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Monday, 19 December 2016

Astral Religious Experiences

What we might naturally expect to find (according to reason and in equity) regarding the religious experiences of the disembodied soul is so in fact. That is to say, on the Astral Plane, each soul finds itself surrounded by a religious environment in accordance with the best of the beliefs entertained by it in its earth-life. It will not only find the particular heavens or hells, which it expected to find, but it will also find itself in contact with other souls of a similar belief, and with the prophets and sages and founders of its own religion. But this environment will be of the nature of a mirage, for it is a product of human thought and has no counterpart in the absolute facts of nature. The thought-forms of a particular form of religious thought gather great strength on the Astral Plane and endure with all the appearance of permanent reality to the perception and understanding of the believer and devotee—although entirely invisible to those of a different faith. The presence of prophets and founders remains with the environment, though the souls of these individuals have long since passed on to other planes of life. The Astral Plane is a realm of ideals, and each soul finds its ideals realised thereon.

The good Christian finds a manifestation of the best in his own creed and beliefs and rests fully assured that he has had the true faith, and has reaped the reward he expected. But, the same is true of the good Brahmin, or the good Mohammedan, or the good Confucian. Moreover, each particular sect or division of religious belief finds a corroboration of its own beliefs on the Astral Plane. But there is no warring of sects or religions. Each soul finds its own and is oblivious of the rest. But, note this apparent exception—the soul which has advanced far enough to realise that there is Truth in all religious beliefs, and which has manifested a tolerant spirit in earth-life, is also given a corroboration of his belief and is allowed to see the joys of the blessed of all religious faiths.

It must be remembered, however, that these Astral representations of the various religious faiths and beliefs comprise only the best of each particular form of belief—in short, the soul witnesses the highest conception and ideal of which it is capable regarding its favourite religion. This naturally has the effect and result of developing the highest religious conceptions in the soul, and inhibiting the lower ones, to the end that when the soul undertakes its next earthly pilgrimage, it will carry with it a taste and inclination for only the highest in its own religion, and will thus aid in the evolution of religion on earth. Sometimes a soul will evolve from one form of religious conception in its Astral Life, and upon its reincarnation will be ready for one higher. Remember, always, that the spiritual evolution constantly leads onward and upward, from lower to higher—on, and on, and on, forever.

Life Beyond Death, Yogi Ramacharaka, Yogi Publication Society, Chicago, 1912