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Saturday, 17 December 2016

THE SOUL-SLUMBER AND PAST LIFE REVIEW

He giveth His beloved sleep; 
There is rest for the weary;
He has gone to his long rest.

In connection with the subject of the soul-slumber, of which the preceding post speaks, the process of sinking into the restful state, and the soundness and continuance thereof, may be interfered with by those left in the earth-life. A soul which has something on its mind to communicate, or which is grieved by the pain of those left behind (especially if it hears the lamentations and constant calls for its return), will fight off the dreamy state creeping over it and will make desperate efforts to return. And, likewise, the mental calls of those who have been left behind will disturb the slumber, once it has been entered into, and will cause the sleeping soul to rouse itself and endeavour to answer the calls, or at least will partially awaken it and retard its unfoldment. These half-awake souls often manifest in spiritualistic circles. Our grief and demands often cause much pain and sorrow to our loved ones who have passed over to the other side, unless they have learned the true state of affairs before they have passed out, and refuse to be called back even by those whom they love. Cases are known where souls have fought off the slumber for years in order to be around their loved ones on earth, but this course was unwise as it caused unnecessary sorrow and pain both to the one who had passed on and to those who remained on earth. We should avoid delaying the progress of those who have passed on—let them sleep on and rest, awaiting the hour of their transformation. To do otherwise is to make them die their death several times in succession—those who truly love and understand always avoid this, for their love and understanding bids them let the soul depart in peace and take its well-earned rest and gain its full development. This period of soul-slumber is like the existence of the babe in the mother's wombit sleeps that it may awaken into life and strength.

There is another phase of this particular stage of the soul progressIt is only the soul of the person who has died a natural death which sinks at once (if not disturbed) into the soul-slumber. Those who die by accident, or who are killed—in other words, those who pass out of the body suddenly, find themselves wide awake and in full possession of their mental faculties for some time. They are often not aware that they have died and cannot understand what is the matter with them. They are often fully conscious (for a short time) of life on earth and can see and hear all that is going on around them by means of their Astral senses. They cannot realise that they have passed out of the body, and are often sorely perplexed. Their lot would be most unhappy for a few days until the sleep finally overcame them in due course were it not for the Astral Helpers, those blessed souls from the higher states of existence, who gather around them and gently break to them the news of their real condition, and offer them words of comfort and advice, and generally take care of them until they sink into the soul-slumber just as a tired child sinks to sleep at night. These Helpers never fail in their duty, and no one who passes out suddenly, be s/he good or bad is neglected, for these helpers know that all are God's children and their own spiritual brothers and sisters. Men of high spiritual development and powers have been known to pass out of their physical bodies, temporarily (dwelling in their Astral bodies), for the purpose of giving aid and advice in time of great catastrophes (such as the Johnstown Flood and the Titanic' Disaster) or after a great battle, when immediate advice and assistance were needed. Persons dying in the way of which we have spoken gradually fall into the slumber of the soul, just as in the cases of those dying a natural death.

Another matter which should be mentioned is that wonderful phenomenon of the review of the past life of the soul, that great panorama which passes before the mental vision of the soul as it sinks into the soul-slumber. This the authorities inform us really occupies but an infinitesimal moment of time—a moment so brief that it can scarcely be spoken of as a point in time. Yet in this brief moment, the sonl witnesses the panorama of the life it has passed on earth. Scene after scene, of infancy to old age, passes before it in review. The most insignificant incident is reproduced with as much fidelity to detail as is the greatest event. The subconscious planes of memory unfold their secrets to the last—nothing is reserved or withheld. Moreover, the soul, by its awakened spiritual discernment, is able to know the meaning, cause, and consequence of every event in its life. It is able to analyse and to pass judgment upon itself and its acts. Like an omniscient and impartial judge, it judges itself. The result of this process is that the acts of one's past life are concentrated and impressed upon the records of the
soul, there to become as seeds which will produce better fruit in the future. These seeds serve to bear the fruits of future character, in future lives, at least, so far as the acquired characteristics and desires will admit of.

To those who may object that it is impossible for the mind to grasp the events of a lifetime in the space of a moment of time, we would say that psychology will inform them that even in ordinary earth-life this is possible. For there are many recorded cases in which a person nodding into slumber has dreamed of events which have occupied an apparent period of many years. In ordinary dreams time is practically reduced to a small unit, and in the state of which we speak the process of concentration is intensified, and the single point of time covers the period of the longest life.

The soul carries with it into its slumber-state a concentrated record of its entire life, including the seeds of its desires, ambitions, likes and dislikes, attractions and repulsions. These seed-ideas soon begin to sprout and bear blossom and fruit. Not only in future incarnations are these manifest, but also in the life of the soul on the Astral Plane. For kind Nature does not impose on the soul the task of living out and outliving all of its tendencies in future incarnations, but so arranges that many of these strong impulses shall be manifested and worn out on the Astral Plane, so that the soul may leave them behind when it is reborn into a new earth-life. And it is toward this fruition that the soul-slumber serves. During the soul-sleep the soul is prepared for its entrance into Astral life and manifestation. The soul-slumber is just as necessary for the soul in this stage of its progress, as is the slumber of the unborn babe in the womb of its mother.

The soul which is instructed regarding the existence and nature of this period of soul-slumber will find nothing but satisfaction in the contemplation thereof. It will learn to regard this stage of its future existence as a blessed balm and comfort. It will feel toward this state that which we find expressed in the words of the old song—And calm and peaceful do I sleep, rocked in the Cradle of the Deep. As rest, securely resting, on the bosom of that Great Ocean of Life. Rest, calm, peace, security, protection—this is the condition of the soul-slumber on the Astral Plane.

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