him to be tainted with evil-doing of unusual intensity. Indeed, I had good reason to believe him definitely enlisted in the service of evil — nothing more or less than a black magician. He was about the last person I should have thought of as likely to be brought to speak to me through the channel which, during the last few years, has been made use of to keep me in relation with the occult world. But, to my immense surprise, he was so brought on one occasion under conditions that I must stop for a moment to explain.

The method of communication referred to was mainly designed in the first instance to keep me in touch with the great Master to whom I am especially attached, and with others of the White Lodge; but it is used, as the stories I have already told will have shown, to provide for intercourse with friends who have passed on and other inhabitants of the astral world. For it is possible for certain persons belonging to the White Lodge, whom I may describe as lieutenants of the Masters, to bring any astral entity willing to come, for a talk with me; and more than this, to bring the Higher Self of a living person with whom I have been able this way in some cases to communicate, while the person concerned has actually been awake on the physical plane. In other cases, when the person concerned has been asleep and out of the body in the astral vehicle, it has been the personality itself that has been brought.

On the occasion referred to above, it was the actual personality of my dark acquaintance, still then living (M. N. let me call him), who spoke to me, to my no little amazement. And he spoke without the least disguise of his true character. I expressed my surprise as soon as he enabled me to identify him. He chuckled, if I may use that word to convey an idea of his mental attitude, and said he had come to "torture me for a bit." He knew, of course, that I knew how seriously he had injured some friends of mine, and I gathered that he had plans in view for inflicting further injuries on one of them, and proposed to amuse himself by sketching out his plan. I scoffed at him, declaring that he could only have come by permission of my loftier friends, and that he was perfectly powerless to hurt me. He laughed in turn, and said he had come because he chose to come, to talk to me about her whom he supposed I should call his victim. To that term I agreed, as I looked upon him as altogether evil. This view he quite complacently accepted, claiming to represent "the Devil." I used very contemptuous language, calling him a fool for his pains, who was earning disastrous consequences for himself in the long run. All that he ridiculed as "Sunday-school prattle," and was going on to say something else when he suddenly broke off: "What was that I was going to say? It has all been wiped out of my mind!" He went on repeating this idea with increasing irritation. I told him the experience was clearly a lesson to show him that he was powerless in the hands of the Great Adepts. Immediately afterwards he was gone.

One of my occult friends (of the order I have described as "lieutenants" of the Masters) then told me that the black visitor had been brought by him in accordance with the Master's direction, for the sake of the lesson he had just received, which might have a startling effect; and indeed the Master himself afterwards told me it might be the first step for him in an upward progress.

I thought no more about the matter for some long while, but about a year and a half later I learned that the man in question had died, at a date some four or five months later than that of the interview I have described. And he had died altogether in the odour of sanctity, so to speak! He had undertaken a work of a painfully self-sacrificial nature, had dazzled with admiration all who were cognisant of his doings, and had finally lost his life, though only in early middle age, in pursuance of his very ghastly, self-imposed duty. It was all utterly bewildering, and I need hardly say that I sought for an explanation of the mystery.

The development now reached was profoundly touching. He himself was brought to me again, and our conversation was indeed different from the last. He asked at first for a few moments to recover. I am unwilling to repeat the whole of the conversation in detail, as that would disclose his identity for some who may read these lines in a manner which is perhaps undesirable. What he told me was in substance to this effect: After returning to the body from the previous interview he had with me, the influences that had then been brought to bear upon him had had the effect of evoking a mysterious change. He somehow seemed to realise the horror of the life he had been leading. He resolved to change its entire course; to devote himself thenceforward to the service of humanity instead of to that of the black powers with whom till then he had been working. He had been in that terrible service for a long series of lives. He now undertook a task of so desperately trying a nature that he knew it would involve the ultimate sacrifice of his own life under very painful conditions. He carried it through to the end, and then faced the after-death consequences of the long career of evil-doing in which he had been immersed. This meant a period of suffering on the second submerged plane of the astral world. He gave me an awful account of the torments he was undergoing. He was in the dim lurid light of the underworld, surrounded by horrible elemental shapes or creatures of the most loathsome aspect who were attacking him fiercely. He had lost all sense of time, but this seemed to have been going on for what seemed an eternity. But he realised his suffering to be an expiation that had to be borne. He was dauntless in the courage with which he faced it. The wonderful strength of his character that had made him, till then, so powerful a force on the black side, now took the shape of a tenacious resolution to bear whatever might befall him without flinching or turning aside from the determination that he would at last set his foot on the first rung of the ladder leading to the spiritual heights of the White Lodge. He rejoiced in the brief interlude that his present visit to me afforded, but was going back to the awful region he had described to me with unwavering bravery.

This interview took place, as far as I could make out, about a year and a half after his physical death, and I have since learned that it marked the moment of his actual release from the underworld. His stay there would not have wiped out the awful karma of his black magic lives if it had not been for the fact of his genuine repentance in physical life and his many months of painful self-sacrifice voluntarily incurred. The experience was abnormal in all ways. Leaving black magicians out of account, the karma that leads to any contact with the terrible "second" sub-plane of the astral is exceptional in its character. I have said already in general terms that it is only the very worst specimens of humanity that have anything to do with this dreadful region after death, but that statement does not cover the whole ground. Human characters are often complicated in their constitution. A man may have a great deal of good in his nature blemished by some abominable characteristics, and one above all is calculated to give the person so affected a period of suffering on the second sub-level. The characteristic to which I refer is, cruelty — cruelty during life on the physical plane. The principle will be readily intelligible. The most beautiful human emotion is love; the behaviour in life which that emotion prompts is benevolence, kindness to others, sympathy, and all the varieties of that characteristic. When the love principle is missing from the nature the result may be callous indifference to suffering in others, sometimes leading to acts of positive cruelty. Then just as active love is a force, leading to blissful conditions of astral existence, active cruelty leads to a glimpse of, or a more protracted sojourn on the terrible second sub-level. I shall have to amplify that explanation with examples later on, but for the moment it is enough to enunciate the idea in its broad aspects.

As I indicated above, M. N. was much nearer release from the awful conditions of the submerged level at the time of his second interview with me than he imagined. Some time after I heard of his release, I was enabled to get touch with him again, so that I might hear from himself how he was getting on. He told me he was then on the fourth sub-plane, and had joined a sort of community  he described it as a monastery  the brothers of which were engaged in the effort to concentrate their thoughts into a force that could be used by higher powers for the benefit of humanity. He was happy now in performance of this task.

Before going on with the record of other experiences, this may be a suitable time for giving some explanation of the conditions under which the terrible regions of the underworld are governed. The wild caricature of these regions embodied in ecclesiastical theology assumes that "hell" is governed by the Devil, who takes a delight in torturing his victims. This is so grotesque a perversion of the truth that one cannot easily understand how even the moderate intelligence guiding ecclesiastical thought can have been content with the theory. Clearly if there is a region of existence designed to be a region of suffering, where suffering has a purifying purpose, that region must be ruled by divine will, not by any diabolical agency revelling in cruelty for its own sake. In reality the regions of suffering are confided to the rule of a Being of infinite sublimity, goodness, mercy, and love. They constitute the mighty reformatory of the world, and the Being who rules them is spoken of by the great Masters of Wisdom themselves with deep reverence and admiration. For the stupendous duty in question would never have been imposed by divine will on any being qualified to undertake it. Its acceptance was a voluntary act of the most unparalleled self-sacrifice. He who undertook it is known in the occult world as "Melan." He belongs to an order of super-adepts spoken of by those who still use the beautiful old term "Brothers" for the Masters of the White Lodge, as "the Fathers." Incarnate imagination cannot go far in the direction of comprehending the conditions of existence, or the functions in nature of the Fathers, but we may assuredly assume it to be a condition of some supreme beatitude. It was from that condition, because it was necessary that some qualified being should perform the duty, that Melan descended to rule the regions of suffering. 

I do not suggest that even there he can in any way share the suffering, but, for a being filled by nature with love and sympathy to be its constant witness, in a certain sense the agent for its infliction, even though divine wisdom enables him to appreciate its purifying purpose, must mean a state of consciousness that cannot be far removed from pain.

Besides the two submerged levels, the third, immediately in contact with the earth's surface, is included in Melan's realm. The lower of the two submerged levels is hardly if at all connected with human experience. It is chiefly a region of strange elemental life of a kind that we should regard as horrible if we had any contact with it, but I have learned next to nothing more about it. Something has already been said above concerning the second level (in connection with the experiences of M. N.), but the third requires much fuller treatment. It is, of course, extremely varied in its aspects. Its worst conditions are very dark and wretched. I use the word "worst" in preference to "lowest" because the lowest in the spatial sense is that part immediately in touch with the physical earth's surface, and people who cannot get away from the physical surroundings to which they have been used in life are uncomfortable certainly, but not so badly off as others also entangled with the conditions of level number three. We shall get glimpses of what such entanglements mean as we go on with the records I have been enabled to collect.